Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer NAMM 2011

Last week I attended the Summer NAMM (The National Association of Music Merchants) show here in Nashville. This is the show where a ton of music vendors come and whore their wares to music stores, artists, and other unsuspecting buyers of musical merchandise. I leaned a lot while I was there. For example, guitarists need special lotion and if they don’t use it their hands will not channel their soulfulness into their music accordingly. The irony is that I thought I was a terrible guitarist. Turns out I was just using the wrong hand lotion.

In addition, I had no idea how much musical kitsch was out there. I’m not talking about bags, shirts, and other stuff with logos on it. I’m talking about really tacky useless things like pick holders shaped like a pewter dragon and playing cards with sharps and flats on them.

The great part about the show is that a lot of the instrument vendors set up drum sets and cymbals and they shove sticks into your hands as you walk by them. You can try the latest models of drums and percussion instruments from just about every brand out there. This is how I learned one of the most important lessons at the NAMM show: sitting behind the wrong drum set can make you look fat. So here are a few tips to help my fellow drummers look good on stage:

1. Choose the right color of drums. Dark drums are slimming. Avoid spiral designs or anything with stripes, regardless of whether the stripes are vertical or horizontal.

2. You need a pretty low BMI to pull off white drums. Avoid them unless you’re already exceptionally thin.

3. The larger the drums, the thinner you look sitting behind them. If you’re a portly drummer, you may also want to consider adding extra toms because you will look smaller when dwarfed by the volume around you.

If you are particularly self conscious of your weight, add a gong behind you. Large gongs will distract the audience from your waistline. The shimmer can also be hypnotic to viewers.

Cymbals represent who you are. These are the accessories that no drummer can live without. Large glossy symbols are the most slimming, but take into account the color and finish of your drums so that the cymbals don’t clash.

Finally, once you’ve narrowed down your choice of drums based on these criteria, you can then listen to how they sound.

Enough of this fun. What I really learned at NAMM is that there are much better sounding cymbals out there than the ones I’m currently using. I now suffer from cymbal envy. However, therapy for this condition can be quite expensive. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s cheaper just to buy some really nice cymbals. Problem solved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Band Names

I’ve been pretty busy with my band Lucky Munk, so I’ve fallen behind on a few things. By the way, a clean house is a luxury and not a necessity. Also, deadlines on things like book manuscripts really should be flexible if the author is in a band.

So, since I’ve been busy with my band I thought that this week I would share a few more of the band names I’ve developed that have yet to be adopted by the up and coming in the music scene. So here they are.

The Deadbeats
This is a group of unemployed drummers. Their slogan: “We may be lifeless, but we've got rhythm.”

This was my first choice for my own band before I was told that it was “too difficult to spell.” But think about introducing the band during gigs: “Thank you, Ladies and Gentleman. We are Preposterous!” I still think it would make a great name.

The Hollow Bodies
A group of zombie jazz guitarists. Sort of a Kiss thing, but with a jazzier sound and maybe less spandex. Or more spandex. Let me think about that one.

The Eclectrics
A techno-pop group that plays a wide variety of tunes and genres. They are eclectic and electric. I find that when you don’t know what else to do just smash two similar words together and everything seems to work itself out. Sort of like puberty.

Rat Sass
This group probably has to be a metal band because the word “rat” doesn’t work as well in other genres. However, this has the best marketing potential of all the names I’ve come up with so far. Slogan: “Show people you care about them and give them a Rat Sass CD.” Say it out loud. You’ll get it sooner or later. Rat Sass could probably tour with The Pancake Maggots.

For those of you who missed it, my first post on band names is here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Return of the Daily Dave

A few years ago I had a mailing list called The Daily Dave. Here’s how it worked:
First I searched the Internet for quotes from Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. Luckily, Dave has done a lot of interviews so there’s plenty of material out there. Next, I took the quote out of context and applied it to a business situation. In other words, I would quote Dave’s words precisely but way out of context.

Why did I do this? First of all, the results were pretty hilarious. Secondly, Metal music and the business world have far more in common that one would initially think. See my last post for more on this topic. In fact, I would love to get with Dave and write a book on the subject. So without further ado and in response to the fans of the Daily Dave who are reading this blog, this week I’m posting this just for you.

A short disclaimer to loyal fans of the Daily Dave who really want it back: The Daily Dave is not permanently returning. But it may periodically visit this blog. After all, the Daily Dave and I spent several years together. We’ve bonded. So without further ado... see below and witness the magic and wisdom of the Daily Dave:

And maybe just one more for fun:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Spinal Tap Has to Teach Us About Business

There are a lot of business books out there with self-proclaimed experts telling us what we should or shouldn’t do in the corporate world. However, in my 20 years of experience I’ve discovered that the best business advice comes from the school of Metal and the movie Spinal Tap serves as an excellent example of these principles.

What Spinal Tap has to teach us about business:

1. Don’t jump into bed with the first company that asks for a merger. You could wind up with herpes. Sure some companies and their profit margins look enticing. But what other diseases will they bring into your culture or financial statements?

2. You may lose your drummer repeatedly, but the show will go on (as much as I hate to admit it). Some people may appear to be instrumental to your success (pun intended). However, in business everyone is replaceable. In fact, I’ve discovered that the people who appear irreplaceable are more skilled in promoting their value than in actually providing value to the organization. Thus, the people who appear to be essential to your success may be the least valuable of all your employees. Perceived value and actual value are two different things. A well structured and healthy organization is not dependent upon a few key people. If you think that your organization is going to crumble if you lose specific people, then it’s very likely to crumble even if those people stay.

3. You can detail all your plans and track progress, but a simple thing like one little typo can have a dramatic effect and leave you with a tiny, toy Stonehendge instead of the dramatic prop you intended. No one should be too proud to have their work checked. It’s easy to overlook small details that can make a big difference. In fact, I appreciate my editors for helping me with these things because I know they make me look better (FYI - I am a notoriously poor typist and make horrendous typing mistakes all the time). So build this into your project timelines and don’t just concern yourself with getting a product to market quickly. Speed is not an acceptable alternative to accuracy.

4. Someone is going to get trapped in the pod eventually. Insert “boiler room” or “creative accounting error” in place of “pod.” All the same. Sooner or later we all wind up in a situation that we didn’t create. Remember this when you decide to play the blame game. It’s always better to simply solve the problem and move on than to worry about finding someone to pay the price for a mistake. You could just as easily wind up in a pod that you didn’t build and be blamed for not emerging on stage on cue.

P.S. For those of you who were looking for a Daily Dave in this post... this is merely a prelude. For those of you who don’t know about the Daily Dave, please check back next week for an explanation and example.