Happy Birthday Bruce, Joe Higgs, Nigeria Special


Just a quick post to wish Bruce a happy birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRUCE) and share a couple records I can’t get enough of…

In an email where he also admitted to liking the Santogold record, Mike D turned me on to this AMAZING Joe Higgs reissue on Pressure Sounds, Life of Contradiction. It’s a roots reggae masterpiece I’d never heard before and I’ve probably listened to it 50 times in the past week and a half.

http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fgrandroyal%2F8014%2Fb107a335-cee2-40ea-91f9-7b204d50f91e&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate Amazon.com Widgets

And from the Roots, Rock, Reggae documentary:


Also, I picked up the MP3 version of the Nigeria Special record I’ve heard so much about. Some serious gems on there. Highly recommended. Check out the track “I Want A Break Thru’”, below.

http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fgrandroyal%2F8014%2F3d366e26-2e76-4a9c-a5af-b9b07cbefd9b&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate Amazon.com Widgets

I bought CD versions of both of these for Bruce for his bday. Never been so sure about a gift in my life.

Oh and here’s my verdict on the Santogold record: I like the second half. I like the songs that sound like Siouxsie and M.I.A., and not the ones that sound like Gwen Stefani. Here are the tracks I dig:

http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fgrandroyal%2F8014%2F6977c52f-a382-4a60-9ff3-bfa5ab0acb25&Operation=GetDisplayTemplate Amazon.com Widgets

I feel a little guilty using the Amazon widget instead of the Yahoo! Media Player one, but the fact of the matter is, time is precious and uploading MP3s, linking to them, making the Amazon affiliate links, and pasting in the cover art for both the in-page and in-player takes more time than I have and actually discourages me from blogging more. Testing to see if the Amazon MP3 widget makes this faster and more painless. So far so good. Trade-off for you dear reader is an entire album of 30-second samples instead of one full track. What do you think?


Topspin Is Hiring!

Topspin Offices

Hey all,

I still can’t tell you exactly what we’re doing (and even when I finally make an announcement I’m only going to talk about 1/3 our product line, sorry), but I guarantee you it’s decidedly not lame. Even better than that, I think it’s going to be good for both people who make music and people who love music. Shocking I think that, I know.

Anyway, we’re looking for talented, dedicated Engineers, Designers, Program Managers, and more. Please click here to see the full list of open positions. We’re a very employee-friendly VC-backed startup with great benefits of both the “insurance” and “drums, guitars, and turntables in the office” variety. If you’re experienced and interested in affecting change in the world of music, please drop your resume over here. If you’re mediocre and just looking for a paycheck please, um, look elsewhere.

In addition to the jobs listed on this page I am looking for two executive positions reporting to me: VP Business Operations and VP Marketing. Please send resumes and suggestions on those positions through the email address on this page, too.

Our offices are in both San Francisco and Santa Monica.

Thanks very much for your interest.


Embarrassed by Consumerism?


I was giving a Topspin demo to some rock stars (of sorts) today and got called out: “Someone wants a Bad Brains t-shirt.” Of course I do, who doesn’t, but how did he know I’d just been searching for one? Did I leave the window open? No, worse, the words were still in my Firefox search box.

I was embarrassed. Not sure why, but I was.

Anyway, I was searching for it after being inspired by this post. Which was inspired by this post. The blog circle.

FWIW, I think I’ll get one of these.


Right Brigade

In the back of a cab on the way home from LAX on Friday, I was living an iPhone commercial. I was watching Bad Brains Live @ CBGB’s 1982 on my iPhone when Liz Heller called. While talking to Liz Dave Conway was text messaging me about meeting me at my house to leech my FIOS. Suddenly my wife, Julie, calls. Going from being entertained to flipping around and conversating with three people in different ways all with this one slim little device was very post-modern. I was an embarassing caricature of myself, and I wish I could say that was unusual.

But that wasn’t the point of this post. The point of this post was to get you to buy this Bad Brains DVD. The best hardcore band of all time did three nights at CBGB’s starting on Christmas eve in 1982 and the DVD collects the best of those performances. For example:

I moshed my brains out in the back of the cab watching this. Mouthed every word. Watching this footage it’s really hard to believe this moment in time existed. Thank god it did.

At the same time I bought the Bad Brains DVD, I also bought the Minutemen documentary, “We Jam Econo”, which I haven’t watched yet but I did watch the acoustic jam on the second disc at the urging of Greg Miller:

Also magical moments never to be recreated. D. Boon RIP.



Thanks Trent

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 12.44.48 PM

[photo from Travis Keller’s Flickr stream]

Thanks Trent Reznor for blazing the trail.

Everyone is talking about his latest free download and his previous digital foray, but don’t forget his work with Saul Williams (statistical transparency included) and the marketing of his last record for Universal, which was by far the craziest marketing endeavor in the history of recorded music (if you follow one link in this post, follow that one). As Bob Lefsetz pointed out yesterday, it’s not about a press release, it’s about connecting with your fans and giving them something to believe in. And Trent has the attention to detail to see it all the way through. I’ve never met the guy but he seems driven.

