Wednesday, June 15, 2005



Off the wall
Michael Jackson is found not guilty, but still faces pressing problems - an accountant revealed during the trial that Jackson currently spends $20-30 million a year more than he earns. Dude, live within your means!

Nelson George on MJ...
"Is Michael Jackson's career over? I don't believe so. He's too ingrained into the cultural DNA of two generations for him to become a totally insignificant figure. Will he sell 21 million records again? No. In fact its likely that 'Thriller' (which now behind the Eagles' Greatest Hits for most single albums sold) will never be matched by any album of new material. The business is so different than it was twenty years ago that to sell those numbers today is absolutely impossible.

To reclaim his place in world Jackson should refocus on his strenghts - he's needs to do his first American tour in 15 years and help people remember how good he was. But it shouldn't be one his big budget King of Pop extravaganzas. He needs a stripped down show, that emphasizes his vocals, that plays smaller venues like Radio City Music Hall, not Madison Square Garden, where his true fans can feel close to him. This is a strategy very similar to what Prince employed in the years before his comeback with Musicology.

Taking another leaf from Prince's cap Jackson needs to use his web site to sell records directly to his fans. A new Michael Jackson album, sold directly to consumers via the web and a distribution deal with a major label, would bring in tons of cash and allow him to be viable again. A scaled back, contrite Michael Jackson can be a part of the musical fabric of this nation for another two decades. But if he tries to act like its 1984 again he'll seem ever more out of touch than he already does."

ADDED More on Jackson's finances from the Guardian... excerpts...

"For a man often portrayed by his defence team as a naive Peter Pan, unaware of the machinations of those around him, Jackson showed an extraordinary shrewdness in the way he first acquired the Beatles catalogue. In 1984, he had been collaborating with Paul McCartney, who mentioned to Jackson his plans to buy the catalogue himself from the Australian businessman Robert Holmes á Court. But before McCartney could make his next move, Jackson telephoned John Branca, his lawyer, and, for $47.5m, the deal was done.

The catalogue should have been a source of lasting economic security - but economic security, it turned out, was not to be Jackson's preferred mode of mega-celebrity. Over the next two decades, successive lawsuits brought against him would bring into the public domain the astonishing details of his spending. There were, for example, the extravagant transportation arrangements for the 1987 Bad tour: a bus, a plane and a helicopter had to be available, all at the same time. There was the video for Bad, directed by Martin Scorsese, which cost more than $2m, according to Connolly's investigations. Then there was Neverland itself, purchased for $26m in 1988, not to mention the Rolls-Royce he bought Branca as a thank-you for reaching the deal.

... Jackson is now also understood to be considering a deal to sell Neverland and various rights, perhaps including ringtones of his songs, for $35m, to investors who want to turn the ranch into a theme park. The question now is whether, with no new record contract, he will be able to generate any significant revenues again from the sale of records or tours. Despite his belief that each record will do better than the last, the opposite has held true. His most recent release, the greatest hits collection called Number Ones, has sold just 906,000. The singer last toured in 1997, when his 40 shows grossed between $80m and $90m, according to various reports - making him second only to U2 that year. It is far from clear that he would generate anything like that success if he took to the road again."

More indepth coverage on Jackson's financials from CNN here.


I fought the law and...
Boing Boing hits up the EFF 's "comprehensive, accessible guide to the law and blogging, aimed at bloggers who are worried about protecting their sources' anonymity, about libel, about copyright and trademark infringement claims, and all the other legal risks that might stop a blogger from saying their piece." Link. Based on US law, of course, but worth a look. Any lawyer-types/media know-it-alls care to comment on similarities/differences with our laws and theirs?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005



Ring the Alarm, BaseFM, Saturday June 11 - playlist

So, I've decided to start putting up playlists from my radio show, partly so I can remember just what the heck I play each week. Enjoy.

Ethiopians – Muddy water
Skin flesh and bones – Do it til you’re satisfied
Maxwell implosion – Grasshoppper
Betty Wright -Clean up woman
Horace Andy – Just say who
Tanya Stephens – It’s a pity
DJ Format – The place
Skull snaps – It’s a new day
Black Twang – So rotten (upstate remix)
Roots Manuva – So cold (upstate remix)
Solephonic – What’s your style?
Kenny Dope – Supa
Kraftwerk -Computer love
Augustus Pablo – Assignment No 1
Damian Marley -Welcome to jamrock
Jimmy London – Cathy’s clown
The Bamboos – tighten up
Tiombe Lockhart – Mr Johnnie Walker
Ray Barretto – Mercy mercy baby
DJ Krush – Kill switch
Common – Testify
JA 13 and Rico Ridriquez – Wareika vibes
Brother culture – Foundation rockers (Twilight circus vs The Disciples remix)
Butch Cassidy Sound System -Burning sun
Kora – Burning
Romanowski – Why?
Womack and Womack – Teardrops
Dick Hyman – Give it up or turn it loose
James Brown – Funk bomb
Bic Runga – Something good (Submariner remix feat the Feelstyle)

Speaking of playlists, Simon Grigg's farewell show on GeorgeFM is listed here, with some pithy insights from him on 19 years of radio, starting out on BFM, back when all the alternative kids up there hated dance music.

