We are women and men of action!
The Prodigy, from Summer of 1997’s Fat of the Land.
The vast majority of the faculty and administration (of Berklee College of Music) work hard to provide one of the best music educations you can get, and the majority of students work hard to succeed. I can’t stand these anecdotes I hear: “I worked with a Berklee graduate and it was all scales and trainin’ and no soul,” so now the WHOLE SCHOOL sucks, never mind that the “hundreds of cookie cutter demos” one of these gripers got from Berklee grads are certainly similar to hundreds of other cookie cutter demos. There are problems with the school as with any institute of higher learning, and it is expensive, but there are many, many benefits to going there: a clear, codified core curriculum, the availability of great connections within the industry via the faculty and guest artists and internship hookups, some of the best musicians in the world as your peers (present and future, meaning the people you meet and play with here can be your musical partners for life if you want), some of the greatest music faculty anywhere (Bonnie Hayes, and one of the great gurus of songwriting, Pat Pattison, among them, not even mentioning the hundreds of great faculty in other departments). Music school is not for everyone, and for some it is part of the path that leads one to other disciplines. And graduating from Berklee is no GUARANTEE that you’re going to be a great purveyor of music. Name ANY great teacher and you will find many great artists and professionals that learned from them and also many terrible ones. But I find that most of the negative comments here (it’s fun and easy to dogpile on Berklee) come from people who most likely haven’t spent any time here, or definitely not lately. It’s not perfect, and it’s not for everyone, but if you come here and work hard and seek out those faculty and students with whom you’re most compatible (again, like ANYPLACE, be it a music scene or institution of higher learning) it will be worth your time and money, and your artistry and potential earning power will improve.
-Mark Shilansky, Berklee Faculty
Context: Music journalist Bob Lefsitz posted a letter on his blog last week from musician Bonnie Hayes refuting his statements that young musicians only care about making money. A number of the responses to Hayes involved people tearing down Berklee graduates as lacking skills, or timing, or drive, etc. This response, from a Berklee faculty member, addresses that criticism.
I like this because I think you can replace a lot of the references to Berklee and music with “UCB” and “improv/comedy”.
This video for “I Rub The Wrong Way” from Retox—a band whose members include Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian of The Locust—features an eagle using a truly epic hunting technique on a mountain goat. The new Retox LP Ugly Animals is typically brutal and fast screamo punk from people who do it better than anyone else and I suggest you check it out.
This post will get very few likes because it is about new music and particularly niche new music at that, but I give the fewest possible fucks.
Thank you to the 11,000 spambots and now-defunct comedy groups who support this blog. Seriously though, this is kind of crazy and awesome and weird. I’m glad you all like
believing you are following a blog written by the former guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers obsessing over every corner of 90s music as much as I do.
And I’ll take my book deal now, thanks.
New Yorkers: Recently reunited indie legends Braid are playing Frame and Canvas, one of the best things to come out of the 90s, in its entirety at the Bowery Ballroom on August 9th. You are not dreaming, this is not a drill. This is happening and it is your responsibility to be a part of it. This album is a dazzling and epic burst of musicianship designed to forever remind you of those lazy drives through wherever it was you went to college or high school with whomever it was you were making out with at the time sitting next to you in the passenger’s seat or the driver’s seat, depending on whose car you were in. Frame and Canvas from its first muffled buzzings and frantic drum beats reminds you that oh right, this is why I like music so much. These feelings I’m feeling are exactly what music is supposed to do.
So go do what you know needs to be done. Get your tickets to this show and let’s fucking dance our hearts out, celebrate our youth, and wonder where that person we used to make out with is now. “Come on come on / So long so long / Move on move on.”
Cowboys From Hell was released twenty-two years ago today. At your company’s staff meeting today if someone asks if there is any other business raise your hand and say, “I have one point of order” and then start a company-wide mosh pit.
Have a safe and enjoyable Friday evening.
In this new episode of my web series “Vetting Mitt’s Veeps” the infamous Sarah Palin stops by unexpectedly for an interview with Beth Meyers. I’d say she deserves the job.
Also there is an easter egg shout out to some friends of mine about one minute into the video. See if you can spot it!
Starring Beth Appel and Cody Lindquist
Written & directed by me
Produced by UCBComedy