There exists in our collective heart – and probably in the sky – an alabaster hall of achievement, a place of reward and recognition, the keys to which are provided only to music’s acknowledged greats. We call this place the Pantheon. In the past, deserving artists have suffered through exhausting careers and then, after that, endured the negative effects of death before gatekeepers such as you have cautiously allowed them to attain their reward and enter the Pantheon. This lag in time between the musician’s most productive period and his ultimate enshrinement is more than a mere injustice: it leads to tragic inefficiencies in our musical system, all of which we will outline below.
But first we would like to declare the thrust of this letter:
The Pantheon is like a heaven where musical heroes go to lay on smooth stones near fountains and statues, never suffering bodily afflictions. They drink nectar and smoke. They make love freely to any musician at any time. Their bodies are maintained forever in their most ideal form.
Now, for the sake of argument, let us stipulate that a time exists in the future when the greatness of the band The Twilight Hours will be universally recognized, and they will be installed in the Pantheon. The band’s soon-to-be-released debut translucent red vinyl LP “Stereo Night” will be acknowledged by all to be a masterwork for the ages and a boon to music and the culture at large. Now let us go one step further and admit that these stipulations are true.
You, as a gatekeeper to the Pantheon, have the power today to help our culture leap forward into the future, bypassing an unproductive period of dithering and evaluation which will yield nothing but the future. Inarguably, for the most unfortunate among us the present is a time of dire misery. Let us rise up and take action. Let us leave the sadness of our current time behind and grant The Twilight Hours Pantheon status, jumping us all ahead to a time when the band’s warm melodies will play through loudspeakers on America’s Main Streets.
Our musical culture is a living organism whose well-being over history has waxed and waned. At times, such as during the reign of pop in the early 80’s, it seemed as if Gloria Estefan might actually succeed in “turning the beat around”, twisting music into pieces and killing it permanently. Because threats to song always exist, it is important that we vigilantly guard the health of music. We must always look for ways to nurture it.
If still-living musicians were to be granted access to the Pantheon and it’s healthful nectars – if they could take possession of their reward during their lifetimes – their own well-being would undoubtedly increase. By extension the well-being of all musicians, on aggregate, would increase as well. Wouldn’t it make more sense if The Twilight Hours could drink their nectar now while they can enjoy it? Music itself would grow in strength, and we would all benefit.
Finally, the advanced age of The Twilight Hours makes them a special case for early advancement to Pantheon status. It is possible, though unlikely, that The Twilight Hours debut translucent red vinyl LP “Stereo Night” will be largely ignored on it’s release and will only gain renown many years later after it’s members have been driven insane by the world’s injustice. After a blow like that, these mature musicians may not have enough time left to recover and once again become productive members of society. But in a world in which The Twilight Hours were immediately advanced to Pantheon status, the band would no doubt be making decent money at their live shows, allowing them to focus on the recording of a second album’s worth of world-benefitting material that is already written and is practically certified gold.
Shouldn’t we as a society jump ahead if we can to a better time? And shouldn’t you as one of the gatekeepers to the Pantheon at least entertain our carefully considered request for expedited passage of The Twilight Hours through those tall, bronze-handled doors to unimaginable rewards?
Matt Wilson & John Munson
The Twilight Hours