Results for 1994

interviews

Lawrence Lessig

Next up Jim and Greg play a bit of The Grey Album, a mashup of The Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album made by DJ Danger Mouse. This was an album that received a lot of critical praise and attention. It even topped both Jim and Greg's year-end lists. It is a completely modern work that could not have been made without recent digital technologies. The rub here is that it could not be purchased anywhere, and many people who heard it don't even own a hard copy. This is because, according to current copyright law, what DJ Danger Mouse did was completely illegal. To discuss how laws like this are stifling art and how music in the digital age has changed in other ways, Jim and Greg welcome the definitive expert on this issue: Lawrence Lessig. Professor Lessig, a faculty member of Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society, has authored three books on cyber law and free culture, tried cases before the Supreme Court and founded Creative Commons, an organization trying to expand the range of creative work legally available to share.

While copyright laws have existed for over 200 years, music was not protected for a long time. Early in the 20th century protections for musicians and songwriters were put in place; however these laws did not necessarily hinder creativity. Once a song was recorded, anyone had the right to record it. This encouraged artists and was fundamental to the growth of the music industry, so much so that even the RIAA defended this right. The 21st century version of this kind of conversation between artists is sampling, but under current law, Professor Lessig explains, sampling is considered piracy. Therefore, creative expression and evolution are not fostered the way they were in the last century.

To demonstrate this point, Jim and Greg discuss the evolution of one song in the 20th century. Whether it was called“To the Pines,”"In the Pines," or even“Where Did You Sleep Last Night,”musicians like Leadbelly and Nirvana would quote and reference each other, essentially engaging in a dialogue and helping to inspire one another. This kind of songwriting and recording is the definition of a musical community and has been around since music itself. The sad truth is that such a community can't legally exist today. Listen to the songs that may have been lost had this been the case before the digital age:

  • Bill Monroe - "In the Pines," recorded between 1936-1941
  • Leadbelly - "In the Pines," 1947
  • Bascom Lamar Lunsford - "To the Pines, To the Pines," 1949
  • Joan Baez - "In the Pines," recorded between 1960 - 1963
  • The Grateful Dead - "In the Mines," 1966
  • Nirvana - "Where did you Sleep Last Night," 1994
  • Rancho Deluxe - "In The Pines," 2005
  • Smog - "In The Pines," 2005

Other versions include:

  • Clifford Jordan - "Black Girl," These Are My Roots, 1965
  • Mark Lanegan - "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," The Winding Sheet, 1990
  • Dolly Parton - "In the Pines," Heartsong, 1994
  • Louvin Brothers -“In the Pines,”Tragic Songs of Life, 1956
  • Youth Gone Mad feat. Dee Dee Ramone - "In the Pines," Youth Gone Mad, 2002

Digital copyright laws affect the consumer as well. In fact, Professor Lessig suggests that“creator”might be a more appropriate name. In the last century, music fans would buy music or make mixtapes, but current technology allows the listener to be a part of the creative process. The law currently treats these creative consumers, many of whom are kids, as thieves. Our guest does not condone illegal behavior, but strives to change existing laws rather than prosecute people who are hardly criminals.

In addition to changing laws, Professor Lessig recommends that record companies use the Web rather than fight it. If he ran a label he would encourage people to participate in the creative process and remix an artist's work. He would also allow and encourage artists to release their music on the internet. A small number of bands including Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Wilco have been able to do this with really positive results. Finally, if he ran a label, he would not bite the hand that feeds him and back away from the harmful DRM technologies that labels are bundling into their content.

Go to episode 134

Rivers Cuomo

Rivers Cuomo

During our feature segment Jim and Greg are joined by Weezer lead singer Rivers Cuomo. However, it's not Weezer that accompanies him. It's the Chicago rock band The Cathy Santonies. Before visiting the studio, Rivers asked Jim and Greg to choose his songs and choose his backing band. Then after a brief sound check, they launched in completely unrehearsed. It's a return to Rivers‘ garage rock roots that preceded Weezer’s massive 1994 self-titled debut. He and the band have gone on to record a number of successful albums since then. But, as he explains to Jim and Greg, life as a musician has not been without conflict. In fact, Rivers Cuomo might be one of the most angst-ridden front men out there. Whether it's being accused of being too soft (Pinkerton) or too much of a sellout (The Red Album), Rivers has always had his critics. Despite that, he seems to be having fun, especially when rocking out.

