Hall of Famers Live—What’s Your List?

While we’re on the subject of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it always gets subjective and emotional. Everyone can name one band that should be there already, and make an excellent, albeit subjective, argument against one of the losers who snuck in with the last batch.

Let’s get out of the subjective and put some numbers to it. My buddy Chris Curtis shared this list of the 20 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers he’s seen live:

  1. AC/DC
  2. Aerosmith
  3. Chet Atkins
  4. Black Sabbath
  5. Hal Blaine
  6. Jackson Browne
  7. Eric Clapton
  8. The Clash
  9. Fleetwood Mac
  10. Genesis
  11. The Kinks
  12. Madonna
  13. John Mellencamp
  14. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  15. The Police
  16. The Pretenders
  17. Bob Seger
  18. Rod Stewart
  19. Van Halen
  20. The Who

Here’s my short list:

  1. Chet Atkins
  2. Chuck Berry
  3. Bob Dylan
  4. James Taylor

How ’bout you? Here’s the list. Who have you seen live?

I Guess I’m Floating, Too

Perhaps not, but it would be fun.

Daughter Rush keeps sending me fun new music. She finds some of it through some terribly not confused people at a blog called I Guess I’m Floating.

Severely eclectic tastes, subtle humour, and the occasional typo. (Dent May is so fun, but his ‘diddys’ are really ditties. Ah, well.)

I’m tempted to follow them meself, but it’s another excuse for Rush and I to connect, so I’ll leave it to her.

For now.

Opening Pandora’s Box

Lately I’ve been listening to Pandora a lot. A demonstration of the value of The Music Genome Project®, Pandora allows you to create your own radio station based on a single artist or even a single song.

Using a database of 400 different aspects of descriptions of music, it matches up music in their files with the artist or song you’ve chosen as the seed for your station. The consistency is impressive.

But that’s also the drawback.

You’ll be introduced to new artists, certainly (it’s how I discovered the chewy goodness of Maggi, Pierce and E.J. But since every song is carefully chosen to match existing criteria, you won’t stumble across gems which are fundamentally different from what you’re already listening to.

I keep making new stations (you can have as many as you want) and seeing how far I can stretch it before it breaks. From the perspective of “if you like X, you’ll probably like Y” I haven’t found anything better.

200

Two hundred posts.

The first was March 12, 2002. That’s 2,414 days ago. 6 years, 7 months, 8 days.

Not a great average, every 12 days, but there were times I lost my way and went months (194 days, over six months, one time) without posting.

My life isn’t remotely what it was when I started. Much gain, some loss.

And lots and lots of music.

A not entirely but almost random list of two hundred songs: Continue reading 200

Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For? (10)

It’s been a while since I posted any of the interesting searches that happen here. Busy writing two books and editing another for a friend, writing new music, performing it in public for the first time, and generally trying to jump onto the way-too-fast merrygoround.

  • Tahitian skies—Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler; one of my favorite recordings ever. Look; there’s a picture of it just to the right. Go buy it now!
  • a water songWater Song by Hot Tuna, commented on long ago
  • e street bands pianist—the marvelously talented Roy Bittan
  • hair was perfect—a line from Werewolves of London by the late multifarious Warren Zevon

Not in my (Radio)Head

A link at Scott Andrew’s site (see ‘Walkingbirds‘) led to an article about Radiohead’s new album and those who did (or did not) choose to pay for the digital version of the album.

First, the good stuff. This is an extremely underrated marketing concept:

 When choosing between a pricey option and (potentially) free digital album, most people are going to pick the cheaper of the two. What if there was a middle option, something far cheaper than the deluxe package but of more value than the digital album? Many consumers would opt for the second-cheapest option. More revenue for the band, more satisfaction for consumers.

It’s easy to make the mistake of offering two choices, one absolutely tip-top, with a price to match, and one dirt cheap, that’s, shall we say, lesser in quality? But when you’re marketing a ‘want’, that’s dead wrong.

Most people, when faced with a decision like that, have a ‘default’ setting; the easy choice. And, as you might guess, humans tend to be economical creatures.

Offer a third choice: better quality than the least expensive, less expensive than the tippy-top model. Now, people can reward themselves, showing their discerning taste, without being extravagant. Well, that’s how they’ll rationalize it; in the end, virtually all our decisions are made on emotion and rationalized afterwards, but that’s another story.

