My brother and I both lucked out in scoring tickets to see the Grateful Dead reunion shows over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago. The Fare Thee Well shows, as they're calling the event in celebration of their 50th anniversary, has been controversial due to the intense ticket demand. Those left out feel it's a money grab as they see secondary market ticket prices through the roof.
Having each scored a pair of tickets for all three shows we had two extras. I suggested we sell the one pair which would certainly pay for our entire weekend and more but my brother said it would be bad karma. So we each invited a good friend along.
With under two months to go I've been listening to more and more Grateful Dead music in anticipation. And we're not alone.
The Wall Street Journal just published this story, The Return of the Deadheads. My brother and I will be part of an amazing mass of Deadheads who will flock to Chicago for a very special weekend.
The Library of Congress has plugged in its jukebox. It's a collection of over 10,000 pre-1925 American recordings that range from music to poetry to interviews. Here's the story from NPR, A Long Way From Wax Cylinders, Library Of Congress Slowly Joins The Digital Age
All of this curating and transferring to digital media has been done while the Library of Congress has taken a funding hit, which has included a reduction in staff.
The LOC actually has no full time head of IT right now which is immediately evident in the fact that these recordings require a Flash player, rendering them unplayable to anyone with mobile Apple devices. Their intention is to fill that position soon in an effort to bring the archive into the 21st century and making it much more accessible to the American public.
Here's the National Jukebox.
One of the nice things about having a popular blog is that people like to help out. They'll email or Facebook message me articles I might find interesting. It's a nice source when I'm stuck for a topic. Here's a couple of examples from last week.
So Instagram has joined the streaming music community with a service of their own, INSTAGRAM HAS JUST LAUNCHED ITS OWN @MUSIC CHANNEL. Stick with what you're known for. Instagram is photos, not music. This will go nowhere.
I can now consider DJing from my wrist using the Apple Watch, Djay wants you to DJ an entire party from the Apple Watch. I have two of Algoriddim's Djay apps. One on my iMac and one on my iPad. And ever since they incorporated Spotify as a source library it's pretty great. Now they've introduced an app for the Apple Watch. This means I can be on the floor shaking what I got while picking the next song that'll raise the roof.
An article published last week discusses a Canadian study that says the average person stops listening to new music at the age of 33. He's the story, You stop listening to new music at age 33, earlier for parents, study finds.
For about eight years I was a very active member of a music message board who's median age was right around 30. I certainly was an anomaly in the group as I still actively seek out new music. Any regular reader of this blog will attest to that. I'd get grief from some of the board members who considered me an old man who listened to "dad rock". My comeback was something akin to this Canadian study, that many of the young board members would one day lose interest in new music discovery.
I saw this loss happen with many of my friends so the findings of this report do seem to hold water. Again, I don't fall into this group and these days I surround myself with like-minded friends.
An older radio maven in Cleveland posted the story on Facebook this morning and he asked if the report were accurate. To no surprise, a good number of the responses confirm the study. All sorts of whining about new music sounding horrible. I guess they don't read my blog or follow me on social media.
It was quite a shock to me when I actually took some time to see how Spotify looked and played on a smart phone when using the free service. It's awful.
First of all you can't play an album or playlist in order. The only option is to shuffle the tracks. The individual songs are grayed out so you can't tap on a specific song you want to hear.
The music is then interrupted by commercials which totally ruins the experience of listening to an album. And it's a bit jarring if you're deep into the experience of an album. Really, Dark Side Of The Moon with ads interspersed is dreadful.
Then there's the lesser quality of sound. The free service stream is noticeably worse.
Finally, you can't download songs onto your phone for off-line listening with the free version. This is not only useful when you're out in the boonies with now internet but saves you from eating up monthly data usage. Being able to create a playlist of 10 albums or so that I can listen to throughout the week in my car without worry of hitting my data cap is gratifying.
The $10 monthly subscription seems a pittance after finding out the realities of the inferior free Spotify.
