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Friday, November 7, 2008

Willie Nelson's Letter to President-elect Obama

Dear President-elect Barack Obama,

As President of Farm Aid, I'd like to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly congratulate you on your historic victory. I'd also like to offer you every resource that Farm Aid has available to assist you in creating a new farm and food policy that supports a sustainable family farm system of agriculture.

I started Farm Aid in 1985 when family farmers were being forced off their land as a result of federal policy that paved the way for industrial agriculture. This shift replaced independent family farmers with factory farms that have wreaked havoc on our communities, our environment and our public health.

There is broad agreement that our farm and food system needs to be drastically reworked. The good news is that the work of building an alternative to the industrial food system is well underway and Farm Aid is proud to have been a leader in this work, something we call the Good Food Movement. The Good Food Movement has grown and thrived almost entirely without the support of the federal government. However, now is the right moment for the leadership of our country to take a role in this important movement. In fact the future of our economy, our environment and our health demand it.

Our family farmers are a national resource with incredible potential to be the protagonists in solving the challenges we currently face. Family farmers are on the cutting edge of thriving local food systems and economies, alternative energy production and environmental stewardship. Family farmers are marketing the fruits of their labor close-to-home at farm stands, farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs), helping local money to circulate in local communities where it can do the most good. Family farmers are growing green energy and harnessing the power of the sun and wind. They are transitioning to sustainable production methods to grow food that is good for our health and our planet. These steps are strengthening our local economies, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, protecting our natural resources and increasing our national security.

As the national organization working on behalf of family farmers for the last 23 years, Farm Aid has helped family farmers stay on the land, organized communities to fight factory farms in their own backyards, and educated eaters about the choices they can make to guarantee healthy, fresh food from family farms. Over our history, we have grown, partnered with, and sustained a network of more than four hundred grassroots farm and food organizations across the nation. As you begin to implement programs to support a family farm system of agriculture, Farm Aid and our vast resource network is here to work with you.

Now is the time for our country to recognize and call on family farmers' ingenuity, strength and value to our past and our future. We can have strong local economies, green energy, a clean environment, healthy citizens and good food—all of these start with family farmers. I look forward to working with you to make this vision of a family farm system of agriculture a reality.

Stay Strong and Positive,

Willie Nelson
Farm Aid

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Elected - A Great Day in America

I was wrong about the Rays and I was wrong about Barack Obama (by supporting Hillary Clinton), but I couldn't be happier. November 4, 2008 will be remembered as one of the greatest days in American history.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

World Series prediction (American League wins), CMJ in town

It's not "Bizarro Baseball" anymore, the Rays won the AL Pennant! I predict they will go all the way and win the World Series too.

Reggie Jackson has something to say about "The Race for Mr. October" in USA Today, and his player by player predictions are pretty interesting, but also self-revealing. Of Pat Burrell he said, "He's a guy who can get hot and kill you. He can bust loose at any time. Here's a guy trying to get a new contract, and guys like this figure out how to play well when it counts." Reggie is still a great interview, just not when you go up to him in the stands and say you were a fan. The dude ignored me and I was in the seat behind him! I'm still into Reggie, however.

George Vecsey of the Times wrote a great overview of the Rays and their climb from the cellar.

The press is focused on the Rays, and I hope it doesn't hurt them. Evan Longoria in the NY Times today.

The LA Times had a nice article about the presence of African Americans on the Rays, similar to a story Sports Illustrated did last summer.

Who has the better pitching and bullpen? What players will get the clutch hits? I think we should expect most of the games to be squeakers but I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of bombs and a football score in there too.

My prediction: Rays in 6.

The Rays "Beat the Devil" (AP)

Tropicana Field has some idiosyncrasies!


But the big story that the annual college radio conference CMJ is in town. This is my 25th trip to the Music Marathon. I wonder what the requirements should be for the College Radio Hall of Fame? There will be more corporate sponsorship at this conference than ever before. The bands have a tougher climb to success, but an easier one to notoriety than ever.

As the oldest in the conference, I must ask "The Four Questions":

1. Is Cheeseburger the next Replacements? What does it mean to "win" CMJ?
2. In olden times, the bands would hope to get signed to a major label deal, etc. Who are they hoping to impress by performing this year?
3. Are college radio people put off by advertisements mixed in with their music or are they numb to marketing?
4. On this night we dip our herbs twice, why?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Free Posters of Bob Marley, Nirvana, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Kiss from Universal

Universal Music Group's catalog division, UME, wants our text addresses, but is willing to give a free poster in exchange for the info. They aren't the most attractive posters but they are some of the best artists ever, and I personally signed up to receive a Nirvana and a Bob Marley.

In the future, you can bet that the lists they generate from these six icons will be used to promote similar artists, but these appeal to 30+ for the most part. It will be interesting to see how they are used in the future.

I am only sorry that some of the other icons of UMG's catalog such as Coltrane and Muddy Waters don't have the same brand/demographic identity.

Considering I used to take a train just to visit a shop that would have a poster for sale of some of these bands, a free poster in exchange for your text message may not be a bad deal! Good luck to Mike Davis, Jeff Moskow, Melissa Westfall, Elliot Kendall and all my people at UME!

Sign up now! Simply text "VoteMusicNow" and either Nirvana, The Who, Marley, Kiss, Marvin or Hendrix to 30303. They have us now but I can think of worse lists to be on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jim McGuinn Knows Which Way the Wind Blows

In compiling some e-clippings, I ran across this video of WXPN, Philadelphia's Jim McGuinn promoting their event, 885 Essential XPN songs.

Jim is host of XPN's YRock, XPN's nighttime programming that is a bit younger and cutting edge. Y100 was Philadelphia's alternative rock station up until a year or two ago when it went Reggaeton. It's a similar idea to when they started playing classic/adult rock about 15 years ago -- play songs that have been retired by other stations as they are still hits in that city.

I love seeing Bruce Warren in the background reprising Allen Ginsburg's role in the original video.

Enjoy a visit to if you haven't already. These guys do a great job.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

mike watt + the secondmen benefit Friday 10/17

watt hit me off with his flow today, including the sweet picture you see of "sunrise in pedro - october 15, 2008" and a mention of a few gigs coming up. tomorrow, friday 10/15, watt + the secondmen (the ORIGINAL secondmen, pete mazich and jerry trebotic) in a benefit for the san pedro skate park. the show is at the old news pilot building, 356 w. seventh in pedro, $5, all ages.

what could be cooler than watt being asked to pitch in to help the kids of pedro to have a place to do their thing? i told watt to think of all the bones that will break there in the future as he plays tomorrow night.

