Re: Morgan Wallen
I had never heard of Morgan Wallen until he appeared on Saturday Night Live in December 2020.  Mr. Wallen had been cancelled from a previously scheduled appearance on SNL in October 2020 for not following the SNL guidelines regarding COVID19.   SNL let him appear in December.  We watched his performance and I thought, “What an idiot.”
Scroll forward a couple of months and Mr. Wallen is caught on video using the “N word”. Once again, I thought, “What an idiot.”
The media took immediate response to Mr. Wallen’s language.  His music was dropped from most country radio stations and streaming services.  His video’s were pulled from most video outlets, notably CMT.  His booking agency dropped him as an artist.  His record label “suspended” his contract.  (basically this means his recording contract clock is stopped)
I don’t have a dog in this fight.  I am not involved in Mr. Wallen’s career in any way, shape, form or fashion.  I was not even a fan of his music…..until all of this crap happened. 
I went and started listening to his catalogue.  Then a cousin of mine pitched me on a specific song of Mr. Wallen’s.  
Clearly this guy can sing a country song.  That said, country singers are everywhere.  Mr. Wallen can and has actually written some of his hit material.  THAT separates him from the pack.  He seems to be the real deal.
I watched Mr. Wallen’s apology video.  I don’t know who is managing him or dealing with this crisis management but IMHO they could have done a much better job than what they released.  Mr. Wallen talks about the use of the offensive word being “in hour 72 of a 72 hour bender” and further states that “they had every right to step on my neck” when referring to the members of the black community that reached out to him after the incident.  Have Mr. Wallen and his managers not heard of George Floyd?  To say it was a poor choice of words is a gross understatement. 
I don’t think Mr. Wallen is a racist.  Mr. Wallen’s problem isn’t race……it is alcohol.
I think Morgan Wallen is calling out for help.
There is nothing smarter than a 20 something musician with a $3,000,000 check in his pocket from ticket and merch sales, streaming and publishing income.  They are geniuses.  If you were as smart as them, those dollars would be in your pocket, not theirs.  
They think they are bullet proof.  They are not.  The laws of physics, chemistry, and medicine apply to them, just like everyone else.  
It is easy to see why they might think this.  They go on stage every night and thousands of people scream their heads off in approval….and pay to do that.  
 Mr. Wallen got arrested last May for disorderly conduct.  He was thrown off SNL.  As a recent convert to Mr. Wallen’s music, I notice that there is A LOT of reference to alcohol in his songs, even in the beautiful song about an old love lost, “7 Summers” (which he co-wrote).  Now this video taken “in hour 72 of a 72 hour bender”. Who goes on a 72 hour bender?  An alcoholic goes on a 72 hour bender.   
The music industry has a LONG history of people with alcohol problems….from Hank Williams to Amy Winehouse, chronological not alphabetical.  The industry pushes artists to record and tour when they should be in rehab.  An album has to be recorded to make an annual budget.  A tour has to be performed to generate commissionable fees and merchandise sales. The music business pushes these artists to deliver when they should be nurturing them back to good health….mental and physical health.
We know where this is headed with Mr. Wallen.  If he does not get some help, in a few months…..some point in the not too distant future, there will be a story about the death of Morgan Wallen. A car crash on a rain slick road, a head on collision with another vehicle, it is coming.  Just as certain has the sun coming up in the east tomorrow morning, it is coming.  
Mr. Wallen, has some fences to mend with the black community, but his bigger battle is within.  Please get him some help.  Don’t make it Williams, Winehouse, Wallen.    
Mike Bone


Hi Bob! 

Thanks so much for mentioning us in your newsletter last week. We’ve been following you for years and it was a thrill to get a shoutout. We appreciate Ari and the team at Sirius for all of the support they’ve given us at Jam On over the years. As an independent act, we rely on outlets like them, festivals like the ones you mentioned, as well as the support of our fans that spread the word about us rather than mainstream platforms that the majors use. We build our own communities and networks online organically, and our fans build their own independent of us too. There are platforms doing great work, like Bandcamp, which has been an incredible partner for us – we have our own subscription platform there that currently has hundreds of our live recordings on it… so that’s home for most of the audio in our world. We wanted to get you quality downloads of that show so that you didn’t have to dig into YouTube to find the version of Shock Doctrine that you referenced. You can find both nights of the West Of The Moon shows from Napa here Friday, Oct 8 & Saturday, Oct 9. 

