Charles Ives' Universe Symphony will be released July 4th 2005.
Every time we add something new, you'll see a linked guide to it here, with our archive of past Newsletters.
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August 2000 | September 2000 | October 2000 | November 2000 | December 2000
Marc Almond’s Fantastic Star was nine months under construction in New York, with Mike Thorne producing at the Stereo Society studio. The brief from the record company was to find ‘the new Marc Almond sound’, which is a rare instruction. Normally, you’re asked just to repeat what is tried and true.
Reworking with others back in London would stretch the overall production time to about two years. During the first nine months, it seemed to Thorne that a great and distinctive record was coming together. For the only time in his commercial production career, which came to a predetermined end with this project, he made routine daily session notes. These anticipated writing a book about the making of the record which would also extensively cover related production and music techniques.
The London adjustments would prove unsuccessful, and the CD barely made it to the radar screen. After enormous effort, it would be one of Marc’s least successful offerings. A book about a failure would have been of little interest.
This month’s big article is the equivalent of 25 pages, but much abridged from the original notes. It tells a long story about how the business can seriously damage your musical health, from the point of view of one of the bewildered team. The pressures and obstacles are fairly exceptional, but are far from unusual in commercial music making. Don’t get too depressed, just marvel that any records ever get to come out.
We also include a series of 14 photos from the sessions, effectively Happy Holiday snaps that convey the exuberance and excitement of the New York music making. The sessions were as much fun as the business was dismal.
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ single Song From The Edge Of The World has been almost buried. Its production was not a happy affair, and the article we have posted since 2003 is yet another cautionary tale that goes some way to explaining why. We reprint a new, completely unsolicited note from a fan, as a crisp counterpoint.
There have been many rumors circulating in the press and elsewhere about the possible closing of CBGB's, the now-legendary Bowery club, and even its possible relocation to Las Vegas. Here's the basic story.
The club's lease expires on August 31st. Like most landlords, theirs would like to increase the rent. Unlike most landlords, the club's is a not-for-profit corporation, with an income last year of $23M resulting in a profit of $2M. The landlord is the Bowery Residents Committee (BRC), and are effectively a City agency helping the homeless. A worthy cause, but like nearby New York University that doesn't mean they don't squeeze the locals.
The Palace Hotel, then one of the few surviving doss houses on the Bowery (and never to be confused with the Helmsley Organization's at Grand Central) signed a 45-year lease with BRC in 1993, who in turn granted a twelve-year sub-lease to the club. A few years ago, BRC received an improvement loan ($4.5M) to clean up the space formerly occupied by the Palace Hotel. Now, in line with the (ironically) gentrifying neighborhood, they want to more than double the club's rent.
This won't work economically for CBGB's, being for-profit (although not exactly living high on the hog). For 32 years the institution has survived on enthusiasm and openness to new music. Many of us did some part of our growing up there, although perhaps not in the way our parents might have preferred. It has become a major city asset. The closing shot of New York City's video sales pitch for the 2012 Olympics features club scenes, both outside and inside.
There is more
information on the dispute at:
It's not just a question of money. It's about losing a cultural institution. If you would like to help the cause, please express your views.
Don't forget you can still download QuickTime VR panoramas of the club as it was ten years ago from our page of selections.
We also still offer an extensive set of photos from 1978 of the Shirts and CBGBs.
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