DECEMBER ROCKS

Top 5 December Spo Shows since 2014…

This time of year is such a cognitive dissonance. We have this vision of it being white and snowy and everyone being happy because after all we are going to get to be with our family come the 25th of December. But, I look out my window and see sun, and no snow… well, there is on the mountains, but that was there through July this year. The most arbitrary part of this time of year is the best of lists that I see and have been a part of coming out. Why point at things now? I mean, I get it, the year is about to turn over, but I just feel like the awesome things that happen at the end of the year get forgotten. There is like a certain part of the year that is perfect for releases and if you are before or after that you missed the wave.

So, in this list that I’ve compiled, it is the top 5 December shows of my last 5 years…

Chali 2na 12/30/18… Last year I played my first show opening up for a national act here in SLC when I took the stage with Scenic Byway at The Metro Music Hall. I honestly, can’t remember too much about this show other than we fucking killed it, but, I do remember shaking Chali 2na’s hand and fuck does he have huge hands. The artist/rapper is in my eyes an icon of the independent scene that is a well kept secret in America. This dude is doing it himself and packing medium sized venues across America. He’s brought Scenic up to Portland, OR where we rocked too. I think that show is why this one is a little hazy… when we drove up to Portland to play with Chali 2na, that crowd was insane… to play a sold out show in another state… WTF… a first for me.

Spo @ Kilby 12/14/18… Just a few weeks before that Charli2na show last year Spo was still pretty active and Pat Rutchaplee had kinda just got to Salt Lake City, UT from me driving him here from Boston. He’s since gona, but one of the last shows that we played with him… maybe the 3rd to last was this show at the infamous Kilby Court. Spo had played at Kilby earlier in 2018, but this one was notable because we were opening up for Western Mass’ own, Potty Mouth… The Boston Music Award winners were an act that I had interviewed at The Boston Music Awards in 20… maybe 2014. They definitely didn’t remember me and the city of Boston didn’t understand the importance of this show for me, but it was just like, Spo would have never been on a bill with Potty Mouth in Bean Town. But, here we were, new line up and rocking this bill. Penny, Zach, Pat, new member at the time, Andy and I, we played well and soon recorded 8 songs that have yet to see the light of day… Hopefully in 2020.

WEMFalalalala 12/22/17… The last show I played in The Middle East Downstairs. I mean, hopefully it’s not the last time, but it was the last time to date. I don’t know if I knew this was going to be the last time, but I sure made it count. Spo released a song about Gordon Hayward’s then recent injury and I wore a Kyrie jersey on stage in honor of that song and Christmas Green. Mikey Shake was Santa that night and I rode him onto the stage where Spo rocked a really emotional set. I played guitar on a few songs, which I didn’t usually do, but at that moment in my life when my divorce was becoming a reality and my discontent with how things had gone with music in Boston I put it all into that set. I woke up the next morning wondering if I could top that… I picked a tarot card from my mate at the time Mariah’s living room coffee table. It was The Hermit card and I knew it was time to go. By the way, don’t touch other people’s tarot deck’s. Moments later a tree branch almost hit Mariah. I definitely believe it was from the energy of touching her deck.


(Me riding Santa Shake)

This show was packed as fuck though and really an awesome way to start to say goodbye to my time in Boston. Winona and The Riders played and killed it in addition to I believe Scotty & The Gang, which will be back there at The Middle East for a show I put together next January; 1.18.20 with Color Channel & more.

SCISSORFIGHT 12/30/16… This show is an interesting one for me because I guaranteed Scissorfight way too much money for what this show ended up drawing. So, in the end, I lost money, but it didn’t feel that way. I remember hearing about Scissorfight on the radio when I was listening to Boston Emissions on WFNX, the former local independent alternative station in Boston. There was always an anecdote about Scissorfight and how they would capture Massholes and put them in their van. Then drive them to the woods of New Hampshire and leave them there… whether or not that was true; it was local rock lore. I later met their original singer, Iron Lung at his record shop in Provincetown when I was running the P-Town Rocks Music Fest for Martin Doyle… I hope to blog about that at some point.

So, booking Scissorfight for a headlining gig at The Middle East Downstairs was just part of my childhood coming back around. Although it wasn’t lucrative I booked a sick line up including Protean Collective, See This World and more of course. It was a heavy show, which is not what people expected out of me, but I do all kindsa shows and then move them to the center of their genre… for better or worse; that’s what I do.