" it was frustration that Roger Perry and I felt which led the two of us to approach bFm to do a regular dance based show in ’86. Nobody at all was playing the stuff we liked on the radio…that funky club stuff, that hip hop, that garage and funk-punk. And, to be honest, B was less than keen too.

"Murray Cammick had the killer soul show, Land Of The Good Groove, but that was purist soul...not the sort of stuff we wanted to play. Eventually we managed to find an ally in Lisa Van der Arde and were given a midday Saturday slot. So was born Asylum FM. The relationship was fairly symbiotic...we played in return for free ads for our club and it worked well enough for a while, until the all-disco-sucks regime moved us sideways in 87..."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tribal thunder downunder
Lance Strickland (former drummer for SPUD, King Loser, now based in Oz) has got a blog over here. Got some good r'n'r stories on there, like the time SPUD supported Sonic Youth and Lance incurred the wrath of Kim Gordon by "1. I asked Kim about the song Steve Albini wrote called Kim Gordon's panties. 2. I asked Kim for her autograph." Nice.

ADDED just quietly, the programme for this year's Film Festival may not be out til Wednesday, but it's already online over here at the official site.

Skate or die
Edwards presents 'Retro Skate', an exhibition covering skateboarding in Aotearoa from 1976 to 2005 - photos, posters, memorabilia, on display at Boom shop, Queen's Arcade, at the bottom of Queen St, from June 9 to 23.


Brian Eno thinks Arab music will be the next wave. I'd love it if American kids were listening to Muslim music," he said. "Wouldn't that piss their parents off?" (via Coolfer)


Jerry Casale of Devo interview

Vale of ReSearch puts out a
semi regular newsletter that's well worth reading. He included this excerpt from a recent interview with Devo's Jerry Casale from Vermont Review.
VR: Going back to your early days. You were present at the Kent State shootings in 1970. How did that day affect you?
JC: Whatever I would say would probably not at all touch upon the significance or gravity of the situation at this point of time--it would probably sound trite or glib. All I can tell you is that it completely and utterly changed my life. I was a white hippie boy and then I saw exit wounds from M1 rifles out of the backs of two people I knew. Two of the four people who were killed, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause, were my friends. We were all running our asses off from these motherf&*$#ers. It was total, utter bulls--t. Live ammunition and gasmasks - none of us knew, none of us could have imagined... They shot into a crowd that was running away from them! I sopped being a hippie and I started to develop the idea of devolution. I got real, real p--d off. VR: Does Neil young's "Ohio" strike close to your heart?
JC: Of course. It was strange that the first person that we met, as Devo emerged, was Neil Young. He asked us to be in his movie, The Human Highway. It was so strange - San Francisco in 1977. Talk about life being karmic, small and cyclical - it's absolutely true. In fact I just got a call from a person organizing a 30th Anniversary commemoration. Noam Chomsky will be there and I may go talk there if I can get away. I still remember it so crystal clear, like a dream you will never forget . . . or a nightmare. I still remember every moment. It kind of went in slow motion like a car accident. VR: You said that the Kent State shooting sort of served as a catalyst for your theory of Devolution, which spawned Devo--
JC: Absolutely. Until then I was a hippie. I thought that the world is essentially good. If people were evil, there was justice...and that the law mattered. All of those silly naïve things. I saw the depths of the horrors and lies and the evil. The paper that evening, the Akron Beacon Journal, said that students were running around armed and that officers had been hurt. So deputy sheriffs went out and deputized citizens. They drove around with shotguns and there was martial law for ten days. 7 PM curfew. It was open season on the students. We lived in fear. Helicopters surrounding the city with hourly rotating runs out to the West Side and back downtown. All first amendment rights are suspended at the instant the governor gives the order. All of the class-action suits by the parents of the slain students were all dismissed out of court, because once the governor announced martial law, they had no right to assemble.

Link (via Boing boing)


Stevie Wonder keeps Motown waiting for his latest album, his first in a decade...
"It's a rainy April night in New York, and Sylvia Rhone, the new CEO of Motown Records, is lounging on an oversize bed and whispering coquettishly in the ear of her label's legendary star Stevie Wonder. They are at the chic nightclub b.e.d celebrating the birthday of his daughter Aisha Morris, whose arrival 30 years ago inspired his classic "Isn't She Lovely." But Rhone seems fixated instead on trying to charm Wonder into finally delivering "A Time to Love," his first studio album in a decade.

She'd already managed to coax the first radio single from him, "So What the Fuss." Rhone had also begun negotiations for a television special and visited Wal-Mart and Best Buy headquarters to trumpet Wonder's return. She'd spent some $200,000 for billboards. Yet on May 3, when the record was slated to go on sale, Wonder was still refining it. Alas, the CD won't even reach stores for the rescheduled release this week on June 14." More in Newsweek.


GELDOF, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT
Pink Floyd to reform for Live8. Oh please, no.