The NFL Crashes

I don’t buy it. The story that the Presidential election is hurting NFL ratings. After all, the “Walking Dead” won Sunday night. Turns out zombies trump overdeveloped men when they go head to head.

This has been a long time coming.

That’s the story of the twenty first century, the decimation of old paradigms. What once was, no longer will be. In an era of experiences, where everyone wants to participate, be up close and personal, football is a bad fit. You can’t get a good seat and even if you do the game is better at home. A game that those who play it say the public can’t truly understand. One with very little action where so many men get hurt that nobody wants their kids to play anymore. This is a recipe for success?

But we kept hearing that live television was everything, sports ruled and football was king.

Until cord-cutting began… I don’t remember the last time I tuned in ESPN, and I’m paying five plus bucks a month for it. Talk about a rip-off!

And then there’s the dilution of the product. In this case, I don’t mean bad games without stars, but the proliferation of game days. Used to be NFL Sunday. Now it’s NFL Thursday, Sunday and Monday. It’s no longer special.

And the brass is out of touch.

How do you think it looks when your players keep beating up their spouses?

It reinforces the notion that the game is played by thugs. This is not college rah-rah character building, this is about money pure and simple. Otherwise, why would these men put themselves in the line of fire?

And we’ve been complicit. As our best stars get hurt. As our most famous stars can barely walk and literally lose their minds. Try having a rave in Southern California, can’t be done, too many people have died, the public won’t stand for it. And the public won’t stand for a sport that is literally killing its players’ futures.

But you can’t say this. Because football is religion. It’s the national glue.

But nothing bonds us all together other than politics and tech. Movies are niche, TV too. As for music…the biggest stars are known by few.

We live in a Tower of Babel society. No entertainment is immune. What does this mean?

Well, you either hunker down in your niche and be happy or you re-evaluate.

The music business sells niche and expects it to go mainstream, which is utterly hysterical. A great swath of the public will never listen to hip-hop. And a good chunk tunes out today’s pop. But they keep tuning into the vapid “Voice” despite the show never minting a star. Because there are songs. We’re enamored of songs. Where have all the good songs gone?

It’s hard to like Roger Goodell. He’s another robber baron, a corporate titan overpaid to care for the interests of billionaire owners out of touch with the proletariat. If you don’t think people have contempt for these so-called winners, you followed neither the Sanders nor the Trump campaigns. That’s the story of this decade, how income inequality has bit back, how the disenfranchised are angry and are exacting payment whenever they can.

We don’t need your stinking football games.

Not when we’ve got Pokemon Go! Not when we can be the star of our own world on Facebook and Snapchat!

Maybe there will be a bump in the ratings when the election is over and the championship races tighten up. But rest assured, football is in trouble. And it’s going to continue to falter. Like boxing, it can’t be fixed. And how do you expect a younger generation to pay attention when they’re all playing soccer?

That’s the sports story here, how European football, the world’s game, has gained strength. Because kids played it in school, because it’s based on finesse more than violence and…

Nothing lasts forever.

Kinda like the network hegemony.

A bunch of outlets are gonna fall by the wayside. Propped up by a cable bundle that is going extinct, the truth is few people are watching them.

But plenty of people are tuning in, watching higher quality television than ever before. Which outlets gladly pay for. Funny how quality has become the mantra. The executive is not the king in television, it’s the talent.

But do we revere football players anymore?

I don’t think so. They’ve all got such checkered pasts. And most are two-dimensional. Put them in front of a mic and all they can say is “I love my teammates, we won!”

Not very endearing.

It’s not the football players who dominate social media, but…

Enough already with the jockocracy. Rich athletes pumped up by fat television contracts. We’ve passed peak football. You lived through it.

They stopped killing people at the Roman Colosseum. And if you’re floating a bond to pay for a football stadium, stop. You’re better off investing in e-sports.

We used to believe cocaine wasn’t addictive, OxyContin too.

We used to believe football players had long productive lives.

But they don’t.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

It’s morning in America and football is toast.


Matt Nathanson Shook Me All Night Long

Matt Nathanson Aug 22, 2014: 15 – You Shook Me All Night Long [AC/DC] Impromptu-Clifton Park,NY Full

It’s all about the riff.

I bought “Back In Black” after hearing “You Shook Me All Night Long” on the radio. I knew “Highway To Hell,” “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” but I’d never bought an LP. I knew Bon Scott had died, that they’d replaced him with this godforsaken guy with a similar voice from the unheralded Geordie…

But I was not prepared for this mellifluous sound, as if the Beach Boys had been crossed with heavy metal, via Australia and South Africa. That’s right, the band was from Down Under. And Mutt Lange emigrated to the U.K. from the land of apartheid.