“The Mouth of the South,” JIMMY HART introduces Robby Roadsteamer 12/13/14… This list has gone chronologically, but I think this show was the biggest and best. First off, the date is awesome. Look at it! In addition, ZipTie Handcuffs rocked this show. Listen to them now!

But, the real story of this show is Rob Potylo. This motherfucker, which has since transplanted to LA got “The Mouth of the South,” Jimmy Hart, Hulk Hogan’s ex-manager to introduce his alter-ego, Robbie Roadsteamer. This dual stage show went back and forth between amazing bands, but then when Robbie got introduced this happened…

Pits are illegal technically in Boston & Cambridge. But, whatever; that was great. Rob also had a video series that came out in promotion of this show. It was fucking hilarious and I think I make a cameo in it too. Here it is…

As for the Spo set, I think we were technically still called, DAve Crespo’s After Party. We rocked the side stage and did it with honor. I think it’s fitting that this was 5 years ago as my newest project, DAve Crespo & The Dudetastics will be doing a similar thing at another dual stage event, but this time in Salt Lake City. We too will be rocking the dual stage, the side stage, and I did that in 2014 and next year on 1.4.20 at The Metro Music Hall to make people see that this side stage is cool. Like, sometimes during these dual stage shows that I produce the bands playing the second stage are less enthusiastic, but I like to show them that you can do some fun and cool things with the alternative stage especially when climbing things… If you saw then, then you know. If you didn’t, you’ll see, SLC.

You’re wondering from this list… What about 2015… I will give an honorable mention to this show. It was 12/5/15 when Spo first rocked with our friends of Snow Day. Sam Pitino also joined us on this bill with his band, Answerman at the hooka bar in Worcester, MA called, Electric Haze. This night had the magic in it that you dream of when it comes to music. It was one of my first ventures outside of the show’s I was booking for WEMF. One that was for me & us, that us being Spo. Spo had released PULP PUNK earlier that year, so I put together some shows outside of Boston to help support the record and this show definitely did that. Snow Day and their brother band (literally), The Other Stars rocked their hometown and brought all their friends down. They stayed till the end too when Spo played. After it all Snow Day and Spo ended up in the basement of Electric Haze rolling blunts, counting money and finishing out last beers of the night. Maybe it’s hard to describe these bonds that happen between musicians that are peers, but it was one that I think both bands respected what each other brought to the table and we cheers’ed over that. 4 years later Snow Day found themselves on The Boston Local Music Festival on City Hall Plaza.

https://www.facebook.com/events/920055831411082/

December is a hard time of year for people. If you have family it’s hard to deal with them. If you don’t that is fucked up too. So, often people need to lean on the local music scene as a community to feel a part of something. Local music is great for that. But, also, touring is slow at this time of year, so I would and will always get access to venues that I won’t get access to in peak times of the year. Venues are hard up and will take more chances on local music. This is why I’ve always taken these opportunities year in and year out to make sure that local music helps to keep these clubs afloat. And thus, these two circumstances help to make this list possible. Thanks to everyone who played these shows, came to these shows and helped to create them with me.

The Spo Show: 12.16.19 w/ Acid Hologram

Spo started off the week with a young SLC band called, Acid Hologram. The metalish trio of Sam, Zach and Max came in and rocked 4 songs then talked with Spo about carpentry, not going to college, where they find their music & their show on Friday December 27th @ Kilby Court in Salt Lake City, UT. Check out that conversation and an opening chat with Zach Novak of Miirut, which Spo often features as background music. It’s all in this podcast…

The Art of the Spo

Saturday’s show at Gold Blood Collective… it was a fun, invigorating, but interesting night for me. I felt withdrawn and on the outside of this show for a few reasons. The first of which was, I hit my head on a drawer (pronounced “DROOR,” in my accent) earlier in the day and definitely wasn’t going at 100%. Secondly, it was a show that I helped to align a bill with a venue. So, I was kinda just a liaison to the show. I met the dudes from California Queens before it on The Spo Show and they felt like I played a big hand in it happening, but really it was Matt Skaggs and The Cold Year that were the brains of the night. He and they lined up the bands and even local artists to display their work. They even helped to get a great write up about this art display aspect of the show in City Weekly. Check that out HERE. So, it was fun to be less of the creator and more of the facilitator and producer.

