The Observer Effect

November 14th, 2008

resizedIn physics, "observer effect" refers to changes that the act of observation will make on the phenomenon being observed. The rule applies to rock shows.

Remember those junior high school plays? Ever dig that VHS tape your parent's recorded out of the basement? The show were better in your memories, right?

Well, way back in the '90s, my brother, Christofer, video taped almost every one of my shows. It may have been the tiny microphone on the camera, or that I was a terrible performer. Either way, watching those game tapes was ...

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Christmas In 2:03

November 10th, 2008

resizedI've spent a lot of time recording, but I'm pretty sure this one takes the cake: thirteen months of studio time for two minutes and three seconds of song.

That's right. I've been tracking this bad boy for over a year, recording, re-recording, adding and subtracting, then tweaking each of the twenty-four tracks, nudging levels, EQing, panning, normalizing, gating, adding reverb, and then tweaking again. And again, and again, and again. For hours -- God knows how many hours.

Because the thing is, stakes are high for my recording of ...

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Ain’t That America

November 4th, 2008

resizedIt hasn't been until pretty recently that I even began to consider "The American Dream." I dunno', maybe I was too young, too single, had nothing invested or at stake.

The older I get, though, and the more historical storms I weather (September 11, The Invasion Of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, etc), the more I've come to consider who we are as Americans. Oddly enough, at the end of the day, the prime value we seem to hold for ourselves (mythically, anyway), is a sense of home -- something I've wrestled with for years (and only begun to feel a ...

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On The Air: KPTL’s Live From Studio C With Deeya

June 25th, 2008

resizedIf you like hearing me talk then today's your lucky day.

As I told KPTL DJ Daniel Boseman after we wrapped our 45-minute interview, I've been the interviewer far more frequently than the interviewee.

See, I talk a lot. Which, I know from all my years at The MTV, is not necessarily the best thing for radio and television. We live in a sound byte world, after all. If you can't say it in ten seconds, you probably ought not to try.

Luckily, Des Moines is not New York, and KPTL is not MTV. When Daniel and I went long Saturday afternoon ...

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On The Air: KPTL’s Capital Backyard With Daniel Boseman

June 23rd, 2008

resizedIt's been a whirlwind weekend here in Des Moines, Iowa.

I got in Saturday around noon, registered for the Hy-Vee Tri, then taped two KPTL-FM Capitol 106.3 radio shows: Daniel Boseman's Capitol Backyard, and Deeya's Live from Studio C.

I ran the tri Sunday morning in 2:48:27. Then the Authentic Records crew threw a hugely successful Iowa Flood Relief Benefit Sunday night, raising nearly $3000 for the United Way of Central Iowa.

I'm off to a meeting at the Authentic Records Beaverdale Offices, then Iowa Public Television, before ...

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Behind The Music: “Giving Up The Ghost”

June 9th, 2008

resizedI was standing on the 79th Street subway station just a few days prior to the release of "Heartland" in November, 2005, when the phrase "giving up the ghost" came to me.

"Somehow," as I wrote a few years later, "It summarized everything that I was (and still am) going through, specifically, letting go of all of the dreams, fantasies, and delusions of youth. I’m not relinquishing the ones that drive and motivate and inspire me, I’m casting out those that haunt me, that torture me and keep me up at night. You know the laundry list: the ...

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Though You Failed, At Least You Tried

April 23rd, 2008

resizedI love this story.

Colossally famous rock star (Tom Petty) reforms his middlingly-successful first band (Mudcrutch), rescuing at least one former band mate from the drudgery of teaching high school.

"I just had this random thought," Petty said. "'I really liked that band, I wonder what it would be like to get them together?'"

And so he did.

"I was driving home from getting groceries at Kroger’s, and my cellphone rang," said Tom Leadon. "He said, 'Hey, it’s your old pal Tom Petty.'"

A few days of enterprising songwriting ...

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Amazing Grace – MP3

April 4th, 2008

resizedIn U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)," Bono sings, "Early morning, April 4 / A shot rings out in the Memphis sky."

Martin Luther King, Jr. was, in fact, assassinated at 6:01 pm on April 4, 1968 -- forty years ago this very moment.

Bono has since conceded his mistake, and expressed his dissatisfaction with the lyrics, which he describes as "simple sketches." The singer says he was swayed by Edge and producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who played down the need to develop the lyrics as they thought the impressionistic nature was more ...

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Waiting At Graceland (First In Line) – MP3

March 5th, 2008

resized "I ran down Elvis Presley Boulevard beneath a sky bruised purple and gray and orange at the edges," I scribbled in a journal entry dated October 21, 1996. "It's the type of sky that removes roofs indescriminently."

"It's rumbling now, waiting to break, I'm sure, just as I step from the tour bus to the property -- or shortly thereafter, when I resume my 670 mile trip north."

Twelve years and thousands of miles later, that last-minute pilgrimage to Graceland makes better sense to me. I can see now that, like me, Elvis was also trying to ...

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Leap Year – MP3

February 29th, 2008

resizedI wrote "Leap Year" fifteen years ago, in the deep, dark winter of 1993.

Syracuse winters were brutal. It's nation's snowiest metropolitan region, averaging 114.6 inches a year. I happened to be there for three of the top five worst years, the penultimate being the year in question in which 192.1 inches fell. That's over sixteen feet of snow.

Worse yet, though, Syracuse is notoriously gray. The city averages 303 cloudy or partly cloudy days a year. And we're not talking about the billowy white kind. We're talking slate gray, ...

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