Bruce Got Spirit

John Sacheli checks in with a post describing his growing ennui and why he’s sitting at home when Bruce Springsteen is playing.  I know how he feels, looking around and realizing none of the cool stuff you used to do as a kid applies to you now.  I think we both should probably make more of an effort; I know I’m getting a little antsy not playing music any more.

As for Bruce Springsteen, allow me to say that I think Bruce is kind of the Earnest Hemingway of rock-and-roll.  By this I mean:  I just don’t get it.  I know a lot of people whose musical and literary senses I admire – people whom I generally admire a great deal – who are just nuts about Bruce and/or Hemingway, and you would think that I would therefore have found the key to what they like, but nope.  Hemingway and Springsteen both embody something perhaps just a little too simplistically masculine for me to appreciate.

I’ve tried to understand.  I bought myself For Whom the Bell Tolls for my birthday once.  I don’t get it.  I’ve stopped trying.


Jazz @ DFE @ DFE @ Jazz @

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Greg from, one of the best and most established blogs in the Rochester music scene.  There’s been some small discussion of bringing our two spheres of influence (such as they are) into synchronicity somehow.  Greg works with a lot of the local music and entertainment bloggers like Jason Crane a lot, especially when the Jazz Fest comes to town.  What a colaberation  between us might look like remains to be seen, and since we spent the entire time jawing about topics mostly unrelated to either of our two blogs, the meeting didn’t make anything clearer.

But one thing was clear, and that is that Greg is a definitely cool guy with great stuff going on at his blog.  We did manage to kick around a few ideas and get a sense of our styles the other night, hanging out at the old Moonbeans, the Starlight Cafe.  This blogging community could always use another unique voice, and I certainly don’t have any problems writing periodically on another blog.

Stay tuned!


Digital Media and Digital Rights Management

Those of you who regularly stop back to this blog have no doubt noticed that a fair amount of the news updates are concerned with “DRM,” but many of you might not know what that means. You’ve seen Warner Brothers, Sony, Apple and iPod, along with lots of other big media names tied to those articles. I figured this morning would be a good opportunity to tackle some of the basic concepts surrounding “DRM,” and why I think they are important issues for progressives to be out in front of.

DRM means Digital Rights Management, but more importantly, it represents attempts by media conglomerates to use technological means to prevent users from copying content they’ve produced. Originally, it meant preventing CDs and DVDs from being copied, but with the digital age n full swing with MP3 players and digital downloads, it has meant a variety of other things in a variety of different venues all centered around the media industry’s “right” to make as much money as possible.

Concepts in this arena get messy quick, so I’m going to keep this post relatively short and leashed to only one relatively narrow topic: what is it about digital media that has so complicated copyright law?


Douchebag of the Week: Mr. Christmas Standard Cover Man

We cast a wide net with this week’s Douchebag award, but I felt ready to tackle an issue that must be addressed. This award is meant to cover a whole group of people for whom recognition is well past due and yet whom we only wish could be “unsung.”

This year, the airwaves, the gas stations, the malls and every other nook and cranny of our society reachable by radio have been drowned in a sea of Christmas standards, covered in the most objectionable ways by a host of musical miscreants. The soul singer warbling and yodeling through Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song, rendering it a meaningless, inaudible mess. The country singer trying to “Boot Scoot” through Carrol of the Bells. The sappy bubble-gum pop singer who thinks that four tracks of her whiny-ass voice abusing Jingle Bell Rock is a legitimate alternative to Bill Haley’s original. Its enough to make a music lover to want to deck the halls with balls of feces.

I’m not opposed to cover songs. I’m not opposed to remakes of Christmas tunes. I think both have their place, when they honor the original. And of course, I know that every year includes a few “updates” of old classics, to help people celebrate the season with voices they recognize. I get that.

But this year’s glut of reprehensible repertory is neither tribute nor celebration: it’s just the seepage of a corporate media that’s lost any sense of passion, joy or originality. It is uninspired and uninspiring pablum, tuned to what marketers and salesmen hope is a key that will elicit a Pavlovian compulsion to spend, spend, spend.

And it’s every-freakin’-where. It’s inescapable. I’ve tried. And it doesn’t make me want to spend, it makes me want to roast someone’s nuts over an open fire. It makes me want to run the responsible persons over in a one horse open sleigh. So, if you are one of the winners of this week’s award, do yourself a favour: if you should hear those sleigh bells ring-alin’, ding-ding, ding-alin’, do yourself a favour and get the hell out of the road.

