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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got

Check out this video. A powerful speech appealing for the support of same sex marriage. Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got

Celebrity interviews, Publicity, and Context


Have you got an hour?

Nobody has an hour, not even prepubescents scheduled to the max by parents who believe if they don't get into an Ivy League school their lives will be ruined.

But we've all got time for greatness.

I want you to listen to this podcast. Not because you care about Gallagher, not because I want to burnish Marc Maron's image, but because it's so damn riveting you won't be able to turn it off and you won't stop thinking about it when it's done.

In case you were unborn in the eighties, during that era Gallagher was the biggest comic out there, he did fourteen specials on TV, famous for smashing watermelons, no one seemed to like him but he kept on getting bigger and bigger.

And who do we attribute this to?

Ken Kragen.

Ken seems to have been forgotten, but not only was he one of the biggest managers of the twentieth century, one has to ask whether his acts would have made it without him, because each and every one of them hit the skids when the relationship ended.

Yup, Ken built not only Kenny Rogers, but Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt and Gallagher. And each and every one of them fired him. Ah, maybe the ending was more complicated than that, but I've always believed they got sick of listening to Ken, they wanted to do it for themselves. But Ken had the vision, Ken smoothed the rough edges, without Ken, they were nothing. Well, barely more than nothing.

Ken found Gallagher and had him open for Kenny. That's where Gallagher started, at least that's what he says in this podcast. And I tend to believe most of what he says here, because he seems to have no idea how he comes across, that's the mark of someone so enamored of his shtick that there's no need to lie.

And the intro is almost interminable, with Maron apologizing for his behavior.

And then you start listening and want to cut Gallagher a break, he's past his peak and he knows it. But then Gallagher becomes so self-satisfied, so obnoxious, that you turn on him.

It's not that Gallagher's stupid. He says how he used to be a chemist and he demonstrates more knowledge of science than I'm familiar with.

But he just can't understand context.

And Gallagher didn't want to do this podcast.

And neither did Maron.

It was Gallagher's manager's idea. You see managers don't understand context either, they believe that all publicity is good publicity. Richard Lewis played Carnegie Hall and then his manager booked him at the Concord. Richard refused, said it wasn't his audience. But after being convinced to do the gig, he bombed.

Artists know best.

And artists don't appeal to everybody. That's a fiction of the eighties, of the MTV era. You've got your own specialized audience, be proud of it.

Anyway, after you turn on Gallagher, Maron starts asking him questions and Gallagher becomes more and more standoffish. Rather than examine what Maron has to say, he just dismisses it, waves off most of comedy with one hand, saying he knows the way since he's been in the game for thirty years. Reminds me of nothing so much as the major label infrastructure putting down the Internet upstarts.

But you've really got to give credit to Marc here. Unlike bending over backward in the introduction, cutting Gallagher a break, he does not do this during the interview. He stands his ground. He goes deeper. Instead of letting Gallagher off the hook, he keeps exploring.

This is so different from today's celebrity journalism it's eye-popping. It's an unspoken rule...I provide access to my act and you play nice. You can't ask about this and you can't ask about that. And if you stumble upon a problem, if my artist looks bad, you've got to back off, you've got to make it right.

I don't care if you know nothing about comedy, if you don't give a whit about Gallagher. This podcast is dangerous theatre that just cannot be denied. Listen.

P.S. Although Maron tells a fascinating story about approaching an icon to do his podcast who refuses, based on prior bad treatment of him by Marc, you can start right in with the Gallagher interview by fast-forwarding to 13:30.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't you ever ever ever ever ever ever...give up.

From Bob Lefsetz:

"It ain't how hard you hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

Rocky Balboa

Marc Maron's podcast was referenced in today's "New York Times". He's a comic. I knew his name but was clueless as to what he did until a month or two ago, when I got clued into his podcast WTF and ultimately started listening.

He's done over 200.

200+ podcasts and I wasn't listening. Most people still aren't listening. But suddenly, Maron's got traction.

That's the kind of dedication you need.

