Oh, David Foster. You are just too cute for words.

With Celine Dion, we were selling 25 million records a pop. Pop stands for popular. It means we’re plugging into the masses. So all the hipsters that are selling 300,000 [copies] and they’re on [a rock station] and all that … it’s great. And I like that kind of music, but so what? They’re not making any money. And it is about making money, too, right?

Listen: I was in a club in London this week, on suggestion of a friendly clerk at a Notting Hill record store. There was a band from Perth called The Snowmen. They may not have been terribly talented, but they showed more pure emotion in a one-hour set than David Foster has ever genuinely felt in his entire life.

And this is not rare — I’ve been to clubs in San Francisco, Chicago, D.C., etc. It’s not made up, pre-packaged crap, or a focus-grouped profit-oriented angle. It’s real, honest entertainment.

So they aren’t swimming in it. Big deal. Foster should get himself to an indie show and take notes. Pronto.

92 Comments

How anyone that has had any kind of association with the Music Industry in the last few years can talk about making Money without using the words “dumb luck” or “existing fan-base” is beyond me. Focusing on “Hits” is the reason that industry is tanking… they are failing to leverage the awesome distribution model that I-Tunes and Amazon, for example, afford them, and continue to focus on the bland and barely palatable. A return to music as art instead of product is exactly what is needed…that, and an understanding of micro-markets and targeted sub-groups.

But that, of course, takes risk and actual work. Much easier to get yours while you can and let the industry slide into irrelevance.

Just cuz it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s any good, although something good can become popular.

Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

Sorry, CB, I read the words “band” and “Perth” and started to laugh so hard I fell off the chair.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Trouble with iTunes is that the quality isn’t very good. If you try to listen to real instruments or voices you hear a big difference. Though I love how easy it is.

Ceiline Dionne would be some kind of entertainer, I’m guessing.

Foster should get himself to an indie show and take notes.

Wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved if he just stayed home and played with his G.I. Joes? Let’s not spoil his fantasy.

nojo: Of course, I would counter that Lombardi quote with this one.

He is responsible for bringing us Celine Dion. He must be stopped.

@redmanlaw: Is there still a band called “Flake” making the NM circuit? I caught them in a bar in ABQ in about 90 or so and thought “these guys are the next Sonic Youth, they’re gonna be HUGE”.

Those are the moments I live for. The hell with popular for popular sake.

@blogenfreude:
There are many things and people that make me somewhat proud to be from Canada City. Celine? All I feel is great shame at the sonic horror we gave the world.

Its not even dumb luck, its media conglomeration, and having TV and print hype your choice of star relentlessly. TV show, appearances, magazine covers, MTV, its all bought or controlled, and the dreck is literally shoved down our throats. Britney and the talented Christina Aguilera were Disney Mousekteers, who was Celine Dion married to? Hannah Montana is a TV show. The only rock bands that are promoted at all in this way are the very very biggest, REM, U2, the Rolling Cadavers. Who All Suck Now.

@Benedick:

See, this is where specialty markets come in…are you interested in a format that preserves excellent sound? You should be able to get to that as easily as you download from I-Tunes…but do you know where to go to obtain it, or is it available at all? This is where the music industry enters FAIL…

Incidentally, Celene Dion is a musical entertainer after a fashion, but you could get much the same entertainment effect from watching a 16 tonne block of ice melt…

ManchuCandidate: Wait: please tell me that Celine Dion is not related to Stephane Dion. If there is a relation, then I may actually be rooting for PM Blimpie to survive this whole confidence vote / proroguing Parliament thing.

(Harper, of course, would prefer pieroging Parliament, regardless of the existence or non-existence of an actual crisis.)

@ManchuCandidate: He is also responsible for that Josh Groban nonsense. Hack.

@chicago bureau:
Not that I know of. Dion is a common surname in Quebec. Much like Lemieux. Oddly, Lemieux is a rare surname in mother France.

Although, considering that there were originally around 30K French colonists when the Brits conquered Quebec in 1759, and now there are some 3 million living descendants. Well, I would not be surprised if they were in the distant past.

