Friday, April 29, 2005

Are they called "T-Shirts" because they're shaped like "T"s? And if so, aren't all shirts T-Shirts?

Daphne just showed me this, and I couldn't resist blogging it.

And because I'm a fan of irony, there's also this. (Zoom in on the image. It's worth it.)

Just for the hell of it, here's another T-Shirt company. Some of these are laugh-out-loud funny ("What Would Jesus Do For a Klondike Bar?"), and some of them offend even me (and I'm virtually impossible to offend). Then again, there's gotta be a place for obscenity in a culture...

Someone once mentioned that I should get T-Shirts made with the titles of IJG songs on them. "Pasty Mofo," I was told, would be a big hit. Maybe I'll try to get that together for this tour.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fight the Power

Carnegie Mellon is where I started my convoluted journey through the land of higher education. So, aside from my general interest in the RIAA's egregious misinterpretation of copyright law, I plan on following this story very closely. Good luck, kids.

There's a potential angle here that I don't think has been tried yet: equal protection under the law. What the RIAA is doing amounts to selective prosecution (i.e., only suing certain people, hoping to make an example of them). This is inherently unconstitutional.

Then again, who pays attention to the Constitution these days?

Poetry isn't dead, it's just put together funny

The old European avant gardists would have loved the web.

By the way, I've been insisting that my daughter call me "Dada."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

How to Help The Music Industry Become More Boring Than It Already Is

Or, How To Help The Music Industry Take You Seriously. Take your pick.

Nothing against this guy, he's got a job to do, and I'm sure quality packaging makes his life easier, blah blah blah. And I am certainly anal when it comes to IJG promo packages. So I'm sort of critiquing and yet participating in this madness at the same time.

But, come on! For one thing, packaging has nothing to do with "seriousness." Are there mega-talented, committed-to-music people who don't give a fuck about packaging? You bet! Are there shallow, only-in-it-for-the-money, barely musical nincompoops who have the packaging thing down pat? Oy vey, are there ever! (And I daresay this MusicDish article has just created a few more!)

What exactly does it mean to be "serious," anyway? And why is that a good thing? I turn my ears every which way and for the most part what I hear are people are so serious (and who take themselves so seriously) that it hurts. This, as I see it, is the primary difference between a weepy, lameass radio station like KCRW, and a smart one like WFMU.

So I disagree, Mr. Standring. The "amount of times" you "have to use a frickin' chainsaw to open a package"--that is even funny! Handwritten notes that say "Hook me up, dude"? Funny! Polaroids, unmarked CDs, lack of contact info? Funny, funny, funny!

What the music industry really needs is a sense of humor. See American Idol for what it is: a comedy show!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Baby Steps

My daughter is walking. Hoo-boy, look out!

Anyway, how about that Trent Reznor? He recently made a single Nine Inch Nails track available for remixing / mashups. More info at

I love mashups. The old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercial had the right idea: some things just taste better when combined. My favorite recording of 2004 was probably "Night at the Hip Hopera" by the Kleptones. So... Reznor should indeed be praised for being brave enough to make this one track available--but why not put the whole catalog out there?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Give War a Chance?

So I haven't written about politics much lately, not because I haven't been interested, but because about 150% of my time is going into promoting our upcoming east coast tour. (Add that to the 150% being devoted to my beautiful little family, and the 100% being devoted to a full-time job, and you've got an interesting physics problem.)

Still, let me see if I can catch up. Bill Maher, whose last season of Real Time (HBO) was downright inspiring (maybe because it came on right after that other tiny morsel of relatively progressive TV programming, Bill Moyer's NOW on PBS) got off to a rather wimpy start this time around. For me, that was mostly because of Mr. M's seeming reversal on the Iraq question. You know the shtick (since he's been repeating it week after week now), but in case you don't, it goes something like this (I'm paraphrasing): "I'm willing to admit I may have been wrong about Iraq, even though I still think the administration got us in there illegally, and conducted the war ineptly. Maybe they were right about transforming that part of the world into a democracy. I mean, look at the way things are going!" The spin here is always on ack-centuating the positive--but no matter how carefully phrased, the verbiage inevitably comes off as a justification of US policy.

Now, far be it from me to say there's anything wrong with admitting when you're wrong. We should all probably do that kind of thing a lot more. But my huge caveat for Maher is this: how do we know who exactly is wrong yet? Isn't the whole point of history that you have to let it happen before you really know what it means? I for one will not be ready to give the Shrub props on this one until we've had a few decades of blissful coexistence with the Middle East. (And maybe not even then.)

I'll go even further: the burden is really on the administration to prove that the war was "successful." The critics, sadly, have historical precedent on their side. For one thing, there has never been a democracy created by the military actions of a foreign nation (much less a foreign nation with as nasty a reputation as ours). Also, as far as I can tell, it's basically impossible to "win" a war against a group of people who are committed to dying for their cause--particularly when those people have a large recruiting pool. How the hell are you going to up that ante?

