ARTICLE: There I was, working at an ad agency whose main office was located not too far from Amoeba Records and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, not to mention a whole bunch of clubs, bars, nightspots, and everything else in that gaudy cesspool known as Tinsel Town. The ad shop was a medium-sized place with only a couple dozen employees but they had some very busy retail accounts like car dealerships and a national chain of pizza restaurants.
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ARTICLE: “That’s a hit song!” The speaker was Wendie Colter, complimenting fellow artist Fran Lucci on one of her warm numbers. This was just before Colter delivered one of several potential hit songs of her own. And it was near the middle of a set featuring nicely textured work by Denise (lead singer from the indie band Jacar), as well as several crowd-rousing numbers from the supremely strong-voiced Mara.
ARTICLE: Okay, who’s making this incredible racket? Oh wait, it’s Rakit, a three-piece group that never saw a volume-boosting device it didn’t like. The music they create is dark, mysterious, pounding, tortuous, arduous, twisted, hazardous, risky, treacherous, freaky, and full of danger. In other words, it’s great fun.
ARTICLE: Check the club schedules, call the shutterbug, throw on some jeans, grab the earplugs, gas up the car, hit the road, battle for a parking slot, and argue your way into the venue. Yup, ya gotta run that gauntlet to enable the music to wash over you and, hopefully, transport you to another part of the universe. Sometimes, it was all worth it.
Some of you will read the headline on this chapter and think the topic is the tooth-rotting tubes of goop called Otter Pops. But no. I write to you of something that was magical, splendid, and actually good for you. The Otterpops were a band that made a lot of marvelous music before their shelf […]
Hitting the clubs and hearing the sounds may be fun for you once in a while but I did it unselfishly three or four nights a week for years in order to bring you info on a few of the artists who were making noises that were cool, interesting, swinging, or fun. And even maybe […]
BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter 11 – Tom Chaffee by SIHH — SIHH stands for Self-Important Hollywood Hipster, a disreputable character who, as you are about to see, is as opinionated as I am. This is less a review than a peek into the problems of attending live music in an age […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter 10 – Hardsoft: Velvet Chain Beats You Up with a Kiss — Velvet Chain seduces you while battering you into submission. The hypnotic delivery of lead singer Erika Amato is the obvious starting point in analyzing how they accomplish this feat. But while she can deliver […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter NINE – In the Mood Music — If you are fortunate enough to be exposed to the music of Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams, one thing is certain: you will be moving your hips as they perform a wicked amalgamation of funk, salsa, soul, pop, […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter EIGHT – Powder Keg — A truly exciting band is one with the ability to make your hair stand up all over your body and make you forget you missed dinner when you rushed to their show right after work. It is a group you will […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter SEVEN – Unearthly Frequencies: Debby Holiday — Debby Holiday can use her voice with both precision and abandon in such a way that it reverberates inside your noggin. And even better, she touches your soul. Time sped up. The stars stood still. Inside Luna Park’s downstairs […]
BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka Chapter 6 – Hiding in Plain Sight: Rob Kendt, the Man Behind Millhouse
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Ambient Deviant Speedmetal Polka: Chapter SIX – Hiding in Plain Sight: Rob Kendt, the Man Behind Millhouse — Songwriters can succeed in more than one style of music but artists tend to do better by sticking to one easily-identifiable sound. So what happens when a multi-genre songwriter is the leader of […]
REVIEW: Written from the heart, Elton John’s “Love is the Cure” will confound those expecting to read about his musical career but in discussing AIDS and the work of foundations seeking to eradicate the disease, John has created a valuable document. Perplexing. That’s the word to describe Love is the Cure, the short book or […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Chapter FOUR – First, They Laughed: A Big Bad Blast of Buckethead — Hitting the stage incognito isn’t new but no one else has been outfitted like this: an oriental theater mask, a nylon hoodie, and a family-size chicken bucket from KFC. Reactions are derisive and derogatory until the guy starts […]
