The Paterno Letter

“Bill Murray Faces Legal Threat From Doobie Brothers – A lawyer for the band demands that the actor pay for using the song ‘Listen to the Music’ in an ad for his William Murray golf wear.”

What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where a letter from a lawyer gains more traction than the work of almost every musician?

One in which said letter evidences creativity that the music does not.

Google shows 1,250 results when I search on “paterno doobie.” Furthermore, my e-mail inbox and iMessage threads have been going wild since yesterday. I didn’t get this much reaction when Bruce Springsteen released new music, I don’t get this much reaction when ANYBODY releases new music!

Now if you know Peter Paterno you know two things. One, he actually is a music fan, a big one. And two, he’s a real lawyer. Too many music lawyers are actually schmoozing business people masquerading as attorneys. And if you think you can’t go against Trump, they consider themselves part of a club, which protects each other. The acts come and go, but they and those who are ultimately responsible for their revenues, labels much less these days, sustain. But Peter will give you the legal theory, and he’ll stand up to anybody. He’s one of a kind. HE’S GOT PERSONALITY!

Oh, I’m not saying he’s dancing on the table being the life of the party, just that he’s in color when too many are in black and white. And he’ll challenge precepts. Whether it be those in the music business or traffic court. Too many lawyers are by the book, not Peter. Which is why after his tenure at Hollywood Records he went back to practicing law and his clients came back, which has never happened before. Yes, if you know your music business history especially in the seventies, labels were run by lawyers. They’d leave for the big check and after their tenure was over, and it always comes to an end, if they were lucky they could get a gig at a big firm and fade away. The clients did not come back, they had new people, and their old attorney was not THAT good, but that is not Peter.

But this isn’t about Peter’s client roster, which includes everybody from Dr. Dre to Metallica, but the nature of our business.

Too many are unwilling to rock the boat. Both creatively and in business. They get locked into a mind-set and then they repeat it endlessly. And we haven’t had a breakthrough sound in decades. Used to be something would come along and wipe out what was stale, the way grunge killed hair bands and their ballads, but not today. It’s possible to ignore new music and be quite comfortable, whereas music, its acquisition and listening to it, was religion. You didn’t go to the gig to shoot selfies, you went to meld your mind with the band!

If you can teach creativity at all, it’s when kids are very young. Then again, our educational system beats innovation right out of children. It teaches them to conform, by rote, schools teach to the test. Isn’t it funny that some of our greatest legends dropped out of college? I went to college, it didn’t set our minds free, if anything it taught us to respect our elders and do what was expected of us. And if you tested the limits, even got close to the rails, even if you were doing the work well, you were blackballed. I know from experience.

And I went to law school where they teach you to write in a way the rest of the world cannot understand. The gobbledygook you see in record contracts. They could be written in plain English, but then lawyers would not get paid as much and labels would have less elbow room to screw artists. Ever since Watergate no one respects attorneys, no one! And even the best are compromised, like David Boies with both Harvey Weinstein and Theranos.

If you’re not willing to challenge convention, if you’re not willing to hang it out there, don’t even start in the music business, we don’t need you. Which is why some of the most legendary songs of all time were written in a matter of minutes and Berklee and other schools training musicians rarely turn out hitmakers, these schools teach you to be members of the group and conform, when true artists are individuals with an edge. Come on, those you respect, like John Lennon, also had reputations for being assholes…maybe they just couldn’t suffer fools.

Paterno injects humor into something that’s always dry. And it’s not only one line, it flows throughout the letter. And he insults the product when it’s got nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. Murray is a comedian and he knows he can’t keep a straight face. And the dirty little secret of high level business is lawyer letters are sent all the time, usually sledgehammers, and oftentimes the recipients ignore them, if anything they’re laughing at the money and force spent in delivering them. But Paterno is showing Murray that they come from the same irreverent background, and zetzing him to the point where I’m sure Murray is ashamed.