Sonic Youth live in Bolzano Italy

Adding a new feature to the earbender blog, the follow-up story with video. Here is a nice clip from the show celebrating the opening of the multi-disciplinary exhibition "Sensational Fix."

Can anybody suggest a good cheap camera for web video and pics?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Philadelphia Phantoms and Linda Creed Night

The big game in Philly tonight is not the Dodgers against the Phillies. It will be just across the street as The Philadelphia Phantoms minor league hockey team opens their season, the last to be played in the legendary Spectrum.

While there is NO mention of it on the Phantoms page and no one responded to an inquiry to their Facebook page, The Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation has arranged so that any tickets sold through their site would result in a $5 donation to the charity. Click here for more info.

Linda Creed was a great artist who died VERY young at 37 after a ten year battle w/breast cancer. Some of her compositions include: "You Are Everything," "Betcha By Golly Wow," "I'm Stone in Love with You," "People Make the World Go Round," "Break Up to Make Up" and "The Greatest Love of All." Linda Creed is in the Songwriting Hall of Fame.

As mentioned earlier on this site with stories about the Def Leppard and Ray Castoldi events and the recent Bobby Orr commercial, I'm keeping an eye on the marketing/promo/entertainment activities that connect sports, music and various demographics for fun and profit.

I stopped by the NHL Store where they held an opening week Fan Fest on the corner of 46th St. and 6th Avenue in Manhattan today. The Zambonis played in nice new sweaters and toques, Dave Schultz appeared, a beautiful new Honda was being given away, and it seemed like just a few hundred people over the course of the afternoon participated. THOUSANDS must have walked by, totally uninterested. They must improve their creative and execution, it was a bit embarrassing. Of course, there is a skating rink just a few blocks away that they ignore.

Incidentally, the Flyers have really disappointed me by jumping on the Sarah Palin bandwagon by allowing her to drop the puck for their home opener tomorrow against the Rangers. Not because it's bad marketing but because they are in a swing state and I'm rooting for Obama.

Sonic Youth "Sensational Fix" Exhibit Opens in Italy

Sonic Youth are the subject of "Sensational Fix," a new "multidisciplinary" exhibit featuring the band's work with various visual artists, designers and musicians curated by Roland Groenenboon and the band that opens tomorrow in Bolzano, Italy. Sonic Youth will play a show there to mark the event as well.

The exhibit will also go to Dusseldorf, Germany (1/31-4/26/09), Malm, Sweden (5/29-9/20/09).

According to the catalog:

"Through the multidisciplinary output of Sonic Youth and related works by other artists in the exhibition, an alternative history of contemporary culture is being uncovered in which the division between 'high art' and 'low art' is being called into question, while issues are explored such as teenage rebellion, adolescent wanderlust, gender, fame, fashion, sexuality, and religion. In the exhibition, those different themes related to the band are presented in several chapters based on Sonic Youth song titles, which form satellites around a central space that focuses on Sonic Youth paraphernalia."

Saucer-like is one of the best pages about the band.
Smells like... Records is a good place to visit if you want to score some Sonic Youth "paraphernalia"as well as their self-released SYR series and artists such as Chris Lee, Tony Scherr and Two Dollar Guitar.

Is this Sonic Youth's response to the Rock Hall of Fame? If their heroes the Stooges just got in, maybe they don't mind waiting. I expect Sonic Youth to be inducted in the next year or two, hopefully they won't have to wait like the Goose. Either way, they are museum-quality.

Besides, how credible is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without the inclusion of Yes? (and how credible is Yes without the inclusion of Jon Anderson?)

Bobby Orr's Knee and 25% OAC

Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr stars in this new commercial from Mastercard. He was a hell of a player, a defenseman who could play intense offense, usually taking the puck the entire length of the ice before scoring. Whatever highlight reels existed in the 70s, he dominated them.

Watching this commercial, I think of all the other players they could have easily done the same idea with. Joe Namath comes to mind but who had more scars than Evel Knievel? Anyhow, much respect to Bobby Orr and happy hockey season to all!

Thanks to the Globe and Mail who ran an excellent Bobby Orr interview alongside the vid.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Springsteen in Philly for Obama

"I am glad to be here today for this voter registration drive and
for Barack Obama, the next President of the United States.

I've spent 35 years writing about America, its people, and the
meaning of the American Promise. The Promise that was handed down
to us, right here in this city from our founding fathers, with one
instruction: Do your best to make these things real. Opportunity,
equality, social and economic justice, a fair shake for all of our
citizens, the American idea, as a positive influence, around the
world for a more just and peaceful existence. These are the things
that give our lives hope, shape, and meaning. They are the ties
that bind us together and give us faith in our contract with one

I've spent most of my creative life measuring the distance between
that American promise and American reality. For many Americans,
who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their
retirement funds disappear, who have no healthcare, or who have
been abandoned in our inner cities. The distance between that
promise and that reality has never been greater or more painful.

I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in
his own life and in his work. I believe he understands, in his
heart, the cost of that distance, in blood and suffering, in the
lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president, he would work
to restore that promise to so many of our fellow citizens who have
justifiably lost faith in its meaning. After the disastrous
administration of the past 8 years, we need someone to lead us in
an American reclamation project. In my job, I travel the world, and
occasionally play big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I've
continued to find, wherever I go, America remains a repository of
peoples hopes, possibilities, and desires, and that despite the
terrible erosion to our standing around the world, accomplished by
our recent administration, we remain, for many, a house of dreams.
One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never
be able to tear that house down.

They will, however, be leaving office, dropping the national
tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis in our laps.
Our sacred house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a
terrible state of disrepair. It needs care; it needs saving, it
needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for
power or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts, and minds. It
needs someone with Senator Obama's understanding, temperateness,
deliberativeness, maturity, compassion, toughness, and faith, to
help us rebuild our house once again. But most importantly, it
needs us. You and me. To build that house with the generosity that
is at the heart of the American spirit. A house that is truer and
big enough to contain the hopes and dreams of all of our fellow
citizens. That is where our future lies. We will rise or fall as a
people by our ability to accomplish this task. Now I don't know
about you, but I want that dream back, I want my America back, I
want my country back.

So now is the time to stand with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, roll
up our sleeves, and come on up for the rising."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Big TV tonight

Sites to get you fired up for the debate:

KTOO, Juneau has recordings of the 2006 debate between Palin, Halcro and Knowles (which she won apparently). I will never forget their music director Jeff Brown playing the saw at the community radio conference in Wisconsin, way back in 1986! Their logo used to be the Big Dipper.

