Let’s try to make some sense out of all this. Or at least find solutions. We know the problems. One major problem: Unless a (Sir) Lucian Grange, or a Simon Cowell, Jimmy Iovine, Jay-Z, perhaps Daniel Ek- or any of the other big Poohbahs in the music business- and those established artists who were complete unknowns with no direction of home until plucked from obscurity by those with the intuitive A&R skills to hear something special in their music, many very good artists fell through the cracks. Or else didn’t become as big as they should have.The band Low Millions come to mind. And Athlete. Starsailor. Placebo. Moriarty.
It was exactly what was needed. Fun. Infectious fun. So infectious that the dancing magically morphed into a conga line. And all this taking place at a racetrack. At the venue known as Adrenaline of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
The last race had been run and the international group of young millennials from the Beer Garden had been making their way up to Adrenaline to kick on before the last two races had been run.
One didn’t know them, but their writing drew us into the world they inhabited. They were teachers, they were guides and we learned and understood more about music and musicians and songs from them, because they were there- part of that inner circle. They knew the secrets. They were, to some of us, our Book Of Knowledge. It gave us a direction. We didn’t need Wikipedia and all the other online clutter. We needed a spliff and time to read every page. And then re-read it all again. It was about the MUSIC and the MUSICIANS.
These were writers like Cameron Crowe who hung out with Led Zeppelin and went on to write and direct and produce the semi autobiographical “Almost Famous”. And if you haven’t listened to the Soundtrack, do. It’s a wonderful lesson in music appreciation.
When one of the very very very few people you respect and with a globally proven track record writes to say, “The music industry has never been in such a mess”, one not only listens, there’s a certain sense of vindication- that what you have been saying and questioning for years isn’t just talk from Sleepy Hollow and how so many have allowed themselves to be bamboozled for so long that they’re utterly burnt out, desperately clutching at straws and believing this is taking them somewhere. Please.
Social media might be a nice place to show off that you’ve made yourself a nice salad and show some happy snaps from a holiday, but as platforms to market and sell music, especially if an unknown, please don’t embarrass yourself by uploading mawkish self-promotional jive on Facebook and Instagram even if you’re wearing a hibiscus behind your ear and wobbling trying to stay in tune. All this does is highlight the terminal deficiencies when it comes to having actual talent.
Sometimes things happen for a reason- not often, but when they’re special things that reset your thinking and help bring about some form of clarity, it’s no doubt coming from some higher power without tripping over that unforgiving ninth step.
The night before I had seen someone I had known for around a decade have a meltdown. It was the alcohol talking mixed with anger, frustration and desperation. When after years of trying and with still nothing to show for it and all those wasted years trying to be what you hoped to hell you’d be with nothing to show for it, something snaps.
Looking back to those surreal, weird and right out there days when firmly entrenched in the music industry with many of us making The Wolf of Wall Street look like pussies, there weren’t a helluva lot of executives who actually lived and loved and BREATHED the music, certainly not like pioneers of the industry like Sam Philips, Chris Blackwell, Berry Gordy Jr, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, David Geffen, Ahmet Ertegun, below, and the handful of others.