What most people don’t know about the law is it’s all about the end result. I certainly didn’t learn this in school, but from a sole practitioner. You don’t sue someone who can’t pay and you don’t waste money setting up your lawsuit if you can settle it easily. And it’s almost always about settling. It’s only the deep-pocketed assholes with attorneys on retainer who fight you to the end.

As for copyright infringement? WHAT WAS BILL MURRAY THINKING? There’s no excuse. You can’t use his likeness or anything related to him without paying. He can try to blame someone in the chain, but it doesn’t ring true. As for all that e-mail I get from business owners pissed that performing rights associations are charging them to play music in their establishment, just one boom box in a coffee shop, maybe this will make them understand what is at stake. If you use it, you should pay for it.

But, what is worth using?

If you didn’t crack up, if you didn’t smile reading the Paterno letter I feel sorry for you, you’ve got no sense of humor. You marveled at the creation, it sustained its tone and quality throughout. It was an album where all the tracks were great, and how often do you encounter that these days? It made its point without overplaying its hand, like a musician who knows what you don’t play is often more endearing than what you do, in other words you can layer so many instruments, add so many notes, that you end up killing the production.

So, everybody talks about virality but almost no one achieves it. Furthermore, it’s all done by established recipe. Old wave PR is especially excruciating. Get hype ink in traditional media, to the point if you’re paying attention at all, and most aren’t, you’re turned off. Or, manipulating TikTok. Yes, the business and its artists find a formula and repeat it to the point it’s stale, they use it up and the public goes elsewhere. Meanwhile, Peter Paterno writes a private letter and it goes wild, everybody knows about it, even people who don’t care about music, who’ve got no idea who Peter Paterno is.

The story was broken by Eriq Gardner on Twitter:

Eriq’s only got 10,700 followers. He’s not Kim Kardashian. He found the story interesting and then it went wild. Everyone always asks me how they can get their song heard, how can they spread the word. WRITE SOMETHING AS GOOD AS PETER PATERNO’S LETTER!

Which may be one reason Paterno’s still working and so many have been excommunicated from this business. Yes, if you’re old, you’re gone, unless you’re working on the touring side or on stage playing your hits of yore.

And Peter could not have written this letter without experience. He tapped all he’d been through, learned to deliver this short letter. Which is why the music of the prepubescent is so often worthless. Who cares if your kid is twelve, I don’t want to hear what she or he has to say, there’s no insight, no wisdom, no road miles. Which is why kid stars usually don’t have any legs, once they grow up, no one’s interested, the main attraction was their youth.

Too many of our creative fields are stale. Because they’re not populated by people like Peter Paterno. These people call themselves “creatives” well, all I can tell you is Paterno is more creative than seemingly everybody employing that moniker, and he’s a lawyer. Creativity is something you exhibit, you need to earn your stripes over and over again, testing the limits, pushing the envelope.

Like Peter Paterno.

Judd

I’m afraid to go to bed.

Because I know I won’t be able to stay asleep.

Last night at ten my phone rang. Which was weird, because I was streaming music to my ears, at first I thought there was a reception problem, being high in the Santa Monica Mountains. But then I heard the ring, fished my phone out of my pocket, saw it was my sister Jill and I slid to connect.

She asked me how my day was. Kinda strange, that’s not how she usually opens up a conversation. And the older I get, the less I say on the phone. Something happened to me thirty years ago, and now unless I’m in the groove, unless I know you really want to hear what I say, I tell a very short story, and in this case I did. Then Jill told me she’d had a really bad day. She was dropping adjectives and she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and I expected more about my mother and my nephews and then she said…

Judd Magilnick died.

I was shocked. Literally stopped in my tracks. Unable to speak or move. Jill thought the connection was lost. Ultimately I said yes, I was still there.