Aliza Sherman is an internet veteran (Cybergrrl, etc.) who lives in Anchorage. Her page includes very detailed info on Sarah Palin.

Andrew Halcro lost to Palin in 2006 -- he might be a little biased as well as carrying the L.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Springsteen at the Super Bowl, Old Dylan Streams A New Bootleg

This week it was announced that Bruce Springsteen, once hailed as "the new Dylan" would be performing during halftime of the Super Bowl. This has become a classic rock slot since Janet Jackson's wardrobe failure, with Prince, U2, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney jumping in over the past few years.

Prince was typically great, but with Bruce, there may be a need to chime in on the set list. He is one of the greatest live performers in the history of rock, but frequently does massive shows based on his mellower, more serious, less-than-great music from his past few albums. As I have said many times, The Rising was great for its intention, not its execution. At least we can be happy that he put the band back together, and that Magic includes some retro vibes and decent songs.

In order to avoid the horrible results of his appearance at the Harley-Davidson Anniversary, I recommend the following hit-laden set for my Boss. If you really want to split hairs on this topic, hit Ben Lazar's page.

1. Born to Run
2. Radio Nowhere
3. Prove it All Night
4. Dancing in the Dark
5. The Rising

If you want a slow one, how about "I'm on Fire" because it's short (and they can dub in Dominic Barbara too).

Let's assume Obama has just taken office and there is a hopeful vibe in the country at the end of January.

And in case you were wondering why "old Dylan" was mentioned in the title, it was because NPR Music is streaming the new album "The Bootleg Series Volume 8: Tell Tale Signs." How much do we love the Bootleg Series? It's now about 20 years old and has been a big part of Dylan's resurgence. The loosely-based emphasis shifts from out-takes to live shows to unreleased, unfinished. A lot of bands should copy this idea...

For example, if only the Stones could manage to do something like this instead of reissuing the same stuff over and over. I would also love them to do an acoustic, Willie-type show in a stadium, but they don't have the guts. The second half of their 45 year career has been about "milking the kids" (as watt would say). They never listen to me, but the Wingless Angels did.

I'm also looking forward to Prince's collaboration with Randee St. Nicholas, the photo book called 21 Nights that documents his recent performances in London.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ray Castoldi, Def Leppard to Perform for NHL Season Openers

Def Leppard, one of the major bands of the 80s "hair" movement, will perform to launch the 2008-9 NHL season on Rocktober 9 in Detroit at the Fox Theatre. Def Leppard have a lot of hits but they are also pumping a relatively recent "arena-inspired" song called "C'mon, C'mon." If you are in the demo, get on board!

I personally never heard Def Leppard after the early MTV years but met them working at Island in the 00s. They are a great bunch of guys and have one of the more distinctive road managers too, Malvin. He's about 5 feet tall but you would not want to tangle w/him, the dude runs a tight ship and has seen a lot. You also get the whole British vibe too. There are so few British bands, and it's such a bummer the accent gives them instant charisma and connection to the classics.

One of the things that impressed me about DL was their connection to Ian Hunter, whose Mott the Hoople music was inspirational to the band. (See below for a great Mott documentary)

Here is Joe Elliot working the crowd by wearing a jersey of a local team:

Says the NHL's SVP of Broadband and New Media Production Andre Mika, "Def Leppard is one of the legendary all-time rock bands. They're a terrific fit for our demographic. We have a demographic that loves this type of music. And we love working with Def Leppard because some of the songs off their new album are very hockey friendly."

They know how to promote! Here they are hitting their demo on the Ellen show a few years back. Beware: this video contains some embarrassing soccer mom fist-pumps.

Hopefully, there will be some Def Leppard played at the party for the Rangers' Czech opener on October 4 at the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria NY! Sounds like a fun time and the Rangers are putting in a nice effort: Ranger great Ron Duguay and the legendary Madison Square Garden organist Ray Castoldi is set to perform!

If you would like to know more about Hockey and music, check out the Hockey Music Forum! Vibes as well to my friend Ronnie Ron Poster of the Boston Bruins, who introduced me to Ray as well as the late Eddie Layton.

The bottom line is I'm looking past baseball season.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Adios Shea Stadium, and "Love for Money" the new video by Willie The Kid featuring Trey Songz, Gucci Mane, Bun B, LA the Darkman and Yung Joc

With Willie Nelson in town following Farm Aid last weekend, and a lot of posts about baseball, I couldn't resist Miss Theda's pitch "don't sleep on this joint... post this up now!!!" in her recent email. I felt I needed to do something music-oriented, and less classic/adult oriented too.

I also caught what was probably my last game at Shea Stadium last night, continuing on the old vibes. It's so weird that they are knocking down these buildings that I thought would last forever. A few Shea highlights for me include playoff games in 1986, sparsely attended, post-Seaver games in the late 70s, Mayor's Trophy games, concerts like The Who (with The Clash opening, coming out on cd next month), The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel and a pair of Springsteens, Jet games that were very cold, and many, many Met games. Maybe there was no Babe Ruth on the Shea field who played for the Mets other than Tom Seaver, but there were countless greats from other teams who played there, and who we often went there to see. A few of these that I saw include Pete Rose (who I saw hit his 2,995th hit), Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, Dave Parker, Cesar Cedeno, George Hendrick, Lou Brock, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and countless others. It was the park I went to the most as a youth, paying $1.50 for a GA.

After a game in September 1979, me and my friends figured out how to sneak into the US Open and saw Bjorn Borg vs. Jimmy Connors that day, and John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl on repeated trips combining baseball and tennis.

One thing the new stadium will also have is deafening LaGuardia Airport traffic flying overhead.

As Willie the Kid says, "Love for Money." is a site run by my friend Theda Sandiford, covering technology, hip hop, r&b, culture and politics. Stop by when you can!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yankee Stadium, Jack White with Alicia Keys Quantum of Solace theme

It's been a long goodbye to the old place in the Bronx, and here are my two cents on the demise of Yankee Stadium. I will feel just as bad when Shea goes next week.

In my opinion, they should both live on, but I also realize I don't own the teams!

