September 30, 2004

The debates

As usual, the Daily Show's coverage of the debate is absolutely priceless.

while interviewing the "undecided"
Why can you not decide? Keanna.... How the #(@$ do you dress yourself in the morning? You can't make any decisions. They're so @)*%&@ different. I don't (&2@#*&! get this @)(*$. How can you not decide!?

Yes, thank you, undecided voters, for helping me make a decision.

I'm just going go and drown myself.

I'm really hoping that Lisa posts a few clips.

-- Update --
In the interim, here's a bit torrent of the daily show. (Thanks, Cory!)

Posted by Casper at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

Mp3 creator sounds warning

Karlheinz Brandenburg, the man who invented the mp3 format, offers some advice for the music industry:

The alphabet soup of technologies is meant to prevent fans from rampantly duplicating and transferring songs to others.

Brandenburg said he twice warned manufacturers and music labels that they risk alienating fans and driving them to unsanctioned file-sharing networks, where the songs are free and encoded in the unprotected MP3 format.

"They didn't listen. Maybe they thought it made commercial sense not to have a standard. It's very strange," he said.

Thanks to Jason for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 10:12 PM | Comments (2)

Wireless subscriptions like music subscriptions

Gerd draws a parallel.

Posted by Casper at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

Avril sings Spongebob

I'm not a big fan of Avril, but at least she has a modicum of good taste.

Posted by Casper at 09:36 PM | Comments (2)

A Lego harpsichord

Following in the footsteps of the Lego Spiderman movie, here's a Lego harpsichord. It actually plays.

Thanks to Fred for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

Earth's hum defined

Sound people have known about ground hum for sometime. Now, scientists have clearly defined what it is.

The persistent noise - at between two and seven milliHertz, way below the threshold of human hearing - is clearly caused by large emissions of energy near or at the Earth's surface.

So, now we can all sleep at night.

Posted by Casper at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

More RIAA shenanigans

The RIAA, protector of poor musicians everywhere, set up a group called SoundExchange to collect the royalties for satellite, cable and web based broadcasting. So far, so good, right? The catch here is that musicians have to contact SoundExchange to get their money. If they don't, SoundExchange gets to keep what they've collected.

Tens of thousands of performers have failed to claim their digital dues from the Recording Industry Ass. Of America's royalties agency, SoundExchange. If they don't get in touch by the end of the year, SoundExchange will keep the royalties that were owed to them between 1996 and 2000.

I have this mental image of a scene from the invetiable movie: Someone from the RIAA protesting to the camera, saying "We've made announcements and tried to get musicians to sign up" while on a split screen, a small man walks around a music conference, whispering "Hey! If you want your royalties, sign up here!".

Thanks to Simon for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

Yet more lawsuits

The RIAA racks up another 762. Bravo, guys.

Posted by Casper at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2004

Suing customers as a business model

From Fred von Lohmann at the EFF:

The campaign appears to have hit its stride, with the Recording Industry Association of America announcing roughly 500 new suits each month.

Suing large numbers of "regular folks" is relatively unprecedented in the annals of intellectual property law. But we could be watching the makings of a new trend. DirecTV, for example, has in the last three years sent more than 170,000 demand letters to individuals who are allegedly "stealing" satellite TV. The letters deliver an ultimatum: pay $3,500 or face a lawsuit. So far, DirecTV has filed more than 24,000 suits against people who have called their bluff.

So it looks like the recording industry may be lifting a page from DirecTV's playbook. But have the lawsuits worked for the recording industry?

It's an interesting read about how the legal punishment strategy isn't being all that effective.

Thanks to Cory for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

Nickel Creek heading on the road

Sadly, no DC dates, though (the closest is Philly).

Posted by Casper at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

You've probably heard that Jacko has a teenaged son

But what's really disturbing about the report is this little tidbit:

...[Jackson] allegedly sent two employees to Oslo to raise the baby as their own.

Who would have taken this job?

Posted by Casper at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

The original and still the best

Robert Moog is back, making instruments again.

Techno enthusiasts, who generally like to experiment with sounds and manufacture original noises, have reignited interest in the Moog (rhymes with rogue), which can synthesize any sound imaginable. A growing number of hip-hop musicians and producers have also fueled the phenomenon, trying to recapture the rich grooves of Stevie Wonder, Parliament-Funkadelic and other soul and funk masters. Some of today's critically lauded rock bands, like Wilco, are also part of this Moog revival.

Posted by Casper at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)

Wooten to get Wider Recognition

Downbeat Magazine has named Victor Wooten as their Talent Deserving Wider Recognition.

...Wooten took to the instrument and took it to a place few thought it could go. Music awards aren't much in the way of artistic or talent litmus tests, but if they were, well, damn. Wooten's got a trophy case your junior high principal could only dream about: a couple of Grammies (admittedly the least impressive award of all time), two Nashville Music Awards for Bassist of the Year and three Bass Player of the Year awards from Bass Player magazine. Even after all these accolades, it's Down Beat magazine's Talent Most Deserving Wider Recognition award that is most telling of Wooten's aspirations.

Congradulations to Victor on yet another award! Here's to hoping that the recognition finds him beyond just bass playing circles.

Thanks to Maria for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

1,000 songs/1 album == jail

A bill has passed the House (HR 4077) yesterday. This particular piece of legislation would

...send people to jail for sharing 1,000 songs, or just one unreleased album. That's right, up to 5 years in jail for sharing one album.

I'd be curious to know how they made the connection between one album (averaging ten to twelve tracks per) and one thousand individual songs. Did they just say "well, they both start with a one. Close enough."?

-- Update --
HR 4077 is also known as the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act.

Posted by Casper at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

JPEG virus

A brand new wrinkle on the problem -- a virus that can be transmitted via a jpeg. You are reading this right -- it's now possible to get a virus just by viewing a JPG. Particularly in a MS program like Outlook or IE (one of the nearly infinite reasons why I use other products to do my web work). Rev Bob has some good deatils on what the virus does and how to defeat it.

Posted by Casper at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

MST3k is back. Sorta

Three of the guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 have gone on to start their own website.

Thanks to Rasputin for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

CDs for another five years

At least we don't have to worry about replacing our entire music collection for another five years or so.

Thanks to Coolfer for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

Technical details on how Prince recorded

Music Thing has a few posts about how Prince got his sound on some of his mid-80's music.

  1. Kiss was originally a country song. Prince recorded it on cassette and gave it to a band he was developing. They were called Maserati. The tape was just a verse and chorus with Prince singing and playing acoustic guitar. Maserati weren’t impressed.
  2. The band worked on the track for a day, trying to make it work. They still weren’t impressed.
  3. Early the next morning, Prince came into the studio and listened to what they’d done. He recorded the electric guitar part and his vocal. Then he threw the band out of the studio and stripped off most of what they’d recorded.

Off the top of my head, if Prince writes a song for you, you pretty much damn well find a way to make it work.

Also some details on the keyboard player who always dressed as a surgeon.

  1. Those massive synth sounds on ‘1999’? They came from an Oberheim 4 Voice, multi-tracked four times with different patches.
  2. Everything was always played live. The only time he let Dr Fink use a sequencer was to play the rhythm part on ‘I Would Die 4 U’ from Purple Rain. Prince could play it live himself, but Dr Fink couldn’t.

For what it's worth, I feel this guy's pain. Back when I was playing with In The Pocket, we did a Jeff Beck tune called Star Cycle. It had this heavily sequenced keyboard part that Tommy refused to program; he played it all by hand. The upshot was that we could only rehearse the song once or twice a week because his hands would get too tired to play through the song.

Posted by Casper at 10:56 PM | Comments (2)

BNL TV

The BareNaked Ladies may be getting their own TV show.

Posted by Casper at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Windows without media player?

In perperation for a possible EU edict, Microsoft has created a version of Windows that does not include the Windows Media Player embedded in it.

Thanks to Brad for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

You mean they're not real?

Dolly Parton will be getting a breast size reduction. Or, more accurately, she's getting the implants taken out.

Posted by Casper at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

Live "Best Of" released

The CD includes a few videos as well. Maybe now they can shed their "guys without shirts on" image.

Posted by Casper at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

More on jazz info in the digial world

So, there's this opinion piece, talking about how jazz is being more and more opaque in the digital age without all the liner notes and attendent documentation to explain what's going on with the music. I've written a little about this before, but this article is a different (and very pessimistic) approach to a similar topic.

When I first read the article, it bothered me, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Luckily, Mwanji (back up to his usual posting greatness) dissects the writing sentence by sentence.

One of the many reasons why Mwanji is a must read if you are into jazz.

Posted by Casper at 11:04 PM | Comments (1)

Record TV shows onto a walkman sized device

A pretty cool device.

Whether it's a brand new series or an old favorite, the RCA LYRA Audio/Video Jukebox lets TV junkies record their favorite programs directly onto a pocket-sized device - without the need to use a PC. The 20 GB RCA RD2780 is a "virtual VCR" in your pocket, featuring a 3.5" screen that easily connects to a television set via an analog composite video output and can record up to 50 hours of video content directly from an analog video source. The RD2780 also plays back digital audio files and JPEG photos.

As Todd put it

Just plug into your TV via the venerable eponymous plugs [the RCA plugs --ed] and presto! Instant portable video. No need to go to messy websites for downloading - why go to CinemaNow when you can go right to Turner Movie Classics or HBO? It has line-in and line-out. No DRM - though press release makes passing mention of respect for "analog copy protection signals from pre-recorded media." So you can't in all likelihood copy your latest DVD to the device. But so what? Think of what you can copy.

Posted by Casper at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

More news you've already heard

Phil Spector charged with murder.