The Cathy Santonies are guitarist-vocalist Mojo Santoni, bassist-vocalist Radio Santoni, guitarist Jane Danger and drummer Kaylee Preston. They are named after an often talked about but never seen character on Full House.

Go to episode 221
reviews
Everything Will Be Alright In the EndEverything Will Be Alright in the End available on iTunes

Weezer Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Alternative heroes Weezer are back with a new album, but Greg says you'd be forgiven if you thought it was 1994 all over again. Back in 2010, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo sat down with Jim and Greg to defend his material against claims of pandering to fans. Greg respects Cuomo, but that doesn‘t change the fact that he thinks the singer is doing it all over again on Weezer’s latest, Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Greg encourages Cuomo not be bothered so much by what he thinks his fans want more of: emotional guitar riffs and faintly wise musings on life and love. Instead, he should just stick with what he does best: crafting pleasurable pop melodies and hooks that feel good and aren't out to change the world. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is a Try It for Greg. Jim isn‘t as bothered by Weezer’s obvious pining for the past. Yes, you should probably ignore the record's reaching thematic bent (an exploration of Cuomo's relationship with fans, females and his father), but don‘t discount the song’s genius hooks and offbeat subject matter. Everything Will Be Alright in the End is just plain fun, and the best Weezer album since 2000's The Green Album. Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 463
ThirdThird available on iTunes

Portishead Third

Now onto the U.K.'s answer to hip hop… trip hop. Portishead, pioneers of the moody, sample-based genre, also have a new album out called Third. It's the group's first album in 10 years, so fans have been heavily anticipating what they have to offer. But, Greg is concerned that people accustomed to the cool, sophisticated sound of 1994's Dummy will be taken aback. Third is no dinner-party soundtrack. It's jarring and subversive, but Greg loves it. Jim agrees, but doesn‘t think it’s actually a radical reinvention. Singer Beth Gibbons has always been moody, only now she is looking outward rather than in. And the music is still filled with synths, beats and weird sounds. Both Jim and Greg give Third a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 127
dijs

Jim

“Credit in the Straight World”Young Marble Giants

It's Jim's turn to pop a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox. Mr. Kot is pleasantly surprised as Jim reveals his choice: "Credit in the Straight World" by Young Marble Giants from their 1980 album Colossal Youth. Elements from this late 1970s post-punk band are heard in orchestral pop bands such as Belle and Sebastian. Even Courtney Love's Hole covered this song on their 1994 release Live Through This. Young Marble Giants consisted of female vocalist Alison Statton and brothers Philip and Stuart Moxham. They went against the English punk grain at the time by choosing to be quiet and minimalist. The band reunited this past May at England's Hay Festival for the first time in 27 years.

Go to episode 94

Jim

“Alive”Dumptruck

It's Mr. DeRogatis' turn to visit the Desert Island Jukebox, and he ties the show up nicely with a selection from the band Dumptruck. Steve Wynn played with one of Dumptruck's founders, Kirk Swan, during the segment. Swan and his partner, Seth Tiven, put out their debut album D is for Dumptruck in 1994. It was heavily influenced by what Paisley Underground bands like The Dream Syndicate had been doing on the West coast. Dumptruck incorporated more folk rock and power pop into their music than contemporaries, and were also influenced by Big Star, Fairport Convention (who also count Greg Kot and Sound Opinions guest Colin Meloy as fans), and the band Television. Like Dumptruck, Television was comprised of two guitarist-vocalists: Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. Jim explains that outside of Television, he has never seen two guitarists work as well together as they did in Dumptruck, as you can hear in Jim's DIJ pick, "Alive." Listeners desiring more Dumptruck should check out Haul of Fame: A Collection, for which our host provided liner notes.