– STS9


From: Eric Pirritt
Subject: STS9

I’ve seen STS9 upwards of 300 times live. I’ve seen them play no cover, $2 Jell-O shot nights.  I’ve seen them play with Jay-Z in arenas.  I’ve seen them play their acoustic “Axe The Cables” sets in opera houses and wineries.  I’ve seen Snoop Dogg, Perry Farrell, Big Boi, Pretty Lights, Mos Def open for them.  I’ve seen them play 5 hours with the sun peaking onto the Bonnaroo grounds. 
I’ve watched STS9 sell over 1,000,000 headline tickets over the course of their career. Most recently I promoted their shows to 18,000 over two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the 26th time in July.  No other band has played Atlanta’s legendary Tabernacle or Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium more.  The list of accomplishments could go on and on.
I’ve also seen them cry, struggle, divorce, and battle cancer.   I’ve seen them work 100 hour weeks between the studio to flights to vans to stage to encore back to van only to be at home on Sunday night prepping to do it all again.  They are everything when it comes to the commitment of being artists for life and for all the right reasons.
Dare I say it.  STS9 is the Grateful Dead of electronic “jam” bands.   They inspired countless bands with a sound and approach to making music most had never heard.  They built a record label which released 100’s of albums and tracks by nearly 50 artists.  They built their own ticketing admin to sell bundles before there were bundles.  They built homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with special releases and download revenue.  They scored and co-produced an award-winning documentary which featured Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn (even an amazing bit with a young Tucker Carlson to balance it out).   They never set out to imitate anything.  If anything they went out of their way to resemble nothing before them.  They just organically became a familiar machine.
Don Was personally invited members of the band up to Marin County to see Bob Weir and John Mayer kick off their first rehearsals for what is now Dead and Co.  The reason was that he knew they were fans and he loved their approach to making music. That it was inspiring.  Full of intention and adventure.  Simple as that.
People would always ask me, “what/who do they sound like”?  My reply was always honest and the same. They sound like STS9.  That was the mark of something special to me.  They didn’t sound like anyone or anything else I had heard.  While others have come and gone, many continue to carry STS9’s inspiration today.  Still, STS9 remain the best of them all.
One of the proudest moments of my life was when my favorite band asked me to be their manager.  I will always cherish my years by their side. 
As we say in STS9 world, “Just Thanks”
Eric Pirritt
President | Live Nation Rockies | 2008 – Current
STS9 Manager | 2004-2016
STS9 Fan | 1998-2021
P.S – I’ve NEVER heard them sing.


From: Ari Fink
Subject: Re: Shock Doctrine

Yes Yes Bob!! That track was hand-selected and sent to us by STS9 bassist Alana Rocklin, who plays with a pocket the size of the Grand Canyon. Their recent live mixes are massive. So glad they are knockin’ heavy on your car stereo. Jam On!! 💥🤘🏻💥

Ari Fink
Director, Music Programming


From: Gerry Beckley

our whole world of labels, spins, units sold… platinum records… triple platinum… will be viewed from afar like the catskills or vaudeville…just a small memory of the entertainment business a time long ago.
hope you’re well,


From: Richard Gottehrer
Subject: Thank You in the title

Hi Bob

This is a song we wrote and produced with The Angels. It’s credibility lies not in that it was a hit, (which it wasn’t), but in its use as the nightly closing theme of the legendary DJ Murray (Murray The K) Kauffman’s show. It’s still a classic song that I wanted to point out to you. 

Hope you’re keeping well



From: Edward Ryan
Subject: Re: Lucian’s Payday

Great note, thanks. So informed as usual. 

One quibble. If I read you right I think you have the Yetnikoff / Sony timeline backwards. It was first music then movies. It was in 1988 that WY convinced Larry Tisch to sell to Sony. Remember Cyndi Lauper and Akio Morita on the cover of NYT Magazine back when it mattered? That was followed by the deal for Columbia Pictures in August 1989, when he sold the Japanese on the indispensability of Guber and Peters, neglecting to explain their Warner deal. And a few hundred million later after buying Guber-Peters Company, giving up the Columbia House cash machine, and taking possession of the unusable MGM lot in Culver City, Steve Ross gave them permission to leave. 


Subject: Re: Republicans


So much of what is happening is a result of a loud few bellowing and belching louder than the overwhelming majority. Tonight I promoted a show in Grand Rapids, Michigan (one of those swing states always on the edge of cratering, if you watch cable news long enough), and the venue failed to properly communicate to ticket patrons that the artist required a masked audience. Their ticketing website said masks “recommended,” not “required.” Artist approached me with great concern. I met with head of security and said, “We require masks. Our audience is smart enough to comply. We’ll refund anybody who refuses to wear one.” We set out boxes of masks at the door in case they were needed. Here are the final results: out of an audience of 1,600… not ONE refund request. Everybody wore masks. And had a wonderful time. I truly believe most people are all in on getting rid of this virus. The very, very few who are NOT are unfortunately the ones who get on cable TV every night.

