Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Because You've Been Wondering What Steve Winwood Would Sound Like Fronting Uriah Heep, Haven't You?

A belated h/t to FD13NYC, who in 1976, plugged in his headphones but forgot to hit the "speaker off" button and woke me up at 1:AM, blasting this baby from the apartment below. Loved this track ever since, though the rest of the album does not fare as well.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Got Dem Monday Morning, Two Days After, Price Gouging Record Store Day Bullshit Blues Again

"Hey Sal - on a side note - you are showing unusual restraint in not commenting on Record Store Day today. Hope it's not causing you too much grief, and maybe you are finding one overly-hyped item you would like to spend too much on :)"

-Burning Wood Reader, A Walk In The Woods

I was selling records at the Holiday Inn this past Saturday, Record Store Day. Well, I was trying to. The show was a bust in a "what if they gave a party and nobody came" kind of way, except that there was a party in just about every record store in the country and people did come, in droves. My record show was more like the bad party given by the high school math league, with punch and Rice Krispies treats.

I know some people who made the effort to grab some of those RSD exclusives, including one friend who was kind enough to go shopping for me. I was lucky and thanks to the major efforts and patience of my friend, got all but one item on my wish list. My friends, not so lucky, though every one of those elusive 45's and limited editions E.P.'s can be found "in stock" on eBay for 3-5 times the list price.  But you know, it's all about the fans and the indie retailers, right?

I'm not a fan of Record Store Day. I've made that clear. And I don't believe for a heartbeat that it is about either the retailers or the fans.

I had a talk with my friend who is still a record store owner. Here it is, verbatim.

ME: Do you like RSD?

HIM: Yes I do. It's good and bad and it can be stressful for a store owner. You really have to know your clientele. It can put an indie store out of biz if they screw up. All product is paid for in advance, no returns. If you order too much of something and no one wants it, you eat it and your profits are shot to hell. It is fun to see people getting excited about music again. Annoying that you can order 50 of something and get none. Love the fact that each year the rules are tweaked to become more fair to each store owner, i.e., no midnight sales no internet sales.

ME: Is there no resentment at all that for 364 days a year, little to no mind is paid to the daily issues a record store faces? New vinyl listing for $25, CD sales rapidly going to hell, etc.? Yeah, I was excited about the Bruce Springsteen release. But I didn't get one. This is fun? In the meantime, if "records" were so "hot" and "trendy," where is everybody on the other days of the year?

HIM: That of course is the other side of it. Makes me think yes, stupid fucking record companies taking advantage once again, cutting off nose to spite face with the fact that people are buying vinyl so raise the list price. There was a time when they catered to Best Buy and Walmart, but you don't see them putting in record departments do ya? You are lucky if your local chain has any catalogue at all. I said from the very beginning of Napster, the way to combat all of this is to lower the goddamn list prices to under ten bucks. $6.98 for old catalogue. At that time, Universal went to $17.98, up instead of down. Now years later, catalogue is $6.98 and the only way to get their $17.98 is to remaster and add some bonus tracks. Fact is most people don't care anymore. One can download the bonus tracks anywhere on the web on a google search!!!!!! 

(Here is the NYT Op-Ed my business partner and I had written in 2007, saying that same thing, more or less.)

ME: All the mistakes of the majors have been talked into the ground. I guess what intrigues me most is the fervor over RSD. It's meant to help who exactly? The mom and pops? So one day a year, they get a boost for all the work and stress. In the meantime, all the mom and pops have been putting in 110% all year round because they love what they do, and no one shows and the majors don't care. How about the fans? You create a collectors item and now fans have to scrounge for copies or pay through the nose on eBay. (Cost me $35 for the $12 Bruce E.P.) This creates what? A buzz? Big fucking deal. How does that help year-round, one buzz on RSD? So now, eBay is full of these releases for 3-5 times the intended list price. Where are the record stores now? Who exactly is this good for?