Maron was about to give up, he'd hit a nadir. I'm not sure what motivated him to do the podcast, wherein he interviews comedians, but anybody can have an idea, but not everybody has the perseverance to execute. Usually success comes long after you expect it, when you're running on fumes, when there are just enough crumbs to keep you going, but everybody else laughs and tells you to give up.

You've got to have a vision, you've got to believe you can make it.

And this vision and the concomitant desire is more important than talent. Come on, how talented is Madonna? You've gotta want it.

Not that you can suck. The highway is littered with delusional people who believe they're entitled to success, who are still waiting for it.

But some do make it, and they're rarely overnight successes. Or else they make it and lose it and it's hard coming back.

I saw Dice at the Pollstar Awards. To say he killed would be an understatement. He went on and on, he was just supposed to intro a winner. But just as he'd get ready to rip open the envelope, he'd keep his routine going, and it was so blue but so right I've never forgotten it, I was rooting for his comeback on "Entourage". I'm a believer. And I never got Dice before this.

In this WTF podcast, Dice talks about becoming a target. That's what happens when you make it, that's what you've got to swallow, that's what goes with the territory, that's what I don't understand about Taylor Swift. You're playing the victim? You won! Have a sense of humor, the barbs come with the territory!

And we don't know if Taylor will crash, but Dice did. And how do you march forward?

By applying Rocky Balboa's philosophy. Everyone thinks it's about being a winner, taking control of your life, all that self-help b.s. Like if you visualize success, you'll get it.

What a crock.

Life is about getting knocked around. Being able to separate the bullies from the trustworthy people. Being able to bond with enough people to carry you forward.

It is all about friends.

But your enemies never give up. Because you've got what they don't. And they want to teach you a lesson.

I'm not sure if Dice will come back. Sometimes the public doesn't let you. The media ignores you. You're yesterday's news.

But you can't give up.

Rocky never gave up.

Episode 197 - Andrew Dice Clay / Max Silverstein:

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Got to be about the music...


1. You've got to know people. Word of mouth can spread only if you know other mouths.

2. The agent had a friend who knew the band, he checked them out, he signed them.

Then what...

3. It was about the agent's relationships. Used to be the start was a record deal, now you begin on the road. But it's almost impossible to get a gig. Unless you've got an agent. And an agent won't sign you unless he thinks you're good. Because for a good long while, the agent's going to be working for free.

4. The first Dawes tour netted the grand sum of fifty dollars a gig. The agent's commission was five bucks. Unless you can see the grand scheme, unless the band's gonna break through, forget it.

5. The band survived by sleeping on couches. Maybe rock and roll's a young man's game. If you're looking for tour support, keep your day job. This is Dawes's first bus tour.

6. Then Dawes graduated to $250 a night. At this point, they're still trading on the reputation of the agent, he's using his contacts, convincing other agents and bands that Dawes is good, that they should let them open their show.

7. Not only does the band kill it on stage, they kill it at the merch booth. They stay there forever. It's less about making money than making contacts. It's these early believers who will spread the word.

8. There was a Chevy commercial, featuring "When My Time Comes", but they got it because the track had already gone viral, kind of like "A Little Bit Of Everything" tonight. When I saw the band over the summer, everybody sang along with "When My Time Comes", vociferously. Now they're singing "A Little Bit Of Everything" too. It was passed from person to person, on a grass roots level, there was no top down campaign, no cementing radio play. Unless you're a Top Forty act, this is the way you do it.

9. When you catch fire, your price goes up immediately. Suddenly, the band was making a grand a night, then five, then ten. You're nobody, then you're somebody.

10. Taylor Goldsmith not only sings and writes, he plays. Kind of like Springsteen, Taylor can execute the leads and still sing. There's no hit yet, but it doesn't matter. There wasn't a hit off the first two Springsteen albums either. You build it on the road, the definitive track will come. Then again, Springsteen and the E Street Band were more charismatic than Dawes. The Dawes crew is more everyman, hey, maybe that's why they back up Jackson Browne!

