The Reunification Festival

The live business has already written off 2020. The big acts don’t want to take the risk of cancellation, there are way too many startup costs, to get geared up again for the fall? NO WAY!

So, they’re waiting until 2021.

That’s the dirty little secret of touring today, the costs. That’s why tours have sponsorships, that’s why acts make national touring deals, they need that cash to ramp up, and if they are left high and dry…who is gonna eat those costs?

Certainly not Live Nation. Live Nation is most concerned about its stock price, so it keeps on telling Wall Street that tours are gonna start up again by June or July, the summer is LN’s most profitable season, and all will be hunky-dory and the stock will bounce back. As for AEG? No one knows, since it’s privately held by Phil Anschutz. A Republican in Democratic clothing, Phil is worried about being outed as a supporter of Trump and his agenda, certainly his business agenda, so he’s laying low until the virus is gone, like I said, 2021. And who knows? Phil’s 80 years old, a member of Covid-19’s target demo, so now is not the time for him to take big risks.

But 2021 is. Especially if there’s no risk involved.

It’s gonna be Martin Luther King Day weekend. Mark your calendars right now, this is a four day affair, running from Friday January 15th to Monday January 18th.

The first thought was to have it during the Christmas break, when everybody is home and can pay attention, but it turns out the acts go on holiday, as does the business, can you say the Four Seasons in Hawaii?

And, with a new year, you get a new start.

And LN and AEG are gonna work together on this. Even Jerry Mickelson. But Seth Hurwitz and IMP are left out, this affair has got to be squeaky clean.

Now it’s a well-known fact that Coachella is the most lucrative festival in the world.

But the only thing more lucrative was Desert Trip. You remember that, the biggest acts of the sixties, playing for boomers in the fall?

Well, needless to say you can’t do this in Palm Springs. The weather is not amenable and it’s the high season for snowbirds, there are no hotel rooms available.

So, for weather, antitrust and tax reasons, the Reunification Concert is happening in Mexico. Cabo, to be exact. Sammy Hagar personally negotiated with the cartels, they’ve agreed to back off for the weekend. However, insiders know they’re taking 10% of the net. Then again, touring always was a crooked business.

So, what is happening?

The biggest promoters in the world are reuniting the biggest bands in the world for one big blowout, to make everybody forget about Covid-19 and realize that music heals the world.

Headliners?

Pink Floyd. Waters and Gilmour together again.

Led Zeppelin. Yup, one more time, this is what everybody has been clamoring for. The rumor that Josh Kiszka, the vocalist for Greta Van Fleet, is going to take Robert Plant’s place is totally false. If you’re alive, you play.

Which means that one night will be the Eagles. Yes, Randy Meisner will take it to the limit one more time. He might need an oxygen tank, but Chuck Negron uses one every night on stage and he gets away with it.

And, of course, there’ll be Bernie Leadon.

And Don Felder

As for Henley?

Well, Frey’s gone, he had the biggest problem with Felder and Henley’s deal says that if Felder talks to him, he doesn’t get paid, so that should keep the harmony.

That’s three nights.

The fourth?

Simon & Garfunkel. Yes, yes, Paul Simon has said he’s never touring again, but he did not say he’d never play. My source at CAA said Paul made this statement to drum up interest in the ultimate reunion, and this could be the last time.

And of course the Stones will be there. But, with Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor. You betcha, see it to believe it.

Paul McCartney?? For one time only, they’re billing it as the Beatles. Ringo will be on the skins, although rumor has it Abe Laboriel, Jr. will set up behind a curtain, Macca insisted upon this. As for guitars? Joe Walsh will play lead, doing double duty this weekend, when Paul would not let go of Abe, Ringo insisted on his brother-in-law. And just like Deacon Frey plays the role of his father in today’s Eagles, Julian Lennon will play his dad John, after all, like Deacon, his voice sounds the same.

And the undercard will be filled with other reunions. If the band has stayed together in its original form, it cannot appear. Frusciante jumped the gun, but word is the Chili Peppers are involved. And speaking of Q Prime, Jason Newsted will appear with Metallica, Robert Trujillo will have to sit this one out.

Clapton had the promoters puzzled, with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker dead. But now it’s been established Derek is going to reunite with John Mayall. Yup, they’re going to recreate the “Blues Breakers” album, play it in its entirety. Yes, John McVie will play bass. However, Fleetwood Mac will not appear, Stevie Nicks hates Lindsey Buckingham just that much.

But, since One Direction is reuniting, and Stevie loves Harry Styles, you still might get to see her on stage.

Capacity?