Because somewhere at the root of all of it, there is some executive in a $1000 suit, furtively consulting his Blackberry, sipping a soy latte, flashing his million dollar smile at disinterested waitresses, chomping Viagra and making the decisions that will finally make Christmas as flaccid and ineffectual as his dick. Or maybe there’s more than one, who gives a shit? To him and to all of them, I proudly hand this week’s Douchebag of the Week award. Merry fucking Christmas, douchebag!


The DFE Sunday Concert

Ladies and gentlemen, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones:



Through the Veil

So far, the only video I’ve seen from the Tony Tribute is this one from the RocPic guys. If you squint and look to the left of the screen, that long-haired dude is me. Rick even announces my presence!  The song is “Through the Veil,” and while the audio is predictably shaky, it’s still a great performance, especially by Nate Coffe on guitar:



Gettin’ “Toasty” with the Buddhahood

I’ve had the good fortune to listen to the pre-master version of The Buddhahood’s newest CD, this one a tribute to their recently-passed guitarist/vocalist/inspiration Tony Cavagnaro. It’s the recording of The Buddhahood’s latest blow-out concert in the middle of the Park Avenue Fest. The CD will be available in its fully-mastered glory this Sunday at the tribute show, and even if the proceeds were not going to a good cause (which they are, Tony’s wife and child), it would be worth it’s weight in gold.

Because of course, live CDs capture a moment in time. They are a snap-shot of exactly where a band is at any given time, what inspires them, where they are moving. The Park Ave Fest shows have always been another type of benchmark, year after year, as the band has progressed and evolved. This CD faithfully renders the band as it was this summer, flush with the excitement of their latest sonic discoveries.

Ticket Price Skyrocket: A Simple Answer to a Simple Question

The Washington Post apparently only just recently noticed that ticket prices for your average concert are completely out of control, these days.  And so they ask, “Is the ticket biz out of line?”

Let me field this one. .  yes.  I just got done watching Rush in concert at Darien-freakin’-Lake, and paying $200 for the luxury.  $200!  For Rush?  Had I been the one buying the tickets, we would have sat out this concert.  Unfortunately, with ticket prices skyrocketing, especially for classic rock bands, the number didn’t seem out of line for my wife, who wanted to do something nice for me.  I love her, but I though I was going to die when I heard how much they cost.

Of course, Ticketmaster can’t be blamed.  They’re going to blame it on scalpers:

Is the Ticket Biz Out of Line? –

Ticketmaster. The ticket powerhouse, which last year sold 128 million tickets, worth more than $7 billion, contends that the armies of independent ticket brokers corrupt its public sales. In particular, Ticketmaster claims that brokers have gained an unfair advantage over the public by using automated phone-dialer programs and software, known as “bots,” that are capable of generating multiple ticket-buying requests at once — practices in violation of the company’s stated terms of use. Many of those tickets end up resold on the Internet via hundreds of ticket resale sites, the company says.

Um, hello?  Our tickets were purchased directly through Ticketmaster, not an intermediary.  What’s more, blaming cheesy bot programs and dialers for the fact that you’ve done next to nothing to stop the escalation of ticket prices is just weak and transparent.  Obviously, if the crazy prices seem par for the course, there’s no need to be shy about raising the base price and scooping up more cash, is there?  It works well for Ticketmaster to have a high demand for their product.

But then, shame on us, as well.  We keep paying those prices, don’t we?  And this is why the vaunted Marketplace cannot be trusted on it’s own: because it raises the price of luxury items well beyond inflation, leaving all but the very rich behind.  What is it like to be 20-something these days?  How do you afford to go see a show?

Practice for the Tony Benefit

I spent yesterday evening practicing with The Buddhahood ahead of the upcoming Tony Cavagnaro tribute, and I’m starting to get really, really excited about the show.  Apparently, I’ll be playing Through the Veil with Nate Coffey, Peet Mugnolo, and returning BuddhaHoodlum Evan Stuckless.  There will also be an impressive coterie of percussionists with an array of instruments on hand for this, the last song of the Buddhahood set.

Apparently, I’m bringing my gong as well.  You know a show has to be good if there is to be a gong involved.

