Blog Archive

Billy Corgan’s Nasty Scrap

August 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It all started with a request from Billy for an engineer to construct a new type of bass pedal.  Then it got ugly.

The engineer--a transgender person named Devi Ever--went public with her grievances on Netphoria, a Pumpkins website.  (There's nothing to link to; the comments have been deleted.)  That led to a series of Corgan tweets (now deleted but found here) and some Facebook posts.

" ugly piece of shit...if i ever run into you, anywhere, at anytime, for as long as i live, i will knock your fucking lights out. don’t ever come near me, and if i hear even one more peep out of you in public about me, or the band, or the members of the band, i am gonna sue you for so much you’ll never be able to afford so much as to even make a fucking guitar cable."

Monday Morning Music News Round-Up

August 29th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Forgive me, but I was at a music event at a vineyard last night that went rather late and flowed with a very nice Meritage.  Until I get it together to write something coherent, here's a selection of music news.

Actor Shia "Transformers" LaBeouf was allegedly so wasted on Friday night in LA that he spit all over Marilyn Manson.  Manson (and LaBeouf's date, who was also spat upon) were not amused.

New Romanticists Spandau Ballet are back together again--a shock, really, considering the legal bad blood within the group.

Apple’s Five Biggest Music Failures

August 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

There's been a lot of rhapsodizing about the successes Steve Jobs had with Apple as CEO.  And rightly so.  But those victories obscure Apple's failures, the occasions where products didn't live up to the hype or the shortcomings of which were/are glossed over because of Steve's reality distortion field.

Listen, no one bats 1.000.  But if you don't examine your mistakes, how can you ever learn to get better?

Here are my picks for Apple's greatest music failures.

“No One Asked for a Refrigerator Fee”

August 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Here's a new analogy that can be applied to the current state of the music industry, the movie industry, the TV industry and every other industry that's being affected by rapid technological change.

The article is from Torrent Freak and speaks about what happened to one of the largest employers in Stockholm when a new technological innovation was introduced.  (Thanks to Rupinder for the link.)


Is Computer-Based Recording Ruining Music?

August 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Earlier this summer, I chanced upon an oldies station playing "You're the One That I Want," the hideous Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta duet from the movie Grease.  Yet I could shut it off.  Why?  Because I was mesmorized by the vocal performances.

When this single was recorded in 1978, there was no such thing as ProTools or Auto-Tune.  Tarting up a vocal was limited to overdubs and punch-ins.  The performance had to be spot on, which meant that a tremendous amout of raw talent was required.  This once again got me thinking about how easy technology makes it to cheat when it comes to recording.  Is computer-powered recording ruining music?


Sunday Morning Music News

August 28th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

It's been a slow weekend for news, what with Hurricane Irene occupying the attention of the US east coast and most of Britain at Reading and Leeds.  But there's still stuff to talk about.  Plus!  A ten-song Hurricane Irene playlist for the iPod

Backstreet Boys, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry All Named Threats to China

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

I have something in common with the Chinese Ministry of Culture.  I don't like the Backstreet Boys, either.

But unlike the Chinese governent, I merely consider them mere nuisances, not a threat to my personal safety and security.  Lady Gaga and Katy Perry have also been classified as potentially destablizing.

All this information comes through a list of one hundred songs ordered purged from the Chinese interwebs after failing some kind of government screening.  The official reason is that these songs were harming national culture security.  They violate the "poor taste and vulgar content" directives, they say.

Friday Music News Quick Hits

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

First of all, I promise to try and figure out how to best opitimize this site for mobile browsing, especially on phones.  There's gotta be a way to make this look prettier on iOS and other mobile devices.  Your requests are being taken to heart.  (Anyone know how that works with a Squarespace site?  Email me.)

Anyway, here's a fast hit of music news to kill some time before that magical time of 5pm Friday

My Contribution to the New Documentary Radio Wars

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Earlier this week, I was asked to contribute to a soon-to-be-released documentary entitled Radio Wars. And yes, given the subject matter and the opinions inolved, "war" seems to be a very apt word.  

Here's a clip of me from the film.  (I promise I'll let this whole subject go after this weekend.  Maybe.  I'm just so damned passionate about it...)

The Recommendation Project Part 7: Steve Jobs’ Greatest Hits

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

There's no question that Steve Jobs and Apple changed the music industry with iTunes, the iPod and the iPhone.  But let's go back to those iconic TV commercials featuring those cool and often previously unknown songs.  What are your best song discoveries that came through those iPod ads?

I've started things off with "Taking California" by Propellerheads, the very first song used in the very first iPod commercial.  Gimme your favourites.

Denise’s Creator Responds

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Radio programmer Dominique Garcia's move to introduce a non-human DJ--i.e. a modified computer program originally purchased for $200--to the line-up of a station in Austin, Texas, has been the source of much radio industry talk over the last ten days.  I've been especially critical of this move because--well, you can go back and read for yourself.

Last night, I received an email directly from Dominique.  In the spirit of fairness and equal time, I present his email unedited and without comment.

Friday Music News Quick Hits

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

urricane Irene is already taking its toll on music.  As a result of the state of emergency in New York, The Roots and Gogol Bordello have cancelled shows.   Meanwhile, some Dave Matthews Band dates have been postponed.

The Arctic Monkeys have announced that they're going to take a two-year break from recording.  This comes just a couple of months after they release their Suck It and See album.  They could use some  time off, but a cynic might wonder if this is a ploy to get more people out to gigs.

Unearthing Some Canadian Hits of the Past

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Sean Ross is a New Jersey-based radio consultant with whom I've worked in the past.  He has a love of many things Canadian.  He told me he was once stopped at customs in Edmonton because the officer didn't believe that he'd fly all that way just for a vacation.

Sean's Canadian interests extend deep into music.  Check out what he wrote in this week's Ross on Radio column.


The Physical Toll of Being a Rock Star

August 26th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

This is from my column in today's Metro newspapers:

Back on the 19th, Bono felt unwell. Decompressing from the massive 360 Tour at his villa in Eze-sur-Mer in the south of France, his heart began rattling around in his chest like a drum machine gone insane.  The palpitations and discomfort were enough for his wife to rush him to Princess Grace Memorial Hospital in nearby Monaco.

After being examined by a specialist and subjected to a battery of tests, he was sent home with orders to get some rest. Bono’s 51-year-old body is telling him something: you can’t be on a world tour for two years, pausing only for major spinal surgery and not expect to suffer some physical consequences.

The Guy Behind the Non-Human DJ Defends Himself. Screw You, Dude.

August 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Dominque Garcia, the guy who's getting all kinds of publicity for introducing "Denise," the non-human radio "personality" wrote an essay explainging--and defending--himself.

The dude seems to think he's performaing a service to the radio industry.  I say he's contributing to its death.

The premise of radio is that it's always been personal, intimate and real.  Getting a computer program to do the work of a real, live, empathetic, storytelling communicator is nothing short of perverse.

Late Music News for Thursday

August 25th, 2011 | by Alan Cross

Canada finally gets 90-second song previews on iTunes.  (When did that happen?)  Go ahead and take a look.  I'll wait.

Jon Stewart will host a special program on the SiriusXM channel Lithium on September 24th--the 20th anniversary of the release of Nevermand--with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and producer Butch Vig.

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