Feature: Defeater’s Jay Maas on why music isn’t a worthless waste of life

April 15, 2012 by Brian Kraus

Feature: Defeater’s Jay Maas on why music isn’t a worthless waste of life

You know that moment you have in your head about two hours after a big fight when you think of all the things you should have said but didn’t? I’m having that moment for a person that isn’t me right now.

I recently watched a video on YouTube of a kid named Mike documenting the features of his new guitar amp. Within moments, his mother interrupts from off of the screen, berating him for “wasting his life.” She cuts her own son to the core, seemingly without a second thought. I’ve got to hand it to Mike, he kept his cool like a pro, likely a conditioned response from years of dealing with Momzilla.

I thought we could conduct a fun little exercise in which we examine Momzilla’s quotes on music and her son.

1. “What are you contributing to society? What are you doing for the world or for other people?”

Oooohhh! Good question Lizard-Mom! I suppose you’re right-- music has never once been a representation of society’s forward thinking and progressive members, thus encouraging new, younger generations of people to think beyond the remains left for us by the previous generation. Nor has there ever been one, let alone millions of songs that have picked someone up when they were down, made someone feel less alone, elevated an already amazing day or has been the catalyst for a nostalgic moment. Oh wait, nope, actually music has done and continues to do all of those things regardless of genre. What’s even better: the majority of these songs were written by guitar players, you know, like your son.

Mike: 1
Zilla-Queen: 0

2. “This is a worthless waste of life.”

That’s right, I forgot the global impact on society your job at the Fashion Bug is making. I heard the Spring Spectacular Sale is offering up to 40 percent off on all tops. That’s making a difference baby!

Mike: 2
Mothra-Fodder: -50

3. “The mentality of your generation boggles my mind… it is so stupid.”

The generation who doesn’t tolerate prejudice based on sexual orientation or race? The generation who realizes it’s okay to hold any view on religion and spirituality, without the need to condemn others who don’t share it? The generation who believes in freedom of information, taking the power and propaganda tools away from those who seek to bend the rules in their favor, with no regard for how it will affect the rest of us wishing to live an honest, meaningful life? That generation? Nah, sorry Mom, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.

Mike: 3
Garth Brooks Fan: -100

I am so proud of being a musician. I get to connect with people on a real level, without an angle, without a pitch. At 12 years old, my mother bought me my first guitar for Christmas and then drove me to my guitar lessons every Tuesday night. Without the support from her, I would have been directionless and lost. I wouldn’t be writing this column and I could have very likely been taking orders from someone a whole lot like Mike’s mom, in a place an awful lot like the Fashion Bug. For that I am very grateful.

Support music. Support art. Support your kids.

Jay Maas plays guitar in Defeater and runs the Getaway Recording Studio.

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