Latch Music's Ezine #2
* "The Zine" content is contributed by Dave Latchaw and colleagues who use the Internet to promote their musical projects. You can check out previous issues at "The Zine" Archives.
- Article: "Ego, Music and Jobbing" by Dave Latchaw
- Guest Artist: Jim Reiske - Guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and recording production. He is one of the most incredible musicians I know.
- Featured Web Site: Discipline Global Mobile
- Featured Web Video: Mike Keneally and Beer For Dolphins
- CD Pick: Joe Zawinul "My People"
Ego, Music and Jobbing
by Dave Latchaw
Who wouldn't want Sting's or Prince's job? The world is full of musicians who are artistically credible, yet completely unknown. Being successful in the music business is a lot like playing the lottery. The odds are against the musician because of the vast numbers all wanting the mega star's job. Today it's even harder than it used to be. The record companies invest so much money in their acts that new talent can't depend on anything except being ripped off and getting short-term support. If that second disc doesn't meet the projected sales, you're out of there. Then what?
A musician will either end up musically jaded, or find out that they still dig music and bring an entrepeneurial direction to their artistic endeavors. I have seen too many musicians driven by their ego when tackling the music business. When it doesn't work out for them they stop doing music altogether, or they do music with a crappy attitude. What is with that? If one decides to do music it should be for the love of music, not for the love of being on MTV. Yeah, being on MTV would be cool, but so what? So often, we as a society measure success only by financial means. Creating new music and playing should always be in the musical game plan. Money can bring a certain amount of freedom to work on creative enceavors, but should not be relied on.
There will be times when music will seem like your job, but keep it in perspective. Maybe you won't always love everything about it, but you have to pay the bills. Know your musical boundaries and find a balance between work and that spark which made you want to be a musician in the first place. Keep your ego in check. Even if you can play like Hendrix over "Satin Doll" and can do gymnastics on your axe, who cares? You need to be playing what is appropriate for the occasion. Remember, if you're playing "Old Time Rock and Roll" it doesn't matter that you can play "Giant Steps" in every key. If you can't stand having the person who hired you tell you to turn it down, don't agree to do the gig. If you are not willing to teach a student the new flavor of the month, don't teach.
Most musicians have some sort of dysfunction. A lot of times it seems to be an inflated sense of self-importance to counteract their low self-esteem. Eventually, one has to deal with this. If music always feels like a job, you need a better balance with creative outlets that give you artistic satisfaction. Keep your work your work, and your art your art. Don't forget perspective. Figure out what you dig and do that. Be professional with all aspects of your music. If you are conscientious and try hard, you will do all right. No one owes you anything.
#1 List any of your links that you would want the reader to check out.
I would have to recommend about everything Zappa related! I believe Zappa may very well be one of the greatest and most representative composers of the 20th century. Check out "Civilization Phase III". Now imagine listening to that in about 100 years! This guy was so advanced. Also there are lots of cool sites on Nicola Tesla. If you don't know about him, you should. He was the Godfather of nearly ALL THAT IS TECHNOLOGY! You will not believe all the stuff he invented. They don't teach much about him in school (even colleges) cause he was not "Merikan"..... There are some excellent sites on science.....Bugscope is one. Get up close and personal with a praying mantis, or how about a dust mite.....
#2 Include any bio information that is not on any of your links.
I grew up in Kendallville, Indiana along with an unusually high number of "Heavy" musical cats. Hard to believe the talent and scope that has emerged from a sleepy Midwestern industrial/farming community. Some people say it was the music program at the East Noble county public schools, but I beg to differ. Some of the heaviest cats didn't even participate in school music. I would have to insist that it was the governments' nuclear weather pattern testing in the 1960's that dumped copious amounts of glowing shit upon us, with the intent of supposedly measuring air flow patterns in the event of a biological or nuclear war. (Other than the one they waged upon us). Soo........ Maybe something genetic or whatever....
#3 How has the Internet changed your musical endeavors?
Well, I have always enjoyed the studio, way more than performing. The reason being that there are very few variables in terms of social interaction and climate. Also traveling on the road on and off over the past 25 years or so has become more like a "Stupid Test" and less like a viable way to promote and play really serious music. If you play ZZ-top covers in a second rate tavern then more power to ya. But don't expect to get any respect or acclaim doing much of anything else. Two cases in point: Mike Keneally and Beer for Dolphins, one of the most dangerous live music organizations you are ever going to see in a tavern/club. Go have your head ripped off... Albeit in a very spectacular and hideously musical way). Next, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Baddest of bad, all time supercharged fusion/bluegrass/funk/jazz outfit rippin it up in little 50 seater taverns. Could not get a record deal if their lives depended on it. And these guys are the real deal. Anybody that has heard em and doesn't get it, can kiss my ass. You better get a new heart, some soul and some ears that work baby!!...... Come on guys. Run. Run hard. Hit the wall. Again....... O.K. now, how many times do you need to do this to figure out, it ain't gonna work. Keneally loses something like $6000.00 every time he does a little three week tour. For what? To sell maybe 200 CD's? I am gonna post music on the mp3 site. Promote the hell out of it, and actually make some money. Hey, I still have my own web site selling my own and other people's cd's. Guess what? No record label to keep 98% of the money! No overhead for me to have my own basic site. Link the shit out of every available cross link, or related site. Now I have my own online community. MP3 is the heart of it, but only the beginning. I think the DAM program is very hip. For people that don't want to commit to "Making their own CD's" this couldn't be much more perfect! Man, your fan digs you, orders the DAM. They make it, ship it, and pay you. The only way it could be any better is if you got to keep ALL THE MONEY. For those of yu who would prefer this avenue, get off your butts and order 100 CD's from your favorite manufacturer. (I use and endorse Disc Makers) E-mail and ask me why...... At this level, sell em on your pathetic gigs, your web site, your church pot luck, neighbors garage sale..... in other words anywhere, and KEEP ALL THE MONEY. Never before in the history of modern recording has the artist had so much power and control over his destiny. Thanks Internet, Thanks MP3. No thanks SONY!!!!!