The largest attendance for a show is disputed, but to be sure it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records, the promoters are shooting for a million. That’s right, 1,000,000 tickets sold! That might sound ridiculous to you, who wants to go to a concert and sit that far away, but the truth is just like the wankers overpay to sit up close, hoovering up every ticket to your favorite act, they’ll attend this show. But, they’re going to sit in the back! Yup, they don’t care about the music anyway, VIP is going to be all the way back, you may not even be able to see the stage, but those buying the tickets won’t care. You get a laminate, and a Grammy. That’s right, since the Grammys are now meaningless, everybody who pays for VIP gets their own Grammy, and for an extra $250 it is engraved with their own name. Starting price for these tickets? Well, Meglen is gonna flex-price them, to try to keep out the scalpers, but they’re expecting $10,000 apiece. As for paying 100k, which gets you your own private bathroom and a gram of coke, that’s just a rumor.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the cartels are going to squeeze the hotels, and the promoters get 10% of what they get, so it’s a win-win.

As for food? MEXICAN! That’s right, it’s cheap and you can overcharge for it. As for water, Robert Kennedy, Jr. has been paid to spread the word that Cabo’s water is undrinkable and you must buy overpriced bottled water. Hell, if he can convince everybody vaccines are bad, he can certainly convince them water is bad.

And because everybody will be there, the Pollstar conference will happen the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the show. This is a way to get the agents to pay, because you all know the agents are gonna schnorr the tickets.

The airfield is being expanded as we speak, to handle all the private jet traffic. That’s another record they want to break, the promoters want to beat the Super Bowl in terms of the number of private jets parked. Should be easy, don’t you think?

And yes, there will be sponsorship up the yin-yang. Hawaiian Tropic has already signed up, you get a tube of sunscreen every time you go through the gate.

And yes, the tickets will have rolling bar codes, so if you buy from a scalper, you’re SOL.

However, just like with sports, to offload risk, rumor is they’re going to offload 10% of the ticket inventory to scalpers. These will be legitimate tickets, kind of a gray market offering, the rolling bar codes will work with these tickets.

But to get a ticket, you must have a phone.

And now we get to the clincher, monetization, who is going to pay for all this?

APPLE!

Yes, Apple TV+ has been a disaster. As for the numbers they’re touting, almost everybody got a free subscription with the purchase of an Apple product, no one would pay for such crappy programming, especially when they dribble it out week by week.

Netflix bid hard, but Apple bid harder, because Apple NEEDS IT!

And when you need it, you have to pay for it.

So, if you want to watch the festival at home, you’ve got to get Apple TV+. You can buy a subscription, but Apple believes customers will buy a product for the free access, and since Apple margins are in the neighborhood of the high thirties, they’re doing their best to recoup their costs.

No, Jimmy Iovine did not negotiate this deal, Tim Cook is still pissed that he ripped him off with that fakokta Beats streaming service, and then doubled-down with the U2 free album promotion. No, this deal was brokered by Irving Azoff. Irving takes the long view, he’s been buttering up Tim and Eddy Cue for years! And at Lucian Grainge’s 60th, in the desert, Irving closed them.

And yes, Lucian’s on the road to recovery. Universal has the recording rights. If you want to hear the music after the fact, you’ll be able to stream it. However, Lucian refused to give Apple an exclusive, he laid down the law, it’s bad for the business.

Getting back to U2, they cannot appear, no way, since it’s still the original four members. However, Bono has been angling for a slot based on a technicality. He’s proffered if they axe Guy Oseary and bring back Paul McGuinness they should be able to play. This is one for the Commissioner, but since the Grammys fired Deborah Dugan, there is no one impartial who is fit for the job. Then again, Dugan used to work for RED.

However, in this ever-changing world, David Geffen has been negotiating with Andrew Cuomo to be the Commissioner. Yes, Geffen’s got a long history in politics, he’s betting on Cuomo running in 2024, and David wants to rehabilitate his image after the Instagram yacht fiasco. Cuomo can’t focus on this now, but Geffen thinks he’s got him.

Back to the undercard.

Just like with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, there will be a fan vote. Whatever act gets the most votes must reunite. And since almost all the acts worth having on the show are already members of the Hall, they’ll be threatened with expulsion if they don’t hit the boards.

This is a one time only event.

And to get the best tickets, you’re going to have to line up at the Apple Store, just like you do for the iPhone. One line of thought is this will be a middle finger to technology, demonstrating music’s power, but I’m not sure I see it that way. As for camping out, there are people lined up right now, risking Covid-19, even though an on sale date has not been established. That’s right, people are willing to DIE to see their favorite bands!

The classic rockers are dropping like flies. So, buy a ticket or be left out.

Oh, it’s not only classic rock acts, of course NSYNC will be there with Justin Timberlake. And Dre and Ice Cube will perform as N.W.A. And there will be a special category for one hit wonders, they’ll occupy the opening slot each and every day.

