Author Archives: Alan Cross

Neil Young’s Car Sets Itself on Fire. Lawsuit Begins

January 23rd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Like me, Neil Young is a gearhead.  But instead of lusting after high-end production cars (Porches, Zondas, Lambos, Veyrons, Gumperts, Koenigseggs, McLarens, Ferraris, etc.), prefers something with more classic lines.

One of his favourite cars is a 1959 Lincoln Continental which he had converted from an eight-cylinder gas pig into a hybrid electric.  

Pretty cool, except the car is suicidal.

How to Gracefully Deal with a Ringing Cell Phone During a Concert

January 23rd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The ringing of cell phone rings can rank with the most annoying things that can happen in public.  I've almost given up going to movies because of the number of interruptions.  Goofy ring tunes in public bother me.  And why is your cell phone on in church?

Earlier this month, a performance of the New York Philharmonic came to a dead stop after a cell phone--an iPhone with that annoying marimba ring--went off.  The conductor halted the performance.  I can't imagine the level of embarassment felt by the iPhone owner.

But there's a more graceful way to deal with the problem. Lukáš Kmit, a Slovakian musician, was in the middle of a beautiful piece when someone's Nokia phone went off.

Here's what happened.

The Wife Says: Karaoke Rules!

January 22nd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I don’t sing in public.

Like using my schoolgirl French, I lack the confidence. Judging from all the singing shows on tv and the proliferation of karaoke bars and even apps, I am in the minority.

People are breaking out in song all over the f***ing place! Hence Glee and that embarrassing all-musical episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

While there is no definitive list of favourite songs we karaoke (used as a verb here), ABC News maintains “Picture” by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock top the lists in the U.S. "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey and "Black Velvet" by our own Alannah Myles also made the top five.

So How Much Will Walk Off the Earth Make from Their Gotye Video?

January 22nd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Since it first appeared online on January 5, Walk Off the Earth's five-people-one-guitar cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" has been seen more than 33,000,000 times.  

Tomorrow (Monday, January 23), they're due to appear on Ellen which will no doubt push the views closer to the 40 million mark.

Now here's a reasonable question:  with that kind of traffic, how much money does the band stand to make from just this video under YouTube's payment system?

I did some asking around with people in the industry who really know how this stuff works.  If what they told me is accurate--and I have no reason to believe that it's not--here's how things are shaking out for the band.

An Unfortunate Sonic Coincidence Featuring Lana Del Rey. Now Shut Up.

January 22nd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Here we go.  More hate for Lana Del Rey.  Now some people are charging her with plagiarism when it comes to the melody of "Video Games."

Before I even begin to analyze this, let's be real:  there are only so many ways to combine the notes of the western musical scale in a pleasing manner.  It's inevitable that certain patterns will be repeated by different artists--and not intentionally, either.  

It's perfectly possible (and, like I say, inevitable) that specific sequences of notes will be discovered independently, often across many years and many thousands of miles.  Got that?

The charge from certain quarters of the Snarknet is that "Video Games" steals from the following Greek song.  Please.  You can hear certain similarities in the first line or two but nothing that constitutes artistic theft.  Calling LDR a "thief" or "unoriginal" is just being thick.

But don't take my word for it.  Listen and judge for yourself.

“I Don’t Want to OWN Music. I Want to LISTEN to Music.”

January 22nd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Brian Thompson is from a Canadian music marketing company, a management firm and record label called Thorny Bleeder.  The company also produces a blog called The DIY Daily, which offers all kinds of digital music news, DIY advice and social media tips.  

This editorial caught my eye last night.  Can't say I disagree.  It falls right within my belief that as time goes on, people want to access music and not necessarily possess it.

I don't want to own music.
I just want to listen to music.
I just want to feel the music.
I don't want to buy that which I don't need.

I don't want to own a piece of plastic.
I don't want to create demand for petroleum based products.
I don't want to fuel the profits of freight companies by encouraging them to ship songs wrapped in plastic and cardboard in a semi trailer across the the country.

