Friday, February 26, 2010 

Canadian's Women's Gold Hockey Winners Dustup


So these girls are getting in trouble for partying on the ice with beer & cigars after they won gold?!?!? Olympic athletes are probably among the hardest working, most dedicated, diligent humans on the planet. To even make it to the Olympics is a bitch; to win gold, Uber Bitch.

Although you wonder about the "feminine fragility" of any chick who chooses to play hockey, is it just me, or do these chicks seem like EXACTLY the kind of fun girls anyone would be thrilled to party with? Hell, the nation of Canada ought to give them ANOTHER medal (and endorsement) for their on-ice, we-own-you-beotch "lady swagger." You go, girls!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 

The 'Bama Bad Boy (Part 2) | Brad Cotter

After driving to Chicago to do a sold-out show at the Woodstock Opera House last Saturday (big big fun), I trucked it back to Nashville to finish up some things, and rolled over to my pal Tim Beattie's east Nashville place for some food & drinks.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Brad Cotter there - they'd been shooting some "unplugged" live music video earlier that day. I think one reason Tim is good friends with Brad & myself: I see some distinct similarities between us. Another thing: Brad is ONE funny dude, and we laughed our asses off.

Among other things we discussed, I pointed out that there are many many many folks in this world who would love nothing better than to hang out with some seasoned industry veterans like Brad, Tim & myself, get a "peek behind the curtain," get their input on an original song or two, play some tunes, and hear some of these very very funny and (sadly for this piece), completely unrepeatable things that were some of the highlights of the night. The music industry may totally suck a lot of the time, but one thing that makes it somewhat bearable: the musicians themselves are some of the most entertaining humans on the planet.

I will share this "insiders' secret" with the world: as with most of the musicians and creative people I know, most of the conversation covered "been there/done that" scenarios, online marketing, social media, and blogs (including this one). Translated: How to make money from one's art. But actual discussion of the music itself is probably the smallest part of the dialogue.

I will say that Brad is one tough sell for "outside the box" concepts, and he can point/counterpoint with the best of them. I can imagine there's not much he hasn't seen, pitched or been pitched by some very savvy, slick, sharp operators, so it's hard not to be cynical in the middle of very cynical business (again, he reminds me of me).

That said, I'm thinking the trick is this: In a way, you have to forget your past success (or near-success); you have to stop beating yourself up and 2nd-guessing why something that seemed like a sure solid thing melted like cheap chocolate in your hand; You have to have the vision & courage to reinvent yourself. In Brad's case, I'm thinking he needs to acknowledge his true nature as an artist and person.

From what I'm discovering, it seems the whole gospel/Christian/Nashville Star perception/branding for Brad Cotter has been like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole - it's not who he really is. If Brad had enjoyed more success in that genre, I also think it was only going to be a matter of time before he lit the dynamite, bit the hand that fed him and blew it all up anyway - but on a bigger level. What's that quote from Benjamin Franklin?: "A house divided unto itself cannot stand?"

If I were his PR agent, I'd definitely push the darker/funnier/authentic side of this artist; and I'd focus on getting him on camera ASAP, interviewing other stars (he'd be great at it). Assuming he got some traction as an on-camera personality with the right format, I'm thinking getting folks out to pay for his shows, selling CDs, merch, etc. would be a slam dunk. (are you listening, Mr. Cotter?!?!?!?) Maybe we'll even see him again tonight for some video/cooking/music at Beattie's...

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Friday, February 12, 2010 

I Was A Female Rock Star

details soon...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 

East Nashville Tennessee

As far as I can tell, here's the dealio for Nashville - at least, from a geographic perspective of where the various members of the music industry reside: 

Big-name $ stars, producers, CEOs, etc: Somewhere out of town in a gated or secluded estate setting.

Serious songwriters & musicians: East Nashville.

Not there yet (i.e., in demand) or wanna be songwriters & musicians: West Nashville.

I'm currently sitting in a wi-fi friendly east Nashville coffee shop, noticing the blend of artsy/bohemian, urban, white collar types rolling in. I'm told east Nashville was pioneered by the gay community first, who also gentrified it and injected some culture into both the residential and business aspects. Case in point: Tim Beattie & I popped into some small, unremarkable-looking liquor store last night and was blown away by the wine selection & prices. Obviously, someone there knows wine and there's the clientele coming through there to buy it.  

Foix gras and writers in the round, anyone?

Sunday, February 07, 2010 

Brad Cotter | The 'Bama Bad Boy

Had some beers with Brad Cotter the other night at a Nashville music showcase room/bar called The Rutledge. I'm talking with the Rutledge about getting Totally Chipotle on their bar menu, we'll see where that goes.

I really liked chatting with Brad - very talented, real smart/knows the music business, very funny/articulate and... ONE BAD BOY. Why do I say that?

For starters, I'm pretty sure he's a preacher's son. Seems to me the preacher's kids are always the wildest ones in town; they've been roped in & down-pressed so hard growing up, they
usually go crazy the first opportunity they get.

Second, he's good friends with my good friend Tim Beattie, (on right, photo by Leigh Hanlon) my fave/best harp player in the world. You can't be goodie goodie and be pals with Tim Beattie, folks.