I will most definitely enjoy seeing the teams in the new places. It will be a 21st Century experience, and I'm looking forward to next season -- for a lot of reasons. Maybe the Dodgers will prove to be Manny's underground railroad to the Bronx!
So here are a few that come to mind:

  • Aaron Boone hitting the clinching homer in 2003 (after texting Lyor Cohen who we observed towering over the front row to "get us some runs.")
  • Early games in the REAL old Yankee Stadium, including one vs. the Red Sox in 1973.
  • Various World Series and Playoff Games, 1997-2007, including Tino's bomb.
  • Thurman Munson, Goose Gossage, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Graig Nettles, Lou Piniella, Mickey Rivers, Bobby Murcer, Willie Randolph, Ed Figueroa, Dick Tidrow, Sparky Lyle, Roy White and so many more in the 70s
  • Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Ken Griffey, Butch Wynegar, Mike Pagliarulo, Jim Wynn, Dave Righetti, Tommy John, Phil Neikro, Don Baylor and a few other funny teams in the 80s and early 90s.
  • Derek Jeter any time but especially on defense, and for a clutch hit most any time the team has needed one.
  • Opposing stars blast massive homers like Manny Ramirez, Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., George Brett and David Ortiz.
  • The 21 inning battle I saw in the 80s vs. the Orioles, at the time the longest AL game ever
  • Bob Sheppard announcing players (like Alvaro Espinosa and Shigetoshi Hasegawa) with "the voice of God"

Tom Verducci wrote a really sad one for SI's cover story. This is one time the curse will definitely come true, but I was heartened by the letters about Tom Brady showing his knee on the cover recently, and the details about Bob Sheppard leading the prayer group in the umpires' locker room.

The Daily News picked 15 great moments of their own.

My mom's friend from Forest Hills High School, Paul Simon wrote a nice remembrance too. It's going to go on for many years after this weekend.

and finally, a little treat from FMQB and J Records, the new James Bond theme, "Another Way to Die," by Jack White featuring Alicia Keys!

or download the song on FMQB's page here

Life goes on!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Daniel Craig is a good James Bond, but there's only one Jon Anderson

Daniel Craig makes an excellent James Bond, and thanks to so many actors playing the part over the years, we are used to turnover and can adapt to new people in the classic role. I definitely believe Sean Connery was the best James Bond, but the newest guy is good and considering Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton, a real comeback.

On the contrary, however, the chemistry of a band is one that can't change even the slightest amount without a noticeable difference, especially when its a singer. For a singer as distinctive as Yes leader Jon Anderson, it's a real let-down. I happened to have seen them in 1980 when Anderson and Wakemen were replaced by The Buggles, and it was not good. Most people left or didn't come -- they changed lineup after the tickets were sold! "Tempus Fugit" was an inspiring single, however.

I hope my friend and Jon Anderson is ok and gets well enough to get back on stage soon. And many more trips around the Sun to him too. I have seen Yes 13 times over a 25 year period (1979-2004)!!!! Here's the article from Billboard.

Jon Anderson, musician, California, Earth on MySpace

And here's the real deal, performing "And You and I"

Back to Bond...

The BBC has the most info, so I have generally steered clear of it. Yahoo! has a lot of different trailers to enjoy.

I'm not looking that closely but it seems like there is a lot being built on Casino Royale. I wonder if they will redo the Sean Connery films with Daniel Craig. One that is very underestimated and doesn't fit in because of George Lazenby is "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."

Unlike most critics and even my friend Theda, I enjoyed the Roger Moore era very much, especially the first few, "Live and Let Die," "The Man with the Golden Gun" and especially "The Spy Who Loved Me." They did fall off with "Moonraker," "Octopussy" and "A View to A Kill." Somehow I feel I am missing a Roger movie here.

Here's the new dude in action!:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bob Dylan, Muckety and Colossus

With a big release around the corner, Bob Dylan's people have made a song from the new album "Bootleg Series Volume 8: Tell Tale Signs" available as a free zip file. How nice to be able to spread the word on your favorite artists (see Byrne/Eno below too). I can maybe get into this whole internet music revolution.

Click here to download "Dreamin of You."

You may also notice on Dylan's site a pretty impressive page that illustrates Dylan's past tour dates on a 3d globe!

I'm very into graphic data representations and there were a lot of them at MOMA's exhibition "Design and the Elastic Mind."

Bob's people may have also snagged the idea from

But the ultimate graphic data imaging was done by the folks I saw do it first, Marvel, Connections, Theta.

A couple of music sites into a similar idea include MusicMesh and TuneGlue.

Check it out and let me know who did it better - Bob Dylan or the Colossus!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sonic Youth Rules the Earth, Closes McCarren Pool

I happened to catch the incredible Sonic Youth at McCarren Pool's final show before the renovation last weekend. The band delivered on its reputation with a set that commenced with two previously unheard songs and drew on all periods of the band's career.

My period of Sonic Youth is 90s, and from the album "Goo," they performed one awesome song, Lee Ranaldo's "Mote." They seem more professional now, able to do really wild stuff with less effort. Sonic Youth shows no signs of age whatsoever, except for Thurston's self-deprecating remarks. Other highlights included "The Burning Spear," "Hey Joni" and "Silver Rocket" and songs from Rather Ripped, Washing Machine and Daydream Nation!

Thanks to Smells Like Records... for the tickets!

I also attended the recent Wilco show, so I began and ended McCarren with some real classic rock. Sorry I missed MGMT!

After the show, I met up with David Browne, who included me in his book "Goodbye 20th Century," the first comprehensive Sonic Youth biography since "Confusion is Sex" in the 90s. I did some promotion for the book with college radio and some blogs over the summer and I would like to thank and mention a few here.

My Old Kentucky Blog did a cool haiku contest

a fine example:

"Youth's noise creation
Helps her daydream her days in
A Daydream Nation."

Yuppie Punk (including picture of Nelson and Sonic Youth!)
Future Hall of Fame
College Radio stations reviewing it: CITR, WTJU, KRSC, KCRW, KMSU, WMPG, WHUS and WXPN

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Usain Bolt hits Beijing hard, Eno/Byrne return has received an unprecedented number of hits over the past few weeks due to the tremendous achievements by Jamaican runners at Beijing combined with the fact that I have written about them a few times.

I am very proud to be a fan of the Jamaican track team! As I said to a friend of mine, "who won the most medals, per capita?" My guess is Jamaica! Congratulations on the achievements of Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson, Kerron Stewart, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shareefa Lloyd, Rosemarie White, Shericka Williams, Nesta Carter, and Melanie Walker (not the one from KCMP).

Here are a few nice links to check out:

The Bangladesh Daily Star thinks Usain Bolt is the hero of the Olympics, not Michael Phelps, and I agree.

Shelly-Ann Fraser credits "Reggae Power" for the team's success.

Daddy Bolt home - Usain Bolt's father talks about Usain's diet as a child ("A quart of cow's milk every morning."

Usain credits "hard work, fast track" for three records

Faster than Fast - Sports Illustrated's profile of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart.