Posted by Casper at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

Conan gets the gig

I'm sure you've heard this already, but Conan O'Brien will be taking over for Jay Leno in 2009. Congrats, Conan; here's hoping that you don't mainstream your humor for an hour earlier.

Posted by Casper at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Madonna banned in Egypt

As a result of Madonna expressing her desire to celebrate the Jewish New Year in Israel, the Egyptian Parliment ordered her banned from entering into the country.

Posted by Casper at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Actors trying to sing

A gallery of such stalwarts at Steven Seagal, William Shatner, Catherine Bach, Farrah Fawcett, David Hasselhoff, John Travolta, Burt Reynolds, Jeff Bridges and Clint Eastwood.

Posted by Casper at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

New online store

Virgin with VirginDigital.

What's interesting is that Virgin is putting its biggest emphasis on its subscription service, rather than on selling songs one at time for 99 cents a track, as Apple and Microsoft do. It is betting that new customers will join its Virgin Music Club for a $7.99 monthly fee to listen to an unlimited amount of music from Virgin's one-million-track library on their computers.

A premium subscription service that will allow those tracks to be moved to a portable music player, for a slightly higher monthly fee, will be introduced soon.

It'll be interesting to see how Jobs reacts to Branson's foray; Branson clearly has the cash to make this race interesting.

Posted by Casper at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

A house like none other

Japan HouseI don't have any info on this, just the photo.

-- Update --
I've been informed that domain name hosting this photo is, well, pornographic. If you don't know German, then look it up for yourself, or trust me on this one. The photo itself isn't going to get anyone in trouble, but either the domain name or anything else you might happen to find on the server might. So, on the safe side, probably Not Safe For Work.

Posted by Casper at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

Build your own...

Following on from the violin building, how to build your own acoustic guitar as well as how to do a solid body electric.

Posted by Casper at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

Of course, this is for legal downloaders

Green Day is offering professionally printed CD-R labels for five of the albums. Only for legal downloads, naturally.

Thanks to Xeni for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

Hello mudda, Hello fadda

I went to camp, and it was okay. In other words, I finally finished writing up my diary from Bass/Nature Camp. You can browse the FAQ flie or start at the beginning and read through the whole thing (scroll up!).

Posted by Casper at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2004

Cirque du Soleil starting a record label

Given what some of the soundtracks sound like, I'd guess they're going for the too-much-money crowd, crossing New Age music with vaguely world rhythms. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I'd love to have a crack at that marketspace.

Thanks to Simon for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Myths about the recording industry

This article has been getting lots and lots of conversation over at Pho. Three myths are covered and discussed:

  1. The prevalence of file-trading services and free music on the Internet indicates that recorded music may no longer be an economically viable business.
  2. Record sales are down. The situation is only growing worse.
  3. Musicians no longer need the record industry. The Internet and other new technologies make this a new era of “do it yourself.”

It's a good article to read, maybe get into a few conversations for yourself.

Posted by Casper at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

Live music copyrights changing

Bootlegs from live music can be copyrighted, but only for a limited time. It's that whole pesky Constitution thing (Article 1, Section 8, "by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries [my emphasis]"), unlike what the original law said (namely, protection for all time).

Posted by Casper at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

Comparing the Kryptonite problem to DMCA

Kryptonite locks can be opened with a Bic pen and hard shove (more detail on that, if you want it). George Hotelling draws a parallel between this and DRM/DMCA.

...Let's pretend that the law treated the Bic pen vulnerability the way it treats decrypting DVDs.

First, the person who discovered the flaw has his home raided by police and goes through two trials in as many years. Next, everyone linking to the video is sued, although the New York Times is spared. Finally once all the lawsuits had gone through their motions, Kryptonite congratulates itself on a job well done. Of course the don't fix the lock, but since it can silence anyone who talks about how to break the lock they don't need to.

Hmmm... does this sound like anyone to you?

Posted by Casper at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

Writing about music

There's been a lot of writing going on lately, all of which were focused on the difficulties of trying to put music subject into words. Scott has the master list, compiling all the contributions from Kyle Gann, A. C. Douglas, Scott himself, Lynn S, Fred, Alex Ross, Helen Radice and Charles T. Downey. It's an interesting read, and things that I have been strugging with for some time. Hell, it's part of the title of this blog (the smaller text underneath).

Posted by Casper at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

Music from the Simpsons

All the music you could want and more.

Posted by Casper at 12:06 AM | Comments (1)

September 25, 2004

Brutal Personals

Have you ever read online personals? You'd think that most of the people are near perfect, with sparkling wit and verve. I've been on a few dates with people met online; sometimes things work out well, other times, I'd be happy to talk fraud charges with someone over what small, um, details were left out. The good folk over at Esquire magazine have started to host what they refer to as brutally honest personals.

Here's a sample:

Paul W. -- Age: 34, Height: 6'2", Last relationship: Never, Seeking: A good-looking, intelligent woman who can overlook my physical shortcomings and teach me about love. Please hurry. I'm a 34-year-old university librarian with straight dark hair and dark-brown eyes. ...I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I'm not very good at parties; the larger the gathering, the more uncomfortable I become. I try to be witty and charming, but most of the time I'm very esoteric and hard to understand. Also, I'm a bit of a geek. I watch the X-Files religiously and, well, need I mention my comic book collection?

Good luck to you, Paul. At the very minimum, if you were to date someone from this site, you're probably not going to be let down with some skeleton in a closet.

Posted by Casper at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

Elton John shows self love

There's going to be a tribue show to Elton John. Present by Elton John. Paying tribute to himself. Just a little masterbatory, perhaps?

Posted by Casper at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2004

Arguments

A website dedicated to nothing but Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About. Full of dry British humor. Don't miss such gems as

  • I eat two-fingered Kit-Kats like I'd eat any other chocolate bars of that size, i.e., without feeling the need to snap them into two individual fingers first. Margret accused me of doing this, 'deliberately to annoy her'.
  • Which way - the distances were identical - to drive round a circular bypass (this resulted in her kicking me in the head from the back seat as I drove along).
  • She wants to paint the living room yellow. I have not the words.
  • See if you can spot the difference between these two statements:
    1. "Those trousers make your backside look fat."
    2. "You're a repellently obese old hag upon whom I am compelled to heap insults and derision - depressingly far removed from the, 'stupid, squeaky, pocket-sized English women,' who make up my vast catalogue of former lovers and to whom I might as well return right now as I hate everything about you."
    Maybe the acoustics were really bad in the dining room, or something.
  • Arguments. There are many arguments we have over arguments. 'Who started argument x', for example, is a old favourite that has not had its vigour dimmed by age nor its edge blunted through use. Another dependable companion is, 'I'm not arguing, I'm just talking - you're arguing,' along with its more stage-struck (in the sense that it relishes an audience - parties, visiting relatives, Parent's Evenings at school, in shops, etc.) sibling, 'Right, so we're going to get into this argument here are we?'
  • .... It's that, as the exchanges switched backwards and forwards between us, there was a kind of bidding war going on with the pitch. It's not just that each one of us upped the volume a little for our turn, but that we also changed the tone by raising our voices so that our reply was about a fifth higher than the one that the other person had just used. It was like two Mariah Careys facing off - pretty quickly, we were having an argument that only dogs could hear.

This page seems to be sufficiently popular that it's also a book.

Posted by Casper at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)

David Weinburger at the World Economic Forum on music and the web

David has some interesting observations from his experience with media mavens at the World Economic Forum.

...[T]he Entertainment and Media group met in downtown NY. Thirty-five us sat around tables formed into a large square. No PowerPoints, just discussion among senior people in the recording, movie and media industries.

The conversation doesn't lend itself to detailed retelling. But it sure was fascinating for me. I came away with four overall impressions:

First, these people are thrashing. They're floundering. They're desperate to find a way in which their organizations still add value. ...

Second, they don't understand what the hell we're talking about. I can't say that I made any inroads. To them, the Internet is a transport for distributing bits they own. Its lack of DRM is a hole that they will plug. They have no doubt that strong DRM is on its way and that it's a good thing. ...

Third, they believe they're responding to the market. They do not recognize that their market has abandoned them. They think that file-sharing is an aberration. ...

Fourth, they're going to win. They own Congress and neither Congress nor the entertainment cartel sees any reason to compromise. Their Lakoffian frame tells them that they're stopping theft, end of story. So they are going to kill the Internet and they don't even know it.

Posted by Casper at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Tips on flying with your instrument

Having lived with the joy of flying with a musical instrument, I pass along some information on ways to make the experience go better to anyone who is about to embark on a plane. Several other people add their experiences to the conversation.

If you are going to fly, I'd suggest you get a copy of the AFM letter -- it may not help with getting past the security screeners, but, at the minimum, it probably won't hurt. The airlines are a different story, though.

Posted by Casper at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

"You've never had it so good"

...[The record label's] anxieties about monetizing music in the future are justified. Things are going to get a lot worse. Most of you know how bad. I'm talking today because in five years of reporting from Silicon Valley on these issues, the technology people have failed to tackle the issues. For me, they lost the moral authority when they argued that Napster should be legalized and when asked "How do you pay the rights holders?" answered, "That's not our problem". All scientists bear some responsibility for what they create. Secondly the music industry has now started to sue people for enjoying music. It needs to remember that it's in the music business. And thirdly, no one believes in the "cure" that's supposed to solve these problems. It isn't sustainable.

A music reporter hands out some free advice. I don't agree with everything he says, but it's at least interesting to consider.

Posted by Casper at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

Outgrossing Sky Captain

Following up on an earlier post, Microsoft's Fable made more money on it's opening week than Sky Captain did.

Posted by Casper at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Photo essay of how to make a violin

From the Stradivari school.

Posted by Casper at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

Richard Bona dates

Bona will be playing as a solo act in NYC the third week of January.

