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Steve Ison
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Steve Ison

2/11/2013 3:30:54 AM ---- Updated 2/11/2013 3:53:59 AM

Competing For Attention With The Whole History Of Recorded Music
Of course its an impossible task,but thats what the modern indie artist has to do - to get any attention from a member of the public,even 'friends' it seems these days- if you're posting up a new track for consideration

Infact even if by some miracle of inspiration you can create something of equal creative quality/intensity to the best of The Beatles,Bowie,Neil Young,The Kinks,Tamla Motown etc (insert your own favourite artist(s) ),you're still on a hiding to nothing,since people are remembering those old songs fondly from their youth with all the associated rose-tinted memories they conjur up- all just a 'click' away from reliving once again

Your track has none of those advantages to sell it.

Its at at a further disadvantage still, since it'd be almost impossible to compete in a production sense with those old songs that were recorded with brilliant producers,dedicated engineers who knew their craft and how to make the absoloute best of their sweet-sounding analogue studio -with the most talented,creative session musicians available to you that the classic rock artists of old had..

Its like you're offering people your lovingly home-cooked meal,but they don't want/need it anymore 'cos they can get a 5 star course from any of the greatest chefs the worlds ever known just by clicking their finger

Talking of food ,besides other musicians/artists in a similar position to yourself ( who's listening to be fair is generally almost entirely reciprocally motivated ) its absoloute starvation rations that most indie artists are surviving on these days..And i'm not even talking about monetary 'sales' lol (i made the grand total of $1 last year from someone who downloaded my track 'The Strangest Feeling') , i'm talking about ATTENTION..

To actually get someone to even listen to your track is incredibly tough - and thats the best (and only) reward from the outside world realistically available to you these days it seems

I've seen the attention any new song i receive dip alarmingly over the last couple of years on Facebook (the only place i know where i've got an opportunity to get Joe Public to listen )..Two years ago i'd post a new track up and maybe get 30 -40 or so 'likes' and 12 -20 comments..The latest track i've just finished 'Movie Days' (available to listen to here on IAC if you're interested) received 4 'likes' and 1 comment...'Good song Steve,keep 'em coming'

Its totally forseeable (and probably inevitable) with that kinda general utter indifference that in a few months time i'll put something out and it'll be completely ignored..

A big part of me is philosophical/stoical/Buddhist about these recent developments, but another part is incredibly disillusioned and 'whats the f*cking point?' with it...Of course the nature of the artist is you keep on keepin' on and doing your own thing whatever - 'cos thats what we do -but the idea of basically creating music in a vaccuum dosn't exactly fill me with joy to be honest..

Its an internal dialogue/attitude i wrestle with/have constantly with myself.Of course the ideal point is to absoloutly not care whether you get any attention or not for your music -but i'm certainly not at that point yet

I can hear for myself that the general creative musical songwriting quality/freedom of what i make is as good as what signed artists working in a roughly similar vein are producing these days who are actually SELLING their music, so a part of me's thinking 'what am i doing wrong ?'..
Well the 'production' for a start i suppose lol-as that's never gonna be as polished n appetising as something recorded professionally,tho i always do the absoloute best i can with what i've got..

Some people here would say-You gotta promote yourself more and be ruthlessly efficient-banging on every virtual door you can,but i just don't like the feel of doing that at all..It dosn't feel right..
In my head i believe if the music's good enough it should sell itself..
So maybe being totally honest, thats the problem..Tho i've created some 'good' music,its not 'good enough'

I remembver Bob Elliott saying here that if you could truly create something as brilliant n timeless as A Day In The Life' or 'Whats Going On' or 'Life On Mars' say (i can't remember the examples he gave ) it'd be impossible for people to ignore it..

I find that idea genuinelly inspiring and an idealistic dream worth pursuing..(Well its a kinda dream i follow anyway )
Even if you never get there,you're gonna have alot of fun and create some cool songs along the way f'sure...

So i guess i'm on the right road anyways then ;)

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Chandra Moon

2/11/2013 8:46:04 AM ---- Updated 2/11/2013 8:47:25 AM

It was so synchronistic reading this today! Earlier on this afternoon, I put the MP3s of my upcoming album onto a hard CD for the first time and listened to all the tracks on my home system in the track order they'll probably end up. I experienced the weirdest feeling knowing no-one else anywhere had ever listened to them before in that medium and quite probably, not that many people ever will ha ha!! I thought of all the effort, studio time, musicians travelling to come and do their bit, struggling to find the exact right sounds, every drum beat and effect something worked on.

