Friday, September 12, 2014

I wanted a better lunch menu so I quit.

I'm writing this about a near future past, one that I will never forget and always love.

I left a job after 18 years.

I left a boss that was kind, fun, fair and loved music.
I had good times, hair pulling out days and sometimes late nights but mostly long commuting which I get back now. Three hours worth at least which doesn't include when nothing was going on, but something made it all go cattywampus.
I got that word, cattywampus from Johnny Whiteside in LA.
Best voice mail: tie between Johnny Whiteside and George Varga - we called back so many times trying to figure out the song on his VM; we probably looked like stalkers. The goal was if we guessed it right, he'd call back.
I wore tee shirts, dresses, sandals, overalls, jeans, glasses, heels, sweaters and as of late, a tutu.
I got hollered at by my grandmother for not wearing make up to work.
We've had the same desks since 1996.
We have piles of files. And everything stays put.
We spied on Richard Jewel's lawyer's office which was across the street from the old office.
I answered the phone faster than Sarah would. (Andy Griffith)
I could out multi-task anyone.
I called it shelving airplanes. Ask an air traffic controller and watch them yawn.
I misspelled, I would forget to attach photos or some cases, send them to someone who still had dial up and get yelled at... damn Yankee.
I was my own co-worker.
I could pull a miracle of sorts out anytime, any day for anything and every time.
I told some; "don't give me that." they said "ok" back.
I worked for a legend, a story teller, a music lover and a non technical genius. I taught him everything he knows and I learned everything he knew.
I could roll my eyes with a straight face. He could glare with a smile on his.
We had an understanding that we wouldn't talk to each other for hours.
He had a steel trap mind and mine was trapped.
I have heard every story from Capricorn Records twice.
I've seen photos of ZZ Top back when they were a blues band.
I've seen a photo of Gregg Allman and Willie Dixon next to each other.
I've heard the Jimi Hendrix story.... have you?
I have seen every photo and the story behind it at least once.
One time, John Mayall called my home and my father in law, some man with an English accent wants to talk to you.
I've peeled off artists off the ceiling, the floor and got them to see the light.
Christmas season meant going through all 300 tapes/cd/albums at once. I've heard Tom Waits sing "Silent Night" it could raise the dead. I just pretended I was working at the mall.
I could spot a newspaper stand at the beach a mile away. In the middle of the ocean.
I couldn't go anywhere without a call about something. Which meant I had a secure job, right?
I held the office together while he was sick and every time I had a cold.
I never called in sick.
Nothing fazes me. I've heard it all. Every excuse in the book. You can't fool me.
We stopped giving each other birthday cards... which is fine. I hate getting old. And I think he does too.
I've gone through 3 sets of dogs: Scarlet and Beau, Django and Sonny Boy and now Deano and Tony.
He's gone through a dog, one old cat and now Ferdinand and Isabella. They know their way to the office. They could walk to it.
We've had our share of funerals, no weddings and a baby or two. Not us, them.
The winter of 2010 was bad or was it the tornado of 1998? Or the heat of 2006? Oh it was the water drought a few years back - couldn't do nothing. All of his flowers died.
I screwed up a lot. I still screw up. I will always screw up.
He got mad, I got angry. Not at each other but at the computer.
I can't remember past yesterday and he can't remember much past tomorrow. But ask him who opened for who in 1977 and he will tell you the seat, the set list and that he still has the tee shirt.
My marching band camp stories from high school couldn't hold a candle to his tall tales And I was the one that opened up for Chuck Berry.
Did I complain? Sure. Did I cry at my desk? OH YEAH. What do you think I'm doing now? (oh wait this is in the future... dang it)
I would tell him the news, sometimes grim sometimes happy. I felt like Diane Sawyer.
He always said thank you at the end of the day.
Things happened, nothing was guaranteed.
I have had 25 different people going in 25 different directions.
I've hung out back stage, back alleys, on the side of the stage, in the front, by the bar...etc.
I left the best phone messages to a few press folk. I bet they can recall.. .I said I love you in the end. That was meant for my husband whom I had probably just talked to or was answering an email. I told you I could out multi-task anyone.
I Google everything and he still uses the Atlas.