The shows start at noon. And you know how the oldsters can’t stand or sit for that long, so when they leave, their tickets will be resold. I know, I know, this brings up the issue of rolling bar codes, but Jared Smith says he’s got it all figured out. Worst case scenario, you get a phone with your ticket, the ducats are gonna be just that expensive.

Yes, this will be the greatest festival of all time. Far beyond Glastonbury, Woodstock, Coachella and Desert Trip. And at the end, there will not be fireworks, the crew is gonna burn the stage down. Yup, it’s gonna look spontaneous, then again, I just let the cat out of the bag.

God may not be able to kill the coronavirus, but the belief is music can. I mean you can’t kill Keith Richards, and Ozzy has nine lives (no, Black Sabbath will not appear, even with Bill Ward, they’ve burned it out, and everyone agreed to leave Sharon Osbourne out).

No, the acts are not doing it for expenses, this is not a charitable affair. The music industry hopes to get some of that $2 trillion dollar stimulus, and it’s skilled at ripping off those who want a piece of the big top, but still, promoters are gonna lose so much money due to the coronavirus, they need this.

So, book your hotel and airfare IMMEDIATELY! No, this is not a secret plot by Trump to aid the airlines, but it will make a difference. And you know, since the airlines wrote the book on flex-pricing, if you wait they’ll overcharge you. So, now is the time.

I’m excited, ARE YOU?

News Update-Day 20

Now the reality sets in. Finally, just about everybody is on the same page. Yes, there are still states that are not on lockdown, but they will be, unfortunately after people die. For example, look at Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s reopening of Liberty University, it turns out that God is no match for the virus, assuming there is a God, but this is almost a foxhole moment, where you pray even if you always questioned his/her/its existence.

And in addition to the lockdown issue, there’s the issue of equipment and behavior. We still sorely lack equipment and hospital beds, but GM and Ford are at least on the ventilator case, and just like in China, buildings akin to the L.A. Convention Center are being repurposed as hospitals.

So now, it’s about the bigger issues, what happens when this is over.

Most people can only see what is in front of them, these are the same people who have no savings, who are one paycheck away from being broke. Ironically, it’s not only the poor, but those with good incomes who spend like a rainy day will never come. Then again, the economy runs on consumer spending, even though we’re constantly told by the titans that they’re the ones who make the money. Well, without customers you’re dead on arrival. In any event, in moments of crisis, that’s when you get change.

This clarion bell has been rung most recently by Canadian Naomi Klein, in her book “The Shock Doctrine.” Watch this video to get the idea:

“‘Coronavirus Capitalism’: Naomi Klein’s Case for Transformative Change Amid Coronavirus Pandemic”

But it’s not only Naomi recognizing this, today “The New York Times” featured a story on this:

“For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power – “Leaders around the world have passed emergency decrees and legislation expanding their reach during the pandemic. Will they ever relinquish them?”

In moments of crisis/panic, when the population is scared, the rulers impose new rules for order, which then never evaporate.

As for Ms. Klein, you should follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein Naomi is fighting for the people, and you’re one of them, even if you don’t consider yourself a leftie, you should read her, because she has her finger on the pulse of the intersection of government/big business and labor. The internet is unfiltered, unlike the newspaper, the only editing that is done is in one’s head, and despite hotheads bloviating, there are a lot of deep thinkers who never get a voice in the big media, Naomi Klein should be on every news channel, including Fox, but she’s not part of the media/industrial/pundit class, looking to sway opinion to make money, so she doesn’t get a seat.

Speaking of politics, you should read this article from “The New Yorker.”

“Reality Has Endorsed Bernie Sanders – Bernie Sanders’s proposals are especially apt now, when the coronavirus is revealing an economy organized around production for the sake of profit, not need”

To tell you the truth, the “New Yorker” article gets a bit boring, just a few paragraphs might suffice.

But, there are a small number of publications that affect the debate, ones that movers and shakers, the intelligentsia, the powerful, pay attention to, and “The New Yorker” is one of them.

And speaking of bottom-up power, I’m sure that in the last thirty six hours you’ve seen all the articles about the C.D.C. considering whether to tell everybody to wear a mask in public. This would be a reversal of policy. I believe this advisement will come to be. The point being, when everybody’s at risk, when logic and science come into play, those with power are wary of alienating the public. This is the same playbook Trump employs. He throws it out there, and if blowback is too big, he adjusts, and usually denies he ever took the initial position to begin with. I could delineate examples, but either you believe he contradicts his statements or you don’t. In business, unless it’s written down, people contradict and change their position all the time. But when you’re a leader, it eviscerates trust, you’re working for the people.

