Tag Archives: music

Bea Arthur and Rock Hudson Sing About Drugs

Bea Arthur and Rock Hudson sing “Turnin’ On” from the 1977 musical I Love My Wife (directed by Arthur’s husbad) on The Beatrice Arthur Special:

The simple life it must have been
When “smoke” was Luckys and “high” was gin
One pink lady and how it turned ‘em on!
“Junk” was trash, “speed” was swift
Glue was pasted instead of sniffed
Coke and aspirin, and wow it turned ‘em on! (full lyrics)

Nocturnal and Fog City Pack’s Alpha Party

Had a great afternoon nap on the floor (does anybody else do that?) and a pizza is on the way so I can take a little time to detail the dynamic duo of events we attended last night.

First up was the Alpha party.

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Alpha was produced by the Fog City Pups ‘pack’ at a seedy basement club in a deadend alley near Jessie and 6th. It would take a whole other essay to talk about the conventions of pups/alphas as an intentionally created culture (and I’d probably need to interview a few friends to get the full gist). Anyway, Alpha’s pedigree rests in a regular private party that outgrew it’s origins to becoming a public event. DJs Adam Kraft, Kevin O’Connor, and Jim Collins kept a sexy sensual spare beat bouncing and the club environment was darkly lit.

The occasion for the party was the birthday of pup Turbo and one year anniversary of the founding of the Fog City Pack. The party had promised “hot guys, low inhibitions” and certainly delivered with a clothes check encouraging minimal clothing (lots of leather and jockstraps) and a “red light room” outfitted with three sex slings and cushioned couches that most likely took a beating over the course of the night. We’re friends with a lot of the pups, so Ron and I stopped by as we headed out for the evening. And so did everybody else. Even though Alpha was targeted towards the pups and related sub-culture, the party had amazing buzz and everybody was there.

In all honesty, this kind of event isn’t really our cup of tea – and that is completely fine. But what Alpha was intended to be, what attracted people to it, and what it was were all perfectly aligned for a crowd ready to revel in it. The Fog City Pups did a fantastic job creating an event that was uniquely theirs but also brought in a broader crowd.

Can’t wait for the next one!

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I probably talk about DJ Jack Chang too much. I first discovered him on Tribe.net back around 2006 and found the hours upon hours of music he made available on his website, changmusic.com.

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Lucky enough to have brunch with DJ Jack Chang at Catch. Thanks, Jack!

Even before we ever went to circuit parties we always enjoyed Jack’s dark, harder edged mixes. And so when Ky Martinez told us he just got off the phone with Jack’s manager and that he was coming in at the end of February for the Nocturnal event, Ron immediately started moving his schedule around so we wouldn’t miss the evening.

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Gogo Thomas Julio Rodriguez commanding the box at Nocturnal.

Nocturnal was at BeatBox, a frequent venue for many of these types of events and so it can be a challenge to design the environment of the club to be different and fresh each time. Ky and the gang had moved some platforms around, added some stairs up to the gogo boxes and had some scenic elements that hung from the ceiling which gave the space more height. Expert lighting design from William Brown reinforced the space to keep it elastic and changing shape.

Local favorite Russ Rich opened. He is always spectacular whether it’s prime time circuit, Sunday Funday cocktails, tea dance, or afterhours-y. Always glad to see him at the helm.

Then around midnight Russ’s set ended and Jack came on with a breathless overture with William activating even more lasers and lights in the space and then launching into an expertly constructed four-hour set. The crowd went nuts and enjoyed every minute of it. At around 3:50 or so, Jack’s set eased off as the crowd made their way to coat check and out the door. Ron and I were literally the last two patrons to leave the club.

Ky, Juan, Mohammad, and Cecil put together an amazing evening with Nocturnal – the first of four events this year so stay tuned for the next one.

Update: Jack released the full four hour mix from Saturday.

Digital Music Executive on Tidal Launch

Former digital music exec on Tidal:

“Tidal is offering nothing new. They have exactly the same catalog, product, features, even names of tiers the same as everyone else, with the exception of the $20 “lossless” feature. Even that’s not defensible, because every other service can and will offer it (and probably for less), and the $20 is not reflective of any real costs. It’s totally arbitrary pricing.

