Gibson Screws Contest Winner, And Not In The Typical Way With Its High, High Prices, But With Baffling Musical Racism! Play Fender, Everyone!
I always knew there was something I didn't like about the Gibson Company. Maybe it stemmed from the fact that their holier-than-though guitars were always leagues out of my modest, "regular-guy" price range. Or maybe it was just that many of my musical idols growing up preferred to use Fender gear. But no matter how biased, unfounded, or unfairly personal my reason for mistrusting that Mecca of music companies seems to have been, I am proud to be able to report to you today a very sweet retroactive vindication of one of my (many) irrationalities! And boy, oh boy, there's nothing like uttering the sentence "See, I was right all along!" to brighten up another dreary work day.
So, exactly what happed? Well, like all good tales of corporate music's exposed fucked-upedness, this one is just plain FULL of Grade A douche-baggery. Observe:
There's this kind-of douchey music festival with the kind of douchey name of "Lollapalooza" that takes place in the otherwise relatively un-douchey city of Chicago. And every year, they do this incredibly douchey contest called Last Band Standing in which a whole slew of unknown acts (yes, most of which are HORRENDOUSLY douchey) pointlessly internet-battle it out for a horrible slot on the shittiest stage on the crappiest day of the festival. The whole thing is based on fan "votes" and stuff like that, so it's supposed to be all grassroots and "anyone can win, even YOU!" and shit... Sounds douchey, huh?
Yeah, well, it turns out that back in 2006, Lollapalooza and Gibson, the douchey sponsors of this-here contest, got a bit of a curious surprise when the winner turned out to be NOT the douche-tacular Velvet Revolver knock-off that they were imagining, but a fresh, un-douchey hip-hop artist instead! The unfortunate musician's name was Tonedeff.
See, part of the supposed prize package was supposed to be "$10,000 worth of equipment from our friends at Gibson. (yes, believe it!)." Well, poor Tonedeff believed it, but he should have known better than to underestimate the douchey powers-that-be at Gibson and their TOTAL aversion to anything that's not rock ‘n’ roll-related... lest it make a (shudder!) bad ad campaign!
Sadly, Tonedeff has spent the last year-and-a-half trying to get Gibson to make good on their promise, finally going public with his woes on his blog last week in an effort to let the world know "how they tried to weasel their way out of this, and how they tried to play me cause I'm a Hip Hop artist."
According to the persecuted hip-hopper, when he finally reached Gibson (they never called or e-mailed him after he won), Don Pitts, the certainly douchey Entertainment Liaison for Gibson Guitars, told him to go online and pick out what he wanted. Tonedeff promptly picked out a Baldwin piano. Pitts wrote back, "Baldwin is the only division that's not part of the deal..." Bummed out and suspicious though he was, Tonedeff picked out a list of guitars, using Sam Ash and Guitar Center to check prices because Pitt refused to provide a price list. Pitt responded this time with revised prices that were at least 50% higher, reducing Tonedeff's prize list by... that’s right, kids, 50%. After some back and forth on MSRP ("manufacturer’s suggested retail price") versus MAP (the “retail” price that stores like Guitar Center and Sam Ash would actually sell this gear for), Tonedeff gave up and opted instead to pick a single item, the most expensive he could find that came in under $10,000, which turned out to be a Gibson mandolin with an MSRP of $9,999. But alas, the great pundit Pitt just stopped talking to him at that point.
The details and back-and-forth e-mails dutifully posted on the blog weave a truly convoluted and amazingly douchey tale of gross irresponsibility, empty promises, and semantic bullshit that is well worth reading to get all of the excruciating details. As of last week, Tonedeff STILL hasn’t gotten his promised $10,000 from Gibson, MSRP or otherwise, and the douchey folks at Lollapalooza haven’t exactly been much help. But, as Tonedeff muses, maybe he should have seen this veritable genre-hate-crime-action coming when Don Pitts allegedly told him, "I mean, this is kind of weird, because you know, you DON'T play the guitar or drums."
See??? Told you it was douchey.
Looks like I’ve been behind the times, ladies and gents. Apparently, steroids (seriously) are set to join the ever-decadent, always delicious smörgåsbord of mainstream hip-hop accessories, in between the platters of AK-47s, bitchin’ hoes, and velveteen leisure suits.
Earlier this month, 50 Cent, Timbaland, and R&B performers Wyclef Jean (..really), Mary J. Blige, and others were accused of steroid use.