As for Fox News, Howard Stern had an excellent point yesterday. The average age of a Fox viewer is sixty five, aren’t these the people Fox should be warning about the evils of Covid-19? After all, Fox doesn’t want its audience to disappear.

But the big story of today is the coalescence of celebrity backlash.

It started with Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video. It’s been excoriated in every medium known to man. Not only is the singing terrible, but what is its benefit? The participants just demonstrated how out of touch with the public they are.

And then you had David Geffen posting on Instagram about self-quarantining on his yacht. It seems that David is always auguring for status, he needs to make sure you see yourself as inferior to him, but in an era where money won’t save your life, no matter how rich you are, in one where people are struggling to make ends meet, it’s just plain tone-deaf. And people remember your missteps for a long time. One must applaud Geffen for giving so much money to philanthropy, but if he really wanted to burnish his image he would have figured out a way to fight Covid-19 for all of us.

Then there’s Elton John’s Fox show. At first, reviews were very good, now the backlash has gained momentum. First and foremost, why are these rich people asking the hoi polloi to donate, can’t they open their own wallets? Second, Tim McGraw was singing from his diving board by a giant pool…meanwhile, people are worried about having a roof over their head.

But it’s not only the rabble-rousers, big media comes last, but the “Times” did a story today:

“”Celebrity Culture Is Burning – The pandemic has disrupted relations among the masses, the elites and the celebrities who liaise between them.”

Now the headline in print is even better, “You’re a Celebrity. Who Cares?”

This is the culmination of twenty five years of the internet. Despite old media telling us the star system is the same as it ever was, that is no longer true. Over the decades, the people have gained power and believe they have power and demonstrate it online constantly, if you don’t know this, you’re completely out of touch. The bubble is being pierced, be sure not to stay inside.

And all your movements, all your club memberships and whereabouts, are trackable online, mostly because you put them there! But attendance lists are revealed and… If you’re taking advantage of the largesse of bad actors, people are gonna find out. After Geffen put up his now deleted Instagram post, the internet was rampant with pictures of “celebrities” hanging out on his boat. Does this work for them or against them? I’d say the latter. Now is when teams matter… Are you on Team Trump or not? And did you do what was expedient to give Biden the nomination or..?

That’s another big story in the news now, how Biden is hurting for money, and it takes money to make it.

There’s a lot more happening, I’m sure you’re not calm and collected, and there’s no reason you should be. But if you obey the self-quarantining rules, the odds you will get Covid-19 are much less.

But plenty of people have already gotten or will get it.

The husband of one of my closest friends has got it, the test came back positive, he’s enduring the illness.

Once again, as that video from Dr. David Price said, the defining factor is whether you have difficulty breathing, if you do, go straight to the hospital.

And Tom Rush has it. He may be young at heart, but he’s seventy nine, and a good friend of mine, I worry.

And speaking of worrying, let me print some e-mails from my inbox:

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Hi Bob

While we have known each other a long time and I’m a regular reader of your emails I have never felt the urge to write to you until now. I’m writing to thank you for continuing to write about the current situation. As you said in your opening “This Is Important,” and while initially people did not take this seriously, they are now but we can’t relax. We must all be stronger than ever and follow the advice of the Doctors and Scientists and experts.

Just as you mentioned that Sunday was an “off-putting day” for you, it was an incredibly emotional day for me and I cried often on Sunday. Unfortunately I had the Corona virus but I am now feeling fine. I was in Cedars Sinai Hospital here in Los Angeles for a week and then came home and was on oxygen 24 hours a day. It’s now been 2 weeks at home and I’m off oxygen and feeling good again.

Sunday was such an emotional day because like you, I kept getting the news about the deaths from the virus of Country Artist Joe Diffie, Actor David Schramm, Maria Mercader from CBS news and others. And then I watched the iHeart Living Room Concert and was crying watching the footage of the Doctors, Nurses and medical staff on the front lines and people in ambulances and it was just all too real to me. I was that guy in an ambulance just a few weeks ago and in isolation in a hospital room with these masked gowned brave medical people who are risking their lives every day. I was just overcome with emotion and realizing a lot of these people dying are younger than me and how lucky and blessed I am.

Bob, don’t stop! Keep writing as often as you feel necessary when you have important information to pass on. Stay safe and healthy.

Paul Farberman

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My wife and I are ensconced in a hotel in Bangkok. We’ve decided not to return to Boston any time soon. On the advice from my doctor about the spreading contamination, the panic hoarding, and an incompetent leader, it is safer for us here. Thailand has been taking the virus seriously for months. Like most of the world everything is closed save supermarkets and pharmacies. Yet here you are thermo scanned for fever whenever you enter a hotel or grocery store. Hand sanitizer is abundant.