Third, he's obviously got a wild streak in him when he does a very truthful interview regarding the current state of country music with Billboard magazine days after winning Nashville Star (the country version of American Idol), essentially pissing off the Nashville music mafia and destroying any hopes of a mainstream career. Tim Beattie had a great quote, telling Brad: "You did that interview a million records too soon." CRAZY BAD BOY!!!

But you know what? As I told Brad, I think he probably gained a lot of secret fans in the industry and absolute respect from all those in the business too afraid to speak the truth about how the industry really is - I know I've gotten in trouble myself for telling it like it is, and I've paid the price. And I'm not even a preacher's kid - go figure.

As an example of what Brad most likely lost career-wise, look at who he beat on Nashville Star who seems to be doing just fine: Miranda Lambert (R).
In the spirit of how most folks love a good comeback story, though (and with some PR spin, of course), I think it's just a matter of him getting involved with the right material/branding/re-inventing, etc. I've been chatting with him about a long-simmering TV project I think he'd be perfect for - The Americana Music Series. Think Austin City Limits, but live worldwide streaming online (, Brad as host, more of a raw production, with Brad bringing in his picks for the best Americana music that country radio would never play.

Knowing the power of TV (who would ever go see a Miley Cryus concert or buy one of her CDs without that TV show first?), I think Brad could come back to where he was with the right on-camera format.

There are some lyrics Brad was hitting me with the other night which stuck in my head: Some lines about how he's glad he didn't close his eyes to pray in church, because he saw the preacher's daughter winking at him... Hell yeah. To get a sense of the exactly what Brad had right in the palm of his hand...check out a couple of his video clips (the guy is absolutely a star).

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010 

Hard Times (Harder Not To Whine?) or.... ADAPT OR DIE!

Being in the businesses I'm in (food & music), I am in contact with many talent buyers, marketing directors, venue owners, etc. around the country. Even in a good economy - which I haven't seen in a long long long time - it's never easy getting budgets approved. These days, it's like a broken record: "Our sales our down... our sponsorships have dwindled..." and on and on.

It's hard to stay positive when you hit that wall so often - hard to keep your spirits up. It's almost like you have to have some kind of shield to prevent yourself from getting sucked into that dark void of uncertainty, stress, fear and doubt. Beyond all that, there's one thing I know for sure has to happen if things aren't working like they used to: Adapt or die.

The other thing I know: Nobody wants to hear anyone else whine or complain about how rough things are - WE ALREADY KNOW!!! If someone is down in the dirt (not uncommon), folks are much more inclined to help if that person is doing - or at least trying - to change things. I know I've been down in the dirt more than a few times, and I've also learned not to share that with folks - at least, only with a tight pal or two.

And so, with names removed to protect their privacy (even though this person blasted out this email to everyone on her list, including me - I haven't spoken to her in years), here's an example of an email I strongly recommend NOT being sent. It's also hard to be sympathetic to someone who's been living quite well for years and years, and only recently hit hard times. What about the folks who haven't lived comfortably their whole lives? And what about that wacky "Democratic state-only" proviso? SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!

In the last year and a half if have been so stressed that I was thinking "if I don't get a heart attack from this now, I may never get one".
My house was in foreclosure in 2008 and now I am again past due on my mortgage payments and the bank notified me that they are hiring a lawyer to foreclose (although this will take 10 months because the foreclosure courts are so backed up).
My business ******* which I started in 1991 has been really tough. Our sales have never been this bad. I used to have 5 employees and now I am down to 2. I am the only one that knows how to give quotes so I do all the estimates. I also have to go out and see clients, pick up supplies, pay bills (when I can), drop off signs (to avoid paying the delivery services), check to sure everyone has paid us and much more. I am really late on my payments to the IRS and I owe them a lot of money.
My business has been for sale for about a year. The biggest problem is men who want to buy it who also have kids in college and in this economy they could never afford to do it.
I have decided to sell my house that I love. But I live in such a great area that I am confident it will sell. I am going to move down to Florida where I have 2 good friends - Dave **** and Walter *****.
I was planning to get a pre made house called the iHouse, see it at but you have to get an empty lot with sewer, water, electricity and whatever else you need. The iHouse costs about $103,000 installed on your lot. It has solar panels and every thing is environmental good. They will help you find the lot. I was thinking of moving to Albuquerque or North Carolina. I ruled out North Carolina because it is a Republican State. As for Albuquerque would want to rent an apartment first to see where I want to live and then I would have to move 2 times, which is a pain, plus I don't know anyone there.
Then I thought of Dave and Walter. When I told Dave about it he said why don't you just buy a house down here. They have had so many foreclosures that houses are selling as low as $50,000! That would be much better with the money I will have left over after the house sells and pay off the IRS. I could add solar panels and fix the house up.
I did a search for Democratic Cities in Florida and they are all in the southern region, just where I want to be. Now if I can only find a neighborhood where people care about saving the earth. I searched for environmental groups, and there are lots of groups so I feel good about moving there although I doubt I will ever find a block like the one I live in now. It feels like a big family, in large part to Debbie & Pete *****
So many things are up in the air right now, but I am very hopeful that this will change.
Love to you all!