|Photo by Zach Chisholm|
A few years ago Angus Khan and I played to a drum machine because we were without a drummer for our band, Threefold Law. We needed a steady tempo and that is exactly what the drum machine provided. It never wavers. Set that sucker to 75 beats per minute and that’s what you get. Like clockwork. The problem, and the reason why most bands opt for the flawed drummer as opposed to the perfect drum machine, is that it doesn’t sound real. Making music is organic and the “swing” or “groove” makes it human, pleasant, real. Slight variations in tempo are dynamic and attractive to the listener. Your body can detect a perfect tempo and it doesn’t like it. Your heartbeat is far from perfect. Drum machines sound “fake” because they are. Drummers are always broke, ugly, and late to the show but never perfect – the way it should be.
In life, perfection can be downright paralyzing. The quest for it reduces the willingness to take risks. It fosters complacency and patience. The world has never been changed by complacent or patient people. Yes, it is far easier to aim for perfection and therefore never do something out of fear of failure and live a mind-numbing, bland existence. Zombies live a mind-numbing, bland existence. Except for that “eating brains” thing. That sounds exciting, so I’ve heard.
Take a chance and embrace your flaws. They make you who you are. Be human and leave the perfection to the machines. They’re going to take over the world soon anyways. According to Angus Khan, it’ll be cyborgs or monkeys that will eventually enslave the human race. I’m hoping its monkeys.