We grew up together. His mother and mine had a business, Day Trippers, that ran bus trips to cultural institutions. They never made any real money, but they committed themselves, and loved to laugh, tell jokes over the mic on the bus, they even got some ink in the local paper. As for business sense? They had none. So my father would comment, trying to set them straight, which would make my mother furious, and Maury, Judd’s dad, gave the needed legal advice. My father and Maury grew up together, without a pot to piss in. Maury went to Yale and became an attorney and in the early sixties he said to my father…”Moe, they’re going to do redevelopment in Bridgeport, and if you become a licensed appraiser, I’ll use you on all my cases, because no one knows as much about real estate as you do.” So my dad took a two week summer course at UConn, and then a one week one at the University of Chicago during a cold January thereafter, and he was in business. Normally a real estate appraiser is a schlepper, in a bad plaid sport jacket. My father only wore the finest threads, he was legendary, he made as much money as any lawyer or doctor, and whenever we got on the new Route 8 connector, he’d say it was the Morris Lefsetz Memorial Turnpike, that’s how much money he’d made on condemnation, the state’s attorney general told me they should have just paid my father a million dollars to go away, Connecticut would have come out ahead.

Judd went to a different elementary school. But once we hit junior high, we were all thrown in together at Fairfield Woods. I remember going to his Bar Mitzvah party. We got in a bus which took us to Mill River Country Club, which my parents ultimately joined, where they had a number of hits and dropped the bodies by the parking lot, but that’s a story for another day.

Judd wore braces. Mine came much later, but in junior high they were legion. And he had this orange wax he employed to lessen the pain.

And when we got to high school, Judd decided to run for student council. A friend of his family made stickers for him, in an era where that was exotic, they said “Hey Bud, Vote For Jud.” Yes, they spelled his name wrong. We laughed about it. And now I remember another, “You won’t relish Diane Melish.” That was his opponent. Judd won.

And in geometry, there were too many students, not enough seats, so Judd and I sat at a table in the front of the room. Judd would crack jokes throughout the class, we all did, that’s what made the class interesting, Mrs. Spitalny laughed along with us. And I’ll never forget, we’re studying imaginary numbers, and Judd sings in my ear…”These i’s…” Yes, the Guess Who song was a hit then. And Judd was famous for his puns. Literally, he seemed to have introduced them to the school and he was an endless fount of them.

Another hip teacher was Mrs. Hurley. She took us to see Janis Ian in New York. Actually, Judd started a film company, Halcyon Films, and used the end of “Society’s Child” in his first movie. Ultimately I was his sound man, because I knew how to use a Nagra, for a film he made for the Town of Fairfield, but making a movie back then…that was rare, making one on your phone was science fiction, not even something we dreamt about.

So, Mrs. Hurley was the advisor to the “Crimson Crier,” the school newspaper. And she made Judd the editor when we were juniors, which was unheard of. And in the last issue of the previous spring there was a drawing on page two which said “Crown Prince…Judd Magilnick.” I ended up sports editor.

So, Judd went to college, at his dad’s alma mater, but our families being close I’d see him all the time anyway. And after our freshman year, we went to visit my roommate on Cape Cod, in Wellfleet. We took Judd’s mother’s Country Squire. And we listened to Jethro Tull’s “Stand Up” on my portable Norelco and…I vividly remember listening through Rhode Island. And I remember hearing the Raiders’ “Indian Reservation” when we resorted to the radio, this was long before most cars had FM.

And there were so many other memories. Judd getting Kneissl Blue Star skis. And getting “Electric Ladyland” for his birthday. And Judd was not the best athlete, nor the biggest rock fan, but he was game.

And when I finally moved to L.A. permanently, I lived with Judd in Culver City. He introduced me to Pronto Market, which was a predecessor to Trader Joe’s. But…I bought this car wash fluid to wash my 2002 and somehow the bottle flipped and it got on the rug and Judd was apoplectic. He was worried about the landlady, who ultimately placed a mini-frisbee of new carpet in the space and didn’t mind at all, especially since the rug was one of those cheap, super-thin jobbies in an era where it was all about shag. But this put a rupture in our relationship. I’ll admit, I didn’t take it all as seriously as Judd did, but somehow this problem was fuel for all the issues he was going through at the time and not long thereafter, I got my own apartment, a dark single in West L.A., which had been the plan all along, but my ‘rents didn’t want to lay down that much cash at the time, but then I convinced them this was the cheapest place I could get as I went to law school.

