Friday, December 23, 2011

33% Work 33% Love 33% Play

That is the equation that a good friend of mine told me is the formula to life...
One of many quotes, formulas, philosophies, and cliches I've heard this year as I've finally opened my ears to the world. I know, it took 34 years and countless mistakes for me to grasp, but 2012 has been a remarkable (i loved that word, "to be remarked upon") year for me, and for Saint Rocke.

Saint Rocke. Lots of highlights, some lowlights.
Gavin Rossdale & Bush going old school and standing on the bar singing Glycerine, Bad Seeds coming full circle and playing the Beach Concerts in Hermosa, Black Crowes (Chris) playing NYE, Amos Lee & Mat Kearney inspiring, the girl who had cancer (see past blog) and came to see UL sending me a letter that she's in remission, seeing the Saint Rocke Staff grow, doing 100 live webcasts and having over 2,500,000 watch, taking a wild far fetched idea and making it a reality with IROCKE...great shit. All of it. The bank account is definitely not a marker for success in the music business, trust me. But these memories, and the stories I have to accompany them, are the currency we carry.

We also had some hard times this year -- we lost some key staff, we burned some bridges, got burned, and lost some friends along the way.  As a venue, we struggled to find our identity a little bit over the early part of the year with our booking, but luckily have rebounded and are now booking what I truly believe to be the best lineups we've ever booked. Additionally, in 2012, we have created a partnership that I believe will take music to a different level in the South Bay.

I was talking to another booker a few weeks ago, and he had said that we read my blog, and that he really resonated with what I wrote -- the music business being able to drain your will & motivation -- and that he felt some comfort knowing that we were all really in it together. And as I move into 2012, with another of wisdom under my belt (that makes me realize I don't know anything), that quick point is magnified by thousand : we're all in this together. Today you might be in the 1%, tomorrow you might be at Occupy, the next day terminally just don't know. So how do we all get by?  For me, I work, I play, and I love. For those that know me, they know I have the first two of those down, but the third has always been hard.

Never too young, never too old, never too slow, never too fast, to start today.
I hope everyone has a great holiday, enjoys their family the best they can, puts their differences aside, and realizes that in the end we're all in this together.

On behalf of the staff at Saint Rocke, Merry Whatever and Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This might make you cry. It's that Touching...

I have become pretty cynical and unemotional working in the music business -- money oriented much of the time, hard ass people, and seems like music is the last thing on people's minds. Last week though, I received an email for that exactly that reason I believe and it both broke my heart and gave me hope at the same time.  You need to take a minute to read this...

Hello, I am seeing Unwritten Law at your venue next week along with some friends.  I am writing because I would like next Friday night to be memorable. I have recently been diagnosed with advancing stages of ovarian cancer. Although, that is harrowing news, I would like to celebrate a positive aspect in my life. I have been fortunate enough to reunite with my first love.  He is the friend who took me to your venue last month for my birthday and we are both HUGE fans of Unwritten Law. I was unable to contact the band directly so contacting the venue was my next move. You have my permission to forward this to the band/band manager.  My request is simple, but I understand if it can't be accommodated. I'd like to dedicate a song to him: Unwritten Law's "Rest of My Life". We have both known each other for over 10 years. But, with the complications of life, work, and failed relationships, we just now were given the opportunity to rekindle this long lost romance. I have not informed him of my diagnosis, I am planning on telling him that night. But before our lives drastically change again, I'd like to have one perfect moment to cherish for the "rest of our lives".

After I got this, I contacted the boys of Unwritten Law, and they were so utterly cool about it, it restored my hope & love for this.  Changing lives...affecting lives...making a difference. They will be there at soundcheck Friday, and they will be at the show enjoying the music and eachother. And this wonderfully strong girl has inspired me, and I'm hoping to pass it along.  (If there is one) God bless her.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hotel Rooms in San Francisco and our Raison de'tre

Cut to Sunday morning. In a hotel room in San Francisco, drinking my coffee and watching a Woody Allen movie, this quote melts its way across the screen...

