Experience, not Tools, says Pink Floyd

—Andy Hunt

Published in Andy's Blog

So while I was in a Pink Floyd kind of mood, I thought I’d take a look at the director’s cut DVD of Live from Pompeii. The original cut was better, BTW (and is thoughtfully provided on the DVD).

In the interviews with the band, however, there was this excellent exchange regarding the “tool trap”, that is, relying too much on your equipment and not on your own artistry:

Rick Wright: There’s a danger that we could become slaves to all our equipment, and in the past we have been. But we’re trying to do is to sort it all out, so that we’re not. But I agree, it worries me sometimes that we have this much equipment, and you can hide behind it.

Roger Waters: If I heard somebody saying that, I’d like to say, okay, if we were at a gig it would be quite nice sometimes to say, okay go for it there it is: get stuck in. In fact, you can open the show. There’s going to be 4,000 people in here in half an hour. Get out there and knock ‘em out, man. And they’d then say, oh, but um, we don’t know the equipment and we’d need time to rehearse, and well so did we. About 4 or 5 years.

Even the best tools are useless unless you have the experience to know how to use them, and use them well.

Looking to use a new tool or practice on your project? You wouldn’t want to debut with it live and untried before a large, expectant audience, would you? You’d want to rehearse with it first, on something small (and preferably in private :-).

The more complicated the tool, the longer it will take to master. It took the Floyd 4 or 5 years to master their effects, stomp boxes, equalization, pickups, and so on. If you’re looking at adopting a new compiler, new IDEs, new project management practices, and so on, realize that it will take some time.

And practice makes perfect.

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