Gotta Get To Know You

Gotta Get To Know You – Spotify

Gotta Get To Know You – YouTube

And this is why algorithms will never replace deejays…

I just got an e-mail from Mike Marrone, of Sirius XM’s Loft, he sent me a track from Foghat’s debut LP that immediately took me to a zone wherein I felt fuzzy all over.

And I’d never ever heard it. Even though Mike figured I had.

That’s the thing about music, it may be recorded in 1′s and 0′s, but it can’t be quantified, it’s something you feel, that changes your life.

And it doesn’t matter if you drop the needle or push play, whether it’s rendered on a $50,000 stereo or comes out of the single speaker in your Chevy, the essence maintains.

Lonesome Dave is singing about getting to know a woman, but what we’ve gotta get to know are numbers like this, lurking on YouTube, buried on Spotify, just waiting for someone to point us to them, not because they want to profit from the exchange, but because they want the payment of the joy they see on our face when we finally listen.

Why is “Gotta Get To Know You” so fantastic?

Because of the MOOD!

That’s why we sat in front of our stereos, why we wanted to pull back the foam on our JBLs and climb inside, because we wanted to merge with this sound, we wanted to be taken away to a fantasyland where we were immersed in warm honey, floating down a river of dreams.

And this is not the kind of stuff you can build by committee. It’s got to emanate from a core of like-minded individuals who pour their hearts into a groove, thrilled that they’re making this music.

Just as much as we’re thrilled to be listening to it.

So, take your eyes off of Katy Perry, get your head out of the Sahara Tent, put down your smartphone and slow down for an ethereal ride inside your own brain. Isn’t that what the Moody Blues sang about, not having to leave your own home, your own mind, to go on an amazing journey?

Yes, “Gotta Get To Know You” is an album cut. Its sound hooks you instantly, but the reward comes in playing it to its conclusion, and then listening once again, not because it’s being trumpeted by the media but because your best friend told you to check it out, because you stumbled upon it at the end of an LP.

Once upon a time, this exquisite number would have been dead and gone, only remembered by the few who heard it the first time around.

But now, through the magic of the Internet, it’s right here for all to enjoy, to be transported to a land where TV and movies don’t matter, where your only desire is to tell everybody you know…LISTEN TO THIS!

But not until you’ve spun it so much it’s bonded with your DNA.

“Gotta Get To Know You” is subtle. There’s no guest rapper. It’s got no superfluous instrumentation. It’s fully-formed, it’s genius on wax, it needs no remixing, no release of stems so fans can place their stamp, it’s sealed, listening to it is like stumbling upon the Dead Sea Scrolls, an artifact from the past.

And Lonesome Dave is long gone. Rod Price too. They’re not going to know you played this. Their heirs are not going to profit handsomely, hell, they didn’t even write it. But money is not what music is about. Cash is just a byproduct. The jism on the sheets that Gene Simmons keeps pointing to that really doesn’t matter.

Because it’s about the experience, whether it be coming or listening to music, it’s what it feels like during, not what you’re left with after.

And these land mines are all over the Web, throughout music history, just when you think you’ve heard it all, you haven’t.

We just need someone to point us to them.

Thank god Mike Marrone pointed this one to me!

Young/Old

YOUNG

Are friendly, they’ll talk to anybody.

OLD

Won’t talk to anybody they don’t know.

YOUNG

Believe they’re all in it together.

OLD

Are all about status. They want everybody to know they’re better than they are and will pony up for VIP access or anything that separates them from the hoi polloi, especially if it’s visible.

YOUNG

Go to the gig to have a good time, it’s about hanging with your friends, known and unknown, it’s a license to party.

OLD

Go to the gig to hear the band. They know at least a few songs, if not all of them, unless, of course, they got the tickets through Goldstar or another discount operation…old people love a deal, they’ll sit through almost anything if it’s cheap enough.

YOUNG

Don’t remember a day when hats were not cool.

OLD

Some will wear hats, a bunch still will not, other than baseball caps, they still remember Kennedy being inaugurated sans chapeau, or the influence thereof.

YOUNG

Love to dress up, Halloween was always a national holiday to them, they’re unafraid of looking stupid.

