Sunday, October 28, 2012

"...I Am Big...It's The Venues That Got Small..."

What do Sean Penn, Warren Beatty, Carlos Leon, Guy Ritchie and Joe Gillis all have in common?
Stand by.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Madonna drew boos and triggered a walkout by several concertgoers after she touted President Barack Obama on her "MDNA Tour" in New Orleans.
The Material Girl asked during Saturday night's performance: "Who's registered to vote?" She added: "I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote for Obama." Drawing boos in touting Obama over Republican Mitt Romney, Madonna followed: "Seriously, I don't care who you vote for ... Do not take this privilege for granted. Go vote."

Madonna is often outspoken. Some Colorado fans, mindful of a mass shooting there, complained she used a fake gun to shoot a masked gunman in a recent concert act in Denver. A Madonna concert in Paris in July drew ire when a video showed a swastika on a politician's forehead.

Some inevitable facts.

Madonna Louise Ciccone is fifty four years old.

She is, of course, known as, simply, Madonna.

She is also, of course, affectionately known as "Madge".

Nicknames like that tend to occur when a singer evolves from electric to elder.

Cute Beatle Paul only became Macca after he passed the big five oh.

And we probably would have come up with something for Mick Jagger, too, but he, cleverly, never stands still long enough for us to tag him with anything.

Nothing wrong, in my book of dog eared pages, with older pop stars keeping the stage fires burning.

It only gets a little dicey when those older pop stars start straining just a little too much to keep it "hip".

Neither the aforementioned Paul nor Mick seem to have any other agenda than doing their songs and counting their money.

Madonna, on the other hand, seems to be headed toward the slippery slope of trying to stay "hip" with by mixing in social and/or political commentary amongst the greatest hits.

Nothing wrong with having an opinion.

Nothing worse, though, than trying to "be" relevant.

Relevance is not a pro-activity.

You either are.

Or you aren't.

As to the answer to the original question, what do all the aforementioned gentlemen have in common?

They are all, of course, former suitors/husbands/liasons of our Madge.

Joe Gillis?

Perceptive movie buffs will have nailed that from the first mention.

For those not so steeped in movie tradition, allow me.

Madonna is teetering ever so closely to that line across which she morphs from Madge into Baby Jane.

And, not to mix the movie metaphors, but my personal fear for her isn't so much that she will actually turn into Baby Jane.... much as it is she will turn into Norma Desmond.

"I'm ready for my close-up, go vote...."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"...Will Work For....Oh, Wait...."

Technology, for lack of a better word, is cool.

And I feel fortunate to have reached an age that ordinarily symbolizes a lack of understanding of and/or disdain for "new fangled" things without having a lack of understanding and/or disdain for "new fangled" things.

In this case, Mp3, digital download, Itunes, BeeMp3, Sound Cloud, Noise Trade, among many others.

No need to pry my Walkman from my cold dead fingers, kids, I'm totally jiggy with everything going on here.

And appreciate that the current generation of music makers has so many options available to them in terms of getting their music to the masses, in many cases bypassing the, at one time, only game in town of begging, borrowing and/or groveling to the establishment publishing houses, record labels, ad nauseum.

And, believe me youngsters, doing it that way generated very little in the way of ad and a whole lot in the way of nauseum.

So, you kids Sound Cloud and You Tube and Noise Trade, et al, your little musical hoofies to the quick.

The maze of musical success starts, always, with one obvious, essential fact of life.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Or as the young lottery minions love to lay on us...

You can't win if you don't play.

Personally, I really like the independant approach. I've long believed that the only thing standing between a whole lot of creativity and access by the masses to that creativity is the "approval" of the "experts" whose green light is necessary to pass Go and collect the record deal and/or $200.00.

This principle applies, by the way, to a number of industries, not the least of which being politics and broadcasting.

But's that's another blog bone for another picking time.

All of this love I feel for the "DIY" school of music making, though, gets just a little chillier with the addition of yet another "new fangled" thing.

The online solicit.

No, not the pitch for you to pay and download a singer's song.

I'm talking the "virtual tip jar".

I've seen this little "value added" showing up on a couple of three singer/songwriter type upload/download places lately as well as some less than subtle "hey, how about making a donation to help me get my CD finished?" type solicits on Facebook, etc.


I'm trying to imagine what response those who think this kind of currency quest is kosher might offer to my own take.

That high tech is cool.

Panhandling is not.

I hear "...ah, lighten up, it's just a grown up version of the lemonade stand or paper route....every kid wants to make a little extra coin.."

Uh, yeah.

The key things there being that in return for the dough you get a paper.

And a whole lot of sugar with some lemon water in it.

And there's that pesky "grown up" dealio, indicating that both of the newsprint and refreshing beverage "sellers" have yet to come close to experiencing puberty.