In Bangkok the hospitals are highly regarded, have plenty of tests and are not overrun with patients. Thailand’s population is ten times larger than Massachusetts but there are fewer cases! Virtually everyone wears a mask. (Asians are comfortable wearing masks; they wear them when they have a cold for the welfare of others.) Besides masks we sanitize our hands so often we might as well bath in the stuff.

Yes, it is Groundhog Day but with a VPN we can download music, books, films and series. Please continue with your contemporary curation.

Oedipus

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From: Ross Mollison

I furloughed 350 people last week from our incredibly successful business – totally unexpectedly – I cannot tell you what is next. More bad news would be terrible. The political leadership in most countries including Australia and US is scary. Don’t they read the reports we pay for them to know what is coming?

I want my life back Trump.

Stay safe,

Xross

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From: Tj Woodside

Hi Bob, I take Spanish lessons online every day and all my teachers are working from Colombia. I asked some of them how their quarantine was going, was it being respected.

All countries have citizens who feel like they don’t have to follow a ‘stay at home’ order.?Some countries are more serious about stemming the spread of the virus than others:

Penalties for Violating the Colombia Quarantine
Anyone who violates the measures adopted and the instructions given in the Decree of Mandatory Preventive Isolation, will be subject to a penal sanction provided for in article 368 of the Colombia Penal Code.?Article 368 indicates that whoever violates a sanitary measure adopted by the competent authority to prevent the introduction or spread of an epidemic, will be imprisoned for four to eight years.?In addition, a violator will have to pay the fines ordered by Decree 780 of 2016, issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
-Be careful of violating this quarantine. The police in the Aburra Valley are out in force and have caught over 2,300 people who have violated the quarantines in the metropolitan area, as of March 25.

TJ, 75 years, Louisiana

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From: Morton Wilson
Subject: Re: Masks

Dear Bob,

Thanks for this. I have lived in HK for 35 years and experienced SARS first hand. We lost (I think) around 300 people here during that period. One day a few people were wearing masks – an odd sight. Within a week if you were not wearing a mask people stared at you.

Back in January, even before our lame administration closed schools and started to issue ‘work from home’ edicts, pretty well every person in HK was wearing a mask, and it remains that way today. Taxis here have hand sanitiser bottles on the back of the front seat, a lot of bars and shops have someone at the entrance taking your temperature, and people open doors with their elbow, avoid handrails and generally carry a small alcohol sprayer. That has been the ‘norm’ for over 2 months now. That said, life goes on pretty much as normal (albeit cautiously), as it does in in Singapore & South Korea.

As best as I am aware 4 people have died from the virus in a city about the size of NY with a population of 7.8m. Sadly, we are facing a recent uptick in cases (60 on the weekend) from the thousands of students returning home now that US & UK and others have FINALLY closed schools and colleges – a lot of these ‘tweens’ are not staying at home for 14 days – they’re out partying – a handful have been arrested and put into quarantine in less salubrious locations. Overall, though, we have been extremely fortunate and I despair when I see so many countries (including my own home, NZ) where masks are somehow considered useless or ‘wussy’ . . . even worse, where I see so many wearing them like a cowboy, over the mouth but not the nose – ridiculous!

Even simple masks can offer SOME protection from people around you, and they can also protect others if you should cough, sneeze or even just talk to volubly if you are a carrier. Wear a fresh one every day. Why wearing a mask should be an ‘issue’ is beyond me.

Best wishes to all,
Morton

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So Irene, my ex and mother of my child, has been hospitalized with confirmed Covid.

You’ve met her with me, years ago.

I’d just like to let those sick assholes who have responded with all their vitriol and contempt and self-righteous selfishness and judgement that they should immediately punch themselves in the throat so they shut the entire fuck and fully up.

I’m not so small and cheap as to wish on them what we have been shoved into, but its crossed my mind for ANYONE that espouses this Trumpian Hoax or Hype bullshit.

I’ll just say this, it’s WAY fucking real, it AIN’T the fucking flu, and you motherfuckers are making things WAY worse!!

Stay the fuck home, get some actual science under your belts before you open your mouth, and until you DO get some facts – shut entirely the fuck up, cause you know shit.

Wade Biery

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From: Richard Fairgrieve
Subject: Internet Ignorance

babylonbee.com/news/joe-biden-releasing-weekly-podcast-on-vinyl

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Bob

You know what the Native Americans say
The right wing and the left wing are both part of the same bird

Stevie Salas

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“Drone Shot of My Yacht”

www.instagram.com/p/B-YGR-UFH_M/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

“If it’s stuck in my head, it might as well be stuck in yours. Here’s ‘Drone Shot of My Yacht,’ as featured in on last night’s @currentmood.”