"We all fear death and question the purpose of our lives. The job of the Artist though is to not succumb to despair, but instead find an antidote to the meaningless of existence."

It's been a long year for all of us. Economy is not too good, the news is always negative, and with the growth of social media and twitter and twatter and facebook and foursquare, meaningless jarble seems to be abound. And until recently, I was kind of annoyed by it -- how many videos of nonsense can be put in your face, and how many blogs about nothing are out there (note sarcastic reference to self)? But when I heard this quote, it changed my whole perspective. It literally turned me 180 degrees.

If you haven't questioned your existence, then as Socrates said, life isn't worth living. It's part of the project, part of the reason we're here. And no, everything doesn't happen for a reason, but I can sure as hell create a reason for just about any random coincidence that does happen. Point is though - as we all ask the unanswerable questions (i hope you guys do too or im worried about myself) it's super easy to throw your hands in the air, and say F&(# it.  But Woody's quote here says different - you think you have some artistic ability? Then it's your JOB, your responsibility to society, not to succumb, but to try and find something that we all can take pleasure in, that we can all find meaning in.

And so think about music & musicians. That's exactly what they do. They give us a nanosecond, a moment, when we're listening to our favorite song, where we cease to question, and we for a minute have the answer: ahh, this is what life is about. And I've never thought of it that way, but after hearing this, I came with a renewed sense of social responsibility to keep bringing music that the South Bay hasn't heard down here.  What if the band on Saturday gives that feeling to a few people? Mission accomplished.

Go buy a CD today (i know, i know).
Thank the person/musician that has provided you some of life's antidote.

And if you got a song that does it for you, share it with us.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Return of the Piano

I won't risk upsetting people that read this by getting into my religious beliefs, but I will say that I love symbolism and metaphor in life, and that almost any situation or action in our lives can be adapted quite nicely to some medium of meaning. This week has been no different for me - and as I pack up my office in my house, my symbol comes in the form of a Piano.

After moving into my home in 2004, I rushed to get an office set up immediately. I rushed everything back then: life, relationships, breakfast, surfing. Everything that mattered to me for so long all of a sudden had become a distraction, because I was all encompassed into the art of business. I had started my first restaurant venture, the Union Cattle, and my partners and I were obsessed in succeeding there.  So, as I moved in, my first thought was to be grown up and setup my camp of operations; a modern day office with technology and printers and screens and filing cabinets. Look at the suspenders on that kid.  And so that was my twenties: the office in my home was my metaphor, my constant distraction, my raison d'etre.  I can't tell you how many times I'd have a dinner party or female companion over, and I'd sneak to the office to check my emails, or the daily sales reports. Laughable, really.

And so as I broke out my cardboard boxes this weekend, and packed up years of paperwork, old broken printers, and hundreds of fatherless cables, I lamented. I looked through the old deals, agreements, issues, and schematics that had once papered my walls, and I neatly packed them away to make room for the new metaphor: my Piano.

Now one might say - the productivity! Why take a room that spit out creativity, graphics, contracts, ideas, a ton of work and replace it with a simple piano that won't contribute anything to Saint Rocke? And as I thought about it, sitting on a pile of old band posters, I realized that the Piano was my new metaphor. A maturing if you will, into a different type of person, a more well-rounded person, and thus a better business person.

I think we are all creative inside, every one of us. But how many of us pursue, nurture, and promote that creativity? Do you? I can't speak for you, but I know that when I do it makes me more effective, more productive, and everybody that works around me is a little less tense.  So for me, as the Piano comes in, and I start playing again, I realize that I've actually started working harder than before. On me.

Go play the piano. Go paint a picture. See what happens.
And if you're not too shy, tell us about it....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's that Time Again: #*$D Yelp

Well, we're back. If you don't like cuss words, close your eyes. The 2nd Annual Fuck Yelpathon is upon us. The taint of online reviews. The holy grail of whining idiots. Why do I have disdain might you ask? Well, I'll give you a great example as to the veracity of Yelp.

