Jack Antonoff On Touring

“Jack Antonoff talks concert ticketing issues: ‘it’s not ’cause of artists'”: https://bit.ly/3Yfgpmf


From: Harvey Goldsmith

Subject: Jack Antonoff’s comment at The Grammys

I read Jack Antonoff’s comment about ticketing issues, made at The Grammys over the weekend

“it’s not ‘cause of Artists” he says.

How wrong he is.

The Artists, through their representatives, totally control every aspect of Live Touring. From what is on stage, backstage and indeed the ticket price.

Promoters may recommend ticket prices, but the Artist always makes the final decision.

Ticketing Companies will suggest a whole tariff of ways to fleece the fans.

However the Artist always has the final say.

Those Artists that always blame everyone else are the same ones that sanction the problem.

It is totally in the Artist’s remit to say whether ticket prices should be “as printed” on the ticket or not.

The Promoter can negotiate the Ticket Commission, but often the artist will demand its share if there are surplus profits.

The exception being if the Promoter has its own separate deal with the Ticketing Company.

At the end of the day only the Artists can stop the madness that besets us.

Some already do, but not nearly enough.

Harvey Goldsmith

Americanafest Pre-Grammy Salute to Lucinda Williams at the Troubadour

Now that’s what I call music!

The show was the anti, a negation of the Spotify Top 50, everything you read and hear, in this world women overwhelmed, songs were king (queen!) and there were no hard drives, all authentic instruments, and no dancing, although there was shimmying!

Funny to see music at the Troubadour. It used to have tables and seats downstairs, long before most people were born. You see back in the sixties and seventies we took our music seriously, you sat and contemplated the sound, which I did in the upstairs bleachers last night.

You see usually a concert is torture. Unless you know the music by heart. Anything unfamiliar and people tune out, start to talk. But it used to be different, you got there for the opening act, you knew there was a reason they were on the bill. You wanted to be exposed, turned on to something new.

And Lucinda Williams is old. But unlike all the new hitmakers, she’s sustained. She has a career. A catalog. A body of work. She put her head down and did the work as opposed to promoting herself everywhere and becoming a mini-corporation. Remember when music used to be enough?

Not that Lucinda was even there. But her songs were. And the cliché is true, it’s all about the songs. Try singing a lot of what’s in the hit parade, you can’t!

And it was a cornucopia of women. We keep hearing women are getting the shaft, not enough country airplay, or they’re selling their bodies, their looks, to get ahead. That was not what was happening last night. Furthermore, most of these women played an instrument. From guitar to clarinet. It was an alternative universe, where the women could not only hang with the boys, but supersede them.

It started with Grace Potter, almost unrecognizable in her Tina Turneresque ‘do. Grace holds nothing back, she knows how to deliver.

And from there…

We got Sara Watkins. Artists we’ve all heard of, like Brandy Clark, Bethan Cosentino, Lori McKenna and Lucius, as well as a bunch that have not broken through to national consciousness, from Madison Cunningham to Sierra Ferrell… But just because you (or I!) didn’t know them previously didn’t mean they were not up to snuff, did not belong on the stage.

I sat paying attention. Riveted. It wasn’t a church service, heavy, rather it rocked, it swung, it was hypnotic, this was the experience, we were back to where it all began, albeit with a lot more women. Reminded me of seeing Little Feat in the venue back in ’74. The band had four albums in the marketplace, even a song on the radio, yet the venue was not sold out, but it wasn’t about the gross, rather the music. The band played! Talk to any band that made its bones on the road, they all have a night playing to five or six people, or none at all, that’s where the pros are separated from the amateurs. This music thing is actually very hard, and if you’re not going to be a lifer it’s best not to even begin.

It was like a barn dance, sans the dancing of course. In that everybody was in the groove, having fun, the music lifted us above the rest of the world.

