Monday, August 30, 2010

Why am I talking about cell phones in my music blog? Ask the NAB.

I think that Alan Reiter is angry. The use of phrases such as "amazing demonstration of arrogance" clued me in to Reiter's feelings.

You see, there's been a longstanding fight between the National Association of Broadcasters and the music industry. Normally people don't want to cheer for either of these entities, but the NAB is actually making the music industry look good.

You see, Reiter notes that there has been pending "legislation requiring radio stations to pay record labels and performers for playing songs over the air" - legislation that has been opposed by the NAB and others.

But the NAB is suddenly willing to allow these payments - as long as one teeny weeny little amendment is made to the legislation.

[T]he broadcasting industry wants Congress to mandate FM radios in all cellphones.

Reiter notes that the electronics industry opposes a mandate requiring them to put radios in their phones. (FCC DISCLOSURE: I was previously employed by Motorola.)

Reiter doesn't indicate how the cellular service providers feel about the whole thing, but I'm certain that it depends upon whether the service can be monetized. If Verizon, AT&T, et al can figure out a way to charge you to use an FM radio on a cellphone, you can bet that they'd be in favor of the deal.

But then the NAB would oppose the deal, because monetary limitations on access to the radio would adversely impact radio advertising revenues.

THEN who would we root for?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's the true spin on Soundgarden's bassist's living situation?

Keith Andrew (whom I've mentioned before, in relation to Edward Anatolevich Hill) posted something that alerted me to a story about Soundgarden's bass player, Ben Shepherd. The story appeared in SPIN Magazine, and opened with the following teaser:

One guy's homeless, one likes sleeping all day, one's in Pearl Jam, and one's Chris Cornell. Beloved '90s titans Soundgarden are back, but where are they going?

The quote that SPIN, and everyone else, focused on is this one:

After dinner, Shepherd, Thayil, and I cross the street to the bar at the Palace Kitchen. Shepherd buys me a beer, and I ask him where he lives.

"Nowhere," he says. "Literally. I've been sleeping on studio couches and at friends' houses. I'm totally broke." Shepherd is part owner of a bar 15 minutes from here called Hazlewood, but he says he sinks any money from it into the solo album he's been working on since last fall. Six months ago, he split with his girlfriend and moved out of their house. "This is my home now," he says, holding up the sides of his slightly gamey overcoat.

There was a ton of reaction to it...and eventually there was reaction from Ben Shepherd himself:

Ben responds to SPIN
Syndicate content August 24, 2010 - 6:58pm

I feel the banner saying that I am homeless was merely a sensationalizing stunt done by workers at SPIN magazine to sell their story, or make it seem more exciting than it actually is. It makes me feel embarrassed for the truly homeless people to be associated at all in any way with the likes of me. I seem to have been lucky, as most of you, in never having to survive day to day (on the streets) anyway.

Furthermore, my friends and family have always been by my side so I have never gone without love, care, food, compassion, and understanding. I would actually like to thank whatever editor that played this hand for helping once again bring to light the subject of the homeless and uncared for human beings of this dangerously bleak world. I humbly ask for whoever reads this to realize we are all in this together, and try to just remember that once in a while and not only at some convenient time.

I in no way refute what was written in the article, I say what I mean with someone else's alphabet, so it is no wonder to me that my blathering can be so easily 'shined up' or misinterpreted to whatever purpose, especially to a stranger who has no idea of my horrible humor, or my delusional ideas. There I was thinking i was on top of the world, doing what i love and GET to do- (music I mean)- sure I've been couch surfing but that's a far cry from the plight of many many millions of good people worldwide. I just don't want our loyal and most badderasser fans to be mislead, or a bad light to be shone upon my family or friends who have helped me and tried to help me get along. It would be wholly unfair of me after all this to not stand up for them. Now feck auf, thanks.


So if we believe Shepherd, either (a) David Peisner or (b) Peisner's editor was either (a) too dim to realize that Shepherd was exaggerating/joking, or (b) knew that Peisner was joshing, but figured that SPIN would sell more copies if the words were taken at face value.

But regardless of how we interpret the spin (or the SPIN), it's undeniable that Shepherd has had some tough times since Soundgarden broke up. But in a way that's understandable. Before I found Ben's side of the story, I had written the following at Keith Andrews' original item:

To be fair to the musicians - and, for that matter, to sports figures - a lot of them reach dizzyingly high levels of fame when they are relatively young - in their early 20s, or even in their late teens. You probably have a better insight on this than I do, but I shudder to think what could have happened to me if by some quirk I had achieved great fame and adulation at age 17, or even age 21.

