Rumble in Baton Rouge

Ready or not it was time for me to pack up and move out of Georgia. I wanted to arrive in El Paso by the first of February, but to stop a few times along the way to better know the mysterious (to me) South. I thought I’d get a quick look at New Orleans, but to be honest, I wasn’t up for the challenge of navigating through the hustle-bustle. I got a total of 0.75 seconds viewing time of the Superdome as I dashed by on the freeway. After another couple of hours through the swamp forests I arrived in Baton Rouge, pulled off into the city, and found things were crazy there too. A parade route was roped off and the streets were lined with a lot of happy, enthused people. I know, this isn’t a travel journal, so I’ll cut to the chase. I discovered a (family-friendly) night-time Mardi Gras parade, featuring high school marching bands like I’ve never known before. Louisiana schools must take a lot of pride in their music programs.

That video is a good recap of the Mardi Gras krewe experience in Baton Rouge (jump ahead to about 13:15). It includes some bands, but not with the same impact I experienced myself. The horns were projecting with great diaphragm support and the drums were making a tight, furious ruckus. It was nothing like the marching band tradition where came from where it was only a Summer thing to represent at the various Community Days parades, weakly rendering “Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye” and “We Will Rock You” at football games. To me, in Baton Rouge, it sounded like the bands were the main event and they knocked my socks off. There may be a financial incentive for schools, since they can collect booking fees. If they hit the major leagues they can attain the prestige of St. Augustine in New Orleans. You know I regretted that I had to keep driving west past this land of superstar marching bands.

Viva Live365

It was just coming up on my two year anniversary with my playlist on Live365 but dropped some bad news last month. A ruling by the US Royalty Copyright Board (CRB) effectively pulled the rug out from under the entire Live365 business model of online broadcasting. As the note from the Live365 team describes it, the result is there are now “no small webcaster options except for full CRB rates.” On top of that their investors have backed out, so the misfortune was sudden and severe. Continue reading

CSRA Adventure

I imagined Athens, Georgia as exotic and magical when I was a kid. Wherever the B-52’s and R.E.M. were from must be another dimension where the rules are upside down. (Before a certain point) the B-52’s were plunky punk rockers and R.E.M. were consummate jangly bohemians. I know their legacy now is they were corny and pretentious, but I cope by filtering them out past the 80’s. I’ve always kept a thought in the back of my mind that it would be an adventure to see Athens for myself, find some traces of the old music scene, and test whether the laws of physics are all the same. Wouldn’t you know it I got the chance for an extended visit to the area the last few months, to the CSRA, and I made a trip (figuratively down the Atlanta Highway) to the heart of Georgia. Yep, it is in fact a trendy college town that adores bulldogs. Continue reading

Thinking of David Jones

It’s comforting but unsettling to find obituaries written online the moment we hear the news of someone significant passing away. A writer takes the time in advance to cast warm light on a life span and distill the essence of character. This morning I noticed a photo of younger David Bowie in the side panel of imgur and could draw the quick conclusion he was in the news for more than just his latest record, “Blackstar.” Just as fast as I could load reddit.com/r/music I could see a major thread running – I knew he must have died. Continue reading

Lads From Liverpool

I left you with a gripping cliffhanger over a year ago about my eyeballs, and now you can breath. My vision is amazingly clear and the recovery after the procedure was weird and miserable only for a little while. Going back to last year I was following rumor and news about a new release from U2. After launching “Invisible” in February, 2014, it seemed a new record was imminent and they were not going to settle for relic status. About that time I came across the “Eh! U Talkin’ U2 To Me?” (read that in a Travis Bickle voice) podcast from Scott & Scott, the U2 nerds. Fortunately, they have day jobs as (mid- to upper-alphabet range) Hollywood stars. Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Life of Walter Mitty, know what I’m saying? Like me, their anticipation was stoked! Though in each 3-hour episode, outside of the convoluted tangents and ‘podcast within a podcast’ segments, they barely got around to talking about U2. Continue reading