Gold Blood Collective is a crazy place. These DIY, all ages venues are so prevalent in SLC. You really don’t see these spaces succeed in other places because of the lack of alcohol. It reminds me of what Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, MA did before they got caught in a sexual abuse scandal. Before that though, they were a DIY, all ages art gallery that had shows on the fucking regular. It really had become more of a venue than an art gallery and was prospering in being that. In SLC, that is so common though. I’d say for two reasons, 1) it’s cheaper and more cost effective and 2) going to shows without alcohol is part of growing up in a community dictated by Mormon views. It’s crazy, but I definitely remember going to the VFW shows that I put on and drinking and smoking at them. There were specifically straight edge kids, of course, but that was an outlier. So, I hooked this sweet punk, alcohol free, screen printing-by-day // venue-by-night, venue, The Gold Blood Collective with Skaggs and The Cold Year.

I knew I wasn’t the guy running the show at a moment when the venue was young in it’s bitter & awkward, florescent light and it’s uncomfortable lack of house music during the load in. The room was asked what the set order was by a member of California Queens. Skaggs announced the order in an objectively true way. I was triggered by the moment from years of having to be that guy in that situation. It wasn’t a terrible trigger, but someone’s gotta be that guy and it stresses me out.

But, I felt the most on the outside of social circles outside when I was literally outside and I watched friends of the bands enjoy cigarettes and each other’s anecdotes. Like, I interjected here and there and made myself present, but you know what I mean. Like, these people all knew each other. That is what a scene is created by; people who know people that know people who know people that play music… together. Good shows are when those 5 degrees of separation hang out together and watch local bands. And then something crazy happened…

At the beginning of load in this guy and two girls that were to say the least scantily clad walked by the venue toward Piper Down, SLC’s local Irish pub. I don’t know if they were more drunk or more naked… the answer soon came.

In the pre-show hang when house music was finally filling the room up and gearing the attendees up for the first band the threesome returned walking this time away from Piper Down. It appeared that one of the ladies dresses had malfunctioned. I think I know who stopped them, but that doesn’t matter, but someone made an innocent comment toward the sexy passerbys knowing very well that that would stop them in their tracks… and, it did.

And minutes later after the wardrobe malfunction was addressed by everyone… after all, it was a tad nipply out that night… burrr… The threesome was dancing a, must I say, beautifully choreographed rendition that they had specially prepared for this on the sidewalk performance of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.” It was… well, only topped by the male’s even more sensual serenade of, I don’t know, something he thought he was singing well. So, it was at this moment that I was watching groups of friends interact with a small group of friends that were totally separate from them in all ways. It was like a social science project that had not gone wrong, but felt like it was wrong. I mean, it all looked consensual, but again, it just didn’t feel good.

Then the show happened. It was real fun. The young, I don’t give-a-fuckers of, California Queens started the night off with a bang. They really are just that, fun, unadulterated rock n’ roll by guys that just became adults…

The Cold Year then tore the roof down, which was scary because before the show, Mitch, The Cold Year’s bassist, pointed out a sword in the rafters of the Gold Blood Collective. They were shredding so hard that it worried me that this sword might fall from the raters and kill the scene 😉 No, but really, this band writes catchy, heart wrenching songs that make you feel, but then think. This led nicely into the grooving, rock n’ roll supplied steadily by Unholy Ghosts.


Lead dude, Taylor Millet, locally known tattoo artist, “Sailor Taylor” and crazy party thrower crushes it with dual VOX amps with Jaron playing the role of Patrick Carney, both of which are rocking out in cloaks in front of an unawkward, super cool fluorescently lit cross… as opposed to the awkward fluorescents earlier in the night during load in. It was cool. And, in regards to the dual amp fullness situation that they have, I love it. It’s full riff rock. No Bass Needed… Straight forthright bassism. It’s wrong, but felt so good.

So, the awkward florescent lights went back on, and I got the bands paid by the venue, and Skaggs got me home. On the way out, The dudes from California Queens further thanked me as I again thanked Skaggs for at that moment them getting my PA system and I a ride to Suite J, a mile away. Matt and Emma, thanks again!

