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August 2005

Ray Bradbury Meets Frank Black (An Interview By Frank Black)
Ray Bradbury Meets Joey Ramone (MP3 Of An Almost Finished Song by The Thingies)

Once upon a happy time, I played drums and helped write songs in a lively original rock band called the Thingies, along with my two great friends Steve Harris (lead vocals and bass) and Ed Pierce (guitars).  We released a six-song cassette called "Unspookable" and we were working on a full-length album that we never finished.  We do expect to finish it one day...  One of the unreleased songs was called "Ray Bradbury Meets Joey Ramone." 

Thanks to my favorite music blog, largeheartedboy.com, I came across this awesome interview of Ray Bradbury by Frank Black.  I knew Frank was a big Sci-Fi nut, but I didn't know he was such a huge fan of Bradbury.  In fact, he named one of his albums, "The Cult of Ray", after Mr. Bradbury. 

Bradbury also happens to be one of my favorite writers as well, and the 100 Year Picnic name is actually derived from "The Million Year Picnic," the final chapter of his classic, The Martian Chronicles.

A few years back, I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Mr. Bradbury himself, and I came home to help The Thingies write "Ray Bradbury Meets Joey Ramone."  So check out the inteview and then listen to our version of a legendary rocker meet the legendary writer.  And if you'd like to know more about Mr. Bradbury, check out the new authorized biography "The Bradbury Chronicles."

 


Billy Bob Joe

Finally, here's a recorded version of our highly requested Billy Bob Joe, written by my daughter (who was 7 1/2 years old at the time) and her 8 year old friend Katherine.  I helped with the music, but you gotta checkout their amazing words. 

I recorded this on a tascam 424 4-track that I found on ebay for $70. I pulled it out of the box and recorded this song in the kitchen with an SM57.  Enjoy!


Indie artists and music lovers alike, here are some great resources for you to checkout:

cdbaby.com:  Indie guru Derek Sivers has put together a great resource site for both musicians and music lovers that want to uncover new music.  There are lots of tips on how to promote your music, plus they offer order fulfillment and digital distrubution through itunes.com, msn.com, emusic.com, and many more download services.  Over 93,000 indie musicians have signed-up for their services.  Highly recommended...  Here's a good story from the LA Weekly on Derek and cdbaby. 

garageband.com:  Not to be confused with Apple's music software, garageband.com has an interesting approach where musicians do reviews and ratings of other recordings, giving indie bands some feedback and potential recognition with track of the week. 

Quite a few bands that participated with garageband.com have later been signed to a major, include Bo Bice from American Idol.  Talking Head guitarist Jerry Harrison is the founder and Chairman of the Board, and Sir George Martin serves as chairman of the advisor board... 

Scott Andrew is a good example of an active indie artist with a day job, but also some getting some decent success with his grassroots efforts through shows, fans, and internet promotion.  He has a great song on garageband.com that was track of the week and is currently in the top 10 of all garageband.com acoustic songs.

Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog and spinme.com (also a music promotion blog, by Joe Taylor, Jr.).  These are great sources of ideas and inspiration for those of us that want to get our music out to a larger audience, and maybe even make a living making independent music.  There are people doing it, and these guys tell us how it's done. 

Create a website or weblog without being a computer geek:  typepad.com ($49 per year), blogger.com (free), or have the people at cdbaby do it with their new venture hostbaby.com ($20 per month).  You don't need to know how to program or write html to have your own site.  I'm certainly proof of that...

And finally, some excellent music blogs for you to subscribe to in your bloglines.comlargehearted boy, stereogum, music for robots, athens music, and fluxblog.  There are many more, but these are just a few of the more popular ones to get you started. 

I've already mentioned getting the new itunes for it's great functionality and new podcasting feature...and if you can, spring for an iPod.  I'm already thinking about storing away my cds so i don't have to mess with cataloging all that stuff.  The iPod convenience, portability, podcasting, electronic organization, and playlist capabilities is already revolutionizing the way we listen to and interact with music.

My prediction is that many new indie artists will find ways to make a living making music through all of these grassroots blogs and podcasting all networking together and feeding off each other.  And I think podcasting and blogging has the potential to bypass college radio as an influence of new, independent music.  Exciting times ahead...


Podcasting just hit the big time with the latest release of iTunes 4.9.  Go to www.apple.com and download iTunes with podcasting for FREE.  It's my media player of choice nowadays anyways...and the podcasting feature is a real bonus.  Basically, they've made it easy for us all to get hip to the podcasting revolution.  So checkie...

By the way, kcrw.com, which I highlighted a couple weeks ago for their "Morning Becomes Eclectic" has several very popular podcasts you might like. 

In a related story... the NY Times recently featured DJ Nic Harcourt and his cutting edge music programming.  Alright, so now two reputable sources (me and the NY Times) say you need to have a little 'morning becomes eclectic' in your life.