@blogenfreude:
I saw one episode of that awful show that launched the career of Brody Jenner as reality show “douchebag #1” and it seems that the universe has paid David Foster back for that.

@nabisco: According to my 10 seconds of googling, the members of Flake went on to form The Shins, who have had some national success. http://www.myspace.com/flakemusic

@Prommie: I saw U2 in Vegas on one of the last shows of the Vertigo tour and they still fucking rocked the joint. I first saw them on the the second leg of the Boy tour in 1981 and have followed them since. Looking forward to the new cd in early 09.

Also saw (deep voice) METALLICA in late October and they were ROCK GODS. I have the cd to prove it. That is all.

Have not seen REM since 1983 so I don’t know what they’re like live anymore. Monster is the last cd of theirs I have.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Don’t get me started on what’s happened to the marketing of jazz. Most of the stuff I download now, or buy, was played by dead guys.

@chicago bureau: Sorry, my inner sneering Limey popped out… Only that, Perth – you do mean Perth in Scotland? – is to me the quintessence of staid each-slow-dusk-a-drawing-down-of blindsness. the idea of something that could be described as a ‘band’ coming from such a place – lovely though it is (I think I was once called a cad by a midget in Perth. He got out of a Rolls and I was intrigued – but that’s another story) seems entirely implausible.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: CDs are better.

@Dodgerblue: I have boxes full of jazz records I don’t want. Interested?

@Dodgerblue: My jazz taste ends around 1967, so I guess Coltrane really was the last word. There’s plenty of jazz I enjoy since then, but it all might as well have been recorded in the bebop era.

@Dodgerblue: Marketing jazz? A task for Sisyphus.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: When that Tiger ate Roy, I immediately had an idea for a new reality show, a reverse American Idol, which would start with a bunch of people who already are “stars,” and the legitimate stars would be weeded out, leaving, at the end, the loser, American Hack, who would then be eaten, on Camera, by Roy’s tiger. I thought immediately of Celine Dion, just imagine the sound of Celine Dion being eaten by a tiger.

@Prommie: Just imagine the sound of Celine Dion being eaten by a tiger.

Like bagpipes?

@Benedick: I’m guessing he meant Perth, Australia, but given our recurrent Scotland/bagpipes conversations around here, maybe not.

@SanFranLefty: Or my favorite early SNL bit by Michael O’Donoghue:

You know, I kid the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but — I love ’em. And I happened to be in Utah recently so I drove over to the tabernacle to hear them and while they were singing “Shenandoah” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” or “For Unto Us a Child is Born” — you know, one of those moving, inspirational songs that just sends a chill right up your spine — well, I was listening to this and a funny thought occurred to me. I thought, what if someone took steel needles — well, well, actually, hundreds of pairs of steel needles — say, fifteen, eighteen inches long — with real sharp points — and plunged them into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s eyes? What would their reaction be? I think it might go something like this.

Followed by, well, just what he describes.

I thought all this time that Budgie were an Australian band, but they are from Wales. They were hugely influential on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the 80s (i.e., Judas Priest), and (deep voice) Metallica also as part of their NWOBHM and European metal influences. Metallica covers their songs “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” and “Breadfan” which are on the awesome two-cd set “Garage, Inc.”

@Prommie:

It could be hosted by Flava Flav and a completely nude Mario Lopez.

The contemporary stuff is aggressively derivative and the level of musical literacy is terrifyingly low – in the world of popular music tracked by Billboard. But the available catalog has never been larger through online outfits and downloading music services. The breadth of music anyone of us can get really has never been broader. However, the minstrels that give our moment in time its soundtrack are grunting illiterates controlled by the conglomerates of guys who can’t play or read music. I checked out a Foo Fighters track when a link was posted on a news site. Marc Bolan vocals with Berklee College of Music R&B guitar class 201 guitar and a junior high school bass drummer on drum set with a bass player they found in a can marked ‘Generic’ at a music store. Anyway, I thought, OK, what would their record company do if Blood Sweat & Tears showed up? Is it even worth assembling an ensemble of that kind of competence if the major labels where you make ‘real money’ are incapable of appreciating what they are hearing? Celine is a whispy, well packaged lounge singer who produced no work of lasting memory. In that vein, say, Dionne Warwick, worked a lot of very middle of the road literature, but damn, just hearing her negotiate the bridge of ‘Alfie’ back into the chorus is worth the price of admission.