The whole bill was fantastic. Like I’d mentioned in the beginning, my head was messed up, but once again, rock n’ roll helped to provide the adrenaline that I needed to feel like everything has a place and purpose… even me 😉

Helping to make a show happen is like being an obstetrician. With some babies you gotta push a little harder, and others you just need to catch them… haha. That’s disgusting. Anyways, maybe you understand that. This coming weekend I have a similar situation where I’ve helped the awesome dudes from Beach Death do a show, which is, I believe, their yearly Holiday Party entitled, “Beachmas.” It’s this Saturday at Kilby Court. It’s gonna be a really sick event. You should check it out and if you want cheaper tickets hit me up via facebook. I however, that night will be in Park City rocking with my dudes, Scenic Byway. Maybe I’ll leave that for another blog, but anyways, see a show this Saturday, Salt Lake… you too, Boston and fuck it, even Portland and New York… all of America. See a show this Saturday!

BEACHMAS: SATURDAY DECEMBER 21st @ KILBY COURT EVENT PAGE

The Spo Show: 12.12.19 w/ Matt of The Cold Year & Jason of H2 Audio

A few days before The Cold Year rocks Gold Blood Collective, Matt Skaggs, the guitar playing frontman of The Cold Year plus the producer of their last two records, Jason of H2 Audio came onto The Spo Show. They talked about the production on the band’s new record, “Prey For Me,” Dad Rock and how their will be physical art featured at the show at Gold Blood Collective on Saturday December 14th, 2019 with Unholy Ghosts and California Queens.

Just Fuckin’ Walk

This blog is in reference to this article about Kansas City making their public transit free. Check it out and check this blog out…

https://www.curbed.com/2019/12/6/20998617/kansas-city-missouri-free-public-transportation?fbclid=IwAR0_K7MP6l5qZUu6F-4vpXtCc3q6BVtSULfz9pEHsBbyQY-HiGYky3Kay7s

It’s coming up on two years of living in Salt Lake City. Still I am constantly comparing the culture here to home. There are just so many things that define culture in both places that are completely different. One of those ways is public transit… The T (MBTA) in Boston and Trax here in Salt Lake City. SLC much like LA does not have a train culture. You know, if you make a movie about NYC, a scene will happen on the train. Everyone takes the train there… for the most part. You have to.

I grew up on the MBTA in Boston; that is how I got to Boston from where I grew up, which for me was only miles away. So, the T was like, magic… especially when I was in high school. I didn’t have a car, so I’d just walk to the T and then be in Downtown Crossing. It was amazing. It was like I lived inside Boston.

I’d sleep on the train… write on the train… talk to random people. Stories in my life happened on the T like the time that I played wingman for my Emerson friend, Matt. I left him at this Suffolk girl’s house and a young & drunk Spo took the last Green Line D Line to Riverside… accidentally and had to walk and hour to a cab in Newton to get home that night… I had an attachment to the train; to the T.

When I got to Salt Lake City, I was super open to take Trax. I’m not going to hate on Trax at all here… I like Trax. I think it goes to a lot of the city, other than Foothill Drive; a part of Salt Lake City that is at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Trax has new trains and goes so far out of the city too. Like, the amount of space that Trax covers is like as far as maybe Salem is from Boston.

When I lived in LA I used the train too and people say it doesn’t bring you close enough to where you are going. But, here is the thing and really the point of this blog; Just Fuckin’ Walk.

This article is derived from Kansas City being the first city to make public transit free. Congrats Kansas City… I hear the Missouri side is cooler. That’s just what I hear. For two reasons, 1) why are the poor taxed for not having enough money to transport themselves to work? 2) more people not driving is so important to the pollution issue in this country and really specifically in Salt Lake City.

A part of this article talks about how fares at the moment in KC are $1.50 a ride… which is real cheap. The article begs the questions, is that really what is holding back people from taking the train. I say, “no.” It’s because they are reluctant to walk. I’m sure for many conscious reasons, but really I think it’s because they didn’t do it growing up, so it’s not part of who they are. For me, it was.

My mother didn’t have a car. She was a single mother and she’d tug me along to all parts of the metro Boston area for whatever missions or “errands,” as she would call them. As a young kid, I walked, took the T, took the bus and walked. I walked to school in grade school and walked home in middle school and high school. It wasn’t that far… but, it was like 2 miles. This is where I hung with my friends. I dunno, I guess people walk to school here too… but, I dunno, I just get the feeling to and from Trax is “too far.”

