Sunday, January 31, 2010 

Nashville Tennessee Y'All

In hopes of 1. Escaping January in Chicago and 2. Making some progress/connections with the "real" music business (i.e., non-tribute band stuff), I made a pilgrimage to Nashville this month. So far, the hopes for decent weather have been bitterly empty - it's COLD AS HELL down here, and the 4 inches of snow they got a couple of days ago pretty much paralyzed the whole town (they don't have much in the way of snow trucks).

All that aside, I must say there's some flat-out great music & musicians here - that perception about Nashville is dead-on. Although the Chicago cats have nothing to apologize for to anyone, they seem to be a little "slicker" around here; faster, more chops, more finesse and (frustratingly), more of that bible-belt exterior that prevents most of them from saying what's really on their minds. Chicago is WAY better in that regard.

One highlight for me since being here: I went to a house party/jam hosted by Wendy Newcomer last week, and had a blast. Among all the amazing players (standup bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, gypsy-style guitar, regular guitar), she was the standout for me. And yet... she seems to be another puzzling example of an artist who looks & sounds to me to be as good (or better) as anyone out there, looks good, funny, nice, and yet... no big label deal, no big fame, working a day job, etc.

Maybe she's one more talented example of something every artist needs: "Star" perception, marketing and/or connections who have that happening. Or V I D E O, people! Show 'em who you are on camera!

Wendy absolutely tore up a Patsy Cline tune called "Get It Over." FYI, there was a fiddler there who says he used to play for Patsy Cline. He said she had a real appetite for lots of men ("I had my chance," he said, "but I wasn't interested. To me, she kind of looked like a man - she looked like Bob Hope.") Wendy gave me her CD, and she's a good writer with her own stuff, but she also knows good material: She recorded a pre-Robert Plant/Alison Kraus version of a hauntingly sardonic/sad tune called "Killing The Blues" that I think is better than anyone else's, including the writer, or even Shawn Colvin.

Friday, January 15, 2010 

Dale Bozzio & Lady Gaga

As many folks who know me know... I've been working with Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons to launch a line of Italian food products - we'll see where that goes. But as I get to know her a little better with each conversation, I recognize someone with steady resolve who knew what they wanted in life - to be a success.

Besides that, I'm also seeing more & more comparisons in the internet "ether" to her & Lady Gaga. To me, they seem like kindred spirits - they kind of look alike, talk alike, and they both no doubt possess that steely core required to weather the snakes & lizards of the music industry, fame & media.

Granted, Lady Gaga doesn't really have a band, and Dale had a killer band, driven by a fantastic drummer: Her ex, Terry Bozzio. So right there it's a different conversation. But when the conversation turns to fashion, dance moves & style... well, the comparisons are natural, I suppose.

I laughed pretty hard when I read these comments (below) from a Missing Persons video on ("Destination Unknown"). Damn, there's some funny people out there. Check 'em out:

They both are super talented!! Wait Dale went t Prison for neglecting cats?

Have always loved this song since it first came out!!

And Gaga is already in prison. It's called ''her music''.

I wonder if Gaga will end up in prison for neglecting cats too?!

Don't you mean Gaga looks like Dale Bozzio!!?? Unless the time-space continuum of music history has suddenly been reversed. Her outfit in the video ''Words'' is 100% Dale. 28 years ago!

she does look like lady gaga. classic song, love it forever

Her outfits remind me of lady gaga.
FlamingCannibal (1 week ago) Show Hide

Uh just Lady Gaga is famous doesn't mean she has no talent.
JBGirl11912 (1 week ago) Show Hide
i'd rather listen to good music instead of seeing wacky costumes any day.
MrvlZmb (1 week ago) Show Hide

Nothing wrong with both at the same time. Missing Persons FTW.

Well, you know what they say -  If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably wind up someplace else.

lady gaga is sorta like dale bozzio but without all the talent and vagina.

Lady GaGa...are you people for real? Missing Persons was the real deal, not just some talentless fad.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 


I normally don't care one way or another about that show - although the random times I have watched it, I always know which singers Simon will like. HINT: If they have really good pitch, they're halfway home with him.

I've also noticed the ones with the most success after leaving that show are the ones who know how to get or write the best material. Actually, that's really only one: A fellow Okie, Carrie Underwood.

But here's the bone I have to pick with AI: After waiting around for 24 hours last summer in Chicago to audition (at The United Center, I think?), the boneheads told Richard Perez he "wasn't what they were looking for." Huh? What's worse, he never even made it past the first layer of production assistants!

I personally have witnessed Richard absolutely scorch the paint off the walls with his in-the-moment, off the cuff improv vocal stuff in front of thousands of people. Not only does he have the range from hell - the guy can cover anyone from John Fogerty to Paul McCartney to Bob Seger to Johnny Cash to Roger Daltrey - he's got SOUL POWER, which cuts through the distance like a shot of electricity to everyone in the audience. In fact, lots of times... it seems like we ARE doing American Idol.

AI telling Rich to take a hike makes you wonder - what other kind of talent are they telling they're not what they're looking for?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010 

Corporations VS. Artists

Although I'll remember a few things playing New Year's Eve 2009 at River Spirit Casino in Tulsa OK with our CCR tribute band,
probably the single most notable takeaway is this: Artists & entertainers cannot be expected to do their jobs well if they're clamped down with the same rules & regulations as "regular" employees. Period.

This place isn't even a year old, and they truly spared no expense anywhere: State of the art sound system, decor, great marketing, etc. It's kind of like this: Imagine you were given the opportunity to sleep with whoever you wanted - your dream lover. The idea of it seems fantastic, and then... you start having all kinds of rules imposed as part of the package. None of this, none of that, forget that, you can't do this, you have to do that... before long, it's about as exciting as standing in line at the DMV.

There so many unbelievably, over-the-top, lame-ass, irrelevant things that could be listed - the management came THISCLOSE to having security force our drummer to put his shirt back on during the last set - but you know it's not good when the normally affable Rich Perez nearly gets into a fistfight with some self-important mid-level manager after he'd just killed himself onstage to transcend the corporate crapola & deliver yet another another fiery performance. What the hell?!?!?!

Bottom line: With all these restrictions & no-nos buzzing around like mosquitos in 3-piece suits, our performance suffered measurably. This venue could really learn a lot from the Oaklawn venue in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Not nearly as high-tech/fancy, but they really make their performers feel at home, and as a result, the artists give it everything they've got to make it great.