Category Archives: Producing

too bad 5000 copies

Recent story about a talent scout or radio station reviewing Annie Lennox, didn’t know she was famous and said something encouraging about her future. People were a buzz that they missed facts like she sold 75 million records. But the actual message Annie Lennox posted shows it was merely spam, ordinary fishing scheme selling every artist promotion services by flattering them and suggesting they purchase their promotion service. Probably nobody at the station actually listened to Annie Lennox. But what if they did listen and didn’t know who she was and weren’t impressed. If that’s the case shaming them over her sales record doesn’t mean they were wrong.
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I tried to convince Canadian record companies to release Ron Sexsmith in 1990 and they all met with me and they all told me they didn’t like him. A couple years later Interscope signed him and in Canada their affiliate, Warner Music was obligated to release it. Some time after the record was released their head of A&R (the talent scout job) took me aside to tell me how wrong I was about Ron because he only sold 5000 copies. For that guy calling me wrong meant if Ron made lots of money I was right. What can one can say to people who think the measurement of artistic accomplishment lies in units sold. His type couldn’t recognize great art if it hit them with a (rhythm) stick…and what sort of scale did he use to insinuate 5000 copies sold wasn’t astonishing? Who starting out wouldn’t be proud of that?

 

as it never happened

I had an idea for a CBC program and pitched it.
 
My idea was to comb through their 70 year audio archives and create conversations between people who are dead with people who are alive – as if they are in the same room. This would be easy for 3 or 4 of us nutty audio people cutting and pasting.
 
Title of show- As It Never Happened
 
When I explained it to ordinary people they laughed, got excited. When I tried to pitch it (on 3 occasions) to folks in charge of new projects they looked at me as though I hadn’t said anything.
 
This was before the show “rewind” emerged on CBC which spoke a bit to what interested me, exploring the archives, but I was more interested in unexpected juxtapositions. It might have even facilitated an interactive experience, online contests for people to make their own mashups. If nothing else rediscover their own history as recorded by CBC.
I still believe in it.

Voyager 1 & 2

There was an idea to treat outer space like the ocean it is and in 1977 they launched spaceships Voyager 1 & 2 replete with messages in a bottle ostensibly for aliens to discover and consider. 
 
No paintings, no sculpture, no architecture and no modern dance. What did they include to impress the aliens if either Voyager was successful?
 
Glen Gould,
Beethoven,
Mozart,
Stravinsky,
Azerbaijani folk music,
Guan Pinghu,
Blind Willie Johnson,
Chuck Berry,
KesarbiKerkar,
Valya Balkanska and
recordings of people saying hello in 55 different languages.
 
Music is our species way of showing off intelligence.