Taking public transit is a lifestyle. Dug of Baluchitherium is always posting the current status of the T in Boston. And, that is real. People rely on that shit and it’s really unreliable. These new cities and it’s people don’t understand how good these new public transit systems are. They are amazing, new and sprawl just like the cities. Although, introducing public transit brings in a variable that you can’t control in your life, you Salt Lakers, and KC’ers, know that it’s state is new and as reliable as possible.

Anyways, I think people should pay for it. I dunno. I just, it’s like, even if it just pays for the system to work straight up. I know that trains, and how they are like private and publicly owned at the same time… I dunno. I don’t want to get into that too much at the moment. But, I just am so trained to pay for the train…

Actually…

Here I am the opposite… I created a game that I stand at the front of each Trax train and try to avoid the fare collectors. ‘Cause like, here in SLC, there are no turnstyles that you have to pay at before you get into the station like they do in Boston, NYC, DC… and The SEPTA and I’m sure others. So, they have these officers go onto trains and look for freeloaders like myself… But, there is a way to dodge them. I’m not going to say how out of incrimination, but it’s insane that that is even possible. But, as this article suggests it’s really costly to maintain fareboxes. So, for that reason, I get it, it’s really not even worth having people pay. But, I dunno, I remember getting MBTA tokens to get on the T and it was growing up and created an ownership over my own future that was supplied by me purchasing that token. Anyways, that’s not here nor there.

I started this game though because I through Ashley, the old singer in Spo, met the head engineer of Trax… or like, I dunno, but she dealt with this very situation. At the time I argued that they should have people pay because it would help them. But, this stat in the article says totally otherwise. It really isn’t worth it.

But, the thing is, more needs to be done to get people to ride public transit for it to be useful. Otherwise, these red states that are engaging in socialism are going to be upset with their socialistic practices don’t garner results. Maybe further tax breaks for regular riders… I don’t know. Maybe make some fucking movies about people riding Trax is Salt Lake City… I dunno. But, just know, public transit is such a useful resource and if you like me are going to help be a part of our environmental change we gotta stop driving and just fuckin’ walk places.

Here is one last story about walking… The T closes so early in Boston. The trains are so bad that they really need the time to reset and repair or do whatever they need between 1am and 4am. So, the T is closed. It sucks. It makes going out to rock shows harder and drinking and driving happen more. When I first started promoting shows I worked for this company called, Anthem Entertainment with my friend, Chris Sinclair. He has continued this company, but when I was working for it I was basically promoting shows with his brand related marketing company. It was interesting and way to start, but did not end up working out. Chris would get me shows in clubs. He’d make headway with a club and then I’d go in and tell them that we could bring them drinkers on off nights or off seasons with local music rock shows.

Chris got us this bar to book in the North End of Boston, technically The Bulfinch Triangle near the Boston Garden. It was and is called, “The Greatest Bar,” although is is not the greatest bar. It’s large with three floors and we over time would do shows at some point on all three floors. On this night though, it was a Friday night in the summer and we brought a band to that swanky sports bar that wouldn’t piss people off too much… kind of. It was a loud room with tiled floors. It’s like, it actually didn’t matter who played there; it was going to sound bad.

So, it was a struggle of a show; sound wise… clashing culture wise, since the people who hang at a swanky sports bar aren’t really tryna hear local music. At the end of the night, when the cords were wrapped and all the equipment was put away I walked home. But, in this case, it was a fuckin’ 2+ hour walk to Melrose. It was crazy, but that’s just what people do sometimes when the T is closed. I dunno. I likely, just needed that time to think about things. I wish I had thought more.

… or ride a bike.

The Spo Show: 12.9.19 w/ California Queens

The fun guys of California Queens came on The Spo Show on Monday December 9th, 2019 to chat about their upcoming show at Gold Blood Collective on Saturday December 14th, 2019 plus their beautiful facial hair, their band name and possible ways to sell their forthcoming recordings whenever they come out. Check out the full podcast with a live performance by the quartet in this podcast! Plus, at the end of the podcast their is an exclusive tracks that was released on the show by the band, Tidelands called, “High.” Check it all out here!

