Saturday, July 24, 2010

More on the Devo-Neil Young mutual admiration society

I previously mentioned how Devo admired Neil Young, and the feeling was mutual.

Wanna hear Booji Boy singing "Hey Hey My My"?

But what I didn't know now is that the album that contained the original version of this song (and the similarly named one) actually got its title from...well, it didn't come from John Lydon:

There are several urban legends revolving around the album title's origins. Rumor has it that the group Devo came up with the slogan as part of an advertising campaign for the product Rustoleum, a rust inhibitor. Neil has confirmed that he got the phrase "Rust Never Sleeps" from Devo but whether it was ever seriously created for an ad campaign is unknown.

Of course, the song is often tied to two other musicians - the aforementioned Lydon, who was mentioned (under his "Johnny Rotten" pseudonym) in the lyrics, and Kurt Cobain, who cited a phrase from the song in his suicide note. Cobain's wife, Courtney Love, put Cobain's interpretation of Young's line in the proper context:

[Cobain] "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

[Love] God! You asshole.

Young was as upset as Love over the whole affair.

"I read something and someone told me a few things that made me think he was in trouble that week," sighs Young. For the first time, he is not looking directly at me, but staring off across the table. He describes how he tried, over three or four days in the first week of April in 1994, to reach Cobain. "I even had my office look for him." By that Friday evening, Cobain had taken a life-threatening dose of heroin and shot himself....

Destroyed by grief, Young hit the studio and recorded his bleakest work, Sleeps With Angels. It was released with a moratorium on interviews. "I've never really spoken about why I made that album," Young told an interviewer in 1995. "I don't want to start now."

But today, he opens up. "I like to think that I possibly could have done something," he says, concentrating on finding the right words. "I was just trying to reach him. Trying to connect up with him." He pauses and thinks again. "It's just too bad I didn't get a shot. I had an impulse to connect. Only when he used my song in that suicide note was the connection made. Then, I felt it was really unfortunate that I didn't get through to him. I might've been able to make things a little lighter for him, that's all. Just lighten it up a little bit."

But how do Devo and Kurt Cobain fit together? Very well:

"Of all the bands who came from the underground and made it in the mainstream," declared Kurt Cobain, "Devo were the most challenging and subversive of all."

However, Devo and Young survived their brushes with fame. Cobain did not.

P.S. For other thoughts on Kurt Cobain, scroll to the bottom of this Empoprise-MU post on Steve Taylor and Jim Morrison.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another take on "Ohio"

I know that I've been writing about Dala a lot lately, but here's one more Dala video. In this one, they're covering "Ohio" at a Neil Young-themed event.

Let's face it, Dala's version is pretty different from Devo's version (see this post to see one reason why Devo covered the song), but both Dala and Devo have a definition admiration for Neil Young.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gloria Gaynor misses an opportunity?

Last Saturday I posted Will APRA Survive?, a post that discussed the possible negative backlash to the Australasian Performing Right Association's copyright objections to Jane Korman's viral video (which shows Korman's grandfather and various grandkids dancing to Gaynor's "I Will Survive" - at Auschwitz).

For someone like Gaynor who continues to work in the industry, this would provide a wonderful opportunity for self-promotion. If handled correctly, she could issue a public statement saying that she was "delighted" with the video and its message of overcoming obstacles that most of us will never face.

Or, if she were so inclined, she could issue a public statement saying that she was "devastated" by the video and that, while she understands Korman's sentiments, the subject is just too painful for other survivors to see.

So to see what Gaynor actually did say, I went to the news page on her website and found her latest news release:

Ferring Pharmaceuticals Announces Disco Icon Gloria Gaynor as National Spokesperson for EUFLEXXA®
May 24, 2010

Ferring Pharmaceuticals Announces Gloria Gaynor as National Spokesperson for Euflexxa.

Please visit

Click Here to read the press release for further details.

If she could, I'm sure that Gloria would be kicking herself over the missed opportunity.

To be serious for a moment, Gaynor's website does include a realization of how the words "I Will Survive" have touched people, and she has included some words of encouragement on her site. Gaynor is not Jewish (she is Christian), but one of the words on this page may be relevant to someone like Jane Korman's grandfather who was wronged by others:

To forgive does not mean to excuse a person for wrong-doing; it simply means you stop wanting them to pay, and start wanting them simply to realize and repent of the wrong, for their own good. This is why you need God's help to forgive.

On the other hand, I can imagine Hitler's reaction if he were to find out that a Jew not only survived Auschwitz, but returned to the site to dance to the song of a black woman. "Everyone who ever owned a disco record, leave the room now."

IMF and Ovation, revisited

After running across a mention of Dala in California (I blogged about this), I found myself listening to and watching the video of "Anywhere Under the Moon" over and over and over.

