Thursday, February 5, 2009

Goodbye Lux

My heart is broken...literally broken at the news of Lux Interiors death. Lux, 60, who suffered from a heart condition, died in a hospital in California last night. Lux was the founder of one of the most seminal bands of the entire Billie genre, The Cramps.

While Billie music suffered from a devastating lull in the 70s (mostly due to its founding members being coopted by the Nashville sound that emerged during that time). A new subgenre was rising through the ranks of the burgeoining punk movement led by The Cramps in New York and The Meteors in the UK. This new subgenre would be given the moniker "psychobilly" by Lux. Although Lux denied being a part of the psychobilly movement, he was, and still is, credited with being its founder.

Without Lux, the marriage of punk, rockabilly, and scifi horror may have never become the mainstay in the Billie family that it is.

To be honest, the loss that I am feeling is selfish as I never had a chance to see the band perform live. If you happen to be reading this and was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to see a Cramps show, please do me the honor of regaling me with a story or two in the comments section.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Cluetrain Manifesto

As a part of my Music Marketing class George Howard has assigned The Cluetrain Manifesto as our first reading. So far it has struck me as one of the most seminal works explaining the effect that the advent of the Internet has had on the old model of business.

I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to make sense of their own place in the Internet marketplace. The book is free to read at this link. I suggest at least reading the 95 Theses and the Internet Apocalypso.

Below is my take on Chapter Two:

So far The Cluetrain Manifesto has presented itself as trying to be to the business world what “Disarm Authority! Arm Your Desires” is to anarchists. In fact, it is written in much the same way citing alienation, loss of voice, and over-arching management as the cause of the human race’s problems. It would not surprise me to discover a past history of flying black flags by the authors of the book. They are correct that humans hate being managed. However, the authors are also correct that humans need management to feel safe from the surrounding environment. The main problem is, as the authors brilliantly state, that business is unmanageable, but the humanistic desire to tame the untamable drives control-freak executives to extremes in an effort to regiment every aspect that can be controlled. This regimentation, in effect, is what has driven the concept of humanity out of the working business world. Well actually, regimentation in conjunction with an overly litigious and thin-skinned society who feels threatened by anything and everything that is not homogenized. What has resulted is Hume’s Social Contract gone wild. What has also resulted is the separation from our collective experience by compartmentalization, political correctness, and fear of outsiders (which, by modern standards, an outsider is just about anyone besides yourself).

The authors of Cluetrain state that the Internet has become the solution to this by bringing the human voice back to the forefront. I personally think that it has gone a step further by putting us back in touch with our collective experience and subconscious. Think of it, every thought and experience past, present, and future that a human being is capable of can and will be expressed in some way on a website. Now you simply need to find it. As technology advances, these thoughts and experiences are accessible at speeds nearing the capabilities of human thought. Once this access speed becomes a reality, every concept, thought, action, or experience known to mankind will be available for our personal perusal and consumption. The lack of connection with our collective subconscious, alongside rampant greed and competition, is what has hindered modern human advancement for centuries. All of these burdensome boundaries are being smashed at a rate that increases every day that new bandwidth increases. We are on the brink of a new oneness that has not been seen since the days of tribal culture. I am wholeheartedly optimistic about what this could mean for our humanity and our collective futures.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Catching Up

Finals are over and my computer is back to normal. Now it's time to catch up on everything that has happened in the Billies world that I missed over the past couple of weeks.

Although finals week was rough (i.e. two business proposals as final projects, one 30 pager and one 15 pager), there was one grand light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to complete the first installment of the All The Billies Radio Hour. That will be posted as soon as I can work out the legalities and make sure that the RIAA won't burn down my house for posting the show. The first show is a historical view of the development of Billes music.


Of course the Billie world was hit hard by the loss of one of the most iconic figures of the genre, Bettie Page. So much of the "kitten" style was made popular by her. However, it is hard to say that she will be terribly missed because the last half of her life was spent in hermetic isolation (she gave her life to the Lord and refused to have any pictures of her taken of her in her later years), and her wonderful pictures are all we ever really had of her. We still have the pictures. We still have the style. We just don't have Bettie.

However, living a life shrouded in secrecy leaves me curious about a few things with regards to Miss Page. The movie adaptation of her life made her out to be naive as to the full extent of what she was doing. She just thought that she was modeling for exotic pictures for shutterbug clubs, or doing naturalist style photos? Did she really pose for all of those pictures without the slightest hint that what she was doing was being distributed across the country for men of all ages to....well, you can fill in the rest. Something tells me that half way through the millionth photo shoot where I'm being whipped by a women in a leather studded corset with a ball gag in my mouth, I might get a little suspicious as to the true intent of my photographer.

Either way, if there is a Bettie Page expert out there who wants to shed some light on the truth of her big screen depiction, please comment and set the record straight.

This is all for now. Check back for the posting of the radio show and I will be more vigilant in my keeping up with the blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nurturing The Tribe

More than ever, touring is becoming the most important aspect of being a band. With P2P file sharing turning the album into little more than a social object of exchange, the “bread and butter” of being a band in the future will hinge directly upon making the best of their touring schedule, and ensuring that their tours are as efficient and effective as possible. The result of this is the need to reach fans in new and innovative ways.