And I knew who Lange was too. He produced those Graham Parker LPs, and the City Boy ones I bought even though they did not live up to the reviews.

And at this point, AC/DC was the Black Sabbath of its day, hated on principle.

But that was all about to change.

I dropped the needle on the album and…

I heard those ringing bells, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame was inside my speakers, a harbinger of something…


Immediately hypnotic, Angus’s playing entranced you, the drums started to pound, the freight train was hurtling down the track and then the new vocalist, Brian Johnson, started to sing…

I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I’m comin’ on like a hurricane

Some cuts you only have to hear once, you get on board and when they’re done playing you’re deposited at a different location.

I was ensconced in my new house in Santa Monica after breaking up with my live-in girlfriend, I went to the store and bought eight albums to break in my new abode, smooth the transition, but the one that squeezed out all the old thoughts, that made me think things would be all right, was…

“Back In Black.”

And at this time, I was still drinking. It wasn’t long before John Lennon would be assassinated and I’d be pulled over for having too many drinks and I loved “Have A Drink On Me.”

Whiskey, gin and brandy
With a glass I’m pretty handy

Call me if you want to have five or six, maybe ten, one or two didn’t interest me, I wanted to have the best night of my life. Flaming Drambuies, Tequila Sunrises, Jack Daniel’s and Dewars, made no difference, I’d drink it all, marijuana was passe, the law had changed and you could legally drink at eighteen and I did. I remember living in Utah and waking up to see if my car was in one piece, after driving the mountain road down from the Tram Bar at Snowbird.

Those were fun times, but when that woman sexually abused me and I couldn’t leave because I was on summary probation, I gave up. Forever, even though I didn’t know that then.

And it’s amazing how “You Shook Me All Night Long” segues into “Have A Drink On Me,” you could play “Back In Black” from front to back, as you could the Def Leppard albums that followed, created by the same Mutt Lange.

But AC/DC could never equal their masterpiece. I ran out and purchased “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” the day of its release. You anticipated the greatness, you had to drop the needle and hear it right away when there was no other way. And I loved the title track, but after that… Kind of like Bon Jovi’s “New Jersey” after “Slippery When Wet.”

But “Back In Black”…

It’s become a cultural institution. The band went from dangerous to warm and cuddly. It’s been blown to bits recently but the funny thing is we now own these songs, we pay fealty to Angus, but we don’t care who sings them because they’re ours.

So I write about a Matt Nathanson song today and my inbox starts to fill up. I’m gonna give you a tip on music recommendations, it’s not whether you like it but whether I will. Deejays wouldn’t survive if no one liked what they played, it’s a skill. And most of what’s forwarded to me doesn’t float my boat, but today…

This guy Brad Parmerter sends me a clip of Matt Nathanson he says has 1.6 million views on YouTube.

This I’m interested in. I’m a data nerd. Most live clips are in the single digit thousands, double at most. If you break seven figures, there must be something there.

And Matt’s wearing his own t-shirt. Which is kind of ironic, he’s a jokester, hyping your own self is the lowest form of publicity. And he’s talking to the crowd, and I’m just waiting to hear…how close to the original he gets it, because people rarely do.

But the sound emanating from his guitar…IT’S THE RIFF!

And the drummer’s on the beat and when they get to the verse…



The walls start shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it

We’ve got a Presidential candidate who hasn’t heard of Aleppo.

People think the President is a Muslim.

But we all know every word to “You Shook Me All Night Long,” it bonds us.

This is not a metal show. You wouldn’t expect these people to know this song. BUT EVERYBODY DOES!

Matt never gets to sing, they carry the whole number.


Memories are made of this, this is why you go to the show, to feel this good at a one of a kind event. It made me tingle, gave me goosebumps, made life worth living for.

Benjy’s Late

Nobody plans to fail.

But they fail to plan.

That’s what the dental hygienist told me today. After telling me she moved to a new duplex in South Central L.A., an hour away. One day she decided to take the freeway, despite Waze’s incantations, but then it took an hour and a half. But she was still fifteen minutes early, she doesn’t want to be late.

On the drive into Beverly Hills Howard was chastising Benjy for being late, again. Told him he could lose this paying job and end up nowhere, like so many Stern alumni.

And this got me thinking, that half of the job is just showing up.

Forget the entrepreneurs, they’re a separate breed. But if you get there on time and do the assigned job you’ll climb the ranks, because so few others do!

Kinda like Daniel Glass telling me he only hires college graduates, not because you learn anything special in school, but because it shows you can complete something.

And this hygienist was a fountain of wisdom. She got married to a fifty year old and he had no retirement plan.

I have no retirement plan. I put some money in the bank, but not enough to get me to the end. And that’s where you want to go, the end.