Why Jamaica Rules at Track - Reason no. 6 - "because Usain Bolt was born there."

Prime Minister Bruce Golding appealed to the country to improve itself in response to its burst of attention, saying "Let us use this moment, this unprecedented display of world-class excellence, this moment of triumph and glory, to unite as a people."

"World's Fastest Country? It's Jamaica, Mon" -- according to the coach, this is the beginning of a dynasty.


Eno and Byrne made the album above available for streaming so I am pleased to help spread the music around. They are a couple of my favorite artists, although I haven't been an active Byrne fan since True Stories and the cover of Time. Little Creatures was a nice comeback to the original four-piece lineup after being in the Fela knock off business, but True Stories and its associated hype turned me off.

Additionally, I played "Psycho Killer" on guitar when I saw David Byrne at Guitar Center once and he ignored it. I should've played "Pulled Up" maybe.

And finally, and I do mean finally, Pervis Jackson RIP: he was the deep voice in the Spinners, who I just saw at the Philly Soul show in Atlantic City. He sang the line "12:45" in "Games People Play." The Juke Joint Soul site had a sweet tribute.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

They Stole Watt's Bass!

...And the rest of Iggy and the Stooges' equipment on Monday morning in Montreal. Their truck was parked at the hotel, and sometime between 6:30 and 7:30am, thieves stole the vehicle, later recovered empty a few blocks away.

watt checked in to say that the subsequent show at the legendary Massey Hall in Toronto, on rented equipment was a good one, as he felt better by staying focused on the fact that it was 55 years after the "greatest jazz concert" with Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Charles Mingus where Bird himself played a plastic saxophone (see photo above).

watt wails for his 50th:

Here is the email watt sent out:

if anyone has information, ANY INFORMATION!
please, please, PLEASE as soon as possible contact
Eric Fischer at:
cell phone: +1 646 932 1907



all equipment was in a rented penske 15 foot yellow truck
with u.s. (michigan) license plate number AC46493
and the theft had to have happened in the morning,
between 6:30 and 7:30 am

there's a web page at:

that will soon have pictures and updates to more stuff found missing

Item Country of Origin Serial Number

Red roadcase containing: USA No serial number
Red Gibson 1963 EB-3 bass (this is mike watt's bass!) USA No serial number

Black roadcase containing: USA No serial number
Reverend Flying V guitar - Volcano black USA #08001

Black roadcase containing: USA No serial number
Reverend Orange guitar USA 03416 ZSL7

Black fibre case containg: USA No serial number
Gibson red SG short scale bass USA No serial number

Black roadcase containing: USA No serial number
Marshall Vintage/Modern Amplifier UK M-2007-07-0926-2 RoHS

Black roadcase containing: USA No serial number
Marshall Vintage/Modern Amplifier UK M-2007-07-0927-2 RoHS

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #1 Slant: M-2007-05-0149-0

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #2 Straight: M-2006-49-0380-0

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #3 Slant: M-2007-05-0150-0

4x Marshall 4x12 Cabinets (with Tuki cover) UK #4 Straight: M-2006-49-0381-0

Orange Calzone road case containing:
Guitar pedal board and pedals USA/Japan No serial number
Assorted leads USA/UK No serial number
2x mic stands Germany No serial number
Assorted strings and spares USA No serial number
2x Boss TU2 Chromatic Tuner
Boss CH1 Super Chorus
Fulltone OCD Overdrive
Crybaby Wah
Peterson Strobo-Stomp Tuner Pedal
Whirlwind A/B Boxes
Whirlwind Cable Tester
and many many istrument cables
various tools ( screwdrivers, soldering iron, pliers, etc... )
tambourine and maracas

Cardboard box containing:
Assorted replacement drum heads USA No serial number

Gretsch Silver Sparkle Catalina drum kit USA No serial number
26" Kick Drum No serial number
13" Rack Tom No serial number
18" Floor Tom No serial number
4x Cymbal Stands No serial number
1x Snare Stand No serial number
1x Hi Hat Stand No serial number
1x Drum Throne No serial number

Eden D810 Bass cabinet USA D810RP4 0703E5001

Eden D810 Bass cabinet USA D810RP4 0703E5002

Cardboard box containg:
Eden VT300 Bass amplifier USA 0601E5115

Cardboard box containg:
Eden VT300 Bass amplifier USA 0507E5033

Floor Fan CHINA No serial number

Floor Fan CHINA No serial number

Green clamshell suitcase containing:
Yamaha snare drum JAPAN No serial number
Yahama kick pedal JAPAN No serial number
Zildjian Mega Bell cymbal USA No serial number
Zildjian 15" Hi-Hats USA No serial number
3x Zildjian 18" 19" 20" crash medium cymbals USA No serial number

Brown Epiphone guitar case:
Black Epiphone EB3 short scale bass KOREA F300503


if anyone has information, ANY INFORMATION!
please, please, PLEASE as soon as possible contact
Eric Fischer at:
cell phone: +1 646 932 1907

can you believe this shit?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Goose Gossage's Big Day

"Fearsome and fearless"* Yankee reliever Rich "Goose" Gossage is to be inducted into just about an hour to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. I wish I could be there! It will be a crowded one I'm sure. Also, I once had the great fortune to meet the Goose in the best of all places, a Willie Nelson show (see photo at right!). He's been friends with Poodie and all in the Willie camp since he was blazing fastballs in the 70s, and had his own bus backstage.

But mainly, I remember his White Sox cards, then heading to Pittsburgh and over to the Yankees as a big free agent, even though Sparky Lyle had won the Cy Young Award as a reliever in 77 (and a few others afterwards too). Those Yankees were incredible! As we face the Sox and go into tonight's game w/an eight game win streak, I hope we win one for the Goose tonight.

It would be hard to imagine Goose's speech won't include Thurman Munson, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Graig Nettles and other (Cliff Johnson?) Yankee teammates.

I saw him do it to the Red Sox on the last day of the 78 season, the pine tar incident and heard the tape where he told reporters to "take it to the fat man upstairs" many times before finally running into him in 2003. What a great guy.

I saw him pitch for the Giants, A's and Mariners at the end of his run. He may have been on one or two others too. Texas? Cubs. Anyhow, many cheers for the GOOSE!

Congrats to the great Goose Gossage on your induction to the Hall!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MLB All Star Game Review

A week later, I'm looking back on the 2008 MLB All Star Game and am happy the whole thing is over. I am very pleased the game turned out so well, because everything else felt like a rip off. The "Fan Fest" had very little content that wasn't an ad, even though it cost $30 to get in. The tickets were priced exorbitantly, but the parade was pretty excellent.

