ellisdean

Comments from ellisdean

Ribot is right on. Look, Steve Albini sort of got his name as an indie mouthpiece with his “The Problem With Music” back in the early 90’s, and it was spot-on great. He was right. In the 1990s.

The problem is that his recent views on copyright and monetizing music are from *one* perspective. The “punk rock” perspective, where playing endless shows (and if Steve had his way, they’d probably be house shows or basement gigs) is the One True Way of earning money from music.

But what if…what if the artist doesn’t want to perform live? Or just release their medium in another format? Or creates art that can’t be reproduced live? That’s where Ribot is coming from. Tom Waits recorded with Ribot and hates to tour…shouldn’t he still get money for his music? Some of the stuff Ribot’s recorded with Zorn simply can’t be done in a live environment, and that’s fine…Zorn still deserves money for his composition, and it shouldn’t be cheapened by a streaming service. It should be fairly compensated.

The “Problem With Music” nowadays is…(at the risk of sounding like a Mission District Anarchist)…the techies who are creating streaming services and cramming those companies with middle-men who have NO PASSION for music whatsoever. It’s the SAME THING as the record industry in the 70’s and 80’s, but the distribution flowchart is flipped and the org chart looks a bit different. The fact remains, though, that the musician STILL GETS PAID SHIT for their music being streamed over the “airwaves”. They’re still forced to play live if they want to eat…even more so now because they can’t count on CD sales since people would rather steal than pay for music. You have these massive tech organizations that desperately need to fund their payrolls and giant SF offices and whatnot on the backs of musicians.

Yes, streaming has definitely lowered the barrier to entry for thousands of musicians, and thanks to the internet we’re hearing people play their music and create art that we would NEVER have heard of or seen before. And streaming isn’t going anywhere…and it shouldn’t, really. It’s a great delivery model.

But the model needs to be made more economically fair. The fact that there are administrative assistants at these streaming companies ALL making more money than 99% of the people making the product that funds their companies…it’s beyond unfair.

And people need to get used to the idea of paying for something. Yes, even music. Napster let the genie out of the bottle in that respect, but there’s still hope to make a pay model even more painless and easy enough to grab plenty of people just too lazy to open up a torrent client.

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June 10, 2015 on Read Marc Ribot’s Angry Open Letter To Steve Albini

Its the money. Yes, “innocent” Hoosiers will be hurt by this, but when you have multiple bands cancelling, municipalities (like San Francisco) refusing to send people to Indiana on official business (Indianapolis is a big conference center)…it all adds up. Yeah, some folks will lose tips, but venues hurting is really the whole point: hurt as much of the economic infrastructure as possible in order to compel the business vote to cry uncle.

Bottom line, hitting the pocketbook is the most effective way to change public policy.

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March 31, 2015 on Wilco Cancel Indianapolis Show In Protest Of Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Yeah, no shit. Sure, he’s not “art rock” but he’s not trying to be…in fact, he’s not trying to be anything, really. Just a guy doing his thing, making honest music and touring around with his friends. No need to get all uppity…there are more deserving targets.

Jeez, the guy is from Stockton. Hasn’t he suffered enough? Give Chris a break.

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February 26, 2015 on Kim Gordon Expands Upon Lana Del Rey Diss: “She’s A Female Chris Isaak”

He deserves credit for the significant impact of the Velvet Underground. There are a solid 2 1/2 albums there of monumental music, music for which Lou, John, Maureen, and Sterling should be rightly credited. They even made Nico sound decent, which alone should garner a Nobel prize or something. Y’know that line? “They didn’t sell a lot of albums, but everyone who bought one started a blah blah blah blah.” It’s cliche, but it’s probably true. Really, really good stuff there.

Let us also not forget Lou’s post VU output, which is utterly mediocre once you get past the “risque” songs about trannies and junkies, and any merit on those could be credited to the producers. He had a bad voice, average guitar chops, and ho-hum songwriting at best. That stuff coming up to his ankles isn’t the material from the Beatles or The Doors; it’s the bullshit coming from his amp. Lou Reed coasted on his VU cred for over 30 years. “Dirty Boulevard”? Gimme a fucking break.

Of course, this is the same guy who called Frank Zappa “the most untalented musician I’ve ever heard.” Jesus. You can have an opinion about whether or not you like his music, but untalented? C’mon, Lou, nobody can be THAT dense.

He was a fountain of weapons-grade stupid comments.

