Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Subtle Art of Being an Alcohol Rep

I knew they were out there. This American Life had made me aware of people such as these in an episode called Plan B. In Act One of this episode, John Hodgman follows a young man named Ryan who dons the persona of Cuervo Man to help push tequila sales in bars. As Hodgman described the bars he visited, I knew that these weren't my kind of places. Not that there was anything inherently wrong with these establishments; it's just they didn't seem like the types of bars I was into. So my chances of running into someone like Cuervo Man seemed pretty slim.

That is, until last weekend when the Jagermeister girls came to Blind Bobs. I should preface by saying that I don't have anything against these product reps, persay. Back in the days of yore when smoking in bars was still legal in Ohio, the Camel reps would often visit Elbos and were perfectly nice and subtle about what they were doing.

Subtlety is what the Jager girls lacked. In other bars, where people have not paid money to hear live music, I shrug off a group of girls in tight tanktops loudly asking my table whether they liked shots of Jager. I also would've have merely rolled my eyes if they had called the bar to attention to have a contest for a t-shirt or some blinking plastic necklace. However, when they interrupted the band and joined them onstage to ask the crowd whether they liked Jager, I was pretty livid.

I don't care whether it's the best, worst, or an in-between band, it's so extremely rude to interrupt a band on stage. And what an awkward position to put a band in. If you're onstage, you don't want to throw a fit about someone interrupting you and look like a total prima donna, but you should also be a afforded some respect as the person performing.

I think Jagermeister and other brands need to take these things into account when training their reps.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

So I'm sure you've noticed that it's been a while. I could bore you with all of the mundane excuses about my iBook needing repairs and how it's really hard to try to blog on a BlackBerry, but save for the previous clause, I'll spare you all that agony.

I will say that a portion of the delay has been that I'm really trying to figure out what I want to do as a blogger, or rather what I have to offer as a blogger. I think I've finally got some ideas.

So look for new content this week including some things I'd like to make on-going features.

Cheers for the moment!


Friday, March 20, 2009

They Killed Sister Dorothy

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a screening of They Killed Sister Dorothy at the Dayton Art Institute. The documentary directed by Daniel Junge tells the compelling story of Dayton native, Dorothy Stang, a Catholic nun who worked in Brazil to help improve the condition of poor through sustainable living in the Amazon.

Sister Dorothy was murdered in 2005, and I remember the outcry here in Dayton, especially in the Catholic community I grew up in. At the time, I didn't know much of her work, but after seeing this film, I am totally blown away. What a great way to combine religion and science -- to help the poor and the environment.

The film itself was wonderful. It was just the right amount of emotion and fact, which I think is hard to achieve in a documentary. Of course, I expected the film to have an emotional aspect, but I also didn't want to be crying the whole time and not really learning anything. I learned A LOT. In addition to Sister Dorothy's story, the film provided a really good picture of the forces that environmental advocates are up against. It also gave a very intimate glimpse into the Brazilian court system, which I found as interesting as the rest of the topics presented.

They Killed Sister Dorothy
will air on HBO next week, so if you can, check it out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday always comes too late.

There's been a lot going on since last we met. In the last 7 days I had my first news story air on WYSO, the Tumbleweed Connection in the Oregon District caught on fire, I bought a couch and Kaleidoscope got a nice nod in the press.

I also attended the Funeral Party, a Cure tribute show at the Dayton Dirt Collective. The was the second tribute show put on by the DDC. The first was a Morrissey/Smiths tribute that I was originally going to perform in, but my bandmates had some person emergencies come up so we opted out and I hosted Alpha Rhythms that night. No harm, no foul.

Even though I also had to host Alpha Rhythms during Funeral Party, being a huge Cure fan, I made it a point to stop by the show after my air-shift. I made it there for the last three bands: Cure Dealer (a made-up affair comprised of several super talents of the Dayton scene), Tin Can Telephone and Jasper the Colossal. Cure Dealer and Tin Can Telephone offered up more traditional renderings of Cure songs while Jasper the Colossal gave their tunes a slight punk treatment which was really enjoyable. It was just enough of a twist to make their set distinct while not detracting from the original songs. My favorite moment of the evening by far, however was Cure Dealer's performance of A Forest from Seventeen Seconds.

I was also surprised at how well attended the show was. In fact, it was far to say that the DDC was packed with folks of all ages. There were many familiar faces as well as many new faces. I hear that they've got more tribute shows in the works for later this spring so I'm definitely looking forward to attending more of these.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Bird, The Bee, and David Lee Roth

This one's been bothering me for a few weeks.

The Bird and the Bee recently released a new album, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future, that features a song called "Diamond Dave." Now perhaps I spend too much time with hair metal fans, but my first thought at that title was that this was a song about David Lee Roth. After reading the lyrics, I'm pretty much convinced that yes, this is most definitely a song about David Lee Roth. But I haven't heard one peep from the band to that effect.

It's not that I expect an explanation from every band about the meaning of every song. I really just want confirmation that I'm correct in my assesment.

To hold us both over until I get my answer to this mystery, I was going to leave with you the Dresden Dolls music video for "Shores of California," which is a parody of the video for Diamond Dave's version of "California Girls," but it appears that they've removed it from YouTube. Alas.

(Another) One Bites the Dust?

The news about Touch & Go Records has me got really down. I suppose that some news of the big bad recession "hitting home" in the indie rock world was only a matter of time. However, the fact that it's Touch & Go's production/distro division that's closing hits home in another way for me.

T&G, and the labels it's done production and distribution for have been instrumental in a cause that's close to my heart: keeping physical media alive. I could go on for hours about the joys of pulling a record off the shelf and placing on the turntable or scrolling through an iPod playlist to prepare for a broadcast is simply no comparison for standing in front of shelves of cds, pulling one off the shelf and reading the tracklist. Likewise, I could keep you at a bar until last call talking about the benefits of smaller labels and distributers in terms of getting newer talent heard.

But sometimes I think that those people who get it, get it, and those that don't...well, they don't. So I'll spare you all rants for tonight and instead focus my energies on spreading the good word of independent music on the air.

One side note before I go, I've recently become a very big fan of Carrie Brownstein's blog, Monitor Mix. Carrie in Sleater-Kinney and now blogs for NPR about music and music culture. I often find myself reading her blog and wondering why I didn't think of saying it that way. So check it out if you're looking for a good read.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hearts Tiny and Black

I don't even know how I originally found the article "So Your Tiny Black Heart Is Broken" on NPR's website today. Their music content has been very Valentine's heavy this week, and since tonight on Kaleidoscope I'm doing a Valentine's theme (Love found, love lost, and all that crazy stuff that happens in the middle), I decided to give it a read.


The articles describes the songs as being perfect for people who want to wallow in self loathing, drunk on their own misery. This raises a question that I've been pondering since earlier this afternoon: If 3 out of those 5 songs are among those I would consider adding to some kind of favorites list, what does that say about me? Yikes, indeed.

But it goes just a tad further into odd territory when I further explain that I have a poster of the Mountain Goats' album cover having above my couch. I also think Jason Molina is a genius and nearly made a fool out of myself gushing about how much I love his music when I got to meet him in Brooklyn a few years ago.

So what precisely does all of this say about me? When I first started in radio another DJ at WWSU once accused me of playing "old sad bastard music" so perhaps this hits a cord. Or perhaps the fact that I'm worried about what this says about me says a lot more than these five songs.