Posted by Casper at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

The Illuminati! Trilogy, online

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a bona fide cult classic, written in the early 80's, it's full of, well, just about everything you'd ever think could be in a book. Now, it's online.

Posted by Casper at 11:52 PM | Comments (1)

The instruments of Harry Partch

A biggunSome of the stranger instruments I have seen, including a marimba eight feet by four feet, which plays a F below the lowest A on an 88 key piano.

Posted by Casper at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)

Open letter to the entertainment industry

Yeah, I know that this is a joke, but it's still amusing. Not to mention spot-on, and a little too close to the truth.

Dear Content Producers and Owners: [i.e. labels and artists, among others]

... Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We like our customers. We don't treat them like potential criminals, and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people want. ...

Signed: The Computer Industry

Posted by Casper at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

The small new future of music

Festivals like ATP [All Tomorrow's Parties] are the best PR for the increasingly successful business model of selling eclectic music made by and for people who actually like it. There are a host of like-minded events targeted to the dedicated fan of niche sounds. The Coachella festival of Indio, California, has become a pilgrimage for followers of cult favorites and rising international acts. Bonnaroo of Manchester, Tennessee, has roots in the jam-band scene but an open-ended vision. ...

These are but a few of the signs that the record business is coming to grips with a small new future. That doesn’t mean the industry’s overall revenues will shrink, nor that record sales will go down. Right now, record sales are plainly rising.... They’re just not rising in the ways we’ve become accustomed to -- the biggest, most famous artists are no longer posting ever more impressive sales figures. Suddenly, there are more and more records selling 10,000 to 500,000 copies each year, and less and less selling 1 million to 10 million. To put it simply, the patterns that used to govern sales no longer work. The industry’s biggest successes are now small ones.

Some good observations from an indie music festival across the pond in the UK.

Posted by Casper at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

Breaking up via Powerpoint

A first for me; some guy end his relationship with his girlfriend using a PowerPoint presentation. As I've said before, I really detest PowerPoint.

Posted by Casper at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Hand/wrist exercisees

As a musician, I am nearly constantly using my hands. Keepnig my hands and wrists healthy is obviously a big concern. While at camp, I learned some tendon exercises from Sifu, which have been a big help. Here are a few more.

Posted by Casper at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

Easy college courses

Everyone who's been through college knows about these, right? Mine was a course on running (as a member of the distance team, this wasn't a huge challenge for me, other than waking up on time). Someone has written an article on the subject.

Thanks to Max for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

Ha, ha

Either she's a completely blithering idiot, or she's having fun pranking the media. In any case, our heroine Britney might not be married.

Posted by Casper at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

Sharing music via IM?

Yahoo may be paving the way for this to be a reality.

Yahoo's plans are still sketchy, but sources close to the company say instant messaging will play a key role. While the popular IM software already lets people listen to online radio, new versions will let people share and interact with one another's digital playlists.

Given the high consumer penetration of IM and the immediate user friendliness of the application, this could be a very big trend.

Thanks to Brad for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

Headphone reviews

A good site if you are looking for headphones. A while back, I was spending a lot of time in studios, so much that I went out and bought a set that fit me well and I could wear for hours on end. Trust me, when you have to play along with a drummer for a few days while he lays down his tracks, comfort becomes a very big issue. This site would have been handy then.

Posted by Casper at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

Sony to support mp3

Not that this is a huge surprise, but the mp3 format beat out Sony's proprietary format.

Sony confirmed on Wednesday that it is working to add native MP3 support to its portable music players--a major strategy reversal that could help it compete more effectively with rivals such as Apple Computer.

The shift from reliance on its proprietary format will begin with flash memory-based players, the electronics giant said...

Posted by Casper at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

If only this was a joke

The Last Starfigher wasn't even that good of a movie. So, of course, a musical makes perfect sense.

Posted by Casper at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

Followup to Janet's flap

CBS fined a little over a half million dollars. Maybe now this will just go away.

Posted by Casper at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

Russ Meyer, RIP

The director of such timeless films as Valley Of The Dolls and Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! has passed on at age 82, from complications of pneumonia.

Posted by Casper at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

Tears for Fears is back

Tears for Fears, one of the better 80's bands, is back with a new album and tour. DC dates are October 26 at the Lisner Auditorium.

Posted by Casper at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

Proving that irony isn't dead, just misunderstood

Christina Aguilera, the lady responsible for forcibly moving legions of young boys into puberty, will host an MTV show on abstinence. I can only assume that she'll be the example of what not to do..

Posted by Casper at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

This is just neat-o

See where a zip code lives in the US.

Posted by Casper at 01:42 AM | Comments (2)

September 21, 2004

Performance Pet Peeves

From a DC area music critic (who's really funny to read), a list of things not to do. A quick sample:

  • Audible and Excessive Tuning. Ya know, a good "License to Play a Show" would be to check to see if every stringed instrument player in the band has a tuner. You don't see national acts "Play the Tuning Song." [This is particularly funny to me because I think I sat in with the very band being discussed here]
  • Asking me to "wave my hands in the air" or to wave them as if I "just don't care". Well, I don't care, but I will not wave my hands in the air. Forget audience participation, or at least be creative.
  • Asking the audience to come forward more than once. Shy audiences do need some coaxing, but you only get one shot at asking. After that, it's just pathetic.
  • Noodling between songs. Show off your skills during the songs or be quiet.
  • "How's everything sound out there?" Chances are, the soundguy is doing either his best, or is doing the most he is going to do. Just play, dammit!
  • Lead singers using a boom stand while not playing an instrument. God DAMN is this annoying. It just looks so bad. ...
  • Not talking clearly into the mic. Virtually every local band says the following in between songs: "Mumphuhmphumuhmumph". Speak clearly and don't talk so fast. No one can understand you!
  • Finally: Playing Sweet Home Alabama! Please, for the love of all that is holy let this fucking song go!

On that last one? Amen, brother, whoever you are.

-- Update --
Now with correct links!

Posted by Casper at 10:58 PM | Comments (2)

Marriage and Britney

So Britney gets married and then spends the next 48 hours in bed. Bravo.

Not be left out, Christina has to weigh in, saying "I'd never have thought that girl would have done it this way. I know she really loves Kevin, but this is like really low rent this time. ... It's surprising. The whole affair seems somewhat pathetic." She'd be one to know, I suppose.

-- Update --
As usual, Simon has the good stuff:

Lucky that Christina found time between getting her pubic bone pierced, kissing the hatchet-faced Paris Hilton and stuffing dollar bills into lapdancer's gussets long enough to accuse someone holding a quiet wedding of being low-rent and pathetic.

Posted by Casper at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2004

For those who have everything

You can get M&Ms custom printed with your own message. That'd have to be a pretty darn small message.

Posted by Casper at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

All things....

It was once "All Things Strat", but apparently the folks over at Fender had an issue with that name.

Posted by Casper at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Not just a physicist

Stephen Hawking, rapper extrodinaire. Got love the title: "A Brief History Of Rhyme". Even more of the Hawkman can be found at his website.

Posted by Casper at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

Simon on Britney

MSNBC have calculated if she continues to hold weddings at the same rate, she'll have been married 39 times by her 50th birthday. Apparently, she was wearing a strapless white dress by Monique L'Huillier, although it's not recorded if she said "I do, like, really, this time. Smell my breath. See? I mean it."

Posted by Casper at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)

Celine to stay in Vegas

The world is safe for yet another year.

Posted by Casper at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2004

Britney marries in secret

Or maybe not, since it seems like everyone knows about it.

Posted by Casper at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

And now the rest

The three of us got together again today. This time around, we hit all the songs that we've been ignoring and neglecting for awhile (Fly Me To The Moon, Sampa Pati, Sol Azteca), some of which really needed the attention. We also went through Sahara Dance and Ripple. I think we might add a guitar solo during the frenetic section of Ripple, but maybe not. For now, I think we're going to plan on leaving it out, adding it back in if there's crowd response for the uptick.

Posted by Casper at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

Ahoy mateys!

Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Posted by Casper at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Cool Pepsi commercial

I'm pretty sure that this is not a real commercial, but it's still pretty nifty.

Posted by Casper at 12:51 AM | Comments (2)

September 18, 2004

MS locking down music CDs

Microsoft my be trying to add DRM directly to the operating system.

[The] deal would see Microsoft support "an industry-wide copy control platform" built in to its next-generation Longhorn operating system, with the computer giant instructing labels that the compatible secure CDs must contain additional multimedia content, such as bonus tracks, "as a quid pro quo for adding effective [DRM] into the consumer experience".

Coolfer comments on the same topic, but he is saying that the labels are reaching out to MS. To be honest, I'm not sure as to which is more likely to be true.

Thanks to Frank for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Duran Duran redux

Duran Duran is back.

Posted by Casper at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

The guys at Fodera

I know I've said this before, but the guys at Fodera are just first rate.

One of the reasons why I went to NYC was to get my bass worked on (since the treble control doesn't work anymore). Rob and I boogied up the road as fast as we could, but we didn't get to NYC until 6:30 or so. When we pulled up to Fodera, Joey was heading out to the Bass Extremes show. He said that he would take the bass from me after the show and work on it over the wekend.

So, after the show, we talked about my bass for a bit. I gave it to him to work on (a future trip back is in the works, natch), and he was completely gracious about the whole thing. I really can't say enough good things about these guys.

Posted by Casper at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Bass Extremes @ The Iridium

Tonight, Rob and I hiked up to NYC to catch another round of the Bass Extremes show. This time around, Victor, Steve, Oteil and Derico were joined by the living legend Anthony Jackson.

This was the first time I had ever been to the Iridium. It's a small, underground venue, reminding me much of Blues Alley with it's setup. The band was playing three sets for the night, but we we were only going to stay for the first set.