Aside from being audio overkill, lossless isn’t even a new or unique idea. This has been on every service’s roadmap for a while…but streaming lossless is pretty dumb, at the moment. Many people don’t have data connections fat enough to support it, and on mobile it’s silly.

Tidal can claim somehow they’re ‘more fair’ in paying artists, but they’ve been completely opaque about what that actually means. Given Tidal’s deals are almost certainly identical to every other service out there (Rhapsody, Spotify, Beats, etc.), it’s hard to believe their payment structure is going to be any different either.

The only difference as I see it is the presence of the select celebrity co-owners, who are either silent partners (in which case they’re just like any other investor, likely to be disappointed in Tidal’s returns) or are actively involved in development and management (in which case I pity the poor teams at Tidal that have to work with them).”

Full discussion http://www.metafilter.com/148481/Tidal#5993070

The Music Industry, Post-Payola

Secrets from the music industry:

“[A]ny citizen could walk into an airport and buy plane tickets with cash.

A common ruse was to have the A&R guy ( Artist and Repertoire) use company cash, buy tickets and give them to Local PDs at radio stations. These tickets were as good as cash but not a direct payment. The PD could either take a nice vacation or return the tickets to the airline at the airport. The friendly ticket lady would then refund the cash price of the ticket in full. Bingo! The PD “just got paid today.”

Gosh! If you have access to a wealthy and connected producer plus a steady supply of cocaine to stuff disk-jockey’s faces, there no telling how high your career might fly! It might fly like an eagle! You could buy a stairway to heaven!

That sounds hard to believe in today’s credit card world, but that’s how it was done. This was WAY before 911, so airports were more like train stations. You could just walk in and buy two tickets to paradise with cash; no ID, no record, no surveillance cameras, no traceability. That was how hits were made.”

via Nozame comments on What is a “dirty little (or big) secret” about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?.

Bjork on Women, Music, Auteurs, and Authorship

Bjork talks to Pitchfork about her new album (coming after the collapse of her marriage) and about the unique challenges of women in the music industry:

“I want to support young girls who are in their 20s now and tell them: You’re not just imagining things. It’s tough. Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times. Girls now are also faced with different problems. I’ve been guilty of one thing: After being the only girl in bands for 10 years, I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas. I became really good at this and I don’t even notice it myself.”

On the music press’s refusal to see her collaborators as contributors without removing her as the auteur voice:

“I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I’m saying to you now helps women, I’m up for saying it.”

“I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him. It really is strange.”

Full interview http://pitchfork.com/features/interviews/9582-the-invisible-woman-a-conversation-with-bjork/

Blink 182’s Enduring Appeal

Explaining the success of Blink 182:

“I started listening to blink around 1997. I still will play a blink album in my car every month or so. And I’ve tried for years to figure out what makes them so great, but it’s hard to do. People might say oh they were funny, or oh they mixed music and lifestyle, which is true, but they were more than that. Besides Travis barker’s drumming, they aren’t very good musicians from a technical standpoint. Tom’s voice irritates many people. And their type of jokes they say seem so jr high school….BUT…if I had to break it down I would have to say it’s their spirit.

What they captured in the late nineties (and continue to do) was what many suburban youth were feeling: that they didn’t belong. No direction. No chance with keeping a relationship. No ability to keep friends forever. No stable parents to look up to. No hope. And something about having them hit all of these major themes so well lyrically, and melodically, just gave us something to grab on to and cheer on. For once, blink got kids with no direction excited about life.

And when you go back and revisit these albums, they still take you back to that earlier time in your life and make you appreciate what they were and what they represented. In many ways Blink is therapy. They’re the best friends you never had, that you could always rely on. Their the champions of the sport-less. The parents of the latchkey. The older sibling who had been there, done that. And as you get older, you might put them away for a while, you might go to college, get a job, get married, and you finally listen after years and then you realize listening to blink doesn’t change. You feel the same way now about it as you did when you first heard them. They embody eternal youth. So grab some albums and dive on in buddy.”