John Mayer

The funny thing is, this is a hit, it’s the most commercial thing Mayer has done in years. It’s catchy in lyrics, changes and sensibility/humor.

Now you can’t get it out of your brain.

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“This is How China Beat the Corona Virus – should we copy?”

This is a MUST-WATCH!

You might think it’s a bit slow at first, but hang in there, it’s worth every minute.

We live in such a bubble, we’ve got this idea that China is totally backward, but watching this your jaw will drop, because of the technology.

Of course, of course, of course, it brings up HUGE privacy issues.

But the funny thing is…we’ve already given up so much privacy. People have cameras inside and outside their home, many easily hackable, never mind the cameras in public that make you “feel” safe, especially in the U.K., watch any crime drama and they’re always looking at the footage from the security cameras, and it’s a rare occasion when there are not images.

So, this is where Naomi Klein comes in…do we want to sacrifice our privacy for safety?

Once again, watch this video.

My History Of The Doobie Brothers-Part 1-SiriusXM This Week

My History of the Doobie Brothers-Part 1 – Spotify Playlist

I made this in my bedroom.

Normally I go to the brand spanking new SiriusXM studio in Hollywood, but needless to say, we’re all sequestered at home. So, one week we did a rerun, and then we had a History of the Beatles episode in the can and now…

And now, I made it all myself on GarageBand on my Mac!

It was a learning curve, not a steep one, but there was definitely stuff to figure out.

Let’s start with a USB mic. I thought I had a couple in storage, and I blocked out a ton of time to look for them, but actually it took me less than ten minutes to find them. I’m using the Apogee HypeMic, which I highly recommend. It comes with a tripod and a pop filter, and you can check it out here:

Apogee HypeMiC

Unlike the usual $100 models, it comes with a ton of features that you can figure out quite easily.

So, I plugged it into my iMac.

First thing I had to learn was that it is not automatically selected. That you have to go into System Preferences and pick the external microphone.

And then I loaded GarageBand, which I’ve had for years but have never had a reason to use.

I couldn’t shut off the damn metronome, but then the Sirius engineer, who was on FaceTime, figured it out.

Recording is quite easy. The only issue is the levels. I’ve always heard you want to go occasionally in the red. Then again, we’re not using tape, so there’s not an issue of being so low that you get tape hiss. As for distortion? The Sirius engineer, Alex, wanted input set low. So I adjusted the levels of both the mic and the program to get it where he wanted it. There was a lot of experimentation, but it wasn’t hard once you put your mind to it.

Recording is damn easy.

Sharing, not so much.

First I thought it was like any other file, I always save to the desktop.

But then I found out you have to open the package to find the actual file. And then, with research, I found out you can share directly from GarageBand, it’s easy, like taking candy, from a baby! Only the default is a 192kbps file, and I needed a wav. Turns out there’s a drop down menu, and you can select “Wave.” Huh? Doesn’t everybody spell it wav, or .wav?

Sharing via Dropbox was not hard, but it turned out sharing via Apple’s Mail Drop was far superior, it was certainly easier for me, but Alex said he preferred it this way, I sent it all three ways, the foregoing two and as an attachment to an e-mail. For the PC crowd, Mail Drop allows you to send large files directly from the e-mail program, and this one was just under four hundred megabytes.

Now, back to the studio.

Like I said, I cut it in the bedroom, because my office is too noisy, there’s no sound absorption. First Alex told me to put on a hoodie and then a pillow on each side of my iMac, but then talking with Doug, the podcast engineer, it occurred to me I hadn’t told Alex I also had a laptop, and discussing sound reflection and such, Doug suggested my bedroom.

So, I’m kinda proud of myself, I learned something new, you get a great sense of accomplishment when you push your personal boundaries.

Anyway, it’s been well-established that I love the Doobie Brothers. I made a playlist for the uninitiated, even for those who think they know the Doobies, it’s at the top of this screed, but let me give a few notes, go song by song.

1. “Nobody”

This is from the very first album, which almost no one has heard, because back then you had to buy it to hear it, and without a hit or a big story, no one would buy an album. But “Nobody” is a hit, even though it was not.

2. “Listen To The Music”

This is the one that broke the Doobies big, it almost needs no introduction. But it was so perfect, one wondered if the band was a studio concoction, kinda like hearing the Eagles’ “Take It Easy”… It was so good, was it really a band or a bunch of studio cats?

3. “Jesus Is Just Alright With Me”

The other radio track from the second album, “Toulouse Street.” I always thought it was a cover of a Byrds song, but the truth is it was written by Art Reynolds, I’ve included his and the Byrds’ versions here.

