Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable. ~Janis Joplin


AndyDoodler said...

I wish she were still here- or I hope she's not miserable where ever she is. She was so awesome!

Stephen A. Bess said...

The only problem I have with this quote is that Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf have nevered seemed miserable when they sang. Well, it could be they have a different way of expressing their misery.

get zapped said...

andy- yeah, Janis seemed pretty miserable a lot of the time. But, she felt things deeply and shared them through her music. A powerful thing to do.

stephen- I think her point was about the audience and their expectations. Lots of folks expect the Blues to be about personal woes, but Blues is such a dynamic musical style and it influenced many genres. In fact, it transformed so much along the path, making it into Pop songs. I guess I felt some sadness in both Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf's music, but it has been a while since I've listened to those records. Maybe we hear what is in our own hearts?

Borut said...

Audiences love their blues singers to sing Cheap Trills, I would add!:)

Anonymous said...

There's never been anyone else quite like Janis. Like you said, she felt things deeply and that's what allowed her to write and sing with her soul. She was also one of the first females to have her own band and to "make it" so to speak. It's sad that her life ended so young and so tragically - I would have loved to see what she'd be singing about now in her later years.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I did a post on her a while back and included an article that was written by someone who interviewed her:

Icarus said...

Yeah, this quote really stirs up something controversial. I mean, I went to a hell of lot of blues gigs xxx years ago, all kinds of names, global stars, lesser known, in all kinds of venues. Regardless of who or where, I never had that feeling in London audiences. Intense, yes. Everything you'd expect from the performances, but no expectations of misderable. Stoned? That's another matter...A real shame we didn't get to hear more of Janis.
The coincidence here for me GZ, is that you posted it with Janis paired with a red gerebera. It just happens to be my latest post's theme flower.

Unknown said...

I think there is truth in what she said to an extent (controversial this I know). Audiences are always out for sensations in their lives, selfish though but only natural... Audiences have expectations of their idols. What better way to be entertained by their idols who sing truely from their hearts. Well..whoever sings the blues they'd better be miserable then...ooh..or else they'd never be able to project the depth of their emotions...ooh..

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hi Getzapped,
To answer the late Joplin, should I say, "And likewise...?"
A wry joke. :-)

I saw on a documentary on Joplin once. Her drug-taking and all of that. She created a larger-then-life superficial personality but that was to hide several insecurities.
Yet, I love her. She was so much of that brilliant magic that made for Woodstock. :-)

get zapped said...

borut- I've seen that in some of the more seedier bars of my youth ;)

barbara- yes, she did lead her band didn't she. It would be interesting to see where she would have taken music, I often think the same about many of the young musicians we lost to that era. I especially mourn the loss of Hendrix. I'll check out your link. Thanks!

icarus- That's an interesting tidbit about London. I guess there are many permutations to the Blues. Hey, I'll check out your gerbera photo, I'm sure it's stellar like all your other floral images.

ruby- You make a good point. People like to live through the Stars and to a degree we project our own emotions onto the performer, making them bigger than life.

susan- chuckle... I've read that about Janis. How she was actually very sensitive, shy and intelligent, unlike her self-destructive professional persona, but obviously she was suffering from some emotional turmoil.

Thank you all for commenting (and to Stephen for starting a good conversation), and to Janis for inspiring us all.