On the one hand, this show was not as enjoyable as the Birchmere outing. The time constraints did not allow for the musicians to stretch as much or be as comfortable with their playing.

On the other hand, Anthony Jackson say in for two songs. Jackson is one of the most influential bass players around, innovative beyond words (he pretty much singlehandedly invented the six string and contrabass, he's played for just about everyone in New York -- Chaka Khan, Steely Dan, Buddy Rich for three quick examples). If you can't think of why I'm talking about, go listen to this clip -- that's Anthony Jackson. He also doesn't play out all that much anymore, so the opportunity to see not only the masters of Bass Extremes and Anthony Jackson on top was too much to resist.

Jackson joined the group for two songs, What Jamacian? and a free form jam. He didn't have the pyrotechnics that the rest of the group did, but he was all about rock solid, thunderous groove. His playing style was interesting, too; as he got into his playing, he would dance around a little, jerking his head to the beat. What a treat to catch one of his rare outings.

A small detail that I noticed is that each bassist was using Epifani heads. Since they are nominally Ampeg artists, this was a bit of a surprise. In any case, some photos from the night can be found here.

Posted by Casper at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

A challenge

In response to the court decision, Downhill Battle wants you to try create a thirty second song using only a given sample.

Posted by Casper at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

Forgive the politics

But here's one of my rare political statements. Take the time to vote this year. If you don't like Bush or Kerry, check out one of the third party candidates.

All things considered, the US is a pretty good country. We don't have a draft, we don't have a hugely intrusive government (with exceptions here and there), all we have to do is spend some time voting once a year or so.

Find the time.

We now return to our regularly scheduled music related drivel.

Posted by Casper at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

A valiant effort

This guy clearly didn't get the memo about the ninjas.

Thanks to Lindsey for the tip.

-- Update --
The above link is busted, but Scott found an updated link that works.

Posted by Casper at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Canvas again

It's been a while, but the three of us got together, so it was good to get some of the kinks out. We went over some of tunes (Waiting For Rain, Ripple, Talking Strings among others). We talked for a bit about adding another person to the group; either a percussionist or a keyboardist (or, even better, someone who can play both).

It's good to be back. As a bad thing, though, I noticed that the treble controls on my Fodera aren't working. It's probably from when it feel over at camp.

Posted by Casper at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

"The Problem With Music"

Steve Albini, the producer of Nirvana's In Utero album, tells a tale of how a band can succeed only to fail. Well worth the read.

Whenever I talk to a band who are about to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other end holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed. Nobody can see what's printed on the contract. It's too far away, and besides, the shit stench is making everybody's eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract. Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there's only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey says "Actually, I think you need a little more development. Swim again, please. Backstroke". And he does of course.

Posted by Casper at 01:32 PM | Comments (2)

World music awards forgets the rest of the world

No, that's not quite right; there were at least one category where someone who wasn't from the US won.

  • World's Best Male Artist: Usher
  • World's Best Female Artist: Norah Jones
  • World's Best Group: Outkast
  • Best Pop Male Artist: Usher
  • Best Pop Female Artist: Norah Jones
  • Best Pop Group: Outkast
  • Best Pop/Rock Artist: Avril Lavigne
  • Best Rock Artist: Evanescence
  • Best R&B Artist: Usher
  • Best R&B Female Artist: Alicia Keyes
  • Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist: Outkast
  • Best New Female Artist: Hilary Duff
  • Best New Male Artist: Kanye West
  • Best New Group: Maroon 5
  • Diamond Award: Celine Dion
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry Award: Clive Davis
  • Best-selling Artist by country: Australia, Delta Goodrem; United Kingdom, Dido; Ireland, Westlife; Netherlands, DJ Tiesto; Ukraine, Ruslana; Russia, Philip Kirkorov; Germany, Sarah Connor; Africa, Latifah; Scandinavia, The Rasmus; Italy, Eros Ramazzotti; Switzerland, DJ Bobo; Spain, Alejandro Sanz; France, Kyo; China, Jay Chou; Japan, Hikaru Utada.

Lemme get this straight. All of Africa is one culture? I suppose all those Latin countries just don't count, either. And what group of mouth-breathers voted for this lot anyway? Usher as the world's best? Surely, we can do better than that.

Posted by Casper at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Another Ramone falls

This time, Johnny loses the fight with cancer.

Posted by Casper at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

Bobby Brown gets a job

His reality series will appear on Bravo.

Posted by Casper at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)

An "A" for effort

George Michael (remember him?) had a stalker live in his house for four days, hiding under the floorboards. Now, that's dedication.

Posted by Casper at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

Tips for music consumers

Coolfer comes up with another great article about some things to consider when buying music. This is really a must-read. Here's an example:

Understand the Economics of Music. A CD does not cost $1 to make. The manufacturing cost may be around $1, but the costs involved in finding, recording and marketing that music are considerable. Also, consumers should consider that musicians have muliple revenue streams. If you really care about supporting a particular musician, go to the live show and buy a T-shirt.

Really. Go read the whole thing now.

Posted by Casper at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

Fighting comment spam

Spam is the bane of all of our existence. Run a blog with comments and you'll get even more. Some tips on how to fight spam in comments are helpful, but it's still mostly a lot of effort.

Thanks to David for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

Britney shows class

Britney and her husband-to-be are getting matching track suits. And, in the height of style, she had "Mrs. Federline" embroidered onto hers, while he got "The Pimp" on his.

Posted by Casper at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

Rappers must pay

This is a bit of old news for some people, but I'm just now finding it:

A federal appeals court has ruled that rap artists should pay for every musical sample included in their work -- even minor, unrecognizable snippets of music.

Lower courts had ruled that artists must pay when they sample other artists' work. But it has been legal to use musical snippets -- a note here, a chord there -- as long as they weren't identifiable.

The decision Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati gets rid of that distinction. The court said federal laws aimed at stopping piracy of recordings apply to digital sampling, and it ordered the case back to a lower court for rehearing.

"If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you 'lift' or 'sample' something less than the whole? Our answer to that question is in the negative," the court said.

"Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way."

I, on the other hand, see lots of lawsuits in the future. When the legal principle is that even a single note must be licensed, I hate to even think of the number of court cases that will soon be on the way (not to mention the nuisance suits).

Posted by Casper at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

Creativity like a snowflake

The article is focused on how to write a novel, but the principles quickly apply to music as well.

Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your story. Something like this: "A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul." (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

When you later write your book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. It's the hook that will sell your book to your editor, to your committee, to the sales force, to bookstore owners, and ultimately to readers. So make the best one you can!

Think about this. If you are trying to get the attention of a A&R guy (or lawyer, or other music industry person), you're going to have to figure out some way to get this person's attention very quickly, standing out from the crowd in such a way that he or she would be sufficiently interested in the sales pitch to take the time to listen to the music. If you can put it into one sentence, you're halfway there.

The music industry works this way -- consider the movie pitch. A writer has about fifteen seconds to get an idea across to the producer. The one that comes to mind is the pitch for When Harry Met Sally. NPR did a story on movie pitches, and the entire selling sentence for the movie was "Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks fall in love." With that single sentence, the film was greenlighted. So, what's your single sentence for your band?

Posted by Casper at 12:38 AM | Comments (0)

25 Tips on How To Be Creative

This is a very good list, thought provoking and a good jumping off point.

  1. Ignore everybody.
  2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world.
  3. Put the hours in.
  4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
  5. You are responsible for your own experience.
  6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
  7. Keep your day job.
  8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.
  9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.
  10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
  11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
  12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
  13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.
  14. Dying young is overrated.
  15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.
  16. The world is changing.
  17. Merit can be bought. Passion can't.
  18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.
  19. Sing in your own voice.
  20. The choice of media is irrelevant.
  21. Selling out is harder than it looks.
  22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
  23. Worrying about "Commercial vs. Artistic" is a complete waste of time.
  24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.
  25. You have to find your own schtick.

Posted by Casper at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

Top 25 Futurama Moments

Some of these are pretty darn good.

Posted by Casper at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

New Britney Best Of

It's on the way. Towards the end of the track list, I don't particularly recognize the tunes, and she's had -- what -- three, four albums? And that is a long enough career to warrant a best of?

Posted by Casper at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

One heart attack to go, hold the mayo

The world's biggest hamburger -- all SIX Pounds(!!) of it -- can be yours for the taking. Only $23.95, and if you finish it within three hours, you get a prize.

For the record, no one has ever finished one of these.

Posted by Casper at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

A map of Springfield

Ever wondered where to find things in the Simpson's home town? Now you know.

Posted by Casper at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Diaries are sick

It seems that keeping a diary may make you sicker.

Keeping a diary is bad for your health, say UK psychologists. They found that regular diarists were more likely than non-diarists to suffer from headaches, sleeplessness, digestive problems and social awkwardness.

Well, I can vouch for the awkwardness part, although I was pretty darn awkward even before I started doing this.

Posted by Casper at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

I thought about trying to backfill some news articles and such

but there's just way too much to try and catch up. See you in the morning with new stuff.

Posted by Casper at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

Bass Extremes @ The Birchmere

Tonight was the Bass Extremes show at the Birchmere. The lineup for tonight's show consisted of Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Oteil Burbridge and Derico Watson.

Bass Extremes was born sometime around 1993 when Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten met during a hardware endorsement photoshoot. The two of them hit it off and then recorded a instructional book/CD. Since then, an additional two CDs followed over the next eight years. On each album, Oteil Burbridge sat in some of the tracks.

I'm not aware of Steve and Victor touring together before on a formal tour. I know that they have given clinics together from time to time, but that's about it. So, the opportunity to catch them play was a rare treat. The show opened up strong, heavy grooves with pounding rhythms. To try and list out all the amazing things that happened during the show would almost be pointless -- these are three of the best bass players around, bringing their A game to the stage.

