Opinion


The Great Concert Debate – The ticket just gets you into the door and the seat is optional!

So the debat I have seen on Facebook and on websites about this bad bad thing that is supposedly a horable thing happening at shows these days…no I am not talking about ticket prices or not being able to get tickets to that special venue (don’t get me started on that)…and I am talking about people standing up and dancing or watching the show at venues with seating.

Standing

Last night I saw Blues Traveler in Ithaca at the State Thearter and durng some songs people stood up to dance and of course than everyone behind them stood up to see the band play.  I had a few people around me yell out to sit down and even Marty complained about people standing up, I just said it’s partof going to a show of certain bands.

I have been going to shows now for more years than I want to count, and I can count on one hand the numbe of shows I went to that no one stood up, danced or to get a better view of the band.  And the reason they didn’t stand was because the venue was very small and intament or at a casino with a crowd of older people who were just there to say they saw the band. 🙂

Standing and dancing has been a thing at concerts since the dawn of time!

So why now is this a big thing?  Last night I heard more people yelling at others to sit down then any other show I have been to, aren’t we there to hear the music and enjoy the night with the band.  The ticket is just to get you into the door and that the seat is optional. Last night I wasn’t in the mood to stand and dance, but if I had I would have gotten up and danced for most of the show and had a good time.

After doing some reading into this non-issue and watching people last night, the people that complain the most about this seem to be in the age range of mid 30’s to 50…Genration X.  Is this generation so into themselves that they don’t want to enjoy themselves and complian the whole show or do they don’t want others to have a good time…one thing I did notice that these are the people who talk during the show or on their phones when the band is doing music they don’t like and bitch that the band isn’t playing their hit songs (this will be another post soon).

Since this is the year of me getting back on the concert trail I will be doing a lot of watching and trying to figure out this issue and why it’s a thing now.  If you are going to a show remember that yes you paid for a ticket, but so did the person in front or beside you that is standing and dancing, and it’s their right to stand and dance at the show just as much as you sitting and enjoying the show.

 


And you may ask yourself, well How did we get here? 1

To all my Facebook and online family and friends,

Today I break my political silence I have put on myself about talking about politics for just a short moment.

Yesterday the United States went to the polls and told the Government that we wanted changes. For those of you who are on the winning side congratulations, to those who lost, there is another chance in four years for you to institute another change.

Now I want to lay some ground rules for “today” the day after election day for those who voted for the winner; you get your chance to celebrate and wave your flag of victory till Sunday night 11:59 PM EST and I will also give you inauguration day to wave that flag, but for the next four years, no more bitching about the government and the things that happen or the bills and laws that don’t get passed or about the ones that do or on how the other side reacts to everything your side try’s to do, this is your winner and your win so you have to live with the consequences of your vote.

For those friends that picked the candidates that lost, you to have till Sunday night 11:59pm EST as well, to complain about the winning side or say you are moving to another country and to bitch and moan about the election, but after that it’s the time to start thinking about the future and how you are going to live in it for the next four years.

But the biggest thing you can all do is not get on Social Media and bitch and moan and put down the winning side and the winners, be a group of people that institute change in a peaceful and thoughtful way. Live up to that liberal label that you have been painted with for the past four years and especially the last year of this election cycle. Start at the local level right now! Get involved in the way your city, town, state is run. Help a campaign for a candidate that you think is worthy and will help your community for the better, then in two and half years help your side find a candidate that will be a good choice for the White House that will not only brining in the changes that you would like to see instituted but that will unite the country and bring bi-partisanship to the government and get things done without the fighting and all the crap that has been happening for the past sixteen years in our national government.

But everybody please stop the back stabbing, the name calling and the insulting of each other, we all live in the same country and we are all Americans and we are all friends and family, with different feelings and ideas and back grounds, but to survive in the future we have created, whether it’s a Zombie Apocalypse or a Financial Down turn or something else catastrophic that falls upon us as a nation; we need to work at working together to get the United States united as one nation and one people. Also stopping the hate and bigotry that has come into our lives in the past year and we need to remember that this country was founded and built by immigrants that came over from oppressed societies to help build a nation that wouldn’t oppress those that live here whether they were born here or came from another country or have a different religion or different ideas then our own. This is what had made America a great country the country of the free and the brave.

I am sure this post will get a few people upset and you know what I don’t care! I have kept quiet online about all politics and suffered through all the hate talk and all your opinions of our current President and those who were running on either side, so deal with this post and understand that this will probably be the last political post I do for a while.

So again congratulations to those on the “winning” side and to those who weren’t start now to be on it the next time.


