guitarist > writer > coder

July 27, 2013
Comments Off on Call Me The Breeze

Call Me The Breeze


Swapped a Blind Boy Fuller album many years ago for a “Best of…” Clapton, and the stand out track was After Midnight. Everything I wanted from a song when getting ready to party. Wasn’t till some years later I heard J.J. Cale, and realized here was the guy behind the Clapton songs I loved.


Much more laid back in style (and life), I may still prefer Clapton’s version of After Midnight, but damn if J.J. Cale’s Call Me The Breeze isn’t just perfect, and if I had heard this as a teen it would have been played back to back with After Midnight as we got ready to go out.


Sorry to read J.J. Cale has passed away, happy to have been enjoying his songs for so long.


May 9, 2013
Comments Off on Understanding Metal Music in 500 Albums

Understanding Metal Music in 500 Albums

How many bands have you heard? I think I have a fairly wide taste in bands thanks to my parents eclectic tastes, but know there are so many bands I haven’t heard that I’m always on the look out for lists and articles that point me towards more.

Same bands on repeat

So stumbling on the List Of 500 Albums That You Need To Have Heard In Order To Have A Full And Comprehensive Understanding Of Metal Music was like striking gold. I like Metal, but tend to default to the same few bands. An article that lists over five hundred albums that helped shape and develop Metal had me creating a Spotify playlist with as many of the albums listed that were available*.



I know a lot of them won’t be my thing – I’m not a Death Metal fan, for example – but to have them pop up every now and again while the list plays on random isn’t a problem. And I hadn’t ever listened to Nick Drake, and Hazey Jane II is brilliant, so already I’m happily hearing songs that I love.


As there’s still money to be made re-releasing Rock albums on cd with an extra demo version or alternate take or live version, so some bands aren’t on Spotify yet, but a surprisingly large number are as record companies become less internet paranoid.


Others released albums pre-internet that weren’t successful enough for them to be still available are MIA from the playlist. And others are missing altogether, like the original Mr Big’s Photographic Smile – not on the list, but an album worth seeking out second hand.


*It’s a work in progress, it’s a lot of albums to search and find and add…


May 3, 2013
Comments Off on Jeff Hanneman – RIP

Jeff Hanneman – RIP

“The things that I would have said about Jeff Hanneman can be summed up very simply. He was a brilliant and innovative guitarist who died too young. He helped found one of the greatest, most forward-looking metal groups of all time. He wrote two of the most exciting songs ever, ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel Of Death’. He was a key player on three or four of the best albums ever recorded.”
Gone But Still Reigning: Jeff Hanneman And Slayer Live



A big Heavy Metal fan in my early teens, I was almost exclusively listening to Punk in the early 80’s before I wound my way through Hip Hop, Rap and Jazz and back into Rock. So I somehow listened to everything but Slayer until 2006. Anthrax, Pantera, Megadeth, and all their early influences such as GBH, Discharge and one of my all time favourites the Dead Kennedys.


Hearing “Behind the Crooked Cross” for the first time was a revelation, and while Jeff Hanneman may have hated the song it’s one of my favourites, especially that amazing opening riff.


December 14, 2011
Comments Off on Spotify & Artists & Royalties & Piracy

Spotify & Artists & Royalties & Piracy

Purely for selfish reasons I like artists earning a living. If they don’t earn they might go and get crappy jobs that don’t allow them to make the books and music and films I like.


But I’m lazy. Like water I will follow the easiest route to that art. Stick a film on when I can see where I can see it and I’ll go and see it. Same with books, I do digital; stick it in on Amazon or your own site and I’ll download and read it. And music, give me a no brainer option to pay (Emusic, Spotify  subscription, Amazon mp3 download) and I’m there.


And now the genie is out of the bottle. I don’t want to go back to getting myself into town to search for an album that may or maybe not be in the shop at a price I may or may not want to pay.


So it pisses me off when I read…


“[A] growing number of big acts (from Adele to the Black Keys) have withheld their new albums from the service, while artists such as Mercury nominee Jon Hopkins are bemoaning low royalty payments, something which has also prompted many smaller independent labels to withdraw their catalogues.” guardian.co.uk


…following closely on the tails of…


“[T]he stark reality that every digital-music subscription service such as Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio, and others must confront … are being made public. The specifics are even more onerous than the hot dog example cited above. Together they doom online audio companies to a life of subjugation to the labels …


With most other businesses, if a supplier makes unreasonable demands, a retailer can turn to other providers. Since copyright law gives record labels and publishers a government-granted monopoly, no such option is possible with music. Digital vendors have only two options: Accept the terms or not include those songs in their offering.” gigaom.com


Which leaves me feeling (‘cos I’m to lazy to do real research, but not lazy enough to not read those articles) that artists get shafted by the labels, and music services like Spotify get shafted by the labels, and artists blame the music services and withdraw their music, and then lazy people go and download their music illegally and the labels say “See how bad the internet is? We’re struggling, sorry we can only give you shit royalties, blame music services and piracy”.


And yet if you skip the labels and make good stuff, people too lazy to shop in the old real world will happily pay


Related: Louis CK Makes $200,000 Profit in Four Days With Online Video