One example, though. During the Dump C tune, they each took turns soloing (for about four bars a piece). As each bass player ended up their round, he would call out the new key signature for the next player's solo. Very cool.

Let me put it to you this way: A lead guitarist that I know was at the show. He later told me that it was like watching Jimi Hendrix at his prime. I think he also said "I will never look at bass players the same way ever again."

Some photos from the show can be found here.

Set List

  1. Play/Jam
  2. Tropical Storm
  3. People
  4. Not At 3
  5. Cool Groove
  6. What's So
Set Break
  1. To Serve Man
  2. Oteil Solo
  3. Cool Groove
  4. Victor Solo
  5. Dump C
  6. Steve Solo
  7. Derrico Solo
  8. Liberty City
Encore
  1. 3 Views Of A Secret

Posted by Casper at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Pre-show

Tonight's the Bass Extremes show at the Birchmere. I got down to the venue about four hours ahead of the performance to try and get a good seat (festival seating and what not). While I was waiting, Anthony came out and saw me in line. He asked me if I remembered to bring my bass (which I had). Then he invited me into the hall to listen to the sound check. Not a bad way to cap off a week of Bass Camp.

Posted by Casper at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

FAQ For Future Campers

Some of you reading this might have arrived having been accepted into the next Bass/Nature Camp and are looking for hints on what to expect from the camp. First of all, congradulations on being accepted! You're in for a whirlwind experience, one of which you are not likely to ever forget. However, if you want a play-by-play of what you're going to go through, you're not going to find that here. Not only is it really hard to put into words what happens at camp, you'll have a better time and get more from the experience if you go in without any preconceptions.

Accordingly, there are a number of things about camp that I will not tell you:

  • What kind of music you'll play.
  • What techniques you'll learn.
  • Who will be there (because even if I knew, I couldn't tell you).
  • How the camp is structured.
  • Anything that you can't find in other places (like Victor's website or biography, for example).

What I will generally tell you:

  • Keep an open mind. This is probably the most important thing. Just be willing to try what the instructors have to offer, and you'll come out smiling.
  • Camping tips.
    1. You'll be better off camping towards the upper side of the compound; the facilities are much nicer, the land clearer and you'll be further away from the main hall (which will let you sleep easier when the late night jam sessions are getting loud).
    2. Take sandals or something for the showers. You will need them.
    3. Be careful where you set up the tent itself -- to avoid poison ivy, stay away from three leaved plants and hairy vines.
  • Sitting down. You'll be spending a lot of time sitting down. The benches are very hard with no back support. While the chairs are softer and do offer some sort of back support, it's still not what you would call comfortable. Just be ready for it.
  • Pay attention during the sessions. This may seem like a given, but you'd be surprised at the number of people that were playing to themselves rather than listening to what the instructor had to say.
  • Flying with a bass. It's a pain to fly with one bass, let alone two. I've done it quite a few times, and it can be a hassle -- particularly with the post-9/11 security. Having said that, there are some workarounds:
    1. Be courteous and professional. The folks checking your bag are working hard, trying their best to balance all sorts of things. If you act professional to them, they will act professional to you.
    2. Dress the part. If you look like a slob, you'll be treated like a slob. This doesn't mean wear a three piece suit, but a little good grooming (nice shirt, decent pants) will help with the initial impression that you are professional and should be treated as such.
    3. Check out other sites for information -- indie music has some good tips, and the advice from both Victor and Steve have helped me out several times when I have flown with my instrument.
    4. The AFM (American Federation of Musicians) have a letter you can print off concerning what the union and the TSA have agreed about instruments. It may or may not help you, but it can't hurt to have handy.
    5. Volunteer for a seat in the back of the plane. There's more turbulence, yes, but you get to have first dibs on the overhead storage comparments -- a big plus when you consider the size of a gig bag.
    6. Wear the gig bag so that your body is between you and the attendents at the gate. Getting on the plane is half the battle.
    7. Only your gig bag should be your carry on -- check everything else.

What I will tell you about my experiences specifically:

  • Things that aren't likely to be repeated. The odds of Will Lee or Stanley Clarke coming back are small, so I don't feel like I'm spoiling anything by mentioning it. Your trip to camp will have it's own share of special guests, all of whom will be amazing in their own right.

If you want to read about my experiences, go to the bottom and start scrolling up. Photos can be found here.

Finally, thanks to Rob for all his help with both the FAQ and the recollections of the trip.

Posted by Casper at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

Just got home

I just got back from camp, and it's hard to put into words what's going on now. I'm tired and snowed under -- and will be for a while -- but I'll try to write something soon.

Posted by Casper at 05:56 AM | Comments (0)

The Drive Back

On the way back, we did straight from Nashville to DC. It's a thirteen hour drive one way, and we were already bone tired. Seeing some really bad wrecks along the way (one rig rolled into another one, crushing the cab like a beer can) didn't help all that much. Right around Harrisonburg (and midnight or so), Donovan and Rob both sacked out, leaving me all alone to drive. We made it safely (obviously), but only through extensive use of pinching myself, slapping myself and doing other methods of pain induction to stay awake. Judicious use of Krispy Kreme doughnuts helped out as well.

Posted by Casper at 05:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2004

My Observations

One of the things that I most noticed about the camp was watching the students grow (including myself). Not just as bass players, but as people and musicians in general. Hopefully, one of the main things to take away from this experience for everyone is to listen. I have thought that I do a good job of that when I play, but now I realize how much more I need to listen and how much of a difference it makes when I do.

All of the students really formed a bond with each other as well. More than just being in the same place for a week, I found that we each opened up to each other quite a bit, sharing not only the details of our lives but our inner thoughts and feelings. I'm not the kind of person who is open and sharing by any stretch of the imagination, so if I'm doing that, then you know that this is not the normal, everyday ordinary experience.

Posted by Casper at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)

Closing Words

A Small MementoEach of the staffers gave some parting wisdom before we broke to leave. We campers also gave something back. Over the last day or two, I had pestered all of the students to sign a camp shirt. We gave it to Victor as a very small token of our thanks and appreciation.

Posted by Casper at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

Raffle

Early in the morning, the camp held a raffle, giving away lots of swag from D'addario and Fodera, a few Fodera practice amps, a few scholarships (BootCamp and Bass At The Beach), a small combo from Peavey, a combo from Ampeg, a donated four string from Aria and a brand new VIctor Wooten issue Fodera.

One guy (Chad Young) won both guitars. Congratulations. I want to hate you, but I can't. I didn't win anything in the raffle, but, as far as I'm concerned, I won the only raffle that counts in that I got to attend the camp at all.

Posted by Casper at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2004

Closing Jam Session

JD SpeaksSaturday just happened to coincide with Victor's 40th birthday. We had a free form jam, four or five bassists at a time with Roy Wooten, Derico Watson or J.D. Blair on drums (just back from touring with Shania) and the occasional guest on other instruments. Everyone who wanted to play got up, took a solo or laid back, holding the groove.

For myself, when I was up on stage, I didn't do much in the way of soloing. There were four other bass players up there, each trying to find their space to solo. So, I let them go, laying down as good a groove as I could while locking in with Derico's drumline. I did do the occasional fill here and there, but that was about it. I had a great time doing it, though.

Rob got up twice for the jam session. The first time, he was on stage for about two minutes when the next group was shuffled on en masse. But, he did make it back up later on, playing with J.D..

Victor JamsAbout midway through the jam session, Victor and J.D. started to jam together, playing U Can't Hold No Groove and a version of Me And My Bass Guitar. For me, this was such a great experience. I caught the A Show Of Hands tour when it was just J.D. and Victor, so this was a nice return home to the stripped down sound.

Bob Moore SpeaksA very special guest who stopped by that evening was Bob Moore. Mr. Moore was Elvis Presley's bass player, along with performing on over 18,000 sessions and 621(!!) number one songs. It was an honor to have met him.

Gerald Veasley PlaysAt the end of the evening, Mama Wooten got up to say a few words. She told some funny and touching stories about Victor when he was a child. While she was talking, my bass -- my baby -- fell off it's resting place and onto the ground. I couldn't curse anywhere near as much as I had wanted to, so I just shrugged and tried to play it off.

Posted by Casper at 11:58 PM | Comments (2)

Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke Q&AEarly in the morning, we were asked to come into the main hall for a special event. Sitting on a stool, in front of all of us, not six feet away from me was Stanley Clarke. Stanley Clarke!! One of my idols, the first real jazz I ever listened to, standing right in front of us.

As I'm writing this, it's been a week or so (I told you I was going to backdate posts), and I'm still all a-giddy from meeting Stanley. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Clarke's work, let me try to explain it to you. Imagine going to a basketball conference where Michael Jordan is there, Larry Bird is hanging around, Shaq and Kobe lounging in the back, and then meeting Wilt Chamberlain -- someone who was a mentor/idol to all these amazing people around, someone who completely redefined his pursuit. I really can't quite describe the feeling adequately.

Stanley ThinksWe had a Q&A session. For the most part, the questions were pretty good, and Stanley was surprisingly open with his answers. He talked about how he got started, who he studied and idolized, what the price of fame has been for him and where he thinks music (and the industry) are heading. Then he pulled out an upright and played a few songs for us. When he was done, he suggested to all of us that we should each own an upright, if (for no other reason) only to appreciate the history of the instrument, where bass has been and where it's going.

Stanley Clarke PlaysAfter a few questions, Stanley got out an upright and proceeded to play for us. I have had the good fortune to see Stanley play live once before, but that was nothing like this time around. I had the privilege of watching one of the most influential bass players to ever play perform from a distance of about two feet. Stanley played Touch (from the 1, 2 The Bass album) and his take on Charlie Parker's Confirmation.The best description I can come up with for this is a near religious experience.