The Spo Show: 12.5.19 w/ Bernie & The Wolf

Bernie & The Wolf, Chicago band on tour through Salt Lake City, UT stopped through Suite J to be on The Spo Show. They chatted about the road, this being their 6th tour, their new music video and it’s horror ending as well as other dimensions and even more. Hear the full podcast and songs by Bernie & The Wolf in this podcast…

Love & Tour

You know that movie, “Love & Basketball,” that came out in the 90’s? That is a cool movie and all, but what is more common is Love & Touring. I used to see it more often in Boston when I’d do a daily show called, “The Underbelly,” that bands literally from all over the world would come in and play and talk with me. What is it? It is It 😉 It in this case, is a relationship within a band… Now, I don’t really want to breach that topic right now. I even infringe upon that with my band, Spirit Machines. But, what I am going to focus on is a relationship in a band when on tour… and also vacationing with a loved one.

It’s like, it can either go great or terrible, but either way it’s tough. If a tour with a loved one, or a road trip with a loved one explodes in your face, I mean, you probably saw it coming… maybe. But, often when it goes great and all needs were met often that is a product of a Stockholm Syndrome kind of situation where both partners are overtly attentive to the needs of the other and in a touring situation, the band so much that it works perfectly… but, can that last forever?

I think it can create a standard that is needed, but may not be realistic to meet consistently. I’m not saying everyone and every band couple is in danger of breaking up if and when they go on tour. It’s worked. It works. But, what I am saying is, touring and vacationing with a partner is fucking stressful. Often these trips happen right before a break up… I’d imagine this is because the stress of the trip even if it goes great is just too much.

Touring in general is a huge step for a band. Is it necessary to do? Maybe. I dunno. In this day of the internet an argument can be made against it. But, what I can say from moving to SLC is that the only way to integrate yourself in another city is to be there. So, I guess, a part of this is a warning to all that their is a cost to every move you make as a band, but this can often be the cost of touring. Just because you rock together doesn’t mean you can spend 2 weeks on the road living together.

Ok. Check this part of it though. A part of it that I love is how these couples never want to be open about their relationship. Is it because of Jack White and Meg White? Did they set the standard for band love? They hid their relationship by saying they were siblings and then it later came out that they were married and… yada yada yada… bands to this day are very very secretive about the couples within the bands. Why?

I dunno. I just feel like the marketing of a band is based on being real. Being authentic about the people who are in the band. But, is this line crossed when a lead singer is sleeping with the bassist? Is this a part of America’s patriarchal structure? That’s probably too deep to go on this topic. I just think it sucks that thats the feeling that couples have when they are in bands and especially when they are on tour. It puts a lot of stress on a physical relationship if you have to hide it. People can tell… glares alone.

Does it make the music better? Sure. I bet it can hurt it too. It is based on how strong the couple’s relationship is. What I really mean to convey now is that America is a tough place to have a relationship at the moment. There was a time that there was a “bread winner,” and then the “home keeper.” Sexism and patriarchy aside, those roles being defined made the sense of self easier to consume. These day’s it’s more like basketball 😉 where you need to learn how to pass these roles… sometimes a bounce pass, sometimes a chest pass and others you really need a baseball pass. What am I really saying though?

Maybe bands have more couples in them right now for two reasons… 1) more women are playing and touring than ever, which is great, but also sad that it’s not just 50/50 2) Economically America is requiring couples to lean on each other. If one of those couples is a musician, which is at the very least an expensive hobby or at the most one of the lowest paying jobs it requires some real cooperation. So, to me it’s not surprising that musician’s are leaning on each other musically and then in relationships too. It’s just like, if you spend enough time with each other and open up emotionally as music makes you do then more is often possible. But, the stresses that come are life, work, family… and when that get’s put into a band; it’s just more stress. So, when you add the road to this…

But again, people, couples do it and do it well. In fact, the most of the bands that I see cross America right now in the effort to tour have a relationship within it. I think that is very much because the lifestyle of touring and leaving your romantic partner at home is maybe even more stress than touring with a partner. So, if you can take this variable off the table for half or in a duo’s case, the whole band then it makes touring more realistic.

Not sure what else to say. Maybe a story… Here is one. In 2016, Will Deek’s & my ex-wife toured America in a 2011 Toyota Prius packed with so much gear. We drove through Rochester, Chicago, St. Louis, Austin, New Orleans, Nashville, DC and then back to Boston at the time. In Austin, during SXSW, the band, Spo met us down in Austin to play at The Aquarium on 6th. It was awesome and after the show we randomly, but not that randomly met up with a friend from Boston, Bryan. We all packed into the Prius… 5 of us… and upon getting on I-35 to head to the AirBnB the front right tire popped. Bryan was elemental in getting the car up on the jack and putting the dummy wheel on.

