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Why There Needs to Be a Real (Grad) School of Rock
The Atlantic ^ | October 1, 2012 | Benjamin Nugent

Posted on 10/01/2012 8:23:16 AM PDT by C19fan

There is nothing quite like being a young rock musician walking into a good recording studio for the first time, with a record contract in your backpack, surveying the machinery. The towers of digital and analog sound-effect consoles, with their glowing gauges and blinking lights, they're here for you—paid for by the label, available to you because you cut a basement demo that made people see dollar signs. Over the hum of the amplifiers you can almost hear the whir of the industry, the interns flirting, the promotion person on the phone with the terrestrial radio person, the booking agent negotiating with club managers in far-flung college towns. It's an apparatus built to make money but also to bring your songs to teenagers and twentysomethings who are like you, who scour the Internet and the Staff Picks rack for new music that will illuminate the sublime in desperate crushes and everyday despair.

.....................................................

What my band needed was an Iowa Writers' Workshops for rock musicians, a Master of Fine Arts program at a university where respected veterans helped us learn to write good songs and perform them well. Such programs would establish a much-needed period of germination beyond the reach of commerce, in which young rock musicians could meet, form bands, and build a repertoire slowly, receiving feedback from seasoned rock musicians who don't have a pecuniary stake in their work. Such programs would cultivate good popular music by placing young musicians in an environment where aesthetic integrity is valued and financial strife held at bay.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: academicbias; killthespirtofrnr; music; policywonk; rockschool; subversion
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This article could be straight out of the Onion. Hey mom and dad, could you cosign this student loans so I can get a masters degree in Rock 'n Roll.
1 posted on 10/01/2012 8:23:22 AM PDT by C19fan
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To: C19fan

What about Rock N Roll High School

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiDvKqRjYn0


2 posted on 10/01/2012 8:26:40 AM PDT by dfwgator (I'm voting for Ryan and that other guy.)
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To: C19fan

Don’t let the miss taking “crotch grabbing” 101.


3 posted on 10/01/2012 8:31:31 AM PDT by EggsAckley ("There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!")
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To: C19fan

A school like that described is in almost every town and city in the country...there’s always a garage or a barn or a practice hall or a loft where people go to play...open mic nights, casual gigs, players find each other. Just more gubmint nanny state bullshit to control entertainment and “incubate” the line. Trying to picture the greats in a School of Rock....what a dumbass. “Mr. Hendrix, they make left handed guitars, you know!” “Uh, Mr. Cash, you shot a man in Reno just to watch him die? Isn’t that a little, er, uh, savage?”


4 posted on 10/01/2012 8:33:49 AM PDT by jessduntno ("Socialism only works...in Heaven where they don't need it and hell where they have it." - RR)
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To: C19fan

All you need is HEART and talent ... Janis Joplin had HEART ,,, Patty Smith has HEART ,, Iggy Pop has HEART ,,, Jim Morrison had HEART...

The equipment is cheap ,, a decent microphone is $20 ,, a $100 used PC with a $100 sound card/mixer and maybe a $100 software “autotune” program or a used $120 original Antares ATR-1 , good new Korean/Taiwanese guitars are about $170

The key is HEART ... Declan McManus (Elvis Costello) absolutely SUCKED on vocals on his first albums ... but he had HEART and GREAT lyrics... Steve Forbert has been putting out great music for 35 years ,,, a skyrocket that ALMOST flamed out when the label became pissed at him and shelved many GREAT albums that were completed and ready for release... catch him at small clubs nationwide if you can , he’s fabulous.

The internet and the ability to bypass the vampires of the recording industry make today a great time to be a musician.

Jim Croce had no feeling in his fingers from working a jackhammer but he played beautifully and his songs meant something...


5 posted on 10/01/2012 8:38:35 AM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: C19fan
Such programs would cultivate good popular music by placing young musicians in an environment where aesthetic integrity is valued and financial strife held at bay.

Hmmm...

I was wondering what it would take to kill rock & roll music.

I think that would do it.