With Stanley ClarkeAfterwards, Stanley hung around the camp for a while. While I really wanted to approach him and pay my respects, I tried to hold off. After I saw some other students talking with him, though, I lept at the chance. Not only was Mr. Clarke gracious enough to pose for a photograph, he also signed the headstock of my bass.

Posted by Casper at 02:17 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2004

Will Lee

Will Lee and Chuck RaineyWill Lee, probably best known to most people as the house bass player for the David Letterman show, flew into town immediately after finishing taping the Friday show. He did a lot of playing and singing as well as answering a few questions from the crowd. He's one funny guy, I'll say that much. After the Q&A session, he invited Chuck Rainey up to play with him. They did a rendition of Steely Dan's Peg, complete with Lee mimicking the trumpet line with his mouth.

Will Lee and Victor WootenWill then invited Victor on stage, and they played together for about twenty minutes. The most amazing thing about their duet was how they completely controlled the entire crowd, even though they never played above 10 dB or so. Now, that's showmanship.

Posted by Casper at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

Bass Extremes Rehearsal

With an upcoming tour, Victor, Steve, Derico and Oteil took the day to rehearse their show. This was one of the more informative sessions for me. All they did was practice the songs, but it was not like very many practices I have had. They broke each song down, deciding what to keep and how to change it to fit the musicians at hand. Each time, they would start playing the song until some question or issue surfaced, then they would stop and work it out. Each time through the tune, it would fill out more, adding a chord coloring here, note choice there, a rhythmic progression or two until the song eventually became quite polished.

Gerald Veasley PlaysOn the tour, they were playing on playing a few Jaco Pastorius tunes. Each musician took turns breaking down the song, talking about the passages and how they would voice their parts so as not to step on each other. They had their sheet much on the floor in front of them for reference.

One of the questions asked was how common is it for musicians to have to relearn their songs. Steve Bailey put it this way: "When I go over to Victor's house, there's never a Victor Wooten album playing." I can somewhat relate to this; whenever I have played in bands that do original music, I spend a lot of time trying to remember how the tunes went -- particularly if the songs are older. And I pretty much never listen to my own recordings; usually because I can hear too many boo-boos in them to really be able to enjoy them as music. While I had wondered if musicians at that level would have a different experience, I suppose that it's somewhat comforting that all musicians face that obstacle.

Another interesting question concerned time signatures. The four of them were working through the tune Double Oh Six when someone asked what time signature they were playing in. Derico said "6/4", Steve and Oteil both said "6/8" while Victor said "4/4". All of those will work, but it was just interesting to hear how they were each going their own way but getting there together.

Posted by Casper at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)

Bootsy Collins

And now for the completely random. Victor called all of us into the main hall, then held up his cell phone (set as a speakerphone). We heard an unmistakable voice say, "What's up, fellow babies?!". It was Bootsy Collins on the phone, just basically saying "Hi". Yet another legend making an appearance.

Posted by Casper at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Nature Activities

While at camp, we did a lot of things in nature. I'm not writing much about it, though, since they tended to fall into two broad categories: 1)Things that seem strange but make sense once you've done them and 2)Things that you have to just do to really appreciate.

For example, one morning, we spent an hour or so making fire by rubbing a stick against a piece of wood using a bowed string (I'm really simplifying here). Just that description doesn't quite get across what it feels like to actually make your own fire, or the appreciation you gain for how valuable fire actually is (as well as for matches). For other parts of the nature experience, I grew up in the outdoors, so it may not have been as much of a revelation to me as it was to some of the folk who have never been in the woods before.

If you are one of those who doesn't see how learning about nature will affect music, let me point out one of the lessons that I learned. When we did the blindfold walk, I learned a lesson that very specifically applies to my playing. I was walking forwards, finding my way using only what I could feel with my feet and hear with my ears. As I was moving, I caught a decent sized branch (two inches in diameter or so) directly in my mouth. The lesson here: If I focus too much on one thing -- even one really important thing -- I'm almost certainly going to miss some other details that are going to matter to what I'm doing. The relation to my playing follows; if I'm focusing too much on one part of the music (trying to lock in with the drummer, for example), I'm going to miss something else that happening that will be important (the keyboardist modulating his chord voicing, making the sharp nine I am getting ready to play the wrong coloration for the his chord when I should be playing a flat eleven).

Suffice it to say that you will learn quite a bit about the world around you, and in ways you probably would not have thought about before. I don't mean to say that the nature part isn't important and won't impact your music, so therefore I'm not dedicating much ink (or is it pixels?) to it. Rather, I think you should experience it for yourself. What I can write about it doesn't do it justice.

In fact, if you want more information, you should check out Richard Cleveland's Earth School. Richard was one of the nature instructors at camp. He was very open and personable, as well as a good instructor. I'm actually considering taking a nature class from him at some point, especially since he's only a day's drive from DC.

Posted by Casper at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Jamming With Rudy

Drumming With RudyAfter listening to Sifu, I started to walk back to the tent. On the way, I heard the usual evening jam session, but it sounded different for some reason. Ducking into the main hall, I noticed that it was not the usual suspects playing bass, and Roy's drum kit was still up. One of the students, Chad, was behind the skins, playing fills and runs, but not a solid pocket. I asked him if he wouldn't mind switching for a bit and then tried to lay down a good groove for the other bass players to build on.

We must have been doing something right, because Rudy Wooten came wandering back in, nodding his head to the groove. He walked over to the group, picked up his sax and then sat in for a while. Definitely cool.

Posted by Casper at 12:24 AM | Comments (1)

September 09, 2004

Sifu Brian K. Edwards

Sifu is Victor's martial arts instructor and a big influence on both his playing and his life. Sifu Edwards talked us through some general discussion of his art (Wing Chun), explaining its strengths and utility. His demonstration was interesting, to put it mildly.

Posted by Casper at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)

The Wooten Brothers

Today, the entire Wooten clan gathered at camp to play. These five guys have been playing together for basically all of their lives, so their on-stage chemistry is so thick as to be visible. I have seen all of them at one time or another (excepting Rudy on sax), so this was a treat. After playing through a few songs, they then took questions from the audience.

Posted by Casper at 05:31 PM | Comments (1)

Studying with Veasley

Gerald Veasley PlaysNot content with just jamming, Gerald Veasley took some time to teach the students at camp. One of the things that I noticed about him is that he was nearly always smiling, just full of joy and happiness. It's quite infectious, actually.

I have to say that Veasley really impressed me at this camp. Enough so that I'm going to try and go to his Bass Bootcamp.

Posted by Casper at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2004

Gerald Veasley

Gerald Veasley PlaysThe first night's guest was Gerald Veasley. He spent some time talking about his experiences, but mostly focused on the things that we could to make ourselves better musicians and how to get more out of the camp.

He also played a good deal, both unaccompanied by himself and with all of the instructors. Actually, when all the staff went on stage to play, they rolled through a impromptu medley of old school funk jams, grooving and soloing as they went. It was probably one of the better jam sessions for the week.

Posted by Casper at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

Chuck Rainey

Chuck RaineyOne of the instructors at the Camp was the great Chuck Rainey. I'm not sure as what he was supposed to teach on this particular day, but he ended up spending quite a bit of time telling stories about his experiences in the music industry. I could listen to that man for a month.

Chuck Rainey has been in the business for a very long time, and he's on "the soundtrack of most people's lives," as another student put it. He's played with Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, Roberta Flack, The Four Seasons, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles -- if you can name them, he's probably played with them. Not to mention radio, TV and movie soundtracks for over two or three decades. To say it was an honor to have met this living legend doesn't quite begin to cover the bases.

His offhand comments about how to fit in with other people in the industry contained invaluable information. "Music is and has always been a referral business -- if people don't like you, you don't get work. It's just as simple as that." (paraphrasing) So, any kind of advice on how to keep the goodwill going can only help. And Chuck's got the experience to know what he's talking about -- thirty years in an industry that lavishly rewards youth with an almost fetishistic devotion doesn't come to just anyone.

Posted by Casper at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

Blind man walkin'

The morning started with all of the students being spread out along the campsite, along the edge of the woods. Then, we each put our blindfolds on and started walking. There's nothing quite like walking blindfolded across strange terrain. And if you had told me I would be doing this just a few days ago, I would have called you quite nuts. As I moved, though, my ears opened up to every possible sound, I started to feel my way forwards using only my ears and my feet.

Posted by Casper at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

Evening Jam Session

Later on that night, about ten bass players hung out in the main room, trying to jam. I say trying because it wasn't a pretty thing. Of the players that were there, it seemed like a number of them were not listening to what the others were playing. Instead of finding space for their own part amongst the activity, several of them were just playing what they wanted to play. This would be somewhat of a recurring trend throughout the early part of the week -- I started to call it the "Look At Me" syndrome. Mary, one of the campers, tried to bring some order to the chaos, but it wasn't very successful -- people keep getting louder and louder, making what little listening that was happening even harder. I sat in with the session for a very short period of time until I figured out what was going on, then pretty much didn't do the jam sessions anymore.

Posted by Casper at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2004

Playing For Everyone

Some Music StaffPart of the evening was to introduce yourself to all the other musicians at the camp using only your bass. Imagine this: you -- all by yourself -- standing up in front of sixty-one bass players, with luminaries like Steve Bailey, Chuck Rainey, Anthony Wellington standing behind you listening to every note. Add to that Victor Wooten (one of my idols, and I'm sure most of the other campers felt the same way) sitting immediately on your right, and you got what can only be a nerve-wracking experience.

Needless to say, I completely whiffed my entire playing. I tried to do the Arabic groove from Sahara Dance, but I was really nervous. So I rushed, then tried to get myself out of trouble with a simpler groove only to find even more problems.