I first saw this video on Dish Network's IMF Channel, and as I watched the video, I remembered the day when IMF was no more. I didn't have the Empoprise-MU blog at the time, so I wrote about it in a post on mrontemp. Here's a brief snippet of how other people reacted to Ovation's purchase of IMF:

Son of a bitch. They replaced IMF with some crappy art channel called Ovation TV. For ***** sake.

In short, IMF fans were not happy. In the comments to my post, Vinny said:

Ahh!! IMF was the best channel to find out about new singers around the world. Ovation is boring. Right now a show called "How to Draw a Bunny" is on. And theyre showing how to draw a bunny. We need to stop this. IMF has to come back to channel 157! Now!

I responded:

If Veronica Maggio showed us how to draw a bunny, I'd tune in.

Well, it's been a couple of years, so I figured it was time to revisit Ovation and see where things stood. But before I did, I figured that I'd find that petition that Matt Dowski started:

To: Universal Music Group / Ovation

The International Music Feed was a television music channel that played music from around the world. It was the only channel in the US that focused on combining music from American artists with music from other countries across the globe. IMF maintained the increasingly rare format based very largely on playing music videos rather than other programming. IMF was on air from 2005 to 2008.

After its initial widespread removal, IMF was removed from the channel lineups of various smaller television providers over the course of February 2008. Finally, as of March 31, 2008 the station was no longer available.

We Would Like You to Bring Back IMF.

It had become part of everyones lives, in a world that preaches diversity and open mindedness IMF was one of the last things left that brought that to everyones lives through music.

66 people have signed the petition, and it turns out that there is a Facebook group devoted to the effort. I wasn't a member of Facebook in 2008, but I am now, so I joined.

Meanwhile, Ovation is still on Dish Network.

Ovation: The only network focused on art and personal creativity - showcases programming featuring the best of performance, people, art, music and film. From world renowned artists to everyday people, Ovation entertains, inspires and engages the artist in all of us. Move. Explore. Dream. Create. Ovation: Make Life Creative.

Here's Ovation's July 22 schedule:


Waldbuhne 2007: Rhapsodies

Slings & Arrows: Madness in Great Ones


Every Picture Tells a Story: Boy Bitten By a Lizard

Every Picture Tells a Story: Le Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe

Paul Potts: By Royal Command

Blue Note: A History of Modern Jazz

Every Picture Tells a Story: Boy Bitten By a Lizard

Every Picture Tells a Story: Le Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe

Paul Potts: By Royal Command

Blue Note: A History of Modern Jazz

Sweet and Lowdown

Sweet and Lowdown

Sweet and Lowdown


Hollywoods Best Film Directors: Brett Ratner

Hollywoods Best Film Directors: Francis Ford Coppola

Blue Note: A History of Modern Jazz

Later...with Jools Holland: Ep. 31/3

Now if you want to watch music videos from all over the're still out of luck. But the IMF fans are still passionate...this was written on June 2, 2010:

I need help identifying this song I heard on IMF a couple years ago (sucks it went off the air, fuse and Mtv suck) and i’ve no clue what the lyrics were or anything besides that in the video the singer was a blonde girl, and she was in a snowy setting, and that the sky or ceiling.. upper area, was purple-ish pink, I think it was from russia, but I can’t be sure, any help’s appreciated

If anyone knows the answer, post it here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An earth-shattering discovery - Doctor Orange's "Taco Taco Taco" is on YouTube

Some of you know that I used to release synthetica songs on the old before it stopped supporting bad indie artists like myself. While I was issuing CDs of "Road Array" and similar songs, there were other artists on My favorite was someone called Doctor Orange, known for a song called "Buried Alive" in which someone was buried alive. But Doctor Orange was better known for his ode to tacos, "Taco Taco Taco."

I enjoyed listening to it at the time, but by October 2003 I could no longer find it. By November 2003 I was defending the song against a non-believer. In February 2008 (in the comments of a December 2003 post) I was discussing the song with another believer, regretting that I could not find the song anywhere.

Until now. Or at least in January 2009. "Taco Taco Taco" is now on YouTube, along with video pictures of tacos. Enjoy.

Don't you agree that this is the most meaningful song that was released in the 20th century - even more meaningful than "96 Tears"?

Dala in California

Dala came to California earlier this year, and I missed the news. But Sheila Carabine blogged about it.

Amanda and I are flying high above the clouds, literally and figuratively. We spent Memorial Day weekend in Yosemite National Park, in the company of towering trees and friendly Strawberry folks. I can see why it is so hard for people to leave California.

Dala played at Amy's Orchid Cafe (picture here; since the pictures are under copyright control, I can't post them on my blog), the Ampitheater stage (picture here), Birch Lake, and the main stage.