However, none have been accused of lawlessness, which is probably unfortunate considering the kickin’ political-minded anti-establishment collabs that could come from these beefed-up, toned, hunky hunky performers.
Like, Wyclef Jean. He’s jacked, right? Totally.
Again, it’s that time of year when we ask for your support. Unsatisfied with our brief winter break, the TMT news staff has caught itself in a quagmire of lugubriousness, and that means, in order to keep your little eyeballs filled with texty goodness, we need help. Your help.
That’s why I am taking the totally unsanctioned initiative to launch this year’s “Unofficial 2008 TMT Reader News Story Pledge Drive,” where you, the reader, can write your very own TMT news story. You may remember the theme from previous articles such as “Exclusive: Create Your Own Burning Star Core News Story!” (TMT News) and “Let’s Write A News Story: Marah — Which Sounds A Lot Like Mirah — Is Touring; Hey What Is Mirah Up To?” (TMT News). Today is the first time, however, that TMT has gone the extra step and suggested that you (YES! LOWLY YOU!) have the potential to climb the ivory tower of music journalism and become published (albeit anonymously) on the virtual Olympus that is Tiny Mix Tapes.
The most basic and essential part of this process is the selection of an artist who is doing something newsworthy and has not appeared on TMT for that newsworthy thing. To make the experience more realistic, you may want to recreate the writing process as it exists for the actual TMT newswriter. First, I would suggest wasting a sizeable chunk of time reading Wikipedia entries or even a past TMT feature. I enjoyed a Chuck Klosterman exposé while writing this very tidbit. If you want to go for the full experience, you may also want to become an ex-convict, learn conversational Esperanto (Estas bela tago!), or cover yourself, or a neighbor, in Vaseline.
When completed, just copy the goods into this box, or better yet, compose a story in the style of your favorite TMT newswriter and send it to him or her. No one will ever know.
The formatting should resemble something close to the text for the upcoming RTX tourdates that follows. As you may have noticed, the content doesn’t really matter:
$ El Paso Hot Button
! Bad Wizard, Blues Control and more
% Viva Viva, the Life Partners
@ Telepathe, Child Abuse, Necking
^ Panache/Lovepump SXSW Showcase w/ Monotonix, HEALTH, Clipd Beaks, Old Time Relijun, The Apes
( Burning Brides
) The Mae Shi, Bad Dudes, Foot Village
Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Volcom Entertainment Hath Announceth Subscription Club Utilizing New Recording Format: a 7-Inch Vinyl Record! RTX, Turgonegro, and Valient Thorr Sign Up For Middle English Language Lessons
In a move that provoked astonishment from both the liberal left and the righteous right (and bursts of flatulence from a few old codgers at the back of the room) Volcom Entertainment has bucked the popular trend of releasing music in playable formats by establishing a singles club. Lonely hearts need not apply (unless they have working turntables), because the Volcom Ent. Vinyl Club (VEVC) will be a yearly, six-release, subscription-based, split 7-inch vinyl series of records shipped bimonthly to paid-up punters beginning in February.
The class of VEVC '08 will include the following impressive graduates: Birds of Avalon, Dark Meat, Earthless, Monotonix, Red Fang, RTX, Totimoshi, Turbonegro, Tweak Bird, Valient Thorr, Witch, and Year Long Disaster. The first single shipped will feature Turbonegro and Year Long Disaster. As a bonus incentive, Volcom will throw in three free 7-inch singles from their back catalog with each subscription (Riverboat Gamblers’ “Keep Me From Drinking,” Totimoshi’s “Viva Zapata,” and Year Long Disaster’s “Leda Atomica”) as well as a Volcom Ent. slipmat (while supplies last).
So that’s $30 for the six VEVC 7-inch singles released every other month starting in February, the three bonus singles, a trusty slipmat, and...
...call now and we’ll include the Hercules Hook!, 1-Stitch Personal Sewing Machine!, Slice 'n' Dice Mice (“the mice that slice and dice!”), a Samurai Shark!, “Urine Gone!,” The Lens Doctor (M.D., Rx, PhD, BaRf), The Infinity Razor, Riddex Pro, the “Pull Up and Get Chicks” door bar!, Abs + Ass = “Abss of Steel,” Time Life Classic Soft Rock Series #3 (who doesn’t wuv “soft rock”?), “Dust Be Gone!,” “Swivel and Sweep While You Sweat to the Oldies Vol. 4,” Green Bags! (you haven’t “gone green” yet? Sinner!!!), Handy Switch!” (the WIRELESS light switch! TM), “Camel Toe Be Gone!,” Velcro Fromaggia (the Velcro that actually smells like cheese, for some reason), 5-Minute Forearms!, “Abss Be Gone!,” and many more products that can only be advertised using many exclamation points and some capital letters!