For the record, Shepherd was approximately 22 years old when he joined Soundgarden, and approximately 29 when Soundgarden broke up. (And no, I don't know how old Keith Andrew was when Dryve came together in 1993.)

And, although I DON'T think this was the band's intent (or SPIN's), but the whole affair does bring publicity to Soundgarden in advance of its forthcoming album.

But forget all that. Here's the video.

But that isn't what you really want to hear. You really want to hear some Edward Anatolevich Hill, don't you?

Although the bass part in Hill's hit is pretty weak.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Pacific Island music (then - my KRRC radio theme songs)

Now I am certainly not an expert on Pacific Island music, but I have run across it from time to time.

Back when I attended Reed College, I had a show on the college radio station, KRRC. The show had a name (I named it after a former classmate who transferred out), an impressive advertising campaign (assembled via a typewriter, cut-outs from newspapers, and a photocopier), and a theme song. The theme song was taken from a record in the library (back then, the entire library consisted of records). The record included a collection of artists, and was entitled Hawaiian Steel Guitar 1920's To 1950's.

The theme song that I chose for my radio show was "Indiana March" by Roy Smeck. This was a fast number, played on the steel guitar in a semi-Hawaiian style. If Sousa had ever been forced to abandon brass and woodwinds, perhaps he could have played this march. I couldn't find an online copy of Smeck's rendition, but I did find a video with Sol Hoopii's version.

I used this as my radio show theme song for a while, but eventually I dropped it and switched to the next track on the same album, M. K. Moke's "Moana Chimes." This is a much slower number, very peaceful, and had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the music that I played during my radio show (your typical early 80s mixture of Devo, Talking Heads, Wall of Voodoo, and the like). Again, I couldn't find the original version, but I did find this tribute video.

But that was almost 30 years ago. What about now? Well, you'll have to go to my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog to find out more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stay employed - impersonate everybody H/T @joshhaley

Josh Haley recently shared a rather scary picture of Celine Dion with a microphone in one hand and a pointing finger on the other.

Except that the picture was not of Celine Dion. The picture was of a Celine impersonator named Gypsy Miller. Follow the link to see the picture, and what Gypsy/Celine can do:

Gypsy Miller performs all Celine Dion's hits,all in the original keys - no lip-synching! Her between song speaking voice, her moves, gestures, and attitude, as well as her ability to sing in both French and English make this one of the most amazing Celine impersonations ever seen.

But Miller does not merely rely on her ability to portray Celine Dion. She can also portray Cher:

Gypsy Miller's Cher Show is a high-energy performance that includes hits from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s as well as plenty of audience participation. She captures the voice, mannerisms, humor, and the spirit of Cher perfectly.

I wonder if she ever switches costumes during a performance so that she can portray both artists. A medley of "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "My Heart Will Go On" would make for an interesting show.

But Miller does not merely rely on her ability to portray Celine Dion and Cher. No, she has one more trick up her sleeve:

The term EllaVis was first coined to describe Gypsy Miller’s pioneering performance of Elvis "had he been born a woman".

Yes, Gypsy portrays a female Elvis impersonator, complete with jumpsuit or leather as needed.

The advantage of this is that no matter what happens to musical tastes in the future, Miller will probably be able to find work.

To see all three impersonations, see this video.

I found this video via Yes, apparently "Gypsy Miller" is a character also.

One more Celine video:

And no, that wasn't Gene and Paul - that was Destroyer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Real estate agent from the stars

There are all sorts of real estate agents throughout southern California, and many of them have websites. Here is the website for one of those agents, Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford.

The musical notes that surround Rutherford's name are no accident, since Rutherford, under her maiden name of Marilyn Rovell, was a member of a 1960s girl group called The Honeys. However, she is more famous in musical circles for being the first wife of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, and being the mother of two thirds of Wilson Phillips.

Rutherford uses her past as an opening to talk about the present. When people ask about her musical fame, it offers her an opening to transition to real estate talk.

She knows her past is a big part of who she is today. And she knows that soon enough the conversation will turn to the present and her work as one of the Westside’s premier real estate professionals. And soon you’ll be talking about the most important issue at hand...your future and your real estate goals.

Having lived in southern California for her entire life, she obviously has an understanding of the area.