She’s buying property, she’s learning along the way. It makes me wonder, what are my values, am I just a dreamer?

Last night I went to this “Influencers Dinner.” Utterly fascinating. Eight youngsters all on the make. People my age? They’re either running the business or they’re out. And it’s fascinating to hang with those in charge, who have power, but one forgets they’re making new people every day and that there are others who grew up with a passion for music.

One is starting a management company, Faction. It’s based on data and shared services.

You pay cost for an office and then you cough up 20-30% of your earnings, but you get shared services, social media experts, publicity, they’re built-in, available in the office, equity, and you get to use the app.

The app blew my mind.

Most of these things are half-baked. This one…

There was a whole approval system, a timeline, to make sure everybody had seen and signed off on something.

And you could allow people to talk to each other or not, you could end the conversation so you could move on with your project, or…

Andy Gould is in. Marc Friedenberg too. In six months they’ve exceeded expectations. There is still disruption to be had in the music business.

But I stressed it’s still run by duplicitous renegades, who march to the beat of their own drummer.

The majordomo said he was doing it for the artists, to claw back a bunch of the revenue leaking to others. Good mission, but artists tend to be ungrateful, it’s in their DNA. You’ve got to be screwed up to make it, and it’s your only chance, so…you make decisions others won’t and whine about it.

The organizer of the dinner started a publishing and record company. He used to work at Kobalt, now he’s on his own. He’s got a website where you suggest acts, the suggester gets a percentage of future revenue. This guy has signed four acts already. Spotify took a liking to one and in a matter of months its track has gotten 1.7 million streams and the majors are nibbling.

But the game is getting harder.

And it’s more sophisticated.

Tech is integrated into music. Which is why education will pay dividends in the future. The old gofer becomes President paradigm? Guy from the street makes it to the top? That’s probably going by the wayside, all the winners have skills and are much more intelligent.

And on the way home from the dentist, where I thought I had a broken tooth, having eaten two bowls of those hot nuts they serve you on American Airlines…

I heard Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher.” Howard was in commercial so I pushed the button for No Shoes Radio and after a John Mayer song, this came on.

I’d never heard it before, but I just checked on Spotify and it has 34,511,335 streams. Turns out I’m the last one to get the message. But I immediately knew I liked it, because music is first and foremost emotional, when it comes from the gut it resonates. And I wondered if it was the situation, driving on Olympic towards the beach after dodging a dental bullet. But I’m listening right now and it still sounds good.

Life is an adventure. Your job is to leave the house every day. Interact. You’ll learn lessons where you least expect to. Every person has wisdom, some are trying to get ahead, some are falling behind and…

I want to hear all of their stories.

“Come On Get Higher”

P.S. Faction is run by Robb McDaniels, who started INgrooves. Benjamin Groff is the guy who used to work at Kobalt…

Country Primer

Country Primer Playlist

For all of you classic rockers who can’t fathom the pop sound.

For all of you who wonder where the rock went.

For all of you who think country is redneck music, either totally right wing or too twangy…

This is for you.

I was once like you, and then I discovered…

“Stupid Boy”
Keith Urban

This is the breakthrough track. For me personally.

I realized I had a misimpression of country one day stuck in traffic on Sunset Boulevard when I decided to check out each and every Sirius station and ultimately heard Tim McGraw and realized he was good, but…

This is the track that made me believe I was truly missing out, and there was a whole new world that understood me, where I could be happy.

I know, I know, you’re not supposed to begin with a ballad, you’re supposed to hit ’em with the Hein, but the reason I’m starting here is…

The guitar solo.

It starts at 4:04, be sure to stay through there. You’ll think it’s the seventies, lying on the floor in the dark, sitting on the porch watching the world go by, when the ability to play was everything and we lived for the mellifluous sound, when it didn’t have to be a hit to be your favorite.

Little Big Town

The band has changed sounds, it no longer works with Wayne Kirkpatrick.

This sounds like “Rumours,” without being a remake. Little Big Town’s “The Road To Here” is a gem, one of the best LPs of the first decade of the century, if you like this you’ll like all of it.

“Before She Does”
Eric Church

If you think country doesn’t rock…

Eric Church’s “Caught In The Act: Live” sounds straight out of the seventies, and I’m emphasizing SOUND! It’s in your face, if you like your music heavy, if you like it to squeeze out the rest of the noise in your head, this is for you.

As for the reference to Jesus…

Listen to the lyric completely, don’t turn it off because they refer to the Lord.


An’ I believe that Jesus is comin’ back
Before she does

And that’s just FUNNY!

Remember sense of humor, it was key in the old days, but it’s been eviscerated from music today.

Now this only sounds good if you CRANK IT! If you’ve still got a big rig, if you’ve still got your JBL L100’s… GO FOR IT!

