This is a little story, my friends. about why I do what I do on this site.
This isn’t about me…it’s about all of us, and how much we all have in common, especially if you work in a creative field. When you encounter a stone along your road, maybe it won’t hurt as much if I can convince you that life’s journey inevitably leads all of us through a freakin’ quarry in one way or another.
It is what it is. Or, as Hyman Roth said in “The Godfather Part II,” “This is the business we’ve chosen,” and the sooner you embrace all of it, the more you’ll know true peace.
I write about music because I love music. It’s as simple as that. I learned how to play guitar at age 10. My first gig in a rock and roll band was at an eighth grade talent show. I’ve played at numerous shows throughout my life, solo and with bands. I own around 4000 albums. I love music, and my goal is to inspire others to love it as much as I do, while I support bands that deserve your attention.
I don’t consider myself to be a “rock critic” or “rock journalist.” I am a musician who loves music, and a musician who earned my B.A. in English from San Jose State University. Writing comes naturally to me, but my first love is music, as is turning others on to great music. That’s why I write. I’m not an “armchair quarterback.” I’m the guy who was in a quasi-fifties rock band, playing for a kegger in one of the dining halls at Stanford University, when I decided I needed to break character and drag the band through a ragged version of CSNY’s “Carry On,” as our tragically inebriated bass player vomited into a nearby plastic cup, which he then set on top of his amp as a sort of living monument to his stupidity.
(I’m third from the left in the photo below). Hello Cleveland!
I’m your your tour guide, your Rock & Roll Maitre D’. I’ve seen it, I’ve done it, I’ve lived it, and I continue to do so. I want you to see what I see and hear what I hear, because I’m confident you’ll have fun if you do.
In the late 70s, famous / infamous (take your pick) San Francisco critic Joel Selvin wrote a negative piece on Sammy Hagar. Sammy stood on the stage at Winterland, read the review to the boos of his faithful audience, and then read out Selvin’s home phone number. Not the office number, the number to Casa de Joel. He closed his remarks with “Don’t f*ck with me, Joel.”
I’m not here to tell musicians how they could have made a better album or why they failed to live up to my expectations. I’m here to find the most positive things I can see in an artist’s work, and pass my thoughts on to folks who might appreciate their work.
I don’t write negative reviews. What kind of a waste of time (both yours and mine) would it be, and what kind of jerk would I need to be, in order for me to sit down and spend a couple of hours trying to convince you why you shouldn’t like something? If I don’t like it, I don’t write about it. Period. I’ll leave that to “rock critics.”
When I review an album, I listen to it from start to finish. No notes, no scribbling things down, just listening. Then I listen a second or third time, depending on how readily it speaks to me, and on the next listen, I write down my observations, track-by-track. I then write an introduction, include my notes, and that becomes the review. It’s never a matter of banging one out. I read the finished result back to myself to make sure that it flows well, and that it’s as accurate as possible. Then I publish it and send out a tweet with the link.
The music business has changed. In the good old days, a band would do some gigs, get discovered by a “A&R man” / talent scout, then they’d score a major label contract, the record label’s promo people would grease the wheels with key stations in major cities, they’d tour (usually with funds issued as an advance against royalties), and airplay would increase and the venues would get bigger and they’d get their own private jet and millions and millions of multi-platinum fans would adore them till the day they died, often longer.
Those days were two steps behind Elvis, right before he left the building.
These days, streaming music is huge, and the artists receive a percentage of a penny on the dollar for the millions that are raked in. YouTube is filled with “free” music, and once again, the artists aren’t paid. Vinyl and CD still exist as physical media, but streaming (as well as digital downloads, both legal and illegal) have slashed those profits. Most working musicians these days earn the rent money via relentless gigging, and the biggest and most lucrative gigs go to the best-known artists.
In 2019, you have to love the living hell out of the music business to survive it, and it can be one harsh mistress. You have to be tenacious, with a superhuman level of faith and vision. Some artists aren’t cut out for that life. The rest are, and it’s a 24/7 gig…promotion, writing new material, transportation, recording (for the more fortunate), and more. You live it, you breathe it, the music is you and you are the music. A little help would be nice.
That’s where I come in.
Successful musicians in 2019 know that they have to work Social Media aggressively in order to be noticed and to stand out from the rest of the pack. I try to shift a little of the burden my way.
I don’t get paid for what I do. I don’t receive a percentage when I post a link, and you click it, and buy the artist’s music. I have no boss. I am the boss, and I do what I do because I want to do it, and for no other reason. I could have collected rejection letters from Rolling Stone and all of the other music magazines as an “unknown writer,” but I decided that I wasn’t going to wait for permission. Like the artists I write about, I knew I wanted to do it and just did it.
You want it? Go after it. Waiting only breeds more waiting. Plant it, water it, nurture it, and then harvest it, baby.
If I send one new follower to an artist, that follower has friends, and the possibilities are endless.
Now that you know what I do and why I do it, please head over to the Album Reviews page, explore the artists who await you, and support their ongoing efforts.
Thank you…wishing you peace, love & happiness…over and out.