@FlyingChainSaw:
You mean like The Cult’s 1987 LP Electric?

I still shake my head at the three or four chords used in all their songs even their remake of “Born to be Wild.”

@FlyingChainSaw: There would be no Foo Fighters if frontman Dave Grohl had not been in Nirvana.

@ManchuCandidate: Yeah, all that stuff is an argument to dismantling the military and throwing it all into music education. We could rebuilt the economy on brokering and speculating on tickets to the symphony instead of housing.

@redmanlaw: Right, this is what happens when you let the drummer sing – which explains the laying on the all the echoplex like Bolan.

@Benedick:

True, but where do you go to get that original cast album of Applause on CD? How about getting the British version of the original Follies? You have to admit getting your hands on stuff like that would be difficult, if not impossible.

My point is that the Music Industry (and the DVD industry, which is closer to home for me), needs to start focusing on delivery methods for product which account for and supply the idiosyncratic wants of the niche customer in order to create a space in the market for “long-tail” marketing strategies to grow. Amazon does it brilliantly with books, but it ain’t working for CD’s or movies because we are still focusing on product where there is a dedicated fan base, or on product which made a splash in other markets like television or movie theatres. This is a recipie for flat (or declining) sales.

To Prom’s point, I believe that both industries need to stop telling people what they should like, and start doing some real research to find out what people actually DO like. We need to identify and provide product which speaks to the ultra-niche customer…which, by the way, is going to be product which has more artistic or entertainment merit.

Gah, I am a marketing professional and it shows. How sad is that? I should have been a zookeeper, at least the shit on that job varies from the “bull” variety.

@redmanlaw: Hot damn! I was only in Albq. twice, so it may have been when the missus and I passed through in 95 for her first visit to the US, and that jibes with the wiki entry for Flake.

But see, that’s the point! There are moments of musical epiphany, when you are absolutely riding the wave of whatever your tastes declare the best. And then there is product that is pushed out to the public by these Foster douches. I still take a look at Rolling Stone from time to time, and hang my head in disbelief.

@FlyingChainSaw: OK, what would their record company do if Blood Sweat & Tears showed up?

Which reminds me, I should get a digital version of their take on “God Bless the Child” one of these days. Or spring for that USB turntable.

@nojo: Same here, mostly, although Bill Evans was recording some beautiful stuff up to the time the drugs and alcohol finally caught up to him. I’m a huge fan of Bill Frisell, although some may not call what he plays jazz. My appreciation of Miles ends with “Miles In The Sky” — I hated “Bitches Brew.”

@Dodgerblue: I don’t know how they sound all day, but when I finally outran KSDS yesterday I switched to a jazz station at 88.1 out of Long Beach (I think) that sounded pretty decent in the morning and evening. Driving without jazz is uncivilized.

@nojo: Actually, there are fine standalone phonographic stages that you can jack straight into a good sound card. You might also be already equipped to make duplicates. I have a small but well-used vinyl collection I never gave up and when I had to dupe things I would run an RCA jack Y-cable to a 1/8th inch stereo jack to a Turtle Beach sound card from my pre-amp. What I get are true archival quality WAV files that draws the signal directly from the recording surface to the sound card. I was lucky. I had a pre-amp with fine, recently rebuilt phono stages and a high end Turtle Beach card – (which has stuff I can’t even use like optical i/o). All I needed to get into business was the Y-cable which was like $12.99 at RadioShack. The results shocked me. Really I could not tell the difference in quality switching the sources from PC playback to original recording.

