I was looking for something to watch on Netflix the other day and landed on a documentary about Foo Fighters. I didn’t know much about the band, except that Dave Grohl used to be the drummer in Nirvana and that Foo Fighters were one of the only real hard rock bands still out there. The documentary was generally interesting and I learned a few things about music from the ’90s, which seems to be a decade of music that I mostly missed. Near the end of the film, which was made in 2011, they were talking about the album “One by One”, and how they had struggled to record it. Because of the struggle, Dave Grohl basically put it on a shelf. Most people who heard it thought that it wasn’t worth releasing. After several months break, the band decided to come back to the material. After listening to it, they decided to re-record everything. At this point, Dave Grohl said the following (with a few edits for language):
“We’d already spent three months and a million dollars on something we threw away. The difference between [the first version of the song] “All My Life” and [the second version of] “All My Life”, was that the first one cost a million dollars and sounded like crap. The second one we did in my basement in half an hour and became the biggest song the band ever had.”
I love everything about this statement! Just because you have all the resources in the world, doesn’t mean you can create something worth listening to.
The difference between the first recording and the second recording was passion and constraints. Two things that don’t cost anything. Two things that we all have access to. One thing we might wish we had more of and one we wish didn’t exist. I believe that having something you are passionate about is great. I also believe that constraints make every idea better.
Stop waiting for enough resources. Harness your passion. Embrace your constraints. Make something awesome.