Monday, December 30, 2013

Evansville, IN

It's too daunting to try to recap since my last post. Let's just try to get back at it. 
We were pretty late getting to the venue this morning. Zac's bus broke down for a couple hours over night. We ride tandem with that bus just in case of times like this.
I worked out this morning. Showered, ate, then took a nap like a 4 year old.
Like most of the US, I watched the NFL as much as I could today. Pretty pleased with the outcome of the playoff slate starting next week. 
Out show was good tonight. I am in constant awe of Matt Mangano. He's such a great musician. Show three was unbelievably solid for him. The future looks bright for ZBB.
Ready for my little lady to show up tomorrow. We have tomorrow off in Detroit. It will be welcome all around.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Checking 1,2,3

So this is my new blogging app for my phone. I've had trouble with these things in the past syncing up & whatnot. Let's see if this makes blogging more convenient & efficient for me.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving & such

Just laying low. There's been food. There's been rest. There's been working out. I'm absolutely, officially on the night shift. It's odd but kinda fun. When Brooke is at work, I'm the ONLY one up & around at the house. It's definitely insight into Brooke's life… it's hard to get much done during a business day when you wake up between 2-3pm.
Anyhow, I'm really enjoying spending quality time with my little lady. I'm so lucky.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Night Shift

I stayed up as late as I could last night, I mean, eh hem, this morning. I was out around 5:45am EST. Brooke got home around 8am. I guess I didn't get up until 3pm. I then proceeded to the gym (stopping off at GNC & the grocery before).
I had a fantastic workout today… one that I'm sure I'll be feeling for a couple days. I felt really strong today. It's all starting to pay off.
After the gym, I made it back to the house to shower & subsequently leave for dinner then a rendezvous at a housewarming party.
Not much to report beyond that. Still pretty wired as I haven't even been awake for 12 hours yet. Thinking about going downstairs to practice bass again. I had so much fun with that last night. Y'all all rest up. Thanksgiving is an awesome time of year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Vacation?

All day. I got 3 hours of sleep after 4 days of shows. Flew all day. I am currently trying to push myself to get on a night owl schedule on East coast time. It's a tad easier because I've been toggling West & Mountain time for the past week or so. However, the 3 hours of sleep doesn't help my cause.
My little lady works the night shift & I want to sync up with her since I'll be here for over a week. I'm doing what I can. She's working now. I'm almost done with laundry. I practiced bass guitar (of all things tonight). I played along with my favorite gospel songs. iPads are amazing things.
I guess I'll have Tumblr Tuesday tomorrow. I'm going to do my best to give good answers. I feel that I have been very short over the past few months with my answers. I can do better.
I probably won't get up until the early afternoon so don't get frustrated with the lack of answers until the afternoon.
Anyways, I hope you all are sleeping well. I know that I will when my time comes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yea yea yea

I get it. It's been a while. I never get to write about shit you want to hear about. I always write AFTER I finally find some time off from the cool shit. I'll do my best here.
We've been working EXTREMELY hard lately. Festivals/shows into shows into studio/CMA's into shows into shows. Tomorrow marks the first day of a 10-day break for us. So fucking stoked. Not that I DON'T enjoy my job. It's just nice to reset. Thanksgiving is coming not a moment too soon.
This past week has seen me recover in record time. It was uncomfortably cold in Montana - both Missoula & Bozeman. Super cold means super heat everywhere you go inside… which means super dry… in an especially dry place. Didn't really feel normal until today. I honestly felt myself recovering in Boise yesterday. Spokane was FINALLY a normal show day for me. It also marked day four in the gym. I'm starting to REALLY feel good about working out. Pushing myself harder & harder is just normal now. I feel stronger during the shows & I'm sleeping a lot better at night.
Oh well. I get up in four hours so I can shower, ride to the airport, fly from Spokane to Minneapolis, then to Detroit, then to Manchester. Ready to be in the same place for 10 days… for the first time all year. My max was 9 days - in Nashville. Gonna be pretty sweet.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