More than any other time since I've been a baseball fan, MLB is marketing very aggressively and I think I've had enough. And I'm a fan of marketing! I like logos, street teams, contests, events, promo items AND the game of baseball, so to have been pushed to far is really saying something.

I currently go to games, watch them on cable tv, have an online subscription for MLB.TV I am usually asked to upgrade, play fantasy baseball w/my friends and horde memorabilia. I have stopped buying the swag, but that's another post!

The thing that got me was the "MLB Insider's Club," an official fan club licensed by MLB that focuses on a publication they will create from fan's written contributions. Of course they will get a credit towards MLB merch if their material is used. This magazine sinfully emulates many of the features we love about Baseball Digest, such as letters (MLB just stole the title -- "The Fans Speak Out" outright), history, "The Game I'll Never Forget," "Quick Quiz" and its general perspective on the game. "Warm Up Tosses" is something I look forward to reading.

Baseball Digest is down to 8 issues per year and I believe MLB should buy it and make it the official (old) fan's journal. The history of the game is its focal point, so everyone who goes to the Hall of Fame should get a subscription included in their admission price. I don't know why Baseball Digest is unable to market effectively (it may have just been a way to sell souvenirs all these years -- look at their ads). Are Golf Digest and their other publications suffering too?

MLB Insider Club is "ONLY $2 a month!" That's $24 per year in my book, more than enough to treat yourself to a Baseball Digest subscription and still have enough for a soda.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Buddy Guy "Skin Deep" solo guitar!!!!

Please enjoy's first video exclusive (please share it far and wide) from Buddy Guy!!!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Buddy Guy and A Professional Note for Fourth of July

In large part, this site is meant to be a place for me to learn about marketing on the net by being a blogger myself, having a slight technical knowledge and getting some hits, but ultimately just so I could be more familiar with the experience. As more folks land on this page through my professional efforts, I thought I needed to make a more business to business style post.

Since I am promoting the new Buddy Guy album Skin Deep, I am putting some content up here for folks to use on their own sites, such as the following streams:

For the latest Buddy Guy tour dates, please click here, and the latest bio is now available here.

And of course if you are in need of a promo cd or would like to try to arrange an interview, please write to me at

Freedom's just another word for not having an office!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Steely Dan Takes Over New York

The other night I saw Steely Dan, one of my favorite bands during the critical high school years, and captured a bit of video to share.

In the first clip, Steely Dan nears the end of an amazing show Tuesday night with their ode to radio, "FM," a massive hit from their "Aja" period. Walter Becker casually picks out the great guitar that is a foundation of their sound with a nicely extended version (like the instrumental that appears on the b side of the single and maybe the lp too, I'm foggy on that.). Everyone always talks about Larry Carlton and even Denny Diaz and Skunk Baxter, but Walter is the guy on guitar not just fresh rhymes. He also sang "Gaucho" quite adeptly at the Beacon.

They focused on Aja, Gaucho, and the two latest albums. Along w/"New Frontier" and the aforementioned FM, the show I saw was mostly the yuppie years of the band. But what a trip to remember stereo stores, magazines and the hifi music culture of the seventies. Discwasher, Sennheiser, Gerrard, BIC, Marantz, Kenwood, Sherwood, Pioneer, Teac, Akai, Macintosh, Bose, Polk Audio, JBL, Yamaha and finally Technics are a few big names from that time. I believe the popularity of high quality recordings, side-long songs, gatefold album covers and the ability to spend on the equipment, often made in America, reflects a lot of socio-economic influence on the art. Talk about white music for white teenagers with disposable incomes. This is what the Clash, Pistols and others rebelled against!

We didn't know the stereos were in "stand alone" stores just like the records. They are all gone now, relegated to a p&l'd "footprint" in bigger stores.

I bought Aja on sale at Korvette's for $3.66. I later worked for Johnny Barbis who often told the story of ABC being shut down when it was sold to MCA. Steely Dan actually got into a dispute w/MCA and their first album for MCA under the new arrangement, Gaucho, ended up w/a high list price of $7.99. They subsequently made no more albums for MCA or anyone else for 17 years or so!

"Kid Charlemagne," on video below, is one of their more beloved songs from the later period too. Its coke references and theme of lost popularity reminds me of W.

It contains the refrain, "Did you feel like Jesus? Did you realize, that you were a champion in their eyes?"

"Get along W., get along Kid Charlemagne!"

All praise is due to Walter Becker, Donald Fagen and their great band Steely Dan!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Willie Randolph is My Friend

Willie Randolph knows how to win a baseball game, and I don't feel he deserved to be fired. I also feel as though I helped him get the job, having called the Mets ticket office on that dismal day after the 2004 elections that re-seated W.

There was a story in the paper that said Willie was getting his second interview for the job as Mets manager, so I made a call to the Mets ticket office.

I told the person who answered, "I'm a Yankee fan, and if you hire Willie Randolph, I'll buy tickets. I just need something good to happen today." Of course, I was so proud that one of my favorite players, a constant on the New York sports scene for 30 years or so, would be the city's first black baseball manager.

Yesterday, I called and rescinded my support for the Mets due to Willie's dismissal and their crappy treatment of the man. SI called the Mets an "Amazing Disgrace" (title of a Posies album too btw).

I believe Willie Randolph put a lot of pressure on himself to succeed, thinking about Jackie and even Billy Martin, but ultimately didn't have the horses to compete. You can win with old guys, and maybe Reyes and Wagner's bad attitudes should have been disciplined better by Willie, but he just didn't have the players he needed to win.

And Jose Reyes is already testing Jerry Manuel with his on-field tantrum last night at being pulled out of the game to protect his health.

Willie Randolph would be a good manager with a good team, that's the bottom line. Why wasn't Lou Piniella able to win in Tampa? Why is Tampa winning now? A nucleus of good players, many of whom are pitchers.

Omar Minaya should look no further than the mirror to know who is at fault. I'm glad the announcers mentioned that the Mets passed on Vladimir Guerrero last night due to health concerns. Vlade is a warrior, Beltran is punching the clock in my opinion.

Willie Randolph will return with his hat looking perfect with a better logo on the front than the Mets/Giants' "NY."

Good Luck Willie!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Philly Soul Live in Atlantic City

The period 1972-75 represents some formative years for me musically, when I listened to WABC, WXLO, WKTU and WNBC -- Top 40 stations. The music of Gamble and Huff, Linda Creed and Thom Bell, John Whitehead and the label Philadelphia International Records dominated the landscape, with countless hits for artists such as The O'Jays, Delfonics, Stylistics, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes and The Spinners.

