now playing: october project, “a lonely voice”

posts like this are the reason i love the fact that blogging has elevated to the level it has. go on, lane!

it’s raining here – and, according to the weatherman, it will be for the lion’s share of the week. perfect accompaniment to my mood of late.

yesterday was just what the doctor ordered, though…a long sleep-in after a particularly satisfying gig, followed by a road trip to cracker barrell and a temporary overdose on side veggies (their cabbage always sucks. i don’t understand it. everything else they make kicks ass, but their cabbage is always a disappointment. go figure.). home, then, to watch the bruins lose their first playoff game to the home-team canadiens…then, later, i popped in the videotape that blake brought over last week…a documentary on the making of the last fleetwood mac album, “say you will”.

man, was that ever hard to watch.

for those who haven’t seen it, here’s the story in a nutshell: lindsey brings an assload of material to the table, with mick’s initial support for a double album package – but after some, uh, sage managerial advice, mick has a change of heart and ultimately, lindsey is the only member in favor of releasing the double album – against the wishes of the rest of the band. he ultimately sells himself seriously short on royalties, agreeing in principle to get paid for twelve songs even if they include twenty on the album. (and, of course, since the extra songs are all lindseys’, it’s him that would take the financial hit moreso than any of the other band members.) in the end, though, for reasons that aren’t really clear, the album was released as a single album anyway – no one really comes clean on why that is during the course of the show.

and all the while, i’m sitting there thinking that if fleetwood fuckin’-mac is subject to this kinda ass-picking by the labels, what chance does a baby band have in the world we’ve created?

really, why even make the effort?

i think that the silver lining of the huge-assed mess that we’ve made is that once all this dust settles and whatever ultimately happens with the record business as we now know and love it has happened – which is to say that the Time Warners and Sonys and BMGs of the world have been replaced by – we may actually see who’s in this business for the love of music and who’s in it to be on cribs. i think that those who fall into the latter are going to be sorely disappointed with what lay in store for them down the road.

signing a record deal is like hitting the lottery nowadays. you get a hard shot of quick cash, which you blow doing the record company’s job for them and after your first record comes out and ultimately tanks, you’re so far in debt to the record company that you stand no chance of earning a shot at a second record. and if you’re one of the one in 480 acts who actually has some degree of chart success and earns a shot at a second record, your chances of duplicating your initial success are a researched and proven one in 4300. and this is, of course, provided you’ve overcome the almost insurmountable odds against your having arrived in that scenario in the first place.

who needs it?

i think that in ten or fifteen years, even, the artists who are subsisting and earning their keep from their art will be touring almost nonstop and selling discs out of their vans or on the internet. because the court of play keeps creeping in that direction, more and more every day.


i’ll still be fixin’ computers and playin’ in my (an’ i mean this in the best of ways) white-trash, trailer-park, classic rock cover band.

and maybe, sooner or later, i’ll get around to posting some of my works in progress on the internet.

for free.


now playing: garrison starr, “superhero”

from the Times’ editorial page – although i’m not sure why this isn’t on every news show in the nation. i find this seriously disturbing. this has gone too far.

A Justice’s Sense of Privilege

Antoinette Konz is a young education reporter for The Hattiesburg American, a daily newspaper with a circulation of about 25,000 in Hattiesburg, Miss. Ms. Konz, 25, has only been in the business for a couple of years, so her outlook hasn’t been soiled by the cranks and the criminals, and the pretzel-shaped politicians that so many of us have been covering for too many years to count.

She considered it a big deal when one of the schools on her beat, the Presbyterian Christian High School, invited her to cover a speech that was delivered last Wednesday by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

About 300 people, many of them students, filled the school’s gymnasium for the speech. They greeted Justice Scalia with a standing ovation.

Ms. Konz and a reporter for The Associated Press, Denise Grones, were seated in the front row. They began to take notes. And when Justice Scalia began speaking, they clicked on their tape recorders.

What’s important about this story is that Justice Scalia is a big shot. Not only is he a member in good standing of the nation’s most august court, he’s almost always among those mentioned as a possible future chief justice.

Compared with him, Ms. Konz and Ms. Grones are nobodies.

Justice Scalia, the big shot, does not like reporters to turn tape recorders on when he’s talking, whether that action is protected by the Constitution of the United States or not. He doesn’t like it. And he doesn’t permit it.

“Thirty-five minutes into the speech we were approached by a woman who identified herself as a deputy U.S. marshal,” Ms. Konz told me in a telephone conversation on Friday. “She said that we should not be recording and that she needed to have our tapes.”