A question that made me do a double take!

So an interesting thing happened to me at Soulful Cup when I went into get my morning large cup of Jamaican Me Crazy, I asked the Barista my usual “how are you doing and ready for the weekend” question, she gave me her answer and then turned and asked me “what radio stations I had worked for”. One of my coffee group had mentioned to her that I had worked in radio; it took me by surprise, because not many people below the age of 40 care or want to hear about it.

But it got me thinking of the kind of show I would love to do again. It would of course be based off of the Freeform format of the late 1960’s and 70’s.  The last true disc jockey that still does a freeform show, but on satellite radio is Jim Lad and his show is a great one.

The show would be 4 hours a night 5 days a week and it would have interviews and of course great music (Rock, Country, Folk, Jazz, etc.) from bands of yesterday and today…request welcome. I think for a small/medium market radio station this would be a great way to educate their “young” to 40 some things about music.  I know I write this article every few years but the theme and ideas for the show grows in my head and I have to get it put down so I remember and maybe a program manager with some guts will read this and get in touch to talk about a job.

I consider myself a historian of radio and I think it’s time for the small/medium sized radio stations to start swinging back to the start of FM radio, throw out the Automation machine, hire some good Disc Jockeys and some high school/collage kids to learn from the “old timers” you just hired so they can become the future of real radio.   There is so much good music and bands out in the world that aren’t getting air time because they don’t have a big music contract or they don’t play the current top 40 sound.  I am a big fan of the Blues Brothers and Ellwood Blues said it best back in 1978 when the album “Briefcase Full of Blues” (BTW this album appeared on my albums that influenced my life list) was released:

You know, so much of the music we hear today is all pre-programmed electronic disco; we never get a chance to hear master blues men practicing their craft anymore. By the year 2006, the music known today as the blues will exist only in the classical records department of your local library.

-Ellwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd)

And you know what 2006 has come and gone and that quote still holds true today, the music of 60’s through the 80’s really only exists in your local library and in people’s music listening device, it’s not getting played on the radio so that the youth of today can hear that there is music out there that isn’t rap or what I call the bubble gum music of top 40.  I use to love walking by my daughters door and hearing some classic rock coming through the door.

So if you’re a radio program director or you know a radio program director (drop them the link to this story) looking for a good show, from a disc jockey with a great voice, a great knowledge of music genres (except Classical Music) and radio drop me a line I would love to talk and see what we can do. This is a great way to educate your audience and community.


So Long, and Thanks for All the Tomato Pies

I mentioned in a post last week that I have decided to move to Corning in the Southern Tier of New York.

When I moved back to New Jersey in the late summer of 1991 to the open arms of my father’s family that I had left back in 1983 when we moved to Bath, NY, I considered the move a rebirth. Now after 26 years and the last few which were a tumultuous time for me, I feel this move back to the Bath area is me rising from the ashes of my old life and with that rising I need to believe in myself and love myself to become the new person I want to become.

I will miss a ton of the people I have made my friends and done things with throughout my time in New Jersey. The parties we had in the back yard on all the major summer holidays are something that I will never forget. The get together at Panera, Uno’s and other great places. The one friend that I spent the most time with and who came to my aid when the basement flooded almost every time it did, I will miss you the most John. John Martinetti was always there when I asked for help and you were always willing to go out and have a good time at a moments notice. I will miss you dude.

As I am getting settled in my new life I look back at the things I have achieved while I was in New Jersey, I helped LUG/IP become a non-profit group, I started the System Administrator Group – LOPSA-NJ and put together the East Coast System Administrator Conference, set up the Nextdoor for Colonial Heights Civic Association and a few things I am sure I forgot about.

The biggest things I will miss from New Jersey are all the great places to eat Chinese & Italian foods, burgers (not fast food burgers) and the other types of food I love to eat. Since I have been in Corning I have been struggling to find a good Chinese restaurant that has good food, low prices and delivers. In New Jersey I couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a good non-chain Chinese restaurant that fit the above criteria’s. So far I have found so so Chinese, but I am still looking and I will find it.

But the one thing I am missing the most is a Trenton style tomato pie.

In Trenton, the “tomato pie” is king, a thin-crust, chewy round pizza whose most defining characteristic is the unusual placement of the tomato sauce: it’s on top.

Malcolm Bedell – FromAway.com

trenton-tomato-pie

Trenton Tomato Pie – From Away

This was the food I missed the most when I first came to New York in ’83 now it is again. I will find a pizza joint that will make a good tomato pie or teach one to make a great tomato pie or I will have to get that pizza oven attachment for my Weber Charcoal grill.