4. “Rockin’ Down The Highway”

The thing about the Doobies, is they rocked, and they were mellow too. I vividly remember this coming out of Jimmy Kay’s 8-track in that condo at Mammoth where we spent the month of May ’75, where I was hammered daily by the Doobies and realized how great they truly were, and still are!

5. “Toulouse Street”

This is the title cut of the LP, and presently my favorite on the album. It’s a Pat Simmons number, quiet and ethereal, from back when albums were our best friends and we put them on and they set the mood, and let our minds drift away.

6. “Cotton Mouth”

Another Tom Johnston rocker, but the truth is it’s a Seals & Crofts song! I’m also including the original.

7. “White Sun”

Quieter, but it’s Johnston, not Simmons. Once again, this is not in your face, maybe not your idea of the Doobies. It’s quiet, with great harmonies and great playing.

8. “Disciple”

This is the longest cut on the album, nearly seven minutes, and not a second is wasted, it’s a rocker, but it evolves, another must-listen.

9. “Long Train Runnin'”

And now we get to the third album, “The Captain And Me.” This was the gigantic hit, the one that broke the band through, that got them on all the late night music shows, like “In Concert.”

10. “China Grove”

The other big hit from this album, I preferred this to “Long Train Runnin’,” you can’t listen without nodding your head, getting into the groove.

11. “Natural Thing”

The opening cut, and for a long, long time my favorite on the LP, it’s now been superseded, but “Natural Thing” is still great. The singing, the changes, they’re all great, but the synthesizer sounds created by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff put it over the top. The two made records under the moniker Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, but they’re most famous for the sounds they created for Stevie Wonder’s legendary breakthrough, “Talking Book.”

12. “Dark Eyed Cajun Woman”

Sets the mood immediately, and is supposedly a tribute to B.B. King, it’s got that feel.

13. “Without You”

Another Tom Johnston rocker that might seem generic to you, at least generic Doobie Brothers, but hang in for the breakdown at 2:25, it’s magical. “Baby, baby, I can’t live without you…”

14. “South City Midnight Lady”

A leavening of the rock by Pat Simmons. The chorus is what makes it.

15. “The Captain And Me”

The title track, this is now my favorite on the album. Never made to be a hit, the picking is irresistible, as is Tom Johnston’s vocal, he doesn’t get enough respect for it, nor the creation of the magical Doobies chunka-chunka guitar sound.

Tune in tomorrow, Tuesday March 31st, to Volume 106, 7 PM East, 4 PM West.

Hear the episode live on SiriusXM VOLUME: HearLefsetzLive

If you miss the episode, you can hear it on demand on the SiriusXM app: LefsetzLive

Internet Ignorance

There’s an amazing story on the “New York Times” app:

“Trump Won the Internet. Democrats Are Scrambling to Take It Back. – In the era of big data, memes and disinformation, the Democrats are trying to regain their digital edge as the president and his loyalists dictate the term of the debate”

Bottom line? There’s a war between the DNC/old guard and the technologists, between those who want to stay in the past and those whose feet are firmly planted in the digital world.

My favorite quote is from Biden:

“‘I’m still getting used to this virtual world we’re campaigning in…”

That’d be like your Subaru mechanic talking about fixing a Tesla. You’re either digitally native, or you’re in the rearview mirror.

I’ll give you one more quote:

“(Biden is) A party mainstay who rose in politics when the platforms to master were ‘The Wilmington Evening Journal,’ WPVI-TV and the U.S. Postal Service.”

And there are a bunch of old boomers who still pay attention to these outlets, think that the physical paper and MSNBC move the needle when the truth is the needle is moved online, that today’s digital citizen sees news as coming from a free-flowing pipe, not once a day, when it’s already dated.

I could go on about this, but I really want to talk about the book and movie businesses.

The book business abhorred the digital book. It did everything in its power to kill it. It was afraid of losing control. Amazon wanted to build the book business, sell more books, the publishing industry wanted no change, it wanted to work the same way it ever did.

And now it’s screwed.

The book business raised prices on digital titles to the point they made no sense. And then placed articles everywhere (especially in the physical newspaper!) about the joy of physical books, the feeling, the lack of distractions, the tradition, the building of a library and then…

Covid-19.

This is when people are reading most. THE ONLY PROBLEM IS THEY CAN’T BUY BOOKS!

The physical bookstores have all closed.

No big deal you say, people can just buy through Amazon, they control fifty percent of the marketplace anyway.

WRONG!

Amazon is prioritizing necessary products, this news has been everywhere. When it comes to life and death. books don’t make it, despite protestations. Bottom line? Best-sellers are on backorder FOR WEEKS!