#4 What improvements would you make to the audio quality of an mp3 file?
Get it into more of the ATRAC type open ended encoding decoding thing. Rather than leaving it a "Static" medium (I do mean that two ways). Create accomodations to allow for the improvement of the software along the way. Right now mini disc has finally won me over from DAT as my format of choice for archival mastering along with the CD. Five years ago, I would have said "no way!, Never!" So, things do get better when the architcts of a new technology build in an upgrade path to allow for taking advantage of each new improvement in performance and software as it comes along. Mini disc is finally here, Now!
#5 How do you see the Internet changing the music business?
That's the toughest one to answer. I think you would need a crystal ball to give any sort of intelligent answer. I will say the entire model of doing business for everyone is changing. Of course the ones who are on the ground floor and stay hip to the ebb and flow of it all will win in the end. You don't dare fall behind, or deny yourself some new tool just because it is new or different. You know if Mozart or Hendrix were alive today, they would be pushig it to the limit. The sooner we all do, the sooner this whole thing is gonna play itself out. I for one can't wait to see what's on the other side!
#6 What do you think would improve sites such as MP3.com?
Better links. Less stations with more listeners. Actual original 44.1 16 bit wave files on the DAMs. I don't know...... More naked chicks!!...... Sorry, just checking to see if anyone is actually reading this. I am not a sexist, just a little perverse.....
Discipline Global Mobile
Robert Fripp has blazed the musical trail with King Crimson and other projects, and now he's done the same with his own record company, Discipline Global Mobile. He has set up a record company that is supportive of the artist and avoids many of the problematic tendencies of the major labels. Fripp has provided an outlet for music and musicians who are not quite mainstream but deserve to have an audience. The website contains vast amounts of information on DGM and their artists, and also provides a shop front for mail order. Huge amounts of content here. This is an excellent model for any up-and-coming artist who has realized that the traditional methods of record companies suck, and is ready to strike out on their own. Click here to go to the Discipline Global Mobile web site.
Mike Keneally and Beer For Dolphins
**Update - December 2003**
This video is no longer listed on Mike's web site, however he does offer quite a selection of downloadable videos on his Mike's Sights 'n Sounds page.
This video, played via Mike Keneally's website, is from a concert they did for 1200 students at Full Sail Real World Education's Success Seminar on June 5, 1999. Incredible playing by the whole band. I have seen Mike live twice, and he blew me away both times. The first time was the summer of '98, at a filler gig during a tour. This was a home grown, backyard, behind the barn, open air, hay wagon festival on the outskirts of Butler, Indiana. I had the chance to be introduced to Mike by Jim Reiske and found him to be a personable, cool guy. I was looking forward to the show but didn't quite know what to expect. Here was a guitar hero who has a bio that would make you wonder why he's playing small-town Indiana. As it turned out the music was great, the band was great, and the thing that impressed me the most was that they performed for 75 people like we were 75,000. Check him out any time he is in your area.
- the unofficial mk-bfd website
- MK-BFD Chat Room
It seems that for the past four years, every September I find myself drawn to this collection of music. I have always been one to connect events in my life with the music I was listening to. It was four years ago that I had the opportunity to hang out and play with some great musicians in Plock, Poland. Fortunately, most of the people that I met spoke better English than I spoke Polish, but when it came to playing music there were no barriers. "My People" is a fabulous representation of "World Jazz". The collection of musicians on this album spans the globe. Joe Zawinul's vocals and his keyboard playing, along with his band (The Zawinul Syndicate), is the unifying factor in the various configurations of world musicians on each composition.
Musicians for "My People"
The Zawinul Syndicate
Paco Sery: Drums and Percussion (Ivory Coast)
Matthew Garrison: Bass (USA/Italy)
Gary Poulson: Guitar (USA)
Arto Tuncboyaciyan: Percussion (Anatolia)
Salif Keita: Vocals (Mali)
Thania Sanchez: Vocals (Venezuela)
Arto Tuncboyaciyan: Vocals (Anatolia)
Burhan Ocal: Vocals (Turkey)
Richard Bona: Vocals and Bass (Cameroon)
Bolot: Throatvocalist and Topshur (Altai Mountains/South Siberia)
Duke Ellington: Spoken Words (USA)
Alex Acuna: Percussion (Peru)
Rudy Regalado: Percussion (Venezuela)
Michito Sanchez: Percussion (Cuba/USA)
Souleyman Doumbia: Percussion (Mali)
Tal Bergmann: Drums and Percussion (Israel)
Amit Chatterjee: Guitar (India)
Osmane Kouyake: Guitar (Mali)
Cheik Tidiane Seck: Keyboards (Mali)
Bobby Malach: Saxaphone (USA/Poland)
Mike Mossman: Trumpet and Trombone (USA)
Djene Doumbouya: Background Vocals (Guinea)
Assitan Dembele: Background Vocals (Ivory Coast)
Beto Sabala: Background Vocals (Peru)
Kenny O'Braian: Background Vocals (Venezuela)
Lucho Avellaneda: Background Vocals (Peru)
Tracks for "My People"
- Introduction To A Mighty Theme
- You Want Some Tea, Grandpa?
- Slivovitz Trail
- Orient Express
- Erdapfee Blues
- Mi Gente
- In An Island Way
- Many Churches