From: Robert Fripp

Dear Bob,

Thank you for the review of Toby Amies’ documentary. Which wasn’t much about KC, but it did show that if Music is your aim, it is a life or death undertaking.

Vb, Robert


Subject: Toby Keith – An American Hero

I thought you may appreciate this:

Toby Keith was an artist I worked with that left such an  impression on me. He did more for our troops than quite possibly any single entertainer or athlete ever. Dozens of shows each year for decades. Constantly on the road entertaining and visiting troops around the world and he told no one. When I suggested to his Mgr. T.K. Kimbrell, that Toby needed to tell the world he said that’s not why Toby does it and that he intentionally told no one.  He did it because he truly cared.

He performed for Bush and Obama. And then he was the only iconic artist with the courage to perform at Trump’s Presidential gala when no one else would and he took a lot of heat for it which perplexed him. His Mgr told me Toby believed he had no right to turn down a request from any standing President. That it was about respect for the office. Toby was a true Patriot who stood by his convictions.

When I pitched Toby to do a Wounded Warrior TV spot he refused to take any money. And when we needed a place to shoot the spot he said, “use my ranch in Oklahoma” and then paid for the entire production team to go to Oklahoma for the shoot. He picked up the tab so it actually cost him $$$s to do the Wounded Warrior partnership.

On the day of the shoot I was tasked w introducing Toby to the wounded vets who would be in the TV spot. As I’m making the intros I realize that one single teardrop was running down the side of his face as he was speaking to the warriors, He had turned his head in a way so no one would see it. But I saw it. That was a powerful moving moment I’ll remember forever. For a guy with such a rough exterior he was a real softy. A modest reluctant hero. Rest in peace Toby!

Bruce J. MacKenzie

JMacK Entertainment


Subject: Re: More Melanie

I saw Melanie at the Isle of Wight when I had the doors on the bill.  They  played  a subdued set that night (the first show after the infamous Miami trial) right in front of the Who and the Who were just beyond that night.  There were reputedly 300,000 people there and the Who were bringing large pieces of covered equipment on stage all afternoon it seemed. No one knew what it was but when the set got to “I Can See For Miles” about 10 aircraft carrier landing lights made daylight for the whole crowd and they went wild.  Then Melanie came out with her acoustic guitar and I pitied her following that amazing performance…but I was wrong!  She got the audience on her side and had a fantastic show.

I learned a few lessons that night.

Bill Siddons


Subject: Re: Musicares

I have been fortunate to work with Jason numerous times and all I can say is he’s one of the best out there. I don’t just mean on the guitar. He’s a full student of the greats and like Questlove knows details of modern music history to nerd level. When we produced Mavis Staples star studded 80th birthday events a few years back in NYC, Nashville, and LA on three consecutive Wednesday’s, Isbell was the only one who made it to all three shows, alone, on his own dime to play one lead, on one song. Because, well, Mavis. Go listen/watch Isbell bring up David Crosby at Newport to play “Ohio” or “Masters of War” with Warren Hayes, Lukas Nelson, and Jonathan Wilson. He walks the walk, so it’s no surprise he landed the best song Bon Jovi for the show. 

He’s seen a million faces and he’s rocked them all

-Jay Sweet

Newport Folk


From: Eric Carmen

Subject: Berlin Finale

Hi Bob, 

Thank you for kind words.

“ Boats” was my most personal work and of all of my albums,  means the most to me. 

Not many people know that I wrote every song in the order I wanted them to appear on the album…the order I wanted them heard tell a story (my story).  However, the record company reversed the order against my will.  Not sure if it will make a difference to you, but if you start with the last track and go in reverse, you will hear that story . 

Happy New Year and all the best to you in 2024. 




Subject: Re: Final Berlin

Even though I played bass on Eric’s first solo album, I listen to Boats much more often. So rich in imagery and personal emotion.

“Love is all that matters” is my favorite Eric Carmen song. It even made my (pre-planned) Celebration of Life event soundtrack!

Stephen Knill


Subject: Re: Emergency Root Canal

Hey Bob-

So sorry to hear about your nightmarish dental issues. Tooth pain totally sucks, and top-notch dental care is expensive. But ask anyone who has lost a bunch of teeth – it’s worth it.