Anyway. What brought me to finally make this post was this piece by Python's Terry Jones: "Let Them Eat Bombs."

Monday, April 11, 2005

Ken (Still) Burns Jazz

Just found this gem on the inimitable Gerry Hemingway's website. Did he write it? I dunno. Is it hilarious? Oh, yeah.

The series continues to smart after all these years.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Go east, young jazzers.

(Copied and pasted from a recent IJG newsletter.)

Okay, so that might not be exactly what Horace Greely said (in fact it might not even be close), but we’ve been considering it as good advice for some time now. And lo and behold, events have finally conspired to make it possible. To wit: in June of this year, the Industrial Jazz Group will be traveling across this here zany United States in order to make our east coast debut. (And in case you didn’t already think we were nuts--well, surely now you must see that we’re certifiable.)

Here are the specifics of the tour as they exist now:

June 15: CBGB’s, New York City (yes, that CBGB’s--assuming their landlord doesn’t boot them out beforehand)

June 16: TBA (a lot of possibilities in the works here)

June 17: 12 Miles West Center for the Arts, Bloomfield, New Jersey (

June 18: Knappuccino’s, Wilmington, DE ( final night for our tourand this funky venue both!

This is a very large step for us, and promises to be a very exciting trip: it gives us an opportunity to radically expand our fan base, to make our debut in the city that most people (rightly or wrongly) consider “the” jazz city (New York), and to perform with a number of special guests, including Jill Knapp (of the Evelyn Situation) on vocals and Marcus Milius (of Marcus Milius) on harmonica.

Of course, I realize that I am sending this email to our international mailing list, and that those of you not on the east coast (those of you in Iceland, say) might not immediately see that it contains anything other than a semi-interesting (and perhaps even downright tedious) diversion from the millions of other emails you’re receiving today. Not so! The deeper purpose of this missive is to explain that we need your help in two very important ways.

First: In addition to the usual media stuff, we are trying to execute a grass roots promotional effort for this tour—particularly for the New Jersey and Delaware dates. We know there is an audience for what we do, and we need your help getting the word out, if you are qualified and inclined to do so! In other words: even if you do live in Iceland, if you also know people in New Jersey or Delaware (or NYC) who might be hip to our jive, then please, by all means, let them know—or even better, let us know, and we’ll approach them (humbly and respectfully, without any sort of hard sell) about the gigs, and even provide them with a gratis IJG sampler to (hopefully) whet their appetite.

Second: Ah, yes, money. How I hate it. We were expecting to be on the top of the pops by this point in the group’s history (five years and running), but alas, them there teenyboppers is a fickle lot. No matter, we’ll keep pushing for the goal of critical *and* material success, despite our small, independent budget (i.e., Andrew’s paycheck). For the time being, though, we have to resort to other measures. So… much as we hesitate to go down this road again (again, money: hate it), we need to raise some bread for our trip. Our basic headache of course is going to be paying for airfare, but we’ll also have to deal with ground transportation and any lodging we might need. To these ends, we will happily and most gratefully
accept any manner of donation.

Our overall goal is to raise $2500. As with our Star Chamber fundraiser, we again have several “perks” for those of you brave enough to contribute:

Anyone able to contribute between $5 and $99 will receive a CD-R of our performance at 12 Miles West, beautifully recorded by Mr. Leo McClusky. (Hopefully this show will be beautifully performed as well.)

Anyone able to contribute between $100 and $199 will receive that compilation, plus a copy of our new record, Industrial Jazz-a-Go-Go, when it comes out this fall. Go-Go, which is about 75% recorded at this point, will feature all of the material you west coast folks have been hearing live lately; i.e., our newfound wacky hybrid of classic jazz, doo wop, blues, r&b, rock ‘n roll, salsa, mariachi, reggae, and Zulu jive. (Note: we are going to shop this record around to various labels, but we will not be releasing it with Innova. So we don’t expect the same set of delays and screwups that characterized the release of The Star Chamber.)

Anyone able to contribute $200 or more will receive two copies of each of the above items, and (if you wish) a grateful mention in the program for the 12 Miles West concert (which we will also send you a copy of).

Donations can be made by contacting me directly via email (type this address in email language: industrialjazzgroup at yahoo dot com).

(And as was the case last time: please understand that we only want you to contribute if you are *completely comfortable* with the idea of doing so!)

So there you go! Many thanks for reading all the way to the end. As always, we appreciate your support (financial and otherwise) more than you know!


A review and some poo

Hey! A nice review of the Star Chamber just materialized here. Many thanks to Joe Taylor, a longtime supporter, for that one.

By the way, if you're tired of thinking for yourself, there's always this.