My first album was beautifully and professionally produced and I like to think the songs stack up reasonably well within the indie world but it took me 3 years to sell enough to cover the costs of producing that album! I get a few downloads from time to time now but I certainly have no illusions about selling a load of albums even though I've worked very hard on my music.

I absolutely loathe the self-promotion needed to sell a lot of music and if you do get signed to a company it seems you'd have to sell exponential amounts to make it worthwhile.

So.......for me, I don't anticipate selling loads of the new album though I'll do an album launch. I'm singing a few songs today on a local FM radio station in fact and I'll carry on trying to get the music out there including here at IAC.

I have to get the satisfaction from doing it and hoping that someone somewhere will enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoy producing it!

It's a pretty thankless task if you apply the same measures to it as you would a "normal" job!!!

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Steve April

2/11/2013 9:22:37 AM

We experience the ancient heavenly connection, the starry dynamo in the machinery of night. We create out of thin air...

So there are satisfactions...or like wordsworth said, "intimations of immortality from recollections of early childhood..."

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Steve Ison

2/12/2013 10:04:17 AM

Interesting to hear the story of you creating your album Chandra..Its very cool that you've actually sold a decent amount to cover the cost of making it..
Thats definitely an acheivement to be proud of in itself..
You've got a great voice,your songs are good and the production on ones i've heard of yours is excellent - which i'm sure has helped you.. :)

"We experience the ancient heavenly connection, the starry dynamo in the machinery of night. We create out of thin air.."

Thats a beautiful quote Steve that touches on the magic of the creative experience..I googled it and found out its Alan Ginsberg..
I agree totally with you -but these are inner 'satisfactions' - which is -of course- the major reason we do what we do..
I was only commenting on possible rewards from the OUTER world - which -unless we're saints- we can't help but hope for.. :)

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2/13/2013 6:06:47 PM

Yeah, I think you are certainly on the right road Steve. The evidence of that is in the music you bring forth. You are faithful to your musical gift. You know who you are and you remain true to that. Faith, is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Meaning, we know that it possible to achieve it. More importantly, something inside us tells us that we will achieve it. Thus the fire for what we do burns deeply within and without. Well, with out any visual or actual proof.

Someone once asked me how I won so many awards and music industry contests. My response was, I competed. I was in it and I believed I could win it. I have never believed that I was better than anyone. But I have always believed that I bring my own special flavor to the world. Fortunately for me, there are a few who think that what I do is special. That certainly helps. To have been in this industry for 5 decades is my testimony and the evidence of my hope. I am still in it and I still believe I can win it. Whatever "it" truly is. In the early years "it" was just a drink sent to me by some starry eyed girl that thought my skinny ass was cute. Or, a standing ovation from a crowd of 20 in a tiny hole in the wall joint. Later, it became a stadium with thousands of people who cheered me on but didn't even know my name. I was simply that Black dude with all the hair. Now, it is the pursuit of respect from an industry that still doesn't know who I am or (you guessed it) my name. But inside me I still believe I can win "it". It helps to know that my wife hasn't noticed that the old and Grey bald dude working upstairs in the studio is not that cute skinny kid anymore. Everything is relative to our own perceptions. Thank God!

I have seen so many who were a thousand times more talented than me fall by the way side or give up and walk away from it all with a dejected and sad look on their face. I have stood over their musical graves and prayed for resurrection. Without the resurrection of their musical will, they can never win. I tell my students all the time that you better love this shit or quit while you can. I tell them to quit before they get their young naive hearts broken. Otherwise, they better learn how to grow a thick coating of protective skin. They better learn how to be thankful for a single drop of rain in the desert. The staggering reality of the numbers is daunting and for some just outright depressing. There are millions of people trying to do what we do and only a minute and almost undetectable number of them will ever reach the big stage. Ironically, I like those odds. They get bigger as I grow older each year. But I still believe I can win. The reason I do is because I am still in it. As long as I am alive and able to do something, anything in music, there is a chance for me. Even after I die, there is a chance that I will win "it". There are some who claim I already won. The eyes of longevity only see the joy of the pursuit and the fear that time may be running out on the joy of the pursuit. Thankfully, within me there is still joy.