Full thread http://reddit.com/r/Music/comments/2qeo24/blink_182_adams_song_90s_alt/cn5nurz

How Big Music Labels Fake Indie Cred

I’ve always told people that nobody comes from nowhere. There is no such thing as a self-styled or self-made or overnight-sensation anything anyone anywhere. From Reddit:

“You can’t pump a pop star onto the radio and have people accept it anymore, you have to tap into the rest of the market that still gobbles up that sound, but wants to avoid being force fed music.
So you put the artist in the inbox of the right ‘music journalists’, set up a front label, and let the virality do the work.

I’ve made a little hobby out of taking fast rising content in this sub, and when I can’t figure out who the label really is – I rip the song and upload it to youtube, then wait for one of the big 3 labels to claim their content.

Remember indie sensation Ryn Weaver with her song of the Summer Octohate, which she made in her basement and uploaded to her soundcloud?

She even showed up in the comments of her Stereogum piece to say how indie she is. She was on a label that was nothing more than a twitter account, turned out to be created by the famous producer that made her hit single.

To this day, there is nothing on the internet saying who her label actually is, and the only reason I know she is on Universal Music Group is because UMG claimed her content on my youtube upload This is how it works now.”

http://np.reddit.com/r/listentothis/comments/2esk9y/catey_shaw_human_contact_pop_2014_i_just_found/ck2luyq?context=3

Ryn Weaver’s song :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUvwNR8-NQc

Juggalos Explained

A more nuanced explanation than you’re used to:

“Somewhere along the line they changed to Insane Clown Posse – they created a fantasy world from which they rapped about, taking on personas of rapping, insane clowns. This fantasy world was called the Dark Carnival.. which would do psychopathic murderous things to child beaters, greedy fat cats, and rednecks.

Their music was usually fairly offensive but once you got past the shock there were …amateurish attempts to talk about a lot of problems that plague children of poor and broken homes, who experienced grave alienation and isolation. They talked a lot about child abuse, or a school system that rejects you, parents that reject you. It was for the people… who didn’t fit in anywhere. There’s this really bad, and contradictory, attempt at being conscious rap that’s this undercurrent for their childish shock-rap.

And often – poor, uneducated white kids who felt lost gravitated to them.

As i’ve grown – i found them to be incredibly ignorant. But i’ve never seen so much love at a concert in my life. I’ve been to endless punk shows, nu-metal shows, raves, metal shows, reggae shows, hip hop shows, country concerts, family friendly radio band shows, and… i’ve never seen so much undiscriminating love at a show as i’ve seen as ICP shows. You show up there, and you’re a brother and sister to everyone there. They might tend to be fat, sweaty, ignorant or wierd… but those shows are the only place some of these kids feel at home or like they belong. It’s the only place they really get to let loose without judgement. I’ve never been to their big festivals called “The Gathering” and i never will. A lot of the footage i’ve seen from there was nothing like the shows i went too.

And as much as i don’t think ICP are talented, or that their message(s) are positive or intelligent – b/c they are none of these things, there’s this element that gets lost when the internet gets to circlejerking about how “stupid” and “trashy” they are. Not just of the group, but of the fans.

underneath it all, these kids are people too – and the ones you see doing really dumb (and sometimes dangerous) things on youtube vids of outdoor juggalo gatherings, it’s really a symptom of class, and broken homes and kids who don’t fit in anywhere more than anything else. And to mock that is really shitty.

I was friends with a couple of hardcore juggalos and almost in every instance – male or female – the word i’d best used to describe them is “lost”. Being a juggalo was a cathartic symptom for them, not the problem.”

Full discussion http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1xikrw/eli5_juggalos/cfbplc1

Photo from http://www.musictimes.com/articles/3912/20140203/insane-clown-posses-gathering-juggalos-announces-new-location-festival-dates.htm

Ladies’ Night Explained

From a Mefi thread about gay privilege:

“When you see a club or bar admitting women for free, or providing free drinks, it may be worth bearing in mind the truism noted on MeFi many years ago: if you’re getting something for free you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”

Commenter on Metafilter http://www.metafilter.com/136030/No-Broads-Allowed#5390868

People Actually Did Forget About Dre

A youngster on Reddit asks about some hip hop history – here’s the response:

“Yes. Dr Dre’s reputation took a nose dive shortly before leaving Death Row records in the mid 90s. He became a highly dissed and “uncool” in the world of hip hop, and then people even started to question his skill as a producer (to be fair, people still do). For years people talked about how he’s passed it, irrelevant, etc. Hasn’t worked in years, takes credit for other peoples productions, slaps his name on it, and then it sells. Remember, before 2001 was released in 1999, Dr Dre had not had an album in nearly 8 years.

