Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A backyard BBQ and who brought the potato salad?

Supporting the arts isn't an easy thing to do. You do it in two ways (or maybe more): One, pay for it at the counter or two, be a cheerleader. Either way you're gonna pay for it.

Paying for pieces of visual work or music or a play or a book, shouldn't be that hard to do for anyone. BUT there's a new problem now, people don't want to. They want it for free. And where does that leave the artist, writer, the actor - penniless. Why have we become a freebie world? When did we decide who is better than the other? Why is it so hard to explain to others not in the industry? And how we can change it? 

OR worse: Can we change it...?? 

I think we can. We can at least move it sideways to try and reach a balance of sorts. Taking the actual art plus all the elements to create a better theory would be great. I think there will always be folks that have to do things with no money or grassroots style, and they are truly the ones we learn from. So why they are left on the corner busking? 

I am a 20 year old music industry veteran who is in the publicity world. I am on the front lines for the musical artists everyday fighting to get them some attention. Attention for what? For their musical endeavors and their shows so they can sell their art after they've played it for an audience. This attention comes at the mercy of the media: newspapers, TV, radio and various glossy magazines. It involves a lot of ground work to make it happen. A LOT. Do I have to dress them up in clothes and teach them dance moves? Thank God, no but what I have to do is come up with some pretty spiffy ways of spinning my sign on the corner... you know those things - either it's about a sandwich or an apartment complex. 

I was told by my boss, that back in the 1970's, the record label would take the media folk up in their private jet with drinks and food and play the forthcoming CD from their roster. NOW that's cool. It's like entrapment in a way but cooler than being thrown in a trunk of a car. 

A spiffy way of working a new angle or a story that everyone can relate to - is all the rage now. It's the new way of doing things. Everyone wants to be like everyone else, which is funny cause aren't artists the cape crusaders of being different? I've suffered from severe burnout just thinking that I had to think of something different to get the attention of the media in order to get the music across. But when in reality - sometimes the basics is all you need. A plane, a drink and some questionable people. 

So, why have - we - as an industry become so satisfied with this. This, desperate notion that we have to give stuff away in order to win people over to buy something. It does the reverse effect... it keeps them coming for more free stuff. In fact I see bigger PROS then me, asking for free stuff all the time - contacts for the media. I hate that, I mean every once in a while... it's OK, but man I had to look up everyone I have in the database. I just wanna scream, LOOK IT UP YOURSELF. NOW I know I ask for updated media lists and that's to help out the promoter that helps out with their show that involves my client... but I don't go begging - "Hey does anyone know how to call ABC news?"  "Hmmm try 411."

(OR here's a tip: the way that a lot country singers are staying a float is to be a co-writer with the master crafters for that's a gold mine there and they might not be in the room while the song is being written BUT they will get their free cut soon. Cute huh?) 

So things like thank yous from the Grammy podium, word of mouth recommendations and personal testimonials need to be earned. People will always help each other, it's what we do but don't complain when you don't see your name on the wall. It really doesn't mean anything. So buck up and drink a raw egg. I survive on the ones that surprise me or out of the blue. I have to earn that freebie.

Some have told me, I keep others off their backs so they can do their job... which is a total secretive section of the music industry - where you have to know too many handshakes, own a gun and talk cheap. I've been in there... it's very smokey.. bad for asthma sufferers. So how long will this drought last for? I think forever man, so we have to jack up the prices of tickets, tee shirts and other merchandise to break even. It all goes back to the dollar bill, George or Ben, it doesn't matter. So if you can't afford a plane or a ticket, at least buy the music, because someone like me is gonna pay for it... when I can't figured out a way to get a CD campaign be different for my client and then I lose the client, because you wanted everything for free. 

As I close:  I remember a client of mine calling me one day and then hitting the ceiling cause his art wasn't being taken care of the way he thought it would've been. With tender loving care. 

And you know what - he's about right. 


(NEXT WEEK: we will tackle the art on the wall - do you buy a Velvet Elvis or not) 

(Then the next next week, artists supporting each other..where's the love? Like when the Rolling Stones had Muddy Waters open up for them.)