Best of and Maybe if's: I might be missing some here:

The BEST phone greeting goes to William Bell. Hands. Down.
Most polite greeting goes to: Johnny Sandlin.
Kim Wilson. That is all.
Chip Taylor. That is all.
The best interview schedule goes to Dave Alvin - who on one day did SEVEN interviews for me - he wasn't happy with me after that.
Best phone fight: I will leave that alone. Yes we all head butted but it was always for the good.
Cool dude:Joe Ely. (well it was all because of the Clash)
The Laugh-a-rama Trophy goes to Billy C Wirtz
Best photos go to Black Top Records, only because they had cool cars
Longest running contact at a label goes to Peter at Stony Plain Records
Client who almost had to stop show because of hecklers but husband kicked them out instead: Chris Smither at Blind Willies
Loudest show: Big Bad Smitty at Blind Willies
Most unique band name: Dave's True Story
Most imitated voice: Larry Sloven at Hightone Records
I worked with many legendary luminaries: Al Kooper was my fave. Truly was a hoot.
I have actually talked to David Fricke.
Charlie (the door man) at the Star Bar
I have been told to stop calling all the time. So I whispered over the phone, so they couldn't hear: Stop ignoring me all the time.
Worst news in the AM delivered: Robert Palmer died.
Best news in the AM delivered: Jame Armstrong was attacked and will live to tell about it.
Most fun client. ALL OF YOU
Watching Derek Trucks grow up.
Going to Sean Costello's wake. That, my friend, was hard.
Best pick up line used on me: at the Olympic Park by Rufus Thomas he said something to me and then Andrew Mitchell's grandson proposed to me.
Watching the crowd at the Olympic Park from the stage. It was amazing to see so many folks crowd into one small space.
Client with the best breaks: tie between Randall Bramblett and Ike Stubblefield
Client with the best hair: Johnny A
Buddy Miller. Julie Miller.
Giggler of all Time: Bonnie Bramlett.
Best Double Take: Jimmie Dale Gilmore in The Big Leibowski.(psst! he was Smokey)
Craziest tour dates - probably Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys or Slobberbone or some one else... they all were.
Chuck Prophet's story about Alex Chilton blew all of ours out the window. It was too humbling.
Reverend Horton Heat was fun to work with.
So was Tom Russell. So was Ramblin Jack Elliott. So was Greg Brown.
Trying to call Greg Brown where American Gothic was created was fun. Find the barn on the map.
Best Dead Client - Roy Orbison. (he never complained)
Coolest name: Chips Moman.
Twice I had to call Jerry Reed to see if he was dead. (he laughed both times)
I saw a 7 year old Diana DeGarmo sing in Augusta GA - sang "CRAZY" and she was that good then.
The longest time between CDs goes to Geoff Muldaur - 19 years.
After that record, the Flatlanders beat him by about a decade
Coolest call ever that called in: Robert Palmer or Yoko Ono's assistant; still I was unfazed.
I was the IT girl, the mail room chick, the phone answer-er, tour publicist, office liar and a life saver.
When I felt like a Yorkshire Terrier in the first world war: Devon Allman did an Australian travel blog with Relix.com and I would wait on him at 6AM my time which was later that night in the near future for him to get the files on my phone, turn around and send them to Relix editor, wait for him to post then email it out all who's involved then wait for Devon to be done with sound check and do it all over again. Amazing what an iPhone can do.
I lived on two time zones, at least three cities at one time for about 7 days. Living in the future is great; I tell you.
OH and during that time I was working with Eric Bibb who was in Finland.
I had five world clocks on my phone. I had no clue what time it was in Atlanta.
Always smile on the phone.
Be funny. Works all the time.
Never second guess anyone, always double check yourself.
Show biz is part crazy, half nuts and always there when you need it.
I learned never be afraid to call anyone.
Call til they call back.
Nobody is easy to work with. Everyone else is crazy we're just half way nuts.
All personal assistants are the best. We can handle anything. Just not ourselves.

Life was lived and learned here. Work was important but it all rolled into one. I will carry all this into my next journey... just you wait....

XOXO
JK












Monday, August 4, 2014

Fred: "Say What?" Kate: "Tiiiiiinnnn ROOF! Rusted...."

Where is the art in music, has it shifted? Gone away or we just so white washed we think it's all good.
Well, have no fear, the B-52s are here and we are gonna hmmmm figure how and what happened.