About 2 months ago we hosted BUSH at the Rocke, and KROQ sold the tickets. Now they didn't tell us that 50,000 people were going to try and get tickets so we didn't prepare, and the demand crashed our site. All good, things happen, get it back up and we move on. Nope.

People freaked. Apocalyptic comments were made. Death threats. Grown men crying, mothers of children swearing that Saint Rocke would fall because they didn't get their ticket to see Gavin sweat it out.  And one women, in parcticular, 'liked' us on facebook and started absolutely firing verbal missiles. Now mind you, she was from the 909 (no I'm not stereotyping), never even heard of Saint Rocke before the day, and all of a sudden she is hating on Saint Rocke, saying it's the worst venue ever.  And then, to really feel righteous, where did she turn? Yes, my friends, to the almighty equalizer....Yelp.  And here it is:

Staff is snobby and cocky. "Regulars" are snobby and cocky. I'll be going elsewhere, thanks.
So there you go. Never been here, never came here, didn't get her "I-worship-Rossdale" ticket, and so went to talk shit. And that my friends, is why I hate the sight. In a day where small businesses are the only thing keeping our economy alive, and where entrepreneurs are trying their damndest to make it work, people like that come on with non-constructive mud slinging that does nobody any good.
So, every year I like to hold my Fuck Yelp-Athon (again, excuse the French) and I ask people who TRULY LIKE (don't lie) Saint Rocke, to post your positive thoughts and comments about Saint Rocke, because the good times never get realized.  If you do, I'll hook you up with two tickets to a show of your choice. Copy your review, and send it to and you'll get a reply back with some tix. And as they say, werhd.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why is the last day of vacation never that Good?

You know what sucks? That my 10 day vacations are always 9, my 7 day vacations are always 6, and my 3 day weekends are always 2 and change. I went to Catalina this weekend on a boat with friends to celebrate a friend getting married, and sure enough, Sunday morning creeps in, and all of a sudden I'm thinking about Monday, work, what I missed, what I have to do. Technically, that Sunday was 33% of my vacation, a third, and I spent it preparing my head, getting rid of the hangover, and planning for Monday. Does this happen in other professions? Do you cut your getaways short as well in the inevitable return to the grind?

It's bad enough in the bar business that i have a love affair nightly with my businesses. If they do well, and treat me well, I'm in love. Greatest line of work ever. If we have a bad night, and the band doesn't draw or we are high on labor, I loathe the existence of the places. My most torrid affair is with Saint Rocke, where the bands play a larger part in our overall success as a business. And every morning when I look at my email report, I either cringe or rejoice. So going on vacation is like withdrawing from an addiction - turning that phone is a tough thing to do.

What I propose is that we institute a post-vacation acclimation day. It should be a rule that after a vacation, we are allowed 1 day to "get back into the swing of things." Because let's be real, who is really productive and on their game the day after? As hard as you try, I find myself going through the motions despite my effort.
I've also tried the come-home-a-day-early solution, but then I realized that was even more of a surrender.

So, I ask, whats your solution?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hermosa Concert Series: "No good deed goes unpunished"

5,000 people on the beach.
Great bands. Great people.
Awesome sponsors that make it happen.
No city funds.

For those that don't know, Saint Rocke produces the concert series on the beach in Hermosa Beach during the summers. After the City cancelled them due to budget limitations, we took on the burden and made it happen. And for those that think it's easy, it's not. Especially in Hermosa Beach, crown city of gadflies. So when we finished the concert series this last weekend on a high note - 4 great shows of original music, great attendance, no problems, etc. - I thought too good to be true. Nobody had a problem in this city? No Jim Lissner crying foul on beach drinking? No Longacre screaming bloody murder on noise concerns? Sweet......Wrong.