Many times during my teaching and consulting I’ve encountered dental staff members who had trouble justifying the cost of the services they were providing because they felt it was out of their own price range. So I would ask them this:

“Knowing what you know now, would you accept $10,000 for me to numb you up and remove one of your teeth?” No one with any decent level of experience working in a dental practice would ever say yes.

Dr. Richard Madow

Co-Founder, The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success


From: William Mondi

Subject: Late….but so was Madonna


I know I’m late on this.  She played 7 dates in Chicago on Her Madame X tour.

Ticket start time was 10:30.  She went on around midnight.

By mid-run, they were papering the house.. which is how I got my free 8th row center seat.

I’m was born in 53 like you.  Her crowd is much more in our ballpark age wise than not.  A third of the audience was gone well before it ended around 2.

I’m also surprised that She didn’t get any flack for dragging Her younger kids on to the stage in the middle of the night.


From: Michael Hosking

Subject: Re: Re-Madonna Lawsuit

Many years ago I was involved in bring OASIS to Bangkok. The band’s notoriety only eclipsed by the crazy traffic in Bangkok.

At five minutes to show time the sold-out venue was barely half full. The PM buzzed in and asked if the show should be delayed. Liam asked ‘Why?’ I mumbled the usual excuses about traffic, rain, distance to venue and fans coming late because the artist start late. He asked if this was the first time the venue had presented a show, if it’s the only day it rained in Bangkok and if it was the only day traffic was bad. I explained the answer was ‘No’ to all of those questions. He said “We’re Oasis – we play to the fans who have made the effort to be on time!” (expletives excluded) and on he and Noel went. Incredible show. Some fans turned up an hour late just in time for the encore…

My level of respect for the two ‘bad boys’ of Manchester soared sky high!


From: Thomas Gribbin

Subject: Re: Madonna Lawsuit


2 hours late…lawsuit? The last Lauryn Hill concert I promoted she was still in the hotel at that time. After 3 hours I had to make some refunds. But no lawsuit. 

I don’t know why I’m laughing, but my whole team still gets a kick out of it.



From: Michael McCarty

Subject: Re: Burton Cummings-This Week’s Podcast

Hi Bob


Burton Cummings is one of my heroes who along with his band and producer Jack Richardson, inspired me to realize that as a Canadian I could maybe find a way to be in the music business. 


A couple of things to expand on what Burton said:


1. To develop the Guess Who, Jack Richardson quit his job as music director at the McCann Erickson ad agency in Toronto,  started Nimbus 9 Productions, and then mortgaged his house to pay for the Wheatfield Soul album.

2. It initially bombed, and to save the project (thus his house & career) he convinced a couple of friends at the agency to invest in Nimbus 9 so he could hire an indie promo person to keep working These Eyes after RCA gave up on it.

3. The indie promo person convinced Rosalie Trombley, MD at CKLW in Windsor to go on the record. Though situated in Canada, CKLW’s real market was Detroit, and Rosalie was one of the most influential MDs in US AM radio. It took off in her market, and the rest is history.

4. In the early ‘80s Burton heard that Jack’s company was in difficulty, tracked him down, and bought the band’s publishing back.

5. As you know, Jack mentored Bob Ezrin and arranged for him to produce Alice Cooper’s breakthrough album  “Love It To Death”. In those days, most producers were staff A&R people at labels, and after Bob’s career took off, for a while arguably the two hottest producers in the world were Jack Richardson and Bob Ezrin @ Nimbus 9.

I believe unshakably that everything good that’s happened with Canadian music in the last four or five decades can be traced back to the Guess Who’s success. They were the Big Bang of Canadian music. 






From: Justine Fields

Subject: Re: December

Hey Bob,

I’m 36 and grew up in New York on Long Island. My husband is also 36 and grew up in the UK outside of Oxford. We are both music people. I just played him “Shine” and “December” and asked if he’d ever heard either. His answer to both were decisive “no, I’ve never heard this song.”