Go to episode 21

Greg

“Supernaut”1000 Homo DJ's

One of the many rock deaths this month was that of Dannie Flesher, co-founder of Wax Trax! Records. The Chicago based store and later label defined the industrial sound made most famous by Ministry. And it's where Greg cut his teeth as a music fan. So, for his Desert Island Jukebox selection this week, Greg chooses a cover version of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" recorded at Wax Trax! Records. The song is performed by 1000 Homo DJ's and fellow Wax Trax fan, Trent Reznor, and can be found on the label's 1994 box set.

Go to episode 218

Jim

“Leather Idol”Tuscadero

While reviewing Weezer, Jim was reminded of another alternative era band, Tuscadero. Like Weezer, they debuted in 1994 with a similarly named record called The Pink Album. And like Weezer they wrote songs about adolescence, nostalgia and pop culture. But unlike Weezer, their move to a major label didn't bring them great success and longevity. Jim considers Tuscadero one of the many lost heros and heroines from alternative '90s, and he wants to add their track "Leather Idol" to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 207
news

Music News

Some interesting chart news this week: Despite being music vets, Tom Petty and Weird Al Yankovic, both just achieved their first #1 in the past month. Over on the Jazz charts, Tony Bennett, who himself took 54 years to produce #1, has reached another hight, this time with strange bedfellow Lady Gaga. Comic book fans are showing their support for Marvel's most recent super-powered adventure, Guardians of The Galaxy. The soundtrack for the flick, an eclectic mix of '70s rock, soul, and pop staples, is the current chart topper, beating out the prolific Now series, Volume 51. Over on the vinyl end of things, Jack White's most recent release, Lazaretto, is making history with its soaring sales. The LP has already sold over 60,000 copies, the most since Pearl Jam's 1994 album Vitalogy.

Go to episode 455

Music News

After making fans wait two decades, Pink Floyd has announced it will be releasing an album of new (mostly instrumental) material in November. The Endless River will be a tribute to Rick Wright, the band's keyboardist who died in 2008, and will be primarly made up of music that Wright, guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason put together during a session in 1993, leading to the last studio album, 1994's The Division Bell. One name you won't hear uttered…Roger Waters, who departed in the 1980's.

While digital music is taking the rest of the world by storm, CD's are…big in Japan. In fact, digital sales are plummeting in the Asian nation. We discussed this curiosity during our Japanese World Tour last year. And now the New York Times is diving further into this music industry head-scratcher. To be sure, CD sales are are falling worldwide, including in Japan. But they still account for 85% of sales in the country, compared with as little as 20% in fellow World Tour stop Sweden. Jim and Greg discuss the reasons for this including a Japanese desire to“own stuff,”and stalled efforts to bring streaming services there. they still account for about 85 percent of sales here, compared with as little as 20 percent in some countries, like Sweden, where online streaming is dominant.

yaremchuk Having had a tumultuous year, Ukraine has decided not to participate in next year's Eurovision contest. The Eastern European nation came in 6th at the 2014 songwriting competition, which is not too shabby, Greg notes. But the state broadcaster NTU, which finances the entry, said they don't have enough money to do something well.

Go to episode 461

Music News

Katy Perry wasn't the only thing roaring at MTV's recent Video Music Awards. Digital sales for artists featured on the program have seen significant bumps. Among those feeling a lift were Lady Gaga's Applause, which saw a 20% rise and Bruno Mars' Gorilla, which had a staggering 175% sales increase.

In other chart news the British Phonographic Industry recently updated its sales award rules. So now, a little band called The Beatles has finally gone platinum. The official count only began from 1994, though, so actual sales of hit Beatles albums like Revolver and Help can only be estimated.

By now everyone's heard Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. But, have you heard 86-year old Canadian composer John Beckwith's Blurred Lines? Well, thousands of listeners have, though perhaps not intentionally. Beckwith's 1994 recording for harpsichord and violin has gotten a huge boost in online streams ever since Thicke's song of the same name came out earlier this year. Blame it on Google, but it seems hard to mistake Thicke for Beckwith's sounds inspired by the Swedish hardanger.

Go to episode 406