But once we lived separately all the discord fell away. Judd worked for a movie producer and…

Someone stole his Camaro. He bought an MGB as a replacement and he cracked it up and he just couldn’t tell his father. Eventually, my dad was in town, could see Judd was depressed and asked him why and after Judd told him he convinced him to tell Maury and it ended up not being a big deal, and the best part of the story was nearly two years later the cops found his Camaro, painted blue instead of white, in much better shape than it was when it was stolen and Judd ended up driving it for years.

We went our separate ways. We were on different tracks, but we were linked, primarily through our mothers, who were best friends. I knew every lick of Judd’s life, his wife, his kids, even though I only saw him face to face once in a while.

And all this went through my brain last night, during that silence, during that shock, my sister was talking but the memories were flooding back, first Mrs. Spitalny’s class, then the Bar Mitzvah party, then the Blue Stars, I just couldn’t believe it.

And I still can’t believe it.

Judd was 67. Would have been 68 in December. He’s just a little older than me, or was. You can’t die at this age, we’re not prepared for it.

Oh, you can die tragically, in a wreck, as a result of illness, but regular end of life stuff?

Yes, I’m now at the age where people die.

And I kept telling Jill “The end is the end. It’s over.” I thought Judd had one Hail Mary left, to achieve his artistic dreams. But that’s kaput. Over. Done.

He had a massive heart attack. Can you imagine? All of a sudden you feel something, you’re wide awake and…the lights fade out, that’s all she wrote.

And just days before Toby had a heart incident. He’s my age too. Needed two stents. The bomb was ticking, the widowmaker was blocked, but he listened to his body and was saved.

I don’t know Judd’s health routine. All I know is my doctor told me if I continued to see him I’d never ever die of a heart attack. And when some of my numbers were off, he sent me to this heart specialist, who does these in-depth tests and then creates an individual regimen for you. The first time I saw her, she said I was “near heart attack.” I mean I’m just wandering the planet, I feel fine. And to this day I think she was overstating it, and I have gotten into it with her, and her point was…the odds were low, but it could have happened. And this doctor costs a fortune. She doesn’t take Medicare, you lay down $1800 a year. But to me, my health is worth it. I’ll save you from a quote of my shrink bill. But what does it matter how much money you’ve got if you’re dead? And statistics will tell you the wealthier you are, the longer you live, and they attribute this all to health care. So I’m spending a fortune on such. I’ll pay extra to see the best doctor, even though I’m not rich and I haven’t got a ton in retirement savings, but…

Well, my father was similar. And his good friend Harry was not. But my father died at 70 and Harry died at 90. So, you can do your best and still get screwed.

And I can never forget Warren Zevon, who was afraid to go to the doctor, so by time he had so much pain he went for a visit and found out he had cancer, it was too late. And Toby reinforced what I already knew, that men have a hard time showing weakness, even going to the doctor, they think they’re gonna tough it out. Yeah, tell that to your biology.

So, I can only speculate what happened in Judd’s case. Did he tell his doctor his dad died of heart problems at 68? Did he do everything right and the odds were against him? All I know is it’s over, done, kaput.

And I came home and woke up Felice and told her.

And when I turned out the light…I could not fall asleep. And ultimately I’d sleep for an hour or so and wake up, over and over and over again. But the weird thing is today I’m not tired, adrenaline is pumping.

And I was so weirded out I called my mother, because Jill said she’d told her. And my mother, who’s almost 94, told the story of Judd over and over and over again, because that’s what she does, repeats herself and can’t find words and can’t remember what she just said and recently she’s hopped off the phone quickly but today she couldn’t stop talking and what I thought would be five minutes was over half an hour and I didn’t want to throw her off but I had a commitment, to do a podcast, never mind all the e-mail I was planning to answer that I was now too shaken up to respond to.

And Jill said she couldn’t sleep either.

