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Where Are They Now?

Whatever happened to Le Studio? It has become Village Le Studio and Spa, a development undertaken by Maximoff Group. The developer will turn the former world-renowned recording studio into an exclusive, luxury log home community and spa. The resort will feature about 130 estates, a world-class spa, 5-star restaurant and conference center. Perhaps as an afterthought, or perhaps as a way to make the area unique, a history of the studio is included here.

Off the Record

A friend passed me the link to an interesting article in Prospect Magazine about the rise and fall of the recording industry. An excerpt from the article:

There is a story doing the rounds in the US that says a lot about the state of the music business. It concerns a young rock band who decided to stop selling their CDs at concerts. Selling CDs has, for many years, been a good way for an act to reclaim the margin that would otherwise have been snaffled by a retailer. But it made no sense to this band once they discovered that by selling CDs for $10 they were cannibalising sales of their $20 T-shirts.

There are two points to note here. First, that a simple garment with a logo stamped across it, probably manufactured for pennies in a third-world sweatshop, now costs twice as much as an album of digitally pristine, highly wrought music recorded in a state of the art western studio. Second, most bands, however successful, now make their money from live work and the merchandising opportunities that go with it, rather than from recordings.

The full article can be found here.

Gibson Consumer Electronics

Interesting. Gibson has entered the consumer electronics business offering things like surge protectors, hard drives, HDMI cables, and this really cool 1GB flash drive.

Gibson Flash Drive

New Violin

Solomon, Ex-Lambert, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1729, was auctioned by Christie’s house in New York. The presale estimate was $1 million to $1.5 million. It sold for a modest $2.7 million. I was looking for a new violin but decided that a used one would be a bit more affordable. I guess I was wrong.

Strad

Playing In A Band

I always enjoy playing with a strong group of musicians. Experienced players think about the following:

  • Am I leaving enough space in my playing for the other band members?
  • Is my stage volume making it hard for other players to hear themselves?
  • Are my stage tones clashing with anyone else?
  • Does what I’m playing contribute to the mood and meaning of the song?

I have found myself in situations where players do not think about these questions.
Update: I had included some additional commentary for this post which I have removed. My intent was to talk about the important things to remember when playing in a band and not to single out any one person in particular. I have had to learn these lessons myself.

Rejection

American Idol. I’m really not sure how to react to such a program. The rejected candidates shown on the program are typically awful. Not marginally bad, but truly awful. Absolutely no talent. And yet, they seem blind to the reaction to their audition. They deny that their talent is substandard.

The judges are certainly far more severe this season than I recall from previous years. And it was upsetting to see several of the candidates walk away in tears.

Perhaps they need the so-called Chinese Rejection. This rejection is an urban myth used to console authors with rejected manuscripts. I think it could be tailored easily enough for the judges of American Idol. And it would allow the very worst of the candidates to hold on to their bizarre view of their talent.

Here is the text of the Chinese Rejection:

“We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.”?

American Idol

I Got A Nikon Camera

Paul Simon released There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1973. Kodachrome was a big hit for Paul Simon. The catch lyric: “I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph, so mamma don’t take my Kodachrome away.”

Kodak required the album to note that Kodachrome is a trademark of Kodak. Nikon did not make such a request. Paul Simon’s Kodachrome was a hit in North America. In Britain, the song was not played on radio because of the trademarked Kodak name.

I have a Nikon D200 camera. And I love to take a photograph. Digital. RAW. No Kodachrome.

The D200 is an excellent camera body with sophisticated controls manifest in hardware and software. The software supports up to four customized shooting modes. The variables are extensive and so I looked for some background on the camera and recommended settings.

I should have known. There is a very active online community called Nikonians. And I downloaded a comprehensive custom settings spreadsheet from here. I have set up four modes: point and shoot, portrait, landscape, and action.

Even if you do not own a Nikon camera, the site is rich with informative articles on photography. You will need to register and the free membership gives access to the forums and articles.

Recommended. And in the spirit of photography, here is one of the better studio shots of Paul Simon.

Paul Simon

Top 25 Christmas Songs

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced its Top 25 most performed holiday songs for the past five years, based on performance data tracked by radio airplay monitoring service Mediaguide.

Here are the songs:

  1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
    Written by: Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
    Performed by: Nat “King” Cole
  2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
    Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
    Performed by: The Pretenders
  3. Winter Wonderland
    Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
    Performed by: Eurythmics
  4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
    Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
    Performed by: Bruce Springsteen
  5. White Christmas
    Written by: Irving Berlin
    Performed by: Bing Crosby
  6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
    Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
    Performed by: Andy Williams
  7. Jingle Bell Rock
    Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
    Performed by: Bobby Helms
  8. Little Drummer Boy
    Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
    Performed by: The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra
  9. Sleigh Ride
    Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
    Performed by: The Ronettes
  10. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Gene Autry
  11. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
    Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle
    Performed by: Andy Williams
  12. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
    Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
    Performed by: Vanessa Williams
  13. Silver Bells
    Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
    Performed by: Kenny G
  14. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Brenda Lee
  15. Feliz Navidad
    Written by: José Feliciano
    Performed by: José Feliciano
  16. Blue Christmas
    Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
    Performed by: Elvis Presley
  17. Frosty The Snowman
    Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
    Performed by: The Ronettes
  18. A Holly Jolly Christmas
    Written by: Johnny Marks
    Performed by: Burl Ives
  19. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
    Written by: Meredith Willson
    Performed by: Johnny Mathis
  20. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS)
    Performed by: John Mellencamp
  21. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
    Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
    Performed by: Elvis Presley
  22. Carol Of The Bells
    Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
    Performed by: John Tesh and the Christmas Symphony Orchestra
  23. Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Feed the World)
    Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
    Performed by: Band Aid
  24. (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays
    Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
    Performed by: The Carpenters
  25. Santa Baby
    Written by: Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer
    Performed by: Madonna