An old Blues player once told me "Boy, you play like you ain't never had a lesson. You're just doing it all wrong boy! The fingering, the chords, just everything. When I told him that I had never had a music lesson he said damn, Boy! You're pretty damn good on that dang Geetaw. Then he looked at me and said, imagine how good you could be if you hung out here with us and learned how to really play. Everyone called him Papa and he was an old Blues player that toured the "Chitlin Circuit" long before it was marginally safe for Black bands to travel the southern roads. He lost an eye when a man shot him because he smiled at his White girlfriend while they were playing in a Mississippi dump. He, was an impressive example of faith. He never said a bad word about the guy who shot him and he never stopped smiling at White women. I hung out with those players for several years. To most people in the hood they were just a bunch of drunks who played music and cards by the liquor store. But to me they were the heroes who withstood the worst possible situations but remained faithful to their art. It was through them that I learned how to have a thick skin. When I left on my first professional tour they all cried and told me to remember to be faithful to my art. Papa told me to be careful about looking at the White women. Man, I laughed so hard I thought I would cry.

If you keep writing, producing and performing it. Surely they will come. They will applaud and they will be filled with your essence. But the true joy of it all is in the pursuit. Once you have "it", you will find more things about it to pursue. More joy! Such is the calamity of human nature. The reality about life is that there are no guarantees. But there are always, always possibilities.

Much Respect!

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Steve Ison

2/15/2013 2:17:52 PM ---- Updated 2/15/2013 2:19:10 PM

Thanx for sharing so much of your story here Stoneman...Quite an amazing life you've had...
Its quite humbling when you hear about someone like Papa who had every right to be murderously raging vengeful but incredibly wasn't..
Makes the little things that wind me up seem mighty trivial f'sure lol

Good luck with your drive for success in the outer world...
Its good to have things that drive us forward and strive to always improve..

For me its a mixture of an endless childlike exhuberance and intense love of great pop music..I just never get jaded with it - and it always feels fresh..
Thats mixed with a rage against the dying of the light- and a personal anger about never having been given any respect locally as a songwriter from my peers "I'll show you ba*tards"...Thats not about gaining success in the outer world -more an insatiable creative ambition to write really brilliant songs that can't be ignored or denied-rather than merely 'good' ones..

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Bob Elliott

2/15/2013 6:55:13 PM

Should Emily Dickinson write? Should Van Gogh paint?

Steve Ison should make albums.

I have more to say, but it's time to work on the song that in a just world might deliver me from my day job.

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Bob Elliott

2/15/2013 8:36:46 PM

Totally kidding on the last sentence.

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Steve Ison

2/15/2013 11:40:58 PM ---- Updated 2/15/2013 11:49:09 PM

You shouldn't be Bob
'cos in a just world its totally true..

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Bob Elliott

2/19/2013 8:24:25 AM

Yes, the world of recorded music is exactly what our music competes with. This is difficult and you listed the reasons.

However, we are also the ones who learned from all that music, and we have complete freedom of being nobodies and so we can do whatever. Newness is something with a bit of power, too.

That's where we're at.

You, I think, have, like I, very little marketing drive. Marketing appeals to me about as much as selling cookies door to door. I glaze over just thinking about it. I don't have to do it. No one is in the way of me going out to my studio to make more, so that's what I do.

I still feel I'd rather just make music good enough that it opens its own doors.

Anyone looking my way to see how it's done should notice I have to work a day job, so clearly I don't have any claims to success.

So what? I'm going to be the nobody with the fantastic album.

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Bob Elliott

2/22/2013 9:47:55 AM

The other thing is that not just us, but every musician is competing with that ever growing catalog. Even McCartney. And maybe you hear the same thing as I, that not many are doing all that well at it currently? Not like you're amazed by what comes out each month I bet. Sure was amazed monthly when I was a child.

Why do you have some light inside you?

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Steve Ison

2/23/2013 1:54:29 PM

Yeh i agree that its actually an advantage for being creative that we're nobodies....