Friday, March 28, 2014

Writing from the gut and shooting from the elbow

It's a rash you know. 

I feel that there's too much pleasing writing now. Too much "you like me?" stuff. I think it's time to get on the bike that has a flat tire and figure out how to ride it... imperfectly. The photos that are out of focus are sometimes the best, and some times you need throw words about the room to get people to think. The art of thinking is lost.

I am not here to talk down my nose or look up your skirt, I am just trying to rattle the cages because what I know journalism used to be. There are the ones that call for just the facts and sources - the A section writers. Then you have the sports writers that have to write play by plays to make it as if you were at the game. You know something to make you wanna buy a ticket to the next baseball game. The food editors have it the hardest when describing a menu... gosh. 

NOW we have sugar coated stuff... there are some out there that are resonating but not like they should be. If a magazine like, Rolling Stone could go back for one issue, and have Lester Bangs or Bob Hilburn or someone show everyone how it's done maybe we'd all have better chances of being on the cover. I mean finally KISS made it. Took them forty years to but they did. But they are laughing all the way to bank with their KISS lunchboxes filled with KISS money. 

Why are we all jumping on the same band wagon and riding it til it runs out of gas, and why can't we bring up the rear with a good running horse that all it needs it hay to feed on. Those kinds of things are important, vital and downright meaningful. If you buy something on a hunch, after seeing all the hype on the competitor and you like it better, then you win.  Right? 

People need to use better words. Put them together like a ransom note if you have to  Don't have to be a snob about it, cause we all know when we actually meet you, it's disappointing to find out that you too wear Dockers pants. 



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Weekly Skirt Report - Loyalty with pie in the face

I am continuing my thought process on the word Loyalty. This time with Pie in the face. Not for a giggle or a laugh but as a slap in the face or an insult.

Loyalty again is word that is abused and misread at times. Alot of times there are some that have NO idea what it mean to be and then some that do and then abuse it. Dissecting word is fun when you can find out that the meaning has changed so much and we apply it to our present lives mistakenly.

After being loyal to something or someone for a long time, you think, well, don't I get something in return? Will I get even a "thank you?" Did I do a good job? Wasn't I a good shoulder to cry on? Why am I feeling this way?

Pie in the face. The emotional side of the word is gross. The fear, the cold shoulder, the love, the flowers, the lunches, the hugs, the high fives - whatever you got in return - leaves you questioning the word. We try so hard to do good, be good that we ended up hating ourselves for thinking about why we were loyal.

"Why did I fall for his good looks but crummy attitude?"
"After all that hard work and they don't even say hi to me?"
"When all I did was the work they asked me to do..."
"What did I do?"

These questions are asked everyday. For everything we do. Others will say, "it's not you, it's them..." yeah but history has a way of repeating. So pie in the face is fine, makes us stronger right?

We equal that with even though we did our best, got everything right and having it paraded around like a new girlfriend that is prettier or the boyfriend that is smarter. Think of cars having emotions... we drive it around for a few years and it starts every time and then one day, they are traded. "What did I do?" a cry comes from the engine....

I sometimes think like Dr. Seuss. That everything has a voice. A heart. And feelings.

So, why are we so bad at being loyal. Are we scared of something? Ah I think I know. We are so bad at being loyal because we are so scared of rejection. It takes a mighty big heart to brush that off and stand up. It takes a lot to ourselves, ... it really does.

We are loyal to a fault. We are people pleasers at heart. We love everyone. We hate everything.

What happened?

Maybe, it's not what happened, but WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. So many angles to this huh?

JK

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Weekly Skirt Report - Where did Lester Bangs go?

The Weekly Skirt Report: Where's Lester Bangs when we need him....

Wow. I've been reeling about on this subject for weeks. The art of writing about music. I am going to start picketing about this..."Use better words" and "who cares who's dating who"... and WHO CARES if Dublin IGNORED Jay- Z and Beyonce... WHO CARES. I dismissed Elton John back in 1993 at Macy's it was probably his BEST DAY EVER. Everyone else, FREAKED OUT. They took his credit card receipts and started to make copies of his signature. Then the store manager got wind of it and had to go collect and shred them. Because it's illegal...