Last time Menomena toured Europe (TMT News), they had quite the time trying to teach Europeans how exactly to pronounce their Muppet-inspired moniker. This time around, however, the trio is heading overseas with their very own translation guide.
The following is an excerpt:
French: Le Menome
Dutch: De Menomenek
Tour Dates, s'il vous plaît:
*Blitzen Trapper, Boat
Supergrass are releasing their sixth album, Diamond Hoo Ha, April 15 via Astralwerks (March 24 in the U.K. via Parlophone). Since I know you guys are all simply dying to read our review, I've managed to talk Mr P (editor-in-chief) and Jay (music reviews editor) into letting me post the intro and conclusion of our forthcoming Supergrass review (author to be revealed at a later date). Enjoy!
I had never even seen a shooting star before. 25 years of rotations, passes through comets' paths, and travel, and to my memory I had never witnessed burning debris scratch across the night sky. Supergrass were hunched over their instruments. Gaz Coombes slowly beat on a grand piano, singing, eyes closed, into his microphone like he was trying to kiss around a big nose. Mick Quinn tapped patiently on a double bass, waiting for his cue. White pearls of arena light swam over their faces. A lazy disco light spilled artificial constellations inside the aluminum cove of the makeshift stage. The metal skeleton of the stage ate one end of Florence's Piazza Santa Croce, on the steps of the Santa Croce Cathedral. Michelangelo's bones and cobblestone laid beneath. I stared entranced, soaking in Supergrass's new material, chiseling each sound into the best functioning parts of my brain which would be the only sound system for the material for months.
The experience and emotions tied to listening to Diamond Hoo Ha are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax. It's an album of sparking paradox. It's cacophonous yet tranquil, experimental yet familiar, foreign yet womb-like, spacious yet visceral, textured yet vaporous, awakening yet dreamlike, infinite yet 48 minutes. It will cleanse your brain of those little crustaceans of worries and inferior albums clinging inside the fold of your gray matter. The harrowing sounds hit from unseen angles and emanate with inhuman genesis. When the headphones peel off, and it occurs that four men created this, it's clear that Supergrass must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who. Breathing people made this record! And you can't wait to dive back in and try to prove that wrong over and over.
We'll post the entire review around the album's release date! Something tells me this review will go down in history.
[Photo: Ben Ling]
CFTPA (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) Goes MIA (Missing in Action) From Left Coast USA (United States of America)
My roommates are playing Balloon Golf. Their course: the entire house. The rules to Balloon Golf are simple and go like this -- you have a balloon, you have something you need to hit with the balloon, and depending on the complexity of the "hole," there are parameters, like banking off a certain wall and not stepping past a particular line. Furthermore, you must drink Scotch both before and after each round. As you can imagine, Balloon Golf is a carefree and exciting game of drunken fraternal competition in which I'm usually pleased to partake, but not today. Not knowing what I know: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone is shunning the West Coast. For Florida.
FLORIDA ONLY MINI-TOUR MMVIII (download show flyer here):
02.16.08 - Miami, FL - White Room *
02.17.08 - Tampa, FL - Transitions Art Gallery *
02.18.08 - Orlando, FL - Back Booth *
02.19.08 - Gainesville, FL – TBA *
02.21.08 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Down Under @ Florida State University *
02.22.08 - Jacksonville, FL – TSI *
02.23.08 - TBA Mystery Show *
* Dear Nora
It's a grievous thing, and when grievous things happen, I usually listen to CFTPA's Etiquette, but listening to Etiquette under this circumstance only exacerbates my indignation. I have locked myself in my room and am wearing my black pajamas, so as to lounge in mourning. I even wrote a song to express my grief while my ukulele gently wept; one verse goes like this:
"Hey guy from Casiotone For The Painfully Alone/ Why you gotta' play me like that?/ When I found out your mini tour wasn't intended for the West Coast/ I felt pretty bad."