No pressure from record companies ,or more importantly -your audience - swaying you artistically with what THEY like best from you..

Its freedom..

The classic rock greats had it - and over the years all of them have lost it - at least the intensity with which they burned in their heydays..

I'd say an advantage over alot of people i've got - and i'm guessing its similar for you -is that i've always been obsessed with the spirit in the music - and never lost the childlike enthusiasm for it or become jaded or wanted to stop exploring..

Its like no i'm not chasing you Ray Davies,Bowie or McCartney as you are now -i'm after the same seam of gold you mined with Waterloo Sunset,Space Oddity or We Can Work It Out
Maybe i'll never get there -but the intense love i've got for that kinda spirit,magic n freedom in the music means (hopefully) if i keep working on it n worshipping it i'll get closer to it -not further away - as -truth be told -they have

There's so many things that are so easy these days with modern technology n toys- and i don't always think thats great for making people creative..

I'm totally inspired by stories like Lennon n McCartney catching 3 buses all the way across town 'cos they'd heard this guy knew how to play the elusive g7 chord..
Or Dylan skipping town after 'borrowing' an armful of precious old blues/folk records 'cos he just HAD to keep learning from them

I want to help keep that sort of spirit alive in the way i relate to the music..

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Dream Secret

2/23/2013 8:55:19 PM

This is all true. However keep in mind that indie artists shouldn't focus on trying to 'compete' with the past. That's where the "indie" part begins to have real meaning! Example: There's never going to be another act like The Beatles, the ones who truly started this whole thing. This was a fact in 1965 yet many were inspired by them and soldiered on regardless of the staggering odds. Hence "The British Invasion" and everything that followed. Look at punk rock, grunge, alternative and even hip-hop. All this music was reactionary to what was rammed down everyone's throat by the major labels, etc...

In the 21st century, we should only look back for reference & inspiration. Competition is a deadly sin. We all need to continue to look ahead and create a musical renaissance! The music industry model is changing and we can achieve the impossible. When something is so improbable it somehow becomes probable if we accept it's possibility.

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Dream Secret

2/23/2013 8:55:22 PM

This is all true. However keep in mind that indie artists shouldn't focus on trying to 'compete' with the past. That's where the "indie" part begins to have real meaning! Example: There's never going to be another act like The Beatles, the ones who truly started this whole thing. This was a fact in 1965 yet many were inspired by them and soldiered on regardless of the staggering odds. Hence "The British Invasion" and everything that followed. Look at punk rock, grunge, alternative and even hip-hop. All this music was reactionary to what was rammed down everyone's throat by the major labels, etc...

In the 21st century, we should only look back for reference & inspiration. Competition is a deadly sin. We all need to continue to look ahead and create a musical renaissance! The music industry model is changing and we can achieve the impossible. When something is so improbable it somehow becomes probable if we accept it's possibility.

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Steve Ison

2/24/2013 7:30:29 AM ---- Updated 2/24/2013 7:44:05 AM

I'm not advocating competition (except with yourself )...
I've got no ambitions to sound like The Beatles,Kinks,Bowie or any of my other heroes particularly -but i've got an ambition to make music with the creative quality and freedom they had at their best...

But honestly where do you look to nowadays for genuine inspiration if you worship at the altar of intuitive songwriting,cool chord changes,genuine soul n creative imagination in music- as i do ?

Its like i've got no choice but to look back 'cos there's nothing i'm hearing from current popular/signed artists really that can come close to matching those classic old songs inspirationwise..
Nothing i'm hearing that satisfies or inspires me..

Basically the classic artists knew how to write...They had to..'Cos you couldn't sustain peoples interest and make a career in music then if you couldn't -or at least find people that could....

Nowadays someone like John Mayer can win a grammy for writing something as musically asleep n dull as 'Your Body Is A Wonderland'
Its like a bad joke..
A song like that wouldn't've stood a chance of even being played on the radio in the 60s..

Songwriting's in danger of becoming a lost artform as the kids endlessly chase the same frikkin' beat,the loop and the novelty sound ..
A smug self satisfaction with the mediocre song using the same tired chord progressions..
An unadventurous musical spirit except where it comes to 'layering'.
Or maybe its just the last gasp of the corporates as they try n squeeze out whatever last bit of profit they can while they can..