@nojo:
yeah, i know all about that turntable that rat covets along with all that vinyl. is your partridge family album in good condition? mr.ed?
i heart you for having them, btw.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again:
tommycatt, you must be very disgruntled being in marketing with that kind of optimism. niche markets are where the talent is, not the money!
demo’s like 18-54 is the target for the bucks, and the guarantee it sucks.

@FlyingChainSaw: @baked:

I could probably rig up something with cables on hand, but that USB turntable is only $150, I think.

On the other hand, yes, much of my vinyl is not in the best condition, and beyond the actual digitization, there’s the inevitable audio tidying. If I really want to revive The Cure and Billy Bragg, I might be better off just springing for CDs.

@nojo: Your old turntable would probably cost very little to tune up and it would completely waste the USB unit in terms of sound quality. Actually for $150 you could get yourself a smoking used table. I picked up a Technics 1200 – absolute brick – for $50 from a guy moving away. There is a lot of stuff not on CD and you might trip over gems in the future on vinyl you’ll want to mobilize in digital formats. Really, I’ve not read good reviews of the Ion table.

@nojo: If it weren’t for college radio – the tuner would be holding a door open.

@FlyingChainSaw: Good to know (so to speak) about the Ion, and my old Sony turntable probably just needs a new needle. Certainly sounded great when I was pumping it through the old Advents…

And yes, the real purpose would be for stuff that was never digitized, especially the esoteric vinyl I was buying in the 80s. (Best title ever: “Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing”.)

But here’s where having a good local jazz station spoils me: It’s all I ever listen to. My audio library started gathering dust the moment I moved to Sandy Eggo.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: Well, that stuff is on record. And remains on record. We have thousands here in the house which we don’t listen to. Follies in London? Why, Lord, Why? Oh, I kid. I saw the original in NYC. If you want stuff like that you go to the record store on east 13th street and brave the scorn of the theatre queens who run it.

But really you can’t concern yourself with writing what people want, or what you think they want. That’s just not how it works. Music is no different. People have to write what they want and sing what they want and sometimes other people will want to read or hear it. Isn’t part of the pleasure of liking little-known or under-appreciated works the fact that not everyone knows them? We press them on our friends and get a kick when we find a stranger who shares the same interests?

Speaking of ultra-niche: that’s the theatre. Ultra-ultra-niche is new plays. And they can’t be recorded. You do that play in that production with that cast that night and that’s it. The next show will be different. And when the production is over it’s as if it never was. It’s the great strength of the theatre, what makes it unique.

@nojo: Advents. Be still my heart. I met the assistant comptroller who discovered the parts inventory bomb that blew up the company. There’s a couple of places that could help you with a new stylus or cartridge. If you are doing archival duplication, I’d recommend the Stanton 681 EEE or Audio Technica AT440MLa. They just work at a very high level of fidelity with little fuss – though the AT will be slightly brighter. With care, you can read the manual and install them successfully yourself or get a good tech to put it in and tune the arm for it in like 10 minutes. Your Sony is probably 1000x the turntable the Ion could ever dream of being. Their transcriptor table is still being pursued by collectors today. Oh, yeah, great university programming can make you lazy in programming for yourself. Got a Nikko Gamma V tuner that is just on – always except when I am on the phone.

Can I just say I’m truly awed by the level of wonkiness this thread has evolved to? FCS’s posts may as well be in Urdu for all I can get out of them at this point.

@baked:

Ah, my dear, that is where you are wrong….if the product is cheap enough to produce, and the distribution channel is nearly free and is universal, then you can afford to make 1000 copies of something and sell only 500 of them…if you do that enough times, then you don’t need the blockbuster or the hit. The question becomes one of effective communication: how do you let people know where do access their niche? As I have said, Amazon did it for books in an amazing way…and look at the fucking Kindle. That thing is going to blow the walls off the publishing business, it is the ultimate killer app.

I hate marketing but it pays well and I get to look at Winnie-The-Pooh all the time.

@Benedick:

Beautiful Girls and Buddy’s Blues are the bomb.

I miss the theatre. I did a lot of professional theatre in my youth, but couldn’t quite get stick with it as I approached my thirties…how one makes a living at it is beyond me.