Opportunities for interaction with the band need to be provided to fans whenever possible. The gap between the old model of “untouchable, idolized rock god” and the newer model of “leader of a close-knit tribe of invested fans” has vastly shrunk in the past few years. All efforts henceforth need to be aimed at nurturing this tribe of fans to bring them out of the realm of idle bystanders and into the realm of voracious consumers of all that you provide.

The best way of doing this is to give your fans a stake in what you, as a band, are trying to accomplish. In order to do this, bands must provide what fan want most of all; access. If you don’t believe me, lower the price of backstage passes at your next few shows, or giveaway backstage access for joining a mailing list. The number of fans who simply want their interaction with you to go beyond the simple, “I see you on stage playing for me” will surprise many (even young, not yet popular) bands. All that needs to happen is the breakdown of the cognitive dissonance between the stage and the floor.

The best means for providing access to your fans outside the venue is to grant them a chance to participate in what you do. Your fans have talents that will amaze you, and most of them would be perfectly willing to utilize those talents (pro bono) for the opportunity to see their work being used for the good of your band.

Try this example: have an online contest for fans to design a new t-shirt for your band. Once a winner is chosen, give them a few freebies. Then say that you want to post pictures of your fans wearing the new design on you website or blog. Track how many purchases of the new design are made and by whom. You would be incredibly surprised to see that, not only did the person who designed the shirt bought more shirts, but how many people would buy a shirt just to have the opportunity to be on your webpage. Furthermore, every person who gets their picture on your page will tell their friends, “go to so and so’s page and see my pic.” The tribe is now at work.

This is just one example (and I’m sure it’s already been done several times over) of how building your tribe can help sustain your band in the new music paradigm. Now it's up to you to come up with your own ideas of how you can nurture your tribe. Just ask yourself, "what do my fans want?"

Please comment and let me know what you think!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. The hard drive in my computer just kicked the bucket, so now I am doing all my computin' on a mac that is held together with duct tape, bubblegum, and hope.

Hope your havin' a hillbilly holiday. Just like Hank 3 and Jr.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More on Indonesian Rockabilly

After my post on RESCUE, the Indonesian Rockabilly band, I did a bit more searching and found an entire rockin' Indonesian "Billie" subculture.

Do you mind if I go ahead and coin the term "Rockabali?" Maybe "Psych

Anyways, the "Bali Billie" scene has its own retro club called th
e Java Tattoo Club, a close-knit group of Billies and bands, and a label and recording studio called Electrohell. What else does a scene need to thrive? Not much. Shit...New Orleans Billies can't even organize that much.

Keep up the good work guys!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flinging the Poop Back Uphill

I know this is supposed to be an "only music" blog and I want to avoid having it be a stump for my convoluted personal views, but this is something that strikes me so hard that I have got to share.

I recently received a rather nasty letter from a creditor stating, in very unpleasant terms, that certain actions were going to be taken against me should I not do such and such. I have explained to them, on several occasions, the hit that I have received due to the recent economic crisis, and that the majority of money that I receive through the music business and my work in restaurants is solely dependent on others (much more fortunate than me) having expendable income. When they hurt, I hurt, and my creditors do not get paid. Simple enough?

The truth is that I have decided to not be angry at the customer service rep who sent me that less than cordial letter. Instead I (and I wish to suggest that the customer service reps and middle managers of the world do the same) will admit that shit rolls downhill and look uphill to the ones who dealt it.

The person putting the pressure on me to make payment is not acting on their own. They are getting wrenched by their superiors to collect who is then, in turn, getting the dictate by someone higher than middle management to put the screws into customer customer service. On and on it goes... and where shit starts... you soon will know.

The realization to be had in all of this is that if you (the downtrodden little Dung Beetle that you are) keep rolling that ball of filth uphill, you will eventually get to the guy or gal who is the cause of all this economic mess to begin with. Even more startling is that the creator of the turd at the top of the hill, most likely, just received their share of a $700 billion bailout, so that he or she won't be hindered in sending those curly little poops our way.

Now answer me this. When you are busted flat in Baton Rouge (New Orleans actually, but thanks Kris K.), with no groceries, with no gas, with a customer service rep breathing down your neck, and the guy who caused your downfall shows up in a brand new pair of 700 billion dollar shoes and asks you for your last dime; what do you do? My answer isn't appropriate (even for the Internet).

Thanks to the internet, we have the opportunity to become some of the most savvy consumers in our history. Information is continually coming our way so that even the sting of "Capitalism run wild" can be dealt with. We even have the opportunity as the meek of the Earth to do something that so few meek as we have been able to do. ORGANIZE!!! For once, we as a group of downhill turd collectors can start flinging the poo back uphill at the dirt-hole from whence it came. And please, don't simply try to fling it at the monkey on the next rung up from you. Fling if far. Fling it hard. Wall Street, here's mud in your eye.

If you are reading this, Please drop a comment and let me know what you think. There's no need to remain silent on this topic. Drop a line!!!

And lighten the mood...ladies and gentlemen...Johnny Cash