Ronnie Wood sells off some Rolling Stones memorabilia

After splitting with his ex-wife, Ronnie Wood is selling off some of his Rolling Stones memorabilia. The items include a wide variety of stuff, ranging from included several worn leather and velvet jackets and real and cardboard guitars, along with a signed lithograph of Eric Clapton.

Wood and his wife Jo had been married for 23 years prior to their divorce being finalized last year. Next February we’ll be getting her memoirs which are expected to reveal her stories fro their years together. Wood left Jo for a young waitress named Ekaterina Ivanova, so it will be interesting to see what Jo decides to reveal in her book.

Events like this are a double edged sword, as they sometimes bring more interest to the band which affects things like memorabilia sales. Stuff like Rolling Stones posters can generate more interest, though new prints are usually very reasonable. With the premiere of the Rolling Stones’ new documentary “Crossfire Hurricane” you can shop for movie poster frames and have a totally new item to add to your collection along with older Stones stuff.

35 years since ‘Bat out of Hell’

Here’s a video of Meatloaf performing “Bat out of Hell” from his first tour. The iconic album of the same name came out 35 years ago and has sold over 43 million copies. It’s a stunning rock album.

Meatloaf is now touring to celebrate the anniversary, but unfortunately he’s not quite the same singer from years ago.

Cleveland put Meat Loaf on the map 35 years ago with the Cleveland International Records release of “Bat Out of Hell,” the seminal rock anthem album that to date has sold more than 43 million copies, third most in U.S. history.

Thus, it’s fitting to use a uniquely Cleveland reference to describe his anniversary concert at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre Wednesday night:

Meat Loaf should have had the beloved Mr. Jingeling in his backup band; at least then Mr. Loaf would’ve had a chance of finding a key.

For almost two-and-a-half hours, the beefy actor-singer whose real name is Marvin Lee Aday wandered all over the vocal landscape, massacring his phrasing and only occasionally hitting a note. It’s not that he was flat. It’s not that he was sharp. It’s that he, well, just WASN’T. It made you long for karaoke.

Ouch! I guess age does catch up to everyone . . .

Adele Skyfall theme

Adele’s “Skyfall” theme already has over 37 million views on YouTube. Wow! It just shows that for the biggest stars, the music industry is doing just fine, and that music is still an incredibly important part of the pop culture sauce.

But the music business is incredibly fractured, and the whole structure has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. The road to success can take many different forms, and Adele is just one example as she got a recording contract offer after a friend posted her demo on Myspace. So of course the Internet is an important ingredient for every young band or artist. Then we have the music competitions like “American Idol” and “The Voice” that can get unbelievable exposure for young artists.

But few people can get on those programs, so if you want to work as a performer in the music business, you have to be willing to work at promotion. Fortunately, most young people have a good grasp on things like the Internet and social media, which can be incredible tools. But the smart ones are also using the old, time-tested tools of doing shows and then promoting them on the ground with flyers and brochures. For these types of things, you may not need custom printing as simple flyers can work to get the word out. But, image is everything in the entertainment business, and investing in some glossy and slick posters and handouts can do wonders, and these are now more affordable with options like cheap printing brochures at UPrinting or other options online. But you have to do all this together. Before a show, make sure to have videos posted on YouTube. Promote the show through Twitters, Facebook and other social media. Have your team use Twitter and Facebook the day of the show. Then, make sure to post cool photos and videos after the show. If you put the work in, you’ll see the results!

Underground Rapper of the Week: Dessa

Underground Rapper of the Week is a new feature designed to raise awareness of rappers from all over the world who, if that world were a perfect place, would be more famous than they are. It will be updated every Tuesday before the sun goes down. Feel free to email suggestions of slept-on rappers from your city or wherever to: ezra.stead@gmail.com

“The list of things I used to be / Is longer than the list  of things I am / Ex-lover, ex-friend / Excommunicated atheist / Ex-patriot living in the heartland / Living on the small chance luck would save the last dance / For an underrated writer, overrated rapper / Undecided major on an unrelated matter.” This is how Minneapolis emcee, poet, writer, teacher – let’s just simplify things and say “artist” – Dessa describes herself on “Mineshaft,” the first track of her debut solo EP, False Hopes. I agree with everything but the “overrated rapper” part. She goes on to say, “Prose is close as I’ve ever been to feeling like I found it / I’m not a writer, I just drink a lot about it.” This is also somewhat disingenuous of her, as Dessa is one of the very best writers in Hip-Hop today.

After earning her B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Dessa began writing and performing spoken word poetry, performing in slams and at open mics before forming the group Medida with fellow emcees Yoni and Omaur Bliss, and producer Ronin. Soon after this short-lived but always compelling group disbanded, she joined another Minneapolis-based collective, Doomtree, and the rest is history. Dessa’s intelligent, often quick-tongued flow, gorgeous singing voice and commanding stage presence adds something unique to the otherwise all male group, his other best known member is probably P.O.S. Though she is capable of spitting raps with the best emcees in Minnesota and beyond, she is also not afraid to just sing a beautiful song without rapping, as she does a on both False Hopes and her full-length debut, A Badly Broken Code.

The Chaconne” and “Into the Spin” are two great examples of Dessa’s singing prowess from Code, and she has expanded upon this aspect of her artistry with her vocal trio, the Boy Sopranos. However, it is when Dessa elegantly incorporates her singing voice into her rap songs that she is at her best, whether she is telling poignant stories of family relationships on songs like “Alibi” or tackling the male-dominated music industry on songs like “The Bullpen,” where she spits: “It’s been assumed I’m soft or irrelevant / ‘Cause I refuse to downplay my intelligence / But in a room with thugs and rap veterans / Why am I the only one who’s acting like a gentleman?” With the release of a non-fiction book, Spiral Bound, in 2008, and her current stint as a teacher at the McNally Smith College of Music, Dessa continues to show her formidable intelligence and skill as an underrated writer, rapper, teacher and artist.

Beck and the musical scores experiment

In a move that echoes the days of the pre-vinyl era, singer Beck has announced his decision to release his new album Song Reader entirely in the form of musical scores.

The eccentric star has stated that he wishes to place the responsibility for the creation of audible versions of his new 20-song album solely on those who have bought the sheet music.

Song Reader, which reportedly includes the songs “Do We? We Do” and “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard” among its 18 songs replete with lyrics, and two instrumentals.

Audio versions of this album will be streamed exclusively via publisher McSweeney’s website, and will be the only versions available on the World Wide Web. However, these songs will not be performed by Beck himself, but by Beck-trained “select musicians.”

According to Beck’s website, the sheet music will come in lavish “full-color, heyday-of- home-play-inspired art” and will be stored in an equal lavish hardcover carrying case in a manner that is as “visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together,” and measures in at 9.5 inches x 12.5 inches.

Artwork comes courtesy of Marcel Dzama (who previously worked on the artwork for Beck’s 2005 long-player, Guero), as well as Leanne Shapton, Jessica Hische, Josh Cochran and several others.

The package will consist of “full-color song booklets” for each of Beck’s new songs, and will include lyric sheets, as well as an introduction by Jody Rosen of the New York Times, and a foreword by Beck himself.

The post on Beck’s website states that the reason for his decision to take this novel approach is that he considers “Song Reader [to be] an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012 — an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track.”

The Song Reader musical scores will be released in December this year through McSweeney’s Publishing.

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