I knew at that moment that that tire popping was some energy that was released and was meaningful. I now believe that it was that trip that me and my ex-wife split paths. I knew what I wanted and she then knew what she didn’t want. Love & Touring… is fuckin’ hard.

Please comment. If you’re in this situation or were… I obviously am only one side of this topic. But, it’s something that doesn’t get talked about and is a huge part of the lifestyle of being a musician.

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Fuck You Spotify

First, I’m gonna lay down some positive vibes… Here is a EP like, 5 song playlist of acts that are killing it on and off of Spotify in 2019…

Grand Commander

Talia Keys & The Love

Chris Moreno

War Twins

Folk Hogan

I just, I dunno. I hate things that everyone posts independently, but together on social media… or really just facebook. Conformity… maybe it bothers me. I dunno. It’s mostly that there are some people who have posted these images that I’m guessing Spotify delivered to them that shows their plays for 2019… Out of the 20 or so that I saw posted yesterday I’d only say 2 of them were worth showing off the numbers. It’s like, if 1.5k people streamed your music last year… maybe don’t post that. I think that’s embarrassing. Break that down; that’s about 3.3 streams a day. I mean, yeh, that’s not bad, and every fan should count, but I dunno… is it something to brag about?

But, that’s not even really why I hate it. I hate it and all of these kinds of trends because they are just marketing ploys that a bunch of disconnected, in this case, Spotify employees decided it would be fun if everyone did their job for them. I stayed with these Spotify employees in like, I think 2016 at Ryan Spaudling’s luxury condo during SXSW… Those people suck, but mostly, they really don’t care about independent music.

What this campaign for Spotify really says to me is how much they actually value those 1.5k plays a year by small artists. Might it be those smaller artists that are paying to be on the platform that really keep them afloat? I mean, afloat is a vague term, because Spotify doesn’t actually profit financially. Like, they take in money, but they do not claim a profit at the end of the year. You could say that that is because these disconnected fucks take too much money, but at the end of the day it’s because selling music isn’t a real thing and radio, which is what they are is supposed to be free. Spotify is the new radio… so, why isn’t it free… because they have to play ads in it to make it so… I guess. So ultimately…

The thing that this campaign really urks me about is how it re-opens the at least century old question of, can music really be sold? We know that albums can be sold, and tapes and cds, but what I’m getting at is, the industry was actually trying to sell you the mediums in which you listened to those records, tapes, cds and ect. Like, if you look back at the history of like, Victrola Records, you will find that these guys were not trying to sell music, they were trying to sell phonographs; the original at home music listening experience… shellac records and all. They didn’t really care about the fidelity of the records that they were putting out. They just pulled up to a performance, recorded it and printed it on the shellac… which, is what they used to make records out of until there was a lack of shellac in the 30s during the depression.

Shortly after that, Philip Sousa attacked the phonograph industry, which was comprised of a Victrola and a few other companies for not paying the musicians who they recorded. Thus, we had the first Lars Ulrich on our hands. Philip Sousa was the among the first musician’s to demand royalties for his performance on the recording of him. Now, we all know that that sounds fair, but the fact of the matter is that the record industry at that time wasn’t really trying to sell those records… they did, but their real profit margin was on the actual phonographs. What I’m getting at is, there was never a model to sell music. From the get go, recording music was just an advertisement to sell the medium… which, in this case is Spotify. Fuck Spotify.

The company that even sweet Taylor Swift plays the role of Lars and Philip Sousa in attacking for how little she makes off of streams. I don’t know what the percentage is, because I’ve never really seen profits from it, but it’s under a cent per stream that the artist gets. So, this whole campaign that independent artists are laying out for Spotify is really just using independent music to market their medium that takes advantage of just that, the independent musician and their music. Again, Fuck Spotify.

