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  1. Eric during the "Hippie Years" I often felt like the only one who HATED Lee Michaels and Ian Anderson and Alvin Lee's interminable solos at the "Fillmore East" and on vinyl..."Do You Know What I Mean?". All my friends were suddenly praising "Wooden Ships"..in TWO awful versions yet.. and laughing at my love for the Beach Boys,Guess Who and Raspberries. Well my good buddy GMan...I've since learned... felt much the same way back then...And I've learned that you too have a special place in your heart for the great 2 or 3 minute "singles" and hated some of those late 60's/early 70's excesses. I know Brian Wilson thinks "Be My Baby" is the greatest single ever of that genre and I myself love "This Ol' Heart Of Mine" (Isleys) "Dance Dance Danc" (Beach Boys) and many many others that are just pure "Teen Glee"! This is one of my personal favorites..,."Have I The Right" by The "Honeycombs" featuring "Honey Lantree"..a female drummer...unusual for those times...and produced by the unbelievably crazy and homicidal "Late" Joe Meek...literally England's Phil Spector in terms of lunacy. Do you like this record Eric? What are 2 or 3 of your favorite "2 or 3 minute pop" records of the 60's?-Ira.
  2. A chastened Clarkson stays true to formula Kelly Clarkson is back with her fourth album. Only three forces in the universe can never be denied: death, taxes and Clive Davis. By Jim Farber Kelly Clarkson found that out the hard way when she released her last album. The original American Idol squared off against her mentor, the great god Clive on her third CD, 2007's "My December," insisting on doing it her own way. Defying both Davis' wishes and his wisdom, she employed darker instrumentation, explored a more individual point of view, and offered fewer, hit-'em-between-the-eyes pop hooks. She even brought her beef with Clive to the press, causing a temporary rift between the two. Small wonder "My December" turned out to be her Waterloo - at least commercially. Creatively, it advanced a rare hybrid: goth-pop. Yet it sold barely a fifth of its predecessors, and its shrunken audience forced the singer to ax a planned arena tour in favor of a modest swing through the theaters. It will surprise no one, then, that this time Clarkson swings back hard in Clive's gilded direction. Her new "All I Ever Wanted" sounds like everything older fans ever desired - to an almost desperate degree. Of course, no one ever went broke lunging for the lowest common denominator. Which explains why the CD's advance single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," has become one of Clarkson's biggest hits. Not only does the song boast a big, fat chorus meant to be shouted to the sky, its title mimics the jokey, in-your-face sass of current girl-pop stars from Lily Allen to Katy Perry. In fact, Perry co-wrote two songs on the CD, including a notable one ("I Do Not Hook Up") about a talented alcoholic who's trying to get the narrator into bed. Clarkson herself did a bunch of co-writing on the CD, too, though she steered clear of the intimate disclosures she featured last time. Even if she had, the production would have run a truck over them. The general sound of the CD overwhelms everything else. It's a nonstop, pile-driving style, mulching every instrument into a uniform rush of sound. It doesn't seem as if human hands ever touched a single fret of a guitar or wielded a lone drum stick. Everything sounds like it was spat out by machine. Of course, that's the way certain radio stations like it, and since airplay seems to be the sole concern here, it's no wonder the CD ended up this way. Several songs poke through with a fetching melody, even if none of them proves as winning as the older Clarkson hits they're meant to mimic, like "Since U Been Gone" or "Miss Independent." At least the new songs make good use of Clarkson's ability to belt. If, along the way, she doesn't go anywhere near the nuance she showed on her last tour, that's by design. She wanted cynical hits. And that's surely what she'll get. —New York Daily News, March 9, 2009 __________ Eric...I believe you were the professor who taught the course "Clive Davis 101" at "Case Western University" in Cleveland. This review of Kelly Clarkson's new album and the Clive...("Whatever Clivee Wants Clivee Gets") Factor"...seemed to reflect many of your your thoughts on your Arista experience. Would you please share your reactions to this article? I believe that author Jim Farber is a former "Billboard" magazine contributor.-Ira.
