Saturday, December 26, 2009

Billy Hill & the Hillbillies, Disneyland

A Christmas show. Billy is giving Charlie Daniels...and Jimmy Page...a run for their money.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A lost opportunity?

OK, let's talk about a music manager. Actually, a fake music manager. You see, Dave Madden played the manager on The Partridge Family. I was surfing one night and ended up at a Partridge Family website, which included a recent interview with Madden. He's had a varied career, and he told a story that was heartbreaking.

My manager had a little club in Beverly Hills called The Ye Little Club and he called me in one night. I had gone out and worked some Playboy Clubs and I was in town and he called me because the singer was sick and he wanted me to come and perform on a Saturday night. In the audience was a writer for Screen Gems named Jerry Davis and his wife, and Nat King Cole's manager and his wife. After the show, they called me over to their table and Nat Cole's manager asked if I would like to do an eight-week tour with Nat King Cole. And Nat was my favorite singer, so there was no problem there!

At this point, the interviewer said, "That must have been a treat!" But Madden replied:

Well, it would have been. What happened there was the date we were supposed to open the tour at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City was the day they buried him. I never even got to meet him. So that was that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A business-government partnership gone awry - buskers don't want to sing Coke jingles in the London Underground

I live in Ontario, California, which doesn't exactly have the outdoor cafe and entertainment climate that you can find in other cities, such as San Francisco. In other places, you have singers and entertainers on the streets, and the government encourages it.

Some cities have even changed their regulations to encourage such activity. Take London, for example:

The licensed Underground busking scheme was launched in 2003 by London Underground. Before this busking was illegal and completely unregulated. Thanks to London Underground the scheme is now a licensed scheme and is popular with passengers

The quote about the 2003 legalization (whoops, legalisation) of busking was taken from the end of a London Underground Press Release, which also included the following:

From Monday 30 November buskers will be entertaining passengers on new Coca-Cola branded busking pitches across the Tube network.

Around 240 active buskers help brighten passengers' journeys by performing at 21 central Tube stations.

The licensed busking scheme currently includes 33 busking pitches, which are like mini-stages for musicians, however no busker will be required to sing or play on the Tube.

But BusinessWeek noted that the buskers do have one little teeny-tiny requirement to fulfill:

Coke also wants singers to perform its theme tune ‘Holidays Are Coming’ and other Christmas carols as part of the viral ad campaign.

As you can imagine, the buskers embraced this opportunity to sing a Coke jingle with wide open arms...oh, wait, they didn't.

Michael Ball, a 47-year-old jazz guitarist from Tulse Hill who has been busking for 25 years in Tube stations, said: "Not in a million years will I play some Coke jingle. Most buskers make half their annual income in December. Londoners are really up for it and generous at this time and we know what songs and music work. Do commuters really want to hear a corporate jingle from every busker? What a daft idea."

Coca-Cola's response?

"Coca-Cola is sponsoring busking on London Underground this Christmas but we are in too early a stage to confirm the details of the arrangement."

As Bill Cosby would say, "RIIIIIGHT." It's too early to confirm details of the arrangement of something that will happen less than 20 days from now, and for which Coca-Cola has already issued its own press release?

Superb juxtaposition - was ist das Wort für Ringo im Deutsch?

The writer of this November 10 Guardian blog post chose to look at ultra-influential German electronic band Kraftwerk from the lens of another band. You see, the writer referred to Kraftwerk as "the Fab Four." There are several striking similarities between the two bands.

First, at the height of their respective fames, each band had exactly four members.

Second, Kraftwerk had a secretary named Beatle, and the Beatles had a secretary named Kraftwerk. No they didn't - I made that up.

OK, the REAL second similarity is that both bands were EXTREMELY influential, both within their genres and well beyond. Can you say "Joe Cocker"? Can you say "Coldplay"? And there's also the legions of fans who picked up guitars or synths in emulation of their heroes.

One big difference between the two - the Beatles had a ton of hits in my home country of the United States, but Kraftwerk only had one hit here. But that hit certainly affected the band:

The money from the Autobahn hit single – which made the US top 40 after being edited down from 22 minutes to just four – afforded Kraftwerk the luxury of studio experimentation without any outside interference. It also allowed the group to close ranks and jettison all outside ties, a tradition that continues to this day – they have a legendary fear of press commitments and there is no way to communicate with their Kling Klang studios. No telephone, no fax, no reception. And as for letters? They're returned unopened. Kraftwerk evoke the isolation, boredom and monotony of existence by favouring an aesthetic detachment and a reliance on machines.

I would like to interject one thought here - there are situations in which Kraftwerk was influential musically, but not as influential lyrically. Certainly there are many Kraftwerk-influenced artists and bands who have bought into their machine-like isolation - Gary Numan being the prime example. But at the same time, there are other bands who, while incorporating Kraftwerk's musical styles, have chosen to provide a more human lyrical outlook - and right now I'm trying to figure out a way to complete this sentence without having to spell out the full name of OMD. In particular, I'm thinking of OMD's early song "Almost," and their two songs about Joan of Arc. "Almost" in particular sounds like it could have been recorded in Düsseldorf, but the lyrics are light years away from anything that Kraftwerk, or Gary Numan, were doing at that time.

Off-topic postscript - for those who remember old blogs, it appears that the Superfluous Juxtaposition blog is no more. I mourn its passing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Navigating the new rules and non-rules of online music use

I am featured in a video that is available on YouTube. However, I am not posting the video in this blog post, for two reasons.

First, my link to the video would violate the privacy of the person who uploaded the video.

Second, if you were to view the video, your visions of me as an extremely dignified person would be shattered. You see, the video was filmed this summer at the apartment complex where I grew up. The film shows me walking away from the apartment, crossing the street, and walking to the playground - but when I get to the playground, I jump up and down like a loonybird and run to the playground equipment. (The video closes with a sign noting that the playground is only intended for children age 10 and under.)

The interesting part is that the videographer chose to use Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" as background music. (Personally, I would have chosen Madonna's "This Used to Be My Playground," but this is the videographer's prerogative.) Within a day of the video being uploaded, YouTube had inserted an Amazon/iTunes advertisement for the song below the video.

This suggests some interesting things that could be done. Should my YouTube rights ever be reinstated, perhaps I should make my own video, but choose the worst possible background music for the video, just so YouTube will advertise the ability to purchase it.

Feelings. Woah woah woah.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Proving someone's point, I guess - "Won't Get Fooled Again" unavailable on MTV website

I just wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog entitled Meet the new boss, same as the old boss - Tara and Steven, the new middlemen may be worse than the old. Most of you will probably recognize the beginning of the post title; it's a quote from the Who song "Won't Get Fooled Again."