It also works if only the middle choice is you; the others can be your competitors, Ms. Top O’TheLine and Mr. Economy Model.

But, farther down, this apparent misconception:

 Are people ready for the kind of lower quality recordings that tend to come from do-it-yourself projects?

Um, ‘ready’ for it? People are clamoring for cheap music, and as far as I’ve been able to tell in my 45 years of listening (I’m not counting the years when I couldn’t speak yet) I’ve come to the conclusion that the average listener couldn’t care less about quality recording, or, in fact, about quality performance. They care about snappy tunes that touch them emotionally, which they can hum later and sing along with after a few listens.

It’s a classic mistake musicians make: garage bands playing clubs will invariably include long blazing guitar solos, at least one drum solo, some fancy bass work—hey, let’s show off our musicianship.

Nobody cares.

Nobody but other musicians, and they’re 1) a smaller demographic than ‘everyone’ and 2) usually in the lower ranges of your economic target (what’s the difference between a guitar player and a medium pizza? The medium pizza can feed a family of four.)

So, if you’re obsessing about quality on your recordings, unless you’re recording exclusively for other musicians, you’re wasting your time. No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t care. Just applying some Voltaire something-or-other about good enough versus perfect.

Oh; and as a web designer, I was apalled to find non-linking text underlined twice. Underlined text is a hyperlink. Emphasize with bold, italics, color, size—but not a semblance of a broken link. Please.

Robert Palmer and Jools

Bit by bit we’ve been catching up on Later with Jools Holland (who is a story in himself.) While Best Beloved was doing other things, I thought I’d have a look at the last time Robert Palmer was on the show. He’d be surrounded by a gaggle of lessers, which made me suspect he’d get a single shot and be off; probably not worth dragging Best Beloved in from what she was doing.

One of the others was Macy Gray. Hearing her voice again, watching her perform I Try, I realized I’d forgotten what an astonishing voice she has.

Somehow I developed an uninformed attitude about Mary Chapin Carpenter at some point in the past. She sang Party Doll from Mick Jagger’s solo album. It melted me.

Palmer performed, not once, but thrice: with choir and band (Stone Cold), with David Grant and Jools doing a vocals and piano version of Lowell George’s Twenty Million Things, and ending the show with the choir doing Pride a capella. Palmer’s vocal control in each performance is perfect; it’s obvious his voice is doing exactly what he intends. As someone who merely carries a tune while wishing I was a real singer, it was glorious watching it done right.

I decided Best Beloved should see it after all. (When Pride snapped to its finish, she stared blankly for a moment, then laughed out loud. It takes work to get a reaction like that from her. Most gratifying.)

Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For? (9)

Got an interesting search yesterday: “call something paradise kiss it goodbye”

Near the end of Don Henley’s epic Eagles tune “The Last Resort” you’ll find that line. In a not-very-remarkable synergy I was playing the song for Rush just last week. It inspired me to talk about how passionate the 60s were; she agreed that folks her age don’t generally get all worked up about causes.

And just to clarify, the 60s started about 1964 and ran through 1974, more or less. Just thought you should know they weren’t confined to a calendar.

The Grassies

Northern California now has a music award.

The Grassies are the Northern California Artistic Achievement Award. Named in part for The GrassiesGrass Valley, where the first awards will be presented, and in part for the grassroots artists they honor, The Grassies are an idea long overdue. Originally intended to be a purely musical award, we The Grassie(Co-Founder and Primary Evangelist Andy Gonzales and Know Your Music writer, Grassies Co-Founder and Anamchara Eolais Joel D ‘spinhead’ Canfield) realized it needed to encompass the arts in general to match our vision.

The First Annual Grassies will be the highlight of the Nevada County Music Expo on April 28th, 2007; all the pertinent info is at The Grassies website. While most of the awards are given to artists and others in music-related fields who are still on the rise, the Masters and Mentors Award is a special award for a grassroots artist who has, in some sense, made it. This year’s recipient is The King of Surf Guitar, Mr. Dick Dale.

The Expo will include workshops, live performances, vendor booths of all kinds from local bands, stores, and other artists, food, and more. Admission is free.