dick told dan about jay

my kids will be the first to tell you that i don't listen to music nonstop when i'm at home or in the car. they get tired of hearing "talk-talk radio" all of the time. i find it to be a nice aural diversion from the daily grind. listening to music is sometimes difficult for me. my job is to listen to music and provide constructive criticism. i also am picky about the quality of the music that i'm listening to, and often try to analyze it in an effort to steal 'what works' from any/everything i hear. there's far less at stake when listening to talk radio. i usually go with sports jibber jabber, mostly because i'm not down with varied interest pieces and am often ready to scream when i hear political banter (man, those conservatives have got the airwaves monopolized!!!) i enjoy sports, follow them in spurts, and don't seem to get tired hearing about brett favre.

one of my favorite radio spots is the dan patrick show. it airs on our fox affiliate, and is also televised on the 101 directv (very interesting). he has the usual cast of characters: prognosticators, insiders, current and retired athletes, and fellow broadcast journalists from assorted disciplines. he also has entertainers, political figures, medical folks, fans, and other personalities whom you may not expect to hear on a 3-hour sports broadcast.

dan's guest on monday was dick ebersol. he is an nbc vice president executive hot shot i'm not really sure what his title is but it sounded pretty important. at any rate, he discussed why he thought jay leno was so successful in the past and will (hopefully) be that again for his network. he mentioned that jay's monologues were right down the middle, appealing to a larger percentage of viewers. dan (once that guy got off the phone) talked about how jay's style of comedy was fastball fastball fastball fastball, where conan sprinkled in curveballs and sliders. jay works things right down the middle, and letterman paints the corners. which got me thinking....

in my music, i need to consider the general public with my programming. i believe that, in a big way, the death of jazz/improvised music is in its exclusivity. i get caught up in my original music and will fight you to the end about its viability. i really dig original and creative music that pushes this art form further and further along the road. i also need to be able to follow what's going on musically in an album and, more importantly, in a live performance. lots of acts play originals that aren't meant for your easy consumption (see the origin of bebop). i think that artists find a personal comfort and sense of pride in knowing that their audience doesn't quite grasp exactly what is going on and needs them to explain it (although they still probably won't grasp it but will be wowed at the thought that the artist actually has a bead on what's up).

here's what i need to do... keep writing original music. some of it can paint way beyond the lines. some of it probably should stay tucked in (harmonically, melodically, rhythmically, who cares). maybe i oughta play some of the covers more often. i should bone up on my understanding of music in general and be a bit more eloquent and approachable. and i definitely need to spruce up my onstage banter. a great example of this stuff is the bad plus. these guys play stravinsky and an original and ornette and another original and gloria gaynor, and it all seems to flow nicely while never leaving the listener out in the cold. plus, they're awesome.

so that's why they're moving jay back to the hot spot. his approach to programming the show, the laughs. now if i can figure out how to finagle big bucks from all of this (something tells me i'm gonna need it sooner than later...)


turn that shit into gold

music is a crazy thing, being a musician even a bit crazier. play original music that not everyone is going to be into? play classics that everyone will enjoy? do something different with the classics and a few people enjoy what you've done while others cringe? get people to your show by trying to be an artist or merely a stylist (see anthony braxton "forces in motion")? push the future of art forward or settle into what's been successful all this time? get paid or not?

it's a personal thing - we all choose throughout spots in our life to do what is right for us at the time. leading a band requires (and reaps) different things than being a sideman, and levels of popularity and respect swoon with repertoire and instrumentation. i've had amazing experiences in front of 4 people and walked away owing money. i've played uninspired music and stuffed my pockets with cash. therein lies the rub...

so my original project "the 3x5" played monday at a popular club in downtown dsm. so many positives came out of this evening. john kz subbed the gig. he was phenomenal in his musicianship and preparation. he easily could have just blown through the tunes, but instead chose to rehearse beforehand and reveal that he had listened to and reviewed the charts for this original music gig (forever indebted to him for that). logan, the sound guy, really treated the music artistically instead of blasting our monitors with shoddy sound and acting without consideration. my friends came out to the gig-musicians supporting musicians! and with all this in my back pocket, the trio played these tunes with a renewed vengeance and passion that appeared to be well-received.

ah, so it didn't pay. yeah-that completely sucks. i don't plan to give this stuff away (and lord knows i'm up invested in it up to my eyeballs), but need to take a step back and find the abundant positives from this experience.


celebrity soul mate

i'm sure you've heard of the latest craziness with conan o'brien.

he is a very talented guy. pretty funny. phenomenal writing. great sketch work. charismatic. attracts good guests and has developed a strong foundation for his ever-growing audience.

it turns out that NBC has decided that they have declining numbers and are frantically scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. they have decided to go to the old cash cow, jay leno, in this time of confusion. they want him to move him from his pastured career (of their own doing) into the prime spot again, while thinking nothing of bumping conan and his new generation entertainment to a different time slot. just move him somewhere, anywhere, so long as they can make room for jay. after all, jay's been here forever and is the safe bet. we can't push him aside. i mean, he used to be really funny.

it doesn't appear that jay is necessarily building a bigger fan base, bringing out more contemporary guests from hibernation, or showcasing musical or comedic acts that "the kids" would want to see. he's doing the same old schtick. that same old schtick is comforting to those with the purse strings. they aren't willing to hold to their commitment to a new generation, a brighter future. it looks like NBC is ready to cling to the old, out with the new.

what will conan do? i bet he's nervous. he uprooted his family and made career sacrifices to take 'the tonight show' gig. doesn't NBC realize that? he's hilarious and ever popular. does NBC know that? he is being shown a lot of support for his work and (what some people call) genius by fans and acolytes. will NBC acknowledge this? he's probably underpaid considering what he brings to the table, yet works tirelessly regardless. can NBC understand that? sure he's young and talented, but he's probably scared shitless about what will happen if they pull the rug out from underneath him. is NBC aware of that? do they care?

people are probably telling conan "ah, don't worry about it man. thinks will work out. you've got a lot going for you. god shuts a door and then opens a window - you know, julie andrews." is conan buying that? i bet he's thinking of ways to pinch pennies, figure out what's best for his family, reinvent himself, reinvest in his career - all while keeping his composure.

huh ... i always knew i could relate to him.