I’m reading Larry Butler’s book. "Larry Butler, who’s that?" Mr. Butler was an artist development guy at Warner Brothers forever, when it was still the WB we knew and loved. And before that he was a musician, he opened for the Stones! Well, I’m getting ahead of myself.
You see that’s a story Larry tells in his book. It’s full of nuggets. The basic concepts are not new, but it’s a fun read, to find out Hilly Kristal was an unwitting beneficiary of Tom Verlaine’s inability to find anywhere to feature Television. Yup, Verlaine asked Hilly to play at CBGB, a relatively dead bar, on a dead night, Monday, and Television played to the usual suspects, a dozen friends of the band. But amongst that group was a reporter for the "Village Voice". Who concocted the story that Liza Minnelli had been seen there, back when she actually was a scenester, and the venue filled up the following week. And eventually Hilly asked Tom if he knew of any other acts that could play. Tom said Blondie, the Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith…and the rest is history.
Yup, musicians have been lying forever. Hell, they’re still lying! They tell me they’ve sold 100,000 independent albums. If you claim that number I figure you might have hit 1,000. And if you claim 10,000, I figure somewhere between 150 and 250. Yup, you trump it up and we don’t believe it.
But it used to be the only outlets that printed this crap was "Rolling Stone" and the rest of the rock press, sycophants who wanted to hang with the band. But when you intersect with big time media, i.e. television, i.e. "American Idol"/Fox, you can’t pull those low rent games anymore. And what’s worse, there’s a whole Internet spreading the word.
J. Lo asked for too much. And Tyler wasn’t even made an offer. They’re operating by old rules. They think if they keep repeating a story, it’ll be true. But we live in a different culture today. You own your faults, your defeats, honesty is the only policy today, because the truth comes out online, especially if you’re a star, if you’re noteworthy.
Imagine if Tyler said THEY DON’T WANT ME ANYMORE! Rallied his troops in defiance of Fox. As for J. Lo, she completely flummoxes me, she’s without musical talent and whatever fumes her musical career is running on were fanned by the damn show. Hell, she should have paid them to be on it.
I love the new world. Because the Net is a giant correction factor. Everything’s up for grabs. Everybody can play. Sure, the demolition of the old edifice has its price, the plethora of wannabes who aren’t good enough who clog up the pipe and make the scene damn near incomprehensible, but that’s not gonna last forever. Meanwhile, the new game is coming. And, unfortunately, the wannabes are gonna be left out, expect them to cry.
As for Larry Butler’s book… It’s a whopping $2.99 at Amazon. Hell, if you’re a member of Prime, you can read it for nothing. It only comes as a Kindle edition. You see Larry may be old, but his thinking is new. He was squeezed out of the old system and realizes that rather than pining about going back, to nowheresville, where he’s unwanted, he’s better off going into the wilderness and trying to find his way.
And I don’t expect "The Twelve Lessons Of Rock ‘N’ Roll" (For Your Career And Your Life)" to burn up the chart, to turn Larry into a famous author, but he’s making an effort, he’s trying, only when you dive into new water can you find your next destination.
P.S. It takes about an hour to read, it’s a glorified magazine article, but if you lived through the era, you’ll love the stories.
P.P.S. Larry can write. Most people can’t. Just because you’ve got a story, that doesn’t mean you’ve got a book, not that anybody can read.