That’s right, if you want to buy and read what everybody else is, you can’t, because you just can’t get the book. But if you want it digitally, you can get it in an INSTANT! But the book business refused to jump into the future, it insisted on living in the past, and then disruption happened and it was not prepared.

We saw this in the music business. Labels and acts said everybody should be satisfied with CDs. They were kicking and screaming about digital piracy. And sure, the iTunes Store was an interim step, you could buy tracks one by one, but album purchase prices still didn’t make sense, they were too high, and revenues didn’t turn around, didn’t go back up until SPOTIFY! Spotify and the rest of the streaming giants put a nail in the heart of piracy. Oh, don’t tell me piracy still exists, as Michael Eisner once said, ten percent of the people will never pay, forget them.

Where is the concomitant offering in publishing?

Forget subscription, where are the lower prices? Book prices keep going up, while digital costs are de minimis. Meanwhile, digital book lending at libraries has become a big deal, Libby rules.

You can’t hold back the future.

Kind of like the movie business.

The studios were so busy protecting the theatre owners that they would not go day and date on the flat screen. They kept protecting the old model. When the revenue from smaller pictures tanked, they just made tentpole blockbusters. And except for a few comic book movies, they didn’t realize the attraction was a night out as opposed to the desire to see the specific picture.

And then the theatres closed.

So, the studios put some present pictures on VOD. Heard about anybody buying them? I haven’t, it’s dated product, and the studios don’t know how to promote for VOD, their paradigm is to frontload everything, get their money in a week or two and then move on. But it doesn’t work that way in the streaming world. Once again, just ask the music business. Sure, you can hype it at first, but you only make money if the project has legs. No one is concerned about legs in the movie business anymore, but they should be. It’s all about what is going to spread by word of mouth and live long.

Like “The Tiger King.”

The movie business doesn’t make fare like this. It’s not based on a graphic novel, it’s not an animated story. They miss the opportunity.

And “The Tiger King” is not highbrow entertainment, but it appeals to all demos, because of its whacked story and its characters and its essence…which is people want to be rich and famous and they’ll do almost anything to achieve their goals.

Could “The Tiger King” story have been told in ninety minutes? NO WAY! Sure, you can only sit for two hours in a movie theatre, but at home you have endless time, despite all the hoopla about short attention spans, people want to dig in deep and pay attention.

And then there’s the pricing issue.

Today people want to pay one price and get everything. To the point where filmmakers are better off making a deal with a streaming service for their pic. This was the essence of “The Irishman.” Netflix could authorize a budget as big as a studio and more people would see the flick. What’s not to like? The studios would say the distributors have control. But that’s what happens when you pooh-pooh Netflix, revel in the payments and then wake up one day and realize you’ve lost the power.

In other words, maybe VOD does not work for movies.

Now the truth is these same movie studios also make TV shows, so they’re not completely screwed. But they did refuse to see the future, to their detriment. Will is no match for technology, which the public embraces.

At least part of the public.

The problem is the boomers did not grow up with the internet, and although they’ve got smartphones and computers, they don’t really know how they work, they do not harness their power.

Yet they continue to bloviate in their verticals of choice, newspapers, TV and cable, not realizing the world has passed them by. It’s okay to live in the past, just as long as your income does not depend upon the whims of the public, and the last time I checked, the only people who can get away with this are retired.

So, this lockdown has engendered hyperchange, all we’ve been hearing about for years has happened overnight. Turns out you can work from home quite easily. Turns out food delivery is superior to going to the market. It’s true that when the lockdown ends we are not returning to business as usual.

Will Biden win?

According to the WaPo, he’s only ahead by two points.

But I wouldn’t expect Trump’s approval ratings to sustain, then again, how was this survey really done?

But one thing is for sure, Biden will never make a dent in cyberspace, because he’s lacking the elements that go viral.

If you want to be big online, you’ve got to have charisma.

Joe’s got none.

And you’ve got to produce content constantly.

It took Joe too long to respond to the Ukraine situation and when Covid-19 was blowing up he was in the bunker, trying to get his studio (i.e. technology) right.

As for his failure to read the Teleprompter, anyone will tell you in the internet age it’s all about off-the-cuff. You do it down and dirty, and then you fix it down the line. Calculate and plan too long and you miss your window.

So all those who are arguing politics through the lens of the past are gonna be left in the past. Trump was evidence of a sea change. It would have happened even if he did not come on the scene. Read about the history of breakthroughs, they’re in the air, one person may get credit for the invention, but it turns out others were right there with them.

So, when you read those articles in “The New York Times” about people who don’t update their operating systems, people who go on digital vacations, people who talk about the evils of screen time…

Shake your head and ignore them.

We are here, in the digital world. Either adapt or get out of the way.