They will come back to California in September. These tour dates were announced in April:

Sep 18 2010 8:00P De Lobero Theatre Santa Barbara, California
Sep 20 2010 8:00P Performances To Grow On,Matilija Auditorium Ojai,Ventura, California
Sep 21 2010 8:00P Performances To Grow On,Matilija Auditorium Ojai,Ventura, California
Sep 22 2010 8:00P Performances To Grow On,Matilija Auditorium Ojai,Ventura, California
Sep 23 2010 8:00P Performances To Grow On,Matilija Auditorium Ojai,Ventura, California
Sep 24 2010 8:00P Performances To Grow On,Matilija Auditorium Ojai,Ventura, California
Sep 25 2010 8:00P Pepperdine University Center For The Arts, Smothers Theatre Malibu, California

And here's something ("Horses") from DalaVEVO.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Will APRA Survive?

Some people are good at public relations, while some are not.

After The Decision, some said that Dan Gilbert was not good at public relations.

After The Revision, some said that Steve Jobs was not good at it.

And now comes a story (H/T Rob Michael) about the Australasian Performing Right Association getting really really close to having someone invoke Godwin's Law.

Benny6Toes points us to a story about an Auschwitz survivor, who went back to Auswitz (sic) with his grandkids and recently filmed a video of them dancing to Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive -- as a way to celebrate life and the ability to overcome obstacles. The story is about the basic controversy over the video, as some folks find it offensive and others find it heartwarming. However, Benny notes that the video has been taken down. The video attached to that HuffPo story, when you click on it, says "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim made by APRA."

Ignoring for the moment TechDirt's next point (how can an Australian group affect the entire world?), there's a question about public relations vs. principle.

On the other hand, APRA or whoever could argue that while they're sympathetic to the cause, the video producer did violate copyright law, and if they granted an exception for this video, then they'd be forced to grant an exception for every other video.

On the other hand, APRA comes off looking bad, which can't help their cause. People might download Men at Work's "Down Under" in protest.

As of Saturday evening Pacific time, the video was at

And here's a non-musical video of Jane Korman's grandfather in a train car. Yes, one of THOSE train cars.

And here's Jane Korman consummating her marriage. Not sure how grandpa felt about that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jonathan Mann sings about the iPhone4

H/T Jesse Stay, who shared a TechCrunch post.

I know Jonathan Mann from his Wii songs, but apparently he sings about multiple platforms.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Block-Head (music)

There's a song off of Devo's second album that always intrigued me, probably because of the 11/4 time signature. In addition, the guitar solo is one of Bob Mothersbaugh's best, bridging the gap between a traditional country-western guitar solo ("Beautiful World") and a punk guitar solo ("Too Much Paranoias").

Plus, the song was great for a parody. When I went to college in Portland, a couple of us wrote "Flat-Head" in honor of TV/furniture salesman Tom Peterson.

But here's the original. Enjoy.

Block-Head (business)

(empo-tymshft) Time keeps on slippin'...slippin'...slippin'...

No, this is not a follow-up. But I guess it could be.

When my daughter was very young - this would have been around 1995 or so - I derived a strange enjoyment from telling her how old particular songs were. Perhaps a Hues Corporation song would come up, and I'd say, "That song was a hit 20 years ago."

Around that same time my wife, her brother (now deceased), his wife, and I would drive around and listen to "Disco Saturday Night" - a radio show which would play hits from around 20 years ago.

Well, time has marched on, and now the songs that were new at that time have now gotten old themselves.

This hit me on my drive home Monday evening, as I was listening to the radio. Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine" came on the radio. I still think of that as a relatively new song, not an old one like "Rock the Boat" or whatever. Yes, I know that the band's members have changed (no, they haven't broken up), but I still think of the song as relatively new.

And then it hit me - that song is nearly a quarter century old.

As I reflected on this, I remembered something else. One of my first blog posts was devoted to several Madonna songs, including my favorite, "Frozen." (Two years after writing that post, I irritated one of our exchange students by playing the song over and over.) And then it hit me - THAT song is twelve years old already.

Newer and newer music keeps on popping up, and the older music just gets older and older. You see this most clearly in the playlists of oldies stations. Back when I first moved to southern California - oldies stations played songs from the 1950s. Now you can rarely hear those songs on the radio any more, and oldies stations have now included 1970s songs in their playlists. Someday some old geezer will be sitting on the porch at the nursing home, saying, "Yeah, I remember slam dancing to Nirvana."

The one benefit of this whole affair is that since much of the music over the last 100 years has been preserved via recording, there is now a large amount of music which can be heard. This very blog has posted music that is nearly 80 years old.

The question is, now that all of this music is available to us for our listening pleasure, what are we going to do with it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Boys don't cry, but I did until I adopted my "two good songs per album" rule

Over twenty years ago, I decided to adopt a rule that I would never buy an album unless I liked at least two songs on the album. (Note that I adopted this rule before iTunes, or even Personics, allowed you to purchase individual songs.)