And today was one of those crazy days when everybody is looking for me. You know, you’re answering e-mail, new e-mail is coming in, meanwhile iMessage keeps dinging and you’re responding to multiple threads and it takes a toll but one thing’s for sure, you feel fully alive.

Then Felice and I watched “The Stranger” on Netflix and she went to bed and I contemplated doing the same, but when I walked into the kitchen, I was wide awake. So I finished the day’s newspapers, which I hadn’t had time for earlier. I tried to read some magazines, but my mind was racing and I couldn’t comprehend them and they were so lowbrow anyway. That’s one thing you can definitively say about Judd, he was never lowbrow. And then I read this great book figuring it would tire me out but it never did.

And that’s when I realized I could put my head on my pillow but still never sleep.

Oh, I forgot. Just before I read the papers I checked my phone. Jill told me there was a Zoom funeral tomorrow, Friday, at 9 AM.

Now I’m never up at 9 AM unless I’m skiing or it’s an emergency. But now all I could picture in my mind was Judd in a casket. The image just wouldn’t go away. And I really should call his mother, but what exactly am I gonna say? You don’t want to outlive your kids. And when someone is taken prematurely it’s hard to laugh, even though Judd himself was always ready with a joke.

So here I am. It’s three in the morning. And I know life is for the living, but I just cannot get Judd out of my head. The imagery keeps flowing. And then, and then…the thought creeps in that this is only the beginning. More of my contemporaries are gonna die. Will they have accomplished what they wanted to? I think about this all the time. I sacrificed everything for what I’ve got, people think they know me but they don’t, even when I tell them the facts. I remember having fewer than twenty dollars in my wallet, writing bad checks for the rent and then…shortly thereafter, I had a physical problem. Would I have gone to the doctor sooner if I had cash? Probably. Then again, it was illegal to be sick in my family. But the night before, I had dinner with Judd’s mother and his sister-in-law. Then I walked in my neighborhood all night because the pain was so bad, yes, two, three, four a.m., waiting until I could call my doctor, my friend’s father, who didn’t charge me. Later that day… After shuffling from test to test I found myself laying on the table at Cedars while they cut out a body part. I had pain for years. My wife had left me. I was broke…

At least Judd had a full family life. He became very religious and had five children. And maybe that’s what it’s all about, how would I really know, I don’t have any.

And the truth is ultimately no one is remembered, nobody, not even the Beatles, so if you’re doing it for the legacy…forget about it.

But, at the end…is it all just meaningless? You pass and your people remember you and then they’re gone and you’re a distant memory, scratch that, no one remembers you at all, no one thinks of you.

And Ginny, Felice’s mother, had a friend, a famous friend, married to a household name who passed away and left him alone and he was in his nineties and all his friends were gone and he was just waiting to die. You think you want to live forever, but the truth is you don’t.

So, keep your eyes open. Don’t wait until tomorrow to take action, don’t procrastinate. You may not get another chance.

Like Judd.

Jac Holzman-This Week’s Podcast

Founder of Elektra Records, Jac Holzman signed acts from Theodore Bikel to Love, the Doors, Queen, Bread, Judy Collins and more and released classical music for the masses on the discount Nonesuch label. Listen to hear how this innovator with an ear built one of the greatest record companies of all time.

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You’re Not Alone

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You can’t be old in rock and roll. It’s against the ethos. Aren’t you supposed to die before you get old?

But in country and rap age is not a barrier. I won’t quite say it gives you gravitas, but it doesn’t make your new music a nonstarter.

Then again, rock blew itself apart.

Today I’ve been going through the various radio playlists. The funny thing about radio is it means less than ever but it still means the most to the major labels that manipulate it for success. And have no doubt, the major labels rule these radio stations, your odds of getting traction if you’re an independent… Then again, most independents live in the new world and focus on the internet, on streaming services to build their audience. But few of these acts break into the Spotify Top 50.