In an effort to spice up things, I figured I'd find a video of the song. Because of my troubles with YouTube, I figured I'd check out what MTV had to offer. So I searched and I found a live performance of the song.

Only one problem - when I tried to play the video, I instead got the message

We're sorry, this video isn't available now. We're doing our best to bring it back.

I don't know if the old boss or the new boss is to blame, but it figures that this song would be blocked by somebody.

So, until gawlerpete's account is permanently disabled, let's go to YouTube.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This wasn't supposed to happen.

The McDonald's brand is one of the most universal brands, and one would think that the brand would march inexorably to conquer the entire world and good portions of the solar system. But this expansion has been stopped in its tracks in Iceland, due to the depreciated exchange rate for the Icelandic currency, the krona. You see, McDonalds in Iceland was importing all of its food from Germany, and apparently there are high taxes also. McDonald's franchisee in Iceland, Jon Ogmundsson, noted:

For a kilo of onion, imported from Germany, I’m paying the equivalent of a bottle of good whiskey.

As I tried to ascertain the impact of this closure on our lives, I realized that I only know of two people from Iceland:

  • Bjork.

  • The other one (the guy) who was in the Sugarcubes.
Now I don't even know if Bjork lives in Iceland any more, or if she even eats meat, but certainly the closure of McDonald's in Iceland would serve her as material for a song. Something with screaming and the wail of the cow, I would think.

But there is an association between Bjork and McDonald's - just the wrong Bjork. I found a reference to a McDonald's employee named Lotta Bjork.

But I did find one Twitter user who lamented Pobre Bjork upon hearing of the McDonald's closure.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And then she did this thing with her hands...

I was attending a presentation this morning, and one of the presenters departed slightly from her PowerPoint slide.

The presenter's slide stated that a particular system was "Bigger, Better, Faster."

However, as she was talking, she said that the system was "Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger."

I don't know if it was intentional, but I - hey! Kanye?


(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

If you're not certain what I'm talking about, be sure to view this video and this video.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Garth Brooks shows why you need more than marketing

Garth Brooks has re-emerged in the news over the last few days. The first word (at least that I saw) came on Thursday:

Garth Brooks has an interesting take on retirement. The country superstar, who hung up his ten-gallon in 2000, says he's back in the game ... but with no immediate plans. Brooks, 47, made his announcement Thursday during a press conference in Nashville. "We're going to take the retirement roof off over our head, and I already feel taller," he said.

PopEater, source of the above, also printed a rumor:

It has been rumored that he is preparing a sixteen-week run in Las Vegas.

So at that point, we knew that Brooks had called a press conference to announce that he had no immediate plans. Kinda reminds me about the time that our local news station had a reporter, live on the scene in Santa Barbara, to report - LIVE - that Linda McCartney did NOT die in Santa Barbara as was initially reported.

As far as I know, Garth isn't a vegetarian, but the idea of calling a press conference to announce that you have no plans seems a little odd.

The next bit of news came from the Inquisitr, which pretty much reported the same press conference, but with a little bit of editorial comment:

I for one welcome Mr. Brooks back into the fold, his hit song writing has been missed.

Thankfully Brooks didn’t announce any plans to un-retire his alter ego “rocker” Chris Gaines.

And remember that rumor that PopEater posted? Well, it seems that Brooks DID have some plans after all. From a later Inquisitr post:

After announcing that he would be coming out of retirement after a 9 year hiatus, Garth announced special shows starting on December 11th 2009.

Oh, and...

Tickets for the shows will be announced in quarterly lots, with performance times possibly changing over the 5 year period of the singers contract.

So Brooks went from having no immediate plans, to having a five-year commitment. Five years - kinda like if Kirk and Spock and McCoy were hanging out on the beach, and then decided a day later to explore the universe for a while. My brain hurts a lot.

One could condemn this as the manipulative marketing that has been associated with Garth Brooks in the past.

Only one thing, though - Brooks is good.

The Inquisitr's James Allen Johnson pegged it right. AllMusicGuide (via CMT) pegged Brooks' influence as follows:

Garth Brooks is a pivotal figure in the history of country music, no matter how much some country purists would like to deny it. With his commercially savvy fusion of post-Merle Haggard country, honky tonk, post-folk-rock sensitive singer/songwriter sensibilities, and '70s arena rock dramatics, Brooks brought country music to a new audience in the '90s -- namely, a mass audience. Before Brooks, it was inconceivable for a country artist to go multi-platinum. He shattered that barrier in 1991....

Now of course there is a school of thought that believes that if anything is that popular, it has to be bad. But Brooks is also known for pushing boundaries, both lyrically and musically. From AMG:

[A] backlash began to develop in the fall of 1992, beginning with the release of "We Shall Be Free," the first single from his fourth album. Featuring a strong gospel underpinning, the single stalled at number 12 and many radio stations refused to play it. It was indicative of the eclectic nature of his forthcoming album, The Chase, which pushed the boundaries of contemporary country. The Chase debuted at number one upon its October 1992 release and by the end of the year, it sold over five million copies. Nevertheless, that number was half the size of the figures for his two previous albums and there was speculation in the media that Brooks' career had already peaked.

But the real experimentation occurred a few years later, when Brooks recorded as the aforementioned Chris Gaines.

As the Chris Gaines album was about to hit stores, Brooks' new persona was revealed to the public. Since the machinations of [the movie] The Lamb were only known to music insiders and fans who religiously followed the trades, Brooks' sudden re-emergence as a slimmed-down, soul-patched, shaggy-haired soulful pop crooner was utterly bizarre to almost every observer. There was a massive PR campaign to shed light on Chris Gaines, complete with a TV special, but the details were so convoluted that it couldn't be explained easily. In the Life of Chris Gaines was released at the end of September 1999, and although it entered the charts at number two, it was a major commercial disappointment; by the time Christmas rolled around, some major stores were offering heavy discounts on the record in hopes of clearing out unsold stock.

But regarding the road that Brooks' career has taken - through Chris Gaines, through "We Shall Be Free," through record unavailability and re-releases that would make Disney proud - Brooks simply says that he's being honest. Here's what he said in 1994:

I get a lot of messages from people who think I do certain things for the shocks and as a marketing ploy. That's not the truth. Not at all. it's like when that line "When we're free to love anyone we choose" caused so much trouble, I looked at myself in the mirror and said: "Man, you are one controversial person. But you're a very plain guy, a meat-and-potatoes guy. How come everything that you do is so controversial?" It's funny how sometimes real life is the odd way to look at things.

But he'll presumably play this song in Vegas.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Everybody need reverse polarity - Rush's "Vital Signs"

In a FriendFeed conversation about Jefferson Starship that continued this evening, Alex Scoble mentioned Rush. And he wasn't talking about the non-owner of an NFL team, but the band.