@flippin eck:

That’s what I love about these people- one day poopie jokes and bad puns, the next sharp analysis and breathtaking intelligence.

@flippin eck: What’s wonky about rekkid players and radios? You turn them on and play some music and wiggle around and stuff.

@flippin eck:
No joke. This interchange is along the lines of when Mr. SFL and his fellow Deadheads sit around and have long, detailed conversations about Dead shows and playlists. (And yes, they have long discussions about which version or recording of a show has the superior sound quality). I shudder to think what their exchanges are like on his Dead blogs.

@nojo: @Dodgerblue:
Are you two familiar with WBGO the jazz/NPR station from Newark? You can listen to them online. Great stuff on that station, it was all I’d listen to when I lived in the area. Ed Bradley from 60 Minutes would always show up for their pledge drives and go on air and ask people to send in money.

@FlyingChainSaw: Advents. Be still my heart.

At the time, philistine that I was, I needed speakers that could handle Tubular Bells.

@SanFranLefty: I found a website a few months ago that streamed rockabilly live to who ever the hell was listening, which at the time was me and somebody in Germany or something. I think I posted a link to it and tried to get prom to lurch his browser over there when we were both drinking and posting.

I recently got some bad ass speakers at a yard sale from a widowed friend of mine whose late husband was the classical music audiophile. I’m sure he appreciates that his gear was used last night to blast my cd of Metallica’s Albuquerque show (a presale fan perk) that Son of RML and I saw in October.

@FlyingChainSaw:
@nojo:

The few relics of my youth are my Technics direct drive, about 300 vinyl records and an old B&O amp. Sadly my Advents (yes!) blew a cone when we lived in Japan and in a moment of idiocy I let the Filipina house lady take them home.

@redmanlaw: There used to be a great stream of southwest Louisiana/cajun/zydeco stuff out there, run by a ethnomusicologist, acadialive or something but it’s gone.

@redmanlaw: There would have been no Nirvana, I think, if Dave Grohl were not in it.

@nabisco: Speaker technology has advanced – mostly because of the materials are better. Just things like glues that allow you to adhere one material with desirable properties to another with complimentary desirable properties. Twenty – thirty years ago, they weren’t there. What was amazing is what AR and Advent did with paper, wire, wood and wallpaper paste. B&O is probably restorable. But new speaks worth considering are not available through normal ground-level retailers any more. Stuff in BestBuy and Tweeter (when there was a Tweeter) is horrendous crap. When I replaced a pair of Infinities, I ended up tracking down a former Scott and KLH tech who had a commercial sound outfit who retrofit new speaks by a Canadian manufacturer to my tastes. That whole consumer sector has been weirdly redrafted into three tiers of disposable crapware stores, expensive (most often for no reason) audio shops and Internet-channel sellers of hand-crafted or nearly hand-crafted kit. For most any any solid state gear, restoring Japanese kit is an easy route as the designs were pretty similar, sensible and built from common parts that have only gotten better and more reliable. The speaker technology is where buying new will gain you new insights into your music. My tech geezer’s belief, and it makes sense, is that today is the Golden Age of the inexpensive audiophile experience in that all that good solid state gear is being left on sidewalks, is readily restorable and now, at long last, we actually have the speaker technology to express all the music that is recorded on those records and tapes.

@FlyingChainSaw: My man, technology is art and the search for perfect sound reproduction a worthy interest. But the very best music I have ever heard in my life, more often than not, has come from a small transistor radio, or from some shitty car speakers overdriven and distorted horrendously, providing the soundtrack for some outdoor keg party which was the stage for unforgettable young romantic dramas and drunken male bonding scenes and drunken confessions of love and freindship and horrendous white-boy dancing, and the most intimate scene of all, holding back the hair of some girl while she demurely puked behind a bush, and you were performing an act of love and pure devotion for someone oblivious to you, and it was alright, yeah, it was alright, because it was night and you were young and there was loud and lively music screetching from that shitty 8-track.

