Thursday, May 14, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Led Zeppelin- Over The Hills And Far Away

We Love Record Stores!

Regular readers know that I like to bring attention to the record staores that help keep vinyl alive, here is a gem:

Resurgence in vinyl helps record store in recession

by Jordan Melnick

It’s lunchtime on a typical weekday and Reckless Records downtown is packed. Dave Richardson, a 26-year-old legal clerk, has stopped in on his break to shop for LPs, those 12-inch, non-biodegradable vinyl discs that have been made obsolete many times over, most recently by MP3s.

Why would anybody pay for vinyl when there’s so much free digital music on the Internet? Why opt for a format that hardly fits in a backpack when the iPod can put up to 20,000 songs in a back pocket?

“I like the idea of owning a piece of physical media,” Richardson said.

He isn’t alone. Despite the MP3 takeover of the music industry, more and more audiophiles are turning to vinyl for an old-fashioned listening experience. And after 19 years in business in Chicago, British-owned Reckless Records of London Inc. is reaping the benefits.

The company’s three locations—Lakeview, Wicker Park and the Loop—sold 136,000 LPs in 2008, up about 38,000 from the year before. Despite declining CD revenue, Reckless’s total sales climbed to $4.2 million last year from $3.8 million in 2007. The uptick will allow the company to move its Lakeview store to a bigger location at the end of May.

To Reckless general manager Bryan Smith, vinyl’s resurgence comes down to consumer desire for a hands-on listening experience.

“People are rediscovering the artifact of music, being able to hold the physical product,” Smith said. “They like the mobility of the MP3, [but] it doesn’t give you a physical relationship with bands.”

Reckless’s increased vinyl sales mirror a national trend. There were 1.9 million new LPs sold in the U.S. last year, an 89 percent increase from 2007, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales. CD sales fell 19.7 percent in the same period.

In Nielsen’s East/North Central Region—which includes Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana—LP sales were up 119 percent last year and rose 56 percent through the end of April.

The rise in LP sales is an anomaly in a suffering music industry, which saw 3,000 record stores close nationwide between 2003 and last year, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a market research firm. In Chicago, 38 stores closed in that time.

A typical LP at Reckless costs between $7 and $25, though some rarities can sell for more than $100. With so much music free for the taking on the Internet, consumers’ willingness to fork over cash for LPs might seem extravagant. But Kip McCabe, store manager at Reckless’s Lakeview location, sees vinyl’s comeback as a reaction to the digital-music revolution epitomized by the iPod.

“I feel like [listening to MP3s] takes out a decent percentage of what the experience was meant to be to begin with,” McCabe said. “I think the first thing you lose is the artists’ intention of how they wanted their art to be received.”

Sales are down this year at Reckless’s three locations, but the upswing in vinyl consumption has helped Reckless weather the recession as consumers take comfort in concrete assets like LPs during hard times, Dylan Posa, manager at the Loop location, said.

“When times get tough you like to have what you own around you,” Posa said. “It’s sort of hard to touch an MP3 and say that you own it.”

Reckless’s trade-in business is another aspect of the company cash-strapped music collectors find attractive.

“People right now need money and that’s something we hand out,” McCabe said. “We hand out cash for product.”

LP lovers espouse everything from cover art to sound quality to the smell of vinyl itself. And with affordable turntables now on the market, some with USB ports that enable LP-to-MP3 conversion, the hands-on music experience and the portable one have converged.

Michelle Ishikawa, 22, a Columbia College Chicago student, used words like “real,” “authentic” and “tangible” when explaining her attachment to vinyl at Reckless’s Lakeview store.

Stephen Koza, 26, from Brooklyn, N.Y., described an aversion to buffet-style music consumption.

“You can download all you can eat, but [listening to LPs] takes a little more devotion,” Koza said. “It’s so easy on the Internet to consume music like a whale.”

The return of vinyl is not just a youth movement. Sixty-year-old Henrik Lang, a native Finlander who now lives in Chicago, said he switched back to vinyl six years ago for the better sound quality.

“It was an Ornette Coleman CD that brought me back,” Lang said, while scouring the jazz section at the Lakeview Reckless. “Transferring something that was made in ’63 didn’t work out well. I thought, ‘Well, if I find something on vinyl, then I’ll buy it.’”

Lang owns about 2,000 LPs. Collectors like him are a big part of the reason vinyl is on the rise. Reckless general manager Smith said he knows people with more than 10,000 LPs.

For Keenan Kelly—also known as DJ Kesa—collecting has become a problem.

“I can’t even keep some of them in my place,” Kelly said of his 3,000-LP collection. “I need to slow down. I’m an addict.”

Other vinyl faithful describe their devotion less as addiction and more as romance.

“Sometimes you just want to go home, put on a record and have a glass of wine,” said Tim Wagner, 26, who works at Andy's Jazz Club & Restaurant in the Gold Coast. “You just don’t have that feeling with an iPod.”