11. Jody Stephens came out to play drums. Greatness attracts greatness. Musicians are not jealous, they're looking for the next big thing. Sure, they like money, but they like music more.

12. Benmont Tench came out and played on the two encores, tracks he performed on on the record. And when he placed his hands on the organ keys, it sounded so right.

13. They played "Million Dollar Bill". And "So Well". And, as stated above, "A Little Bit Of Everything". That's what I want, a little bit of everything, I want to partake at the smorgasbord of life. Visit every country, eat it all up.

14. I met the dad after, Lenny Goldsmith, who played with Sweathog and Tower Of Power. He said it was before in-ear monitors, he could barely hear himself sing over the horns. He gave up the dream when his second wife got pregnant. She told him he was too old to rock and roll, thirty seven, he sells real estate now.

15. I asked the drummer and bass player why they broke through, what made it happen. In unison, they both said the songs.

16. The agent got them started, but management counts too. They testified about Tony DiCioccio, he told the band what t-shirts to make, what would sell.

17. It's a whole team, not only agent and manager, but label too. You're all in it together. And it's got to be about music more than money because it's such a long hard slog.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is Maya?

Here's an explanation of what Maya is, based upon question asked about my song, 'Sou's Caliber'.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Song! Soul's Caliber

Just finished recording a new joint called Soul's Caliber! Please check it out on youtube! The link is here:

The song is about feeling less than worthy to go after your dreams but then realizing the truth of your being! Please comment and rate my vid!



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nobody Likes to Argue...

Another excellent article from Bob Lefsetz:

That's what Steve Jobs did best. Wrestle with concepts, do his best to tease out excellence. It's what's absent from our me-too society.

There's a culture of business books that teach you how to get along. As if life is a game with set rules and you only have to learn them to win. But what's great about life is there are no rules, it's changing every day, and he who is on top of the world today might be a shithead tomorrow, it happens just that fast. You've got to keep your eyes open, you've got to be ever-changing, resting on laurels is for pussies.

But we've created a culture where he who is rich is king. You don't challenge society's winners. That's what the media and the wealthy have against Occupy Wall Street. They won, the game is over, shut up and go home. But if it's not reasonable to ask why someone is paid double digit millions to do a piss-poor job, then it makes no sense to ask questions at all.

And the reason the music business has become a second class citizen is because it has embraced these same concepts. The executives are kings. You do it their way. Do you hear anybody standing up to Jimmy Iovine?

That would be like standing up to David Geffen. And if you don't know what I mean, you've never met the man.

And isn't it funny that art is supposed to challenge preconceived notions.

Everything's up for grabs. That's what's wrong with assembly line Top Forty, it's not. You've got usual suspect writers and producers doing it the same way as more and more people tune out. Sure, Top Forty might have the most critical mass, but its share is shrinking.

Then there are the wannabes who just can't handle the truth. That they can't sing and can't play. Steve Jobs tolerated no bozos, he believed in A players, that these top-notch people inspired each other.

If you're not willing to look at yourself, evaluate the criticism, you're never going to win. Steve Jobs rarely responded, but he read all his e-mail. He was taking the temperature, he didn't want to lose touch.

We've got a whole industry that's lost touch. With overpriced tickets you can't even get. If you owe your career to your fans, shouldn't you treat them best?

I'm always questioning, always probing, and I always get the same response. THE MONEY! That's the answer to everything these days, you can't argue with monetary success. But I will. Because it doesn't last forever.

Who are the leaders in our industry? It's devolved into a zillion fiefdoms. No one with any power is leading for the sake of the industry. And that's just sad.

Stop kissing butt. Be brutally honest. No amount of ass-kissing can turn a second-rate track into a classic.

Everybody's so busy protecting their own turf they can't see that the landscape is being pulled from beneath them. Whether it be the tone deaf classic artists bitching they're being ripped off by the public or the newbies lamenting there's no one with a deep pocket, no label to make and save them. That's like being angry you can't find someone to buy you an IBM Selectric after the introduction of the Apple II.

