Tuesday in Santa Fe

02010-05-26 | Uncategorized | 19 comments

Imogen Heap says touring’s too pricey as record industry sales slump – guardian.co.uk
You remember how people have been telling us that musicians shouldn’t worry about their songs being spread all over file-sharing networks because the real money is to be made in touring? Especially, if memory serves, people who like getting music for free off file-sharing networks?

Turns out the real money isn’t necessarily in touring.

Well, I suppose one could say there simply is no real money in music anymore. But, one has to make touring work, or, I suppose, start auditioning for reality TV.

We are lucky in that we never trusted the old music biz saying that concerts are simply advertising for CD sales and that one shold not worry about losing money on touring. We insisted on, at least, breaking even.

When the new century killed CD sales, we started cutting back, pruning everything that wasn’t essential. Every year the tree looked more like a bonsai… Touring with a killer sound system – cut. Touring with a bunch of roadies – cut. Touring with lights to replace or augment the local lighting rig – cut. Touring with a lighting designer – cut. We are now a lean, mean, no fat, music machine. The emphasis is on the performers and the music. We bring a mixing engineer and carry a digital mixing console, which we rent, and use the sound system of the venue. We use whatever lights are available and ask the promoter to provide a local lighting designer for the night. Sometimes the lighting is very cool and sometimes it is not at all groovy, but hopefully the musical performances shine bright enough that bad lights don’t cast a shadow.

I am pleased that some of the media seems to begin to get it, that the there is no easy fix for the music business. Giving away music for free – the favorite solution of Wired Magazine, ca. 2003 – and making money touring isn’t an option for every performer. And the digital income is so rediculously small that it’s funny – a while ago I posted about Lady Gaga receiving under $170 for several million plays of a song.

I don’t have a solution. The solution has to be arrived at by our culture, and it will, in time. It’s interesting to see the shifts that happened in the last decade regarding free music, pirating, file-sharing and so on. We will continue to tour, and frankly, I enjoy touring with six great people (((seven, with the bus driver))) more, than touring with two busses (((one for the roadies and one for the musicians – like oil and vinegar they don’t always mix well))), an eighteen wheeler full of gear, and more than a dozen people.

We’ll just have to play better, to erase any bad lighting cues with musical brilliance. :-)

David Byrne sues Florida governor over Talking Heads song | Music | guardian.co.uk
David Byrne is suing the governor of Florida, accusing the state leader of using a Talking Heads song without permission. The 1985 single Road to Nowhere was allegedly part of Charlie Crist’s senatorial campaign, used on a website and in YouTube ads. Byrne is seeking $1m (£700,000) in damages.

I am glad David Byrne is doing this. If politicians can’t adhere to copyright laws, how can one expect a twenty-year-old to.

Unluckily for Crist, Byrne’s lawyer is Lawrence Iser, who successfully sued John McCain for improper use of a song by Jackson Browne. “I was fairly astonished that this soon after the settlement of Browne v McCain, yet another politician with national aspirations is doing this again,” Iser said.

As if we needed more evidence that politicians are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Most of them are a sandwich short of a picnic (((do you know more of these great American sayings? please leave them in the comments)))

Shaky Rule in Madagascar Threatens Trees – NYTimes.com
Exploiting a political crisis, Malagasy timber barons are robbing this island nation of its sylvan heritage, illegally cutting down scarce species of rosewood trees in poorly protected national parks and exporting most of the valuable logs to China.

The sides and back of my 2002 DeVoe Negra were made from Madagascan rosewood. I had heard that rosewood is becoming scarce in that country, but didn’t know how dire the situation is. Humans are so short-sighted.

HDTV Keeps Viewers Watching Longer – NYTimes.com
HD lures viewers to TV for longer periods of time. According to The Nielsen Company, high-definition households watch about 3 percent more prime-time programming than their standard-definition counterparts.

That’s just what we need, people watching more TV.
A control surface for Digital Audio Workstations for $509 (iPad = 499 + AC-7 Pro app = 9.99):

Saitara Software AC-7 Pro
(Via the music of sound)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
This sounds interesting – Stephenson is one of my favorite writers.