I've tried a few times listening to modern music -but its a depressing experience..I'm sure there ARE really creative songwriters n artists out there (i mean there's a few on IAC) but its an almost impossible task to discover them in the wild-west internet environment- with no gatekeepers you can trust,no creative quality control - and a 'he who shouts the loudest -or has the best gimmick' wins scenario.....

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Dream Secret

2/24/2013 8:28:36 AM

Steve, your points are well taken. Songwriting is in danger of becoming a lost art-form to some degree. So are great guitar solos. I sometimes would ask kids who played guitar why they never did solos. "Oh it's too hard, way too much work." was the common answer I got. It's very aggravating to endure this kind of mind-set in music these days.

Modern music is rather lame I agree. John Mayer has no right to play the blues also! The only thing he has in common with someone like Buddy Guy is they both own Fender Stratocasters.

We can go back & forth forever on why things are the way they are. I say we go make some music instead! Let's be honest in that we all love what we do & we should keep doing it. For arts sake at the very least.

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Steve Ison

2/25/2013 4:24:58 AM

Yeh i totally agree with you..A part of me does get angry with the way things are - but the positive thing-like you say- is to keep on keeping on..Making the best music we can for the art and the love of the music
As Bob Elliott said here -there's a strength n power in that- and being nobodies we're free to do exactly what we want to do :)

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2/25/2013 10:51:17 AM

It is hard, extremely difficult, arduous, challenging, grueling, formidable and tough to let go of the past. We are so influenced by the past that we begin to believe all relevance of the future must be tied to the past. But as artists we must learn to step forward and bring about the future through persistence and determined effort. About 15 years ago I pitched a lot of songs to a lot of companies (including the majors) and I received a lot of important feedback about my music. I took that very personal! One of the themes that stood out more than anything was an industry terminology called "dated". It was a common reference that my music sounded too much like the past and that made it unmarketable. Although the industry gives great reverence to the past, it is the present that they are obsessed with. In order to proceed to the next level you must be able to compete (yes I said the "C" word) with currently trending sounds.

This is where it gets tricky. If the present is a bunch of crap that you don't like you must learn to incorporate small sound nuances that reference the present. This is the key to becoming currently relevant. Moreover, it is more of a intricate fusion of the past and the present that brings forth relevant trending structure. Quite often that blending becomes the future. Any abhorrence of the present should be tempered enough to study what has been recently successful and integrate that formula into your music. When we speak of a super group like the Beatles, we must recognize that their most important asset was the ability to adapt their style and message with the times. They remained current throughout their entire run. They remained current in face of eminently changing times. They not only adapted their sound, they even adapted the way they looked. Going from the typical English bob Hair doo to the long haired hippie look. Listen to their first album and then listen to their last, you can see the maturation and trend setter nature of their gift. A gift that remains unmatched but not unattainable for future artists.

All I am saying is that reading critiques that claimed my sound was dated drove me to do self artistic examination. Was I too caught up in the music of the past? Was that a flaw? No, my flaw was that I was not examining the present closely enough. I was not monitoring the credibility of change. So, I regrouped and became a musical Chameleon learning to blend elements of my past with relevant elements of the future. The result? I got several songs signed and won 38 music industry awards for songwriting. The gift? I didn't have to sellout from my personal root. More importantly, I expanded my sound and began to forge an ear towards the future.

Sure, I am still a nobody but there are several somebody's who know about me and my music. Another thing that I have learned is that talent always emerges from the depths regardless to the trendy shit. Real talent always comes forth and takes its place in history. To say that there are no great songwriters making music is to say that the world no longer turns. They are out there, there are here at IAC. They will emerge and become household names.

Way back in the 1950's I heard the musicians of that day claiming that there were no longer any great songwriters. As the 60's began I saw them scoffing at groups like the Beatles, Temptations etc. But the music of the time emerged regardless to the mantra of the old guard. It came forth and transformed the entire music industry. Talent emerged and became historic regardless to the naysayers who claimed it was "race" music and unworthy of any accolades. Many of those groups now line the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Optimism in the face of dire predictions about the music industry is (in my opinion) the process essential to achieving your goals. I have great love for the past. I am a part of it. But I am also evolving and learning to appreciate certain elements of the present. It is this approach that keeps me relevant and still a threat to achieving my goals. I haven't been told that my sound is dated in a very long time. Out of over 800 songs written and produced. I am sure there is a song or two that is comparable to what the great songwriters of the past wrote. But more importantly, I am sure there are a few that have elements of today's sound and are marketable yo today's audience. Over five decades and I'm still in the running. Evolution: it is important that we make the transition while maintaining who we are and where we have artistically come from.