That one's entitled "Hey Guy From Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, Why You Gotta Play Me Like That?" and I recorded it early this morning after a couple gin and tonics (I expect it to be released through Sub Pop as part of my debut EP just as soon as they pick it up). In the original take, you can hear my belly growling due to the fact that I've also gone on a hunger strike, except for just a few meals a day, demanding that Casiotone come to California before they jet off to the U.K.
UK & IRELAND TOUR:
So, tell me, Casiotone -- what's a U.K. audience got that we don't, huh? Nothing! Just non-American accents, which get old real fast -- you'll see. I'll have you know that we here in Cali speak a non-regional dialect marred only by stoned slurs and surfer slang, which is WAY COOLER than English-English. You'll be sorry for avoiding us till early summer 2008.
Castiotone For The Painfully Alone April East Coast tourdates TBA +
May/June West Coast tour dates TBA %
+ Clue To Kalo
% Foot Foot
Hey Mr P,
Jerry from Warp Records here, just checking in to see how you've been. It's been cold lately, right? You still into music? If so, that's so funny, because I just heard about this crazy new album by Jamie Lidell that's coming out April 29 on Warp Records, and even in this personal catch-up e-mail, I just have to tell you a little about it!
Well, Mr P, as the editor of a successful mp3 blog, I'm sure you heard his 2005 record, Multiply (TMT Review), and I hope I'm not off the mark in assuming that you not only heard it but loved it, due to its deeply felt song writing and meticulous production skills. Yeah, separately we had some great times with that record, and I don't know about you, but I fostered some pretty deep connections with my peers as a result of our common interest in Lidell's balance between the spontaneous creativity of his raw ideas and the careful craft and
polish of a great record.
But like my fiancé was saying last week (yes, Mr P, we're tying the knot!), this new one, cheekily titled Jim, is even richer and more refined. Like a lot of things she says, though, the truth of her statement didn't dawn on me until I was at a concert featuring other Warp artists like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Autechre, Plaid, Vincent Gallo & many more. My mind started to wander between sets, and her positive assessment of Jim suddenly came into my head and I thought: God I love her so much, she's absolutely right! At that moment, Mr P, I knew that Jim would alternately switch me on in the morning, move me on the dance-floor in the evening, and take me down in the small hours. It was a good feeling, man, like coming home or something.
I don't know about you, Mr P, but it's been a tough year for me. The wedding is next December, which gives me something to look forward to, but in October the garage door came down on Smokey and he's been limping around the apartment ever since. It honestly just makes me want to die sometimes to know I can't afford the surgery he needs. Wait, oh my god, Mr P, you'd have to actually see this to know I'm not making it up, but I just put on a promo copy of Jim and my dog is sprinting around the house exactly like when he was a puppy. This is insane.
Although now that I'm listening to it again, it makes sense that a bold and promiscuously diverse album like Jim would work previously unknown magic. The only thing I can't pin down is what aspect of Jamie Lidell's music worked fastest to heal my dog's leg... was it the gospel grooves? The sweetly sung and fiercely passionate soul? Or was it the delicately moving ballads, the thumping early R&B, the synthed-up disco? I'm sure those all had something to do with it, but I don't think it would have been enough to heal broken bones if it hadn't been for that light touch of hillbilly funk. You can actually help me decide which track sounds most healing, if you have a free minute:
Well, now that I've just blabbed on and on about my life, how are you? You still into music?
Bowerbirds Don’t Include California In Their Upcoming Tour, Even Though Statistically It Would Be A Good Idea For Them To Do So
Because they have neglected California on every tour thus far, I am providing Bowerbirds with a list of reasons why they need to play some shows here soon:
1. The fowl for which the band is named resides solely in Australia, so the band won’t have confused wildlife enthusiasts wandering into their shows.
2. Bowerbirds are building their own house in the wilderness of North Carolina without the use of power tools. We have people who do stuff like that all the time here. There are ridiculous-looking, eco-friendly houses made of plastic or mud or cardboard boxes, and some people live in yurts. Come on, even the word “yurt” sounds potentially eco-friendly. I’m sure Bowerbirds would like yurts.
3. When I was 12, I went to Texas, and a policeman there told me he could tell I was a weirdo Commie from the Granola State. Indeed, California is literally made out of granola. Close to the southern border it’s very dry; in Los Angeles, it’s kind of grey; in San Francisco -- where I'm from -- it’s soggy from the fog; and up north, there’s a lot of weed broken up in it where there should be almonds. The point is, Bowerbirds must like granola, and here we have a lot of granola.