End of 4

I was doing well… doing very well. Fresno was great. Brooke made it to the show by 9:30pm. She worked all the night before then got on a plane & flew all day. During that night, the tour had a going away party for one of our chefs. So I got pretty drunk on tequila. Not TOO drunk though. Just drunk enough to feel bad up until noon or so yesterday.
San Jose. Parts I'll never forget. Parts I'lll hope to forget very soon. The Georgia Bulldogs lost a heartbreaking comeback game in Auburn today. Bad fundamentals on one play blew the whole thing. It's hard to get excited for my teams these days: Falcons, Hawks, Bulldogs… even the Braves are hard to get excited about… they aren't even playing now.
Right around soundcheck I started feeling a chill in my body & a fatigue in my limbs. It was like a flu feeling… but it came on so quickly. It was VERY strange. An hour later, I couldn't keep from shivering or feel computable at all. I ended up taking a hot shower & getting in my bunk with 3 comforters. Eventually, the shivering subsided. I dressed & went to vocal warmups. I was hoping for the best but the fatigue & lack of strength was overpowering. Luckily, my voice wasn't effected. However, the pushing of the diaphragm was. It was the HARDEST I've ever worked during a show. I honestly believe that I wouldn't have done as well if I hadn't been improving my endurance from working out over the past year or so.
Dave Grohl got on stage with us tonight & played the Foo Fighters song "Times Like the These." It was pretty awesome considering my failing health.
Anyway, I made it through. Made it back to the hotel. My fever broke sometime around 3-4am. I'm still not right but I'm happy that my little nurse is here to take care of me. Now for a couple days off.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sacramento, CA

It's hard to do 4 in a row. Lately that's what we've been doing when we've been on the road. Tonight was night two. Last night was Bakersfield. It's strange because we won't sell ANY of the shows this run. Maybe it's strange because we've been selling 17,000+ tickets at EVERY show this year. Last night we struggled to sell 5,000. No one will give me a direct answer other than it was Wednesday & it's not a huge population in & around Bakersfield. I can see that, but they say the rest of the shows will be low too. Maybe it's just bad luck for this run. I dunno.
Anyway, it's been a great couple of shows, performance wise. We've officially been reenergized musically after the studio last week.
I've been hard at work in the gym all week. Maybe one more day in there tomorrow morning… then a couple days off to recoup physically. Also excited that my little lady is joining me on the road tomorrow night. She's a trooper. Ready to see her.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Overdue Blog #231

So cut me some slack. I was trying for a while. Since the Nashville festival, my life has been absolutely hectic. I just lost control last week & some things had to give. The blog was not at the TOP of that list, but it got pushed to the side just the same. Also, it didn't help that I shouldn't be writing about the specifics of the session. We just want to keep all of the specific details of the session secret until later. So it makes my writing Über-boring.
Let me just say that our week with Dave Grohl was every bit as cool as the description entails. I entered  the week just a fan, but I left the week with a buddy & a TREMENDOUS amount of respect for him personally & professionally. I've worked with MANY producers; sometimes as just a player, sometimes  as an engineer, & sometimes as the artist myself. Dave Grohl gets it. He's been in every chair too. I can only hope to have his perspective, zen, & energy that he has in the studio in 9 years. I know I shouldn't compared myself with him, but that's one way I drive myself. I wouldn't be where I am without John Mayer, Shawn Mullins, Peter Stroud, Brandon Bush, or Matt Mangano… & now Zac Brown & Dave Grohl.
Anywho, the CMA's were the most fun I'd had at an award show. We sat for a bit, played, then left. We were two drinks in by the time the show was over. We rode the feel good vibe of that night for the rest of the week. Not to mention, some of us wore the hangover throughout the next day. I know that I didn't even get a chance to shower.
Fast forward almost a week & I'm already on the west coast. Landed at LAX a couple of hours ago. I'm on the bus & I had a late meal (late for central time anyway). It's time to get some rest & endure the next 4 days of shows. Mentally, I'm completely recharged & ready for battle. Physically, I'm pretty tired. My workout schedule has been rather vigorous. My lady is coming out to the last couple shows this weekend so I'll have some built in days off… but they seem so far away. Maybe I'm just whining because I was on a plane(s) for so long.
Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

ZBB Album 4, day two

Considering the late hour last night, the engineering staff on this record was at it rather early this morning. We really didn't get much accomplished today. We ran into some discrepancies with some of the takes from last night. However, they did figure it out (thank goodness). They comped the drum take, punched the bass take in a couple of sections, & Zac replayed his guitar part completely because his tacking pass was all a scratch take… more of a guide track.
Coy punched a couple of sections on the Hammond. Jimmy, Hop, Danny, & I took our parts 'back to formula.' I pretty much played the same thing as last night, just with a different guitar & amp. I'm tickled over the result. As much as I love the sound & the way my Les Paul Junior plays, I'm a Les Paul Standard man at heart.
Zac finished the day by singing the song… many times. I think they'll comp his track tonight. Tomorrow will be background vocals first thing in the morning. Then we'll move on to the next song. Rock.
PS. Go Dawgs.