The sole reason that I adopted this rule was because of an album from the band Boys Don't Cry. I bought it on the strength of the song "I Wanna Be a Cowboy" - then discovered that I hated the rest of the album.

But oh, was that a good song.

But some people don't quite remember the 80s. In response to a question about who sang the song, one person answered,

im not sure but i think it was Adam Ant.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pay attention...

I just wrote a post in my Empoprise-BI business blog entitled In which I lose Louis Gray's "feeling betrayed" challenge. This post included the following sentence:

Thousands of miles away from Greenwich, Connecticut, Louis Gray began to draw a parallel with an event that occurred suddenly, last summer.

Perhaps you didn't notice it - and I'm not sure if Gray did - but I snuck a Motels reference into my post. Remember this?

Now, for extra credit: the title of this Empoprise-MU music blog post is "Pay attention..." What song is THAT from? (Hint: it's a 70s song.)

I'm Chevy Chase And You're Back in Annandale

I've read several books about the American television show Saturday Night Live (the Michaels-Ebersol show, not the Cosell-Arledge one, although I've also read a book that touched on the latter). Obviously Chevy Chase was a major figure in the SNL books that I read. Because of this, the books touched on Chase's previous career, including his National Lampoon work (e.g. "Lemmings") as well as the Groove Tube.

But it wasn't until I was reading one of Uncle John's bathroom readers that I discovered that Chase was at one point a member of Steely Dan.

Well, sort of. In the same way that Pete Shotton was a Beatle, Chevy Chase was a member of Steely Dan. You see, Chase was a member of a band that preceded Steely Dan. Specifically:

Donald Fagen meets Walter Becker at Bard College in Annandale-On Hudson, New York in 1967. Fagen, a piano player, hears someone playing blues guitar in a student lounge and decides he must introduce himself. He discovers Becker playing a red Epiphone guitar and finds that they share the same interests in music and ironic senses of humor. A partnership is born.

They form several college bands including "The Leather Canary" (which fellow Bard student Chevy Chase sat in with a couple of times) and "The Don Fagen Trio." Fagen and Becker also start to write songs together.

The band name Steely Dan wouldn't appear until several years later, on the west coast.

With Fagen on keyboards and vocals and Becker on bass, they decide to sign up guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and drummer Jim Hodder. With the core band recruited, Donald and Walter need a name for their group. Since both of them were avid readers of 1950's "Beat" literature, they decided to name the band "Steely Dan" after a dildo in William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch."

Chase stayed on the east coast and stayed involved in music ("Lemmings" was a musical), although he became better known for comedy. Jazz Times, however, sees a link between comedy and music:

Comics young and old swear by the magic of comedic timing, but Chevy takes it a step further by using a jazzman’s sense of timing in his comedy. An accomplished jazz pianist, he loves the improvisation and spontaneity essential in the best comedy and jazz.

But Chase's most famous musical moment is one in which he was not involved in the actual music being performed. He is the major person on-screen for a Paul Simon video - the second video to be created for "You Can Call Me Al." Wikipedia:

Paul Simon did not like the original music video that was made, which was a performance of the song Simon gave during the monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live in the perspective of a video monitor. A replacement video was conceived partly by Lorne Michaels and directed by Gary Weis, wherein Chevy Chase lip-synced all of Simon's vocals in an upbeat presentation, with gestures punctuating the lyrics. Simon wore a bored expression throughout the piece, while also lugging instruments into view (such as conga drums) to sync them with the audio track at the appropriate moments. The only time he sings was to provide the lower-pitched harmony on the phrases "If you'll be my bodyguard" and "I can call you Betty" in the chorus.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

Taking it to the streets - on the origins of street teams

The recent Wheat Thins stunt (see this Inquisitr post) got me thinking about the origins of street teams. They didn't originate in the corporate boardroom. You can thank Wu-Tang Clan for them.

Between March 1998-September 2001 there was an explosion in the youth market. Offline marketing Street Teams and online marketing began to grow rapidly out of the music industry's previous traditional techniques. The online street team model was born during this time from work done at Wu Tang Creative, Loud, Def Jam, Jive Records, and which was an affiliate of Loud Records. This blueprint would evolve into the now common multi-tier affiliate programs not to be confused with the click through model. In 1999-2000 Wu Tang began offering Wu Wear clothing online in exchange for promotional work in various countries. The idea of a global street team concept was born out of discussions between Loud Records and the Wu Tang Creative department Wu Creative. After a conversation with Rza from Hip Hop Group, Wu Tang Clan which was signed to Loud Records. Gibran [Burchett] suggested building an online community to create stickiness.

More here.