Archive for the Music Category

Show, 1st December

Posted in Music on December 2, 2008 by brokenheadphones

So, we’re in Dublin.  We just played Whelan’s.  This was a particularly good show from the audience-participation angle; everybody was singing along and generally having a heck of a good time.  I had no idea Dubliners even *remembered* the Dirtbombs, since we haven’t been here in seven years.  Tonight was the first night I used the “new” guitars (read: massively pimped out) from Koontz (that would be Koontz Guitar Repair, quite frankly one of the best there is, but I couldn’t find a link), so it was kind of a shakedown cruise.  Now I know.

After the show, this guy comes up to me to chat.  He says,  “I’m a performing musician myself, so I don’t wanna take up too much of your time”,  blah blah.  We chat for a couple minutes, during which he mentions that he was in a band back ion the 70’s and 80’s, and he turns to go, and I get curious.  “Hey, what band were you in?”

“Ah, I was in this band called Clock DVA, and…” and this point whatever he was saying faded out because I was picking my jaw up off the floor.  “WhaheyHUH???” was all I managed.  Here was a guy from one of the bands I IDOLISED telling me how *I* changed HIS life????  I’m gobsmacked.

Dude, if you happen across this, I just wanna say:  “The Hacker” was in my DJ crate for over a year, and I’m talkin’ about 2006/7 (I bought it when it came out).  I nearly got my ass kicked for beating a guy to a copy of ‘High Holy Disco Mass”.  Track me down.  I wanna make records with YOU.


Australia, Day Two

Posted in Music on March 1, 2008 by brokenheadphones

     Okay.  I’m in Perth, which is beautiful, really, for the most isolated city on Earth.  Very green and warm.  I like it here.  Next time I’m here, I hope to get to the beach.

We’ve only played two shows, although with all the flying (every show except one) we already feel like we’ve been on tour a month.  Both shows went well, although the crowd seems to visibly cringe when launch into the two INXS songs on our tour single.

     Tomorrow we fly to Adelaide: I have to be up at 6am for our ride to the airport.  It’s just about 3am now.  Later.

Why I Have Finally Become A Prince Fan

Posted in Music, PWNED, stfu on June 30, 2007 by brokenheadphones

     I have to come clean here:  I really liked Prince before ‘1999’.  I even kinda liked ‘1999’ the first three weeks after its 1982 release.  But then I got sick of hearing it, and it wouldn’t go away.  In Detroit, thanks to incessant spins by The Electrifying Mojo, ‘1999’ became one of the most played records in town.  You couldn’t get away from it.  In fact, it didn’t go away until the 1983 release of ‘Purple Rain’, which STILL hasn’t gone away (and I still cannot stand it).  After such overexposure, I don’t see how I can be blamed for developing an intense dislike for all things Prince, which lasted throughout the eighties.  Apart from some isolated deep LP cuts and b-sides (’17 Days’, ‘New Position’, ‘Partyman’, and ‘Erotic City’ which is all the more ironic since it’s the b-side of the particularly overplayed ‘Let’s Go Crazy’), I avoided anything the man did because I just couldn’t bear to hear any more.  After 1990’s ‘Graffiti Bridge’, he fell off my radar.  I didn’t know what he was up to, and I couldn’t possibly have cared less.

(Okay, there was the incident in 1990 when, after working for weeks to come up with a track for a house 12″, and I’d finally got something I was proud of, Prince released the ‘Gett Off’ 12″ which sounded EXACTLY like the track I’d recorded a few months earlier, and was shopping around.  I was convinced that either a) he was eavesdropping on the studio I’d been at, or b) he just plain stole my track.  I swore to kill him, then the Gories went on tour, and I forgot about it.)

In 1998, Prince jandered onto my radar again: in an article about the internet’s effect on the record industry (yes, kids, the writing was on the wall even then),  it was noted that Prince’s then new LP ‘Crystal Ball’ had been released for purchase only at his website.  While that’s nothing new now, in 1998 almost no-one had done it.  What made it TRULY amazing is that even with this sole source of distribution, ‘Crystal Ball’ had charted at #64 in Billboard Magazine.  Even I, by this time internationally known as a disliker of all things Prince, had to admit I was impressed.  It was a new day, and Prince understood this.  After having been jerked around by Warner Bros. Records, he took his music directly to the people.  For someone at his level of fame, it doesn’t actually get much cooler.

In recent years, I’ve mellowed on my issues with Prince.  It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything by him, and I still like the first three LPs.  I’m even actively trying to find a UK 12″ of ‘Gotta Stop (Messin’ About)’ with the red-and-black striped cardstock cover, and a peach-vinyl copy of The Black Album.  I’m basically over it, yeah? I still haven’t really paid any attention to his new releases, though.

All of the foregoing is prolegomena to mentioning this article in The Guardian about the release of Prince’s new album (I have to stop using ‘LP’ at this point because as far as I know there won’t be an LP release) ‘Planet Earth’.  It will be released free with the 24 July edition of The Mail On Sunday, in England.

That is totally rad.

Prince, having internalised the new paradigm of the music business, wherein distribution is in the eye of the beholder (see ref. previous post), has made a deal which gets him a lot of listeners, since The Mail On Sunday averages about 2 MILLION copies (this also guarantees him a Double Diamond-selling album from The British version of the RIAA, AAAANNND the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Records Sold On First Day Of Release’.  Now That’s what I call thinkin’.  Buy that man a see-gar).  However, this isn’t setting too well with the British Entertainment Retailers Association,  who are having walruses at the thought that someone could sell a record without them.  Well guys, someone could.  Prince could.  Prince doesn’t need you.  Prince can sell records wherever he wants.