OLD

Will dress up on occasion, but are too inhibited to look stupid.

YOUNG

Let their freak flags fly. If you’re odd, you can still be included.

OLD

Don’t want to be the victim of derision. They’re judging their brethren all the time. They haven’t seen each other as equal since Woodstock.

YOUNG

Are optimistic.

OLD

Are pessimistic.

YOUNG

Are laissez-faire, they believe life will work out.

OLD

Are afraid if they don’t pay attention, they’re gonna get screwed, they’re always afraid of getting screwed.

YOUNG

Want a photo.

OLD

Want an autograph.

YOUNG

See marijuana as part of the culture.

OLD

Still see marijuana as cool.

YOUNG

Don’t need a fancy car, if they need a car at all. They want to go places, but they’re willing to use every mode of transportation, from the bus to the plane.

OLD

See a car as a status item. They’ve got to have one and most keep theirs in good shape, they believe their auto is a reflection of their identity.

YOUNG

Want to travel.

OLD

Want to stay put.

YOUNG

Need to be there.

OLD

Don’t need to be anywhere, unless it confers status upon them, they’d rather stay home and watch television than go to the gig.

YOUNG

Listen to all kinds of music.

OLD

Only listen to the music they already know.

YOUNG

Will live with a broken cell phone screen, but they upgrade their handset as soon as they’re eligible.

OLD

Get their broken screen replaced, and are not eager to replace their handset.

YOUNG

Think that money comes and goes.

OLD

Think if you don’t hold on to the money you’ve got, you’re gonna run out in the future and they fear being destitute.

YOUNG

Smile.

OLD

Scowl.

YOUNG

Don’t talk much politics, they see the parties as similar and controlled by corporations. They see politics as “other.”

OLD

Talk politics all the time. They think they can make a difference. And they’re very busy protecting what they’ve got, irrelevant of whether this will negatively impact someone else.

YOUNG

Believe if you skip the dentist your teeth will be okay, that accidents will happen, but generally they’re invulnerable, and if they get hurt, they’ll heal.

OLD

Only skip the dentist or doctor if they can’t afford it. They shy away from activities for fear they’ll get hurt, worrying they’ll never heal.

YOUNG

Think they know everything, at least everything necessary to live.

OLD

Are so much wiser than the young, but the young won’t listen to them.

YOUNG

Don’t want to be old.

OLD

Are dying to be young.

Red Bull Rules

1. It’s not for everyone. I.e. it tastes like horse piss.

a. You’re defined by your haters as much as your lovers. Anti is everything. If someone thinks you’re trash, there’s someone else who loves you, who testifies about you and will die for you.

b. If you want everyone to love you you’re on the wrong path, that just means you’ve muddled your message so much that no one is passionate about you, and passion is everything.

2. Brand identity is key.

a. First and foremost someone has to know your name and remember it. How often does someone ask you if you know this musical act or not and you realize you don’t? Names are important. Making sure people are aware of that name is just as important.

3. The long haul.

a. Everybody today wants to be an instant success. Hell, we can even say it took twenty years for Apple to hit its stride, why does everyone in the arts believe they’re entitled to recognition right away, never mind riches? First you have an idea, then you refine that idea, then you market that idea. In other words, ideas are everything. Which is why the Ramones were so successful, they inaugurated punk, they realized the conception exceeded the execution. In other words, Johnny Ramone couldn’t play like Steve Howe, but it made no difference, he was a perfect executor of the idea. Also, you learn along the way. No one emerges fully-formed. It’s not until you journey down the path that you discover what you’re good at, what people respond to. So adjustment is key. What Steve Jobs was good at was synthesizing preexisting ideas and then marketing them via extended presentations and unique advertising. Having the idea/product is not enough. You must figure out a way to sell it.

4. Align yourself with a subculture.

In the case of Red Bull, it was extreme sports. This lent a renegade spirit to the brand. Instead of hiring an actor or another well-known celebrity, Red Bull signed up those who were stars in niches or weren’t stars at all, from Shaun White to that guy who parachuted from space. We’re all drawn to those who can do what we cannot. Furthermore, when they have a skill, they separate themselves from the reality television stars, who are famous for being famous and that’s it.

