Bob Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself. In response to Lefsetz’s latest newsletter, Music First, Stardom Second, genius producer and all-around great guy Bob Ezrin ( Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel) responded to Lefsetz, who then posted his heart-felt letter on his blog. Here it is in full.
There used to be music. No longer.
In just the last few generations, we have witnessed the complete devolution of the mainstream of music from the intricacies and demands of jazz, swing and modern “classical”; the subtleties and finesse of the best of popular song writing; the mastery of “folk” instruments and vocal performance in the best of folk and rock; the singular high-mindedness of the greatest singer songwriters; and the hard-won craft of playing and writing and creating meaningful work, to four bar grids of “cut and paste” monotony over which someone writes shallow nursery rhymes about partying, trucks and beer or bitches and bling, or whines in hardly rhyming verse about their sad little white boy or girl life.
There are occasional exceptions, of course. But where are the anthems, the protest songs, the songs to march to or the ideas to fight for, the truths to believe in. Instead it’s all about “me”.
“Glory” from the film “Selma” is the great current exception – as is Kendrick Lamarr’s work. And – yes – let’s not forget the valiant Dixie Chicks!! But mostly there’s little more than a bit of catchy ear candy and nice beats.
All that talk about the “me generation” turns out to be true. We lost “us” in the 80’s and since then we only care about ourselves and our personal gain; we only want the money.
The rhetoric endures – as it does in politics. There’s not a single human working in the “music industry” who doesn’t say that they’re in it for the music, for the art form. Just like there’s no politician who doesn’t claim to be doing it to serve their country or community. But the reality is, we’re all in everything for the pay off. Period.
There used to be meaning. No more.
With our music and words, we used to fight for freedom; we used to incite change; we used to elevate each other; we used to speak for all of us and literally move mountains.
Los Angeles noise group Health have announced their new album Death Magic with a video that is not for the weak-of-stomach: Excruciatingly slow-motion vomiting. In the video for first single “New Coke,” we follow Health on a pretty standard night out, there’s a bar, there’s dancing, very strobe-lighty. However, around the 90-second mark, the John Famiglietti-directed video starts to begin it’s way to something not normally seen in music videos these days – projectile vomiting. And yes, it’s all real.
HTML5 Drum Machine is an easy-to-use, web-based emulator that allows folks to create and download incredible drum patterns. The whole thing is verystraightforward and easy to use for wanna-be’s and never-gonna-be’s like me with a variety of labeled buttons and knobs for everything from “SNARE” to “SHAKE” and more.
From humble beginnings in Scarsdale, New York, to the window seats of Gulfstream 550 jets, traveling in only the most luxurious circumstances – Justin Ross Lee is exactly who he thinks he is.
And what you think of him? Well, he doesn’t really care – as long as you don’t think of him as normal.
And, after familiarizing yourself with JRL even briefly, I promise you “normal” won’t be the first word to come to mind. “Pretentious” might be, but, frankly, Lee is fond of the word. In fact, he even named his own line of pocket squares “Pretentious Pocket,” as his own toast to the nomals.
You might have seen him before, probably on social media, where his Internet presence encroaches upon the size of his ego. I mean, take a look at his Instagram; it’s a storyboard for an Action Bronson verse. According to JRL, “If your life isn’t a postcard, it’s not worth the stamp.”
If you’re not familiar with his social media persona, then you may have seen him in the tabloids. He’s certainly no stranger to making news; in fact, a number of his celebrity spats have been publicized in the New York Times and New York Post.
Again, anything but normal.
In the words of JRL, “Normal is the ugliest word in the English language. Average is a close second.” For Lee, these words are synonymous with mediocrity, and those who simply accept mediocrity are schmucks – and fall in line to those who stand out. Literally speaking.
In this feature, Lee takes us to the airport, which doubles as his home office, and shows us a few “travel tips” in a way only JRL could — with style, arrogance and, well, hilarity.
While these tips might seem to be superficial or petty, if you look a little deeper, the “line” at the airport can be seen as a microcosm of life. A lot of times, those who wait stay waiting – while, those with the ambition and persistence to seek alternate routes to get ahead usually do.
The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover was designed by the pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth from an ink drawing by McCartney. It was art-directed by Robert Fraser and photographed by Michael Cooper. The front of the LP included a colourful collage featuring the Beatles in costume as the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, standing with a group of life-sized cardboard cut-outs of famous people. The heavy moustaches worn by the group reflected the growing influence of hippie style trends, while their clothing “spoofed the vogue in Britain for military fashions”, writes the Beatles biographer Jonathan Gould. The centre of the cover depicts the Beatles standing behind a drum skin, on which the fairground artist Joe Ephgrave painted the words of the album’s title. In front of the drum skin is an arrangement of flowers that spell out “Beatles”. The group were dressed in satin day-glo-coloured military-style uniforms that were manufactured by the theatrical costumer M. Berman Ltd. in London.
The Boston Tea Party venue on Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts was only around for a relatively brief four years but in that time built a name as one of the great psychedelic music venues of the late ’60s, and a must-stop for artists touring the city.
n 1976, a young man sent John Lennon a long list of interview questions in the post. Lennon responded, and below is question No.9 (Number 9…Number 9…Number 9) — a list of names/things, each of which Lennon was asked to describe in a single word.
Ironically, Howard Cosell would announce the death of Lennon to millions of Americans four years later during an NFL Game.