Neal Stephenson to launch interactive novel for the iPad | Geek Gestalt – CNET News
“The Mongoliad” was publicly unveiled for the first time Tuesday evening at the SFAppShow, a monthly application showcase put on here by the SFAppStudio, a firm specializing in developing and marketing iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

According to Jeremy Bornstein, the CEO of Subutai, Stephenson came up with the idea for what became “The Mongoliad” after writing some sword fighting scenes in the novels that made up his so-called “Baroque Cycle.” The problem, Bornstein said, was that Stephenson worried that the way he’d written the scenes wasn’t true to how medieval sword fights in Europe actually looked and felt.

From that humble beginning, the project grew into a collaboration between Stephenson, Bear, and a group of people with experience in martial arts. They wanted to re-enact the sword fights and build a new novel around them. But why limit the story to book form, the idea seems to have been. Instead, why not produce the project on the iPad–as well as the iPhone and Amazon’s Kindle–and craft a story around the fears overcoming Europe in the year 1241 that the Mongols were going to overrun Western Europe.


  1. Matt Callahan

    Can’t say it’s purely American but, I’ve always enjoyed “Half a bubble off plumb”. Not too many people understand the reference though.

  2. steve

    My current favorite: “He’s as sharp as the edge of town…”

  3. Michael C.

    Here’s a few: ” A few fries short of a Happy Meal”
    ” As dumb as a bag of hammers”
    ” Not rowing with both oars”
    ” Couldn’t pour water out of a boot even if it had instructions on the heel”
    ” a few cans short of a six pack”

  4. Ottmar

    This is a very nice start… more, please.

  5. steve

    “Couldn’t find the ocean if he was standing in it.”

  6. Michael C.

    Another old one: “Not the sharpest crayon in the box”

  7. Michael C.

    Somebody stop me. “He couldn’t cut hot butter with a knife”

  8. Luz

    “His elavator is stuck on B for basement”, “he doesn’t cut the mustard”

  9. Michael C.

    Alright, one more. “The lights are on, but nobody’s home”

  10. LindaW

    “a few cards short of a full deck”

    “a few quarts low”

    “missing a few screws”

  11. marijose

    “Couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag”

    “All foam, no beer”

    “Forgot to pay his brain bill”

    An interactive novel for the iPad – leave it to Neal Stephenson. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

    I have to say, at your concerts I don’t notice the lights, quality of the sound system, or any of the other stuff. The magic of the music is all that comes through.

  12. ottmar

    Couldn’t sing (or play) his way out of a wet paper bag.

  13. dave

    When god was passing out brains he thought he thought he said trains and said I’ll take a slow one.

  14. ottmar

    marijose: Thanks! While we use local venue lights and sound we do carry a very good mixing console and outboard gear and make sure we have a good engineer. Interestingly we have had only a handful sound engineers since 1990. My brother Stefan (1990-1999) with Gary Lyons mixing a few tours (Italy and Greece in 1996, Santana in 1996, Turkey in 1997) during that time. Then Alan Behr 1999-2009. Currently we really like working with Jaren Coler.

  15. marijose

    Just talked to my dad, who would like to add “as dumb as spitting upwards.” He had several more that are NSFW.

  16. ottmar

    After that talk about BP the other day I think we can all handle some NSFW sayings! Bring it on, I say. The others can avert their eyes… :-)

  17. yumi

    You have to understand that I didn’t grow up with any of these two sayings, so they had a large impact on me…

    I can’t describe fully the visual that I had from this one saying. Said by one gentleman about his male companion selling goods at their yard sale:
    “Look at him…he looks as happy as a pig in sh*t.”

    Said about a not very refined person:
    “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

    I used to try to repeat that one, but kept getting it backwards…so I gave up.

  18. Brenda

    “Dumber then a bank mule”
    “About original as a pinto bean”

  19. marijose

    Nah, you might lose some subscribers. Plus something is lost in translation and by putting it in writing – gotta have hand gestures and dramatic inflection.


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