Friday, November 1, 2013

ZBB Album 4, day one

We started arranging songs in the studio around 10am. We LITERALLY worked until 2:00am. I really can't talk about specific details regarding this record. Some things you just have to hold back. I WILL say that I am really happy with a great deal of what I came up with today. The only song that I'm not 100% on hasn't been cut yet.
We arranged 4 songs… finally committing one of those to tape. I'd imagine tomorrow will be as productive but more fruitful (knock on wood)… if you consider the fruit being actual takes. 
Anywho, I'm fucking tired… but happy about it. TOTALLY worth it. Checking out. Sincerely, Clay.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

California Run


First off, I apologize for the lack of entries. I find it infinitely easier to blog at home than I do on the road. I rarely break out my computer on the road. I bought an app to blog on my phone but Google is being a dick about security & won't let me post from my phone. It will be inconsistent at best on the road until I get that sussed out. 
Friday & Saturday's shows at the Hollywood Bowl were fantastic. Jason Mraz sat in on night one. Actually, throughout the whole run AJ Ghent & Sarah Dugas sat in with us every night. Night two at HWB had David Ryan Harris, Marc Ford, & Dwight Yoakum sit in with us on "The Weight." No rehearsal. No nothing. Just get up & play. Discomfort & all. 
Chula Vista was a good night as well. However, I think two nights in Hollywood; hanging out & partying for some of the guys caught up with them by Chula Vista (San Diego). The energy level was strange on stage that night. The crowd was great though. 
Day four in Phoenix was better. I felt like the energy was there & everywhere around us. Musically, probably the best show. I tripped over a cable on stage at the end of the show. I'm fine. I'm just clumsy sometimes. 
I have, however, been hitting our new gym HARD during all four days. This is the maiden voyage for this particular facility. We had a gym built into a 55' tractor trailer. Complete with tread mill, arc glider, Smith machine, regular bench, dual action leg machine, multi-function weighted cable machine, full body punching/kick bag, & speed bag. Two full sets of plates for the bars & 20-55 lbs dumbell sets. It's air conditioned, DirecTV, sound system, built-in fridge, & even Playstation (in case you want to tun & play Madden at the same time, I guess). 
I'm really happy we have this now. It saves me a ton of time that I used to have to take a runner to & from the gym. It saves me an hour MINIMUM. Plus it's OUR stuff. The guy who drives this trailer keeps it really clean & disinfected... & the machines in good working order. Pretty stoked. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Travelio the Magnificent

Not really much to report. I stayed up "late" watching the Sox win last night. Got up "early" to shower & hit the airport. BNA--->DTW--->LAX. 12 hours door to door travel. It's getting eerily easy to travel. It's just part of my life now; like stopping at a gas station to fill up. You don't really put much thought into it but you have to do it.
I got to have dinner with my brother tonight. For old times' sake we had In & Out Burger. My brother & I spent every summer in the '90's out here. My Dad moved here full time in '91. So we grew up with southern California being our second home. It's his first home now. He's spent the majority of the past 10 years here. It's funny. I can go months & months without seeing him & it's like we saw each other last week. Brothers.
Also, a good friend of mine from the past got engaged today. I couldn't be happier for the couple. This has been one hell of a week... with 4 hopefully great shows to come... going into a couple days off with my lady... into starting the ZBB record... into the CMA's. Life is good today.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

