One distinguishing mark of the "old" music business, i.e. the one before downloads, the one that made buckets of money, the one where half of my friends used to work, was that it was so big that folks on say, the classical side, had no idea who worked on the rock side. Even within the same company. They were different planets.
So there I am, sitting eating my lunch, watching the news on TV, waiting like the slavering dog that I am for more Mel goes Mad, when none other than Alice Cooper a.k.a. Vince Furnier, he of the large pearly whites and the exquisitely died hair, comes on CNN and begins batting his bright eyes and cheerfully expounding on his new youth center in Phoenix.
Just prior to the morning hour at which most liquor stores open, Don Byron and I are sitting outdoors at a sidewalk cafe on a steamy Park Avenue South (Technology Gulch)when a scene breaks out on the sidewalk.
Byron (head turns and he murmurs): "Oh my god."
A stringyhaired, smelly, obviously intoxicated woman staggers after a younger, taller man who's also worse for wear, and hollers in a drunken growl: "I got my own phone now. Yes it is. It works you used it."
Byron (laughing): "It's the metropolitan wino scene. You know what I mean? You know the scene in Firenze, now here it is in New York. It has all the elements: the dirty clothes, the ruddy skin, the formaldehyde lips."
Rumor is that the suits at MTV are beginning to kvetch about the expense of having bottled water delivered to the NYC offices of the network. Man, when the bottled water bill gets up on the bean counter radar nothing good can come of it.
From Stereophile writer Fred Mills:
Tom Waits tickets for the August 2nd show at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, NC sold out in 15 minutes. Waits publicist Tresa Redburn tells me the Atlanta date sold out in less than half hour.
"Yours truly was on-line hacking away at the Ticketmaster site," Mills said today, taking a break from pressure washing moss from the roof of his home in Asheville.
He also mentioned that a pair of tickets for the Chicago show went on eBay and someone who couldn’t wait for the auction, used the "Buy Now" function and bought them for $1500.00. I scanned eBay and found a pair of 4th row seats for the Asheville gig going for $549.00. A pair for the last date, in Akron, Ohio, are being offered for $450.00. In Akron, Ohio!!! This despite measures to limit scalping and reselling. And the fact that he rarely if ever these days dips back into the Asylumera material that everyone loves.
The best part about this eight date mini-tour of the South and Midwest is that he’s playing great old theatres, most of which have great acoustics. Here's the list: read it and weep, `cause these tickets be long gone. Or silly expensive.
Tues, Aug 1 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
Wed, Aug 2 Asheville, NC Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
Fri, Aug 4 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre
Sat, Aug 5 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
Mon, Aug 7 Louisville, KY Palace Theatre
Wed, Aug 9 Chicago, IL Auditorium Theatre
Fri, Aug 11 Detroit, MI Opera House
Sun, Aug 13 Akron, OH Akron Civic
To those who don't get the whole Waits cult, all I have to say is, something's happening somewhere with this guy. Few artists, in any genre, at any time, are able to sell out tickets, quite this fast.
One of the weirdest musical phenomena that I know of is the symbiotic relationship between really bad music, mostly classic rock schlock, played at maximum volume, and professional sporting events. I mean have you ever been to an NFL game where you didn’t hear Ozzy Osbourne’s "Crazy Train"? And let's not even discuss the NBA where the prospect of being exposed to more Kelly Clarkson or the All American Rejects keeps me from even thinking of attending.
Last night, in Manilalike heat, I trekked southward on Manhattan Island to meet with Jim Davis, owner of Music Direct and one of his right hand men, Colie Brice. One of the best online sources for audiophile wares, both soft and hard, (now, now, let's keep those high fidelity minds up out of the gutter!), Music Direct, as many of you know, also owns the revived Mobile Fidelity label. MoFi was and maybe again THE proudest audiophile label of them all. The extra dynamics they squeezed out of Nirvana's Nevermind will forever amaze me.
Last night in a torrential rain storm, I trucked northward along the Hudson to Tarrytown, NY. A half hour's ride across the Tappan Zee bridge and we were in Piermont, NY at a club called the Turning Point.
So let get me this straight. Orrin Hatch, Republican senator from Utah, is one of the heavy hitters whose deluge of 11th hour phone calls not only springs music producer Dallas Austin out of a Dubai jail for coke possession, but it also helps to turn a four year jail sentence into a pardon?
Being a sixty year old rock star ain't easy, but there’s gotta be a better way for rock bands to grow old than the one Aerosmith has chosen. A symphony gig? What's next Disneyland on a co-bill with Up With People?