We just looked it up and “Shine” only made it to 80 on the UK charts and “December” never charted at all.

This happens more frequently than you’d imagine! A song that I believe everyone in my generation knows every word to will come on the radio or be playing in a CVS and he’s never heard it because it never made it anywhere in the UK. It happened last month with Third Eye Blind’s “How’s it going to be”. Only made it to 51 in the UK charts he didn’t recognize a note. Crazy, huh?

So as ubiquitous as these songs were, and as pervasive as MTV made music, it was still only in the US, and maybe Canada? Just wanted to share how jaw dropping it is every time I find a major hit that was played a zillion times in my life and that my UK-raised husband has never heard. Both of these Collective Soul songs shockingly fall into that category.



From: Jay Aymar

Subject: Re: Re-Promotion


As a lifelong touring singer songwriter up in Canada who quit when Covid struck, you couldn’t be more RIGHT!

A Gen Xer who built a small career and toured all day every day, I realized in about 2015 I was playing the game entirely wrong. Discouraging live videos at performances; not playing the social media game correctly; releasing full length albums every two years etc…

Oh but I had great reviews from legacy publications…

Yeah that moved the needle.

As Dangerfield once quipped “To give you an idea how well I was doing at the time I quit, I was the only one who knew I quit.”

In other words, from a bonafide hardcore troubadour who spent years in the trenches, let me assure you Peter Gabriel fans out there: The dream is over. What can I say? The dream was over yesterday.

Now, where’s my remote, I have to finish FERRY.

Jay Aymar


Subject: Re: The Gary Gulman Comedy Special

Gary Gulman is more interested in speaking to a core base receptive to his outlook, as opposed to playing the “How do I get more popular?” game most of today’s comics play. While his contemporaries play arenas, he’s content sticking with a 600-seat PAC and doesn’t push promoters to go big. I know this because I’m promoting two of his shows this month in relatively obscure California venues. He’s already sold out a Jewish Community Center in La Jolla, and will do the same in Santa Barbara at the Lobero Theatre. Every time I pitch to his agent “let’s try this 1200-seater, I think he can fill it,” I’m met with resistance. Which is fine! And somewhat refreshing, truth be told. He’s the real deal and will probably be happily playing PACs to a devoted audience for the rest of his life because of his measured approach.

Brian Martin

San Francisco


From: Michael Wijnen

Subject: Re: Everything’s Inviolate

Thank you- very well said.

Same thing here in France.

My daughter went to see three different stand-up artists last week, each of them filling up 3500 seaters: I never heard of any of them, even though I read Le Monde every day, follow the news on radio and TV- but not Facebook or Insta…


From: Rich Levy

Subject: Re: Everything’s Inviolate

Hey bob,

Interesting as always and I very much agree with your points about the dissolution of the mono-culture. I think where people get a little confused is when they see an artist like Taylor having more live demand than artists from an earlier era. The missing context is that in the 1960 the world’s population was 3 billion and the US pop was about 180 million. Today, the world population is over 8 billion and the US over 335 million. So a huge artist may have a niche that by % of population is much smaller than in eras past, but in terms of absolute numbers unadjusted for population growth, may seem bigger than ever.

2 cents. Love the writing.



Subject: RE: Everything’s Inviolate

Hi Bob,


Did you see the streaming analysis by Luminate?

They have data on 184 million tracks ( how many has anybody actually heard?).

Of these ~25% were never listened to in 2023! 46million tracks, posted but not listened to!

It gets worse. Nearly 50% of the tracks in their system – 80 million, were listened to 10 times or less.


Too much noise, not enough traffic.  If you want to make music in ’24 it needs to be good, and you need an audience.


Thanks for the newsletters!


Kind Regards


Crispin Herrod-Taylor


Subject: powder days


Your comments about powder days reminded me of a recent trip to Stevens Pass in Washington.  It was a powder day (or what passes for powder in the Pacific Northwest), and before the lifts opened I was sitting in the lodge looking at a long line of 20-somethings outside in line waiting for the lift to open that would get them to the backside fastest.  Then I looked around inside at the skiers just chilling out and waiting for the lines to abate.  We were all guys about 55 or older.  Been there, done that.  Not really worth the trouble.