5. Support charity. As Red Bull does with:

Wings for Life World Run

Start giving from the beginning, make it part of your core mission. And never profit from your involvement. When I see “a portion of proceeds will be donated to charity” I hate the purveyor/perpetrator. If you’re not willing to give away all of the money, don’t even tell us. When you’re giving away a “portion” I believe it’s tiny, otherwise you’d give all of the proceeds away, like all the entry fees for the Wings For Life World Run. Don’t use charity to break your brand, but to enhance your brand. It’s just part of your core mission, it’s not the leading edge, it’s not the reason I should get involved, it’s just a BENEFIT!

6. Spend.

Nothing makes it without money. Certainly not in the era of Internet cacophony. If you’re asking for someone else’s cash, expect to give up power. No one is going to invest for nothing. And no one invests unless they expect a return. Better to execute a proof of concept first. Demonstrate you can make money, then you’ll get better terms. Even better, be in charge of your own destiny, don’t sell out. But without money, you’re nowhere, sorry.

7. Allow people to show your colors.

Red Bull’s got an online shop that sells a plethora of merch for all its pursuits:

The Red Bull Online Shop

If people believe in you, they want to demonstrate that belief by buying and using your merch. It’s great if you don’t need it, like Howard Stern, who refuses to do merch, but he’s spreading the word about himself all the time in the media. Red Bull is creating its own media. Once again, it’s the anti. And people want to align with the anti by wearing a company’s colors.

8. The CEO Must Embody The Brand.

Dietrich Mateschitz is not a wannabe banker.

Yup, losers who get rich don expensive suits and imitate the lifestyle of the people their customers hold in contempt. I may not love Facebook, but I love that Mark Zuckerberg wears that damn hoodie. He’s earned the right to. That’s what musicians used to stand for, the alternative… We made a fortune on the backs of our fans and now we do whatever we want. Instead, today’s musicians rarely have a core identity, their image is confused, with all their endorsement deals and their obvious desire to climb the economic ladder.

9. Never rest on your laurels.

Red Bull dives into magazines, TV production, it never rests, whereas when an act makes it today, it stops recording new music and goes on the road to rake in the bucks, forgetting its core mission. Lady Gaga might make money this time around, but with no hit records, she won’t be able to sell out arenas in the future. Gaga should cancel her tour and put out one hit record. Even if she has to sign up with Max Martin and Dr. Luke. She’s forgetting her core mission. Or maybe do an acoustic record. By going on tour, she’s taking her eye from the prize. The fact that she’s continuing to get mainstream publicity? So does Kim Kardashian, and when she’s done you’ll hear a giant sucking sound as her body collapses in upon itself, because there’s nothing inside. Kim Kardashian is perfect for today’s age, she’s all about money, that’s why she’s famous. But if you think money is a core product, then I hope you save it, because you’re not going to make it for long.

Wherever cool events take place, Red Bull is there. And that’s the only place it is. It’s not a classic brand, doling out a bit of cash here and there, its execs too ignorant to realize that’s a waste. Bud Light sponsors events, but it doesn’t burnish the image of the brand. Instead of sponsoring everything, Bud Light should just focus on one thing. Even better, Bud should have a new brand that ONLY sponsors music or another endeavor. Red Bull is about sports. It’s about extreme. You know that if you’ve never tasted the yellow liquid. There’s no point in being everywhere if no one knows what you stand for.

Rhinofy-Foghat Primer

I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU

The Willie Dixon cover that got no love in the “sophisticated” New York market.

I learned about this track from my college buddy John Hughes, it was all over the radio in his hometown of Kansas City during the summer of ’72. That’s the way it used to be, music was local, before the Internet truly turned us into a global village.

I didn’t know and I didn’t care. Savoy Brown never flew on my radar, did I really need to pay attention to the remnants?

YES!

Then the band released three more albums, none of which gained much traction, despite the second, “Rock and Roll,” featuring a brilliant literal cover photograph by Robert Downey (Senior, not Junior, you know, the man responsible for “Putney Swope”!)

Then, on their fifth LP, “Fool For The City,” the band hit pay dirt.

SLOW RIDE

TAKE IT EASY!

Eight minutes and fifteen seconds long and FM radio played the whole thing, incessantly.