The mention triggered a memory of my favorite Rush song, a song that closed out the album "Moving Pictures." (Great album cover, by the way.)

Peter H. Donnelly took the time to record the lyrics to this song. Here is the chorus:

A tired mind become a shape-shifter
Everybody need a mood lifter
Everybody need reverse polarity
Everybody got mixed feelings
About the function and the form
Everybody got to deviate from the norm

When I first heard this in college, I assumed that Rush were parodying themselves. But that song has certainly engendered its share of discussion. Take this tweet:

'Everybody needs reverse polarity', sang Geddy Lee of Rush on Vital Signs. Sorry, not me.

But perhaps it's best to hear what Neil Peart said:

We had purposefully left one song still unwritten, with a view to writing it directly in the studio, as we have had such good results from this previously. Songs such as "Natural Science," and "The Twilight Zone" have benefitted from the pressure and spontaneity of this situation, although then it happened by force of circumstances, where now our planning includes a space for 'no-plan.'

"Vital Signs" was the ultimate result, eclectic in the extreme, it embraces a wide variety of stylistic influences, ranging from the sixties to the present. Lyrically, it derives from my response to the terminology of 'Technospeak,' the language of electronics and computers, which often seems to parallel the human machine, in the functions and interrelationships they employ. It is interesting, if irrelevant, to speculate as to whether we impose our nature on the machines that we build, or whether they are merely governed by the inscrutable laws of Nature as we. (Perhaps Murphy's Laws?) Never mind!

Oh dear...maybe they were serious. Or maybe Peart's just pulling our collective legs.

Remember Peter Donnelly? The reason that he posted the lyrics to the song was because he then proceeded to analyze said lyrics. Here's what he said about reverse polarity:

I agree with the next paragraph that everyone needs reverse polarity. Simple reverse polarity is sleep, entertainment, or relaxation for most people, but for very creative people it can mean connecting to the unconsciousness or the imagination, but which, like meditation, is still a knowable, explainable, and conscious method and process.

So...what do you think?

Or should I just go back to listening to Jefferson Starship?

(Picture source, license)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Could Gladinet potentially incur the wrath of the RIAA?

Some time ago, I heard about SkyDrive (from Sarah Perez) and started using it via my personal MSN account. However, despite some isolated use (and attempts at use), I never really adopted it to any great length because (at least in my experience) the upload and download times were too slow for my taste. But should general upload/download speeds improve, the idea of moving my files to the cloud - from which I could access them from anywhere - sounds very attractive.

Steven Hodson recently wrote about something that would make cloud storage even more attractive - a service called Gladinet that allows you to mount cloud storage as a Windows drive.

And Hodson notes that Gladinet supports more than SkyDrive:

As you can see from the drop down list Gladinet supports the following cloud file storage services:

* EMC Atmos
* Google Picasa
* Google Docs
* Google Docs for Google Apps (Pro)
* Amazon S3
* WebDav
* FTP Server

Note that Google Docs is one of the items above. We'll return to that in a moment.

Now that is really powerful, and really easy to use. One example that immediately came to mind (assuming viable network speeds) was putting my music files on the cloud, connecting to them via a Z: drive, and then being able to access them from any of my computers -

And that's when the alarm bells started going off in my head.

You see, if I were to buy a Siobhan Donaghy CD (I tried; Rasputin Music didn't have one), rip the files, and put the files on my Z: drive, then I could easily access them from any computer. While perhaps there are some legal ramifications to this, I could make a moral argument that I bought the CD for my personal use, and the backup copy is stored in a single location - never mind the fact that I'm ACCESSING the backup copy from multiple locations.

But, in the same way that I could share my Z: drive with myself, I could share it with someone else. Or maybe thousands of someone elses. And that is, of course, just as illegal as Napster v1.0.

Now Gladinet, of course, is only a tool. There is nothing inherent in Gladinet that makes it illegal. It's just that Gladinet makes it even easier to perform illegal activities. (As does Google Docs, incidentally, since Google Docs files can now be shared, just like SkyDrive files can.)

Now of course there are countless ways in which I could engage in illegal activity without Gladinet. I could copy the files to a thumb drive, or a CD, or a floppy, or paper tape (a lot of paper tape). But that would be an asynchronous sharing of the files, which would eventually result in the files residing in two or more locations. This technology makes it really really easy for the files to reside in a single location, yet be shared by people simultaneously.

Now of course the RIAA could figure this out also, assume the worst, and require Gladinet users to pay exorbitant fees to the RIAA on the assumption that they ARE sharing files. But that would be a stupid move on the RIAA's part. And of course, we know that the RIAA never engages in any stupid m-

Um, never mind.

(Picture source, license)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Heard the new Carl Sagan/Stephen Hawking music track?

Jason Kottke isn't tired of auto-tune yet, and he shared this gem:

You can get the audio track from Colorpulse Music, along with other tracks such as one featuring Billy Mays and Scatman John.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The lineup for Oracle OpenWorld 2009 Appreciation Night

Even the Empoprise-MU blog gets involved in Oracle OpenWorld posting at times, primarily because of the "Appreciation Night" that is held at Oracle OpenWorld every year. It primarily features a bunch of bands. Thankfully, the Psychedelic Furs were not invited back this year, but, according to Oracle, here's who the attendees will see:

  • Aerosmith

  • Roger Daltrey (minus the Who)

  • The Wailers (minus Bob Marley)

  • Three Dog Night

  • Shooter Jennings

And One, "Driving With My Darling"

From my buddies at YouTube:

The song appeared on the I.S.T. album in 1994.

If the name of the band doesn't ring a bell, I talked about And One's song "Life Isn't Easy in Germany" in a December 2008 post.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Editorial comment in biographies biographies can be edited by users, and as of Wednesday night California time, someone expressed their opinion regarding the departure of the last original member from Sugababes.


Sounds like someone has sworn under an oath of war - but that Sugababe departed long ago.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Never be the stsohg AGAIN (to keep me from repeating myself)

...go ahead and re-visit these previous two posts:

Siobhan Donaghy, "Ghosts" (22 March 2009)

Lyrics | Siobhan Donaghy lyrics - Ghosts lyrics

Melanie C, "Never Be The Same Again" (23 March 2009)

Lyrics | Melanie C lyrics - Never Be The Same Again lyrics

Two good songs that go great together. And you don't even have to be a YouTube member to watch the videos.

And let me throw in an extra - "Ghosts" backwards.

But no, I can't find a widget with the backwards lyrics. Sorry.

