if the Music Industry and their more vocal sub-contractors* have one ace up their sleeve,
it's their ability to stay on message.
ten years into a new Millenium, they are still chanting the mantra they entered it with - the Industry is in decline because people are 'stealing' their 'intellectual property' on the internet.
they can prove it, with their own statistics. the statistics are then translated into financial losses, at an exchange rate of 1:1, where each alleged download equals one lost retail sale.
these fantasy figures make it clear that their former customers are now active participants in a global crime wave bigger than the Medellin cartel.
as though this were not enough, the news of this sonic apocalypse is wrapped in an Industrial pink fuzzy blanket of love for the Artists... big ones, little ones, old ones and especially the young ones, as given their fiscal projections one or more of the big three or four won't be able to be there to help crazy kids everywhere live the Dream of trans-national, rock-pop-alt-crossover success.
...all of which adds up to a sense of entitlement verging on the sociopathic. it boils down to...
We rock. Totally.
it's those Fans who suck.
it's an interesting gambit. as long as you stay
in their script, it all seems to make some
kind of sense. i guess.
the only problem is that they are wrong... as wrong as wrong can be. it would actually be hard for them to be more wrong.
these Industrial pain cries are the same ones heard near what we now call the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, as mammoths, ground sloths and sabre tooth cats sank into the tar pits.
do you smell methane?
looking at it all from a decidedly Old School bench,
i think the people who upload music files, and the people who download music files are the people who really love music.
...as much as any major dude.
the Industry and their acolytes no longer seem to know what it's like to love music beyond reason.
they lack clue one about the difference between a music lover, and 'a fan'... maybe they're not music lovers. maybe, they're not even be fans.
they're not listening - which is odd, on one level and yet on another might explain why they release so much unessential music by so many second-rate, one-hit-maybe fame sluts.
and their child-like wonder when we the people don't pony up like it's 1999...
like we used to...
they're asking "where's all that easy money gone?", while we're asking "what is this shit?"
They would not listen
perhaps they never will.
from Vincent - Don McLean
music saved my life.
ever since the summer of '64 when i first heard George Harrison hit that Rickenbacker chord that kicks off A Hard Day's Night, music has been an essential part of my life... and the lives of most of the people around me.
i've spent decades bring musicians and audiences together around stages in parks, clubs, community halls and sidewalks, and getting those musicians paid. along the way, a lot of indies move mad product, working like a dog and loving every minute of it.
i've spent more money on music recordings than other people have putting their kids through school, and so did most of my friends.
then and now, we put a high value on our music... sometimes, more than the people making it and never any less than anyone at any major labels.
ME - A CASE STUDY
one of the bands i have listened to a lot is the Rolling Stones. i started listening when Satisfaction came out, and i kept listening til about Black and Blue.
i hung this poster on my wall for years, because i thought it was so damn good. i've worn 4 Stones tour shirts into threadbare oblivion.
i've seen them live 3 times - '72 and '75 in Maple Leaf Gardens and once in Oshawa at the benefit Keith Richards had to do for the blind after his smack bust in Toronto.
i have probably bought 20 Stones albums in my time, six of which were Exile on Main Street.
i bought my first copy the day i got out of high school- went home and proceeded to blast it out
of mom and dad's stereo while hustling my younger brother to cough for half the sticker price, so it could be 'ours'.
when that copy got swiped at a party one night, i bought another copy, which worked until that got scratched up too bad at a house party in second year, which led me spend nearly 50 bucks for a half-speed Japanese virgin vinyl copy.
i probably listened to that a thousand times
before making the tragic mistake of loaning it to the coke-head younger brother of another friend for a weekend. when it finally came back a month later, there was a scratch on side one.
a few years later, some friends got me a CD player when such things were all gee whiz and shiny new.
Exiles was the only album exempted from my resolution not to buy the CD of an album
i already owned.
hey, it was Exiles, and my devotion was rewarded
a few months later when one night listening to it on headphones, i heard a glass bottle get knocked over during one of the tracks.
i've went to hear Andrew Loog Oldham speak in Belfast, at the screening of old documentary of young Stones touring Ireland, made after the Beatles did "A Hard Day's Night".
i will never forget his answer to a sincere young man embarking on a career in music...
"Darling, if you're not prepared to get fucked, find another business"
as i write this, there is a hard cover copy of Keef's new autobiography on my coffee table, that i'm saving for the next time i get on a train somewhere.
it is my fondness for the Rolling Stones
and a certain era of their musical evolution
that has led me deeper and deeper
into the Land of the Pirates.
i have sought, and i have found amazing stuff out there...
i have found more rough takes, out-takes, re-takes, unused takes and alt-mixed versions from their rankest early days to more recently than i care to hear.
my main focus is from '67 to '79 or so, and even with those parameters, what's out there dwarfs my curiousity.
i have my own copy of the "Cocksucker Blues",
the film Robert Frank made about the '72 tour...
the film so frickin' true the Stones organization did everything in it's legal power to keep people from seeing.
have you ever heard "Cocksucker Blues"?
Cocksucker Blues is a song the Stones did in 1970. according to their contract with the Decca label, the Stones owed them one more single before their relationship could be terminated.
Mick and Keith recorded a song, and handed duly handed it in. the song was "Cocksucker Blues".
not to put too fine a point on it, that song is a motherfucker.
i'd never say it's the best song they ever did- partly because it's not true and partly because that whole 'best' thing - when it comes to music - is stupid.
but i will say it's a really amazing song.
it concerns the adventures of an English schoolboy who leaves the small town of his birth to go to Swinging London, where he becomes a rent boy and is ultimately sodmized with a truncheon by a London bobby.
it's dead simple, Keef on that Gibson acoustic, and Jagger singing drenched in dirty reverb. it's dark and chilling as your worst secret nightmare. it's a song not soon forgotten.
Mick slurs few words here, and when he gets to the chorus there is no doubt whatsoever what he's singing...
"where can i get my cock sucked?
where can i get my ass fucked?".
he sings his ass off. this Blues is a rare moment, no manners, no arch posing, no talking sly with that tongue deep in cheek. it's just him singing his guts out.
it's a country blues- a country blues like nothing you've ever heard on an Official Release. next to this, "Sweet Virginia" is a Christmas
it's as close as i've ever heard them or any other post-war white boys
get to Robert Johnson and the crossroads. it is a killer track, and part of the reason why is because it was never really meant to be released.
it was the boys having a little joke - one last little 'fuck you' to the label they were leaving behind.
it was never really intended to be heard by the rest of us, but there was an Official release on a German compilation of Stones songs in 1983. the album was recalled 4 weeks after that release, and when the album appeared in shops again sometime later, it no longer included Cocksucker Blues.
of course, when it comes to music and the internet, once is enough.
if you like the Stones, you should check it out. i could tell you where to find it, but that would be Wrong, and not in the way you think...
it would be wrong because hunting is how you earn it. it's not on Boing Boing, Pitchfork or Salon, and i doubt it's on a FaceBook or a MySpace page.
it's out there. and if you care, you can find it.
if you really love the Stones.
* ie- musicians, singers, producers et al