When I went to search for a quote on a client, I really couldn't find one with any kind of substance, meat or even fried fish, on it. These kinds of musical reviews and interviews are gone. NO MORE. I should've gone to a client of mine for a better one. Maybe he outta have a seminar on how to create and design strong quotes. I could always rely on him for just that. One of his best was basically this, "anywhere they have potato chips and electricity."

When an editor of Billboard gets kicked to the curb because he wanted to bring "true music writing back", we have a HUGE problem. Leave the yellow journalism to the National Enquirer, the Examiner and the Globe. You know the ones all based out of Florida?
"But the arts have suffered the most from this mind-numbing approach. Music, in particular, gets treated as one more lifestyle accessory, no different from a stylish smartphone or pair of running shoes. Hard-nosed criticism is squeezed out by soft stories, gossip and fluff. For better or worse, music journalism has retreated into a permanent TMZ-zone, where paparazzi and prattlers, not critics, set the tone." - (taken from the story link below)
When someone shows their intellect about music, by using the actual lingo, words and can sing and play along with it, DON"T laugh JoLo, learn sweetie. Harry and Keith KNOW what they are talking about.
If we need help in the make up world or dress world we will come back to you.

Music is not a bracelet... it's an art form. I hope one day Lester Bangs comes back from the dead and takes a red marker to your reviews... or better yet, use the paper to light up with.

Where did this idea come from? Are we not teaching students the art of writing? What will happen in the next 20 years, is it contagious? WHY are we watering down? WHY?

One day it's all gonna change and we won't have names anymore...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/18/music-criticism-has-degenerated-into-lifestyle-reporting.html



jk

Friday, March 14, 2014

FRIDAY MARCH 21st at Sam Ash Music in NYC - THESE GUYS:

ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD"S GROOVE SECTION - YONRICO SCOTT AND CHARLIE WOOTON - will be live at the NYC Sam Ash location. GO GO GO!!

They are super talented and super sweet... Yes you can tell them I told you so. 

JK

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Weekly Skirt Report - Confetti will go everywhere


This quote, from the ABC news head chick, gave me reason to believe that NOW is the time to do it... do what? Hmmmm that's the surprise. So, I made and posted this photo: 



Then my pal posted the Incubus song, of the same title... I listened and then I found the words. WOW. How connected is that. I present my new Chant, my new anthem, and my new song of empowerment. 



"If Not Now, When?"


I have waited
Dined on ashes
Swung from chandeliers and climbed Everest
And none of it's got me close to this


I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I?



We've been good
Even a blast, but
Don't you feel like something's missing here?
Don't you dare



I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I?
Stand up and face the bright light
Don't hide your eyes
It's time



No umbrellas
No sunglasses
Hailing Hallelujah everyday



I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I?
Stand up and face the bright light
Don't hide your eyes
It's time

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Weekly Skirt Report - Loyalty

This Week's Report is about Loyalty. I hope.

The dictionary definition of the word is:

loy·al·ty

  [loi-uhl-tee]  Show IPA
noun, plural loy·al·ties.
1.
the state or quality of being loyalfaithfulness to commitments or obligations.
2.
faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.
3.
an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence, or the like: a man with fierce loyalties.
Origin: 
1350–1400; Middle English loialte  < Middle French.  See loyal-ty2

non·loy·al·ty, noun, plural non·loy·al·ties.
o·ver·loy·al·ty, noun, plural o·ver·loy·al·ties.
un·loy·al·ty, noun, plural un·loy·al·ties.


2. fealty, devotion, constancy. Loyalty, allegiance, fidelity all imply a sense of duty or of devoted attachment to something or someone. Loyalty connotes sentiment and the feeling of devotion that oneholds for one's country, creed, family, friends, etc. Allegiance applies particularly to a citizen's duty to his or her country, or, by extension, one's obligation to support a party, cause, leader, etc. Fidelity implies unwavering devotion and allegiance to a person, principle, etc.

BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN NOW... from the origin in 1350 to now 2014... 

Is it the same? Is it abused? 

If we think life was WAY different in 1350, it was the Italian Renaissance, one of my most favored times in human kind. Art, religion, inventions, it was a growth time. People finding out things that made them loyal to each other, being enlightened with the world around them. It unfortunately started with the Black Death, so maybe that's why it started because the population had to rely on each other to survive. And as this time period continued, it prospered to a larger note for example, had we not been loyal to the arts, we would've never known the unique mind of Leonardo Di Vinci, Michelangelo or la famiglia De Medici. 

So fast forward the tape, to 2014...

We see alot of people separate from their loyalty to each other over money, betrayal, mental and emotional power over each other. Married people, business to business, charities falling a part due to misconduct. Even churches fall apart due to disagreements on the simple things, like gay marriage. What folks don't realize, that there are probably more gay marriages lasting longer than ones with a man and a woman, and we forget that you go to the COURTS first to get your license to be unionized, and after that it's up to you to run down the aisle or not. Okay so that was a run off on a small tangent. But the word loyalty runs through that too.

But a lot of what we are seeing nowadays, starts with financial woes - why did A take all that money from B?

Or why did the baseball player leave his hometown team? More money or better chances at bat?
Probably money.

Maybe it's to gain political power. To over throw a country we are seeing that in Ukraine and Venezuela. Governments to rise above and sink others. By the way how does one over take a building nowadays - lick the door knob? NOW to me to over throw a country that is corrupt and make it better so everyone can be happy is different but money and power is still at large. Running around trying to find its place. BUT it is a noble thing to do. 

But what about personal loyalty to friends, family, companies we work for, restaurants, even dry cleaners! These things shouldn't have any money to come between them but it does. It does. I find myself, looking around at others my age, and I can count on two hands how many jobs they have had compared to my 18 years at my one. I can see in banks or loan officers the gleam in their eyes that I've held the same job for that long - that aha! moment but is it such a big deal now. 

Back in the old days... you know when your dad or granddad would work for a place for YEARS he got rewarded, with a good pension plan and retirement so everyone would be happy. Is that a dream now? Having loyalty given back to you for being just that. A good employee. Dotting I's and crossing T's?

I am starting to question this word myself. I throw myself at the mercy of some and I get flung back into space. I take friendships and working relationships very seriously to the point of default. Is that a point against me? Is that a sin that I'm even bringing it up? Or am I hurting myself? Thoughts race through my head, well, I don't wanna damaged anything so when that time comes or a reputation gets bruised then I am not the good girl. 

Now. I am not sure.
Then two days later I am sure.
Or am I?

And then confusion sets in. To create more dis-chord. Makes us sing, "Should I stay or should I go?" Stupid Clash song... I hate it when I start singing it. It's usually at the wrong time or the right place and I am scared that it will send the wrong signal. And I am doing it trying to sort it all out.

Ok back to loyalty.

There's a lot to say for it. There's a lot of trust in the word loyal a lot of reliance on performing on a level of expectations. It's one thing to be loyal to someone because you'd want it to be given back one day. You know, the Golden Rule?

But it's also a heart word, meaning it takes a big heart to be loyal to one thing and one thing only. And when that loyalty is bruised the heart is broken. And faith, love, trust is all wrapped into something that once broken is hard to mend. Have I cried over loyalty? YUP! Have I gotten so mad, I scream... sure you got it. Have I thrown a TV out the window. No sorry. I don't have enough money to get it all repaired and replaced. Do I realize that not everything is perfect? Duh Yeah... I might be dumb but I am not stupid.

Maybe that's why I question it so.

Hearts don't like to be hurt or stomped on or split in two. I mean one side has to work with the other, in order to work together. It's got to be loyal.

So while loyal seems like an old fashioned idea, it's really truly magical when it happens and when it lasts. That's the ticket...lasting loyalty. And I am talking years not minutes...