And as long as I'm throwing new videos into this, here's a university project from Edge Hill University.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My ten favorite Duran Duran songs, and their Taylor level

I realize that my cousin will probably disown me when I admit this, but I cannot tell one Taylor from another. If you were to ask me to name the current and former members of Duran Duran, I would respond as follows:

Now, while my cousin can tell one Taylor apart from another (she was photographed with one of them), I'm forced to admit that if Jackie Taylor, Marlon Taylor, and Randy Taylor walked up to me on the street, I couldn't tell them apart or tell you what instrument they played.

Now, of course, you know that the Taylors' names aren't Jackie, Marlon, or Randy. They are actually Alan, Wayne, and Jay.

No, actually their names are John, Roger, and Andy. Duran Duran's official website records the entries and exits of the various Taylors, to wit:

  • John (guitar), along with Nick Rhodes, founded Duran Duran around 1978.

  • Roger (drums) joined in 1979. John had switched from guitar to bass by this time.

  • The last Taylor, Andy (guitar), joined in 1980, around the same time that Simon LeBon became the vocalist, thus setting the stage for the "classic" lineup of Duran Duran.

  • In 1984-1985 the Taylors split off on separate side projects, with John and Andy joining the Power Station while Roger joined Arcadia.

  • By the end of 1985 two Taylors, Roger and Andy, leave Duran Duran.

  • In 1995 Roger joins Duran Duran for one song, but not permanently.

  • In 1996 John leaves Duran Duran, leaving the band Taylor-less for the first time ever.

  • The Taylor-less nature of the band is short-lived, as all three Taylors rejoin Duran Duran in 2001.

  • Andy then left for a second time in 2006.
So it is possible to measure the Taylor level for any Duran Duran song. I've listed my ten favorite Duran Duran songs below, followed by their Taylor levels.

  • "Hold Back the Rain," 3 Taylors

  • "The Chauffeur," 3 Taylors

  • "Is There Something I Should Know?" 3 Taylors

  • "The Wild Boys," 3 Taylors

  • "A View to a Kill," 3 Taylors

  • "American Science," 1 Taylor

  • "Winter Marches On," 1 Taylor

  • "Ordinary World," 1 Taylor

  • "Thank You," 1 Taylor

  • "Electric Barbarella," 0 Taylors
However, there are truly not enough data points to draw any conclusions regarding my like of a song in comparison to its Taylor quotient. As it turns out, I am most familiar with the "Rio" (3) and "Notorious" (1) albums, but the exuberance of the former and the world-weariness of the latter is not directly related to the Taylor level.

(Picture source, license)

Monday, October 5, 2009

FTC disclosure, the musical edition

FTC DISCLOSURE: This blogger knows someone who knew someone who was a member of Hoobastank, and this blogger actually met said member of Hoobastank once, although he only recalls it dimly. Readers should be informed of this because the circumstances of this relationship may impact positively, or perhaps negatively, on this blogger's coverage of the Hoobastank band. While this blogger has not received direct monetary compensation from Hoobastank, existing business theories about "goodwill" dictate that a monetary value could conceivably be assigned to the relationship, and therefore disclosure is mandatory.

Hey, I disclosed in my business and Inland Empire blogs, so I might as well disclose here also.

(Picture source, license)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Observations on a band that has undergone many permutations, including my disbelief at a statement by a former college roommate

I still remember when my college roommate Eric played me a song called "In the Court of the Crimson King," and I asked him who recorded that song.

"King Crimson," he replied.

I figured that Eric was pulling my leg, since I was sure that some guy named Robert Fripp had recorded the song.

Well, I subsequently learned that we both were right, and I spend part of my college days listening to that album (which I eventually purchased on cassette) and a much-different sounding later album by a band that was also called King Crimson. In fact, I guess I should check to see if Fripp has formed the 17th version of King Crimson yet. But according to Wikipedia, there have only been seven lineups of King Crimson to date. While I have a passing familiarity with lineup 4, the most popular lineup was lineup 1.

The Guardian looked at the band recently, 40 years after "In the Court of the Crimson King" was released:

In the Court of the Crimson King was the masterpiece that essentially launched progressive rock, which was the dominant genre in high-end British pop for the next seven years. Until The Dark Side of the Moon, it was the definitive prog-rock album. And yet, singled out as it was by punk rock as an emblem of all that was bloated and overblown with modern rock, it never quite received its due.

And if Robert Fripp et al are card-carrying members of the RIAA, they may want to reconsider their membership:

The revival of interest in an album that has been scarcely fashionable from the late 70s through to the 90s is partly due to online filesharing.

And, by the way, those are some very big files. Remember that the original album only had five songs; none of this 2 minute 30 second stuff. Even the titles of the songs ran on for miles; it wasn't until later that they'd learn to write short titles like "Elephant Talk."

I haven't heard any of the songs from the album in years, but my favorite part of the album was a small snippet in the title track, right after they changed key from D to E with a massive sonic blast...followed by some very quiet noodling...followed by - another sonic blast. Classic.

Also check out this live YouTube performance. (Unfortunately, this performance doesn't include the coda.) If YouTube hadn't presented me with an your account has been permanently disabled message, perhaps I might have favorited it.

(Picture source, license)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heal the World Foundation - more, or less, than meets the eye?

Back on June 26, I wrote a post about the death of Michael Jackson entitled Michael Jackson - more, or less, than meets the eye? One of the things that I touched upon was Jackson's charitable work. In the course of the post, I wrote the following:

The chief example of Jackson's potential is the Heal the World Foundation, the charity that Jackson created.

I then quoted extensively from the "About Us" page for the Heal the World Foundation. Here is part of what I quoted at the time:

Mr. Jackson officially founded HTWF in 1992, forming the nonprofit, however, the heart of his charity, healing the world, one person at a time, was Mr. Jackson's focus, even before the papers were signed and the foundation formalized, he was serving his fellow man.

I also happened to quote this:

From 2002-2008 the foundation was fledgling, along with its founder and lost its tax exempt status while reorganizing its focus and upper management....

In 2008 based on the demand from our supporters and the devotion of our volunteers, we restructured the charity under a new board of Directors and regained our tax exempt status. However, the charitable giving and work of HTWF was always moving forward and never ceased.

One man can do his part to HEAL THE WORLD and Mr. Jackson did take a step out of the charity for awhile as was necessary and understandable, but will never abandoned HTWF, nor his desire to serve his fellow man. When it is time, Mr. Jackson will lead HTWF into this generation and all generations to come.

Incidentally, back in June I noted that the Heal the World Foundation would probably edit that text very shortly. As of September 30, it still hasn't. I'm not exactly sure that Mr. Jackson will be leading HTWF into any generation in the future.