“Gunpowder & Lead”
Miranda Lambert

She’s become tabloid fodder, but her fame is deserved.

This is her breakthrough track, in it she’s every bit as soulful and infectious as all the female singers of the seventies. She’s Linda Ronstadt cutting even more loose. She sounds nothing like Ann Wilson, but they’re sisters from another mother.

The way the verse draws you in and then the chorus seals the deal… Makes you want to jump up and stomp your feet.

“Nobody To Blame”
Chris Stapleton

A cross between Pure Prairie League and Gram Parsons with a dose of Charlie Daniels thrown in.

This guy deserves the accolades, he’s the real deal, he’ll make you a believer, not only in him, but the present and future of music.

Funny, in a world where everybody’s boasting it’s refreshing to hear someone take responsibility, to say they’re less than.

“Drink A Beer”
Luke Bryan

Our bands did not only rock, they got sensitive too. One of the most poignant tracks CSN and sometimes Y ever cut was Stephen Stills’ “4+20.”

This is not the same sentiment, but…

We want our music to set us adrift. Life is complicated, music is the grease that allows us to move forward.

This is the cut that closed me on Luke. Could be by anybody, it’s that good, a deserved #1.

“Back Where I Come From”
Kenny Chesney

Listen to the audience sing along, that’s where this trend started, in country.

Kenny Chesney’s 2006 live album is the twenty first century Jimmy Buffett LP you wanted that does not exist.

Written by Jimmy’s sidekick Mac McAnally, “Back Where I Come From” will relax your muscles and make you feel good about yourself.

I’m an old Tennessean
And I’m proud as anyone
That’s where I come from

Makes you want to go to Nashville and Memphis and Chattanooga to soak up the roots of these songs.

“If I Die Young”
The Band Perry

If you dig Stevie and Christine and want them melded together in one meaningful cut…

This is for you.

“Still Feels Good”
Rascals Flatts

What a TEAR!

Come on, you like picking, you like energy, if this doesn’t hook you you’re already dead.

“Stay A Little Longer”
Brothers Osborne

Speaking of wailing.

This just makes you want to take a road trip, one of the kind before mobile phones, when it was just you and the radio with the top down, hand banging on the outside of the door to the music.

This ain’t that far from the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

But stay for the solo, you’ll be blown away, this ain’t no “Deliverance,” these guys all have Gibsons and unlike the pop prima donnas they practiced!

When the song changes around 2:45, hang on for the ride, it’s kind of like the break in “Hotel California,” it starts somewhere and then it takes you to a place you had no idea existed.

“She’s Got A Way With Words”
Blake Shelton

He walked by me at the Hollywood Bowl and I was struck by…how tall and what a hunk he was.

And now I’m stretching you a bit. But think back to the days of yore, when you stopped at a roadhouse or diner out in the boonies and there was a jukebox filled with country tunes and there was always one with a turn of the phrase that cracked you up, that entranced you.

“Round Here”
Florida Georgia Line

Did you go to college? Did you drink beer? Did you live for Friday nights when you took it to the limit?

Then this song is for you.

FGL nails it here. You can’t live the hip-hop lifestyle, you can just be you, and so many have decided that FGL speak for them.

Even if you despise the band in principle, you’ll have to admit this is catchy.

Or maybe you tuned out a few tracks ago…

“Night’s On Fire”
David Nail

An unheralded act who gets it right enough that it rings true. A country single with a catchy chorus and a good verse. Compare this journeyman work to that of the rockers and you might decide you prefer this…

“Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”
Cole Swindell

There’s truth in the twangy sound, even though the twang is oftentimes in the vocal only.

We’ve all had our hearts broken, what do you do when you’re at loose ends?


“Our Song”
Taylor Swift

Before she became a pop icon, when she truly appealed to everybody by being an everywoman, she was Joni Mitchell for teenagers, unselfconscious, speaking her truth, deserving of all the accolades.

This, of course, is not on Spotify. Because Taylor Swift lost track of the fact that music is for the audience and if you do it well enough there’s more money than you can spend. You want your tunes everywhere, keeping them from streaming services is a failed argument, Spotify free causes conversion. After all, it’s the market share winner and its paid tier is increasing at a faster rate than Apple’s, need I say more?

“Lips Of An Angel”
Jack Ingram

That’s right, the Hinder tune.

But this cover is better, it’s more meaningful.

And now we’ve come full circle. Maybe I lost you in the journey, but maybe I didn’t, maybe I opened your eyes, now you’ve got a whole new genre to explore. Start with Spotify playlists, but if you’re a Sirius subscriber, and you should be, check out the Highway and Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Radio, where he blends your music and his, rock and country, you’ll see we now all have the same roots, it’s a big tent, we’re all in it together.