But before I hit the charts, I listened to one of the playlists of those whom I trust. It contained a lot of names you’re aware of. Like Phoebe Bridgers, owner of the scorched earth publicity campaign of the year. Sure, they reached everybody but no one could live up to the hype, and Bridgers does not. But I will say “Kyoto” is one of her more listenable cuts.

The best song on this playlist was probably a remaster of the Blue Nile’s “Big Town.” The Blue Nile stopped delivering when they got mindshare. They’d paid all their dues and then…nothing.

But “Old Soul” was a surprise.

I’d read the hype on “Old Soul.” Somebody I did not know working with Sheryl Crow. It stuck in my brain but when I heard the cut it was different from the rest, ethereal, almost as if it was not looking for mainstream success, nearly classical in feel. And then Sheryl started to sing and she sounded different from before, almost akin to Sarah Brightman, whose pop album “Dive” was unjustly ignored. And the funny thing is Sheryl and Sarah were both on A&M.

And having heard “Old Soul” once, I had the desire to hear it again. And I looked up the lyrics. They’re as basic as a midsixties pop hit whose words were dashed off in minutes.

And then I went to All Access to see the Mediabase charts. For some reason, the default is AC, where Harry Styles was #1, with “Adore You.” Then came Post Malone’s “Circles” and…the overplayed Maren Morris’s “The Bones” and Maroon 5’s ” Memories.”

I looked up the Spotify playlist counts. They’re huge. “The Bones” has 207 million, but “Memories” has 909 million. And I’m not a fan of Maroon 5 and I like “Memories” more than what has come before but if this is hit music…then hit music is not what it used to be, because “Memories” is not undeniable.

Then I went to Top 40, which is headed by Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go,” which Lenny Beer labeled a breakthrough of radio promotion since the cut was the antithesis of the format in sound but I can’t say I heard it. I can understand if it’s driven into your brain through overplay you might come to like it but this #1 is so far from a one listen smash, and isn’t that what a true hit is? As a matter of fact, I far preferred the next Capaldi cut on Spotify, “Bruises,” I got that, but that’s not the track that made it in the U.S. as opposed to the rest of the world, it only got as far as #22 on Bubbling Under. Maybe the label will work “Bruises” next. Sure, it’s further from the Top 40 but it’s more magical than “Before You Go” but never forget Top 40 is a calculation, with campaigns prepped like a military attack…you work what you think will succeed, not what’s best. Now “Bruises” at the top of the Top 40 chart, that would truly be a breakthrough.

And the rest of the Top 40 was familiar and uninteresting so I switched to the Triple A chart, too often a backwater of the not quite good enough.

And #1 is by an act I’ve never heard of, Matt Maeson, “Hallucinogenics.” It’s got a good chorus, but that’s it. Close, but no cigar, just like the Killers cut behind it.

And the other acts without worldwide fame, like Dermot Kennedy, were reasonable, but not hits. But the Tame Impala track “Is It True,’ it contained a magic absent from everything else I’d listened to on the Triple A chart. It lived in its own world, not worrying about anything else but itself, the sixties and seventies ethos. It was poppy but left of center, but I can’t say I was enamored of the percussion.

“Is It True” has 24 million streams. “Hallucinogenics” 46 million. Lewis Capaldi 585 million. I can’t say that streams reflect quality, but they do reflect revenue. How do these acts with a fraction of the mindshare, a fraction of the impact of the huge hit acts, expect to make big bread on streaming? Most people are not listening to them.

Now I’m getting burned out. I’m scanning the rest of the Triple A chart to see what is interesting before I sign off. And I’m always interested in Elle King, she’s quite a performer and I still can’t believe she’s Rob Schneider’s daughter. But what strikes me is the Semisonic song. SEMISONIC?

I know Dan Wilson. He’s put out some solo work since the demise of the band, but he makes his living as a songwriter these days, with the likes of Adele. And I know he’s always creating, and I knew he had new material coming, but I forgot it was coming out under the Semisonic moniker.

“You’re Not Alone” starts off quiet, bedroom material. But the lyrics are right up front and they resonate. “Everybody knows the world is wrong.” Ain’t that the truth.