And two-thirds of the way through the show some men took the stage. Mumford & Sons… Marcus Mumford sang sans microphone, his voice could fill the hall, it sounded more authentic that way. And the Milk Carton Kids. But the surprise was one man band Abraham Alexander, making his Gibson talk and sing while he pounded the big bass drum. This was the twist, the difference, we used to live for. We didn’t want the same old thing, we wanted to be surprised!

And speaking of surprises…

Molly Tuttle showed why all the buzz is deserved.

And Dwight Yoakam…

With his long coat, skinny jeans and cowboy hat pulled down low… Dwight showed us what a star can do. He lifted the whole joint, telling a story about arguing with Don Imus over a charity record song, putting himself down, and strumming that Epiphone at full tilt, rocking the place down. Meanwhile, acting like he was just one of us, when it was clear he hovered above.

Yes, it was a tribute concert. Not to be confused with a tribute record. It was about a vibe, a feel. You were along for the ride. You were not searching for imperfections, differences from the originals, nobody was phoning it in, everybody was glad to be there.

Where almost no one else was.

Across town the nonagenarian Clive Davis had his annual Grammy party, a tribute to the past, whereas what was happening in the Troubadour was positively new. A renaissance of sorts. These acts were not in search of hits, where would they be played? They were on their singular hejira, leaving an ever-growing fan base in their wake. Work hard enough, stay true to yourself and people get it, even if it takes decades.

Like Lucinda Williams.

How is it that decades later, someone without a hit, although a few covers, has a reputation, is more revered than those who ran up the hit parade?

It’s a long hard road. And those willing to drive all night and endure and sustain the hardships are the ones who last. We don’t need experts in marketing, we need people who know how to write and play.

You had to be there!

School Songs Playlist





“Smokin’ In the Boys Room”

Brownsville Station


“School’s Out”

Alice Cooper


“Teacher I Need You”

Elton John



Paul Simon


“Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”



“Be True to Your School”

The Beach Boys


“New Girl In School”

Jan & Dean


“Getting Better”

The Beatles


“My Old School”

Steely Dan


“No Such Thing”

John Mayer



Jethro Tull


“Maggie May”

Rod Stewart


“Another Brick In the Wall, Pt. 2”

Pink Floyd


“Walk This Way”



“The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades”



“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

The Police


“Charlie Brown”

The Coasters


“School Days”

Chuck Berry


“Hot for Teacher”

Van Halen


“The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun”

Julie Brown



Pearl Jam


“Wonderful World”

Herman’s Hermits

Musicares-Berry Gordy & Smokey Robinson

It’s the music business’s greatest night.

As for the music…

That’s right, you can do a year’s worth of business in one night. Because EVERYBODY is there. Well, not everybody, but a ton of movers and shakers, and a bunch of overdressed nobodies. That’s how you can tell they’re not in the business, by the clothes they wear. The men are in tuxes and the women in ball gowns, overdressed, as per the black tie invitation. Everybody else knows it’s just another night in Hollywood, and the acts may be fashionistas, but the people who actually control this world are anything but.

So we’re on the precipice of a dividing line, a changing of generations. It’s finally here folks, the classic rock generation is heading into the sunset. Their heroes are passing, dropping like flies, from Christine McVie to Jeff Beck, and their music no longer dominates, not even Motown.

Remember the Motown revival of “Ally McBeal”? Yes, a revival, OVER TWO DECADES AGO! How many times can Motown come back? One thing’s for sure, not with the original singers/players/writers.

As for Berry Gordy… He’s 93 and was one of the most youthful cats in the joint. Smiling, wearing a knit hat, he was having fun. Because that’s what the business used to be about. Talk to anybody who was around back then. The fun has been squeezed out by business. And the youngsters populating the stage are more familiar with economics than they are the arts.

So the Temptations took the stage and it was…AWFUL! Sad. Not even worthy of a Vegas lounge, if they even have those anymore. There was supposedly one original member there. And the outfits and dance moves were representative of the era, but the singing? It made me wince. It was a poor facsimile of the original sound, the one embedded in our brains. Magic was caught on wax, as for last night…if you were there then you didn’t want to be there now.