Art in music probably means, "substance in the song" or "depths of vision in the lyrics" or "where's the element of blow your mind"

WELLLL I hate to say this but it's still there. I know it sounds bad but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Always will be and will never go away. As we get older we yearn for the tunes that got our mojo working, our heads turning to see who Maybellene is or riding around in a Pink Cadillac, it's true it's called aging. We get jaded, bored and all we hear is a din of noise.

I could name a handful of musical artists, that probably only ONE will ever come around.

Elvis
Robert Johnson
Chuck Berry
Prince
Garth Brooks
B-52s
Hank Williams
Issac Hayes - not just for his Shaft music but for all the Stax work he did
James Brown
Michael Jackson
Diana Ross
Nirvana
Madonna
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Cyndi Lauper
The Ramones
RUN DMC
George Jones
John Lennon
Paul McCartney....

These are what I call table turners, first runs (think of books), one and only-s and sadly everyone else after them are playing copy cat or catching up or hopefully: reinvent it all to continue the tradition of blowing minds.

The left field effect. "Where did that come from?"  They were genius, purists and maybe even scientists where they had to take a musical equation and flip it around to make something new. So who are these people in today's world of music? They are there. What is missing is the simple motion of putting on music in your ears, home or car with your friends and devouring it.

So maybe the next CD release party you go to is one of those. Just sitting around listening with a bunch of your friends. Nothing but the tunes, the songs, the odes and the anthems. No fast cars, cute boys and pretty girls. Just a bottle of something to make it a good time.

Art is always around. We've just been looking at it from the wrong angle. You know stand ten feet back? Cause when you listen, you hear more and when you hear, you see more... it's just a musical illusion of the science of mind blowing.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mayhem knows no boundaries...

And nobody is safe.

I have a favorite quote that reads:  "Life is not a straight line from birth to death…it’s a figure 8." 
(the author of that knows who he is)

It doesn't matter who you are and where you've been. The road to the next town can be divided in many ways; the easy route, the scenic way or the long way around. Easy money doesn't usually give way to a good deal and the hardest thing to do is wait.

I am waiting for my turn.
We all are.
I know that.

My patience ran very low and thin this morning based on the mere fact that I need a break. Not a trip to the beach, although that would be nice, but a break from the unknowing of what to do, when it's gonna happen and to have a financial break. I usually have the patience of a nun, but there are days when I feel like I can't wait any longer. So stop telling me, "your day will come... " and "you will see" and my favorite: "it will happen and you will know it and everything will fall into place."

Shut the F#*@ up please.

So after talking to a friend last night, and one this morning, I am still unsure. It makes me so sad that I can't do anything but wait. Another week? Another 2 weeks? A month? Why do I need to wait? Wait for what? The light? I just don't know what to do. And you can't help me because, well I can't tell you. *Thumps head on desk*

Am I complaining?
Sure I am.
Do I care what you think?
At first I wrote No.... now I am thinking maybe.

But what I am trying to convey is that I need this and that but I can't because of that and this cause I am stuck. I can't talk about it to anyone cause loose lips sink ships... I don't trust others over this particular situation so it leaves me with me. Great. Fabulous me.

I pray
I read three different horoscopes
I read all the memes and quotes I can
I need a therapist
I want an answer, NOW.

Cause you know why? It's wearing thin and I am losing interest.

Then something pops up and says "Hey this is your answer" then I feel later on... is it? Well, it's not in black and white so I don't feel a sense of security about it. I hate flimsy stuff especially when things have been so secure for so long. To a point. And I know that you have to work for something if you want it bad enough. Everyone will say they will help you but when it comes down to it they don't. Is it a consoling tactic?  I only see a few rising to the top to do something for others and pulling through til the end. It's a human flaw we have - we care at the moment but not for a the long haul. And what matters is the long haul. I really try to come through for others. Sometimes I don't feel like I do enough, or maybe I do but the QUALITY of the enough, isn't up to par for me. Then I feel like I failed. Or worse, being used.

This goes throughout our lives and in everyone's. Doesn't matter what level you are on, you're screwed. It just depends on where the screw is and if it's a flat head or a phillips. Location is everything I suppose. If you are holding the corners together or hanging out on the edge.  I know it sounds like I need an attitude adjustment and I have a sense of entitlement. But I don't - I just want a break. Something to bite on without getting bit.

Mayhem knows no boundaries - it's everywhere. Chaos is just a friendly reminder of that oncoming mayhem. Just ask Paul or Ringo, or even Duran Duran... now that was mayhem....


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