In the U.S., this is a no-no. Justice Scalia and his colleagues on the court are responsible for guaranteeing such safeguards against tyranny as freedom of the press. In fact, the speech Mr. Scalia was giving at the very moment the marshal moved against the two reporters was about the importance of the Constitution.

Ms. Konz said neither she nor Ms. Grones wanted to comply with the marshal’s demand.

“It was very distracting, very embarrassing,” she said. “We were still trying to listen to what he was saying.”

The marshal, Melanie Rube, insisted.

The A.P. reporter tried to explain that she had a digital recording device, so there was no tape to give up. Ms. Konz said the deputy seemed baffled by that.

Eventually both recordings were seized.

If this had been an old-time Hollywood movie, the Supreme Court justice would have turned a kindly face toward the marshal and said, in an avuncular tone: “No, no. We don’t do that sort of thing in this country. Please return the recordings.”

But this is the United States in the 21st century where the power brokers have gone mad. They’ve deluded themselves into thinking they’re royalty, not public servants charged with protecting the rights and interests of the people. Both recordings were erased. Only then was the reporters’ property returned.

When agents acting on behalf of a Supreme Court justice can just snatch and destroy information collected by reporters, we haven’t just thumbed our nose at the Constitution, we’ve taken a very dangerous step in a very ugly direction. The depot at the end of that dark road is totalitarianism.

I called Jane Kirtley, a professor of media, ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, and asked her what was wrong with what the marshal did. She replied, “Everything.”

Not only was it an affront to the Constitution to seize and erase the recordings, Ms. Kirtley believes it was also a violation of the Privacy Protection Act, a law passed by Congress in 1980.

“It protects journalists not just from newsroom searches,” she said, “but from the seizure of their work product material, things like notes and drafts, and also what’s called documentary materials, which are things like these tapes, or digital recordings.”

Ms. Konz told me: “All I was doing with that tape recorder was making sure that I was not going to misquote the justice. My only intention was to report his words accurately.”

After the encounter with the marshal, she said, “I went back to the office and I just felt absolutely — I just felt horrible.”

reports of my demise have been greatly….uh….

now playing: sarah shannon, “i’ll run away”

so i guess…i just process information differently than most people do.

when i have something on my plate that’s potentially important, potentially life-changing, potentially could-impact-people-i-love-type stuff on my plate, i completely internalize it.

well, maybe not completely, but i internalize the majority of it.

i thought about talking to the kids about it on tuesday night, but i lost my nerve. i thought it’d probably be best to keep my mouth shut until i was ready to make a decision, one way or the other. why get them worked up about it if it wasn’t going to come to fruition, after all? they have enough stress in their lives.

the only person i really talked to about it at length was charlie, mainly because of his potential involvement with the decision, and his degree of familiarity with what i’d be doing, since he’s gone through it already, although his means of doing this and mine would be considerably different….

but that’s it, really. maryann here at work knows, but only because she’s been privvy to the flurry of phone calls that have transpired in the last week or so.

and i dared not mention it here, because people i love read these pages on a regular basis, and i hadn’t really processed the information yet.

i’m still not sure i have. i mean, i think i’ve made a decision, but i could probably be swayed, even now, if the situation were made attractive enough.

i guess i should stop beating around the bush and spill my guts.

an opportunity has become available for a road gig with an up-and-coming country singer in nashville who is looking for a pro guitar player to join his band. i’ve been exchanging emails for a week with his musical director, talking about the situation and exchanging information and questions…and the stuff that he does would be right up my alley, in terms of what his music is like and what i enjoy playing. they tour regularly – on his website, i saw dates in oklahoma city OK, albuquerque NM, indianapolis IN, franklin OH, louisville KY, and several cities in TN & AL within the space of a pretty short framework, itinerary-wise…there are still enough “gaps”, though, that i’d probably still have to hold down a day gig in order to remain afloat…with my overhead costs being what they are.

there’s enough irony to choke on in the fact that when an opportunity like this comes my way, it’s with a country band. who woulda thunkit?