So I go to look up the lyrics and while I’m doing this the song hits the chorus. And I’m positively stunned, there’s the riff, the crunchy guitar sound that’s the underpinning of rock and roll but is absent from seemingly everything on Active Rock, a true backwater where acts try to imitate Metallica, usually poorly. But this riff, this power chord, from this supposedly wimpy band Semisonic, has almost as much impact as one from Angus Young of AC/DC. If you know your rock and roll it goes straight to your heart, gets your body moving.

And then back to that intimate melodic verse.

And I’m reading the lyrics, and there’s more depth in one verse than there is in the entirety of “Old Soul.” And “You’re Not Alone” has more changes than all the other supposed hit cuts.

And the track accelerates and is running high on energy. And it’s clear “You’re Not Alone” is closer to a hit than all the stuff I’ve listened to earlier. It’s nearly akin to Eric Carmen and the Raspberries, who packed four songs’ worth of hooks into one track.

Not that I’m saying “You’re Not Alone” will close everybody. Unfortunately, sans that riff the chorus isn’t quite there. But the point is I’m judging on an absolute scale, and on an absolute scale nothing I’d listened to previously was a true hit. They’d been worked by the labels but you could live quite comfortably without ever hearing them and if you happened to chances are you’d push the button for another station, assuming you’re listening at all. Proving once again what is being purveyed, what is being pushed by the majors, is substandard, maybe good, but not good enough. This business was built on innovation, one listen roller coaster rides delivering an experience you could not get anywhere else. When listening to “You’re Not Alone” your brain and body stay focused, this is not background, this is the elixir of life, the essence of music, something you cannot label but changes your entire life, makes you feel good, stuff you want to hear over and over and over again until the feeling finally evaporates and you look for a new hit to deliver that feeling. Yes, that’s right, we were all addicted, and we needed a new fix. Believe me, you don’t need a new fix from Lewis Capaldi or Maroon 5. That’s commerce, not art.

Gaze in my eyes and tell me I’ll be all right
Even if I don’t get what I need tonight

Isn’t that what we’re all looking for, what we all want, someone to tell us it’s going to be ALL RIGHT?

But other times it’s easy as baking a pie
Falling off a log and living till you die
What would even be the point if we knew what comes next

Isn’t that exactly the point, the surprise of the future? It drives us crazy, especially since there are so many potholes, too many bad accidents, but when it all works the natural high blows your mind, it’s so great to be alive!

Semisonic’s major label days are far behind the band. Their new music is put out on their own label, Pleasuresonic, via Megaforce and distributed by RED. Better than doing it all by yourself, but no match for the behemoths working the Top 40 product.

Now “You’re Not Alone” is not new. It came out back in June. I’d say it was like a tree falling in the forest, but with all the forests burning up a single match gets no notice, has no meaning.

And now “You’re Not Alone” is getting a smidge of radio airplay. But that video put out back in July has 38,000 streams. As for Spotify there’s a grand total of 229,000. Demonstrating the relative power of Triple A compared to Top 40 and its cousins AC/Hot AC.

But Triple A does support new bands and it does drive live business. Kudos. But it’s dependent upon what is delivered. The stations don’t make the music. But then they get and expose something like “You’re Not Alone.” Made by a group whose members are pushing sixty.

Maybe “You’re Not Alone” is for boomers. Who remember saving their pennies to buy albums, whose taste was deeper than it was broad but was open to singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell and modified popsters like Todd Rundgren in addition to the Eagles and the Rolling Stones. You see all these acts delivered an essence, something actually more than the music, a depth, a feeling. And no one is better than Joni Mitchell, except maybe the Beatles. And Todd Rundgren was and still is a wizard, a true star.

So send yourself back to the seventies. Before the internet. When you bought most music on faith, without even hearing it first. Imagine dropping the needle on “You’re Not Alone,” the sound would fill your room, you’d get a smile on your face, and you would be happy that you had not wasted your cash and you’d look forward to playing it again and again in your own little bubble.

Like me.