The Buddhahood and Friends’ Tribute to Tony Cavagnaro

Please note: I’ll be updating this page as new information becomes available, so check back often!

UPDATED! Rick Whitney of the Buddhahood got back to me with a list of guests in the Buddhahood’s set, listed here for your perusal below.

The lineup is getting set and things are working themselves out: the Tribute to Tony Cavagnaro will be on Sunday, November 18th, from 2pm to midnight. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door and the proceeds of that cover, along with a host of other goodies, all goes to Tony’s wife and son, Jan and Calvin.

They’ll be releasing a double live CD which will be reviewed on this site as soon as I can get my mitts on it, along with a “Tony Made Me Cool” tee shirt which I can’t wait to own. There will also be a silent auction, raffles, vendors and Dinosaur BBQ.

The talent for the show – myself notwithstanding – is definitely the creme of the crop in Rochester groove music. If you go for no other reason, you should really stop out to experience all the incredible music Rochester has to offer but which mostly goes unknown to all but a select few people. The Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad will be there as will the Hypnotic Clambake, a band which you really must see to believe. Suzi Willpower will be jamming on stage as well, and returning to Rochester will be Rob Cullivan, a musician whose talents are sorely missed. The Peachy Neatcheese, The Filthy Funk Band and an enormous drum jam to close the show. . . .it’s going to be a great night!

The Buddhahood hasn’t yet released a list of the musicians and artists who will be joining them on stage during their segment, but as I understand it, most of their set will be with the guests they’ve invited. Certainly, Rob will be playing a bit of harmonica with the band. Former members of the band – of which there are a very large number – are also probably going to make an appearance.

It’s going to be a great show for a great cause and I’m hoping to see lots of my friends there. Maybe I’ll see you, too? If you go, I’m the guy playing the hand drum for the last song of the Buddhahood’s set. Say hello!

Tribute to Tony Cavagnaro


Order may change – times have not been completely confirmed:

Dance of universal peace – 2:40 (on floor)
Liqwid – 3:00
Filthy Funk Band – 3:30
40 Rod Lightning – 4:00
Druids – 4:30
Park Ave Band – 5:00
Peachie Neatcheese – 5:30
Mysterious Blues Band – 6:00
Redline Zydeco – 6:30
Hypnotic Calmbake – 7:00
Sleeping Giant – 7:30
The Buddhahood w/ guests – 8:00
Sweet Life/Bare Bones/Joint Chiefs – 10:00
Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad – 11:30
Giant Drum Jam – 12:15

Guests during the Buddhahood Set include:

Rob Cullivan
Jim Schwarz
Dylan Savage
Paul Brown
Ben Rossi
Paul Mastriani
Peet Mugnolo
Evan Stuckless
Suzi Willpower
Dave Mabelis
Don Anonymous
Dr Bob Regan
Kevin MacConkey
Frank Boehm
Bob Olson
Russ Roberts
Tom Jones
Nate Coffee
Thomas J Belknap
Krissy Whitman
Brenda Steffon
Kenny Kahler

Catchy, Contemplative Political Song

Entitled “The Idiot Son of an Asshole.”  Guess who it’s about?


It’s a toe-tapper, but be cautious not to start singing it at the next staff meeting. . .

I’m In! Benefit and Tribute for Tony Cavagnaro

On Sunday, November 18th at the Waterstreet Music Hall, the members of The Buddhahood will be performing with an ensemble crew of Rochester musicians in a benefit concert for Jan and Calvin Cavagnaro, Tony’s wife and son.  I have the honour of playing on stage with them as well.

I’ll be performing dumbek on a classic Buddhahood (or really, Rub the Buddha, as they were formerly known) piece called Through the Veil.  Actually, the very first time I got to perform with the Buddhahood was to this very same tune at Nazareth College, supporting the dancers of Sahara Shimmer.  At the time, Sahara Shimmer’s ensemble included the lovely Christen Salome, so (Sha-wing!) it was a real honour.

But, seriously,  if you value good music, you should really be at this benefit.  Those of you who aren’t familiar with the Rochester music scene might be surprised at the depth and breadth of the talent this city has to offer.  You’re going to see some phenomenal performers play some great music and honour a great man.

Best of all, you get to help out his surviving wife and child, and that’s a good thing.  See you there!