6 posted on 10/01/2012 8:43:40 AM PDT by Flycatcher (God speaks to us, through the supernal lightness of birds, in a special type of poetry.)
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To: Neidermeyer
"I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt"

You can't teach lyrical writing like that.

7 posted on 10/01/2012 8:47:31 AM PDT by wbill
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To: C19fan

All good, original rock and roll ended by the eighties. If there was anything equal to The Beatles or other great bands from the sixties, we’ve had heard it by now. Just as there have no new Beethovens and Bach for classical music, there have no good musicians/composers for other genres. Musicians have run out of ideas. The most retrograde (yes, worse than disco) “music” ever spawned by Satan, rap, is king. There will no more good, original ever again.


8 posted on 10/01/2012 8:57:38 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: wbill

Johnny Cash is greatly underrated.


9 posted on 10/01/2012 9:02:07 AM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: Neidermeyer
I saw Steve Forbert in a college cafeteria 32 years ago. Last month I went to see him in NYC at a nightclub called City Winery.

I was standing by the back door of the club before the show, smoking a cigar and waiting to meet my companions, when I saw Steve getting out of his car.

We chatted a bit. I told him I had seen him a number of times over the decades, but the first time was 32 years earlier.

He groaned and laughed. Then he put on another great show.

10 posted on 10/01/2012 9:06:55 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: C19fan

That is the last thing Rock and Roll needs. The best Rock and Roll pushed musical boundaries and went beyond what preceeding muso’s had done with it. While it took bits and pieces from the past it also disguarded time worn traditions and the muso’s who had created them.

Mel


11 posted on 10/01/2012 9:23:12 AM PDT by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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To: C19fan

I thought that was called “the bar circuit”, the young guys get gigs at bars opening for more established acts, if they’re smart they chat and learn and listen, if they continue to progress and get some lucky breaks they get to open for larger national acts and learn some more.


12 posted on 10/01/2012 9:29:34 AM PDT by discostu (Put another dime in the jukebox.)
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To: driftless2

I have so much to say, but can’t keep my eyes open or my beers closed any longer. This is a ping.


13 posted on 10/01/2012 9:30:44 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: Neidermeyer; wbill
Johnny Cash is greatly underrated.

Sunday Morning Coming Down was written by Kris Kristofferson.

14 posted on 10/01/2012 10:01:46 AM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Neidermeyer

You were doing so well.

Autotune? If you need autotune to sing well, take up the drums.

Autotune rips the heart and soul out of music. Strips away those beautiful overtones that makes one’s voice unique. Burn them all (the autotuners, not the folks that use them).

We don’t listen to Elvis Costello for the quality of his voice any more than we listen to Dylan for the same reason. Their voices may not be ‘good’, but they are certainly expressive.

The list of singer/songwriters laboring in near anonymity is pretty extensive, Steve Forbert certainly among them. Richard Thompson and Lucinda Williams probably top my list of those who should be as popular as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. It would be a very different musical landscape if they were (he says ruefully).


15 posted on 10/01/2012 10:54:56 AM PDT by dmz
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To: Neidermeyer
The equipment is cheap ,, a decent microphone is $20

... or a used Caddy.

16 posted on 10/01/2012 11:01:53 AM PDT by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: wbill

Kristofferson has a few gems like that.


17 posted on 10/01/2012 11:07:57 AM PDT by dmz
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To: driftless2

All good, original rock and roll ended by the eighties. If there was anything equal to The Beatles or other great bands from the sixties, we’ve had heard it by now. Just as there have no new Beethovens and Bach for classical music, there have no good musicians/composers for other genres. Musicians have run out of ideas. The most retrograde (yes, worse than disco) “music” ever spawned by Satan, rap, is king. There will no more good, original ever again.

<><><><><

For what seems like the hundredth time on this forum, in response to equally eeyore-ish commentary, please direct yourself to www.rrradio.com. That’s roots rock radio for the not yet informed. If it doesn’t completely change your mind, you will at least be given a measure of hope.

Available by download from the named site, or as a podcast on iTunes (free), host Richard Taylor takes you through an hour or so of unsigned bands playing their original music.

no, I’m not Richard, though he did record my band’s CD. And play a few of its tunes on his show.