HIM: The coalition of indie stores is run by a guy who, with the help of a few others created RSD with good intentions. It's the people that buy to screw others by gouging on eBay that are assholes.
And honestly, the coalition does try to help all year, but with everything, of course, there's politics. I'd like to know what ration of limited editions a store like Amoeba gets.

Without RSD, the odds of a new Springsteen, vinyl-only E.P. selling out of all stores within hours are slim to none, even with a limited run. Without RSD, a limited edition 45 of garage band The Litter would never have been pressed. So RSD has come and gone, now what indie record store owners? That's the question I should have asked my friend.

Now what?

Here's an idea!

How about Record Store Day with NO exclusive releases? Just plain ol' Record Store Day. Make people buy from the thousands upon thousands of quality vinyl already in stock!

(Hey, I have three links just waiting for some sales.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Songs Of The Week 4.0: 4/12- 4/18

Splendor In The Grass- Jackie DeShannon w/The Byrds
Dorothy Ashby- The High Llamas
Let Love Live- The Velvelettes
Glowing- D.A.
Long Cool Glass- Blanket Of Secrecy
Darling Be Home Soon- Lovin' Spoonful
Don't Worry Baby- The Beach Boys


Friday, April 18, 2014

"The Experiment" : THE WEEKEND MIX


I've been wanting do this for years. Click play when you're ready and let her run.

Then, let me know what you think.  You'll get the idea.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yay Or Nay? Discuss

(h/t whattawino)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday's PSA

In September of 2008, I created Burning Wood as a way to fill the void that was once a daily dose of music and conversation, but was now lost after closing up shop.  I was bored. I missed the interaction. Those early posts lacked focus. They were hastily slapped together as a way to get started on the trek into cyberspace. (I never had any patience. I still don't.)

Things seem to really come together in November of 2008. Something happened, and suddenly, as if being hit by a thunderbolt, I was inspired. I'll keep the specifics to myself, but I do know I shouted "Holy Crap!" (Sorry to be so mysterious, but the event itself is not the point.)

I had been posting anything, flinging it out, hoping something would stick. But then, soon after the "incident," my focus changed and Burning Wood became something more than just a junk drawer full of ideas and music. I realized I was writing for someone, as opposed to just writing to reach anyone.

Thank you.

I'm running out of gas.

There are periods in Todd Rundgren's career--1986-1988 and 2001-2003, come to mind---where as a fan, it felt like he was running on fumes. It made me angry. As a fan, I would defend his actions, but secretly I had hoped he would just disappear for awhile and get his act together. I'd have been satisfied with one great record every three or four years rather than this over-saturation of half-assed performances and guest-appearances. But should I blame the guy for not feeling inspired and still needing to pay bills? As it turned out, while he was putting on half-drunk solo shows from 1986-1988, he somehow managed to create one of his later masterpieces, 1989's "Nearly Human." Again, same pattern, and then another late career gem, 2004's "Liars."

I'm not closing up shop again. But I know I don't want to over-saturate this forum with half-assed performances and half-drunk solo shows and this is what I'm feeling at the moment. I'm waiting for that 2008 thunderbolt to pay another visit, hopefully sooner than later, so as not to waste too much time. While I wait, I ask you to hang around until the tank fills up.

To be brutally honest, I'm just not in the mood to post random videos or surf the web for the next boring, bearded, bullshit songwriter to trash. And I know you don't want a week's worth of Todd Rundgren posts.

Have the patience for me and I'll be back, fresher, wiser and maybe even taller.

And speaking of Todd Rundgren...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Songs Of The Week 4.0: 4/5-4/11

White Mountain- Genesis
I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself- Tommy Hunt
I Was Telling Her About You- Marvin Gaye
Do You Wanna Touch- Batmobile
Heartbeat- Bad Company
Blue Period- The Smithereens w/Belinda Carlisle
Axe Victim- Be Bop Deluxe