Category: Music

…not writing about work. Or at least not writing about it here — not intermingling it with the rest of my life.

The thing is that I spend an awful lot of time doing it, talking about it, and thinking about it. When I’m not at work, I spend some precious moments with Cindy. When I’m not spending precious moments, I’m trying to unwind, relax, or sleep.

Writing about sleeping is probably not that interesting, and I’m pretty sure you don’t need to hear about a stranger’s lovey-dovey moments, so for this post at least, I’m going to stick with my own rules for this site, and just write about other stuff that’s going on with me at the moment.

I went to a jam session on Monday night at the Hole in the Wall. I really had a blast, and played the heck out of the first set. It’s funny — I knew I was loose before I even started playing, and that it would go well.

I guess it’s a self-confidence thing, but the reception I got was the best I’ve had since I started going to the jams again… Lots of compliments from other musicians, especially from bassists, whose opinion I feel more apt to respect than those of guitar players. (Just kidding… Not really…)

BB Campbell hosts the Monday night jams there, and he’s about as nice a host as there is. His thing is to make everyone feel like family, and I totally dig that. A welcoming scene is really important, especially at this level. In fact, that’s all that matters, at this level or any other. If people don’t feel welcome, they don’t come back.

On the wedding front, we (finally) got around to registering at a few places for gifts tonight. We really should have done it sooner if we actually expected to receive any gifts, but as they say, “better late than never.”

Also on the wedding front, I’m getting a bit behind on the favors. As you probably don’t remember, I’m making a DVD with a slideshow of pictures of the people who are coming to the wedding to support us, with special musical guests, The Beatles. The authoring is about 1/2 done, but then we have to burn the DVD-R’s, apply labels, and cram them into jewel cases. I’d say we’re at about 35% on this project.

More wedding stuff: We successfully bought the dress, and rented the tux, but at these are ancient history at this point.

Even more wedding stuff: We still have to send revisions of the ceremony text to the Justice of the Peace who’s performing the ceremony. Even more pressing, we haven’t written the text of our vows yet. Cindy and I both (I think) know in our hearts what needs to be said, but we need to hunker down and take the effort to put our feelings into words.

In the meantime, mom was just in town for the weekend. We were glad to see her, and I think we all had a good time. It was especially nice to see that she’s excited about the wedding, and for her to have a chance to spend some time with Cindy again before the knot gets tied. She even talked to Cindy’s mom on the phone.

Dad’s away in the Northwest, visiting houses and people. Next time I have a chance, I really should go visit my brother and his daughter.

My buddy Dave is in Germany doing music the “real” way. Too many other friends are too far away… But with so much to do, when should I go see them? After the wedding I suppose.

One last thing: Vote Kerry (a.k.a. “not Bush”)

Music

This Gizmodo post about a potential price-war in online music sales ends with a wish that music prices would decrease in general:

The upshot of all of this? Ignoring Wal-Mart’s initial lower-price entry into the music download space, this could be the start of the first legal music downloading price war. Apple probably won’t flinch (yet), but hopefully this is a sign of lower prices all around in the near future.

Tell you what. I couldn’t give a rat’s nasty bits about CD pricing. The real reason I haven’t been buying many CDs, and I strongly suspect the real reason that nobody else is either, is that the stuff that’s available from the major labels is, for the most part, and most simply put, crap.

I haven’t heard a new band in over a year whose album I thought was worth buying. Queens of the Stone Age comes to mind. They first started getting serious attention in the spring (or was it still winter) of last year. I can’t remember the last time before that, that I bought music from a new band. It was probably Soundgarden.

$1.00 a song is fine with me, especially since most new acts only have one, or a few songs really worth owning. Why’s that? Because the majors don’t do development deals anymore. They look for one-hit-wonders, with the outside chance that they’ll stumble on a social phenomenon like Nirvana. But for the moment, $1.00 a song is ok with me.

The last thing artists need is downward price pressure. They have enough trouble making any money from music sales as it is. What we really need is not price decreases, but rather labels that have some enlightened self-interest:

Labels who are willing to work with artists over longer time periods, either with development deals, or by putting young artists with potential in situations where they learn from more experienced artists.

Labels who are willing to spend a tiny bit less money on gigantic advertising campaigns, $100,000 cars for their executives, and extravagant mega-tours for the few big hit "acts". Instead, turn some of that moeny into a better standard of living, and some longer term financial security for the serious, and talented artists who aren’t lucky enough to have trust funds, or big tits and a tight ass for tour poster pictures.

Help the serious musicians do what they’re good at, and make some money, and have some fun in the process. It’s a fact: Treating your work-force well results in greater productivity. It’s been proven over and over, in all kinds of businesses.

And to other artists: Don’t put up with this crap anymore. Don’t sign the bad record deals. Insist on being treated better. Don’t be bullied into taking their shit because that’s all there is to get. Let’s get a clue here. Go grass-roots. DIY.

In the meantime, another year has passed in which I essentially bought no new music. I’ve had a budget for it, but there’s been nothing to buy. Until there is, I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.

Music

“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief,
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.”

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke,
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

— Bob Dylan

Music Politics