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Keyboards Uber Alles! (was Travis' Annoying Thread)

I respond to Kim Flint's welcome contribution:

>>> Why is it that in rock music, there's an acute shortage of "keyboard 
>>> heroes", in the same sense that say, Jeff Beck is a guitar hero?  
>Why is it, that in traditional african percussion ensembles, there is an
>acute shortage of tenor sax players? 

Ah, but keyboards are common in rock bands, whereas tenor saxes are rare 
on the continent of Africa.  Unless you're trying to say that part of the 
definition of a "rock band" is the presence of guitars, and the absence 
of keyboards, but I don't think that's what you're trying to say.

>Yet again, I have to wonder why some of you feel such an overwhelming need
>to prove that guitars (or bassoons, or whatever) are somehow so much 
>than other instruments. What purpose would proving that serve? They all do
>different things, and can make wonderful contributions in different
>contexts. Take the blinders off and enjoy it all.

I'm not trying to prove that guitars are better than other instruments.  
All sensible people recognized that position is naturally occupied by the 
Seriously, what I'm wondering about is why does the guitar get pushed 
into the role of soloist within pop/rock music, almost to the exclusion 
of other instruments.

>>> many breathtaking solos can you recall that were generated by 
>>> with a piano-keyboard interface?
>>Keith Emerson?
>>Hell, he even smashes the keyboard up at the end of the gig!
>Little Richard
>Jerry Lee Lewis
>Booker T
>Elton John
>Billy Joel
>Bernie Worell
>Kate Bush
>Tori Amos
>Trent Reznor

Noteworthy as all of the above artists are, I was looking for examples of 
specific solos, not just a list of admirable musicians who play 
I'm not denying that these examples exist, I'm just looking for someone 
to point them out to me.
Offhand, I don't recall Kate Bush or Tori Amos ever stepping out on the 
88's, and the only thing that pops to mind for Reznor is that track off 
of Pretty Hate Machine with the refrain of "Maybe I'm all messed up in 
>If there is a shortage of keyboard soloing in rock music, it's probably
>because egomaniacal keyboard players gravitate towards being concert
>pianists, or maybe jazz. Egomaniacal guitarists end up being yngwie
>malmsteen. Role models for the self-obsessed appear in different places,
>apparently. The team player/band member/song writer sort of piano player 
>more likely to be the one that wants to play in a rock band. A damn good
>thing, because I'd hate to see the rock band with John Tesh in it. 

And I don't think that soloing is by its nature, egomanical.  Ego mania 
is ego mania, but I don't think that the act of soloing is ego manical by 
I view the solo as the opportunity for the musician to stand up and say 
"everyone listen--I'm going to try something here, and it may be 
interesting".  Soloing can provide the opportunity to extend and expand 
the harmonic and melodic direction of the piece, as needed, as 
appropriate, in a way that the vocalist (the default audience focus in 
pop) cannot.  
The solo spot, composed or improvised, is also a way to vary the dynamic 
mood of the piece, and can, at its best, provide an opportunity for the 
instrumentalist to transcend themselves, and take the willing audience 
with them.
Naturally, this position can, and has often been abused.
>One of the refreshing things about the electronic/dance scene is the
>tendancy towards humility. In fact, many of the "heroes" go to length to
>downplay themselves, which is probably why they are not so well known.
>Having the urge to be the star and parade around in front of everybody is
>not necessarily the same as being creative, or expressing oneself, or just
>having a good time making music.

Nor is the "urge to be the star" necessarily the same as playing a solo.  
It's not required that the soloist provide a serious of dramatic motions 
and expressions in the course of the solo.  Again, the role of soloist 
has great potential for abuse.