Got a letter this morning from a 'concerned citizen' that was extremely upset at the MBCC sponsor activation on Sunday - a country club kindly sponsored the event, and tried to show their members a good time by creating a portion of sand for their members to enjoy by putting furniture and a tent up (Day at the Beach). It was about 10% of the total space used for concert viewing, and preference was given to people signing up for their raffle ((note: sponsorship!!)) Now, I get it. People are big on rights in this country. My right this, my right that. It's was our country was founded on. But on a real level, if you don't already realize this, let me be clear:

1. Nothing is for free. People dont just spend 100k to put on events for fun. Only cities do.
2. Cities are broke. Hence cities not doing #1 anymore.
3. If you are not paying for the product, you ARE the product.
4. I would love to leave the concert series completely void of any commercialism. Absolutely. And if there are any big money dudes in the South Bay that can write a check for 100k, I personally promise that not one logo will hit the beach.
5. If nobody ponies up, and everyone wants a great concert series, then businesses must be allowed to find some ad/marketing value in their sponsorship of the event.

Super simple. Super straight forward.

So instead of spending my day enjoying my hundreds of hours of FREE work I did to put these on, I instead at their taking grief from a lady who told me that "I should be ashamed of myself" for allowing this to happen.
Although I felt like responding in a different manner, I sat there and took it, and apologized that she didn't have a better time, which I've learned from my restaurant background (just keep apologizing).  And hence the lesson I keep learning: "No good deed goes unpunished." But really? Shame?

If someone actually reads this that was involved - a challenge: try to actually HELP our city. Do something positive instead of complain. I'm 100% into collaborative efforts, and would love sponsors, and volunteer help to make these concerts even more special than they already are.  And if you want to whine, don't email me. Take the other gadflies in our town to dinner, go to Vons and get old people to sign a petition against the concerts, and put another ridiculous non-logical referendum into play. Go Hermosa.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Artist you believe in, or a Great Night of $

every Tuesday. The recurring question...

5 of us sit around and talk about who deserves to play Saint Rocke. Who's fresh, who's classic, who has a great voice, or great songwriting talent, who sucks, who's overrated, why that guy is playing those venues, etc. I used to read the LA Weekly and be amazed at the sheer numbers of bands playing every week, and the ads used to give me vertigo. Now I peruse them, and it's as if I'm using a cipher. I get it. The live music business. And so I seem to run into the same question weekly: What if I love a band, but I know they won't draw? I can name 20 (but I won't). And the inverse: I cannot stand this band, but I know they pack the house.  Who gets the Friday night?

Now lets be honest with ourselves people. The South Bay is not a hotbed of musical discovery.  That was supported by the fact that I had at least 5 different people tell me that "that hippie band" on the beach was no good the other week. Bullshit. Mother Hips fucking rocks. Don't care what anyone says. Good songwriting, pro players, great rhythmn. I just shook my head, and short of telling them that I'd put a Journey cover band on, I walked away with a low brow.

So how do I make the decision? The investors at Saint Rocke want ROI, the music crowd wants discovery and new music, and the bar patrons want a good time. I still haven't figured out the right cocktail mix of the three, and when you look at our booking calendar, you might find evidence of that. But I can tell you this - no team has worked harder to give the local community music like they've had here before, and we always appreciate your feedback. We all post on our facebook & twitter so when you have band suggestions, throw em our way!

I'll leave off with a poll question: does HelloGoodbye win over the beach crowd on Sunday?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where is Music going....

Music is changing. The way its created, the way its presented, and the way we listen and watch it. Its happening now -- the foundations are being built for a music business that we as consumers won't see for another year or two, but trust me, it's happening. Not bad. Not good. Just evolution.

1. You won't "own" music anymore. There'll be no need. You'll access cloud music for a small fee, and your library will be endless. The idea of buying & owning music from an artist will be gone.

2. Albums are gone. The only remnants of the album will lay in nostalgia - where artists put out albums for creative reasons. But they will be penalized financially by the market.  Artists will put out singles almost in constant flow - because the market will reward that activity. Think of these major bands putting out a song a month instead of an album per year.

3. Calls to Action will become normal - as the ticketing & music business team up with peripheral industries to push product, which will support the artist. The cliche is true: "if you are not paying for the product, your are the product." Good example -- you really surprised that you need to sign up for a Citibank card in order to get preferred tickets to JayZ? Well done LiveNation, for working a smooth payment deal. Citibank gets tons of new customers, and the artist just has to give them some tickets, and then get paid. Genius. Did you even realize that when you went to signup?