Respect, Stoneman

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Dream Secret

2/25/2013 1:07:31 PM

Wow! Really good insights Stoneman! Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.

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Steve Ison

2/25/2013 2:36:23 PM ---- Updated 2/28/2013 2:00:45 PM

Thanx for your comments Stoneman - and always interesting to read your take on things..
Goods luck with your quest to be a success in the mainstream world....

Its not a goal i'm chasing - so it'd be irrelevant to me the opinion some record company guy would have of my music..

For my taste there's always basically 'good 'n' bad..Cookie-cutter 'n' original...Vital n flaccidmusic...
I don't see timeless and 'dated' in the same way as you do i thnk...

A song like 'Please Please Me' by The Beatles is timeless -but 'How Do You Do it?' by Freddie and the Dreamers that came out at the same time and shares its basic merseybest 'sound' is 'dated' to me...Meaning its totally OF its time..Has all the period sounds and the period style -but totally lacks the magical vital life energy of PLease Please Me which TRANSCENDS its time because of possessing those qualities.

Anyone who said Reach Out (I'll Be There ) or Heatwave or Waterloo Sunset was 'dated' would seem an idiot -but i couldn't care whether they did or not..
Yes i listen to those old records but i listen to them in THE NOW,in THE PRESENT - with focus and intensity..They're packed with magical vibrant life energy and vitality there for the taking...
They were created n performed by people who were intensely alive and present and that energy is timeless...

I learn and develop and grow by having songs/tracks like that as my teachers...Not by trying to suss out the bleeps n studio-boffin looping / auto-tuning skillz of irritating modern pop like Payphone by Maroon 5 - that anyone with half an ounce of taste would see isn't even worth mentioning in the same breath as those sublime tracks -much less likely to be played n revered n loved in 40 -50 years time..

My personal take is it'd be a fool who gives up any of their artistic vision or personal power to appease the whims of some record company guy - who's raison'd'etre is purely profit -not art

What does he care about the beauty n soul of the music ?

Not a jot..

He's busy promoting n packaging n bigging up some cynically written meaningless cookie-cutter thing that'll be in the trash n totally forgotten in 6 months time..

Looking to him for guidance in your music would be like getting lessons on the meaning of life from a Wall Street Banker

Yes The Beatles were of their day and wanted to sound current -but that was 'cos they were absolouly in love with all the intensely passionate R'n'B of the time - as well as beautifully written showtunes - anything that was great and had a genuine creativity or real vitality..
They hated sh*t pop -thats why they refused to record the annoyingly chirpy n trite 'How Do You Do It ?' they were offered-even tho George Martin knew it'd be a surefire hit..

I'm totally in love with the same kinda things they were i guess - so i'm never gonna be 'current' lol

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Dream Secret

2/26/2013 12:02:12 PM

You are current Steve! The mere fact that you stick to your principles makes me wish there were more artists like you. I'm sure you are aware of the band Jellyfish? Those guys were dropped (by their major label) in favor of Alice In Chains back in the early 90's. They were very much a 'throwback' sounding like every influence in their souls. They imploded after only 2 amazing albums.

Then there's our friend Will Owsley who took his life in 2010 after struggling in the music business for a long time. He was very bitter that he was reduced to playing sessions for the likes of The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovatto & all that Disney music crap. He was a great guy. I met him a couple of times & I could tell he was distressed. That hit me really hard. I still can't listen to his 2 wonderful albums without tearing up a bit.

The music scene is cruel & unfair I agree. Auto tune should be made a crime also.

Keep doing what you're doing Steve! You are certainly not a nobody. We are all important (in our own ways) to the future of music.

Music is life & where there's life there's hope...

