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Music Industry – The Missing Money

By Music

If the CD market has dropped from $14.2b to $10b in less than10 years, what is the money being spent on instead? From the latest edition of Esquire, Chuck Klosterman reports:

And while we’ll never know exactly where all those bones disappeared, my specific theory is this: A lot of the money not spent on music in the twenty-first century is being used to pay off credit-card debt that was incurred during the nineties. In other words, not paying for In Rainbows today is helping people eliminate the balance they still owe for buying Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness when they were broke in 1995.

And, for no better reason than I want to try the “Add media” button in WP2.5, here’s Pinkard & Bowden’s amusing parody of “Islands in the Stream” (“Music Industry”) from 1985:

Pinkard & Bowden PG-13 Album CoverPinkard & Bowden — Music Industry (1985)

Cat Power’s new on-stage persona

By Asides and Music

The new Cat Power reviewed in The Guardian by Maddy Costa:

She seems no less nervous than in her depressed, chaotic past, but in stamping out the weak parts of herself, Marshall has also destroyed everything that was aching and haunting and beautiful in her voice. The transformation is horribly disillusioning to witness.

I was running the Paramount when Cat Power played her solo show back in 2005. We had heard terrible stories about self-destructive behaviour and paralysing stage-fright, and were warned not to supply her with alcohol, but it was one of the best shows I have ever seen: ethereal and highly musical if that’s not too weird a choice of words. And she could have easily freaked out when she found out that our dressing rooms had been demolished and we were building two cinemas in the empty space. But she didn’t.

Remembering 1968

By History and Music

Bob Herbert in the New York Times on the tumult that was 1968:

On April 3, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis. Violence erupted in dozens of cities, and especially in Washington, where a number of people were killed and the fires were the worst the city had experienced since the British took the torch to it in 1814.

John J. Lindsay of Newsweek magazine said that when Bobby Kennedy was told that King had died, he put his hands to his face and murmured: “Oh, God. When is this violence going to stop?”

I was born about seven weeks later, and a week after that Kennedy himself was assassinated. Add to that the students rioting on the streets of Paris and Grosvenor Square, is it any wonder I’ve been suffering from post-traumatic-stress for nearly 40 years? Everyone around me thought the world was about to end.

For your delectation, here’s a sound of those times: The Staple Singers version of “For What it’s Worth” (1967 single on Epic Records):

DownloadThe Staple Singers “For What It’s Worth”

If all nights out were like this one, I'd have more of them...

By Music and Wellington

Blam Blam Blam at Mighty Mighty 6 Dec 200721 years ago I walked in off the street to the offices of Radio Active looking for a way I could get on the radio. The address in the phone book said Kelburn Parade so I had walked the length of said boulevard, way past the University and all the way to Hadfield Terrace and back, before trying my luck at the Student Union Building. I’d arrived in Wellington less than a month earlier, determined to make some headway with a career in radio and one of the reasons I had agreed so readily to leave the UK was Radio Active itself.

When I got inside, the delightful Charles Mabbett showed me around and told me how to sign up for on-air shifts despite the fact I wasn’t even a student yet. When I got on air I showed off a bit, playing the records I had brought with me from London (the fruits of many hours late-night listening to Peel and David Jensen), thinking I would show these colonials what was really happening.

It didn’t take very long before the lessons were being taught in the other direction. We played plenty of requests in those days and I found myself getting phone calls asking for bands and songs I had never heard of: The Birthday Party and Hunters & Collectors for example; and people called The Dance Exponents, Netherworld Dancing Toys, The Chills and (of course) Blam, Blam, Blam.

I think it was somewhere between hearing “Marsha” and “There Is No Depression In New Zealand” (and DD Smash’s “Magic What She Do” for that matter) that I decided that I wanted to be a New Zealander. I’d told my parents that I would give Wellington a year and if it wasn’t working for me I’d go back to England and study there. But I stumbled on Flying Nun, Dave Dobbyn and The Blams and it was all over red-rover — no going back.

The Blams had already been defunct for several years by the time I arrived: “Marsha” and “No Depression” were in the oldies bin along with “Pink Frost” and “Victoria”. I was lucky enough to see other Don McGlashan ensembles including the wonderful Front Lawn in 1989 and The Mutton Birds, of course, but I never expected to ever see Blam, Blam, Blam. Until last night.

Thanks to my colleagues at Wellingtonista I had a ringside seat at The Blams Public Address gig at Mighty Mighty last night (following Russell Brown’s “It Doesn’t Give My Opponents Much Time, Either” quiz and the 2nd Annual Wellingtonista Awards). Jeez, they were good: great songs, great sound, great company. If someone had told me that The Undertones were reforming with Feargal Sharkey and they were going to play in my front room I couldn’t have been happier.

Photo taken from my camera phone but there are better pics here. In fact, flashes were going off left, right and centre so there’ll be plenty of other photographs soon enough, I’m sure.

By the way, it’s Radio Active’s 30th birthday this month. Maybe I’ll be able to dig out some gems from my archive in time for the 35th.