Since 1994, Marilyn has been putting her own creative stamp on Brentwood real estate. As one of the premier real estate professionals on the Westside, she simply never compromises when it comes to helping her clients achieve their goals. Her genuine passion for life and her career is music to the ears of buyers and sellers alike because they know that when they work with Marilyn, she simply won’t quit until she’s helped them achieve the results they’re after....

For Marilyn, her career, like life itself, is all about harmony. It’s about using her knowledge, insight and experience in Westside real estate to bring buyers and sellers together and create winning results for both. It’s about carefully listening to the goals and aspirations of her clients and then matching them with the ideal property to turn those dreams into reality. But more than anything, it’s about truly making a positive difference in the lives of those who put their trust in her each and every day.

I don't anticipate that I'll be buying a house in Brentwood any time in the near future, but if you plan to do so, this is presumably a real estate agent who will make you Smile.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fleetwood Mac - harmony?

It's ironic to apply the word "harmony" to the mid-1970s/early-1980s version of Fleetwood Mac (see my previous post on the various versions of the band), since their personal relationships were anything but harmonic. But despite everything, Christine, Stevie, and Lindsey still managed to come up with the best vocal harmonies this side of the Beach Boys.

Take a listen to Little Lies.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Charley Sherwood Cryer, musical movie hero?

When considering musical movies, you have both the people in front of the camera, singing and playing, and those behind the camera, doing what needs to be done to get the movie out and get people singing the tunes.

Until recently, I had never heard of Charley Sherwood Cryer, but learned about him via The Music's Over, as supplemented by a comment from Cryer's daughter.

Charley Sherwood Cryer, born in 1926, was known professionally as Sherwood Cryer. A welder at Shell, he opened up a club named Shelly's in Pasadena, Texas. But things began changing when he ran into a musician named Mickey Gilley, who at the time was not as well known as his more famous cousin Jerry Lee - and perhaps Jimmy was better known at the time also. They teamed up, the club was renamed Gilley's, and Cryer added an attraction:

Gilley's didn't really begin to take off until after Cryer installed a mechanical bull for all the pipe-fitters and glass-cutters to work out some of their aggression somewhere besides each other. Gilley and most of the club's other performers hated it, but it was making too much money for Cryer to shut down....

Eventually the club caught the attention of some people who wanted to make a movie about urban cowboys. The Music's Over:

When the Urban Cowboy filmmakers wanted to recreate the bar on a sound stage, it was Cryer who convinced them to film the now-famous scenes right there in the club.

But massive success spelled the end of Gilley's as the partners split up and the building burned to the ground in 1989. Cryer subsequently owned an establishment in Deer Park called G's Ice House, as documented in this aggravated assault case that occurred on the premises.

Cryer died in August, 2009, age 81.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Orelsan and The Toxic Avenger, "N'importe Comment"

Jake Kuramoto shared this video because of its IRL references to online life. Kuramoto learned of the video via Europopped:

Orelsan and his friend The Toxic Avenger love Facebook. The Frenchmen love it so much they've made an entire video, filmed in Venice, featuring the social networking site.

The Toxic Avenger's MySpace page is here. And if you're worried about Orelsan literally poking women, some have accused him of worse things:

[A]n online video of a song he wrote two years ago, Sale Pute (Dirty Slut), came to the attention of feminists for its explicitly violent lyrics about beating up a girlfriend caught cheating. "If I break your arm, consider that we parted on good terms," was a rare printable lyric from his sexually explicit descriptions of violence.

Women's groups and the Communist party denounced "an incitement to hatred against women" and called for the rapper to be banned from one of France's biggest rock festivals...Le Printemps de Bourges. The Socialist party supported the call, stressing that France was battling high levels of violence against women.

The government joined the outcry, and the culture minister, Christine Albanel, asked YouTube and its French equivalent, Dailymotion, to remove the video from their sites.

I don't know if any French politicians have complained about the poking yet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If you don't know what a "record store" is, don't go to the Vinyl Frontier in McHenry, Illinois

When I was growing up, I usually bought my music on round pieces of vinyl. Nowadays people don't even buy music in tangible form - it's just electrons and stuff.

But you don't have to download your music from Apple and Amazon. There's a store in my area called Rhino Records (and other similar stores), and there's a store in RoadDog's area called Vinyl Frontier.

View Larger Map

Friday was...a visit to the Vinyl Frontier in McHenry, one of the last local mom and pop record stores.