This isn’t really the final goodbye my friends and family in New Jersey, it’s just a break from me, and I hope to see you soon in New Jersey and I want you to know my door is always open if you want to come to Corning (I don’t have a room you can stay in, but there is a bunch of nice places to stay in the area) and help me find that great Chinese restaurant or a great tasting tomato pie, or we can also go on a few vineyards tours or brewery tours or just go out to the lake and have a good time.

So in closing to the state of New Jersey and my friends I say:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Tomato Pies


Keep it local and help locally 1

Market Street from the Wegmans’ parking lot (yes I am to cheap to pay for parking) to the Soulful Cup coffee shop to drink coffee, look for a job, talk with the locals and regulars and watch them interact with each other.

On my way down the street I pass the Corning Art & Frame shop that has some great custom guitars in the front window, but what caught my attention so many times are the stickers that the owner (I am guessing the owner) has put on the door. Of course the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and Gov’t Mule were the first stickers that caught my eye. But the one that made me stop and take a pictureytnd of the door was the “Your Turntable’s Not Dead” sticker from Thirdman Records. I am very big on vinyl records and the use of turntables so anything stating that says turntables is alive and well I will support it.

It’s the look and the feel of that door that makes you know that we are in a small town/city and a local resident owns the business. When was the last time you saw stickers like this on the door of a chain or box store. I have never been in the store because I am not in the need of art or frames, but if I need them I would go to this store before going to a chain store because of the music and technology he supports and how the store is decorated. People need to remember that the money spent in a locally owned store comes back to the community faster than any money spent in the chain stores.

When I go to new areas I like to go to the down town area and frequent the local stores and see what I can buy, of course I aim for the local comic book, antique’s or record stores as well as used book stores and of course the local restaurants and bars where I usually find great food and beer selections. If I am going to be in the area for a while like I will be in Corning I start to make friends with local owners because they are dedicated to the area and making the town and area they are in a better place. I try to help out if they are in need of technical help or if I can give them advice from my travels in the tri-state area, but the biggest help I give them is buying and supporting their place of business.

“I don’t believe there’s any problem in this country, no matter how tough it is, that Americans, when they roll up their sleeves, can’t completely ignore.”

― George CarlinBrain Droppings

I feel that no one should ignore problems in their area and they shouldn’t ignore the local businesses and should work with their local government and be part of the solution to make their community better. Reminder if you don’t vote in local or national elections you have no right to complain about what is going on in your community or nationally.


Why a person should visit and use the local library

I remember getting my first library card at the age of 10 at the Bucks County Library System Fallsington, Pa Branch. It was right up the street and easy to get to. Age ten was about the time that I really started reading other things then comic books and stuff for school. The library had the complete collection of the Hardy Boys novels. I read all of them one summer, usually 2 a day.

So do you have a library card? If not why? With the way the economy is these days the library is the place to go. I spend a few hours a weekend at book stores just browsing and taking it easy. I rarely buy many books though…I write down the names of books that look interesting and then go to the library and just check out the book. If they don’t have it I try for an inter library loan.

Tired of paying for movie rentals…guess what go to your local library and see what they have. They probably won’t have the most recent releases but they may have a few you haven’t seen yet from last year or a few months ago.

That library card also can get you on the Internet, most libraries have free Internet terminals for there library card holders. This service is also available to non residents for a slight fee. I always tell people who are traveling in the USA that if you are in a bind and have to get on the Internet to always check out the local library.

Remember that the library is a great place to do research on things as well as a quiet place to do work. When I need to get out and work on projects with very little distractions I go to the library. Some libraries are starting to add coffee shops so if you have one of those what more can you ask for. The coffee at libraries is usually cheaper then at the local coffee shop so another savings.

Also check out the events or meetings being held at your library you may find out there is a group meeting about your favorite hobby or computer operating system.

So lets run down why you should visit you local library and why you should have a library card:

  1. Free books to read
  2. A place to rent movies at no cost
  3. Free Internet if you are a resident of the area (small fee if you aren’t)
  4. Great place to do research and work

I have only listed a few of the benefits of the local library and each library is different. So go visit your local library and see what is available. Hey your taxes are funding it so it’s yours to use.


