Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My response to Bob Lefsetz' response to David Lowery's response....

On June 18th, musician David Lowery of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven fame, wrote a very insightful article on music theft in response to a blog post made by one Emily White, an intern for NPR, who stated that she hadn't paid for any of the 11,000 songs on ther iPod. 

You can, and should, read his article here:


This morning,  I was directed to an article in response to David's written by somebody named Bob Lefsetz.  I found his logic fuzzy, his points pointless.  It was one of the biggest piles of horseshit I've ever read.  It inspired me to revive my blog and write a response to his response.  Initially, I thought that I should take the high road but decided against it.  Why should I?  So maybe I goofed on his name a couple of times and possibly called him an "assclown" at some point.  It was, in my opinion, well deserved, and, considering his reputation for being a snarky prick, he should actually appreciate it.

Below is Bob Lefsetz' article.  I've made comments along the way which are in bold.  I'm not going to link you to his article or his website.  Since Bob has no problem with people stealing other people's work I'm sure he wont mind.  He's also too chickenshit to allow the public to comment on his rants, so fuck him.


If only he’d make music as riveting as his writing, with as many people caring about what he has to sing. Then again, Lowery is preaching to the converted, wannabe artists who are pissed the gravy train broke down before they could get their fair share.

Funny that Lefshits chose the words “fair share” since that is the only thing that musicians are asking for. Most are not looking to ride this mythological “gravy train” that you speak of – we just don’t want to have are hard work and talents stolen from us. As for the “wannabe artists”, Aimee Mann recently reposted David’s article.  If she’s a wannabe artist PLEASE feel free to place me in her company.

While we’re at it, why don’t we save the printers’ jobs too. And bring back Smith-Corona. That company had employees…

Typewriters became obsolete while musicians and music have not. Not yet anyway. If we were obsolete I don’t think so many people would be stealing our music. And I certainly haven’t heard of any recent rash of vintage typewriter theft so your argument is invalid.

I believe artists should be paid. But that does not mean they should be paid the same way they used to be. As for inequality, the fact that they make so much less than the corporate fat cats…why not do a little protesting instead of fighting a little girl who’s on your side?

A) Who the fuck are you to decide who gets paid what?

B) Using David Lowery’s math, this poor “little girl” owed about 20 cents per song that she illegally downloaded. 20 cents per song. Stand back everybody and let me climb aboard the "gravy train".

C) Artists have been protesting corporate “fat cats” for years. For someone who knows so much about the music industry I would have thought you’d known that.

We live in a land of misinformation. Distributed by powerful people to keep you in your place. They like that David Lowery is beating up on this little girl, because that takes the attention off of them and the heinous activities they’re engaged in.

It’s hilarious how you repeatedly try to paint Emily White as an innocent victim of a terrible crime by calling her a “little girl”. I’m not sure exactly how old she is but I know that she is old enough to be a college student and have an internship at NPR. She is certainly old enough to know that stealing is wrong. And please point out exactly where in his article was David Lowery “beating up” this little girl. And I’m dying to know of the heinous activities that David Lowery and other independent artists are carrying out! I’ve heard about his upcoming trial for poodle rape…but that aside.

I’m beginning to believe George Carlin was right. You can vote, but it doesn’t make any difference. The owners of this country have a strong grasp upon the machinery and they’re never going to let you be in control, never gonna let you drive. As long as you believe the Republican mantra…"the party of the rich and soon to be rich"…you’re in trouble.

This is a pointless paragraph that contributes not one single thing to the wafer thin point you are attempting to make. Unless you can elaborate further on how George Carlin’s (brilliant) statement on corporate control over the world somehow justifies the general public stealing music I would recommend you go ahead and edit this out of any further printings of this piece.

Why don’t you face it. Most people don’t want to hear your music.

I’m a pretty nice guy and most people enjoy my company. I have a lot of friends. My wife occasionally reminds me to consider myself grateful for the number of close friends that I have, but I wouldn’t go as far as to claim that I know “most people”. I’m pretty sure that you don’t know “most people”. And does it really matter how many people steal from you? Considering the amount of shit you spew Bob I would say you are a pretty angry guy and if somebody stole something from you I think it’s safe to say you would be pretty pissed off about it.

And, if some do, that does not mean you’re gonna be rich.

Where in the article did Lowery say anything about “rich”?

