JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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• Suffering a bout of G.A.S. and the delusional thinking it causes.

A few weeks ago, an email arrived in my inbox trumpeting great and glorious and limited-time savings on Pro Tools 10. I hemmed, I hawed, I bit. I rationalized my purchase by telling myself that Pro Tools is a program I absolutely depend on, and I was now two versions behind and surely this was unacceptable. I further rationalized my purchase by musing on how Pro Tools 10 would free me from being tied to Digidesign hardware. I also had a long discussion with myself about the unquestionable merits of the bundled software and of the small size of the new audio converter box. But most important, I fell into a reverie about how my creative abilities would no doubt benefit from new gear. Ha. I should know better. From my Fostex multitracker to my Tascam 38 to my Roland VS880 to my Digidesign Session 8 to my ADAT to my first MBox and my second MBox, I can honestly say that none of these things helped my creativity one little bit. In fact, I think that most of my purchases of recording gear have been kind of like a sugar rush: a huge high followed by a crashing low, as the realization sets in that I am still the same songwriter I was just before my purchase. And this is the curse of new gear. It promises to complete you, to transform you, to be the key you have been waiting for, but it’s not and never will be. No, to get better at something you almost never need a new much of anything, you just need to work harder. I will say this, though, about new gear: no matter what history makes painfully clear, I will always hope that this time will be different. And so, as I twist the knobs on my new MBox, stare into its blue light, and marvel at what it all can do, I feel the promise of the new, the promise of dreams unfulfilled, the promise, always broken, that this time something huge will happen.
P.S. - In case you're wondering what G.A.S. stands for it's Gear Acquisition Syndrome, a terrible disease among musicians.