@Promnight: I once heard that classic Motown was mixed through the equivalent of a car radio, since that was its ultimate destination. Sixties Pop was a treble medium; Seventies FM didn’t happen until listening technology improved.

@nojo: The only mixing that matters is what happens in the mind of the listener, no? I am completely convinced that ALL live concert sound completely and totally sucked balls right up until about 2000, thats when I noticed something amazing happened, and you could hear things, instead of hearing some noise that reminded you of what you heard on the album and you really listened to some construct in your mind that was a combination of the remembered recorded sound and the shit coming in your ears.

Some of my favorite artists are Billy Bragg, Jonathan Richman, and The Ramones. Is it a coincidence that they all sound like they were recorded in a bathroom with a cassette recorder’s internal microphone?

On the other hand, I also absolutely adore the unreproducible, overproduced sounds of Phil Spector and the Beatles? And have you ever heard the Fab Faux? A group of musicians from NY that made it their mission to reproduce every note of those Beatles songs as they are heard on the records, but live? Its amazing, what they do.

@Promnight: Well, yeah, true, our lives have sound tracks but there is music worth getting inside of as much as there are works of visual art worth examining in a bright, clean top lighted exhibition space. Do this. Find Sibelius Symphony #2 and listen to it on the best rig you have, actually listen to it and get inside of the story he is telling. Aesthetic experiences derived from primary sources like well-reproduced music can be as satisfying as the synaesthetic experiences you’ve described. This is something people don’t do any more and it’s impoverished the culture in a way. People don’t know how to use their ears, or even understand that’s important. Cripes, people don’t play the piano and sing along any more, either, but there is no reason an engaged appreciation of music shouldn’t be as accessible in the home as fine art in reproduction books – or good non-fiction. At my office space, I have a nice rig and during the day, really every few days, I am arrested and transported by something surprising on the radio, something important to hear and I feel lucky having that time to be inside great music, my own aural cathedral. If I had a crappy table radio on the desk, I dunno if I’d bother. Yeah, it’s fun to listen to Bill Chase play Invitation to a River 20 times in a row blasted through a pair of stolen drive-in speakers with 40 shitfaced guys grimacing at the high notes but life is too long and too short to let it be one’s last memorable listening experience.

@Promnight: Who plays the piccolo trumpet solo on Penny Lane? Do they bother?

The sweetest music in my memory’s ear is what I hear still in my mind from an AM radio lying on the corner of a blanket on the beach, playing beach boys and Beatles music introduced by Harry Harrison and Cousin Brucie, when I was 6 years old and my older brothers were surfing and my older sisters were sashaying around in their bikinis with the grannie panty look and they were my heros and the world was the smell of salt and spun sugar and popcorn and the grit of sand and the sound of a far-off roller coaster and the world had nothing else in it, that moment was all and their was no fear or doubt or angst or despair.

@FlyingChainSaw: They do bother, FCS, what they do is absolutely amazing, I will look for them on youtube. They do the reverse crescendo from A Day In The Life, too. Live. All live.

You audiophiles have run off all the girls.

@Promnight: One part of it may be speaker design – and enclosure design for outdoor music reproduction improving. I had to go to a couple of race tracks for shows decades ago now and ended up walking way out to the backfield so I could hear. Up close, everything sounded overamplified just so the show could be heard out back. Now, the enclosures are designed, literally arced so you can heavily amplify the sound going out to the cheap seats and tone it down for speakers aimed at the audience standing at varying degrees of proximity to the performers. If it’s an indoor show, I dunno, if it’s like a Jonathan Richman show, could be they just turn down the volume figgering its an oldies crowd and they don’t appreciate being battered they they did back in the day when the concert experience was about getting hammered, stoned, deafened and having sex on a grimey floor with a stranger while your friends howled encouragements.

@FlyingChainSaw: Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaHHYpxn6kk

The trumpet is not perfect, and the onne thing thay can’t do is the voices, but its a supremely worthy effort.

@Mistress Cynica: I am desperately trying to appeal to the girls, Cynica, can’t you tell? Or, as when I was young, is that desperation just as off-putting?