4. Creativity will flourish. If a song sucks, no more hanging onto it. It will disappear just as quick as it was posted, because it won't be supported by views/listens online, and that will be the ultimate indicator. The power of what gets played, rewarded, and seen as good truly will lie with the masses.

5. The live performance will become ALL POWERFUL. Artists will find ways to monetize this more, and to make this their special sauce. Every single artist will live stream their performance nightly as technological obstacles are removed (as they are). Imagine watching live shows in your home theatre with your big huge sound system, in the comfort of your own home. Can't replace the live experience? Of course. But look at the NFL if you think it can't be done.

6. Record Labels will get weaker and weaker. They already are losing distribution control, and now more and more they are losing content control. What is their use? Big production studios? nope. Big marketing plans? nope. Im still trying to figure out what they are good for. Let me know...

7. There will be a company called IROCKE, and when it's worldwide, you'll remember this blog. It is an opportunity I have taken to develop a niche in this new marketplace with a friend and partner. We are building the platform, and I truly think it will be a large part in changing the face of music. More to come as we develop, but keep your ear to the ground.

Is music better off? worse off?  Neither. It is. Just like a good song or a good artist, there is constant evolution, change, and untraveled paths that this thing called music has been trudging down since the beginning of time. Music is in a growth, a rebirth, and I think on the other side of this period we will have emerged in a new golden era. Get your headphones on, and sit back.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why did it have to be today...BUSH

So, I wake up this morning, having been focused on some personal issues I've got (surgery on Monday for my back at 33, sweet), and my message box is full on my phone, facebook, and email. WTF? So I figure, OK, something is up with one of the spots. I got to the Saint Rocke Twitter Feed, and then I realize -- BUSH had set up a KROQ show at Saint Rocke, and it was a private link and they put in on sale this morning. And we crashed...

Now lets talk infrastructure. I don't know of one venue in the country that has their own ticketing system. We do venue, it's what we do. But we don't do ticketing, and so we have middleware. So to be clear, it's our website, and then Company X does our ticketing.

So KROQ announces this morning, and 50,000 hit the site at the same time, and it overwhelms Company X's servers. Then the social networking starts...hundreds upon hundreds, if not thousands, of posts on our Facebook and Twitter. And not just frustrated...massively pissed off at Saint Rocke. And that deserves another WTF.

Listen, Bush is one of the biggest bands of our time. Simple Fact. Our venue holds 280 people. Simple Fact. Economics 101 says demand is way bigger than supply. What a fun, cool thing. So you didn't get a ticket? Darn. Next time. Is your job and life that bad that you produce such negativity in the world? C'mon now. They do always say that sports & music takes a dramatic upturn in down economies.

Like a kindergarten class, I want to share what I've learned today: No wonder. No wonder we have wars, religion fights, countries that are bankrupt, etc. If people get that upset at not getting to see a great band, then what do people do when somebody critiques their religion, or accidentially bumps them walking down the hallway.

I wish I could give everyone a ticket, but I can't. I actually have none to give away because Bush & KROQ have them all. We are the biggest little venue in LA, and thanks to some really cool people in the industry, we were blessed with the opportunity to have this show. So, for all of you that didn't get a ticket, truly sorry about the Company X server crash. But really, you're chances were 200/50000 = not much %. Don't hate the venue, don't hate the band, don't hate on KROQ, just simply realize that sometimes things happen and smile. Smile that you are alive, that you have ears to listen to the music, and that there is always another tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Apple Addiction (iphones)

I need to understand. Because I know I'm not that boring. I realize that sometimes I might not be witty, or that I might not be up on the current news, but lately my presence at dinner & lunch with friends has been overshadowed by this pushy, interrupting character....the iphone.

So tell me, WTF? why is it that I go to sushi with friends, and three minutes later everyone is on their iphone playing "words with friends", the newest incarnation of Chuck Woolery. And when we're headed to eat, what ever happened to just trying something new, or finding your way there by taking a few sightseeing turns? Is the quickest path always the best?

