Today it seems that what we used to call common sense now should be called uncommon sense because it definitely is not common that someone has it.
I had some goof ball ask me the other day, “why do I need to know scales?” That is equivalent to a house painter not knowing the names of the types and colors of paint that he uses to paint houses for his finicky customers. Sure, he might do a great job of painting the house from his intuition and experience, but what happens when he paints the house a color contrary to the instructions to paint the exterior in EggShell with non fungal latex exterior and the inside with Ivory no lead semi gloss interior latex. If he doesn’t even know what they are he will get some lawsuits and lots of trouble. Many of you guys out there are painting over chord progressions in just this ignorant way and you obviously don’t even know it.
Another genius asked me “why do I need to know licks?” Well you don’t but if you want the listener to relate at all to your style, clichés are the best tools to use. This is similar to phrases in speech like ”you know what I mean” that, although annoying, give the speaker a little shortcut by finding out if the person is following or not. It may be so common now that it has lost all of it’s original purpose but licks will never let you down. It is the same reason that everyone does not paint their house the same color but you do find many redundant colors simply because they are popular and work so well. Paint your house to match your car and watch letters from the neighborhood association pour in.