I just want to listen to music.

The Weezer Cruise: Day Three

January 22nd, 2012 | by Alan Cross

[Weezer invited some of their best buddies and a boatload of fans to cruise through the Caribbean this week.  Here's the latest report from onboard the Carnival Destiny from special correspondent Julia Wallace. - AC]

I awoke this morning the ship pulled into the dock in Cozumel Mexico. I got up, ran 4 miles around the track, drank a ton of coffee and it was off to the beach. Here are some fun facts from the Weezer Cruise I jotted down last night:


  • "El Scorcho" is still the very best Weezer song.
  • I think Rivers is actually totally into it. I no longer believe that he is spooked. Pat has been coming forward to play guitar so Rivers can do the wandering singer thing. He gets right into the crowd and literally rocks the boat.

I Like This: Pynner

January 21st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Pynner is the former drummer of Kill Matilda.  Stretching his legs a little, he’s in the process of finishing up

Why I Won’t Get This Cool Computer Rig

January 21st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I spend a lot of time immersed in music work on my four-screen computer display.  Yes, it's overkill, yes, but I'm remarkably efficient.  I do, however, suffer from the usual variety of issues, aches and pains created by the typical ergonomics of sitting at a desk for hours at a stretch.

That's why when I saw this new chair/desk set-up, I was intrigued.  

Yes, it's expensive--a definite downside--but then I remembered something that actually made me shudder.

What's the difference between the Emperor 1510 Workstation and this?

Singer to Stage 200 Person Video Game

January 21st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Stephen Merritt of The Magnetic Fields likes to try weird things and next Thursday (January 26th) will be one of the weirdest.

The event is called Space Cruiser, a combination concert and video came that will be staged within a planetarium.  The press release describes it as a “cooperative mission-based game centered around navigating around a fictional universe.”  

Up to 200 people will be able to participate, controlling a spacecraft somehow constructed within the confines of the planetarium dome.

Music Films I’d See If I Were at Sundance 2012

January 21st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The Sundance Film Festival is on now in Park City, Utah.  Here are some new music-themed films that will be screened between now and January 29th.

California Solo:  Drama about a former Scottish rock star drinking himself into a stupor in California.

Filly Brown:  A young female rapper faces tough choices when she's offered a record deal.

The Last Elvis:  An Argentinian Elvis impresonator is forced to deal with real life after a tragic accident.

Predisposed:  Piano prodigy vs. crazy mother.

Karaoke Industry Under Siege

January 21st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

No matter how much alcohol you might feed me, there isn't enough on the planet to make me get up and sing karaoke.  Yes, this will be a supreme disadvantage should I ever want to do business in Japan, but I don't care.  I don't sing and I don't dance.  Period.

But that doesn't mean I'm not fascinated by the whole karaoke industry.  I'm especially interested in this all-out assault being mounted by Sony/ATV.

The defendent in the case is KTS Karaoke, a company that makes CDs and DVDs for karaoke parlours. Sony is suing the company for copyright infringement, saying that the product they manufacture and distribute is illegal because all the proper fees haven't been paid.  

The number Sony/ATV has thrown around is $1.28 BILLION.  They want all KTS discs turned over to them so they can be destroyed.  And since KTS is a big, big chunk of the karaoke industry worldwide, this could be a problem.

Megadeth Bassist Pines to be a Pastor

January 21st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Metal is usually held up as one of Satan's favourite domains.  From Black Sabbath through to today's extreme black metal bands--the kind that burn down churches and engages in a little murder now and then--it's been assumed that the Dark Lord is pulling all the strings.

Yes, there's Christian metal--white metal (seriously!)--but it's not quite the same in, uh, spirit as the dark stuff.

But don't tell that to Megadeth bass player Dave Ellefson.  He's enrolled in a seminary studying to be a Lutheran pastor.  You'd think that this might not fit in with the band's way of life but it actually makes a considerable amount of sense.

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