Posted by Casper at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

Introductions

Once everyone had finished eating, the camp got started. Each member of the staff was introduced, and Victor then started to talk about the relationship between music and nature.

To be honest, the major reason I went to the camp was to learn about bass. Nature wasn't all that high on my list. I grew up in the outdoors, not too far from the Appalachian Trail. I'm no expert by any means, but I figured I knew my way around the woods well enough that I wasn't particularly worried about it. Having Victor explain how he viewed the relationship was a real eye opener. While I was listening to Victor speak, I made a conscious decision to try and be as open as possible to what was going to happen for the week. I had already come to camp without a specific agenda, so this was just the next step in broadening my horizons.

Posted by Casper at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

Dining

After a while, dinner started. I really have to take some time to talk about the food. Ron and the guys made some really great grub -- easily some of the best food I have eaten at any camp.

Posted by Casper at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

Check-In

Starting at about noon or so, people began to filter in. As they arrived, they would check in with Toné, drop their gear and then mill around, talking with people. More often than not, some would get out their bass. A few played their bass to comfort themselves in a new environment, others played to try and impress everyone else, while a few just played because they liked it.

Posted by Casper at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

Early Morning

The CampRob and I awoke with the sun, and we both got up to start our mornings. As I was walking across the dewy field, I noticed two people by a red car in the parking lot. I had though I had heard a car pull in the night before around 2am, but I wasn't completely sure. Later, I found out that two of the campers (Mike from Germany and Christian from Austria) had arrived on Monday as well, didn't know where else to go and slept the night under the stars.

Posted by Casper at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

Building the tent

Home Sweet HomeThat left me setting up my tent fairly late at night. We cleaned up the ground as best we could and then built the tent. Once it was up, I anchored the tent to the ground, tying off the line to a pair of trees in anticipation of Hurricane Frances rolling through. As it would happen to turn out, there were huge poison ivy vines running up the length of both trees -- how I didn't end up completely covered is a small miracle.

Posted by Casper at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

Setting up camp

We got down to the campsite not too long before Anthony and the crew arrived for setup. We spent most of the time setting up chairs and amps, trying to split the equipment between the various sites as best as possible.

Posted by Casper at 04:41 PM | Comments (0)

Breakfast of champions

Before we left, my folks fed us a good breakfast. One of the things about being from the South is that mealtime usually means enough food to stop a small famine, and this time was no exception (and thanks Mom, Dad for hosting us for the night). The remainder of the trip was uneventful.

Posted by Casper at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

The Drive Down

Three of us (Rob, Donovan and myself) all pilled into Rob's Cougar for a trip to Nashville. We each had our camping gear, but bass guitars consumed the lion's share of available space. I took two (the Fodera and the Kubicki), Rob took his Fodera, Donovan his Spector, and then we had four guitars (two Foderas and two M-Basses) for Anthony. To say it was a tight fit doesn't begin to cover the bases.

Since we didn't have to be at camp until the following afternoon, we stopped off at my folks' place along the way, cutting the drive in half. The break made for a much nicer trip, as we could get a bit of rest instead of arriving completely exhausted.

Posted by Casper at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2004

And I'm outta here

I'm going to be off to commune with nature and learn bass guitar for a week or so. Since we'll be out in the woods, I rather doubt I'm going to be posting for the week. In other words, expect a massive backfill of posting in about a week's time.

In the interim, check out the blogs on my link list -- they're all good reads and sources of information. Or, you might even get a little nuts and try going into the big blue room for a while.

Take care, see you in about a week or so, and play nice.

--Casper

Posted by Casper at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

Phil Collins apologizes

Really, he does.

''I'm sorry,'' he says, from his home near Geneva, Switzerland. ''I'm sorry. You know, the amount of people who have grown up hating me, and it's no fault of mine. I wrote the songs. I didn't ask the stations to play them so much. I remember they were advertising a guaranteed Phil Collins-free weekend in Milwaukee. People all over the world are sticking pins in effigies of me because they hate 'Another Day in Paradise' or 'Sussudio.'''

Thanks to David for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

The Sex Lives of Cannibals

Written by J. Maarten Troost and subtitled "Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific", this is one of the funnier books I have read lately. I'm talking laugh-out-loud funny. Broken into a number of chapters (with titles like "Chapter 4 -- In which the author finally sets foot on Distant Tarawa [the island where the author goes], where he is led by the Evil Kate, who seeks to Convince him that Tarawa is not what it seems and and, Conceding that it is indeed Very Hot on the Equator; he Bravely overcomes his fear of Sharks and encounters something Much Much Worse"), Troost tells of he and his girlfriend moving out to a distant speck of a Pacific island and all the cultural changes that he encounters (the much, much worse he finds is the direct sewage system while he's swimming. and let's leave it at that).

Troost's writing is dryly amusing. If you like British humour, you'll probably like this book. It's good for quite a few chuckles, some gaffaws and a few out and out belly laughs.

Posted by Casper at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

The mechanics of bribing

Want good tickets or to meet your favorite artist? Bribe someone!

A week later Lil' Kim was scheduled to play the B. B. King Blues Club. All shifty glances and thick Slavic accents, the staff could have been extras in a movie about cold war black marketeers. No need for disguised motives here: I placed a 50 clean in the palm of my hand and pressed it into the flesh of the ticket taker.

"I really want to see Lil' Kim."

His eyes grew large, and he shot a frantic glance at the manager, a large man with a black suit. "I help you?" he asked. I delivered the 50 straight into the fat palm of his big bear hand. "I really want to see Lil' Kim."

He cleared a path and ushered me to the head of the line like a Gazprom executive to a waiting Gulfstream. "You let me know you want come back," he said, handing me his card.

It didn't always work out for the writer of the article, though. I think he went about one for ten.

Posted by Casper at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

Stay out of the business

Prince suggests the new musicians should avoid the industry.

Thanks to Simon for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2004

Hero

As I walked into this movie, I was expecting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, just without all that pesky romance stuff. That's not quite what I got.

Don't get me wrong; this is first and foremost an action movie. It's not quite all, though. The cinematography on this movie makes the film. There's the usual wire stunts and high flying fighting, but the visuals are just stunning. The story is told in flashbacks, with each flashback being a distinct color (starting with black, then to red, yellow, blue, green, ending in white). Thanks to IMDB's trivia on the movie (warning -- spoilers), I understand the symbology a little better. The distinct color shifts make each segment of the film, propelling the story right along.

The plot of the movie is rather engaging, dealing with one of the formative times in Chinese history. How much the film is based on history, I couldn't tell you (although I'll make the guess of just some bare bones outlines and not much more). I'd say that this is a good matinee movie. Watch time :47.

Posted by Casper at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

A girl's guide to geek guys

I'd almost say that this is overkill -- if you've ever been a woman at a computer show, you'd probably find out that geeks might not be the hardest of fishes to land.

Posted by Casper at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

The home of useless knowledge

All the info you ever wanted but were afraid to ask.

Posted by Casper at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

Weird Al attacked by moths

Really, I'm not kidding. During one of his shows, a flock of moths tried to nest in his hair.

Posted by Casper at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 03, 2004

Ed Felten on Wikipedia

Ed Felten wades into the Wikipedia controversy, looking up Princeton University, virtual memory, the Microsoft antitrust case, as well as himself. Wiki holds pretty well, only botching the MS court case.

The technical entries, on virtual memory and public-key cryptography, were certainly accurate, which is a real achievement. Both are backed by detailed technical information that probably would not be available at all in a conventional encyclopedia. My only criticism of these entries is that they could do more to make the concepts accessible to non-experts. But that's a quibble; these entries are certainly up to the standard of typical encyclopedia writing about technical topics.

So far, so good. But now we come to the entry on the Microsoft case, which was riddled with errors. For starters, it got the formal name of the case (U.S. v. Microsoft) wrong. It badly mischaracterized my testimony, it got the timeline of Judge Jackson's rulings wrong, and it made terminological errors such as referring to the DOJ as "the prosecution" rather than the "the plaintiff". I corrected two of these errors (the name of the case, and the description of my testimony), but fixing the whole thing was too big an effort.

Until I read the Microsoft-case page, I was ready to declare Wikipedia a clear success. Now I'm not so sure. Yes, that page will improve over time; but new pages will be added. If the present state of Wikipedia is any indication, most of them will be very good; but a few will lead high-school report writers astray.

Posted by Casper at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

Almost too cool for words

I make no secret about my opinion for TiVo (easily the best development in home entertainment in quite some time). Given my penchant for geeky web stuff, the step-by-step how-to to web-enable a TiVo almost excites me to an embarassing degree.

Thanks to Waxy for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 11:53 PM | Comments (2)

Judakiss asks why, then gets answers

Judakiss penned a little ditty asking, among other things, why did Bush knock down the Towers. The Morning News hollas back.

Thanks to Simon for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

The Redneck National Anthem

I was leaving work today when I heard one of my co-worker's cell phones go off. Her ringtone was set to Lynard Skynard's Sweet Home Alabama. To put it mildly, I was shocked. She's hardly the stereotypical fan of that particular tune. I asked her why she had that as her ringtone, and she said "I liked the movie."

For starters, man, do I feel old. Secondly, she had no idea as to why I was as shocked as I was. (and finally we get to the point of this post)

I grew up in a small, redneck, Southern town. We're talking Dixie flags all over the place, gun racks in the back of the truck windows, an Appalachia kind of area. Sweet Home Alabama was the soundtrack of so many racist idiots from my youth that I have an automatic association of that song to bigotry. And I don't think I'm the only one to make that connection. It seems to be rather commonplace for Lynard Skynard to backfill the introduction of a new character in film and TV, a shorthand way to ascribe lots of unsavory characteristics to a person. If you think I'm wrong, please, suggest an counter-example.