The very fact that these people are angry insures that I, as a fellow recording artist, will purchase a copy of this record.  (If possible, I will try to get a friend in England to get me a copy from The Mail On Sunday, thereby helping Prince do his thing without any interference from another dinosaur who didn’t see the meteor coming.)  This isn’t actually about Prince; it’s more about people who think they can control how the music-buying public buys its music.  The days of control over music distribution channels are OVER.  The control of distribution has shifted to the artist, and while there will be a lot of record industry people who will get crushed under the wheels of change, almost none of them will be musicians.

Now get out and go see a band.

Loop***s Ruin Everything.

Posted in Music, stfu on April 22, 2007 by brokenheadphones

A couple of weeks ago I was in a record store here in town.  In the back, digging through the dance and disco singles (not all dance records are disco) were a group of guys who were going through them all, needledropping.  This (for the vinyl-deprived) is a process gone through in used vinyl record stores that have turntables for the patrons so they can listen to the record before they buy it.  These guy were needledropping a bunch of stuff, looking for loops, and passing on otherwise good songs because they didn’t hear something they could feed into a sampler and delude themselves that they were doing something creative by making loops.  Under my breath, I christened them ‘Loop***s’.

Anyway, they wrecked the joint.  They left records strewn all over the area, out of the bins, and in some cases, out of their covers, even though there was a plainly-labeled BOX to put records in for those too lazy to put them back where they got them from.  The store owner was so angry he removed the turntable.

The other day, I had opportunity to talk with both that store owner and the manager at another store in town, and the subject of the Loop***s’ recent behavior came up.  It turns out these chowderheads persons are well-known nusiances around town.  Not only are they inconsiderate, they’re annoying.

I bring this up because I got browbeat into going to a club with the promise that there would be Disco.  When I got there, the DJ was one of the Loop***s.  “Alright”, I thought to myself, “Let’s see what you got.”  What I got was:

Two disco records I recognised;

Two other disco records I didn’t recognise;

A whole LOT of 80’s Italo-Disco (again, for the uninitiated: this is a different kind of music: not actually disco, but a kind of proto-techno/house); and the rest was–wait for it–


Now, in the proper context, I have absolutely no problem with loops.  Everybody knows I love house and techno, both styles which are basically MADE from loops.  But DISCO is NOT made of loops.  Disco songs are SONGS first.  They might have huge percussion breaks in the middle of them, but they’re still songs.

I don’t really have any kind of rant for this.  All I’m sayin’ is, the next time somebody promotes a ‘Disco’ night, somebody better play some Goddamm Disco.  And I mean heavily orchestrated, Gospel-shoutin’, conga-beatin’ DISCO.

Loops are not Disco.


[Edited 2016-12-03 because I used an insensitive word]

Tough To Argue With

Posted in Music on October 11, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Blender Magazine’s “50 Worst Things Ever to Happen to Music, sez Us“.  I disagree with number 19, though.

More On Universal/SpiralFrog: Here’s The Catch…

Posted in Music, PWNED on August 31, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Here‘s what’s hiding behind the ability to get at the kick-ass back catalogue owned by Universal.  I KNEW there had to be some evil bullshit they weren’t letting on about…

Universal Offers Entire Back Catalogue For Free Download

Posted in Music on August 30, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Okay, this is big news.  It’s like this:

Vivendi-Universal, the largest of the four remaining dinosaur media corporations,  has signed a deal with a company called SpiralFrog (yeah, whatever) to distribute their music online for FREE.  Yes, FOR FREE.  The catch, of course, is advertising.  Also, they saee this as a way of getting people hooked on the service, and then charging, as if kids who’ve spent their first decade geting stuff for free will suddenly want to pay for it.  Anyway, the news stories are here, here, and here.

All of these news stories mention current artists who are with Universal, but let’s face it, the REAL news is the back catalogue.  This is UNIVERSAL, the company founded by mobsters which has now become the single biggest manufacturer of wack-ass pop on EARTH.  In the big industry bloodbath in the late 1990s, Universal made out like bandits (natch), buying up everything that wasn’t properly nailed down.  Let’s see how many artists in Universal’s back catalogue I can come up with off the top of my head:

The Who, Elton John, the Ohio Players, Parliament, Kiss, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Osibisa, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Brook Benton, Leslie Gore, Jackie Wilson, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Bohannon, War, Tears For Fears, Cameo, Tyrone Davis, Golden Earring, Phil Phillips, The Diamonds, James Brown, Gloria Gaynor, the Village People, The Jam, Charles Earland, Sonic Youth, Steel Pulse, the Animals, Rufus, Third World, the Bar-Kays, Con-Funk-Shun, and of course, MOTOWN.   Not to mention TONS of lesser-known stuff by such people as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ramsey Lewis, and Issac Hayes.
(I would’ve added Nina Simone in there, but somehow, even though she recorded for Phillips, her reissues come out on Verve, which is now part of Blue Note, which was a subsidiary of Capitol when Capitol got bought out by EMI, whch is now part of Time-Warner/EMI.  See, kiddies?  Simple.)

That’s just what I rattled off in my head as fast as I could type it.  All that music.  For free.   It’s coming.  You know what to do.