What he’s doing doesn’t just take balls, it takes awareness and intelligence. Congrats, man. Keep it comin’.


ps – the $300 Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition NIN Ghosts box showed up at the office last week and it’s AMAZING. by far the best album package I’ve ever seen in my life.

My Resume, In Guitar Picks


No offense, but I don’t need your business card any more than I need a subscription to one of those old-fangled paper news things like the LA Times. I already have your email address, it’s pretty unlikely I’m going to pick up the phone and cold-call you in the age of email, it’s doubtful I’ll need to fax you, and I’m sure as hell not going to send you anything from Amazon so why would I need your snail mail address? Trading business cards is a nice ritual but really pretty pointless in the age of Linked-In.

Back around 2000 I made a batch of FISTFULAYEN guitar picks with the help of Greg Shewchuk (printed by Legend Picks). I think it was his idea to put “Extra Harvey” on the back of the extra heavy gauge pick, in honor of Jacob Harvey. Then when I started in an official capacity at Grand Royal, I made picks instead of business cards. They were simple, just the GR logo and my email address on the back. “Here’s where I work and here’s how you get in touch with me. What else do you need?” And, if you don’t need to get in touch with me, you can at least use the pick to practice some Whitesnake licks.

After three years of regular Yahoo! biz cards I went back to my roots and went for the Y! Music pick. Thanks to Jeff Hurlow for the design work. Since we wanted to go full color we used Steve Clayton (just like Korn, Santana, and Switchfoot!) for the printing instead of Legend. I’m happy with the way they turned out, though the simple email address on the back does seem a little lonely. Maybe next time name/title will make it on.

Still not as good as when Mark and Jake made business cards at a truck stop for “Laziness Inc.”, but it’ll do.

See you in a meeting,

My Resume, In Guitar Picks, Revisited

My resume, in guitar picks, revisited

As I wrote in more detail a while back, I’ve been using custom guitar picks as business cards since the late 90s. I have to say, it’s pretty rewarding to hand one of these out at a meeting. Not only do you get a “hey that’s pretty cool” kinda comment, but you often get a genuine “shit, why didn’t I think of that” sort of a-ha moment.

Feel free to steal the idea (with citation would be nice). In the old days I ordered from Legend Picks (and they haven’t changed their site a bit since then) but the last two have been from Steve Clayton and I have to say, the Clayton picks have a much better, more textured, less likely to slip out of your hand when you’re practicing like Dweezil sort of feel.

Special thanks to Peter Brambl for turning these around in record time. Peter rules, btw.

Speaking of shredding, the first person to name both the author of this lyric and explain who K.K. Downing and Glen Tipton are wins an out-of-print CD version of Gregory Isaacs’ (crucial) Cool Ruler and Soon Forward (how’s that for multi-genre?):

Cassius Clay was hated
More than Sonny Liston
Some like K.K. Downing
More than Glenn Tipton
Some like Jim Nabors
Some Bobby Vinton
I like ’em all


Topspin Board Meeting

board meeting

As if I needed another reason to love my new job or feel like I’m the luckiest CEO on the planet, Peter Gotcher kicked off my first Topspin board meeting by presenting me with a custom Topspin skateboard.

Finally, my own pro model?

Thanks to Tim (throwing the shaka), Shamal, and Peter for making me feel so damn welcome. And love to my entire Topspin crew, y’all are incredible and I’m fortunate to be a part.


Justin Frankel’s REAPER


Sometimes people ask me, what’s Justin doing?

No one believes me when I tell them the truth: he’s creating his own audio editing suite a la ProTools — he’s written an incredibly flexible piece of software, called REAPER, which is a 3.2MB download (!) and is $50 shareware. When I tell people the reaction is usually that I must be crazy or lying to them, because a) it’s not possible, and b) if it was they’d have heard of it. Well, as it turns out it is possible, Justin is really doing it, and you haven’t heard of it because it’s just him and Christophe spending 100% of their time writing code, playing with the result, and making music, and 0% of the time marketing it.

But don’t take my word for it, read this review in Electronic Musician which was the inspiration for this post.

Download REAPER for free, here.

Thanks Alan for sending me the link to the article.


Woah Black Betty Ram Ba Lam

Holy shit. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this video. Found this evening when looking for a Styx video for Zoe’s playlist.

My dad and I listened to this song over and over when I was little. In junior high Kris Kurtz and I lip sync’d this for the talent show. In wigs, of course. But our wigs didn’t rule half as much as these dudes’ wigs rule. And when I say wigs I mean moustaches.

A house in the country with girls, guitars, and motorcycles? This is my dad’s dream come true. This one’s for you, pops. Dig.


Actually, dad, I have one more for you. Check this shit out. Seger System KILLING it (even though I think he’s lip syncing cuz that’s what they did on TV in those days).

(thanks to Sam Velde for sending me that one)