I hear " costs a lot of money to make CD's....and we should all chip in to help these kids make their dreams come true...."

Uh, yeah. It does cost a lot.

Uh, no, we shouldn't all necessarily chip in to make those dreams come true.


I hear..."you know, old man, in your day, it was possible for talented writers to get a songwriting deal with a publisher and they could live off the weekly draw they were given, but that's not really possible anymore...".

First, uh, yeah, it was possible.

And, uh, yeah, it's not all that easy to find anymore.

And, uh, I don't know of a single peer of mine from the time who, reading this, isn't enjoying a healthy guffaw at the notion of "living off the weekly draw".

Almost all of us, in one form or another, had something else going for us that seems to have gone totally out of fashion.

Tell you that one in a sec.

First, though, let me just sum it all up by offering that, again, I applaud the ambition of the up and comers to take available technology by the scruff and use it to get their musical messages out to whatever audience they can build.

But, when it comes to "brother, can you spare a dime (two bucks adjusted for inflation)?"..., I'm afraid this once upon a time songwriter is going to have to draw an old fashioned line.

Because "artist" is all very nice a name tag to wear when you're playing The Bluebird Cafe.

But when it comes to the real world, you might take a pass on passing the hat and wear the name tag that a lot of us have in our old shoe boxes, from that, uh, aforementiond currently out of fashion thing.

The one they give you when they hire you for the part time job.

"...Ruby Tuesday...Say Hello To Ben Gay...."

Admittedly partial...

And unlikely to be around to witness it for myself....

I respectfully request that some young person make a note to check out, and document, when the time comes, just what kind of a show Perry or Swift or Gaga or Mars or Mraz, et al, put on shortly after they turn 70.

No moss gathered here, far as the eye can determine.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"...The Answer, My Friend, Is A Really Dependable Alarm Clock..."

Morning radio is very much a good news/bad news way to make a living.

The bad news is having to get up at 3:45 AM to get to the studio in time to prep properly and do the kind of show I think listeners deserve.

The good news is having the opportunity to talk to a lot of interesting, even life changing, people.

Like Peter Yarrow....of Peter, Paul and Mary.

Enjoy....I'd love to hang around and listen with you but I gotta get to bed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"...Those That Can, Do...Those That Can't Usually Have A Byline..."

Good news for lawyers.

They can breathe easy.

There's a new number one.

Be right back with the details.
LONDON (Reuters) - The Rolling Stones released new single "Doom and Gloom" on Thursday, their first new song in over six years, and early reviews were mixed.
Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, the British rock veterans behind "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Honky Tonk Women" have gone back to their roots in a fast-tempo, blues track described variously as "gritty", "dirty" and "swampy".

Doom and Gloom is one of two new songs on their upcoming greatest hits album "GRRR!", which hits shelves on November 12, and there was a sense of relief among critics that the track sounded like the Stones of old.

"Received music industry wisdom has it that new Rolling Stones material exists purely to flog compilation albums or tour tickets," wrote Dan Silver in the Mirror tabloid.

"It's with some relief that we report it's actually rather good," he added in a three-out-of-five star review.

Neil McCormick of the Daily Telegraph also gave Doom and Gloom three stars, saying it was "business as usual" for the band and drawing comparisons between the song and the "basement rock" of their acclaimed 1972 album "Exile on Main Street".

Both critics argued that the song's weakest point was lead singer Mick Jagger's vocals.

"The best bit is when he stops singing and starts blowing," said McCormick of the harmonica interlude.

Silver praised the "nicotine-stained chords" of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards on guitars and Charlie Watts's "customary magic" on the drums, but added:

"If there's a weak link here then it's actually Jagger, who honks and caterwauls over the track like one of his own tribute artists. His extended enunciation is excruciating - almost to the point of parody in places."

Music magazine NME called Doom and Gloom a "'Gimme Shelter' for Generation Wii.

"The ... new Stones song ... is a revitalising reminder of what made them great in the first place, a tune that will sit seamlessly amongst their classics. Are you listening, Macca?" it concluded, in a challenge to ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.

Doom and Gloom and GRRR! are part of a series of events to celebrate half a century of the Stones, one of the world's most successful and influential rock and roll bands who started out on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee Club in London's Oxford Street.

The rockers walk the red carpet at the London film festival next week for the premiere of a documentary called "Crossfire Hurricane" and they also published a photograph album in July.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York stages a film retrospective opening on November 15 and the Stones are even helping to decorate London's famous Carnaby Street this Christmas.

As promised, here are the details.

Mick sounds like Mick.

And pretty damn good for any age, let alone 70.

Lawyers, meanwhile, have cause to celebrate.

They are no longer number one on the list of professions that most people hold up to scorn, ridicule and disdain.

There's a new arrival at the top of that chart.

Music critics.