Mark Gorman



Subject: Re: Covid

Thanks Bob,hope you get better.You made me test myself with an at home kit.Positive.If not for you…….Stay,or rather get,well,Ted Keane


Subject: Re: Weekend TV

Hi Bob,

My wife and I have a 20-year-old son who is on the spectrum. He was nonverbal until the age of five, but is currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia, studying civil engineering.  He is knocking it out of the park with academics. However,  halfway through his sophomore year still has absolutely no friends… It is not for a lack of effort and support. This is by far the hardest part for us as parents.  Add in that we are 1,430 miles away (Find My tells us the exact distance, we can be a bit obsessive checking to see where he is.) living in Austin, Texas and the sense of helplessness for his social life can feel overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, my son is an amazing success story. We burst with pride at his journey.  If you had told me when he was nonverbal at 5 that 15 years later he would not only be living independently, but carrying a 3.66 GPA in a challenging major at an elite school… Well, let’s just say I probably wouldn’t have taken that bet.

I am sure that Love on the Spectrum is a heartwarming show for some. However there’s absolutely no way my wife or myself could ever watch it… When you live it every day, there’s no way you can turn on the TV and live it even more.  Plus, they’re gonna show you way more happy endings than exist in real life… You know they’re going to.

We have not given up hope. As parents you embrace the role of Sisyphus.  We are going to keep pushing the rock of social interaction up the hill no matter how many times it rolls back down on top of us.  Unlike the Greek Myth, we believe we’re gonna get the rock to the other side of the mountain one day. It’s one of the many things that keeps us pushing the rock back up the mountain!

By the way, for any other parents out there who have kids on the spectrum heading to University, make sure that your University of choice has robust autism support.  The Drexel CAN (Center for Autism and Neurodiversity) program is phenomenal, And one of the major reasons why we allowed him to attend university so far away from us.   Any parent or caregiver can contact me at and I’d be happy to share any information/experiences about spectrum kiddos heading to college.

Eric Frankhouser

Tour Manager

Wilco/Jeff Tweedy


From: Mike Lawson

Subject: Re: Weekend TV


Autism dad, of 30 year old woman with ASD, her mom fled from us a decade ago, and is not in her life except an annual text or her birthday, or Christmas, maybe. I care for my princess, now with my amazing new wife Shannon. Thank god for Shannon, and my daugher’s full time personal assistant who works in our home 40 hours a week the past five years now, so I can focus on work.

My wife watches the show, I can’t, it hurts, it is too close to home, too big a reminder that my daughter is not on that level, even though she is oh-so verbal, and higher of this spectrum than many others we know, she will never hold a job, drive a car, balance a checkbook. If she has $10 dollars she thinks she can buy ten items.

Over many years I have seen her heartbreaking obessions with imaginary relationships because the part of her that understands really wants that love, but she is living in an arrested development that will never let her have that “normal.” It fucking kills me, Bob. Every. Day. I work hard to be grateful she is as functional as she is in this world, but also recoil at the reality TV creation of entertainment around something so fucking personal, something I have wept over, fight fought her for, and will to my last breath. I learned the alpabet soup of IDEA, ADA, FAPE, went to battle like a warrior against a school system I had to sue when she was in highschool on her behalf (we won, it cost the a lot for make it right, not in our pockets, but legal bills nearly six figures between ours and the school systems).

I get why people want to watch, and all autistics are different, but for me it has been 27 years of mourning that she will never have that life, obsessive concern, love and care, and always worrying about her never being hurt when I’m gone some day. I’m sure you understand. I just can’t. It hurts. Watch it, enjoy it, no judgment. I can’t. I just can’t. I will never be over this. I will worry until my dying breath about my princess Kelly.

Mike Lawson


From: Andrew Oldham

Subject: Re: Kanye/Osbourne/Summer

One of ozzy’s early jobs was making meat kosher….


From: Tom Overby

Subject: Re: Kanye/Osbourne/Summer

Bob – To paraphrase Neil Young, “even Ozzy Osbourne has got soul”

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