@Promnight: It’s called a decrescendo. Wow. That’s an effort. The guy who played it was an London Symphony brass player who apparently looked at the chart and heard what the manager wanted and said, ‘oh, you want a little cadenza’ and then set about knocking off an eight bar confection for the piece. Whoever plays it in this group must be fairly accomplished and dedicated brassman.

@Promnight: Of course. The stories about shitfaced guys and barfing girls can’t help but transform the thread into a chick scene.

@FlyingChainSaw: I always thought the offer to hold a girl’s hair while she barfed was very romantic. Huh, guess the jokes on me. Only one of them ever thanked me afterwards.

@FlyingChainSaw: David Mason. You made me look it up. And then you made me find a brief YouTube interview.

@Promnight: Well, it may be a little personal. Like watching someone take a dump; they may feel like they let out a little too much information.

@Promnight: Oooh, and they included the trumpet tag at the end that’s only part of the single version.

And that’s the one and only bit of Beatles trivia I know.

You know, I never heard of that Foster guy until today.

@nojo: Yeah, great weird story of musically literate player bumping into the grind-it-out pop world. Guy was showing off playing the first arpeggios on the big Bb, though given the guys development he could likely play it to a fair degree of fidelity on a garden hose.

@Promnight: Oh, for the purposes of this crowd it was a very fine performance. Tuning is really hellish on those things and the high descants at the end were really nice, beautifully in tune with the ensemble.

I get the deal now. They’re five guys with charts who book sidemen for all the string and horn parts. It’s not easy to find a guy who steadily doubles on piccolo so they are making a extraordinary curatorial effort.

@FlyingChainSaw: Oh look, there’s Will Lee on bass. Maybe everyone else has regular gigs, too, like a Monday-night jazz band.

@FlyingChainSaw: The Beatles were grind it out pop? Am I hearing you right? Oh, FCS, you are wise and wonderful, but, this, are you condescending to the Beatles? Why? Paul was, is, a genius. Pop is just what people call current folk music, anyway. This is valid music, that man, the trumpeter on Penny Lane, he wasn’t slumming. He was taking part in a living art form, instead of reproducing the irrelevant music of a time long past.

@FlyingChainSaw: Isn’t every symphony orchestra in operation in the world today spending the majority of its time making “an extraordinary curatorial effort?”

I actually think you are forgetting something, these songs were never performed live by the beatles, not like this, they were not live performance songs, they were studio creations. These guys are not reproducing the original performances, they are accomplishing something the Beatles themselves never even attempted. Thats not curatorial, is that not interpretive, creative, much more than mere reproduction of a past performance, its the creation of a performance that never was.

@nojo: My understanding is that they all have other regular gigs, though I do not know them.

@Promnight: Paul was, is, a genius.

And pray what has he done of consequence since “Live and Let Die”?

@Promnight: Will Lee is Letterman’s bass player. Didn’t recognize the other names.

@chicago bureau: I think Perth W.A. is last bastion of Australian music. They still have Pub bands which brought us groups like Midnight Oil, AC/DC (Bonn Scott is buried in Perth), Cold Chisel, Australian Crawl, and of course Paul Kelly, Nick Cave. And Whilst an NZ band, Split Enz (later Crowded House) did the Pub Circuit too. Oh and the Hoodo Gurus, Painters and Dockers, and Hunters and Collectors.

The rest of the Australia is now in the thrall of “Tribute Bands” and the gentrification of the inner city which results in the closure of venues due to noise complaints.

Me, I think Perth will fall soon, and it will be all M.O.R. cover bands, and home in bed by 9pm.

@CheapBoy: Bon Scott is still AC/DC’s singer to me. Brian Johnson is the new guy who had one good record, Back in Black. One of my three favorite bands for years until bumped by Tool.