Check out how great the band re-creates MFSB:

Amazingly, John Vernile and Larry Magid staged a concert last Saturday at The Borgata in Atlantic featuring all of the above as well as the Intruders, Bunny Sigler, The Three Degrees, Jean Carne and Jerry Butler! They were backed by a band that included 9 strings, 10 horns, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, two keyboards and three backup singers.

Don't despair, the show was taped for a PBS broadcast later this year.

A great highlight of the show was a surprise appearance by Teddy Pendergrass (above), who spoke a bit and sang "Close the Door" followed by "Turn Out the Lights." Talk about a universal message! His voice sounded strong.

As with the Three Degrees, it was bittersweet seeing the old pictures. Teddy was a rock star/sex symbol when it really mattered. The Three Degrees sang "When Will I See You Again" sweetly.

It sounded so great! What a once in a lifetime experience. But thanks to 21st Century Technology, please see below for a bit of video.

All of this music surely falls into my genre Black Americana, especially if you consider that most every group was in uniforms, usually sequined. In the 70s, their big bowties and velvet suits were throwbacks to the 50s doo wop era that gave Rhythm and Blues its name. The next day we saw the mural by Pat's of Philadelphia Music featuring the Geator, who presided over the event and was also unbelievable w/his costume changes.

It was an incredible night!!!!

"Ain't No Stopping Us Now":

G.C. Cameron from The Spinners sang "I'll Be There"

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hockey Night in Canada Song Sold to CTV

In an interesting case involving sports and music, the theme to Hockey Night in Canada, broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Company for many years on Saturday nights, has been sold to its commercial rival, CTV, for use on its hockey broadcasts.

Apparently, talks broke down due to "a long history of animosity between the two parties." Songwriter Dolores Claman seems to have felt she was underpaid by CBC for many years and finally cut a deal elsewhere.

Claman and her representatives were apparently asking 2.5-3 million dollars, which CBC felt could not be justified as a government institution.

It seems like a lot of money but if someone changed the Yankees theme, it would freak me out.

and an old one too

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Non Comm 2008 Report

Last weekend, I attended the Philly Non-Commvention, a gathering of community radio music programmers and their accordant promotion people, and music artists. These are the radio people formerly known as "granola." WXPN, Philadelphia hosted the event and other attendees included folks from WFUV, New York; WJCU, Cleveland; KSUT, Ignacio; Maine Public Radio; WFHB, Bloomington; KTBG, Warrensburg; KUT, Austin; KDHX, St. Louis and many others I am spacing on. I was there promoting and gathering content for this blog of course.


The most astonishing show of this year's convention was The Hold Steady. Ingrid Michaelson was immediately impressive with her GIANT setlist and memorable hooks. Astrid Williamson, Dr. John, Jakob Dylan and Interscope's "interesting" Carney were among the other bands we checked out.

Below is a bit of vid I took Paddy Casey performing a morning showcase in the hotel. The nighttime music was at the fantastic World Cafe Live facility. Vibes to Bruce, Dan, Quyen, Roger and all at WXPN for putting on a great conference and 15 years of growth for the station in general.


The swag at the conference was unfortunately, lacking. As many public and community radio stations get larger items to use during fund drives, the convention package still only includes cds (in a promo knapsack). Reprise/WB Records sponsored a t shirt.

In the convention bag, there were cds from: Dr. John; A Taste of Triple A Sampler #42; "Sweet" by Pacifika; WTMD, Towson's Live CD; a Rykodisc sampler that promised to make the next 25 years "as storied as our first"; Peter Buffett's "Imaginary Kingdom" -- isn't he a new ager? I would love that stuff to come back. Kitaro was the first artist I promoted.

Back to the bag: FMQB Progressions Sampler #113; "Within" by Alyssa; Live Volume 2 from KTBG, which amazingly features Snoopy on the cover! WXPN Local Vol. 2; the Ike Reilly album; a great sampler from SonyBMG Legacy/Commercial Music Group ("This sampler goes to track 11"); the latest from Rachael Sage, Chandelier. She will break through at some point... Rachael Sage seems to have an endless ability to promote herself, which is a great talent to have these days.

Finally, Scarecrow Collection's "Radio Frequency Disaster" had a sticker affixed saying "#1 on Sirius Ch. 17" and "Nominated for a Jammy." They went for adds June 9.

Jefferson Pepper's American Evolution had a nice package I haven't opened yet that amazingly, had a quote from Cashbox on it! I thought they were out of biz!

Also on the old school tip, Jacqui Naylor is being promoted by Harvey Leeds, now indie and Michael Plen had a sampler from his Shangri-La Music included in the package. Full Disclosure: I'm old school and was there promoting Amie Miriello alongside Danny Buch.

Has anyone seen the t shirt w/the picture of a stegosaurus on it? The caption reads, "All My Friends Are Dead."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Springsteen's Summer Anthem "Thunder Road"

With the weather improving here in New York, here is some summertime flavor from Bruce Springsteen with "Thunder Road," one of the greatest rock anthems to summer ever. What makes it about summer? Maybe the one line about the graduation dress, technically, but the musical build of the song, as Bruce sings "roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair" sounds like the freedom, warmth and energy of a summer night.

This video is taken from a show just a few days after I saw Bruce Springsteen at New York's Matteus at the Palladium, presented by Ruffino and Vaughn, which was a Ron Delsener presentation of course. I think WNEW 102.7 was on the ticket stub too.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Usain Bolt Sets New World 100m Record in New York!

Jamaican Usain Bolt set new world record in the 100m of 9.72 seconds, last night in dramatic fashion before many countrymen at Icahn Stadium, New York City, on Randall's Island. He improved on fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell's previous record of 9.74, set in Athens (as I recall). Being a new record in the world's oldest sport (running from lava or saber-tooth tigers), it was reported on all over the world:

The New York Times reported on the scene.

The Jamaica Observer's Paul Reid reported and took one of the best pictures of Bolt breaking the tape (above).

Shanghai Sports TV ran video of the race and included a tour of Jamaica and "Lightning" Bolt's hometown (below).

Sports Illustrated and many others picked up the AP story but will no doubt have great photos in the next issue.

"I'm just happy with myself," Bolt told the BBC. The 100m is a new event for him?

