Aeroplane and others at NYC 33 1/3 series reading

On March 26, I'll be reading a short excerpt from my 33 1/3 book about "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea" as part of a 33 1/3 – Writers on Music panel at Housing Works Used Book Cafe in NYC. Also appearing are Andrew Hultkrans ("Love's 'Forever Changes'"), Amanda Petrusich ("Nick Drake's 'Pink Moon'"), and Kate Schatz ("PJ Harvey's 'Rid of Me'"). The reading is followed by a Q&A hosted by writer/director Keith Bearden ("The Raftman's Razor").

WHAT: 33 1/3- Writers on Music event
WHERE: Housing Works Used Book Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, NYC 10012
WHEN: Tuesday March 25, 7pm-9pm
COST: free
INFO: http://33third.blogspot.com/2008/03/33-13-authors-at-housing-works-nyc.html

Deadbeat Poets At SXSW!

Deadbeat Poets At SXSW!

The Deadbeat Poets will be playing this year’s SXSW Festival at:
Lambert’s Patio
401 W. 2nd St.
Austin, Texas

The band goes on at 9:00 pm Thursday, March 13th.
More info on the Deadbeat Poets at:
http://www.myspace.com/deadbeatpoets
http://www.popdetective.com

About The Deadbeat Poets
The Deadbeat Poets were formed in Youngstown, Ohio in the summer of 2006. The band consists of veteran Ohio musicians with eclectic credentials: Frank Secich (Blue Ash, Club Wow, Stiv Bators Band), Terry Hartman (Backdoor Men, Napoleon In Rags, Terry & The Tornadoes), Pete Drivere (Infidels, Pretty Demons) and John Koury (Infidels, Slackjaw). Their debut album (which was recorded over the first few months of 2007 at Youngstown’s Ampreon Recorder) is now available on Pop Detective Records in America & in Japan on Vivid Sound Records. Also, making guest appearances on the album are Bill “Cupid” Bartolin on guitar and Chris Leonardi on piano and organ.

Soon, you’ll be able to sit back and relax (pop the top and set the sail) as the Deadbeat Poets take you on a timely journey. To such places…. romantic places like Beaver Falls (via Mahoningtown) you’ll go. You’ll travel to the exotic northside of Youngstown, Cleveland, the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, Toronto, Geneva-On-The-Lake, New York, LA, London, the far reaches of outer space, Paris, Mt. Pilot, The Bering Sea, St. Paul and of course Buffalo, NY. You’ll meet fun lovin’, sex-crazed aliens in “The Truth About Flying Saucers”. You’ll hear the tale of the legendary Ray Robinson who once roamed the dark, back-country roads of Western, PA in “The Green Man”. You’ll encounter semi-romantic mountain men and their passions in “Ernest T” and ride along with Stiv Bators as he once terrorized the western world in “The Stiv Bators Ghost Tour”. You’ll find out the connection between Ernest Hemmingway and Gertrude Stein and French bidets in “Where Was I When I Needed Me?”. You’ll raise glasses and bottles with the lads in “No Island Like The Mind, No Ship Like Beer” and be sadly disappointed by gangsters and thieves as “The Goody Wagon” never arrives. If floating in a psychedelic flutter is your inclination then “What Part Of Cognitive Dissonance Don’t You Understand?” will probably be your cup of tea. Then again, you may find that after all of this …..well that “It’s Nothing” to you. Then again, you may start getting “A Funny Little Feeling” that you will enjoy the Deadbeat Poets.

AVAILABLE NOW! www.popdetective.com

The Waiting Game

Yesterday morning an old friend called from Los Angeles and recounted how earlier this month he and his band had their first real meeting with a bona fide record label. By all indications, the encounter went well and ended on a positive note with the record executive saying all good things about their music and hinting toward a time when they, record company and band, would share in a relationship both symbiotic and copacetic. He said he'd be in touch. Two weeks down the road, however, there's been no word; nor is aforementioned executive returning any of my friend's phone messages or e-mails. Seemingly a case of "Don't call us, we won't call you."

