After the Rain

It is amazing how the desert explodes after the first big rain. The smell of the moisture hitting the dust is wonderful, sweet and almost overwhelming. Grass grows out of the dust, cottonwood seeds from the spring suddenly produce 3 feet tall seedlings within a few days.

With the first Summer rain the Siberian Elm seedlings also arrive. It seems that in a dry year the Siberian Elm produces even more seeds than usual. I have already pulled out hundreds of little elms this week alone. Some people hire companies who use huge vaccum cleaners to vacuum up the elm seeds in the yards….

The first Siberian Elms were planted in Santa Fe during the depression to control soil erosion that was happening because people were cutting down piÃ’on trees for firewood. Now it is illegal to plant Siberian Elm trees, but there are thousands in Santa Fe already.

I have lived in Santa Fe for over 16 years and it still amazes me that it can hail at the end of July. Today an afternoon thunderstorm started with heavy rain, then turned to pea-sized hail and then went back to hail wiith sunshine. The landscape looked looked hyper-real with the sunshine lighting up the land under the clouds….

Buddhists + Science

The Dalai Lama has also said Buddhists can abandon scripture hat has been reliably disproved by science. No creationist controversies here, then.

(quote from a wired news article covering a neurology convention in Australia)

It seems 2 me that the ability 2 change + 2 accept nu knowledge is a prerequisite 2 any real growth. If religion requires us NOT 2 accept nu scientific or other evidence, then it keeps us from growing.

Verve Remixed

Currently my favorite song – I can’t stop listening to it: “Wait till you see him” – sung by the late Ella Fitzgerald and remixed by De-Phazz for the album Verve Remixed.

It is gorgeous and haunting…one of those voices + melodies that stays with you all day.

Turn-off Commercials

I wonder how long it takes before the audience gets turned off by certain TV commercials, i.e. they produce the opposite result. Take for instance the DELL commercial with the “dude” or the MAZDA commercial with the zoom-zoom kid. They were funny the first time, slightly humorous the second time and have become progressively more annoying since. Do other people feel the way I do or do they really love these characters and the repetition? When I see the dude or the zoom-zoom kid on TV I get evil thoughts, like wanting to bring back Roman Gladiator sports ……

Copyright + Publishing

copyright is a relatively recent invention, created to protect the editor, not the author. Even in the publishing arena, it is the editor who owns the right to copy, not the author of the book. In the music industry, the songs are owned by the label, not by the artist.

This is typical of the uninformed opinions one can find in the media. I found the statement above on Wired News this morning. It is misleading because it does NOT correctly state the problem of artist-record company relations.
Yes, the average recording contract states that the record company owns the RECORDING of the song, but not the copyright of the music contained therein. Let me give an example: I recorded “Snakecharmer” for the album “The Hours between Night + Day”, released by Epic Records in 1993. Epic Records owns the rights to that particular recording of the song. Since I made a deal with Sony Publishing, they own 50% of the publishing of that song while as the sole author I own 100% of the writing. I have the right to re-record “Snakecharmer”, in which case I own the new recording, but Sony Publishing will still own 50% of the publishing of the new recording.

The above statement that the editor owns the right to copy, not the author of the book is misleading, because the reason the editor holds that right is exactly BECAUSE the author signed it over to him for a certain amount of money. The exchange is straightforward really. I let you hold the right to copy in exchange for x amout of money per book you sell. However, an author might make a deal with one publisher for the printing and selling of paperbacks and another pubisher for the right to distribute e-books via the internet.

Here is where I think the beef with record companies SHOULD be:
The artist receives an advance against the royalties of the album in order to produce a recording. BUT, even after that advance is paid back from the sales of the product the record company continues to own the recording. I feel that either the record company should write off the cost of producing the recording OR the artist should pay interest on the loan (isn’t an advance against roylaties indeed a loan of money!) and then own the recording himself…..BUT, in the end this is all spelled out in the 70 page contract the artist signs with record company and my opinion on that is: if you don’t like the deal – don’t sign it.

Let’s face it, artists sign those contracts because they think they will get into a power position by selling lots of records and then their attorneys can renegotiate….

Here is my solution, my own ten-year plan if you will.

In 1991 I signed away 50% of my publishing to Sony Publishing starting with “Solo Para Ti” and ending with “Innamorare” so I could get the cash to build a studio in Santa Fe. Owning my own studio meant not having to rent somebody else’s studio, meant not having to travel to record, having to rent a house or hotel rooms, having to rent a car, or having to eat restaurant food for months at a time….

Starting with “christmas + santa fe” I own 100% of my publishing and since “In the Arms of Love” I also own the recordings of my music. It has taken me a long time, but I kept telling myself: steady drop hollows stone!