But, according to the Inquisitr, the Heal the World Foundation has bigger problems than a webmaster who is asleep at the wheel. It's now in trouble with Michael Jackson's estate:

Michael Jackson’s estate has sued a charity foundation for allegedly using his name and likeness without permission. Heal the World Foundation is being accused of unfair competition, trademark infringement and other violations.

The Inquisitr post also states:

The singer’s own Heal the World foundation, which he formed in 1992, is no longer active.

Well, THAT'S a little muddy. If you believe the Heal the World Foundation, the current entity is a continuation of the original entity, fully endorsed by Jackson. But if you believe John Branca and John McClain, the administrators for Jackson's estate, the new Heal the World Foundation is completely unauthorized.

I couldn't find any coverage that explicitly stated who was being sued, but in the process of looking, I discovered why the page that I referenced in June was never updated. It's apparently no longer the official website. That honor now belongs to And this site's "About" page lists the following officers:

Melissa Johnson, President
Mel Wilson, Vice President
Sandhya Deepak, Secretary
Mark Gainford, Director of Operations
Camilla Sayf, Director of International Relations
Michael Jackson, President Emeritus

Incidentally, the section on Jackson STILL includes the following language:

When it is time, Mr. Jackson will lead HTWF into this generation and all generations to come.

Not if Branca and McClain have anything to say about it.

From all outside appearances, Melissa Johnson started up the new foundation - I'm still not sure whether she had any position of authority in the old one - and Michael Jackson, who had obviously been undergoing some personal problems over the last years of his life, never got around to formally blessing her activities, or alternatively telling her to cease and desist. Now Branca and McClain, charged with protecting Jackson's assets, are going after anyone who doesn't have an ironclad claim of permission to engage in Jackson-related activities.

You'll recall that Branca and McClain already argued that Katherine Jackson had no valid claim to administer the estate. And if you're going to deny interests to a guy's mother, you'll do anything.

And they should. Branca and McClain were not appointed the world or anything. Branca and McClain were apointed to maximize the financial value of the deceased's assets.

If anyone wonders why some artists make more money when they're dead than they did when they were living, it's because the Brancas and McClains of the world can do their job, unfettered by hangers-on and by the artist him/herself. Brand managers don't care whether the brand's brother has money for groceries.

(Picture source, license)

Monday, September 28, 2009

White Town, "Your Woman"

Over the weekend, served up a song that I hadn't in...well, since the last millennium - White Town's "Your Woman."

A few facts about the song from White Town's page:

[Jyoti Mishra is] often regarded as a one-hit wonder for [White Town's] 1997 song “Your Woman”, which sampled a 1930s song called “My Woman” by Al Bowlly, which was featured in the Dennis Potter drama Pennies From Heaven. This single was often known not by its name, but by the title of the EP it originally appeared on - “>Abort, Retry, Fail?_”

White Town continues to perform live, and Mishra blogs about it. Sample:

The gig started off a little bit unevenly - I was trying to tune my acoustic guitar with the tuner pedal but the disco was so loud, the tuner was trying to tune that. So, I tuned up, hit an E chord and… chaos! My god! I finally had to get the bewildered DJs to turn the music down completely and then managed to get it right. Tuning up is one of things you take for granted, it’s almost an irrelevancy. Until it fails and then you realise how utterly boned you are....

What made me beam was seeing people singing along with songs that weren’t ‘Your Woman.’ There was a lad right at the front and I swear he knew the lyrics to everything from ‘We’ll Always Have Paris’ to ‘Death In Kettering.’ That’s basically 19 years’ worth of White Town covered! How flattering is that?

But it sounds like Jyoti got into music for the same reason that many guys get into music.

I was also pleased because there were sooo many cute girls within my sight. If I’m singing to women, inevitably, I sing better.

Or at least he enjoys it more. And it probably helps him take his mind off "Your Woman," which Jyoti considers extremely depressing. With reason:

So cut the crap and tell me that we're through
Now, I know your heart, I know your mind
You don't even know you're being unkind...

And now it's time for the sing-along chorus!

Well, I guess what you say is true
I could never be the right kind of girl for you
I could never be your woman

Good stuff. Glad I heard it again. If you want to enrich my coffers, buy the song (and the album) from the link below.

(Picture source license)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The RIAA goes to school

Kim LaCapria of the Inquisitr recently wrote a post entitled Actually indoctrinating schoolkids: the RIAA, which discusses the "Music Rules" site and its educational materials that it prepares for schoolkids to teach them right from wrong. I think that you can tell LaCapria's view on the matter, but here's a quote from the Inquisitr post anyway:

Earlier this month, parts of this country devolved into chaos when President Barack Obama made a speech to kids about such controversial issues as staying in school and achieving things.

While that tyranny was not allowed to quietly pass, far fewer people are aware of the RIAA’s foray into American classrooms. Giant corporation, vested interests in one-sided information prolifigating- what could possibly go wrong? The RIAA introduced curriculum for usage in schools to teach kids about the evils of “piracy” and “songlifting.” And though the message is not surprising, it’s not an accurate depiction of copyright concerns in the digital era, by any means, and instilling a sense of guilt in children who will do a large portion of their learning and research online is not just a disservice, it’s a handicap.

Now you know that I like to present at least two sides of a story - sometimes three - so I didn't want to let LaCapria's points go unchecked. I went to the RIAA's "Music Rules" site, but I noticed that the site had some Terms of Use. I figured that I'd better check out those terms of use before continuing; I've heard that the RIAA is kinda sorta insistent on those sorts of things.

Off-Site Links and Resources
The Music Rules! website contains links to external websites and references to outside resources available through government, nonprofit, and commercial entities. These links to external sites and references to outside resources are provided solely for informational purposes and the convenience of the user. The Recording Industry Association of America does not control, review, approve, or endorse these external sites or outside resources. Users should be aware that external sites may collect data or personal information. Once you link to an external site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site. If you decide to access any site linked to the Music Rules! website, you do so entirely at your own risk. In addition, the external links and outside resources are in no way intended to represent an exhaustive listing.

Please note: Music Rules! web pages may carry part of the above statement with a link to further information. Clicking on that link will take you to this page.

Opinions and Interpretations
The Music Rules! website contains information gathered from many different sources. The opinions and interpretations expressed in the website do not necessarily state or reflect the views or policies of the Recording Industry Association of America, or any affiliate, contractor, or subcontractor thereof.

Privacy Policy
Providing personal information on the Internet is completely voluntary, yet different websites may do different things with that information. Before providing any personal information, you should familiarize yourself with the privacy policy of the site collecting the information. Please read carefully the Music Rules! website privacy policy (below), and the privacy policy of any external web site to which you provide personal information.