  3. Eric....Your take on this,please! __________ Mike McCready CEO Platinum Blue / Music Xray "In the race to adopt new technologies, the music industry historically has finished just ahead of the Amish." —Stan Cornyn, former Warner Music Group executive What is happening to the music industry? In short, the traditional music industry has been beaten, battered and completely transformed by a perfect storm of new technologies. It actually started with the introduction of the CD back in 1982. Music was digitized and encoded on the CDs which we all bought to replace and enhance our vinyl collections. Then, along came the MP3 which enabled us to compress those CD song files down to manageable sizes and file sharing began. The next nail in the coffin of the traditional music industry was the emergence of MP3 players led by the iPod and digital retail led by iTunes. Once people became used to that, who wanted to carry around a CD case? Finally, the plummeting cost and decreasing technical knowledge required to make a decent sounding recording sounded the death knell for the major music labels, the backbone of the traditional music industry. The music labels were society's music filters. They were responsible for finding the best talent, nurturing it, promoting it and distributing it all over the world. But the labels were also incredibly inefficient. For each act they successfully promoted and on which they turned a profit, there were dozens, even hundreds of failed acts and artists in whom the labels had invested and had lost money. Few industries would have been able to operate with such numbers but the music industry had thrived under this system; mostly due to the large amounts of cash that were made with every success. With new technologies affecting almost every aspect of the ecosystem (from song creation to mass distribution) the labels could do little to prevent the demise of their business. Seeing opportunity before them, entrepreneurs emerged with ideas about how the whole industry could be run more efficiently. Today, music is increasingly sold as digital files that you download to your computer and then put on your mobile device such as your iPod. Other services are increasingly enabling you to stream music on demand. Under that arrangement, you never actually own any music. You simply have access to all of it all the time. Physical music retail stores are going out of business and soon won't exist as stand-alone shops. Anyone can record and upload a song. On the music creation side of the value chain, the cost of recording and producing a song has fallen through the floor. What used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and had to be done in a professional recording studio can now be done in a bedroom on a laptop computer. This is a great development that enables creative talent to emerge even in the absence of musical ability or even any musical knowledge. On the other hand, it has caused a veritable avalanche of new music to pour onto the web -- much of it of dubious quality. Even the largest physical music stores couldn't carry much more than 10,000 titles. That's nothing compared to what's now available at the click of a mouse. MySpace alone is said to host over 10 million acts. Other sites that cater to artists have hundreds of thousands of bands signed up to their services. It is a jungle out there! How can the fans find the needles in the haystack they want to hear? How can the artists locate their future fans? It's the fundamental problem the labels were solving but now they can't do it effectively. There's too much music for them to even try to filter effectively and nobody wants to buy their CDs anyway, so how can that work even be funded? The sale of digital files isn't even coming close to compensating for the loss of revenue on the sale of physical goods so now there's much less money to compensate for the labels' inherent inefficiencies. In fact, most insiders believe recorded music will cease to be paid for by the end consumer. It will instead either be free (built into the cost of marketing other products) or built into the cost of other services you pay for such as your Internet and cable TV bill or your mobile phone service. It will feel free and the actual revenue generated from the distribution of recorded music will be a fragment of what it has been historically. So, where does that leave us? Fortunately, it's all going to be OK. There are dozens of emerging companies that are taking on these challenges and there are some really good ideas. It's interesting to see the variety of approaches. Most agree that the currency of exchange for recorded music will be the attention of the fans instead of their money. If an artist can get attention they will be able to sell tickets to their shows, license songs to soundtracks and get money for endorsing products. The labels held the key to getting access to big opportunities but now the artists and their managers have to find other avenues. In spite of the reduced barriers to music creation and access to easily have your song distributed to all of the digital outlets (see services such as TuneCore or The Orchard) it still almost