Who’s the Sellout?


I’m not a sell-out. I’ve never seen myself that way. And as I point out in the video, I don’t think many people see me that way either. But some people have.

I’m not alone. People called Aaron Copland a sell-out. They called Sergei Rachmaninoff a sell-out.

I think the term is most typically used when someone is successful. If a musician experiences success and people like his music, then that person is deemed a “sell-out” by the people who believe that they remained more loyal to the art. They reason that anyone who writes or performs music that the masses enjoy, that person must not be as loyal to the music.

As many of you know, I am extremely opposed to the notion of “loving music”. I do NOT love music. I do NOT perform or compose or teach music out of a love for it that so many other people profess.

No, I LOVE God. I LOVE people.

Music is a medium through which I express my love for God and my neighbor.

Maybe in some people’s eyes (those who hate God and hate their neighbors?) that is precisely what makes me a sell-out.

This is the topic of the video. Does it make me a sell-out if I use my music to express love for God and my neighbor?

  1. Charles J. Neilson MD

    Interesting! On the contrary, I was talking to Maynard one time about how he always hit those particular high notes and that I had heard that he always put his calf muscles into extreme tightness and intenseness to always facilitate that effort. He told me that was not true. He said his “love” for music in general and his interactions with all of his musicians working together with him to reach these levels plus his appreciation for the “love” of this music by the audience always was paramount in his thoughts. Rather than “competition” or fear of failing in the eyes of his musical colleagues, he always concentrated on his “love” for the total musical experience and what it brought to the whole crowd and his musicians. I do remember his doing the prayerful hand clasping with those who took solos and they always reciprocated. That seemed to add a spiritual feeling to what he demonstrated as total love for anyone who contributed this endeavor to create what he said was based on solely love of the musical experience. He said that everyone was enjoying the opportunity to create and bring forth a wonderful, almost divine experience, that he had absolutely no negative thoughts when his high parts came into play. As he got rather old and his ability to succeed at these high parts became questionable, I never once saw him look disappointed, unhappy, nor sour in any way when he did not accomplish his best performances. I truly believe he did, in fact, “love” the creation he and his band provided……right to the end. But with his annual trips to India, and his incense burning in his bus and his backstage rooms, I gather he was not much of a Christian, but I don’t really know.

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