Perhaps this is a function of both age and location. J had no idea of any of the connotations of the tune, but she's fairly young and from upstate New York. I got it right away (I'm both older and from the South), as did another one of my co-workers (older than both J and I, as well as a native of DC). In any case, my distate for Sweet Home is hardly a revelation for those who know me.

Posted by Casper at 03:54 PM | Comments (2)

The 10 most hated men in rock

It's been a while since we had a list here at the Musings, so here's one detailing the most hated men in rock. And, yes, I know there are twenty people in the list below, but the title of the article is the ten most hated. Don't blame me, I'm just reporting.

  1. Paul McCartney
  2. Carlos Santana
  3. Jimmy Buffett
  4. Ryan & Bryan Adams
  5. Elton John
  6. Johnny Rzeznik
  7. G. E. Smith
  8. Conor Oberst & Chris Carrabba
  9. Fred Durst
  10. Bob Weir
  11. Glen Frey & Don Henley
  12. Scott Stapp
  13. Rod Stewart
  14. Phil Collins
  15. Lenny Kravitz
  16. Steve Miller
  17. John Cougar Mellancamp
  18. Michael McDonald
  19. Max Weinberg
  20. Lars Urich

On top of this, there's the comment

Sting, meanwhile, is another story. This turtleneck-sweatered Jaguar shill has so desecrated his Policeman legacy that we're not entirely convinced the current soft-rock incarnation isn't the original Sting's evil twin. He is, without question, the most hated man in rock."

I don't particularly agree with all of these people, but I'll give him Durst, G.E. Smith and Scott Stapp.

Thanks to David for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

Another way of looking at it

Fred at the EFF examines how Microsoft's new online music service.

Tech support for Microsoft's new MSN Music service is responding to the incompatibility between its downloads and the iPod by advising its customers to burn the downloads to CD, then rip the CD to a compatible format:

Although Apple computers and Apple iPods do not support the PC standard WindowsMedia format for music, it is still possible to transfer MSN Music downloads to an iPod, but it will require some extra effort. To transfer MSN-downloaded music to an iPod, you need to first create a CD with the music, and then you need to import that CD into iTunes. This process will convert the music into a format that can play on the iPod. We're sorry that this isn't easier - unfortunately Apple refuses to allow other companies to integrate with the iPod's proprietary music format. If you are an iPod owner already and unhappy about this policy, you are welcome to send feedback to Apple requesting that they change their interoperability policy.
Now that's what I call freedom of music choice, in contrast to Real Network's misleading campaign of the same name.

Thanks to Donna for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

Great music service

Cassettes 2 CDs is a service that converts analog cassette tapes to CDs (and quite cheaply, too). Michael had some tapes of his uncle playing sax and clarinet that he sent off to be converted, and he speaks quite glowingly of the experience.

Thanks to Anil for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)

Okay, a little politics...

Normally, I shy away from politics, but this is one cause I can firmly support. Of course, the idea of me withholding sex from non-voters would seemingly imply that I have the opportunity to withhold sex....

Thanks to Lindsay for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

Why pickups are where they are

I have wondered more than a few times as to why pickups are placed on a guitar body where they are, if it was determined by some kind of science, or placed there "because that's where Fender had them". Now I know.

Posted by Casper at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

A label wakes up?

Jorgen Larsen, CEO of Universal Music International, may just be one of those who gets it -- he writes cogently as to how the music industry should be facing the new environment of the web:

...[T]he internet also represents the greatest silver lining in our 100-year history, once legitimate delivery systems can make all the music in the world available to internet-connected consumers. That era is just around the corner, as exemplified by the recent European launches of Apple’s iTunes, Napster (the legitimate version), and T-Mobile’s EarPhones. Typical of these offerings is that they belong to technology and telephone companies and there is no cross-ownership by music companies.

This is how it should be, because the music industry makes music, and the rest is distribution. Criticism that we slept through the internet revolution is misplaced, because we are not in the IT, technology, cable or phone businesses. Our only core business is to build the strongest possible artist rosters and make incredibly good recordings that people want to buy and own in whichever form suits them the best.

The internet represents the greatest growth opportunity I have ever experienced, and I would expect the legitimate online music market to grow to (your guess!) thereby possibly leading to a doubling of the total music market, physical and online combined, over the next five years.

A shocking idea, I know. Let the people who excel at distribution handle distribution, and let those who excel at creating content focus on making good music. That's just crazy enough to work.

Thanks to Coolfer Glenn for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

MSN-Entertainment Beta

Microsoft's online music store went beta today. I poked around a bit. Just like Sony Connect, the selection in jazz is rather lacking, but I suppose thats probably to be expected.

Songs run $.99 per, right in line with Apple, and full albums are $9.99. Files are WMA, all nice and spiffy with their DRM built right in. The only nod to useability/freedom is

MSN Music allows you to play your music on up to five Windows PCs, burn playlists to CD up to seven times, and transfer to an unlimited number of portable audio devices.

I'd tell you more, but that would mean I'd have to use MS Passport/Hotmail, and I'd rather peel off my toenails than voluntarily join the spam/virus sewer known as Hotmail.

Posted by Casper at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

Strange things from Japan

As you may have noticed, bizzarre stuff from Japan interests me. Tokyo Damage Report is a bonanza of weirdness (like this, this or this), written by a gaijin living in the land of the rising sun.

Posted by Casper at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

Can you teach composition?

I believe that Bartók, Feldman, and many others never meant that you cannot teach someone to compose but rather that you cannot teach imagination, creativity, and natural musicianship—in other words, the basic talent (tools) needed to be a composer.

An interesting article ruminating on how to teach writing music to his students.

Posted by Casper at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

iTunes now supports resale

Just like Amazon, Apple now allows people to resale iTunes. The commission is 5%, but you have to have at least one thousand visitors per month to be eligible. That, and your users have to have iTunes installed on their local machines.

Thanks to Brad for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Online dating info

Thanks to OnlyConnect at MetaFilter, you can find out the dirt on the dating site you were thinking about using. Or you can find out if the guy/girl you're going to go out with is a lemon or not.

Posted by Casper at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

Where in the world is....

Try your hand at the Geography Olympics -- I never made it above 60%.

Posted by Casper at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

DMCA case

If you're not reading Ernest Miller, you have been missing out -- he's absolutely turning into the go-to guy when it comes to the legalities of online music. Head and shoulders, he has the best roundup of opinion on the latest court case over the DMCA (Chamberlain v. Skylink). This particular case dealt with whether or not a 3rd party (Skyline) could produce additional garage door openers made by the manufacturer (Chamberlain). The ruling itself is not an out-and-out win for anyone, but it's a good start.

Posted by Casper at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

Another strange commercial

For a big burger, although the name of the clip might cause you to think something a little more, um, recreational.

Thanks to Rex for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Peter Gabriel Lucasizes his videos

Peter Gabriel seems to think that George Lucas going back and re-editing the original Star Wars movies was a good idea. So much so that he's going to do a similar thing for his older music videos.

Posted by Casper at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

This is just wrong

Guy goes in to his roommate's room. Guy finds cardboard box. Guy opens box. Results very funny and not safe for work.

Posted by Casper at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

Sing your words

This site takes whatever worlds you give it, parses through the string and matches the individual words to sounds clips on file. Not what you would call the smoothest of things, but it can be entertaining.

Posted by Casper at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

A strange bird

First, he brags out a coke binge. Now, Moby opens up regarding his toilet cleaning fetish.

Posted by Casper at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Me, myself and I

De La Soul (you remember them, right?) are hitting the road this fall. The nearest they get to DC is Philly on the 26th of October.

Posted by Casper at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

And now for something completely different

Mandonna, an all male Madonna tribute band. Before you clicky on the linky, be forewarned that there is music (obnoxious music, natch) on every page. But, if you just want to see the videos, go here. Their take on Like A Virgin has to be seen to be appreciated.

Thanks to PlanetKyoto for the tip.

Posted by Casper at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Me And My Bass Guitar -- The Life Of Victor Wooten

I recently finished a biography of Victor Wooten, written by Paul R. Hargett. As Wooten is one of my heroes, I was looking forwards to reading about his life and better understanding the man. I did get what I expected, but not what I hoped. This book is best understood by the phrase "if only" and the word "hagiography".

While the book is well written, after reading the first three chapters, I half expected Wooten to walk on water. I would be hard pressed to be tell you of anything negative about the man as based on this text (well, there's one incident about a dance contest from when Wooten was a child).

The excising of unflattering data led to some fairly strange developments in the book. The author mentions that Wooten and his wife were separated for a time. In most biographies, that would be considered a major item, one worthy of several pages (if not an entire chapter). This book? One sentence.

During the time of the recording of Yin-Yang, Vic and Holly [Victor's wife since 1994] were separated. Victor spent time with Tali [Ovadia, a close friend of Victor's] and they became close.

Okay, two sentences. I suspect there's a lot more to this story than is encompassed in these twenty-three words. Actually, the afterword written by Wooten himself exposes more detail on the event and it's fallout than the biographer. To me, that's a shortcoming of the work.

A stronger section of the book tells of the development of Wooten's music style and the influences on it today. Hargett explores the family dynamics, the influence of the natural world and how martial arts impacts on his life and music. The book is worth the price of admission for that insight.

It seems to me that Hargett has genuine love, admiration and respect for Wooten. So much so, that I think it clouds his objectivity. While I can understand having that sort of feeling, I expect it from friends and fans. From a biographer, I expect a little more clinical detachment.

It's a good read, don't get me wrong. I learned a lot about the man and about the influences that shape his playing. However, the definite biography of Victor Lemonte Wooten remains to be written.

Posted by Casper at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)