A night at Irving Plaza with Waren Haynes and Friends

It was titled “Warren Haynes all star jam at Irving plaza on March 28th 2007.” It was an OK show. It had it’s high points and it’s low points. The biggest low point being that the show started an hour late. It was scheduled to start ate 9 with doors opening at 8. Well we were in line by 7:30 and they opened the doors early which was no big deal since the night was warm and the crowed was friendly. But then we had to stand around for 2 hours till Warren finally came out and started the show with an acoustic version of “A Million Miles From Yesterday” which went right into “Sad And Deep As You” He was then joined but Edwin McCain
the first of may friends of the night. The first hour was all acoustic till Susan Tedeschi came out and did 2 great songs which she forgot the words on the last one and blamed her Irving Plaza bad luck. After she was done Warren came out and was joined by Greg Allman and they did 2 acoustic songs with Greg on lead vocals. Then the first break of about 30 min. (another low point)

The break was over and the Allman Brothers band came out to a loud cheer and went right into “Come and Go Blues” and then right into one of the best versions of “Jessica” I have heard in a few years (high point). We got another 15 – 30 min break while the next band set up.

The Derek Trucks band minus Derek came out with Susan Tedeschi on lead guitar and vocals on “Evidence”. For the rest of the set Derek was playing and Susan was singing. She has a great set of pipes and a great stage presence. Derek has defiantly come into his own and is playing the best he has in years. (On a side note if you missed the article about him in Rolling Stones Magazine try to get a hold of it and give it a read.)Another 30 min break while Matt Abts tuned his drums and the band I guess went out for pizza or something (Big Low Point). Warren’s wife Stefani Scamardo came out and thanked the fans for coming out and telling us that we are the real reason they do this and that this show was for us…well next time you are doing a show for us how about
starting on time.Mule finally came out and kicked it right off with “Hammer And Nails”. The band was tight and the “friends” were a perfect fit for the night. They did a 5 song set and the encore.

We had to bail before the encore to catch the last train out of New York for the night.

I think the show over all was a great show and we saw and heard some great music. Like I said waiting an extra hour for the show to start sucked and I know the delay was for the venu to sell more alcohol and that Warren and the band are known to start late but an hour is crazy, but I would do it again. If they had started at least a 1/2 hour late they cold have played more music for the fans…since the show was for us.

As my cousin said while we were waiting it’s these little shows that you get great live music and pairings of musicians you wouldn’t get other wise. I am a big fan of the “Jam Band” genre and it is shows like this that make this kind of music great.

Here is the set list:

Warren Haynes Solo Acoustic
01 Intro 00:27.52
02 A Million Miles From Yesterday 03:40.67
03 Sad And Deep As You * 04:49.31

Warren Haynes & Edwin McCain
04 Sign On The Door 07:11.25
05 Crazy 06:09.07

Warren Haynes, Kevn Kinney & Edwin McCain
06 Good Country Mile 07:13.74
07 Trail Of Seasons 05:24.24
08 I Shall Be Released # 06:28.30

Susan Tedeschi
09 Till The Earth Runs Dry 03:08.58
10 Shelter 05:02.40

Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes Acoustic
11 All My Friends 05:15.04
12 These Days 06:02.02

Allman Brothers Band
13 Come And Go Blues 06:32.17
14 Jessica 12:41.56

Derek Trucks Band with Susan Tedeschi
15 Evidence $% 08:02.39
16 I Wish I Knew 06:50.12
17 Only You Know And I Know 04:28.73
18 The Weight %+ 12:18.23

Gov’t Mule featuring Kofi Burbridge on Keys
19 Hammer And Nails 06:29.66
20 32/20 Blues ^ 07:51.67
21 Same Thing ^& 13:17.44
22 Straight To Hell @ 09:27.58
23 Turn On Your Lovelight ! 08:19.22
Encore:
24 That’s What Love Will Make You Do ~ 12:03.08

Total: 169:16.74

  • with Kofi Burbridge

with Susan Tedeschi

$ no Derek
% with Eric Krasno
+ with Edwin McCain
^ with Audley Freed
& with Charlie Drayton
@ with Kevn Kinney, Edwin McCain, Tony Mason and Lenny Kaye
! with Col. Bruce Hampton, Audley Freed, Tony Mason & Jay Collins
~ with Brian Mitchell, Jay Collins, Tony Mason and Audley Freed


Damn The Man!!!! The days of local radio breaking new records, taking chances on unknown acts and responding to it’s audience’s interests have all but disappeared.

Local radio is it a thing of the past and just holding on by the skin of its teeth?

I say yes and the main reason is that the Telecommunications act of 1996 has allowed the huge conglomerates to come in and buy up most of the stations in the large to medium markets and playing the fewest songs that appeal to the most people. Though more than 30,000 CDs are released in a year, the national play lists are getting tighter than ever and are being influenced by big money from the big labels being brought into the stations through independent radio promoters.

