Monday, August 27, 2007



Many comments about my exclusion of Hip Hop in the musical trend blog a few weeks back. Understandable as it should have been prefaced that the overview was focused on Rock music trends. There are similar but distinct lines that track different music genres such as Hip Hop as well as Country and other popular genres.

My mistake for not clarifying that. I do notice though that Hip Hop like any new form follows the same path as any revolutionary offshoot. It starts in the underground…emerges as a culturally significant sound that scares those who don’t “get it” (look, lyric, attitude etc…), then goes into the mass market and is ‘acceptable’ and finally becomes a part of the mainstream sound. The Rock similarities are striking: The dangerous Jim Morrison freaking out the middle aged in 1967, permanently banned from American Airlines for urinating on a Flight Attendant…then in 1997, he’s featured on American Airlines video as an “American Icon”.

Had a good Artist Confidential with Kool and the Gang. I was never a big fan, but they were really good, and those who WERE big fans, STILL ARE (It’s that 16-30 thing—musically formative years---the music you grew with—stays with you!) I always was impressed that they used the exact same riff on Celebration as on Yes’ Roundabout. BK Kirkland did a good job hosting and Kool and his gang were just wonderful to deal with. The flight up in the Cirrus was good. Took Aaron Lee and Bill black from our production aces. Bill was a little concerned about the flight having not flown with me before. Aaron didn’t make it any easier as he was humming “That Smell” from Skynyrd before we took off. Oddly enough, Bill used to be in the Army and jumped out of planes into battle. So, after we took off and he realized we weren’t in for certain death, he relaxed and was the ideal passenger. A good thing since flying with those guys is like flying with two Linebackers from the ’86 Bears. Aaron and I hung out in NYC after the show as he had to do some mixing and I had a presentation at Lowe, our agency. Kind of a “the soul of XM” thing. More on that later. With an open evening I invited Aaron to dinner. He deserves it. Works his ass off and despite many opportunities to, never complains—just gets it done.

We went to Milos. A spectacular Greek Seafood place. Last time I was there was with our Jonathan Schwartz. The very Greek manager sort of took us under his wing and suggested some strange fish that “just caught in the Mediterranean three hours ago” (must be a fast plane to make it to NYC that fast I thought). Anyways we ordered it. Then—he came back and said the fish was too big...”come, look at our selection”…we went to the back to inspect the fish on display and he pointed to another one “just caught in the Mediterranean three hours ago”—Took his word. It was great. Had Skordalia, a powerful garlic puree. Three days later my dogs wouldn’t even look me in the face. Great place though. Love the Greek vibe.

Next morning, spoke to the entire agency. It was fun. Speaking to them emerged from an offsite we had geared to define the XM Brand. They went around the room asking people to tell an XM story. Many of the stories were a bit tame as in “It was so cute when my dog Snuggles first heard XM and gave a big bark…”. I decided to tell the story of a bonfire we had at my house where the entire programming department brought a tee-shirt from a station they worked at and we lit them all in a swirl of kerosene to symbolize our mission. Then proceeded to do a war dance. Our neighbor, a CIA psychiatrist (seriously) was most impressed. Jack Wormington, our SVP of rockets and a retired General was more frightened of this event than his 8 years in Viet Nam. I think the story—embellished with expletives, helped change the tone of the offsite from tame to gutsy. It was the “attitude” side of XM vs. the traditional side. So—I went up and preached the XM attitude! Great receptive group.

After the session, headed back to Teterboro. It was madness. Huge delays, bad weather and bad congestion with controllers having zero tolerance for anything short of airline level communications skills. Some poor bozo in a Piper Cherokee couldn’t keep up and the controllers basically told him to stay on the ground and not to bother him. Having filed a flight plan for only 8000 feet, we lucked out and got a clearance pretty fast…unlike the 500 heavy iron guys (big jets) all filed for 30000+. Once off the ground it was smooth sailing back to BWI where I dropped off Aaron. But the plane definitely had remnants of the Skordalia lingering in the cabin…

Loved the Simpson’s episode last weekend. It’s where Kent Brockman gets fired. The whole show is about a Fox show bad rapping Fox. So honest and real. Hilarious. I love Fox. I think a lot of their shows are cheesy and as a hard core Independent, the news is a little Over the Top at times…but all in all for what they do I think they do it so bloody well. I’m sure Murdock will make the Wall Street Journal very scary to the competition. There are Fox bashers out there---They should study them rather than bash them. Their execution and boldness is refreshingly excellent.

On the other side of the coin, there’s local TV News. I’ve been watching it lately. It’s so bad ---it’s funny. It’s not far off from an SNL routine. The clichés are beyond belief. A parody of itself. Check it out—it’s SO goofy!

Got a sneak peak at the new Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour Series---WOW! He’s taken it up a notch. And Tom Petty is back in production. Bob n Tom (now THERE’S a morning show) have some amazing shows coming.

Billboard Magazine looks pretty good these days…they’ve really improved that.

Opie and Anthony did a show here in DC. Spent some time with opie. Trying to get him to fly with me. He and Anthony talk about me flying drunk and falling asleep which is quite ridiculous. But I think he believes it “might” be true. His girlfriend thinks it is. So now it’s a mission to get him up since I’m frighteningly clean (compared to 20 years ago especially!), and go into an unbelievable state of Air Force straightness when anywhere near an aircraft. Airplanes aside, I like talking to him---he’s edgy but still likes to hear about the old tricks that he and a can re-think. Can’t design the future til you understand the past…


At 3:20 PM, Blogger Chandler said...

Your theory that the creation or advancement of of music is in spurts by artists working outside the confines of the estabishment. Nor does apply only to music.

Malcolm Cowley, historian of the Lost Generation, former editor of The New Republic, and president of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, wrote regarding writers that they "do not come forward singly...they appear in clusters and constellations that are surronded by comparatively empty years."


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