And if you think being rich is everything, you never read Gregg Allman’s book, wherein he states:

"Money doesn’t impress me worth a f**k, and it doesn’t make me feel good. I’ve had it both ways – I’ve been rich and I’ve been broke."

Again you make reference to a statement that brings nothing to your overall point. I don’t know Gregg Allman but I would venture a guess that if you tried to steal something from him he would probably kick your ass

Gregg’s all about playing music.

If he never made any sort of living from playing music do you think he would still be doing it today? Maybe at home on the couch.

To be fighting file-sharing is akin to protesting dot matrix printers. File-trading is on its way out. Because it takes too much time to do it. And you don’t fight piracy with laws, but economic solutions. It doesn’t pay to steal if you can listen instantly on Spotify and its ilk.

And this justifies stealing how?

And please stop bitching about the low payouts… That’s like saying Apple should liquidate and give the proceeds back to its stockholders, which is what Michael Dell so famously said in the nineties. Spotify is a trojan horse. You get hooked, and then you pay for higher quality on your mobile. Facebook stock gets hammered because of its inadequate mobile strategy and you’re not smart enough to see the connection to music??? You can’t get Spotify and its brethren on your handset without paying. And you will. Because you like the convenience of having all your music at your fingertips all the time.

You really believe that most people will go out and pay for music because they want higher quality audio? Huge portions of the music buying population have grown up listening to nothing but MP3s. Most have no idea what higher quality audio sounds like or even what a vinyl record is for that matter! Higher quality audio certainly didn’t inspire our poor, hate crime victim, Emily White from going out and purchasing her music. She made that point pretty clear.

Yes, most people still think you’ve got to stream your music to Spotify on your handset. But no, your playlists synch, it’s just like owning them.

The public will figure this out a few years down the line.

As for the value of Spotify… That’s an investment game. Hell, it’s worth a little less since the Facebook debacle. If you want money, switch sides, go into tech. But your odds of getting laid and getting high are so much lower.

Attention all musicians – we are now going to switch sides and “go into tech”. We aren’t going to get high or get laid, but at least we will get paid for our work, right?

Bob, I’m really starting to believe you are functionally retarded.

We’re in the midst of a wrenching transition. Anybody who says they know where it’s gonna end up is just plain wrong. But one thing’s for sure, we’re not gonna be where we started.

The major labels, if they exist, will look different. They might not be in control. A future label might get the short end of the stick instead of the long.

You finally said something, Bob. It took you almost your entire article, but you finally said something. It says nothing to justify the theft of music but at this point I’m struggling to give you credit for anything.

The people in power are not listening to you. Not Universal, not Spotify, not Verizon, not Time Warner. Because they’ve got the power and you refuse to understand their game. They’re fighting for survival and you want them to pay attention to musical artists. That’s like Al Qaeda being distracted by U.S. high school protests.

David’s article was directed at Emily White and other music fans who steal music. Did you actually read the article?
You want to make a difference?


Then the doors open.

Because it’s only SHITTY music that is being stolen. I’m sure Emily’s iPod is just LOADED with music that she fucking abhors.

Lady Gaga famously told Steve Jobs Ping sucked. Was he so powerful that he could make it successful? No, she was right. She spoke truth to power. Are you speaking truth to power?

So what you are saying is that people are stealing music because they think it sucks? I have heard that most thieves go out and steal things they don’t want. Fuzzy logic, Bob.

That intern David Lowery is beating up on has no power. He’s wasting his time. And you’re high-fiving him as if it all makes a difference. You’re involved in a circle jerk anybody with the chance of making a difference is ignoring.

“That intern”, Emily White, has the power to pay for what she wants instead of stealing it. Again, I think that was the point of the entire article that I’m starting to think you didn’t actually read.

Why is it everybody in America can’t see the big picture? Why do union members vote for Scott Walker? Why do poor people want fewer taxes on the rich? Why do musicians think they can shame people into doing the right thing?

We musicians (union members) didn’t vote to be ripped off (Scott Walker). And shouldn’t people that commit crimes and steal be shammed? How did you parents teach you right from wrong, Bob? Have you no shame?

If that was possible, nobody would talk on their handset on the freeway. But this behavior is plentiful, to the point where deaths have not declined since the hands-free laws have been in place, because everybody ignores them.

Now you are saying that breaking the law is a bad thing. Your “logic” is making my brain hurt.