Whether based on addiction or love, increased LP sales are helping Reckless capitalize on the recession. The company is taking advantage of low real estate prices by moving its original Lakeview location down the block to a bigger, 5,000-square-foot space at the end of May.

McCabe is confident that customers will follow Reckless to its new location.

“We have a built-in, very intense constituency,” McCabe said. “Record collectors are … always on the hunt. That audience stays loyal.”


Music News & Notes

Dylan Sales Drop A Bit

Bob Dylan's Together Through Life drops from #1 to #5 on this week's Billboard Album chart in its second week of release with sales of 51,000. The chart is topped by Chrisette Michelle who sold 83,000 copies of her second album. This has nothing to do with veteran artists, but is notable because that is the lowest amount sold by an album premiering at number one in the 18 years that Soundscan has been tracking music sales. The previous title holder belonged to Johnny Cash whose Americana V: A Hundred Highways premiered at number one in 2006 with 88,000 sales.

Cat Stevens' Roadsinger debuts at 41.


New R.E.M. Music

R.E.M. is back in the studio to start work on their next album. They are currently working on demos of possible songs.

Paste magazine received the following from David Bell:

This past week, Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M. spent a few days with producer Jacknife Lee in Portland's Jackpot Recording Studio. It is early, early demo days for the next record, which is still a ways away. Also involved last week were longtime confederates Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey, as well as noted engineer/producer Tucker Martine.


ALICE COOPER Performs At ASU Commencement Ceremonies In Phoenix

Legendary rocker Alice Cooper appeared yesterday (Wednesday, May 13) before a crowd of 70,000, including 9,000 Arizona State University graduates, at ASU commencement ceremonies at Sun Devil Stadium in Phoenix. Alice performed the perennial start-of-summer anthem "School's Out", backed by RUNAWAY PHOENIX, the band of which his son Dash Cooper (ASU Class of '10) is part. Also appearing on the program was "top-billed" President Barack Obama who delivered ASU's 2009 commencement address.

Watch fan-filmed video footage of Alice's performance below. (Note: Alice wore his varsity letter sweater [Cortez High, Class of '66] when he performed the classic ode to the start of summer.)

"Of all the people I've ever shared a stage with, Obama is the biggest rock star," said Alice.

"School's Out" always seems to take on a life of its own just about every May and this year is no different. Last week, the song was featured as an "American Idol" group performance with guitar great Slash joining in. The song, which first came to light at the end of the 1972 school year, will be heard in the film "I Love You Beth Cooper" (no relation) directed by Chris Columbus and starring Hayden Panettier with companion soundtrack album to be released by ABKCO Records next month.

Aside from his ongoing role as the de facto harbinger of summer, Alice Cooper hosts, "Nights with Alice Cooper", heard over a network of more than one hundred affiliated stations for which Alice anchors 30 hours per week of original classic rock programming. Produced and distributed by the United Stations Radio Networks, "Nights with Alice Cooper" has 110 affiliates broadcasting a combination of weeknight and weekend programming. Alice's time slot reaches 1.1 million listeners (12+) each week, and his affiliates have a weekly reach of over 6 millions listeners.

Mr. Cooper- you still rock!


Depeche Mode Cancel Four More Concerts Due to Gahan Illness

David Gahan’s severe bout of gastroenteritis has forced Depeche Mode to cancel four more concerts on their Sounds of the Universe tour, the band announced in a statement. Gahan was rushed to the hospital earlier this week shortly before Depeche Mode were scheduled to perform a show in Athens, Greece. Yesterday’s concert in Istanbul was also canceled. “Dave is currently undergoing further tests,” the band said in the statement. “Depeche Mode apologizes to all their fans for this inconvenience and wish Dave a speedy recovery.”

The nixed shows affect Bucharest, Romania; Sofia, Bulgaria; Belgrade, Serbia; and Zagreb, Croatia and mean the tour is shut down until at least May 21st. Ticket holders for all the shows are advised to hold on to their tickets as announcements regarding rescheduled dates or cancellations will be made shortly.


Kings Of Leon To Play MTV Movie Awards

Setting the stage for some of this summer's most talked about performances, MTV has announced that rock icons Kings of Leon will perform at the "2009 MTV Movie Awards." The band will perform their rock anthem "Use Somebody" from their hit album "Only By The Night." Hosted by Andy Samberg, the "2009 MTV Movie Awards" will air on Sunday, May 31st at 9PM (Live ET/Tape Delayed PT). The show will also feature a musical performance by Eminem who will perform music from his anticipated new album "Relapse."

Kings of Leon have thrived as one of the most popular artists to hit the music scene in recent years and their latest album "Only By The Night," has sold almost four-million units world-wide. Their infectious single, "Sex On Fire," topped the Modern Rock chart at number one for eight weeks straight and "Use Somebody," the album's second single, stayed at number one on the chart for three weeks straight. "Sex On Fire" also broke the record for biggest selling digital album and digital single of all time in the UK. Just completing their first-ever arena tour of America, following the MTV Movie Awards, Kings of Leon will be playing festivals worldwide all summer long and into the fall, including headlining slots at Lollapalooza and the Austin Limits City Festival.