for those who need some background, i’m originally from tennessee – born and raised in a podunk farming town almost right on the tenn/ala border on the banks of the tennessee river called savannah. i actually went to high school with a guy named darryl worley who’s having some success as a country act right now. i grew up listening to guys like dan fogelberg and jackson browne and crosby stills and nash and jim croce and the like – so what ultimately became my songwriting voice echoed those guys considerably – i thought. what i found out, years later, as i found my feet and started writing songs seriously and making inroads as a singer and songwriter was that i was pretty much the only person who had this perception, outside of a handful of contemporaries – most people thought of me as a country singer. to this day, i still don’t get it. but it didn’t take me long to start resenting it.

i resented it not out of disrespect for country music – but what i was doing didn’t have much in common with country music at all, to my ears. granted, country music of the last decade and a half doesn’t bear much resemblance to what i consider to be “country” music, but i still didn’t see the connection. still don’t, for that matter.

as time went by, though, i made a few trips to nashville during my road years – and some pretty serious internal myths i had harbored for some time were shattered. one of them was that every bartender and plumber in town was an amazing songwriter, scratching and clawing to get their song to someone and make their own break. what i found to be the case was that there were an awful lot of hacks in nashville, just like here at home. in fact, i remember doing a songwriter’s circle at a place called big river at 2nd and broadway, right across the street from the nashville hard rock cafe – after our round was over, i took a walk up the street, up towards gruhn’s guitar shop, and taking in some of the folks who were playing at various places up and down the strip…there was a girl playing in the gibson cafe who was just awful…beautiful, but awful. then, on the other side of the street, there was a guy playing in a storefront window with his back to the street…but his PA was plugged into a speaker hanging just underneath the door, broadcasting his awfulness to the unsuspecting public…a 12-bar blues tune with three words – “big boss man……..big boss man……..big boss man……big boss man…..big boss man……big boss man…..”

after about the thirteenth one, i moved along.

still, the thought of living in nashville was off-limits to me, because all i wanted was to be john gorka – to be identified with folk music moreso than country music, to have a decent sized, loyal following that would allow me to make a record on occasion and tour as much as i could for as long as i could. i wanted to be Northampton, not Nashville. but alas, it was not to be. and for me, moving to nashville and trying to have something resembling a career as an artist or a songwriter felt like conceding defeat in some perverted way. plus, i had a bit of a chip on my shoulder concerning country music once i got an up-close look at the songwriters’ hierarchy and how the machinery worked. (more on that some other, more relevant time.)

so now, this opportunity is opening up, and this dialogue has been taking place, and i have to decide whether or not i want to go down and audition. this could be happening as early as next week, should i decide to go.

i’ve been doing all kinds of research on the internet this week. for instance, the average rental price in nashville is $30 less than what i pay now. average income is roughly the same, i know my way around the city somewhat, and i have people there that i know. in terms of picking up and moving that far away on a whim, i could do this in relatively good shape, but there are other issues involved. two other issues, specifically, that complicate matters quite a bit. there are decisions to be made with regard to whether or not they’d be summer kids or how that’d be danced around with their mom. jayda would be an especially tough negotiation, because i couldn’t see her wanting to be there through school or for the summer, because she’s so engrained into her social fabric here. dylan, on the other hand, would probably welcome the opportunity to get the hell outta here.

but this is all supposition on my part, of course, because i haven’t said a word about any of this to them.

but over the course of the last couple of days, i think i may very well have talked myself out of it. and i’m not even sure why.

these are the things that can make you crazy…trying to tell the difference between intuition and fear. this is one of those times when i just can’t tell the difference. i don’t know if i’m afraid of change or if there’s some reason that i’m not consciously aware of that is keeping me from throwing out a ton of my shit, packing my bags, and calling the movers to come get me the hell outta here.

i dunno, man. i started thinking about this post this morning, and it’s almost 4 o’clock now. that probably means something….

but i’m not sure what….yet.

rubber band man

now playing: shane nicholson, “nice to be here”

yeah, yeah, i know…but i’m still not even remotely tired of this record.

today’s quote from jayda to her beloved father:

“you are such an asshole…i love it!”

(of course, you know, i hear this all the time…)

today, she and six of her friends made a game of walking through the halls at school and then simultaneously falling all over each other. it was so funny the first time that they did it again in a different part of the school building.

i don’t know where she gets such behavior. i really don’t.

dylan, on the other hand, managed to inspire yet another email from mr. brown, this time for shooting a rubber band into the face of his lab partner in science class.

this is becoming a huge…huge problem.

there’s only one thing left for me to take from him. i guess it’s time for it to go.

i’m pissed at him for making me have to do this to him. i’m tired of having to beat him down on a disciplinary level – and i’d think he’d be tired of it too, by now.

apparently not, though.