Category Archives: Shorties

Who Are They Kidding?

“Roger Daltrey has been a world-famous star since the early 1960s when he began his career as the lead singer of The Who, and has since become one of the most popular vocalists in rock music history.” So claims a press release from CBS Entertainment, which draws attention to the fact that Daltrey is going to have a role on a forthcoming episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. “World-famous star.” “Most popular vocalists in rock music history.” Well, it would be hard to disprove that, although the pneumatic praise is a little humid and musty.

“Daltrey is currently on a major worldwide tour with The Who, promoting their current album, Endless Wire,” the release notes. Here is something that can be completely disproved. When Daltrey became a “world-famous star” it was with a band consisting of four people. Two of the four are dead. Now Daltrey and one of them, the guy who wrote the song that’s used as the theme song for CSI, are out touring. That’s 50%. Which effectively makes it a duo. “The Who” does not exist, marketing notwithstanding. “The Who” is effectively a part of “rock music history.”

[To put Daltrey’s appearance on CSI in perspective, consider this: Mr. Britney Spears, Kevin Federline will be guest starring in tonight’s episode – ed.]

Pay to Play Cover Songs

Yipes! If you own a venue that features live music, be sure to either tell your artists never to play covers, or else you’d better remember to pay those ASCAP thugs their grift…

Restaurant owner says songs may cost him his business:

Dorr says a rep from the American Society of Musicians and Publishers paid an unannounced visit to his restaurant one night and heard covers of the songs performed by local band “Black Notes.”

Because his place features local musicians and covers are rare, he didn’t think he had to pay the musicians and publishers group an estimated $2,000 to cover performances of copyrighted tunes.

But the owners of the songs, including Wonder and Hendrix’s estate, say he does.

Now they’re suing Dorr for copyright infringement – and they’re seeking payment of between $750 and $30,000 for each song, along with attorney fees.

And this is supposed to help artists somehow? Isn’t copyright meant to promote the arts? How’s that, by closing down every fucking coffee house in America?

Section 8 of Article I of the United States Constitution gives Congress the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” You think this is what the Founders had in mind? Somehow I doubt it.

Thanks, lw!

Paul Westerberg’s Guitar For Sale: Cheap!

Wow, this is pretty cool. You can buy Paul Westerberg’s guitar for only $160!

The Star Tribune has the story:

Boston-based six-string manufacturer First Act — whose $159 instruments caught Westerberg’s eye in a Wal-Mart a couple years ago — recently recruited the former Replacements frontman to design his own guitar for retail.

Featuring a slim body and “punk-rock plaid” pattern on its pick guard, the PW580 is already on sale at Amazon.com and will soon be available in Wal-Mart stores. Retail price: $159.

Westerberg wanted “…something not too heavy, that I could play quietly or full volume. It has a single pick-up, and it sort of snarls. It’s lean, clean, and mean, and it doesn’t have that big, overdriven, fuzzy sound. You can get that with an amp, but the guitar itself doesn’t put it out, and that’s what I was looking for. There’s a definite old-school thing—it belongs in a garage. It probably sounds best in a garage playing surf music or something like that.”

According to First Act: “The story goes that Westerberg was on tour somewhere in the middle of America, and he stopped into a mass retailer to buy shaving cream, and bought one of our crimson ME501 electric guitars on impulse, right off the shelf. He debuted the guitar onstage that night, and quickly brought it into heavy onstage rotation for the rest of the tour.”

Check out its specs. Has anybody out there actually heard a First Act guitar in action, or played one? How do they sound? Because this is a pretty cool thing. Although I’m not quite sure about that “punk rock plaid” pickguard…

Via the rope.

Saturday Night Live Season Debut – Almost Funny

The season premier of Saturday Night Live is always a bit sketchy (pardon the pun), especially when the show is in a “transition” year and has cut some cast members. This year’s debut was an exercise in “almost.”

This week’s host, internet comedic phenom and chronically over saturated Dane Cook, was almost funny. His monologue was a four-minute sample of his stage show, which is full of near clever observations and all but engaging physical comedy. The first show of the season sets the tone for the year. As the host for the season opener, Cook was…well…less than.

And then there was musical guest the Killers. Front man Brandon Flowers was decked out in a creepy moustache and oddly well-fitted western wear that seemed to be ripped right from the cover of the latest Urban Outfitter catalog. Jerking around and singing almost on-key, Flowers seemed to be trying a bit too hard to be weird. Crsipin Glover, he ain’t, lo though he tries.

If Saturday’s show is any indication, we may be heading to another dark chapter for the longest running comedy sketch show on television. Countdown to the obligatory SNL deathwatch: five…four…three…

American Idol in Chicago

So I was waiting for the hostess at a certain Chinese chain restaurant on Wednesday night in Chicago, and when she finally walked up to greet me she looked a little bewildered. As she was seating us, I heard a server whisper something about American Idol, and I looked over in the corner and lo and behold but who did I see? The Velvet Teddy Bear himself!

That’s right! I was in the same room with our second American Idol, Ruben Studdard, the man who beat Clay Aiken!

Of course, I was very excited so I said, “Hey, that’s Ruben Studdard!”

“Is it really?” asked the hostess, unsure of my credibility.

“Yeah, that’s totally him,” I assured her.

“Oh, okay,” she replied. “So that’s why they asked for a secluded table. I was all like, ‘Um…why?'”

No respect! It seems like everybody in the world watches American Idol, and then a couple years later the winner walks into a restuarant to get some lettuce wraps and nobody even knows who he is? I mean, really. The guy won American Idol. It’s not like he was just in the Final 12. He fucking won it. And nobody recognizes him three years later? What’s up with that?

He obviously needs to hire a better publicity team. That, or maybe—just maybe—American Idol isn’t quite the force it’s made out to be… Could that be it? Nah…