As the former manager of the Police, Miles Colpeland said in the article “What’s Wrong With Radio?” by Greg Kot of Rolling Stone Magazine, “the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which deregulated radio and set off an unprecedented wave of media mergers. That action “made radio more corporate, more homogeneous, and rounded out the rough edges that make music interesting.” I can’t agree more. Back in the day the independent radio stations use to break new bands and had all the control of their play lists as well as being a little rough and fun to listen to.

In today’ radio markets the play lists are set by corporate management and focus groups.  The Disc Jockey we know of old who use to bring in interesting and new music is gone and now we have a person who is told what he can play and when.

I am one of those old-time radio announcers from the 80’s. I use to go into the studio with a pile of records and cd’s and try to give the listeners a vast selection of music to listen to as well as the hits of the time. I felt my job was to open the minds of the listeners to new types of music and new bands. Nowadays if a band doesn’t have a contract with the big record labels they probably won’t be getting their air time on the radio.

Another big problem with these big media mergers is that the local areas have lost their local stations. Sure in the morning you get some local news and traffic but you don’t have a station that is giving back to the community in one way or another. The owner is located in another state or town so the bulk of the money spent on advertising is leaving the community the station is in. Or worse as Gabriel Harrison said in Brian Liberatore of the Press & Sun-Bulletin’s article BU disc jockey contends radio giants inadequate in serving some markets.

“You get these stations that advertise themselves as top 20 stations and some of them are run by machines,” Harrison said. “Some have gotten rid of the DJs. Now they just have sales positions. Used to be when you called a radio station they’d say, ‘Hey, what song do you want to hear?’ Now you get a secretary who says, ‘What business office can I connect you to?’ “

The listenership of radio has been dropping for a few years now..due to poor music selection, internet radio, and satellite radio. Internet radio is giving the listener what they want to hear variety in the music and not the same 40 songs that the local radio station is playing.

So what can you the listener do about all this…let your voices be heard?
Every radio station in the United States gets its broadcast license from the Federal Communications Commission for free — on the condition that the station serves “the public interest.”

This license needs to be renewed every eight years. If the station isn’t holding up its end of the bargain, people can file objections with the FCC during this renewal process to let federal regulators know.

These “informal objections” establish an official record of dissatisfaction with a poorly performing station. The more citizens who participate in the license renewal process, the more likely it is that the FCC and the station itself will take notice.  License renewals provide a good organizing opportunity for media activists. You can use the license renewal as a chance to analyze your broadcasters’ service and educate your
community about broadcasters’ public interest duties.

Here’s how to file an informal objection:

Step 1: Time It Right
Find out when stations in your state need to renew their licenses. Plan to submit your comments two to four months before the license expires, though you can file any time between when the station submits its renewal and when the renewal is granted. You can monitor the status of a station’s application via the FCC’s Consolidated Database System.

Step 2: Get Your Information together
Every station is required to keep a public file, which includes documentation of a station’s political, educational, children’s and community affairs programming. You are entitled to look through this file upon request. You can also gather information on a station by monitoring and documenting what the station is broadcasting.
In particular, you may want to examine the station’s news coverage and public affairs programming. Does the local news programming reflect the concerns, needs and values of the community? Does the local news provide adequate and thorough political coverage (both local and national)? Is the station’s political coverage balanced? Or are certain
people or viewpoints being treated unfairly? How does the local news portray different segments of the local community? Does the station air enough community affairs programming? Is the local news actually “local”? Or is it produced and taped elsewhere?

Step 3: Sending that Letter
On the first page of the letter, include the station’s call letters, city and state, the station’s facility number, and the station’s license renewal application file number (you can find this info in the FCC’s database).
In the body of your letter, provide specific information about the station’s performance and why its license should be revoked. Point out the things you found during Step 2 – and any actions by the station that aren’t in your community’s best interests. Remember that the FCC doesn’t monitor stations’ programming, so provide as many specifics as you
can.

For radio stations, address your letter to:

Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team
Mailstop 1800B
FCC, Office of the Secretary
445 12th St. SW
Washington, DC 20554

You must also send a copy of your objection to the station’s general manager. Filing an informal objection isn’t the only way to get involved in the license renewal process; you can also file a formal “Petition to Deny,” which carries more weight but requires more work (and usually the help of a few lawyers). See the FCC site for more information.

In Binghamton one Dick Jockey and a handful of listeners sent a petition to the FCC asking the agency to deny the license renewals of 11 local radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications. The local group contends the nationwide corporate takeover of radio stations has limited local production, lowered the quality of broadcasting and nearly destroyed the medium.

Remember the airwaves are in a public trust and we have handed it over to these companies.