And holy shit...geotrackers? You guys realize what the Man is doing to you? George Orwell 1984 is actually coming true (if you don't know that reference, go back to 7th grade). Knowing where I am all the time? The only thing that can accomplish in my life is getting me in trouble.

The most oxymoronic part? That this very contraption that I'm screaming bloody murder about on a social level, is actually a godsend on the business tip. Live, up-to-date info on who's playing? set times? watching the show? tracking where people are? A venue dream.

So which wins? business or personal?
Im torn.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I could give a shit what people think (don't you love when people say that?)...

We've all say it. It's the cool thing to say. Hipster. Confident in skin. etc.etc. Bullshit.

As Saint Rocke has grown, I've had my head to the ground, and I'm the first to admit that I'm sometimes oblivious to trends, ignorant of current popular culture, and hard-headed in my ways. I like things a certain way, and I've come to a peaceful position that I hope people like what I do (how Saint Rocke looks, feels, etc.) or I'm out of business. I can't fake it. I can't be "that guy" when it comes to certain things in the bar business (if you want a definition of "that guy" just let me know), and because of that, I've had to develop thick skin. I can't tell you how many times I've heard -- "yeah, this sucks. You should...."

Most of the time, I politely listen, and then walk away. But I care, I really do, about what other people think. And even though I say I dont, I do. So when we got #1 venue from the Easy Reader, I have to admit, I was pretty excited. Now, I'm not supposed to say this, but usually the voting in these is rigged. From either (1) small businesses that stuff the ballot, or (2) the editor being biased based on who advertises with them.  But in this case, we totally dropped the ball, and I didn't even vote, much less did we activate our fanbase. And (2) we don't advertise in the Easy Reader, but other venues do.

With that, I have to admit, at the cost of potentially not being as cool, that I was super stoked, and humbly grateful when we got this. It's nice to know that the sweat and tears we put into bringing music & culture into the South Bay is not going unnoticed. Even our happy hour - when we started programming music during happy hour - we immediately saw a difference. Right on. That's all I can say.

So just wanted to say thank you to all those who believe in Saint Rocke, and appreciate our efforts, and also to say keep the suggestions coming. If you don't like something, be vocal. If you do, BE VOCAL. We love it on both ends. In the end, the product is that we deliver a better experience.

Oh yeah, one more thing. In the spirit of hating on the Yelp world, if you post a REAL response/critique of a great experience at Saint Rocke, some tickets might just come your way for a show of your choice :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Anybody want to Meet-n-Greet PEPPER???

Enough of the SERIOUS. Okay, okay. Last week I published an article that I wrote for a newspaper on the state of the music business (comments?) so this week I figured...take it easy man.  Stop your preaching.

Okay, then simple. Who wants to meet Pepper? I have some backstage green room passes to meet PEPPER on Sunday night for our SOLD OUT acoustic performance that is being live streamed worldwide.  here's the win you need to:
1. take a picture and either send to or  post on saint rocke's facebook and it has to have something to do with PEPPER (shaker? sneezing? whatever...). Most creative wins. Hurry, time running out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Article I just wrote on MUSIC BUSINESS for the Newspaper