I. Information Collected and Stored Automatically
During your visit to the Music Rules! website, we will collect and store certain information about your use of the site automatically. This usage information does not identify you personally. We rely on this information to learn about the number of visitors to our site, the types of technology they use, and the areas they visit, in order to help us make our site more useful. Usage information may also be used for educational and scholarly research. We do not track or record information about individuals and their visits.

II. If You Provide Personal Information
If you choose to provide us with personal information, as in an e-mail message, we use that information to respond to your message. Personal information collected by the Music Rules! website will not be used for commercial purposes.

III. No Personal Information Collected from Children
The Music Rules! website does not collect personal information from children, meaning those under 18 years of age. We are concerned about protecting children's privacy and hope parents and teachers are involved in children's Internet activities.

User's Obligation to Obey Applicable Laws
While some of the images and documents in websites linked with the Music Rules! website may be in the public domain, others may be protected under copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property laws of the United States and foreign countries. Such laws generally prohibit (subject to civil and criminal penalties) the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, adaptation, display, and performance of protected works. It is the user's obligation to comply with these applicable laws, including, where necessary, seeking the advice of counsel regarding the application of the fair use doctrine to the proposed educational use of materials. Other federal, state, and local laws that may apply to the use of materials linked with the Music Rules! website are defamation, misappropriation, invasion of privacy, and/or publicity rights.

Neither the Recording Industry Association of America nor any affiliate thereof, nor any of their employees, nor any of their contractors, subcontractors, or their employees: (1) make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any text, image, or materials in any website linked with the Music Rules! website; or (2) represent that their use would not defame or violate or infringe upon the rights, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademarks, or any other intellectual property rights, moral rights, publicity rights, or privacy rights of any other person or entity.

Acceptance of Terms
By using this site, you signify your assent to these policies. If you do not agree to these terms, please do not use this site.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
Pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, the agent to receive notification of claimed infringement is:
YMI, Inc.
90 Crown Street
New Haven, CT 06510 USA
Voice: 203-389-7283
Fax: 203-389-1512

The interesting part is the "Liability" portion. So even if LaCapria's accusations on what the RIAA is teaching are correct, it sounds like the RIAA itself says the information is unreliable.

So I guess I shouldn't bother and link to the unreliable Music Rules information. Whew! Glad I read the Terms of Use.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thirty Seconds Over Hollywood - ASCAP/BMI "gouging" vs. "adequate compensation"

One of the nice advances of the Internet age has been the thirty-second song sample. These samples, which can also be found in selected music stores, give you the opportunity to preview a song before you buy it, and while they have probably resulted in people NOT buying particular music, they have also definitely resulted in people buying music that would be too risky to obtain otherwise. I've written extensively about thirty-second song samples in the past, and even in the age, thirty-second samples clearly play their part.

But this appeared in my Google Reader shares, courtesy Rob Diana. First, let me share Rob's comment:

just when you thought the music industry could not do anything stupider, they come up with another fantastic idea.

The idea is documented in this Techdirt post:

It's been really stunning to see just how little dignity groups like ASCAP and BMI have in trying to suck every last penny out of any kind of musical usage, without ever once considering the damage they're actually doing to songwriters. It's as if the folks who run these groups have no concept of the actual impact of their crazy demands....

I guess it should come as no surprise at all to find out that their latest target is the 30 second previews that you hear on iTunes or Yes, they're claiming that those 30 second previews should count as a public performance, and they want to get paid. Now. And they're asking Congress to make it happen -- because, as we've been learning recently, if you're inept at running an actual business, just go to the federal gov't and ask them to bail you out.

Techdirt links to a somewhat more balanced CNET article:

At a time when many iTunes shoppers are still fuming over Apple's first-ever increase in song prices, the demands by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and other performing-rights groups, would likely lead to more price hikes at iTunes. For many, this would also undoubtedly confirm their perception that those overseeing the music industry are greedy.

For those reasons, composers and songwriters will struggle to sell their case to the public. But these royalty-collection groups say they're at the bottom of the music-sector food chain and aren't trying to gouge anyone. They say their livelihoods are threatened and wonder why movie studios, big recording companies, TV networks, and online retailers are allowed to profit from their work but they aren't.

Many are trying to cast this as a "poor iTunes vs. the big bad record companies" battle, in which iTunes is sticking up for the little guy - in this case the customer. But look at it from the songwriter's point of view - when the songwriter is Rick Carnes of the Songwriters Guild of America.

Until last October, music publishers were able to pocket 10 percent of the retail price for a song, according to Steve Gordon, a copyright attorney. This meant that for a $2.99 ringtone, the publisher could make 30 cents and typically split half with the songwriter.

But the labels are now threatening to choke off that extra income. Record companies claim songwriters and music publishers charge too much and want prices restricted to a rate of 9.1 cents per song.

But before that change was discussed, you could make a ton off of ringtones. Just ask Merv Griffin - whoops, you can't ask him, but you can read this story:

[Griffin] once found a check for a large sum on his desk and couldn't figure out how he had earned it. According to a story in Rolling Stone magazine, Merv couldn't figure out why someone was paying him huge royalties for the song he penned for his show "Jeopardy."

The ditty had become a top-selling ringtone.

Of course, a ringtone is not a song sample. (Or is it?) Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate authoritative sourcing for the original statement from ASCAP or BMI regarding compensation for thirty-second song samples; all of the articles that discuss the matter solely seem to link to the opposition. Here's an opposing view, for example:

The Digital Media Association (DiMA) filed an amicus brief today in the case of ASCAP vs. AT&T Mobile asking the federal district court to rule that 30-second music preview clips are “fair use” and do not justify public performance royalties as demanded by songwriter and music publisher representatives.

“DiMA supports fair compensation for copyright owners,” stated Jonathan Potter, Executive Director of DiMA. “DiMA members pay tens of millions of dollars in royalties to songwriters and publishers for online music sales. But the performing rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) who represent songwriters and publishers demand additional payment for the preview clips that facilitate these online sales.”...

“Internet retailers sell an extraordinary percentage of all recorded music,” continued Potter. "The iTunes Store is America’s largest music retailer, and, Best Buy and other DiMA members use 30-second clips to sell both CDs and digital downloads. If ASCAP succeeds in pressing its demand for a new payment for these previews, Internet music retailers would be disadvantaged simply because they are selling online, and songwriters and music publishers would be getting a royalty for the preview on top of the appropriate and well-deserved royalty that is paid when the music itself is sold.”

I did find an ASCAP statement from Paul Williams, but it only dealt in generalities:

I am concerned that if music is not fairly valued or compensated, then a successful career in music will be increasingly out of reach. The viability of our industry, and in turn our greater economy, depends upon making sure that young creators have the opportunity to pursue music as a profession, not just a hobby or a vocation.