always requires mass exposure in order for a song to really take hold and begin to earn some money. That means that once a song is created, it still requires enormous effort, time and resources to "push" and promote that song within the industry. Songs must still come to the attention of someone who has an opportunity. The gatekeepers, such as music supervisors in Hollywood, ad agencies, program directors and video game designers remain and will continue to remain in place playing a valuable role. So, real change will come by leveling the playing field and by giving individual artists equal access to mass-exposure opportunities. This is the challenge we're trying to solve with our new Music Xray service. (Pardon the plug but I can't describe the solutions to the industry's toughest challenges without describing our own solution since it represents our best thinking and thus my opinion). Think of Music Xray as a kind of YouTube for songs in that each Music Xray represents one song. Each Music Xray get s a unique URL (just like a YouTube video) and each Music Xray can be embedded elsewhere around the web (again, just like a YouTube video). But that's where the comparison with YouTube ends because a Music Xray is more than just an embeddable song player. Each Music Xray comes with a stack of modules that open and close (see here) and each module contains specific information about the song, such as its lyrics, how many times it is mentioned on Twitter, in blogs, how many times it is traded on peer to peer networks, what it's market potential is, what kind of license under which the song is available, what other songs it sounds like, among much other information. In addition to providing all of this information to the song owner (and anyone else they want to share it with), having so much information on each song allows us to provide a free filtering engine to the entire song buying music industry. Imagine you're an advertising executive and you want to license a song for your next ad campaign. You want something that sounds like "Brown Sugar" by Rolling Stones, which has 130 beats per minute, has the words "Russian roulette" in the lyrics, that has at least a 50% chance of becoming successful in a particular market, that already has a growing number of fans and an available license. The filtering system at Music Xray will soon provide that level of detail and that level of filtering ability. It will be a revolution in how that part of the business operates. The important thing for artists is to have their music in databases of this sort. The one at Music Xray is particularly attractive because it will be open to anyone in the industry who wants to leverage Music Xray's search capabilities. For a song owner, having their song in the Music Xray database will make it discoverable by anyone and reduces the work artists must do to promote their music within the industry once they've recorded it. It also reduces the work that music supervisors have to do when filtering hundreds of songs for each opportunity. How will music consumption work? From the music fan's perspective, music recommendation engines will become a ubiquitous part of our lives, and not just for music and entertainment products but for many consumer goods and services. You've seen the ads for Angie's List which compiles and features customer reviews of household and professional services. Amazon has been recommending books and other products for years based on what others with consumption habits similar to yours have purchased. This is just the beginning of where recommendations and "relevancy filtering" is going. The best recommendation systems will be very sophisticated. They will expose you to enough of the "familiar" for you to feel like the system "gets" you and understands your tastes. They will expose you to enough of the "new" for you to feel like you are growing and evolving in your own unique direction. They will also keep you sufficiently in tune with your peers and with those who are like you for you to feel like you belong to a larger collective. They will know the difference between you at age 25 and you at age 45 and they will know which products you buy for yourself and which you purchase as gifts for others -- an important distinction for companies when making future recommendations. There are a number of problems for the music industry to sort out but things are taking shape. One thing for certain is that the fans will not suffer. There is now and there will continue to be more music available than ever before and it will become easier to find and enjoy. It will cost less and more artists will earn a living making it.
  4. Eric Singers often mention certain songs that provide a daunting challenge in performing Would you consider SHE DID IT as one ? You demonstrated your exceptional vocal range with some soaring high notes PEACE and Thanks
  5. This must have been an Arista anniversary special? Tim
  6. Eric: I have seen many different musicians as guest panelists on this show from John Mellancamp to Will I Am. Would you ever consider going on the show to discuss the politics of the week? I think you would be outstanding on this program.