Jobs wanted to revolutionize textbooks. Sure, he was gonna sell a lot of iPads, but kids would have less to slog around, but more important, he knew that the creation of textbooks had become politicized, that they were written by committee and took years to write. But if he got experts to create them and gave them away for free... He could do an end run around the establishment.

That's what Steve Jobs considered himself. A rebel.

There are no rebels in music anymore. Everybody wants to sell out to the corporation, whether it be Jay-Z or the wannabe or Live Nation trumpeting its marketing deals with the Fortune 500.

What in the hell happened to us? We didn't used to need anybody else. The music was enough. And we had to get it as right as Steve Jobs did with Apple products.

Me-too never delivers greatness. May temporarily deliver money, but not quality.

That's what made Steve angry. Companies run by marketers. He didn't put money first, Apple led with its products. Microsoft is now run by a marketer and look where it's taken them, straight to the dumper.

I guess you could say you bought their stock and dumped it before stagnation, but I'd say you're just a profiteer. Everything Microsoft has ever made is imperfect, has rough edges, just like the Word processor I'm using to write this screed. But rather than delineate its faults, let me just say when I encounter greatness, perfection, I'm thrilled, I tell everybody about it. That person, that team would settle for no less, it whittled ideas into seamless quality. That's what sells. But even more important, that's what we're looking for. Everybody.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

See you when you get there

Takin it back to the ol' school: Coolio with his famous hit.

Acoustic Enlightenment

I've been practicing my guitar these days, and here's a site with some pretty cool how-to's:

Friday, November 4, 2011

You KNOW...

I want you to do me a favor. Sit back. Relax. Say nothing. Do nothing. Just sit there and be with this. Sit with this for at least ten minutes. Do this while just observing, not reacting to, you thoughts and feelings. (But obviously if you need to use the bathroom, go for it.) When you're done, take a deep breath. Take a few deep breaths. Be with the silence you feel.

I'm only asking you to do this once, but, if you've done it for some time, you will feel something within you is ever watchful, ever patient, ever peaceful. If you've done it even longer you will find that it is You. You will see that no matter where you go, or what you do, this silent You within remains the same. No matter what you know, or don't know, this You always knows. It's not something you can communicate to another person. The knowledge is beyond what you can intellectually share. But you can live it. How? The life you live will naturally emerge from you.

I know I'm getting all old sage on you, but the fact of the matter is this experience is real, and I want you to feel it. Feel that ever-knowing presence that is you and me. Feel that timeless, incommunicable wisdom. It cannot be taught or bought. It can only be experienced, by YOU. Once you experience this wisdom enough, you will realize, that You, KNOW, everything.

But could you first do that little favor for me?

Love and Light,

Gabriel Goldiamond

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Here's a great article from Bob

"They spent the rest of the time talking about where Apple should focus in the future. Jobs's ambition was to build a company that would endure, and he asked Markkula what the formula for that would be. MARKKULA REPLIED THAT LASTING COMPANIES KNOW HOW TO REINVENT THEMSELVES. Hewlett-Packard had done that repeatedly; it started as an instrument company, then became a calculator company, then a computer company. 'Apple has been sidelined by Microsoft in the PC business,' Markkula said. 'You've got to reinvent the company to do some other thing, like other consumer products or devices. You've got to be like a butterfly and have a metamorphosis.' Jobs didn't say much, but he agreed."

I wish I could tell you to read the Steve Jobs book. But by trying to include everything, Walter Isaacson missed the target. We don't feel like we know Steve Jobs, we feel like we've heard from everyone who was slighted or superseded by him.

People don't like it when you climb higher on the ladder than they do. Check the resumes of the original Mac team. They were brilliant engineers, but there have been no second acts, certainly none as significant as the original Mac. Jobs drove his charges to superiority. He believed in having A players only and getting the job done. But without their coach, the players were lost.