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February 17, 2015 on Watch Lou Reed Call The Beatles “Garbage” And The Doors “Stupid” In Newly Animated Interview

Steely Dan seems incongruous for a festival pick, but who cares? They’re great. Saw them in 1999(?) and they killed.

And I think a lot of the younger fans will be surprised when the Dan hits the stage and all these AARP types materialize and start ripping hits from their “Jitterbug vaporizers”. This isn’t your Paul McCartney Coachella crowd…

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January 7, 2015 on Coachella Vs. Governors Ball: The 2015 Lineup War

“You’re Under Arrest” ranking higher than “Big Fun”? “Bitches Brew” not in the top 10? “Live Evil” missing the list entirely?

Look, we all know these lists are here to get folks riled up and bring eyeballs to the page, but damn…there are just some bad calls here.

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November 6, 2014 on Miles Davis Albums From Worst To Best

News flash: pop flavor of the week found to not be a fountain of creativity. I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you…

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September 15, 2014 on In Incredible Testimony, Robin Thicke Says He Lied About Co-Writing “Blurred Lines” And Was High For All Of 2013

Hmmm. Drunk people appear in Boston. Next up on the Stereogum update: fire is hot, and water is wet.

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July 28, 2014 on Dozens Of Keith Urban Fans Get Too Fucked Up In Boston

Saying she broke up the Beatles is a shortcut to thinking. It’s been said a million times before that they were just plain sick of each other. Hell, watch the “Let It Be” documentary and tell me that they didn’t loathe each other…that atmosphere was toxic.

Is it cool that Yoko is able to perform at the age of 81? Yes.

Does her voice make me want to jab railroad spikes into kittens? Yes.

I “get” what she’s been doing, but I can’t get into it. For me, “Don’t Worry Kyoko” sounds like it was written after Yoko heard “Trout Mask Replica” and said “Oh shit, I’m not weird enough…”

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July 8, 2014 on Yoko Ono & Yo La Tengo Glastonbury Video Goes Viral For All The Wrong Reasons

There were PLENTY of “hard core” Cure fans who weren’t “swirling wine in tumblers”. They were just up front; I know, I was there with my hard core fan sister in-law, who was making setlist predictions with other nearby hard cores.

Also, the plug was pulled on the Cure because (as the writer would know unless he was magically teleported to the festival site) there are houses immediately bordering the fairgrounds on practically all sides. Noise was a minor issue last year and the promoters wanted to make sure that they didn’t get hosed by local complaints this year. Napa is pretty weird about how our local leaders listen to a few truly whiny people looking to preserve their little bubble of solitude. BottleRock deserves to stick around despite their complaints, but the organizers need to make sure they respect the noise ordinance.

Sad that there was no word in this article about what an amazing addition to the Cure’s touring unit Reeves Gabrels is. He can clearly handle all the strange back catalog stuff that Robert Smith wants to bring out of mothballs and has a really great stage presence. The guy is tops.

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June 1, 2014 on BottleRock 2014 Friday: TV On The Radio Debut Three Songs, The Cure Get Cut Off

Ah…ok, disorderly conduct makes sense. I couldn’t see how Paul could hit Edie…she could just push him back by his forehead as he swings wildly with his cute little munchkin arms.

Maybe he and Jackson Browne should go on a “hitmaker” retreat.

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April 28, 2014 on Paul Simon, Edie Brickell Arrested For Disorderly Conduct

OK, so I guess I should probably shed some light on this as a Napa local who has been following this closely…

Last year was the first BottleRock Napa Valley. Big names (Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Jane’s Addiction, Flaming Lips, etc. etc.) over five days. Put on by two guys with no experience and they didn’t negotiate any of the contracts. They also didn’t get their own liquor license, so they “contracted” that out to a local restaurateur who made all the money off the booze. See a problem so far? So the guys that ran the first BRNV went bankrupt, owing a few million bucks to various vendors. Boo, hiss.

Cut to this year…a group of three bought the branding rights to BRNV, paid off *some* of the debt, and is putting on a tighter, decidedly more conservatively-booked festival. They booked a couple of big names (e.g. have fun with Kanye, Outside Lands…we’ve got Outkast) and a couple of wtf-is-this acts (Smashmouth…?) and a couple of “yow, this is really cool” acts (TVotR, Deerhunter)…all so they can hopefully show some semblance of profitability and make a slightly “hipper” festival next year. I hope.