  7. When I was a kid, I remember listening to WABC in New York, and living in New Jersey, I remember that you could hear the Beatles, followed by the Four Tops, followed by the Lovin Spoonful to be followed by any number of different artists at any given time. You could hear the Mersey beat, r and b, doo wop, anything, it was what was hot and current, but more importantly, you liked what you heard and what you liked was what was played. In retrospect, it was "magic", a chance to listen and dream and escape and emulate the big stars. Eric, to me this was the "magic" that fueled Raspberries, and why, in Cleveland, Ohio, the harder edge that was the norm could be united with the pop simplicity that made the British Invasion so refreshing. I have read when you mention artists that you were influenced by and admired and always was impressed by how you would mention artists such as the Searchers and Lesley Gore. Given todays music, and how to me, a lot of it is formulamatic, I again have to say thank you for the reunion tour and for the fact that you, Wally, Dave, Jim, Scott and Mike could make that great music as Raspberries, and that you could stay true to yourself when you went solo. Thirty plus years since first hitting the scene, the music has stood the test of time and still is a testament of what rock and roll is all about. I always wish that radio could go back to those magical days of the mid sixties but I guess that would be asking too much. These days, radio stations are too narrow in their context, not enough styles are played on the same station. What do you think of Radio today Eric?
  8. Eric i was always fascinated by the remarkable job you did in I CAN REMEMBER where you transition over from the touching piano melody into Wallys guitar It seems like a challenge to get it just right And you did Can you tell us about it AND THANKS
  9. ... to perform this TUNE live or to record a cover of it.Love this TUNE and I can definitely hear you singing lead on it: Reflections Of My Life / Marmalade
  10. ...is still an Influence on young Argentine musicians?
  11. I'll probably be thrown off the board for this one...But Eric I wondered if you saw the surprise 2007 smash...The Computer Graphics driven amimated film "Alvin And The Chipmunks". I bring this up for a coupla reasons I'm fascinated by David Seville AKA Ross Bagdasarian. He was the typical multi-talented guy who came to Hollywood to make it big.He acted,sang,..but his big success was with novelty records. His first big success was with his cousin much-esteemed writer Willim Saroyan with whom...believe it or not...he wrote Rosemary Clooney's "C'Mon-A-My House". Then experimenting with tape speed-ups he recorded the classic "Witch Doctor". Then going a step further he tripled the effort and created the "Chipmunks". The reason I bring up this film is that when I watched it on HBO one night I thought of you Eric, and what you have taught all of us about what a "Whore" industry the music business is...and this innocuous "Family-Friendly" film really skewers the music business. And from a music history point of view...During the closing credits...We are shown pictures of various "Chipmunk" singles,TV shows, movies, and albums in correct chronological order. My point being that in this frothy,commercial,critically -lambasted throw-away film...There were obviously a coupla people involved who knew what they were doin' and were kinda communicating something genuine to us music lovin' "Baby-Boomers" that I found kinda cool..And I just wondered Eric if you caught this film with your kids and if you kinda enjoyed the subtext of this supposedly innocuous G-Rated Kiddie Movie..-Ira.
  12. Eric i recall reading where John Lennon said if the Beatles had stayed together longer their style would have evolved close to what ELO sounded like How do you feel about The Raspberries Would the band have tweaked its style if you stayed together longer?
  13. Eric, how was it working with Danny Korchmar, Russ Kunkel and Leland Sklar, aka "the Section" on the Change of Heart Album? If I am not mistaking, they were working with both Jackson Browne and James Taylor, especially as part of their touring band during the time around Change came out. I especially remember Danny's guitar solo on "End of the World". They seemed to be a tight unit.
