Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art From Art

Art comes in many forms. Taking existing art (album covers) and creating new art (coffee table), is a specialty of BugHouse. They are an art and design company based in LA. I probably have enough lps to make 4 coffee tables.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Amanda Palmer Chats with Her Audience

Hypebot has a recap of an Amanda Palmer show at the State Theatre. She came out before the opening act to answer questions from the audience. The crowd was aware of the agenda before they came to the show. It's all about artists connecting with fans. The writer explains that he left the venue just before 1am and Amanda was still at the merch table chatting with them. Dedication + Talent = Great Satisfaction.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Carl Kasell retiring, but Wait, Wait...

Carl will still leave his voice on your answering machine if you answer two of the three questions right on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, but he won't be delivering your NPR news. The familiar voice will retire at the end of 2009 after 30 years with Morning Edition.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Music Websites Can No Longer Exist

I've been reading so much about the high fees major record labels are charging legitimate music licensing websites that play music for free. Wired has summed up the many stories I've been hearing in one article. Ad supported music sites can't keep up with the licensing payment. The piece sites MySpace Music, imeem, MOG (had to implement a $5 a month subscription fee), Spotify (which might not be able to launch here in the same fashion it did in the UK) and Google who are all losing or plan to lose money due to the fees owed the music companies. YouTube is the only licensed, free, on-demand music service that should break even. If these sites shut down, it would narrow the ever shortening playing field to an even more select group of places to hear music.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mariah Carey Takes on the Major Record Labels

Mariah Carey on record labels: “Frickin’ idiots! Big, powerful music-industry executives made a giant mistake, and now we’re all paying the price. Frickin’ idiots!” Read the article in timesonline.

It also talks about her deal with Elle Magazine. You get the issue dedicated to her if you buy her new album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. She commandeers the issue. The article states She and her record company, Island Def Jam, part of Universal Music Group, sold the ads (in this issue) for up to $100,000 a page, making far more than the peppercorn Elle was paid to produce the magazine. “I can’t tell you how little money we made on this,” says Carol Smith, the chief brand officer of Elle, ruefully. She also covers Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jody Denberg, the Soul of Austin Radio

Since KGSR's beginning in 1990, Jody Denberg has literally been the voice of Austin. He's leaving the station after 19 years for a charge of the creative battery. He was always a supporter and fan of the musicians I worked with. He will leave a large hole in radio. His fans are numerous, which is apparent from the postings on

Friday, November 13, 2009

2000 Year Old Man Reissued

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks created the 2000 Year Old Man 60 years ago and Shout Factory! is reissuing it this month. The two spoke with the NY Times. It's a back and forth with two great friends who still have their comic edge.

Carole King & James Taylor to Tour

The only US date posted so far is the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on May 16th. Tickets go on sale for that show on Nov 23rd. It's a reunion commemorating their first show together in 1969 at the Troubadour. Carole King's website has the full press release.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hypebot plays the game of casting the upcoming HBO movie based on Rolling Stone journalist Steve Knopper's "Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age".

The most amusing of the suggestions is Danny Boneduce to play Edgar Bronfman Jr.

Suing Bon Jovi and MLB: Titles Were Similar

Tech Dirt posted yet another ridiculous claim from a Red Sox fan who is suing Bon Jovi and MLB for stealing his idea. He wrote a song called "(Man I Really) Love this Team" in 2004 and claims he gave it to Red Sox officials. When Bon Jovi wrote and recorded "I Love This Town", which was used by MLB in 2007, he felt he has a claim to it. The songs apparently sound nothing alike and the district court threw out the case. He doesn't stop there, he has appealed and is asking for $400 BILLION. Someone is not grounded in any reality. Another waste of court time, lawyers and money, not to mention tons of frustration for MLB and Bon Jovi.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sonny Gets His Share

Forgotten gems turn up when you're cleaning. I came across Bonograph: Sonny Gets His Share. This CD pays tribute to the musical genius of Sonny Bono. There are covers of songs he wrote by Flat Duo Jets, Scott McCaughey, The Skeletons, Peter Holsapple and Ben Vaughn. Perhaps the most haunting song Sonny wrote, gets a haunting treatment: You Better Sit Down Kids is performed by What Else featuring Jim Babjak and Dennis Diken of the Smithereens and the latter also of Dennis Diken and Bell Sounds. The pounding of drums accentuates the spoken lyrics. It's driving home the message: hey kids divorce isn't pretty. It's the facts. The narrator/father is blunt, to the point and not mincing words. By the end of the version you might think the father has gone mad. Taking a song and turning it upside down is probably one of the greatest compliments to a songwriter.

A father is telling his kids that he and their mother are divorcing, a taboo subject in 1967 and still a strange topic for a top 10 hit. Cher took it to #9. Her version is eerie as the lyrics weren't changed to reflect a female singer. She's singing lines like "Your mother is staying and I'm going away." The production is varied. There are musical interludes that sound reminiscent of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" the Shangri-La's hit, which preceded this song by 3 years. The lines "Say your prayers before you go to bed/Make sure you get yourself to school on time" are sung with urgency and speed. The ending is a blizzard of music: A foreshadowing of the chaos in the family? The staging of Cher's performance on a 1960's TV show is creepy. Why the cuts to mannequins of children? The song begins about 1 minute into the video.

Sonny faced realities in his music. Laugh At Me, his only solo hit (brilliantly covered by Mott the Hoople), was a protest song. "What do they care, about the clothes I wear?/Why get their kicks from making fun." He was famous for his fur vests and if people didn't like it, tough.
"So I don't care
Let 'em laugh at me
If that's the fare
I have to pay to be free
then baby
Laugh at me, and I'll cry for you
and I'll pray for you."

No grudges held. Sonny was too good a songwriter for that.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Boss Divulging All?

The NY Post seems to think so. The Post claims that Bruce Springsteen is quietly working on his autobiography and kept voluminous journals throughout his career.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dane Cook

I knew nothing about Dane Cook, except that he was a comedian, until I heard him on Howard Stern this morning. Musicians trying to make a name for themselves could take a page from his book. When his career was stalled at age 27, he decided to post video of himself whether it be from a club gig or a unfinished joke on his website and MySpace page. He said he originally had 9 followers and he knew their names. He kept adding to that 9 and at the height of MySpace, he had 2.5 million followers. He's hosting a show at Madison Square Garden tonight and he's made several movies. If you keep at your craft and you're dedicated and consistent, it will happen.

He also talked about his half-brother who is in jail for allegedly stealing what Dane estimates to be $11 million from him while his brother served as his manager. The brother is awaiting trial. Dane's career continues to pick up steam.

Monday, November 02, 2009

You Gotta Love Guster

Guster has been engaging their fans for years. They are on tour performing their Lost and Gone Forever album in it's entirety. They're also giving away tickets via video clues on YouTube or Twitter. They are entertaining. Do they spend late nights on the bus coming up with creative ideas to get fans involved? You Gotta Love Guster!