Anybody can find one hit act, but can you find two? That's what fascinates us about Steve Jobs, that he kept on connecting, kept on hitting, kept on getting better as the game wore on. That's the opposite of the arc in the creative field. Where people start off strong and then fade out. The execs remain, but the talent comes and goes. And the execs believe they know everything.

Failure hurts. Most acts don't succeed and then give up. Or keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. One can argue, as Isaacson does, that the failure of NeXT made Steve Jobs great. It's when you die trying that you learn so much. Anybody can get divorced, but can you stay together? Steve Jobs didn't project Pixar would make feature films when he bought the company, he thought it was a hardware/software play. You've got to change on the fly, you've got to be open to opportunities. And it's not luck... Steve kept paring Pixar down, but he kept finding money for John Lasseter to do his shorts. Those shorts evolved into "Toy Story".

I wish Steve Jobs were alive to rebut Isaacson's portrait of him. He'd say he got it all wrong, that it was shit, that Isaacson is a bozo. The same way he was enamored of Sculley and then realized he'd made a mistake. Isaacson is not a builder, he's an observer, taking down notes, trying to paint a balanced picture. Geniuses don't believe in balance. It's fascinating to see them at work. It's all work, all the time. They can make judgments on the fly or ponder small decisions for weeks. Because they can see that the little things count.

Somehow the little things were left out of Isaacson's book. You get no idea what it was like to live in Steve Jobs's body, what he was truly thinking. He emerges in two dimensions, more enigma than fully-realized, and that's a shame, but the products remain.

And it was all about the products. Sculley was a marketing guy, that's why Apple faltered. If you've got nothing to sell, nothing new and different and better than the competition, you're going to struggle, things are going to go downhill.

Record production is all about the new thing. Unfortunately, today the new thing too often looks like the old thing. Jobs couldn't compete with Gates when it came to PCs, he had to define an entirely new category to triumph, which he did three times, with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Doug Morris will find hits for Sony, but he will not lead the company out of the wilderness. Because recorded music sales are not the future, nor is radio, and Doug Morris is completely blank when it comes to new paradigms.

At least give Warner credit, they're trying. It's the old company in name only. They may be taking too much in 360 deals, but sharing in all avenues of income is the future.

But you've got to be fair.

Jobs was fair. When he came back to Apple, the employees were demoralized, their stock options were underwater, they were not close to being worth anything. So Jobs repriced them. At first the board said no, then said it needed months to debate the issue, Jobs insisted the change be made instantly or he would walk. Jobs got his way.

You've got to stand up for yourself. Too many people at labels are looking to save their jobs. If you're not willing to put your job on the line, you're worthless.

The acts are employees. I'm an attorney, I know the difference, but that's true, especially in a 360 deal. But the labels treat the acts like shit. This will be their downfall.

The music business is being reinvented. Ironically, not by those in it, but outsiders. The insiders are raping and pillaging, piling up money before the edifice collapses. They're doomed. They refuse to reinvent themselves.

And the acts, in many cases, are just as bad. They want a deal, they want someone else to pay, they want to bitch. But the only solution is to stop bitching and use the new tools to profit, to realize it's a brand new game. The Internet is not going away, we are not going back to three networks and no cable. There will only be more entertainment options. You can reach everybody, but it's almost impossible to get them to pay attention. How do you get them to pay attention?

By not doing it the same way everybody else does. By reinventing yourself.

P.S. Speaking of reinvention, please read this e-mail from Mike Dreese of Newbury Comics that arrived in my inbox this afternoon:

Innovate or die, that's what they say. Instead of complaining that people are stealing music and you just can't sell a CD, Newbury Comics has been making changes and altering its product mix and surviving. If you've never heard Mike Dreese speak, you're in for a treat. He goes to Japan and buys containers full of tchotchkes to sell. He's just not doing it the same old way, listening to record salesmen, stocking returnable discs and seeing what happens. The future of Newbury Comics might not even be music. Retail is evolving. While other indie record stores have died, Newbury Comics has lived on. By not lamenting that it's no longer the way it used to be, but realizing that the world changes and to survive, you've got to think different.

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