4. I live in California. I like Bowerbirds’ record and would go see them. So would other people I know who live in California. And the whole point of going on tour is people coming to your shows, right? If Bowerbirds came here, there would be people at their shows.
So I think it’s safe to assume that roughly 75% of the population of California would be amenable to having Bowerbirds in their state, though unfortunately less than 1% would be at Bowerbirds’ shows. Still, it’s a start.
A list of places that are not here:
If there is one thing you can always count on, it's that no matter what hijinks you're up to on a night out, there will always be the eventual letdown of returning home to find The Fugitive playing on an inordinate number of TV stations during the peak passed-out-drunk hours of 2-5 AM. You can pray all you want for a French Connection double bill to start just as you fall on the couch, but you'd be wasting your precious breath. No, The Fugitive is aired more often than While You Were Sleeping (and that steaming pile of sadness plays perpetually throughout cable-land, so that is saying something). Regardless, late-night television can lead to some truly messed-up dreams, especially when you are watching garbage and when your stomach is churning from a dozen pints of vodka-waters. Here’s the proof:
Requiem for David Nadelle’s Dream
[Our story starts with a group of camera-ready, ethnically diverse, law-and-order types standing around drinking coffee in front of a man-made lake and a dense forest. To the left, the remains of once-proud Piper Cub light aircraft smolders. Cut to Tommy Lee Jones' Marshal Sam Gerard character prepping his team of wise-crackin' lovable shlubs.]
Gerard: “Alright, listen up people. Our fugitives are named Kevin Drumm and Prurient, a.k.a. Dominick Fernow, and they will be on the road for only four days. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 35 miles per hour. Yes, you creampuffs... that is fast! These two absconders of justice are smart, manipulative, and have more tricks than a coked-up squadron of hookers at a high stakes Texas Hold ‘Em tournament. Yes, my wife did come up with that one, you smart asses! Yes, I know it makes very little sense! But do you young bastards know what that means? It means we have to hightail our cabooses hasta pronto and bring 'em in! Now move it, move it, move it!”
[After performing a hard-target search, of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in a 10 mile radius, we are made aware that Drumm and Fernow are actually in England, readying themselves for a short tour by guzzling real ale and fish pies, while Gerard and co. are somewhere in the Midwest of the United States.]
[A narrator's voice (me, but with a slight Austrian accent) plays over footage of the team making their way across the Atlantic. Some don frogsuits to swim and boogie-board across the tranquil ocean (they will inevitably wash up dead on the coast of Devon three weeks after the case has been closed), two deputies strap themselves to the undercarriage of Richard Branson's weather balloon, and Lee Jones goes via Air Force One.]
Austrian Me: “If anyone deserves a news story on TMT for a FOUR-date tour then I guess it should be the dynamic duo of Prurient and Kevin Drumm. This live pittance takes place from January 28 to 31. Later dudezzz.”
[Tee Lee Jones, in flat cap and britches, stands before his diminished posse.]
Gerard: “Alright, let’s go people! Our fugitives are guilty of everything associated with good taste, innovation, and intelligent music. You may be tempted to sit and watch these two engage then attack your eyes and ears with their pioneering brand of noise concrète (you like that label, don’t you Deputy?) but keep in mind that these agitators are animals, and our bland, generic music taste has to be preserved; it is the only thing that separates us from the animals. That and opposable thumbs. And paying taxes. There’s no time to play the hero card; that’s my job. If anyone thinks of an appropriate classic line of dialogue while they are in hot pursuit of Drumm or Fernow, please see me first so I can deliver it as one of my own. Now let's get it on!”
He then did a dance like Jean-Claude van Damme did in [Kickboxer and made-out with someone who looked a little bit like a buck-toothed Juliette Lewis.]
And Still, Wanting, Prurient's first "official" full-length since Pleasure Ground, is due February 15 via No Fun Productions. Kevin Drumm and Prurient's collaboration, All Are Guests in the House of the Lord, was released last year on Hospital Productions.
Kevin Drumm and Prurient are the Fugitives of Sound:
01.28.08 - Nottingham, England - The Chameleon #
01.29.08 - London, England - Barden’s Boudoir $
01.30.08 - Newcastle, England - World Headquarters %
01.31.08 - Bristol, England - The Croft ^
# Sunroof!, Soft Option Killing & Stomach
$ Beach Fuzz & Cheapmachines
% Romance & Brothers Yemen
^ Putrifier, Team Brick