Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well

I feel a bit like a Dixie Chick.  I stood up for what I believed and I’ve watched my subscriber list decline.

I now understand why everybody’s reluctant go on the record.  The vehemence of dissension is overwhelming.  Oh, you get some reasoned debate, but mostly you receive expletives.  Reasonable debate is out of the question.

And I wonder how these people were brought up, how far we’ve come.  I was raised with the concept of reasonable debate.  But now, strangely, you’re either with us or against us.  You’re either a believer, in the government, in Christianity, or you’re a divisive rodent whose views must be eradicated.  It’s like all the hysteria of talk radio has invaded the street.  People are taking on the histrionic personas of their favorite cartoon characters.  Yes, they’re cartoons.  That’s how you get ratings.  By creating a train-wreck.

And it’s no different in the music world.  It’s not good enough to make quality music.  You’ve got to have some spice, a story.  Something that will make people stand up and pay attention.

And getting people to pay attention is almost impossible.  So, therefore, whatever story you’ve got you must amp up, spread far and wide at 11.  The end result is blowback.  Even your greatest adherents reject you.  Because it only takes a short while, two years at most, for everybody to realize what is being purveyed is phony.

The major labels are complaining that this paradigm is not working as well as it used to.  Used to be that they could reach every listener in America, and lemmings would buy their pieces of crap.  But now, it’s getting almost impossible to reach people.

Everybody’s off in his own world.  Kind of like me.  God, I had no idea there was that much right wing hatred out there, even from those struggling, those from the traditional Democratic base, who benefit almost not at all from tax cuts, who won’t ever have an estate large enough to be taxed.

To reach me is not easy.

I don’t watch TV.  Almost at all.  Believe me, you don’t need TiVo if you’re watching an hour and a half a week.  ("Entourage" and Bill Maher.)  I don’t want to watch any more.  I don’t want it to anesthetize the way I feel.

But when I venture outside I find it’s LIKE New Orleans.  There is no center.  It’s every man for himself.  In the entertainment world.

Oh, there’s a ton of product.  But you know most of it’s crap.  And there’s no way to find out what’s good.  The purveyors say it’s all quality goods, and the reviewers are really just looking to get a gig with the purveyor, or at least continue to get a constant stream of perks.  And that’s America.  Say anything negative, criticize the system, and everybody gets up in arms.  I’M JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING HERE!  WHY ARE YOU FUCKING WITH MY RIGHT TO MAKE A LIVING?

Used to be musicians used to question this ethos.  But now they’ve bought into it too.  They don’t care about art, they care about MONEY!

I don’t care about money.  Not much.  Oh, I want a modicum, in order to eat, to have a roof over my head, but I don’t need a giant SUV, I don’t need to vacation in St. Bart’s, I don’t need a vacation house larger than most domiciles in New Orleans.  I just need the human connection, I need to hear people’s stories.

That’s what I want.  What’s inside you.  Unfiltered.

And that’s what I want in my art.  I want to feel the connection.

My best respite from this bullshit world is my car.  Saturday afternoon, taking a break from the e-mail that had me in an emotional spin, I was driving listening to Sirius.  And I heard a record.

You know immediately.  It’s kind of like love.  It’s at first sight.

Always with me anyway.  Oh, you don’t really know them.  But you FEEL something.  And it grows from there.  You create a deep bond, as you get to know the person, the record more.

That’s the greatest challenge facing the music business.  Exposure.

Oh, the labels won’t admit it.  They just want the old game, the old rules enforced.  Labels believe in MTV and terrestrial radio.  Where it’s almost impossible to hear anything new, anything different, the kind of music that entrances me.  Like I’m going to get to fuck the buxom chick in the video?  She’s got NOTHING TO DO with the music, and this type of person, this model type, she’s from a completely different world from me, an uneducated one, where how you look trumps who you are, what you know, how you think,

Thinking people created P2P.  The labels believe it’s about rip-off.  That’s looking at it the wrong way.  The desire was to hear more music.  Something that’s ANATHEMA to them.

The labels should be CHASING new technology.  It’s their savior.  But they prefer to sue.   To futilely try to maintain their old monopoly.  They’ve crippled satellite radio.  There are so many rules re what you can play it’s CLEAR they don’t believe in it.  You need a WAIVER to play a whole day of someone’s music, to play a number of tracks in close proximity.  God, I’d tell somebody to play AS MUCH OF MY MUSIC AS THEY WANTED!

They stifled Internet radio.

They come up with useless distribution schemes that no right person would be enamored of.

But still the music remains.  Their protest that P2P is killing music is completely hollow.  Maybe only the real musicians will remain.

But you don’t need to employ P2P to hear my favorite new song.  No, the ARTIST HIMSELF is giving it away!

I’d like to tell you I can break a record.

But I can’t.  I don’t reach enough people.

And that’s not my goal.  My goal is to turn YOU on to new stuff that maybe YOU missed, that you’ve never heard.

Go to: http://www.mikedoughty.com/music/ and download Mike Doughty’s "Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well".  It’s a crystal clear 192 kbps MP3.  Unrestricted.  Download it to your computer.  See if you LIKE IT!  (To download on a Mac, hold down the Control key when you click on "Listen", and then select "Download Linked File" from the pop-up menu.)

I’m in no mood to write about the track.  I’m too shell-shocked.  Just know the way it drives forward, with the world-weary vocal…this is the sound that resonates with me.  Allows me to put one foot in front of the other.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.