Brian Martin


From: Kent Black
Subject: A Montana town fractures under political pressure. – The Washington Post

Hey Bob,

There was also this article in the WaPo today about another part of Montana and the Covid fights they are having. The Trumpers turn EVERYTHING in to a political fight now. The old-time Friday night cruise nights and a Fourth of July parade were hijacked by these Yahoos fighting for their “freedoms” and politicized.

Well, I would like to have my freedom back to be working on concerts and shows again. I have done one show this year (I’m a production manager and I normally have a half-dozen shows in front of me). Thanks Delta idiots, you just sent us back another six months. It’s going to be a long, cold hard winter again.

And all these police and fire-fight unions, medical workers, “my freedom knuckle-heads”, are going to court to try to stop from getting vaccinated. Yeah, good luck, that hasn’t been working out in your favor all over the country.

And I would like to point out something that not to many of these people are thinking about. Where are you going to go on your next vacation outside the USA without a VAX card? Other countries don’t give a shit what the courts in the USA say or rule. 

Want to go to Canada? How about Mexico? Not going to happen without a VAX card. Go on a cruise in the Caribbean and try to dis-embark in a foreign country? Right…

Hope you enjoy looking at pictures of all they great places in Europe, Australia and the Far East in the future they you will not be able to visit. I’m sure the EU will institute a vaccine passport AP on your phone and that you will have to show it before you cross a border or get on a plane. Followed by many other countries…the vise keeps getting tighter on these Anti-Vax people.

I just signed up for my booster today.


Kent Black


From: Heidi Jones
Subject: Re: New Covid

I have to admit I just roll my eyes at the vaccination or testing requirement to get into a show. The rule makers just need to put their foot down and require vaccination, on a passport that is linked through input from your doctor/vaccine provider. The paper card is a joke too…anyone can make a fake one. I won’t even consider going to a concert at an inside venue this winter that doesn’t require both the vaccine and the mask. I deeply miss concerts but I like my life and I like all of my loved ones in it.

New York  


From: Stephen Chilton
Subject: Re: The Music Industry In Ten Years

Hi Bob,

I want to take issue with “There’s nowhere to play.“

The rooms are there. At Nation Independent Venue Association (NIVA) we represent 3,000 independent venues, promoters, and festivals. And thanks to the Save Our Stages Act all of them will survive the pandemic. And that is in addition to all the great small clubs AEG and Live Nation have.

One of the issues for small venues is artists waiting to play and tour until they have the hit and skipping the small rooms entirely.  

I fully agree that if you want to make it you need that hit. And I am a big believer in Streaming and Social Media to drive that hit.

But I am a big believer that you “don’t skip steps.” Used to be hard to get the opportunity to have a hit if you couldn’t play live. Now it is easy. But turning that hit into a real fan base that will turn into a lifelong carer won’t happen if the act can’t deliver on stage.

The only way to become great onstage is to spend time on stage and not in your bedroom.

The number of buzz YouTubuers that sold out their first tour a few years ago and are now all but forgotten even by those who paid to see the first run because the show wasn’t there is massive. Those Meet & Greets, I mean “Shows,” may have made money at the time but didn’t build a fan base. The number of TikTok stars that will sell rooms the first time and fail to deliver a quality performance will be equally massive. But a few that will make it past that and turn it into a career will be the ones that invest in their show and develop their live side in addition to the online side.

It can’t be invest in your online presence OR invest in the live side. It needs to be both.

But you are right. It will always come down to hits.

Stephen Chilton
Board Vice President  – NIVA – National Independent Venues Association 
Psyko Steve Presents 


From: Rich Pagano
Subject: Re: The Chappelle Kerfuffle

Hi Bob, regarding Dave Chappelle and his transgender comment in the headlines, I am compelled to write the following.

Our 20 year old son died on July 2nd from an accidental overdose, fentanyl as the culprit. He had been sober for near six months yet due to a compromised mental health few days, fell victim to his demon. One month before his death, he, his mom and I were eating lunch near the sober house that he was residing in. The conversation turned to the plight of the transgender perception and overall higher percentage of overdose deaths within the gay community. Our son, who was gay, felt a need to once again articulate his compassion and concern for transgender young adults entering treatment. He felt that even within the sober out-patient gay community, the recovering transgender client would sometimes not receive the same level of respect that other gay and lesbian clients would offer or experience at group meetings. This troubled our son and made him somewhat proactive as a greeter in some of the in-patient treatment and sober homes he has lived in within the last five years. He gained a reputation with new LGBTQIA clients for initiating total inclusion, friendship and community. 