It’s the kind of track you hate at first and then you come to love.

It hooks you when it breaks from the opening chorus into…

I’m in the mood
The rhythm is right
Move to the music
We can roll all night

There’s that dancing bass guitar, making you nod your head, especially if you’re in a Camaro, and then that electric guitar STRUM!

It feels so good, even though it’s not supposed to!

And when the track slows down four and a half minutes in, you’re hooked. You find yourself singing along, even though you don’t want to.

You can induct Patti Smith into the R&RHOF, you can lionize Lou Reed, but it’s stuff like “Slow Ride” that is the backbone of seventies rock and roll. PLAY IT!

FOOL FOR THE CITY

I actually prefer this to “Slow Ride.”

I’d lived in Vermont, Salt Lake City, I’d finally relocated to Los Angeles, where you could buy a burger at midnight and there were GIRLS!

The magic is about the energy and the crunchy guitars and that bridge…

I’m like a fish out of water I’m just a man in a hole
The city lights turn my blues into gold
I ain’t no country boy, I’m just a homesick man
I’m gonna hit the grit just as fast as I can

The track’s been screaming along and then it takes a left turn, as if you pulled off the Interstate into a rest stop to contemplate your life and ogle the wildlife.

And then it breaks down completely…

I’m tired of laying back, hanging around
I’m gonna catch that train, then I’ll be city bound

And then the track starts to scream again! He’s singing about a train, but nothing could accelerate this fast.

It’s the time changes, the soloing, the almost understated vocal… “Fool For The City” will never win any awards, but it’s there to ride shotgun with you every single day.

DRIVIN’ WHEEL

And this is from the follow-up, it’s the opening cut on “Night Shift.”

The chorus is simple, but infectious.

YOU’RE MY DRIVIN’ WHEEL!

And then the guitar rips off a riff and you get whiplash from the changes and it’s a ride so good you can’t help but take it again.

STONE BLUE

When I was stone blue
Rock and roll sure helped me through

Ain’t that the truth. If you haven’t got an e-mail from a fan saying your music saved their life, you’re not a rock star.

Life is complicated, and we count on our music to grease the wheels, to get us through.

Oh, let me ride on the mystery train
Ride through the night in the pourin’ rain

Listen to that slide guitar! Brings you right back to Memphis and the original fifties mystery.

Laid off work and I can’t be free
I need some rock ‘n’ roll therapy

These aren’t professionals, the fans of Foghat are hourly workers, blue collar, those who need a beer at the end of the day to get them through.

Put on a 45 and let the needle ride
Jukebox jumps and I’ll be satisfied

That’s what’s wrong with too many of those critics’ favorites, they appeal to your brain, to your intellect, but not to your gut, to your genitals, where rock has spoken to its true fans since the days of Elvis.

“Stone Blue” will definitely help you through.

BOOGIE MOTEL

My personal favorite. Because of the twinkly guitar sound, the riff, but most especially this lyric, which I can never get out of my brain…

Boogie Motel
Boogie Motel
May be sleazy
But it’s cheap and it’s easy

What a great rhyme! Simple, yet so right.

Admit it, there’s an appeal in sleaze. Especially when it comes to doing the do…we keep selling luxury, but what we really want is the basics…

Desk clerk’s heart beats like a hammer
Got a smile like a beat-up piano
Gives a nudge and a wink as you sign in
‘I got a room you can have a good time in!’

It’s funny, it’s sexy, it’s stupid, but IT FEELS SO RIGHT!

So how did I discover Foghat, how did I become such a devoted fan?

BECAUSE KLOS WOULDN’T STOP PLAYING THEM!

It was the midseventies, and I’d be driving around on a Saturday night and they’d be playing these songs, over and over and over again. And at first I pushed the button, but then I came to love them!

Pooh-pooh Foghat. Tell me you’re a devoted fan and I didn’t point out any deep cuts. But what I’m truly hoping to do here is to turn on those who weren’t alive back then, have them drop the needle, press play on this music which seemed so obvious back then but is positively revelatory today!

P.S. You’ll want to play the live versions of “Fool For The City” and “Slow Ride” from the 1977 live album, KLOS did!

Rhinofy-Foghat Primer