  14. Those of us who have been on the "Board" awhile remember the following "clip" from the first season of "Showtime's" fabulous vigilante serial killer series "Dexter" where inexplicably "Deb"...Dexter's lovelorn sister... is groovin' to "Make Me Lose Control"...hairbrush-microphone in hand..."Chic-Flick" style when her latest no-good boyfriend calls. Eric...I also noted that when I did a thread on "TBS" and asked what shows people enjoy on cable...you listed "Dexter". What do you find special about this show? I find it absolutely compelling. After retirement in 4 and 1/2 years I too am seriously considering a second career as a serial killer who kills serial killers. It's just gotta be more satisfying than the last 16 years that I've spent working for the "Bureaucracy From Hell" that we affectionately call the "New York City Board Of Education". In all seriousness catch this show or rent or buy this show! Any other Dexter fans out there? Just tonite I woke up in the middle of the night...watched 2 episodes from season 2 and now at the oh-too-early hour of 5:35 a.m. EST...I'm writin' about it. "Try it...You'll like it". -Ira.
  15. Eric....If fate had not made you a musician....what other occupation would you be doing now??
  16. Eric hi Can you explain the advantages of being your own producer I think i remember reading where you said that you would record Hungry eyes if they let you produce the song AND THANKS !
  17. As a kid who grew up in the 60's I really like Paul Simon. This song which originally came out in 1970 is done by Alison Krauss of Champaign, IL. Her voice is just pure angelic to listen to. Her violin is not bad either....What a great combination of songwriting and singing and musicianship.... Enjoy, Phil
  18. Eric, is this your song on their album from 1970?
  19. Have these Sweet fans on their website FORUM laughing at Eric ever taken a good look at Brian Connolly's feathered mess? My girlfriend has always said that Eric's hair is sexy! I've aspired to that look for years, I just wish I had enough hair for it.
  20. Eric...As I've often reflected...many great "Raspberries"' hits reflected "Teen Angst" so beautifully. (See "Go All The Way","I Wanna Be With You","Ecstasy","Let's Pretend"). I was wondering...the 60's "Girl Group" records which were so wonderfully aped in "Grease" ("See "Hopelessly Devoted To You")...songs like "Eddie My Love","Baby It's You","My Boyfriend's Back" were unabashedly commercial...were meant to cynically sell records to the new burgeonig teen market with some shekels to spend...yet many of us love these records. As a musician do you feel that songs like "Soldier Boy","Leader Of The Pack","Johnny Angel" have any artistic merit? Do you feel that some were well constructed commercial tunes by pros ...many of whom later loomed large in the "Pop Universe"...or do you regard them largely as throw-away efforts.? Here's a GREAT example. "Whenever A Teenager Cries" was recorded by "Reparata And The Delrons". ...The group was from Brooklyn New York and the lead singer took the name Reparata from a Nun/Teacher at their school!-Perfect for the times. -Ira.
  21. Eric first and foremost your music has touched my heart and soul You are a brillant artist ! Did you and Burton Cummings ever work on anything after Boats ? You guys sounded awesome together on Marathon Man ! Such an inspiring song! Love the arrangement! THANKS for your time Eric GOD BLESS
  22. Eric, Hypothetically, since you are obviously extremely familiar with all three composers styles.. if you were locked in a studio for 3 months, what would be a more productive orignal songwriting colloboration? McCartney-Carmen, or Lennon-Carmen? Since conventional wisdom acknowledges the many similarities between you and Macca, would that be a benefit or hinderance? Would you read each others minds, crank out songs and lyrics, like no tomorrow, or do you think someone different like Lennon would be the ying to your yang as Paul and John did?
  23. Eric...and alla you guys...What're a coupla things you enjoy in music,groups,movies,T.V.,foods etc. ....that really surprise you 'cause they're not usually your style. I'll start by naming a coupla things I surprisingly...to me....like: 1-I don't consider myself "Ira Master Funk"... But I REALLY like "Brick House" by The Commodores.("She's mighty mighty" gets me every time.) 2-I don't consider myself "Ira Country Parton"...But I REALLY love what I've started listening to by Alan Jackson and I recommend him strongly. What about you Eric...And what about you guys out there...What are some things you enjoy that go against the grain of what you usually enjoy? Please write soon.-Ira.
  24. Eric... just wondering if you have a favorite Spinal Tap moment... in the movie and one in your band that was a similar experience?
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