Now bearing in mind that I have been unable to locate ASCAP's specific argument, I do have to wonder - if the concern is whether or not artists are being adequately compensated, why fight the battleground over A SMALL PART of a song?

On the other hand, if you strip away all of the big companies, such as the Sonys and the Apples from the equation, this boils down to a battle between the individual songwriter who makes the music and the individual consumer who wants to buy it. If you put the question to a majority vote, naturally the consumers are going to win the vote, and the songwriters are going to lose. But if ASCAP and the Songwriters Guild are right, then all of us are going to lose if people choose to stay away from the songwriting profession.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A journey of three hundred miles begins with but a single stretch (Steve Perry and the Dodgers)

Perhaps my opinion will change if this actually happens, but if I ever write a huge massive worldwide hit, I'll grant anyone the right to cover it or parody it, provided that I am adequately credited and compensated. For example, if I write a touching piece about the joys of Shetland Sheepdogs, I would not object if Snoop Dogg turned it into a raunchy piece about the joys of loose women in the LBC.

Now of course, some people feel differently about who performs their work. There are several instances in which Republican politicians used songs from famous musicians, and since most musicians are Communists, they naturally objected. (Seriously, anyone who would select "Born in the U.S.A." as a feel-good song really needs to read the lyrics a little more closely.) And even Weird Al Yankovic, who takes great efforts to get permission to parody songs (primarily to ensure HIS compensation), got his signals crossed when he wrote "Amish Paradise."

The truth of the matter is, however, that a songwriter doesn't have a lot of control over where his or her song is performed. H/T to Fred Roggin for this story from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle about a particular song by Journey, and who's using it:

Steve Perry, the former lead singer for Journey, will be at Dodger Stadium wearing his Giants cap as usual when the team plays there this weekend and he will leave before the eighth inning, as usual, but not to beat the traffic.

Late last season, the Dodgers started playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' " before the bottom of the eighth inning every night as a rally song, and Perry leaves before they do.

"I have to," he said. "I don't want to hear it."

Why? Because Perry is a diehard Giants fan who cannot stand the fact that the Dodgers "hijacked it first" and use it to win games.

More here.

And, San Francisco Giants, I guess that "Who's Crying Now" is available.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A sampling of the reactions to Mary Travers' passing

Yes, I'm taking a slightly more dignified tack in discussing the death of Mary Travers than I did in discussing the death of Jim Carroll. You see, their music was quite different. And all that I'm really doing here is providing links to others' thoughts on Travers' music.

Popeater: "Travers' voice helped carry the trio's greatest hits including 'Puff the Magic Dragon,' 'If I Had a Hammer' and 'Leaving on a Jet Place.'"

New York Times: "Ms. Travers brought a powerful voice and an unfeigned urgency to music that resonated with mainstream listeners. With her straight blond hair and willowy figure and two bearded guitar players by her side, she looked exactly like what she was, a Greenwich Villager directly from the clubs and the coffeehouses that nourished the folk-music revival."

The Music's Over: "Mary Travers is best remembered as one-third of the iconic folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary. Formed in 1961, the trio gained world-wide acclaim during the ’60s folk revival with such hits as “If I Had A Hammer,” “Puff The Magic Dragon,” and their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind.” They were one of the premier folk groups for many years to come."

HistoricUpstart: "I had two records of them growing up, and I used to crank up the volume and lay down right next to the speaker and sing my heart out to the beautiful harmonies." (H/T Myrna)

The Guardian: "Prettier than Bob Dylan, less hectoring than Joan Baez, she made the idea of sipping overpriced coffee in a downtown dive, while a guitar player sang songs of freedom seem like the greatest thing in the world."

Life in Claremont: "We had several of their records which I would listen to at bedtime on my Sears record player next to my bed. Mary's voice was particularly enchanting to me."

Political Byline: "On a personal note, My mother loved this group as a young lady and still does to this day. With my Mom and many of the other young people at the time; politics was the farthest thing from their minds. They were just enjoying the good music and singing. I am also well aware of the politics of this woman and the other members of the group. However, I do believe a bit clarification is in order. I believe that the liberalism of this woman’s era was not the same stripe of the liberalism of today. It is sort of hard to explain, there has been books written about it. It was the Kennedy Liberalism and not the kind of Liberalism of Barack Obama." (H/T The Atlantic Wire, which also links to the Guardian piece and several others)

(Unfortunately, neither Flickr nor Wikipedia had pictures available for commercial use. Stands to reason.)

More people who died! Died!

I know that a lot of people think of "The Basketball Diaries" when they hear the name Jim Carroll, but I primarily think of him as the singer of "People Who Died."

The Guardian remembers him also:

In my mind, Carroll will always be the creator of one of the most underrated albums of all time. 1980's Catholic Boy seems to be New York's missing musical link between drugged-out beat-clown acts such as the Holy Modal Rounders and the darker sound of Richard Hell. It has 60s style Spector-ish songs like Day and Night, lyrics about girls staying in bed to read Raymond Chandler, synthy love songs to the city and a lot of Raw Power-style garage rock. Carroll's sound walked the line between the coming precision of new wave and the scruffiness of 1975.

It is far from a forgotten record, but it's never received anywhere near its dues. New bands don't nod to it as a major influence, nor does it grace greatest album lists. I'm amazed by the music geeks who only mutter in response to my proselytising: "Oh yeah, I heard that album was OK. Not got a copy myself."

The article then specifically talks about the song I mentioned.

Take his most famous song, People Who Died. The music sounds like he should be singing about asking a girl to the dancehall, but instead Carroll's lyrics describe various friends he's lost, charting their ends from overdoses, leukaemia, gang murders and suicide. The list only stops for the sinisterly joyful chorus that repeats at the end of each verse:

"Lots of people who died, died/They were all my friends and they died."

It is a simple and unsentimental celebration of the short lives of a bunch of stupid kids, who never lived long enough to know better. With its power chords and brazenness, it is far more moving to me than some bloated tribute song, with full orchestra. I'll be playing it loudly in his memory.

If you'd like to do the same, go for it.

More here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Revisiting Patrick Swayze

Back on April 2, I was in the middle of publishing a series of posts about the musical activities of the Brat Pack. On that day, I posted something about Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind" - a song that not only appeared in the Patrick Swayze movie "Dirty Dancing," but was also sung by Swayze - and co-written by Swayze.

Sadly, we have to return to Swayze, who just passed away.

While The Music's Over mentioned the accomplishment above, it also noted some of Swayze's other musical endeavors:

Swayze achieved success as a song and dance man on stage, starring in such musicals as Guys and Dolls, Goodtime Charley and Chicago.