Bottom line? It was a bunch of fun last year, it’ll still be fun this year (albeit, a different kind of “Aw, shit! Look how old that guy from the Spin Doctors looks!” fun). The food will be amazing. The weather will be perfect. And after the festival you can just walk three blocks to downtown.

Yeah, I’m a local shill. But this is worth it.

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April 22, 2014 on Is BottleRock The Strangest Festival Lineup Of 2014?

…aaaaand this is what happens when a product of the studio tries to cut it in a live environment. All the preamps, compressors, and (as Michael points out) “live assist” tracks in the world can’t save you if you lack the fundamental talent. Hell, his album has more engineers than NASA. That might tell you something.

Well, at least his backing band sounded good.

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April 14, 2014 on Watch Pharrell’s Star-Studded Coachella Performance

Well this is a shock. Junkies are usually so tidy…looks like John Frusciante was their decorator.

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March 25, 2014 on Newly Unearthed Photos Show Kurt & Courtney’s Gross L.A. Apartment

Yeah, that’s news: ignorant artist gets big label deal and figures out…SURPRISE…it’s run by white guys who don’t give a crap about her “craft”, just her product. Same story, different decade.

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January 27, 2014 on Azealia Banks Begs To Be Dropped From Universal

Phil Collins behind the drums and not the microphone? I’m already interested.

Unfortunately, were this to happen, I’d imagine a tour on the scale of the recent Roger Waters “The Wall” concerts: huge, visually brilliant, but insanely expensive and pretty much only appearing at an acoustically-hostile sports arena near you.

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December 10, 2013 on Peter Gabriel And Phil Collins Are Both Open To A Genesis Reunion

Christ…Kanye? Really? When is someone going to point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes? Utter nonsense.

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December 3, 2013 on The 50 Best Albums Of 2013

“Cuz all I do is make real music!”

Holy shit. He really is that delusional. Hey everybody, remember when he showed up in a leather kilt for the 12/12/12 concert and was so terrible he made the subsequent prehistoric Billy Joel sound like Mozart?

I forsee a reality television future: Kanye and Kim stuck in a submarine with Amy and Samy Bouzaglo. One SCUBA tank, one handgun, three bullets.

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May 16, 2013 on Watch Kanye West Rant At Adult Swim Upfront

Old? Yeah. White? Of course. But what did you expect for an internationally televised fundraiser? If you want a lot of money you have to cater to those with…(wait for it)…a lot of money. And the people who pay $300 to see the Stones or $500 to see Sir Paul are the people you want tuning in, not the people who accidentally caught 15 minutes of Kanye West at Coachella on their way to the Mumford and Sons tent or whatever.

So what did we learn from last night?

The Rolling Stones stink. Anemic versions of “Rocking” and “Flash”? If anything their performance last night was a commercial for skipping their upcoming tour. What a mess. Yeah, they used to “party hard” and have a lot of miles on them, but jeez guys, if you’re going to play a benefit at MSG you might want to actually put a set together with more than two songs. Crazy, I know.

The Who still deliver a lively performance and they appear like they may actually be having fun up there. Of course, it’s the half-Who, but they still sounded better than they did during the Super Bowl Halftime show they did not too long ago.

After an interminable Kanye West performace (talk about not knowing your target viewing demographic), Billy Joel looked like the greatest songwriter since Mozart. He isn’t, of course, it’s just that Kanye West is really , really, really terrible. Like, hey-Kanye-find-Chris-Brown-and-fly-together-in-a-Mexican-pop-star’s-Learjet terrible.

Alicia Keys doesn’t own a mirror. That dress made her look like an orange sausage.

Chris Martin knows his place. Three quickies and out.

And Paul McCartney. Sheeeeeit. He blew the Stones, the Who, Bruce, Bon Scroti et al off the stage. The friggin’ guy is so old he needs to be carbon-14 dated and he opens with Helter Skelter, busts out Let Me Roll It, plays with Nirvana, does I’ve Got A Feeling, and almost burns MSG down with fireworks during Live and Let Die.

And yes, the NirMacca song was damned good. Not Nirvana good, not Beatles good, but like…dirty, fuzzy Wings good. Deal with it, folks. It worked.

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December 13, 2012 on Watch Nirvana & Paul McCartney Debut “Cut Me Some Slack” At 12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief

As a musician, I can confirm this.

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June 26, 2012 on David Lowery Blasts NPR Intern On File-Sharing