18 posted on 10/01/2012 11:31:46 AM PDT by dmz
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To: C19fan

My oldest daughter is a singer-songwriter and play guitar and piano. She’s had some success in Texas and has even done shows in France and England. She has near perfect pitch and writes compelling songs. Her live shows are a pleasure to hear. Compare with Taylor Swift who can’t sing a lick live. Her albums are so full of studio tricks that they should have a warning label. Difference is, Swift’s parents had lots of money to lift a mediocre talent to stardom. I don’t have that money.


19 posted on 10/01/2012 11:38:43 AM PDT by manic4organic (We won. Get over it.)
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To: C19fan

THE ATLANTIC? They’re full of MFAs. They also have quite a few people with Master of Fine Arts degrees.

THE ATLANTIC - Full of old wrecks, fish sh-t and crabs.


20 posted on 10/01/2012 12:03:28 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: dmz

Thanks for the link.

“with a record contract in your backpack”

I pretty much stopped reading right there - do they do that anymore?

RUSH came out with a new album this year and it is GREAT rock and roll. They adapted too to the new technology and way of doing things. Released a couple of songs for download a year or more ago while on another tour, finished the album, released another song for download, and then came out with the final album.


21 posted on 10/01/2012 12:13:37 PM PDT by 21twelve (So I [God] gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. Psalm 81:12)
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To: dead

He’s coming to Tampa! Nov 11th ...


22 posted on 10/01/2012 12:30:59 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: dmz

Autotune? If you need autotune to sing well, take up the drums.
***********************************************
Drummers die too soon! I’m with you on the autotune ,, but it IS everywhere now ... my kids watch Disney and every “star” they’re grooming is auto-tuned half to death because Disney can’t take a chance on a 7 year old being able to sing at 14 .. they have to be SURE...


23 posted on 10/01/2012 12:35:48 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: driftless2

There’s lots of great music being made. The difference between then and now is that the forms have been solidified. Back in the Beatles days the whole field was experimental, so all music, including popular music, was experimental. Now the popular forms are structured, so you don’t hear experimental music much in the “popular” areas. You need to go find experimental/ original music. But it’s still there, plenty of it. Start your search with Nick Cave, A3, Young Dubs, and Foo Fighters; all these guys are making music better than the Beatles with every album.


24 posted on 10/01/2012 12:38:47 PM PDT by discostu (Put another dime in the jukebox.)
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To: C19fan
The School of Rock and Roll--Gene Summers, 1958
25 posted on 10/01/2012 12:44:42 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: C19fan; Revolting cat!
First thing anyone proclaiming to play rock and roll should do is to identify their influences. If none of them are older than 1995 then they might want to dig a little deeper into RESEARCH of their influences' influences before they become even more derivative of the industry/label sounds without an understanding of what made it work as a song in the first place.

Next use the money you'd spend on a "rock" degree to buy a van and tour independent bars playing with different bands in each city. Trade gigs with some of them when they come to your town. You'll learn more about music (and the life) that way than you would in any classroom.

26 posted on 10/01/2012 12:58:52 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: C19fan
Want to learn to appreciate rock and roll? The Bay Bops tell you how to Follow the Rock. The lyrics contain references to at least 21 popular songs.

Follow the Rock--The Bay Bops (1958)

27 posted on 10/01/2012 1:06:38 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: Neidermeyer
All you need is HEART and talent ... Janis Joplin had HEART ,,, Patty Smith has HEART ,, Iggy Pop has HEART ,,, Jim Morrison had HEART...

...and the Four Aces had HEART.

28 posted on 10/01/2012 1:20:30 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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To: C19fan

I’d bet the perfessors in a Rock school would be like the perfessors in a Writer school, failed artistes who never made a record but know everything about how to go about it. Keep in mind that Keith Richard made it in the first band he joined and in something like 6 months, while others took years and lots of road work.


29 posted on 10/01/2012 1:23:31 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: dfwgator
I went to rock and roll college.