In between the Chronic and 2001, he had two major hits. California Love with 2pac, and No Diggity with the Blackstreet, but even by the time No Diggity came out,he was being openly mocked. In 1995 Tupac joined Dr Dres record label after having some legal troubles and interscope no longer wanted anything to do with him, coming under pressure from Time Warner to get rid of Tupac. Dr Dre was one of Tupacs heroes, but as they saying goes, never meet your heroes. Dr Dre produced three records for Tupacs album All Eyez on Me, a song called Can’t C Me, and California love and the remix. Deathrow Records wanted Dr Dres name to be on the album as head producer, but Tupac kicked up a fuss stating the obvious, Dre only produced three tracks out of 27, why should he get the credit for 27 tracks and the other producers such as Johnny J[1] and Daz Dillinger[2] do not. That’s just business, Dr Dre as a producer was more marketable, but Tupac was having none of it

Before the album even came out he started airing his grievences in interviews making it publicly known Dre only worked on three tracks, and in the end Deathrow changed the head producer credit to Daz Dillinger, who actually was the head producer of the album.

People close to Dr Dre state that he never wanted the credit in the first place, other people at deathrow (suge knight) actually tried to put his name down as the producer as a business decision, but then blamed Dre when it didn’t sit well with Pac. Tupac was very charismatic so people started to treat Dre differently at work, and in the end he decided to leave the company he founded because he found the work environment unbearable. He felt like he lost complete creative control of his own company because people (not everyone) did not respect him. Deathrow started signing artists without his permission as if his opinion didn’t matter etc, he was getting cut out of the businesses side and the creative side too – which was supposed to be his end of the business.

Then he made no diggity with blackstreet and although it did well in terms of charts, he got a lot of heat for it. Tupac recorded a song with a very similar beat and dedicated an entire verse to openly mocking Dre . After that, he became a bit of a recluse. He stayed away from hiphop and started working on various different projects, even doing mixing work for Nine Inch Nails etc. People really did forget about Dre.

Meanwhile he was trying to start his own label, and signed a rapper called Eminem. That seems like a no brainer now, but you have to remember at the time a lot of people didn’t take eminem seriously, even when his first album was out. It wasn’t until his second album, the marshel mathers LP did critics really start to think “This guy is the shit”. So Dre releases the slim shady LP, and if you didn’t actually buy the album at the time, you’d just know him as the comedy rapper that made “My Name is”. So people looked at Dr Dre doing a cameo in that video and thinking “How far has this guy fallen? Doing video appearances with some white jokey rapper”. Around that time Dr Dre himself was working on his comeback album to shut up the critics, “The Chronic 2”, but even people from within the industry had been trying to cock block that also. His old label bought the rights to the trademark “The Chronic” so he couldn’t use that, so he stated he was calling it “The Chronic 2000” and getting around the trademark issue by making the album cover a weed leaf with just the words “2000” on it, so the album would actually be “2000” but it would look like it was called “The Chronic 2000”. Deathrow records then created an album called “The Chronic 2000” which was basically 12 tracks dissing Dre, their plan was to release it around the same time as his album “2000”, and confuse consumers into buying an anti-dre album. After that, he just ditched “The Chronic 2000” idea and just called the album “2001” to give them all the middle finger.

It was a massive success and at the time a production masterpiece. He proved everyone wrong and became one of the most powerful people in music in the last 15 years because of it. Now its been even longer, 15 years since 2001 dropped. People are starting to say the same thing, Dr Dre takes too long to make songs, he’s fallen off, he’s irrelevant, doesn’t have it anymore. I hope he drops one more album and punishes everyone one last more time. The dude deserves it.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1ugq0y/ama_request_dr_dre/cei33on

Image from http://www.spyghana.com/dr-dre-jimmy-iovine-launches-a-60m-music-streaming-service-called-daisy/