“Touch Too Much”. Peak performances by Bon and Angus Young from Highway to Hell. Me and my boy Todd blew out some speakers blasting AC/DC the night Bon died.

it’s said the only routes to another dimension are through mathmatics and MUSIC. i believe that, even though an excessive amount of jerry garcia is forced into my ears since the return of rat.

how about nature’s music? i listen to the sound of the ocean, the soft rustling of the palms, the birds, and it transports me in the same way.

prommie, i have the same memory on the same beach, but it was WIBG coming out of the pink plastic box holding down the corner of the blanket playing that short sweet era of bubblegum pop.
why do you build me up, buttercup?

@CheapBoy: Yeah, bistroization has played havoc on the jazz scenes in Sydney and Melbourne as well.

@Promnight: Oh, yeah. Beatles and their manager were in the business of banging out a lot of hooky pop music. They, inspired by their manager to a large extent, did some interesting stuff in production and in orchestration of their music but, in the end, it was workaday pop stuff. That’s why they made money. I am sure Mason found it entertaining for an afternoon and slightly wiggy to have a casual cadenza of his on the radio around the world.

@Promnight: No, not really. They’ve systematized the everyday presentation of orchestral literature and its support through different revenue streams feeding into a non-profit model. What I meant is that, in the case of Penny Lane, they’d often have to pay a doubler’s fee to have someone who could double on trumpet and the piccolo trumpet. They’re laying out a good deal of money for the strings, brass and singers for these productions and, in the mix, even absorbing extraordinary costs like the doubler’s fee. Yes, it is a wiggy project. You ever read about Metallica working with, like, the SF orchestra to record the 101 Strings version of their music? The guy who scored the orchestral parts was able to tell them what time signatures they were using – news to them – which was kinda handy when they actually had to perform the music with the orchestra and try to follow the conductor.

@FlyingChainSaw: Well, I don’t know much about music, but I know what I like. Beethoven, Bach, the Beatles, and Al Gore.

@FlyingChainSaw: The late Michael Kamen, who also scored the strings for every girl’s favorite Metallica song, Nothing Else Matters. The 2-cd set of the 1999 performance with the SF Symphony Orchestra called S & M (Symphony and Metallica) doesn’t float my boat. It’s the only one of the albums I don’t own, although I do like the single No Leaf Clover.

True, Metallica are lacking in formal musical training, like the Beatles, but operate from another knowledge base – 80’s British and European metal that inspired them, their drive, demons and desires, 25 years on the road and recording, etc. With that background, the band – especially guitarist James Hetfield – have crafted some of the most powerful songs in metal and hard rock. Sad But True sounds as if it were written by the devil himself (really, it’s kind of scary). Bleeding Me and the Unnamed Feeling are exquisite expressions of pain. Hetfield’s rage and fear-fuled lyrics, riffs and guitar sound blown up to the size of a semi truck have inspired and comforted me for 20 years. Man, just writing that got the “fight or flight” shot of adrenaline going. Wow. Better than coffee.

Off to face the day in a better place than I was a little while ago.

@Prommie: In college someone’s visiting sister or cousin or what have you tried to start conversation with a group of us by asking what our favorite kind of music was. I said, “The Beatles.” She said, “No, your favorite kind of music.” Again I said, “The Beatles.” She didn’t understand what I was getting at, so I just dropped it.

@mellbell:
@nojo:

I was raised on the Beatles. I used to drink free when I’d beat those bar trivia games by running the Beatle category dry. I can match Mr. Lefty’s collection of live Dead live with thousands of hours of demos, outtakes and open mike giggling of the Beatles. I must have at least fourteen versions of Strawberry Fields Forever – with strings, without strings, only strings, etc, and half of one disc is nothing but 45 second takes of the intro to “I Feel Fine”.

I gave my son the DVD to Yellow Submarine when he was 2, and he can now passably play the rollicking piano bit to “Hey Bulldog” at 8. He knows enough Beatles trivia that he name checked the movie “Help” on a Philly call-in kids radio show (“Kids Corner”, JNOV surely knows it) when the host mentioned to him (live on the phone) that her favorite movie featured the taming of a Bengal tiger with “Ode to Joy”.

Yep, I likes me some Beatles.

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