30 posted on 10/01/2012 1:29:37 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: a fool in paradise

All you need, Johnny, is play the guitar like a-ringin’ the bell! Then, you can go, go, and be good...

Brent Mason, wrote a FReeper who knew him once, nearly gave up before he traveled to Nashville for one last chance. Today he is at the very top of the Nashville studio players.


31 posted on 10/01/2012 1:30:36 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: dfwgator
Here was the crowd that turned out to see them speak when they were told by school officials they couldn't hold an indoor concert for students.


32 posted on 10/01/2012 1:55:04 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: C19fan
From there, things tend to get more complicated. In the case of the band I was in during my mid-20s, we quickly figured out that we didn't have anywhere near enough time to lay down a good debut album in the recording schedule afforded us, especially given the greenness of our line-up and material.

Record the single first and the album once you've connected with some audience.

Bill Haley and the Comets were already familiar with the studio (going back to Bill's Saddlemen days) but when they went into the studio to record their biggest hit, they were late to the studio and then handed the lyrics and music to the A-side they were to record first (13 Women) which someone (the producer or manager) owned publishing on.

They had just enough time to record 2 takes of Rock Around The Clock which were then married together and put out to market.

Learn your songs and THEN commit them to tape/DAT/etc.

Saw a documentary on fuzz pedals where some modern "star" was angry that his fuzz pedal blew out during a solo he'd spent 2 weeks recording. TWO WEEKS on the solo and then because the replacement pedal (same manufacturer) didn't sound the same it was all "wasted". You'll never play it that way again anyway, so why fret it? Save it for the live show and roll tape.

33 posted on 10/01/2012 2:02:09 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: C19fan
This documentary is worth the investment of time (and money if you buy it).

I've been informed to “skip” the first episode as all the material is covered in the subsequent episodes.

It's on DVD, sometimes the full episodes area also on youtube.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_You_Need_Is_Love:_The_Story_of_Popular_Music

For the shortcut, watch the episodes on country/blues/rock&roll, but all are recommended even though it tends to ramble a bit more without course in the later episodes, missed out on punk, ended before the 1980s and has had no followup production. Also some of the talking heads are asses but there is no narration so that determination is left up to the viewers.

34 posted on 10/01/2012 2:12:04 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: a fool in paradise
So I hafta post Charlie Gillett again? I'm gonna complain, where is my Obamaphone?


35 posted on 10/01/2012 2:13:52 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: dfwgator
Robbie Robertson might choose to ride out the rest of his years on a tour bus, but I wonder if he might be persuaded to rest his cowboy boots on a seminar table and tell a circle of 24-year-olds how he wrote "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down may be fine song writing but it neither rocks nor rolls. It ain't rock and roll and that is part of the reason we are in the boat we are today musically.

Entrance quiz for the grad school of rock is to list 5 bands inducted in the rock and roll hall of fame that are not rock and roll bands.

36 posted on 10/01/2012 2:14:44 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: C19fan
Who would attempt to understand the culture of urban African-Americans in the 1990s without listening to hip-hop?

Not at all necessary for a "school of rock" and certainly not essential for understanding black culture in the 1990s. Study up on racist community organizers rather than what Hollywood and MTV were pushing on "the community".

The Rodney King riots. Victimhood as a badge of honor. Ebonics as a government of Clintoon recognized language...

37 posted on 10/01/2012 2:17:20 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: C19fan
Who would attempt to understand the culture of urban African-Americans in the 1990s without listening to hip-hop?

Not at all necessary for a "school of rock" and certainly not essential for understanding black culture in the 1990s. Study up on racist community organizers rather than what Hollywood and MTV were pushing on "the community".

The Rodney King riots. Victimhood as a badge of honor. Ebonics as a government of Clintoon recognized language...

38 posted on 10/01/2012 2:17:20 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: a fool in paradise

King Mob, a great Brit rock’n’roll combo (vids on the Youtube) broke up after one album due to lack of success!


39 posted on 10/01/2012 2:17:34 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: a fool in paradise

You’re right, pop is not rock and roll. Essentially, according to my theory of music there are three distinct branches of American popular music: country and folk, blues (really part of the above), and city - vaudeville, burlesque, operetta. The last category is essentially rootless, or rooted in salons and cabarets, nothing too deep. See Barbra’s, Robert Goulet’s repertoires.