If we want to talk about law and shame, why don’t we get all the musicians to stop doing dope?

All musicians are on dope? Can somebody please get Henry Rollins and Ted Nugent on the phone for us please?

But they’re gonna say those are stupid laws.

And the public is gonna say that fourteen dollars for a CD with one good track is stupid.

A) Nobody forces anybody to buy anything. B) If you only want one song from an album you can buy it from your favorite digital download service for about 60 to 90 cents. C) Why are you listening to artists that can only deliver 1 good song out of 12 – 14?

You start first with a killer product. And then you leverage this for change. Knowing that economics are more powerful than emotions.

How can you possibly use something for leverage when assclowns like yourself are doing everything in your power to devalue the product?

David Lowery is not gonna make a difference. He’s speaking in an echo chamber. He’s got the right to do this, but that does not mean we should applaud it.

After reading this article, Bob, I imagine the only time you ever applaud is when you look in the mirror

He’s right. The artists have suffered financially with the collapse of the CD model/Napster. But with destruction comes opportunity… Don’t forget, the record companies sued to kill the Diamond Rio, the predecessor of the iPod.

Do you want to give up your iPod to satiate David Lowery?

No, we just want iPod owners to pay for the content they put on their iPods. You are really reaching, Bob.

Just hang in there. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Spotify pays most of its revenues to rights holders. The fact that labels come before acts and they don’t distribute all their income… Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

And the fact that revenues are low now…

And the fact that you....didn’t finish this thought leads me to think that you want your reader(s) to believe that revenues will eventually rise, even though that is based on absolutely zero data that you can state here in your article and you are just pulling this out of your ass along with just about everything else you written here.

Live Nation is worried about Sillerman and Burkle, not your misunderstanding of ticket fees, which you think its company Ticketmaster swallows whole.

The problem is the artists.

And it still is.

All people who wish to get paid for the work that they do are the problem, even if its 20 cents per song

Want to be powerful Mr. Lowery? Then make good music and sell it yourself. Be the new Curt Flood instead of one of the faceless minions agitating for the way it always was.

Do you have any idea what it takes to create music, Bob? To write a song? To write, arrange, record, produce, and release a song? Do you know that a lot of independent musicians are paying to record, produce and release their own material without the help of any label? Do you have any idea what that costs? Is it wrong for these musicians to want to get paid for their work? 20 cents per song. Are you that fucking cheap, Bob?

Music is dying. And instead of doing anything to help save it, assholes like Bob Fuckshits are stepping on its throat.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Fountain - Echo & The Bunnymen

Echo & the Bunnymen - The Fountain - 2009 Ocean Rain Records

I had planned on reviewing the Bunnymen's latest back in November when it was released. Once I had started writing the review I came the the conclusion that to really say what I wanted to say I would have to write an overview of the band's career divided into two parts: pre and post Pete DeFreitas. I got about halfway through writing and realized that it was becoming a short novel. Now we are back to the plain and simple review....4 months late.

The Fountain is the latest release from post-punk pioneers Echo & The Bunnymen. The first to be released in the US on the bands own dime via their Ocean Rain Records. If you are to believe EATB's lead crooner Ian McCulloch, The Foutain is the greatest record that the band has yet to record. Fortunately for me I stopped believing the one man hype machine called Ian McCulloch years ago. Rightfully so because The Fountain is far from being the best thing in the B-Men's extensive recording catalogue. In fact, it may well be their worst. That's not to say that it is a terrible album - if you were to tell me that this was the new Coldplay album (or pick any other band from that genre) I might tell you that it was pretty good. But when stacked up against everything EATB has released, pre and post DeFreitas, The Fountain is, sadly, mediocre. The first three tracks almost seem to blend into each other - nothing really stood out. It isn't until track 4, "Shroud of Turin", that my ears perked up and I began to get a sense of something , interesting and catchy. The following track, "Life Of A Thousand Crimes", with a beat similar to their hit "Bedbugs & Ballyhoo" is also quite catchy and has a memorable chorus. The title track is one song that could have been great but suffers from a horribly muddy mix that is hard to get your ears around. The ultimate disappointment of The Fountain is guitarist Will Sargeant. It breaks my heart to say this of somebody who has done nothing but blow me away with his guitar playing for the last 30 years - but he really seems to be phoning it in here. My one really lasting impression of this new Bunnymen album is "wow, Will has really lost interest". If this is what we are to expect from this great, great band, then I will soon follow suit