But The Music's Over also notes Swayze's contributions to...hip-hop. Hip Hop is Read discusses this in more detail:

His unintended influence on hip hop culture can not be understated and mustn’t be undervalued. The term “Swayze” (and, as a nod to his film, “going ‘Ghost’”) became popular in the early ‘90’s, employed as a synonym for “leaving”, “going” or “disappearing”. Like much of the slang to emerge from pop culture of the last twenty years or so, this term was berthed from the hip hop lexicon, featured within the rhymes of notable emcees.

Well, unfortunately, Swayze is Swayze. But his contributions, even when he left his shirt on, are recognized by many.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Whitney Houston will address the issue that had to be addressed

When a major label musician or music group launches an album, all of the middle managers and PR experts and social media experts and everyone else need to construct a plan for how the album is going to be launched. Great effort is taken to construct the appropriate plans, budget the appropriate resources, and execute the appropriate public relations strategies.

There's a singer named Whitney Houston. I've previously covered some aspects of the marketing push behind her new album (namely the "sizzle reel"), but all of the photos and crowd pictures and song samples and everything else only answer part of the questions that we have about the singer, who has been absent from the public eye for so long.

So, at about the time the album was being released, Whitney Houston appeared on Oprah. But before Houston appeared, Oprah had a question.

Before Oprah Winfrey sat down with Whitney Houston for her first post-"crack is whack" interview...the talk host wanted to make sure the resurgent singer was up to the task. Her response? She wanted to "tell the truth" about her troubles, namely her high profile fall from R&B superstar to drug-using punchline.

Now many would not consider Oprah Winfrey a professional journalist, but Winfrey certainly knows her audience, and what they are expecting out of an interview. Once Winfrey was assured that the interview would deliver what the people wanted, she became as much a publicist as Houston's record label or Houston herself.

Winfrey refers to a Diane Sawyer interview from 2002. Here's an excerpt from what Houston said to Sawyer:

Presumably Houston is in a different frame of mind now. It's impossible to read her intentions to know whether this is a therapeutic experience for her, a cynical album promotion experience for her, or whether she just knew that this was going to happen and that she might as well get it over with.

Regardless of Houston's true intentions, it appears that the interview, which will air later today, will address many of the questions that have been in the minds of fans all these years.

But let's forget about cocaine and everything else for the moment. Here's the title track to "I Look To You."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

OK, one question for Taylor Swift fans...

As I write this, the tubes are exploding over Kanye West's unsolicited (or possibly arranged) interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the VMA Music Awards. PopEater:

When Taylor Swift won Best Female Video for 'You Belong With Me,' Kanye jumped onstage, grabbed the mike from the country singer's hands and did what he does best.

"Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'm a [sic] let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time," he yelled, to many boos. Swift had beat Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' for the award.

But I have a question for Taylor Swift fans. When is Taylor Swift gonna remix a Daft Punk song like that other guy did?

This embeddable video courtesy Heh. Check this...haters...

Truthfully, the musical introduction to this live version of Kanye West's "Stronger," recorded live at the 2007 V-FEST Concert, is impressive. Here's BBC's review of West's appearance:

Mud wrestling, commercial overload, over-priced fast food, diverse acts, persistent downpours and the not-so-sweet smell of portaloos... it can only be the annual return of the V Festival at Weston Park in Staffordshire....

Rap superstar Kanye West made a predictable late entrance but soon had the crowd in the palm of his hand. However, the bass was so loud it drowned West’s beautiful string septet who played as his backing band. Jesus Walks, Gold Digger, Touch the Sky and current chart success Stronger received huge roars.

By the way, I previously talked about the song "Stronger" in an October 2008 post. That's when I shared the 30 Seconds to Mars version of the song.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Costa Mesa cover band

"You Can Call Me Al," "Riders on the Storm," "Use Me."

Outside Arriba Baja Grill, Metro Pointe (near South Coast Plaza), Costa Mesa, California.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We don't got the beat no more - Phil Collins hangs up the sticks

I haven't really dealt with Phil Collins in any of my blogs in several years. In fact, the last time that I discussed Phil Collins in detail was on April 2, 2004, when I published the transcript of an exclusive interview that I had with Collins. In fact, it was so exclusive that it's hard to be believed, if you get my drift.

The one part of the interview that was believable was a link that I made to a picture at Phil Collins' website. The picture illustrated a calendar entry from August 4, 1970 in which Collins wrote, "Got job with Genesis."

I wrote that over five years ago, and the picture is no longer online.

And Phil Collins' website no longer exists.

Ditto for his drumming career:

Phil Collins has revealed that he will never drum again because he is suffering from a painful spine injury. My response to this was instant: of course he's never going to drum again, he's 58!

That's what Paul Lester said in an article about aging rock stars. Lester sourced a Daily Mail post, in which Collins noted that he could still sing, but that the drumming position was now too painful for him.

Perhaps some think of Collins primarily as a singer, but one must not forget that he was also a drummer from the progressive school, which meant that what he did was often interesting. Listen to the juxtaposition of drumming styles in this one minute thirty second clip:

And don't forget Collins' presence on Brian Eno's "Another Green World." Here's what had to say about Collins' contribution:

"Over Fire Island" features Phil Collins's (of Genesis) unwavering drumming while Eno darts in and out with sliding synthesizer notes and a prepared tape. A tremeloed hiss quickly comes and goes, like radio static.

Ground and Sky:

There are five songs with lyrics, and all are successful to varying degrees. Among these, "Sky Saw" utilizes a well-structured build-up of processed guitars, Fender Rhodes, and open-fifth violas, all undercut by the funky interplay by Brand X's rhythm section, Phil Collins and Percy Jones....

Collins and Jones also prove to be a great fit on the tracks that they appear — a somewhat unexpected result, considering how different this music is from Brand X's jazz fusion.

But Collins has been everywhere musically, from Eno to jazz fusion to 60s covers and roll.

Now two things should be mentioned about Collins' presence that day. Collins, of course, was a half-substitute for the deceased John Bonham during the Philadelphia Live Aid show. (Considering Bonham's power, it was advisable at the time to have two drummers in Philadelphia.) And, of course, that was Collins' second performance that day, since he had played earlier in the day in London. (The Concorde was obviously still flying back in 1985.)

But Collins' music career extends well before 1985, and in fact well before 1970. His movie debut, as a matter of fact, was in "A Hard Day's Night" - as an extra.

One more clip, previously shared by Steven Hodson. I must admit that I am unfamiliar with the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. Perhaps I should become familiar, after hearing this.

P.S. Several years ago I remember KROQ's Kevin and Bean interviewing Dave Grohl. By this time Foo Fighters had become very successful, and Kevin and/or Bean made the point of noting that Grohl had emerged from the background of Nirvana to become a singing bandleader...just like Phil Collins. I don't recall that Grohl reveled in the comparison.