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Tom O'Brien

2/27/2013 10:43:19 AM

We are competing not only with the whole history of recorded music, but also with all the current tech stuff that these days passes as entertainment. People are entertained by their phone's ringtone. People are entertained by their electronic toaster. People are getting "music" anywhere and everywhere and are not the least bit interested in where it comes from. My computer gives me a three second musical intro when I turn it on and another when I turn it off. We are slammed with little bits of pseudo-music with every type of electronic gadget. When people think they can turn things into gold, gold loses all its value. When they are so inundated with music from all angles, music loses its value, too.

It used to be that music was a rare and precious thing. Now we trip over it if we're not looking. And no one is going to get excited over something that seems to be everywhere. The public cannot tell what music is thoughtfully composed and what music is just produced for money.

But, Steve, you should know that your involvement in music is so necessary in today's world. Even though the greater world may not be taking notice of you (and in a just world, you would be right up there with the greats) but in my world you are an inspiration. You are among the few who really get it, who have soul and genius and talent and expertise. And your gift to those of us who listen is invaluable. Reaching just a few completely is better than reaching the masses who don't get it.

Celebrate your music with those of us who get it too, and your music will be as powerful as you want it to be.

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Bob Elliott

2/27/2013 3:48:26 PM

The Beatles were intense students of song writing and chord changes. Right as teenagers they were mastering tricky changes because they focused on it, studied it, learned more covers than anyone and played them more than anyone. They understood the changes from songs that way predates their own times. Just listen to their first album, and clock the changes. So much more history of songwriting in their music than just about anyone else during their time and most everyone after, too, but not necessarily before. The writers from before knew an awful lot.

Which brings me back to the two Sinatra albums you ought a check out: in the wee small hours( all slow and moody stuff where he NEVER gets the girl), and A swingin' affair ( upbeat and way rockin) both have Nelson riddle as conductor.

I don't know if you have some other source from where you hear the old standards, but if you never hear the old standards, get some source. If Sinatra don't do it for you, billy holiday should, and I could name others. But someone with your depth should soak in those tunes for a few months at least.

Anyway, Steve, you and I are going to make music regardless, because we are also obsessed with songwriting. Just try and walk away and see what happens.

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Steve Ison

2/28/2013 1:46:43 PM ---- Updated 2/28/2013 1:54:34 PM

D.S...Thanx alot for the supportive words...Woh,i never knew that about Jellyfish - What a sad story about Wil Owsley too..

Must be a helluva lot of incredibly disillusioned people who failed to find their dreams of stardom/fame/critical acclaim in music

Especially now = 'cos those big worldfame doors are nearly totally shut..
Its almost like we're living in the hangover period of the rockstar age..

Come a few more years people prob won't even have any dreams of making money or becoming famous thru music..

Tom..I totally agree with all that..
Music everywhere -but mediocre music..Burning on a much lower creative intensity..Dissolving into meaninglessness..Becoming just a bland background drone people talk n text casually over...
Even with all the things you say - i still don't know how things have gotten so bad..
Its like people don't want to be taken on an emotional journey -or have a story told thru music anymore..They don't want suprises - anything where they've actually gotta pay full attention..
I mean even in a popcorn Hollywood flick -people'd usually demand a little twist somewhere-something with abit of dramatic ingenuity they couldn't've predicted...
So why not with music ?
Thanx so much for the kind words man..I was genuinelly touched by that..Very generous spirited of you
It means alot :)

Bob..Yeh thats the undercover story of The Beatles not usually noticed - and THE PRIME REASON they were as succesful as they were - They learned and pushed themselves constantly to improve their songwriting at source..
That requires a huge degree of objectivity n humility - as well as the forceful ego n ambition to succeed..
You've gotta try and see yourself creatively where you really are on the journey to shake up n improve things- and try to constantly suprise yourself and not get complacent..Thats one of the greatest things i've learnt from the spirit of THe Beatles..
Have you ever read Revolution In The Head by the late Ian MacDonald ? The greatest and most insightful n incisive music writer ever for me..
Absoloutly brilliant life-changing book..
I'm more familiar with Billie Holliday and love the music of hers i've heard..
Will def check out Wee Small Hours -That sounds more my kind of thing..

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The Dorroughbys

3/6/2013 10:11:41 PM

write and record music......because you can :)

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