I told my friend that things are not necessary what they seem.

The thing is, he and I used to work in the service industry–transportation–where every aspect of our company's performance was measured daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly; this data was then shared with our customers so that they could better decide whether to use our services or our competition's. The idea of not returning a phone call or not replying to an e-mail is as unconscionable to him as it is to me. Except . . .

For the most part, that's not the way things work in entertainment–music, books, movies, whatever–where unreturned calls and unanswered e-mails are more the norm than the exception. Which is really ironic, if you think about it, given an industry whose ultimate goal is to please its customers.

But therein lies the answer: When we–musicians, writers, filmmakers, artists one and all–are doing our best to interest them in our wares, we're not their customers but rather their suppliers. Or at least we hope to be. Until they actually put a contract in front of us and we sign on the dotted line (which, come to think of it, is never dotted, at least not on the contracts I've seen and signed), we're nothing more than the unwanted call from the telephone company, the knock on the door from the missionaries, or the takeout menu left in our mailbox by the new sushi restaurant around the block.

What I told my friend was this: "Don't forget that right now, as we speak, there are probably hundreds, nay, thousands of guys around L.A. in bands who are wondering, What the hell's up with that guy at the record company? What you need to hang onto, in the midst of your completely understandable frustration, is that if the record executive were to reply to all of his phone calls and e-mails, he probably wouldn't have enough time left in his day to do what you're hoping he'll do in the first place: sign you and your band to a record contract."

Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it fair (to say nothing of good business or in the realms of politeness)? Of course not. I had a magazine editor tell me once, after expressing displeasure because I continued to follow up on a pitch after not having received a response in more than six months: "If we were interested, clearly we would have gotten back to you." "No," I wanted to reply, "if you weren't interested, clearly you should have told me so." Unfortunately, this is not uncommon; the delete button has become the answer to many a busy editor and agent's overburdened calendar and workload. Even enclosing an SASE with snail-mail queries no longer guarantees a response.

A line from Woody Allen's masterful 1989 film Crimes and Misdemeanors reminds us that all this is nothing new:

Show business is dog-eat-dog. It's worse than dog-eat-dog: it's dog-doesn't-return-other-dog's-phone-calls.

The Internet has just taught an old dog new tricks.

Could it be handled differently? Sure–and often it is. When I first submitted my short-story collection to the man who became my agent, he immediately e-mailed me to say that he'd received it and cautioned me that he was going to be out of the office for a while. "Therefore, if you don't hear from me for a week to ten days, it has nothing to do with my response to your writing."

But, then, he's a gentleman.

As for my friend, the days when a Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen can walk into John Hammond's office, play their songs, and almost literally walk out with a recording contract are sadly gone. Long gone. And so he waits.

It's how he's having to wait that's the problem.

Deadbeat Poets at SXSW

The Deadbeat Poets will be playing this year's SXSW
Festival at:
Lambert's Patio
401 W. 2nd St.
Austin, Texas

The band goes on at 9:00 pm Thursday, March 13th.
More info on the Deadbeat Poets at:
http://www.myspace.com/deadbeatpoets
http://www.popdetective.com

About The Deadbeat Poets

The Deadbeat Poets were formed in Youngstown, Ohio in
the summer of 2006. The band consists of veteran Ohio
musicians with eclectic credentials: Frank Secich
(Blue Ash, Club Wow, Stiv Bators Band), Terry Hartman
(Backdoor Men, Napoleon In Rags, Terry & The
Tornadoes), Pete Drivere (Infidels, Pretty Demons) and
John Koury (Infidels, Slackjaw). Their debut album
(which was recorded over the first few months of 2007
at Youngstown's Ampreon Recorder) is now available on
Pop Detective Records in America & in Japan on Vivid
Sound Records. Also, making guest appearances on the
album are Bill "Cupid" Bartolin on guitar and Chris
Leonardi on piano and organ.