Our son was expressive on the topic of someone being transgender (and sometimes also minority) and how it compounds the difficulties of recovery due to the fear of being ostracized and not accepted. Some leave treatment for this reason before they have developed the tools to stay sober. 

Two entities were aware and/or remembered of our son’s level of empathy. Last month, the Nic Pagano LGBTQ Scholarship Fund was created by Release Recovery Sober Living in NY and Caron Treatment Centers in Pennsylvania as an entity of compassion, inclusion, community and to offer financial scholarships for recovery at Caron Treatment to those within this community that may not have access to a comprehensive in-patient program. This week our first scholarship was rewarded. We are grateful.

Bob, in the event that you post, I hope you don’t mind me adding the url for those that can use the fund, know of someone that can benefit from the fund or simply want to donate.

Rich Pagano


From: André Cholmondeley
Subject: Re: Let’s Go Brandon

What can we say Bob

 I love that you give us the Venn diagram of how people parse politics … well as music biz  realities- SIMILAR

painful facts just do not go down well!!

 and you’re right….. in a modern world where you can just choose “other facts you like better”…… off we go

I hope people really read your point about how in the old days you often bought an album but maybe you only listened to it once, four times….

 and today we have a true granular measure of how much listening is happening, per track!! No more smoke & mirrors!!

Here’s something I try to explain to critics of streaming:

Let’s say you buy a release , 10 tracks $10 

-Listen to it once = you paid one dollar for the equivalent of one stream/play

-Play the album twice??  Now you paid $.50 per track 

you see where this is going 

10 plays of the album??  Rights holder(s) paid only $.10 a track 

and if we keep going pretty soon it’s well under a penny….. and it’s only going to go DOWN with each play !!!

As you keep trying to point out….. that sale was ONCE!! One exchange of cash

 But with streaming, you’re paid w every play… it’s only gonna go UP!

Sigh, yes it’s a small number well under a penny.. but once you’re getting millions of plays over years and years and years….

…. why do we bother explaining

 but the problem is if your music sucks or is derivative you’re just not gonna get people to listen —- that’s what is really freaking people out, it’s no longer 1989 

music is made in every corner of the globe and can be made faster and cheaper and often with very very high-quality. Countless Younger artists are happy with the system and it’s reaping them great benefits …and selling out their shows and their merchandise

 they understand how to use TikTok YouTube and Spotify as promotion but also as revenue

the old schooler response is always “ but it’s all garbage !”

the problem is no it’s not… and besides quality is subjective …. the fact is someone is streaming someone else’s music and not yours. Which is revenue for them if they understand the new pathways

All the best

Celebrating David Bowie, YES


From: Tom Johnston
Subject: Re: Amen Old Friend

Thanks Bob

Trying to resonate these days is like driving on the 405 with your window down and the radio blasting louder than the next car. Good luck, the traffic is intense out there. But you keep trying because it’s what you do and it matters. You still have something to say.


From: Kathy Valentine
Subject: Re: LL Cool J At The R&RHOF

I’m so glad you wrote about this. I can tell you that being there, when LLCJ came out with Go Cut Creator GO it blew the rooftop off the place, and was such a perfect kickoff to his set at the induction show. It ought to put to rest all the whiners saying there’s no room for hip hop and rap in the rock hall. Live band! Johnny B Goode guitar! rock around the clock, rap, all deliciously combined in tribute to a DJ icon—it’s genius and its from 1987 and not even one of the bigger hits. But it was a statement and set the pace for the journey LL Cool J transported the entire arena on.

I’m a boomer baby raised on classic rock, blues, RnB, top 40, and came of age to the Ramones and punk rock. As an adult, I discover music, bands, genres—whatever—when I get around to it. I spent the 90s enthralled by jazz. Partly due to having a teenage daughter for the past decade, and partly due to not finding much interesting going on in rock music, I’ve spent a lot of time catching up to 40 years of hiphop.

This is where the life force of rock and roll has resuscitated in terms of creativity, vitality, swagger, and energy—not to mention social and cultural relevance.

I’ve got nothing against the bands that people are so upset about not being included on RRHOF nominations and ballots, but if you take away the number of hits or the longevity, or the units sold and just look at influence and blending and creating something new from the sources—the same way Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis etc etc etc did—then objectively speaking Jay Z sand LL Cool J are just as deserving– if not more–than the majorly successful copy/paste versions of rock bands and singers who are still waiting. I stopped looking at comments and responses to anything RH 2021 because of all the whatabout whatabout tiresome opinions.


PS I did not write fishing for mentions or praise about my own induction!! I’m a very lucky gal and always hyperaware of that, but that was one of the best nights of my life!

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