Don’t get bent, get better

Romantic Metal gargoyle

Most people have a serious problem. They cannot think long-term, and let a quick comment get under their skin.

I’ve seen folks get offended over completely trivial shit, especially in the San Francisco area where everyone’s depressed.

I’m a musician. I’ve heard it all, because everyone loves to be a critic. As an artist, you’ll encounter plenty of folks who never risked a thing in their miserable lives who are quick to harshly judge your work.

I used to let it bother me. Not so much any more. I’m too busy to care.

However, I do remember all the criticisms in my early days of playing guitar. Instead of letting it get to me, one day I decided to take every criticism seriously and simply get better.

“You have no groove”

They caught me red-handed. I used to be a straight up Speed Metal player who played really fast solos to really fast beats. Straight up 4/4ths with no groove at all.

Funny. Years later, I’m still in touch with the people who said this. And they’re no longer musicians. I still am, and I’m composing pieces based off of Arabic grooves. Heck, even songs like Creature of the Night are pretty groovy.

“You only write songs with two total beats”

Criticism taken. So I hit the books hard and learned to compose everything from a waltz to a march to Arabic drumming to 6/4ths nocturnes. Now, we got more variety than most bands. By far.

“You keep pulling ahead of the drummer”

Criticism taken. The fix was to work with a metronome. Constantly. It was tough, but I pulled it off. Any bad habit you have, you can fix if you’re willing to do the work. I can guarantee you that.

“You need to be more original”

Criticism taken. That was actually said by the original Astral Eyes drummer, who I’m still friends with today.

At the time, we were a Progressive Metal band that sounded just like every other Progressive Metal band. We had nine minute songs with really long solos and really long musical breaks. The vocal lines were mediocre at best. And the music of course was hard to play.

After my wife got BBC’s Eroica from the library, I realized then and there that I needed to combine Romanticism and Metal. Thus, Romantic Metal was born. And now we’re doing something that nobody else on the planet is doing.

Taking the video criticism to heart

I’ve gotten a lot of flack for everything wrong with our music videos. I didn’t get offended by any of the criticisms. Instead, I “fixed” the next video by addressing the previous criticism.

Like for instance, a good friend of mine said that the Succubus video’s storyline didn’t make any sense. So for the next video, the Darvulia video, we followed a strict storyline.

You can apply this to life too. It’s not just for artists. Most criticism is crap. Most people don’t know how to use criticism. They project their jealousies and other dysfunctions onto others.

However, some criticisms are quite legit. Take those ones to heart, and use them to get better.

Probably the best criticism I ever got was from my wife. She said that I needed to listen to more Santana and Hendrix, as chicks love both guitarists’ playing.

I remember the last days of my last band from the 90s before I quit music, gave my guitars away, and sold my amp. I’d be playing blazing scales and arpeggios and the girls in the audience would be bored out of their minds. But of course, there was a single dude in the front who was watching my fingers. Yeah, you can guess he’s also a guitarist.

So I slowed my playing down and started playing more Blues and more melody. And guess what? I actually get compliments from women now about my playing. Imagine that.

About the featured image

This gargoyle also came from Castello di Amorosa in Napa. I simply added some filters to make it look spookier.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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