The lead singer of the Four Tops was a bit better, closer to Levi Stubbs, but come on… Believe me, as long as people will line up and pay, there will be Temptations and Four Tops in the 22nd century, but I hope not. Let the records remain. Then again, there are Civil War re-enactors…

As for fighting for Black liberation…

Can we finally honor a rapper, a hip-hop artist, someone young? This is the transition I’m talking about. The music changed years ago, even the Super Bowl woke up and acknowledged this. But the Grammys…are still living in the past, with the old white people.

Yes, Gordy and Robinson are Black, but the music was whitewashed long ago. Furthermore, this was the music of revolution. Of the rights of Blacks. Of the sixties. Motown aided integration more than Washington. That’s the power of art. A power that’s been abdicated in the music today, where it’s all entrepreneurship all the time, all money, and art has been kicked to the curb. There was a moment there, a couple of decades back, when the Grammys meant something. When MTV turned music into a monoculture and an outsider ran the organization. Yes, Mike Greene, unlike the other Grammy toppers, was a rock star. Tussling with the mayor of New York. Not worried about his cronies in the business. Outsiders make change, ever since Greene it’s been insiders, keeping the waters calm and missing the point.

Which is how the Grammys missed classic rock in the first place. It was outsider music, and the insiders wanted nothing to do with it.

As for hip-hop… Who wants to be honored by an organization that won’t include you. As for all the insiders saying it should be Beyoncé’s night… Does anybody acknowledge that “Renaissance” was a relative stiff? Not exactly a turntable hit, but compare the streams to other top LPs. And doesn’t she have enough awards? And it’s about success, not awards anyway. And no one remembers who wins. And if Beyoncé sweeps, that’s fine with me, but it’s also fine if she loses. I mean who cares what a group of aged wankers has to say anyway?

So the stars of last night…

Were the alta-kachers.

Valerie Simpson killed! But I doubt most of the people in the audience knew who she was, giving a standing O to the Temptations evidencing their brain dead artistic sensibilities.

And Dionne Warwick! It won’t be long before these two are gone, they seem not to have lost a step. Catch them while they’re still here.

And Ronnie Isley, who everybody talked during. He’s an absolute icon. The song the Isleys performed was not a known-by-all classic, but man, he could still do his thing. And knows how to perform, too!

Brandi Carlile? The new Bonnie Raitt of the Grammys. They found her, anointed her, and they’re never going to let her go. She always delivers, and she delivered last night.

As for the rest… I won’t even bother to mention their names.

Even Stevie Wonder disappointed. Oh, he was Stevie… Then again, he wrote most of his best material.

And Smokey… He’s still got his pipes too. I thought he’d do a medley of his greatest hits, instead we got a one tune tribute to Gordy that underwhelmed.

But there was a video clip, with the two of them driving around the streets of Detroit in the back of an aged Thunderbird, laughing like school kids, that was better than most of the performances. But when the clips come on, people talk.

And talk I did. To so many. Who knew Coran Capshaw loved to read? He just finished “Demon Copperhead,” and devoured “The Overstory.” And is helping rebuild his hometown of Charlottesville, with housing for the less than fortunate.

On the way in I ran into the manager of Phoebe Bridgers. He knew I wasn’t a fan, but all that b.s. is thrown overboard at Musicares. Good guy, got me interested.

And Lee Zeidman talked about the frustrations of dealing with the city government.

And it was one person after another. Not only catching up after Covid… You see the music business is centered in Los Angeles, the TOURING BUSINESS is centered in Los Angeles. So once a year everybody makes the pilgrimage and…

It’s like any other business, you’re either in or you’re out.

And the sword is laid down. After all, a lot of these people worked together at previous companies.

And Joe Berchtold told us about testifying in Congress and we all had a laugh as to the fact that they ganged up on him and didn’t get it.

You see it’s an insider business.

And last night we were all inside.

As for the music…