Vinyl Collective News

Sell your Used Records in Vinyl Collective’s store

If Amazon and can do it, why shouldn’t we? At least that is what I have been thinking for a while now. I have been wanting to offer used records in the Vinyl Collective store but I wasn’t sure how to make this happen. Should I have people with Used records send them to us for sale? Nah, that could potentially damage a box of records. Should we put up ads that we buy records and sell those records to all of you? That could work, but only selling used records from folks in Colorado could be limiting. After much thought, I have come up with what I think is the best solution. I already know that many of you sell on Ebay and I know that some of you have had lots of success selling there and may have no interest in what we are about to offer. What I offer is a new section within the Vinyl Collective store for Used Records searchable by seller. There will be no listing fees, you set the price you want to sell it at, and you only see a “fee” when your record(s) are sold. We accept and process the payment, pay all merchant fees, and all you do is ship the record to the buyer. You benefit from the traffic to the Vinyl Collective store. We set you up with a seller account and people will be able to search for just your titles.

We will take a 15 percent commission when your record is sold(this includes all merchant processing fees), pay you once a month for your sales, and you can keep your records listed for as long as you like.

Any volunteers? We want to test this out and are looking for 10 people interested in helping us make this work. We want to work out the kinks before we launch it worldwide. Email me if you are interested. Only U.S. sellers for now please. Thanks.

This Date In Music History-May 14


Derek Leckenby - Herman's Hermits (1943)

Gener Cornish - The Young Rascals (1945)

David Byrne - Talking Heads (1952)

Ian Astbury – Cult (1962)

C.C. DeVille – Poison (1962)

Mike Inez - Alice in Chains (1966)

Fabrice Morvan - Milli Vanilli (1966)

Steve Hogarth – Marillion (1956)

Jack Bruce – Cream (1943)

Shanice (1973)

Danny Wood - New Kids On The Block (1971)

They Are Missed:

Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack in 1998.

Former Yardbirds guitarist Keith Relf was electrocuted by his guitar and died in 1976.
In 2005, bluegrass singer Jimmy Martin died in Nashville aged 77. Inspired by Bill Monroe, he sang with both the Blue Grass Boys and his own Sunny Mountain Boys combo.

In 1969, a car crash took the lives of Fairport Convention drummer Martin Lamble and Jeanne "Genie the Taylor" Franklin. Franklin was a clothes designer for, among others, Jefferson Airplane, Donovan, and Jimi Hendrix.

The late Bobby Darin was born in 1936 (died on December 20, 1973)


In 1955, "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & the Comets first entered the Top 40. It would become the first #1 record of the rock era.

Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley” backed with “I’m A Man” landed on the R&B charts in 1955. Both songs were later covered in the '60s by British groups.

In 1957, Elvis Presley swallowed a porcelain cap from one of his teeth during the filming of Jailhouse Rock and was rushed to the hospital. The cap was lodged in a lung and Presley had to stay overnight to get it removed.

The Strawbs formed in 1967.

Leo Sayer went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1977 with “When I Need You,” the singer’s second US #1 (also #1 in the UK).

In 1956, Buddy Holly's optometrist gave him contact lenses for his 20/800 eyesight, but he couldn’t get used to them, so the trademark glasses stayed.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon appeared on NBC-TV's "Tonight Show" in 1968 with guest-host Joe Garagiola.

In 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released "Ohio,” ten days after the shooting of four students at Kent State University that inspired the classic song.

Jan & Dean began recording "Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)" in 1964.

The Rascals recorded "People Got To Be Free" in 1968.

In 1966, one of the best compilation records ever released, “Big Hits (High Tides And Green Grass),” collected the best Rolling Stones songs to date. The album sold over two-million copies.

"The Platters" was released in 1956. It was the group's first album.

Atlantic Records celebrated its 40th anniversary at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1988. Yes, Genesis, Foreigner and Crosby, Stills & Nash performed. A re-united Led Zeppelin hit the stage with Jason Bonham filling in for his late father John. Zeppelin played “Stairway To Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Also, the Iron Butterfly appeared and yes, they played "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" in its entirety.

The album "Revenge" was released by KISS in 1992. The album featured a new drummer, Eric Singer.

In 2007, Capitol/EMI announced that Paul McCartney's post-Beatles catalog will be sold digitally. "For the very first time, McCartney and Wings albums will be made available across all digital platforms," read the EMI/Capitol statement.

Also in 2007, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor spoke out against records labels marking up album prices to compensate for declining sales. He says he discovered that NIN's "Year Zero" had a list price of more than $29 in Australia. "No wonder people steal music," he says. Has anything changed?