MuseWire BOOK SERIAL – Chapter THREE – Falling into the Abyss: Front Line Assembly — Industrial rock flirts with pure noise, goes out on dates with electronica, and then shacks up with body-bouncing beats. Having embraced all three of these approaches, Front Line Assembly makes music that is aggressive, loud, abrasive, anarchic, nihilistic, and existential. […]
MuseWire COLUMN: You say you want to make money in the music business and you don’t care how. Let’s see if you’re ready. Greedy? Check. Ruthless? Check. Predatory? Check. Okay, you just might be well-prepared to screw artists by putting on a music conference. Indie musicians dream of many things. Fame. Fortune. Somebody playing one […]
MuseWire COLUMN: In blending soul, R&B, gospel, and rock, Solomon Burke had the ability to reach from the stage and shake listeners to their very core. The might and majesty of Burke is honored in this updated version of a review of his 1997 stage show. It is just before midnight and I am standing […]
MuseWire COLUMN: David William Kearney is a guitar slinger who will happily do axe-battle with you using blues, R&B, or rock. He’ll take on all comers with sweet toned ballads or psychedelic frenzy. And as this long-lost nineteen-ninety-eight article shows, the man has incredible roots. Oh, and he’s still gigging. From the band’s first few […]
MuseWire COLUMN: Joke book or important guide to the music industry? Author and compiler Jeffrey Weber believes it is both. One thing is certain: you will laugh, wince, howl, grimace, and laugh some more. Two musicians walk into a bar. One doesn’t order a drink. Hey, it could happen. If you smiled, this book (“You’ve […]
MuseWire Column: Playing in rock bands, creating soundtracks for motion pictures and television, and writing modern classical music would be an impossible combination for most people but composer/performer Jocelyn Pook is succeeding in all of these arenas. Jocelyn Pook does not hear sound the way most people do. Whereas someone else might hear a droning […]
MuseWire REVIEW: Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington’s music is not often discussed alongside the work of Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, and Arnold Schoenberg, but Reed College professor David Schiff convincingly makes a case for comparing and contrasting the creativity of each of these composers. Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy, and Alban Berg show up, too. For music majors, […]
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: After several visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the primary reactions were trepidation and consternation. The building itself is quite impressive but the well-packaged contents of the RARHOFAM are often silly and ultimately insignificant.
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: His name was Paul Atkinson and he played electric guitar. He made music in the most inventive of the British Invasion bands, The Zombies, whose gorgeous harmonies, infectious hooks and intriguing jazz-pop blend made huge sellers of ‘She’s Not There,’ ‘Tell Her No’ and ‘Time of the Season.’
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: When you hear the word ‘image’ you may think of a pretty picture or the manufactured persona of someone who is famous for being famous. But if you say ‘Baron Wolman image,’ suddenly you’re talking about beauty, truth, and iconographic permanence.
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: Got a new product to announce? Then have a launch party! Got a cause, a business, a candidate? Launch party! But what’s the recipe? You line-up these ingredients: venue, food, alcohol, DJ, band, singers, photographers, videographers, and ink-slingers like me. Stir together and serve chilled.
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: Smoothly written and dynamic, Sean Wilentz’ book is full of insight, commentary, and historical perspective about songwriting’s greatest poet. Like his subject, the work is reflection and refraction of fact, fancy, and fable.
Music Industry Newswire COLUMN: Storytellers are to be cherished and Clark Terry should be on a pedestal for his thoroughly entertaining autobiography. Brimming with life, love, music, and great characters, this book is as much a history of the twentieth century as it is a history of his ninety years (and counting!) .
MuseWire COLUMN: Not a musician, yet a giant of jazz. Undiplomatic, but an ambassador of American culture. Often impolite, but always truthful. Unequaled, yet a champion of equality. And that just touches the surface of Norman Granz, producer of more music than one might think humanly possible. Social justice made great strides in the United […]