I just feel better using Bandcamp and SoundCloud. They are mediums that pretty much do the same thing, but less over-handedly. Bandcamp gives the fan the ability to directly support the artist. SoundCloud, is just a place that you can spin tunes without ads or having to buy a subscription that goes to some disconnected higher ups. And, Bandcamp really presents the image of the music beautifully as far as a website goes. You know, like when you listen to an album on Spotify or even SoundCloud it just feels homogenized. Bandcamp gives you the ability to really design their page in an original way. It feels… It has a feel. It’s great.

Ok, so, basically, what I want you to take from this is not that we can change the world or anything like that by stopping the use of Spotify. I mean, it’s a good product and musicians should put their music anywhere that people are playing it. But, here is the issue to think about, is the medium of recorded music a product that actually has value that you can sell? Was it ever sellable? Or, was it the same as the toy that McDonalds gave you with your happy meal; the reason you decided to put commercialized capitalist cow in your gut. Is recorded music just the bat mobile that comes with your happy mean? Maybe? Maybe think about that when you are deciding to record a record… maybe it will help for you to decide what is really best to do with your money because… Fuck You Spotify.

Long Live Napster!

(although, Napster’s creator, Shawn Parker, owns a piece of Spotify… ala JT in the movie, “The Social Network.”)

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INVERSION THERAPY


(The pollution does make for an oddly uniquely beautiful sunset where the only slightly defined horizon upon the mountains is nearest the sun’s descent)

There is something sexy about the pollution here in Salt Lake City, UT. Some people don’t even know where Salt Lake is, but they will. It’s this place in Neo-America that people are running to or I guess coming to because life has got to, it just has to be better somewhere, right? But, upon arriving here I learned of the, “INVERSION.”

The Inversion, for ya’ll that aren’t from SLC is a process that the colder air in the higher atmosphere pushes down the cold air closer to the ground and compresses it. Thing about the cold air close to the ground is it has pollution in it from I don’t know, cars, coal mines, other things… So, that pollution just compresses and compresses further into the collecting cold air… And, the valley that is Salt Lake City keeps this air in it’s bowl. And, that’s the process of Inversion… for dummies.

Most would say, OMG, get out of Salt Lake; the air is as bad as China. But, this is the thing… it’s beautiful to see. Because, this is happening all over the country. Everywhere in America are we pushing these burned gasses that cost way too much in the first place into the sky. It’s just here in Salt Lake that we cannot be ignorant of it. So, I find myself like a communistic Chinese citizen, wearing a gas mask.

I don’t wear one of those like, nuclear gas masks, or the ones that you wear to hit a bong and keep the smoke in. It’s cute. Like this one…

Ok, technically it’s a surgeon mask. Whatever. It does the same thing… kinda.

Anyways, the point of this little piece is to say, “WOW.” What an amazing time to be living in. People keep saying that we are killing the earth and here it is, in my lungs getting me sick. And, to think that this won’t change is ignorant. At some point, probably close to now, something will be done. Already do I see digital signs on the highway saying, “DRIVE LESS THIS WEEK.” Soon I’m sure they will read, if you’re driving a car made between 1970-2000, don’t drive this week… And, so on until cars are banned…

That is a bit much, but it’s definitely possible. This city could use to do a few things that change it’s habits in this way. People complain about the TRAX (which is the train system). They say it doesn’t get you “close,” to where you’re going. FUCKING WALK. You take the train to the closest stop and you walk. That’s just life in the big city. Sorry. Or, bring your bike onto the train… Or if you’re that lazy, or it’s that far, take a LYFT. Don’t take Uber, you’re not that classy, especially if you’re taking TRAX.

Anyways, there are things that can be done by people to alter their lifestyles. It may take longer, but it may not. A serious ride sharing app could be useful too. Something that connects people that are going to work in the same place to ride together. This way there aren’t a bunch of solo-dolo people driving to their 9-5’s in Draper, UT from SLC.

This could be the end of Corporate run, homogenized America. If people have to live closer to their jobs maybe local economies are able to grow more. Maybe? I don’t know. Either way, the point of this is to say, “WOW.” Watching this time in this country is crazy. I mean, we’ve seen some shit; 911, Obama getting into office, The Red Sox becoming the first team in the new millennium to win 4 World Series titles, just utter ground breaking shit… I guess, Trump and then his impeachment too ;<}

Let’s change. Or, let’s watch the change, or be a part of it or whatever. It’s crazy, but it is happening and it’s amazing to be in the face of it here in Salt Lake where I’m being rained on my toxic gasses.

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