Vibes as well for Harvey Korman, who provided many belly laughs over the course of a great career including the Carol Burnett Show and many Mel Brooks movies. Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, Dr. Charles Montague in High Anxiety and so many more. Thanks to Harvey Korman!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lewis Hamilton's Victory at Monaco

Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on his win at the Grand Prix of Monaco. Hamilton was earbender Sports Personality of the Year during his rookie year of 2007, and in his own words the race was, "the highlight of my career and probably will be for the rest of my life." The 23 year-old tcb in the rain after crashing early in the race and Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls was in his pit. Well done Lewis!

BBC has a comprehensive wrap up here.

F1's Grand Prix of Monaco map of the circuit includes gears and speeds.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scarlett Johansson's Music Career Offends Me

I just took a little trip through the snippets of Scarlett Johansson's debut recording, "Anywhere I Lay My Head (Deluxe Edition)," courtesy of iTunes. She has got some nerve putting out this dreck! We all agree Tom Waits is a genius and that many of his songs would soar with a more "conventional" voice singing them, for example "Jersey Girl" in the hands of Springsteen or even "Downtown Train" as performed by Rod Stewart.

There are many examples (Linda Ronstadt on "Old Paint," The Eagles' version of "Ol' 55"). Waits own recordings are challenging and excellent, not many of them are alike, and he shows no signs of slowing down either in productivity or in his intense creative/business vibes. I had minimal dealings w/him when I worked at Island but the compilation I promoted, "Beautiful Maladies," compiles a lot of his weirder albums and would serve as a good intro to the man's music, as opposed to the millennial's Molly Ringwald.

I don't appreciate Scarlett Johansson very much as a movie star, already felt she was very overrated and a big reason was her deep and often monotone voice. This album might have been fun for them to make but it sure is not fun to listen to. As my friend Cheech would often say, "what is the purpose of this music?" If it gets some young people into the great Tom Waits, then hats off to Scarlett Johansson, but I'm not buying it.

In fact, this album is offensive to me because even though it is an indie movie star and Tom Waits, "Anywhere I Lay My Head (Deluxe Edition)" is no different from any co-branded, American Idol-style debut recording these days. We are only interested because of her name recognition, and judging by a few minutes with the album, there is not much more to appreciate. Who wants a techno Tom Waits?

Maybe Scarlett Johansson was signed for her ability to sell t shirts, get a GOOD band into a cool movie she is star of, generate alternative revenue streams or just general publicity, and I am offended by an industry that clamors for her. Maybe it just shows how dismal it is for new artists in general. Who wants to write or even worse, fund something that won't make a dent in the media or the bottom line?

Entertainment Weekly has a good bad review here and also provides a link to watch Scarlett on MTV here. She uses a music stand to remember lyrics but has a snazzy "S" logo on projected on to the walls. Terrible.

Reuters' summary of negative critical response made me feel better. Seems like they will take the opportunity to bring her down a few pegs for doing this album.

Now playing: "Young Man's Blues" by The Who.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jamaica Track Team Stamps for the Olympics

I always point to the Jamaican National team's achievements in running as an example of the country's reputation for hard work in pursuit of excellence. Aside from favorable weather, my guess is the team has many disadvantages in training compared to the other teams from much bigger and richer countries, yet Jamaica has many world record holders and is consistently competitive.

The Postal Corporation of Jamaica describes the stamps as follows:

"Featured persons were decided on the basis of on their tremendous exploits. The stamp shows Jamaica’s ‘Golden Girls’ - the Women’s 4 x 100m relay team that competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics final of that event. They are Tayna Lawrence, Veronica Campbell, Aleen Bailey and Sherone Simpson. Of note was the victory by Veronica Campbell in the 200m as she created history by being the first woman from Jamaica or the Caribbean to win an Olympic Gold in a sprint race. On that occasion (Wednesday August 25, 2004) Campbell ran her personal best of 22.05, beating her main rival, American, Allyson Felix, to the finish line.

Asafa Powell was chosen to highlight the incredible feats of speed for which he has received much acclaim. In 2005 he broke the 100m world record with 9.77 seconds, and stamped his mark on the title of ‘Fastest Man on Earth’ by twice repeating that feat. Then in 2007 he again smashed the world record: his time – a stunning 9.74 seconds."

As the Olympic torch made its way around the world, I admired the many protests for human rights in China that gained attention through its travels and subsequent media coverage. I do not support an Olympic boycott, it didn't work against the USSR in 1980 and hurt many athletes' careers. The Olympics are not apolitical, as 1972 proved, but if we want to expose the injustices of China, let the world travel there and take a closer look. Even if the media is suppressed, that will be reported in detail.

Singer Yungchen Lhamo has lead protests in San Francisco on behalf of her native Tibet. The video below shows a demonstration in Berlin set to her music.

If I were an athlete, I would not support a boycott. I think we can make more noise over there and hope that Volkswagon and the other sponsors can make a difference for the people of China.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Willie!

Today is Willie Nelson's 75th Birthday and I hereby request that everyone spend a minute or two or more to reflect on the man and his work.

Austin 360 has put together a great tribute, hats off to Michael Corcoran.

KGSR has a great event tonight featuring many artists singing Willie songs, anyone in Austin should stop by. I will wish I was in Austin tonight that's for sure.

Please stop by the Sony Legacy podcast page to hear some great interviews with Willie and Family members Bobbie Nelson, Paul English, Poodie Locke, Jody Payne and Mickey Raphael.

Check out the great Willie page for some great pics from Amsterdam where Snoop Dogg and Willie performed the other night (the lens cap is on for a minute or two!):

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Manhattan Omnivore: Rakim to bless Nokia Theater!

This post is my take on the Brooklyn Vegan thing of announcing shows that have gone on sale.

The other day I received the news that the great Rakim is performing at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. The show is June 4 and Rakim will be supported by GZA and Blackilicious among others. Click here for tickets.

Rakim is the best and most influential mc in the history of hip hop. At the top of this page is a picture I took at BB King's in November '06 (an incredible night). His recent hits/live compilation The Archive probably fell on deaf ears. When it takes eight years to make four songs, it's hard to "keep them eager to listen" to use his words from a previous release. At least the fans will have something to buy at the shows.

But The R is one of the best artists ever! I can heartily recommend seeing him live too, which is a recent development. In their prime, Eric B. and Rakim often performed with Rakim rapping along with vocal versions of the records. Terribly disappointing. Now he struts around the stage spitting lyrics with appropriate backing from Kid Capri, who renders Eric B. a non-entity.

In a recent appearance on Howard Stern, Tracy Morgan concluded an amazing interview ("I'm the son of Ron O'Neal") by telling Howard, "I got soul, that's why I came, to teach those who can't say my name," a direct quote from Eric B. and Rakim's seminal 1987 hit "I Know You Got Soul."

Take a look/listen!