July 19, 2021
Sunk Cost Fallacy
This economic principle states that we demonstrate a greater tendency to continue something once time, money, or effort has been invested.
I wrapped up production on the new mix for Pancakes. This is the Busted Banjo version of Pancakes. When I conceived this arrangement of the song almost nine months ago, I had a very specific plan. It was banjo (it’s called Busted Banjo after all), bass, vocals, a solo part and hambone for the rhythm.
I guess I should explain the fine art of hambone. You should probably google it. There is a lot of racial tension in the backstory of hambone but that is not particularly relevant to our story today. A hamboner uses his or her hands to make a rhythm by slapping his or her legs, chest, knees, and thighs. The hambonist tends to be a gregarious, expressive person that carries a song with these expressive smacks. I was determined that this arrangement needed banjo and hambone. I was not a trained hambonist (this feels like a better term than hamboner). I spent some time learning and then practicing the fine art of hamboning. I worked out a part and laid it down. It was all part of the plan. There was time and effort invested in the recording.
When I tried to mix it all down, it didn’t work. I could blame it on the microphone that I used, or my lack of skill as a mixing engineer. The truth is that it sounded crackly and weird and did absolutely nothing to make the song better. Yet I continued to insist that the hambone be part of the mix. I forced, tweaked, altered, effected, tolerated, and eventually scrapped the hambone part.
The hambone was a sunk cost fallacy. I did not need the hambone part. It did not make the recording better. In the end the easiest thing was to hit the mute button and scrap it. Pancakes turned out great.
Check out my hambone on Instagram here.