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brandon Schott is a man out of time. A review of his latest, Dandelion

Brandon Schott
2009 Golden State Music

Brandon Schott is a man out of time. Or perhaps, to be more accurate, he is a songwriter unstuck from the constraints of time. His latest album Dandelion gives the listener an overwhelming feeling of early 70’s Laurel Canyon (a neighborhood of Los Angeles, California which many great musicians have called home since the 60’s). Not that Dandelion is a deliberate homage in any way; Brandon shares so many qualities with the amazing artists that populated Laurel Canyon during this time period that its is easy to picture him mingling in this neighborhood of rock royalty. Schott’s songs are perfectly constructed (Jackson Browne, Graham Nash) but not afraid to surprise you with a left turn (Joni Mitchell). One such song, “Fire Season” garnered him a Hollywood Music Award just this last week. The vocal performances on Dandelion express such emotion, depth, and intensity that Schott could convey all of his feelings to the listener even if his songs were without lyrics (Judy Sill, Carole King). Though Brandon is essentially a solo artist the songs here possess the cohesiveness and musicianship of a road tested rock band (CSN&Y, The Byrds). From all of these comparisons it may seem that I am trying to convey that this album sounds "old". No, it sounds "timeless". Unfortunately, there aren’t many timeless albums being made today so you have to go into the past to find comparison. Let me explain...

There is a current trend amongst rock/pop musicians to emulate yesterday’s hit makers and call it something new. Most who try fail miserably. Why? Because, while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it makes for really boring, rehashed music. When you try to recreate music that is “timeless” you only end up with something that sounds dated. Artists, who take in everything around them (new and old) using their own perception to analyze and reconstruct it, give back to the world hybrid creations that are without time. Modern examples of such architects are Aimee Mann, Josh Rouse, and Richard Swift. Schott does this also and does it very well.

Dandelion's 13 tracks were recorded over three months time in a church near Schott's Glendale home while he was undergoing treatment and recovery from a stage three germ cell tumor. Every feeling you can imagine while going through this type of experience is in each and every song. Coming from an emotionally intense place such as this songs can easily turn maudlin, or the opposite, too hopeful to the point of being silly. Dandelion's songs are neither. The theme of Dandelion seems to be "life is a ride". We're all on it. Sometimes bad things happen. It’s a turbulent ride...but an honest one.

I would like to correct what I said in the beginning of this review. Brandon is not a “man out of time”. He is exactly where he needs to be in world quickly becoming starved of beauty and originality. Here and Now.


Brandon Schott’s latest release Dandelion can be purchased at iTunes and other major digital download sites. You can find out more about Brandon Schott and his music at


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dracula Boots - Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds

Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds
Dracula Boots
2009 – In The Red Records

At first glance you may not recognize the name Kid Congo Powers, but go back deep into your collection and check your vinyl by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Cramps, and The Gun Club. You will find his name. He has played with those bands as well as Congo Norvell, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and Mark Eitzel of American Music Club (to name just a few). Born and raised Brian Tristan in El Monte, California he was rechristened “Kid Congo” by The Cramps lead singer Lux Interior when he joined that band in 1980. Kid Congo and his guitar have been entertaining the flocking masses of punkybirds for over 25 years. Which brings us to his most recent work “Dracula Boots” released under his latest incarnation Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds. Dracula Boots is eleven tracks of psychedelic, surf, swamp, garage, punk, funk, rock, and blues, mashed up into a musical genre/beast that can only be called Kid Congo music. The guitars are fuzzy, twangy and washed in reverb – the rhythm section is incredibly tight and funky – the organs are vintage and distorted. Combine all of those ingredients with a Theremin and the tongue-in-cheek story telling of Kid Congo and you have a CD that will turn your grandma’s tea party into a go-go dancing extravaganza – or morph your boring commute into a high speed adventure through the seedy, back-alley underworld of the deep, dark city. It’s hard not to love a CD where the “squeak, squeak” of a kick drum pedal in need of lubrication is part of the rhythm of every song (it is, and I LOVE it!) or the guitar is out of tune ever so slightly – just enough to add another dimension to the twang. The true beauty of an album like Dracula Boots is found in its warts. And they are glorious.

Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds are currently on a world tour to support Dracula Boots. Buy the CD and catch their killer live show. You won’t be disappointed.


Saturday, November 7, 2009


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