It's Rock Hall week here in Cleveland with the ultimate event, the induction ceremony, taking place tomorrow night at Public Hall. I was able to score a single ticket. Never could get a hold of a pair. Word is they go for big bucks on eBay too.
It's cool though. I'll be there with my kind of people. Those that love music. The biggest thrill of the night will be seeing Paul McCartney induct his old band mate, Ringo Starr, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The two remaining Beatles, undoubtedly performing together, in the same building they played on their first American tour back in 1964.
The actual inductee list isn't exactly what I wished for. No Kraftwerk and no Smiths left me disappointed, but I wouldn't miss this event. The line up of guest artists makes up for it. Presenters include Stevie Wonder, Patti Smith, Peter Wolf, Fall Out Boy, John Mayer, Steve Cropper, and Miley Cyrus. Hopefully they'll all play or sing at some point.
The list of scheduled performers goes like this; Zac Brown, Karen O, Nate Ruess, Beck, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, Tom Morello, John Legend, and Jimmie Vaughan. There's rumors of Springsteen showing up as well.
Tonight, as part of Rock Hall week, a group of local musicians, many of them personal friends including Chris Allen, Tom Prebish, Austin Walking Cane, Chris Hanna and Freddie Perez, will be performing in the smaller room at The Music Box. The sold out show will feature local guest singers joining the band to play a song by an artist in the Rock Hall. Some of these vocalists include Michael Stanley, Becky Boyd, John Petkovic, and Laurie Caner.
Since so many of Rock's elite are in town for the induction the dream scenario goes like this. Michael Stanley's performing so his old friend Joe Walsh will show up. Joe will bring his brother-in-law, Ringo, along with him. Joe married Barbara Bach's sister. And since Ringo's going he'll ask McCartney to come along too. Obviously they'll all want to join in the fun on stage.
So if anyone reading this has any clout see if you can help pull this off. It's the kind of thing that would make for good copy in the Random Notes section of Rolling Stone.
I came up with a mission statement for my life about 20 years ago. It goes like this, "to enrich people's lives through the sharing of music".
In my 9 to 5 world I live it by designing and selling music and video systems in people's homes for K+ Integration Systems. I have a mobile DJ business which certainly affords me the opportunity to practice it. Then there's my internet presence through this blog and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr where I share music discovery on a regular basis.
It's a good life and especially gratifying when I'm acknowledged for it. That's what happened on Monday's Sound of Ideas morning talk show on Cleveland public radio station WCPN.
Host Mike McIntyre, who also writes for the Plain Dealer, was conducting a round table discussion on the state of music here in Cleveland as part of a focus on Rock Hall induction week. The guests included John Gorman, former program director at WMMS in its heyday and now of oWOW Radio, Cindy Barber, co-owner of the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, Barry Gabel of Belkin Productions/Live Nation, and Lauren Onkey, V.P. of Education at the Rock Hall.
Gabel brought up the need for music tastemakers in Cleveland, saying they are far and few between, mentioning Kid Leo and Billy Bass, two former WMMS DJs, and their influence when they were excited about a record. McIntyre then says this, "I have a friend, his name's John Hannibal, and he tells me everything.". Gorman chimes in with "John does" and then McIntyre continues, "John knows. Suddenly he'll tell you a band and you say I've never heard of them before and before you know it my wife thinks I'm smart because I'm turning her onto some new music." The subject ends when Gabel agrees, "that's what's missing".
Well, I'm here to tell you it's not missing. Here I am. I don't dig deep into the underground. I look for what's just about to bubble up and if I think it's good I want to tell everyone about it. I have no time for criticism either. Why waste yours or my time telling you about how bad an album is. My focus is on the good and great.
I'm much obliged to Mike McIntyre and John Gorman who recognize me as a music taste maker. It gives me credibility and a feeling of accomplishment.
You can listen to the entire hour discussion here, How Rock Rolls in Northeast Ohio or skip to the 23:30 mark to hear my name drop.
Truth be told I deride the 80s a bit too often. I consider it one of the worst decades in music, but that's mostly because of the horrible production values that didn't age well. A good song is a good song, and there's no denying 1986 had a bunch of them.