If we're to believe the idealists out there, rock 'n roll is still (and always was) a hotbed of innovation and creativity. Now, without even getting into details, I can tell you that that is a big, heaping lie. Ever heard Jet? How about Godsmack? Yeah.
So, want to fuel your musical cynicism? Take a look at the attached image: that billowing '80s mane, that amorphous physique, those nimble little fingers: that's Eddie Van Halen! On a patent application!
Thanks to Google's brand-new and still-in-beta Patent Search, you can now scour millions and millions of patents once relegated to the (presumably) soul-crushing halls of America's vast patent offices. And while you could use the search for valuable and inventive purposes, it's far more entertaining to find out who among your favorite celebrities and musicians has felt important and inspired enough to patent their ideas. Case in point: Eddie Van Halen.
Issued in 1987 to Edward L. Van Halen, the above patent is for a musical instrument support that allows you to throw off the confines of the traditional guitar strap and enter some new, amazing 4th-dimension of guitar playing. Without it, you are doomed to guitar mediocrity. Sigh. Here's a clip from the patent's abstract:
The supporting device is constructed and arranged for supporting the musical instrument on the player to permit total freedom of the player's hands to play the instrument in a completely new way, thus allowing the player to create new techniques and sounds previously unknown to any player.
I'm afraid I don't even know how to respond to that. Probably because I'm not skilled enough (or at all) to enter Van Halen's realm of guitar shreddery.
Of course, the patent hilarity doesn't stop with Van Halen. Turns out Harry Connick Jr. holds a patent for some sort of musical syncing device intended for large-scale orchestras. Also, Michael Jackson holds a patent for the "method and means for creating an anti-gravity illusion." Whoa.
But what makes this even more hilarious, as Kevin points out, is the fact that we wouldn't even be seeing these if it weren't for pure, unadulterated greed. I can't even fathom what patents could possibly come next. Capitalism, you're my hero.
Via Boing Boing and Ironic Sans