THE MUSIC BUSINESS: Supporting music from the ground up

I own a music venue, and every day it gets harder for me to understand the business of music. I see hundreds, if not thousands of artists a year, performing at Saint Rocke in an effort to make a living on music and I increasingly hear the same thing from them: “our fans love the music we create, but they are less and less inclined to support our music making endeavors.” In other words, we [the consumer] love to listen, but hate to pay for it.
They have a very valid point. Think about it.
What would your life be without music? How would it feel to experience a wedding without that special first dance, a drive up the coast without the radio blasting, or a baseball game without the national anthem? Music gives us the soundtrack for our lives, and Id venture to say that the art form of music is appreciated and enjoyed in some manner by every human being that walks the earth. It would make sense that the community would embrace artisans that create this music, and that great value would be placed on the songs that we all laugh, cry, and fist pump to. Why then has a beautifully written song been reduced to a $.99 purchase, and why has the music marketplace cultivated itself in a band of online thieves?
The majority of people involved in the business of music will agree that the marketplace is currently in a state of flux, and most will focus on the specifics of the economic model, such as the transition from CD to digital, or the economy hurting live ticket sales. Over the last decade, CD sales dropped 50%, from $14.6 billion to $6.3 billion annually, and no end to the decline seems near (the impetus of this decline was the infamous Napster, that took the price of a CD from $14 to free in 1999). As a result of this lost revenue stream, artists initially focused more on touring and live performance in order to continue making a living. But increasingly higher ticket prices coupled with a struggling economy have resulted in the first decline in ticket sales in decades, as reported by Pollstar. The most alarming byproduct of this decline in revenue was illustrated well by a musician friend of mine that I had coffee with last week (an artist that has sold millions of albums over the last two decades). During our conversation, he told me that a major sporting event wanted to use his song during their TV intro, and that to license the song they would give him but a few hundred dollars (in 2001, this would have been a $10,000 price tag). Translated: the Artist of today is struggling. Struggling to prosper, struggling to thrive, and struggling to simply make a living under the current model of the music business.
Let me be clear: I am not finding fault with the consumer. Supply and demand is a simple economic theory that holds true with the human condition, and people will pay for a product they see value in. Additionally, I see the magazines too--the fancy cars & the big houses, and the bands like Rolling Stones and U2 taking private jets to San Tropez—and sympathy is not the feeling that comes to mind. It’s almost as if the media engines that create this perception of cool are the same engines that fuel the consumer’s “love to listen, hate to pay” attitude. However, I do believe that we need to be more conscious of the situation, for our own benefit as well. I want to wake up and throw some tunes on, like I did this morning, and listen to good melodies. I don’t want to take a run and have no music to inspire me, or get used to silent film on the weekends. I want good music in my life today, tomorrow, and as long as I’m alive. And so I believe we, as the consumers, need to be cautious in our perceptions, and understand that one day our economic actions might reduce the volume and quality of music that is being provided to us every day. If that day ever comes, the world will truly be in trouble.
So what then is the proper characterization of the state of the music business? It’ll survive just as sure as music will survive, because that’s what we do. People survive. But I’m hoping that somewhere along the line, we will all realize our ever-important roles in supporting and nurturing those who provide us these unique soundtracks--the coffee shop singer that is charging $2 at the door, the independent artist selling his CD for $8, or the band offering a live stream online of their performance for $1. There is a post-music industry music industry developing as we speak – and our actions as consumers will be the defining impetus for the new frontier.
Does buying a CD or paying for a show at Saint Rocke sound so crazy now?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fuck the Boundaries. 2011 (cue Eye of the Tiger)

You might laugh at me. You might think Im retarded. But I just came upon a realization...
those guys on TV, those normal dudes from Idaho that won the lottery, or the American Idol that's sitting in front of 10,000 people realizing a dream, they are actually right. My cynicism was off...pretty much (caveat) anything is possible, and the only super limiting thing is your own boundaries you set.

I know what you're thinking. Really? It took this guy that long to figure that out? I've heard this a thousand times, and although I like to think I've done some cool things, they have all been in the 'safe' harbor...the harbor where it's fun, but you don't really put yourself out there to fail. Ask yourself if you don't believe me...when's the last time you did something outside your comfort level? something that you otherwise thought you'd never be able to do?

Example (small). A year or so ago, I was thinking, wouldn't it be cool to film in Saint Rocke and get big artists that normally wouldnt play a 300 cap room? Pipe dream. A year later...Pepper, Bush, Amos Lee. Fuckin rad artists playing this tiny little room. And so I started thinking bigger and bigger. and bigger. And I realized that Johnny Ohio & Mindy Wisconsin were right, as I was watching American Idol last night (yeah, I watch) and the people crying before they did their song because they wanted it so bad.
So, on this thursday, a little pep talk. 2011. Kill it. Dont take no for an answer. I'm not....