40 posted on 10/01/2012 2:22:03 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: Revolting cat!
I'm not familiar with that book. I've read this one:

Nick Toches' Unsung Heroes of Rock And Roll

and have had several people recommend this just released text:

The Chitlin Circuit And The Road To Rock And Roll

And Eugene Chadbourne is a bit of a liberal prick but he can pick instruments and does know a lot about things you'll see in the industry high and low at venues and labels and radio and stores and "advice" people will give. I Hate The Man Who Runs This Bar is a semi-recommended book for people who want to be musicians. I've read it from cover to cover as well, more of for the stories than to ever have a band.


41 posted on 10/01/2012 2:24:16 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: discostu

>> Back in the Beatles days the whole field was experimental, so all music, including popular music, was experimental.

Frank Zappa was writing blues, surf, doo wop, and novelty songs in the early 1960s. He also scouted bands for his Bizarre label and knew acts like The Turtles.

He had an insider’s perspective on the music business then and gets in right in this clip where he says THEN it was old guys in suits who didn’t understand the music, didn’t particularly like it, but were willing to throw ANYTHING against the wall and see what sticks. The last we saw of that was radio in the early 1990s which is about the last time true independent labels were able to get on radio. Then WEA bought shares in a majority of them.

Frank Zappa explains the decline of the music business
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZazEM8cgt0


42 posted on 10/01/2012 2:32:09 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: Neidermeyer

I’ve had grown women tell me that they ONLY listen to music with autotune singers.

They WANT that processing on the voices.

Radio is back in the rut because they’ve once again turned over playlist decisions to polled women between 18 and 35. The same group who thought Obama was marvey.


43 posted on 10/01/2012 2:34:53 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: Neidermeyer

And even at “retro” bars playing swing or other music, it “has” to have a modern dub/techno electronic drumbeat behind it for them to dance. Otherwise it’s just “old people’s music”.


44 posted on 10/01/2012 2:35:56 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: discostu

Larger national acts these days play corporate chain venues and corporate licensed civic owned venues. Opening acts get little money, no time for an encore, and have to give up a sizable cut of any merchandise sales. A local act is unlikely (but not impossible) to open for a road act at these venues, generally have to be on a recognized label.


45 posted on 10/01/2012 2:39:47 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (Obama likes to claim credit for getting Osama. Why hasn't he tried Khalid Sheikh Mohammed yet?)
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To: a fool in paradise

I was thinking more of the “senior tour”, old bands playing smaller venues. I’ve seen a lot of local/ regional talent opening for guys like Tull, Steely Dan, Nils Lofgren and Social Distortion. Guys that make music “outside the norm” (even if it was once very popular) tend to like to support acts that come from a similar vein.


46 posted on 10/01/2012 2:50:32 PM PDT by discostu (Put another dime in the jukebox.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Charlie Gillett’s was the first great book of rock and roll. I don’t know how it’s aged, I’d have do an archeological expedition in my house to find it, I know that he’s updated it. I’ve read Nick Tosches, it’s a good one.


47 posted on 10/01/2012 4:38:42 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: C19fan

About 20 years ago there was already a “Mucisians Institute of Technology” and “Guitar Institute.”

They advertised in Guitar Player magazine.


48 posted on 10/01/2012 4:49:10 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (If there is a war on women, the Kennedys are the Spec Ops troops.)
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To: Erasmus

49 posted on 10/01/2012 7:44:57 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: a fool in paradise
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down may be fine song writing but it neither rocks nor rolls.

The best version of this tune is by Juliane Werding. Entitled "The Day Conny Kramer Died," its lyrics--about a young man who dies of a drug overdose--are somewhat different from Robbie Robertson's. Although it may not be rock and roll, it certainly rocks and rolls.

Am Tag als Conny Kramer Starb--Juliane Werding (1972)

50 posted on 10/01/2012 7:54:20 PM PDT by Fiji Hill (Io Triumphe!)
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