Spent a lot of time looking for CDs and talking with the owner...[who] showed my why analog is better than digital.

That is something I like about going to record stores that there is no way you're going to get it downloading. I feel sort of sorry for kids who will never get this opportunity.

Their MySpace page (hey, they're a music store) is

Friday, August 6, 2010

John Anderson, "Swingin'"

Ever since I wrote this post in my Empoprise-BI business blog, I can't get this song out of my head.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blurred Vision @b_v_music authorized (authorised) by Roger Waters

When a new artist chooses to appropriate and modify the work of an existing artist, sometimes the relationship goes smoothly, while sometimes it doesn't.

The band Blurred Vision has released a video which adapts the Pink Floyd song "Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2)" to the specific situation in Iran. The new title is "Another Brick In The Wall (Hey Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone!)," and the lyrics have also been modified.

So how did Pink react? According to the Telegraph:

Roger Waters, a founding member of Pink Floyd, gave the rights to Blurred Vision, a duo living in Canada, to remake the classic under the title Another Brick in the Wall (Hey Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone).

Here is the video.

Some time ago, Brain Damage posted a quote from Jeffrey Morgan about the song:

"Rarely in the history of rock 'n' roll does a cover version come along that actually dares to exist at the right reactionary time. By cleverly updating Pink Floyd's 1979 iconic protest anthem "Another Brick In The Wall" exactly thirty years to the month that it was originally released, Blurred Vision are wielding their activist music as an irresistible force irrevocably set in motion to shake up the staid conventions of repressive regimes and show solidarity with common street soldiers everywhere. Thanks to Blurred Vision, the revolution will be downloaded."

Blurred Vision's website is here, which lists all the usual social media accounts, including the Twitter account @b_v_music.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A stunning example of band evolution

There have certainly been bands that have changed their sound over the years. Sometimes this is because of a change in interest of the band members - the Beatles come to mind here. And sometimes it is because of personnel changes - Van Halen and Genesis come to mind here.

But probably the most vivid example of a popular band undergoing a dramatic change in sound has to be Fleetwood Mac. Just take a listen to "Albatross" and "Gold Dust Woman." Go ahead, I'll wait.

While the bass and drums - the "Fleetwood Mac" part of Fleetwood Mac - remained constant over this period, all of the treble underwent a wholesale change. Blues fanatics were replaced by a melodic Englishwoman and two melodic Americans. Now Albatross was of course an instrumental, but the mid-1970s Fleetwood Mac certainly hit on some wonderful three-part harmonies.

And the guitar. How does one compare Peter Green and Lindsey Buckingham, two guitarists with very distinctive styles?

In 1999, Peter Green answered some questions about Fleetwood Mac after his departure:

First of all, I would like to thank you very much, Mr. Green, for taking the time to answer our questions. It really means a lot. My question is: What did you think of Fleetwood Mac's evolution from a heavy blues band in the late 60s, to a Rock/Pop group in the 70s and 80s? You did start Fleetwood Mac as a blues band, so what did you think when they became so popular playing a different type of music? (Josh Williams, East Liverpool, Ohio, USA)

It was a natural progression from blues to middle of the road stuff. I was very pleased for them when they became successful with Lindsey and Stevie.

How do you feel about the guitarists who followed you in Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham, Rick Vito, etc.) ? Also, when you briefly worked with the band on TUSK, how did you feel about working with Lindsey as a producer? (Beau, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)

I don't know what I feel about them. I was quite ill at the time that they popular. I felt that they had a more technical technique than I did. I didn't play guitar on the "Tusk" album.

In a separate interview, Lindsey talked about his influences, which weren't necessarily Chicago blues:

How did you get started on guitar?

I started playing guitar first of all when i was eight, because my older brother used to bring home all the Elvis records, Buddy Holly, the old Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis. Then I got into folk stuff and acoustic fingerpicking.

One influence was interesting.

What rock guitarists did you later get into?

I guess Eric Clapton and that whole thing--but at the time I wasn't into playing that stuff much. Peter Green, oddly enough, has a little bit of influence on me, because Then Play On [Reprise, 6368] was released around that time. I really liked his style of playing where a few notes mean a lot--even one note.

Now I don't know if Buckingham has ever played "Albatross," and I don't know that Peter has ever accompanied a singer on "Gold Dust Woman," but I'd love to hear the results. And of course you can hear Rick Vito taking the lead on "Albatross".