North Star

Yesterday was amazing. Rewind back slightly further; my album went on sale at midnight on Monday night. It was really neat to see it on the iTunes singer-songwriter page. It was even neater to wake up a mere 5 hours later for travel & see that I was hovering just outside of the top 10 in that category.
I flew home yesterday. By the time I landed, I was number 8. Errands filled my day. As did Tumblr Tuesday.
I finished the day number 3. It was a damn good day. A lot of people said some nice things on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, & in the actual reviews on iTunes. I worked really hard & long on this record & it feels good to have some validation. Yesterday was a LONG day, but totally worth every minute of hard work that I'd put in over the past three years making that album.
I worked out VERY hard this morning. It's been almost a week since I had a proper workout. I ran a few miles on Friday but that was it. It was a long & busy weekend. Again, loved every minute of it though.
I write this freshly packed for tomorrow's travel. Also, congrats to the Red Sox for winning game one of the World Series. I've been a Sox fan since I was in college. They weren't as well run back then & fielded some fairly average teams, but they have been pretty stellar since their 2004 World Series win. The Cardinals are no slouches. I'd imagine that this will be a close series. Most of the pundits are calling for just that. I love watching good playoff/championship baseball. I just wish the Braves were facing the Sox. There's always next year.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Charleston, SC

I apologize for the lack of entries. I have had very little time to blog. I've either been working, sleeping, or spending time with friends. I really enjoyed this year's festival in Charleston. It's easy to say that the Nash/Charleston festivals were the best that we've ever thrown. So glad to be a part of such great events.
I got pretty sloshy last night. I have yet to get sick on tequila so it's still very dangerous to me. I hear after you get sick on it you don't want to drink it anymore. Oh, well. I reckon that day will come... but not yet.
My set was today at the festival. I had Chris Fryar on drums, Matt Mangano on bass, & the incomparable Brandon Conway on pedal steel & guitar. It was a great set. I did okay for a having a vicious hangover.
I'm ready for bed. Good night.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No Sleep Til... Charleston?

I fucking ROCKED my workout this morning. 30 minutes of real deal cardio. Running & biking. Then 'pushing.' I bench pressed, squat, shoulder pressed, flied, etc.
My girlfriend's father is in town. We grabbed lunch before my doctor's appointment. (Don't worry, everything's fine.) Then I sprinted to the studio & demo'd four new songs. Where these will end up, I don't know. Are they for me? ZBB? Other artists? We'll see. Step one is done.
I ran my remaining errands. Since then I've been prepping for my Charleston trip tomorrow. Apparently I've booked myself a VERY early flight. So I'm going to bed now. Hope you sleep well.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight

A lot of good albums have come out lately.
  • Kings of Leon "Mechanical Bull"
  • Amos Lee "Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song"
  • The Wood Brothers "The Muse"
  • Will Hoge "Never Give In"
  • John Mayer "Paradise Valley"
  • Pearl Jam "Lightning Bolt"
... so you have your homework assignments.

Anyway, I had a great workout this morning. Followed by a rehearsal with the band that I pieced together for the Charleston show this weekend. I won't give away any specifics, I just like what we came up with. Not EXACTLY like the record, it serves the songs well though.
I also met with the good folks at the Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy. We followed up about the tour I gave to the GrammyU students just before the Nashville SGMFF kicked off. I've been a Grammy member for 12 years now. It's a great organization to get a chance to be a part of. Actually got my ballot in the mail this week for the nomination round. It takes some time to fill that damn thing out but I'm glad that I have a vote. 
The rest of the day was nice. Errands. Went to a surprise birthday party for a friend. Answered a TON of Tumblr questions at one time. One prompted me to change the layout of this blog... as you can see that I've done. 
Change is good. Especially when it's for the better. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rest... sorta

I rolled off the bus around 10am. Got home at 10:30am. I spent a MAJORITY of the day running errands. I'm not kidding. Life just keeps throwing stuff at me. I keep catching it though.
However, I DID find the time to spend two hours next to the pool at my building. No workout today. I felt good about it. I could FEEL that my body needed a break & rest.
Anywho, about to crawl in the bed. A nice event filled day for tomorrow. Love you. Mean it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bristow, VA

Day three of 'EPIC TRAINING' hasn't left me much strength or energy. I feel good - considering. I can certainly tell that my body is ready for a day off tomorrow. That I will give it.
Tonight's show was full of interesting technical problems. The weekend has been full if them. Most of them are gremlins... not particularly anyone's fault. This band is GOOD. They roll through damn near anything placed in their way. 
We are all a bit weary though. This week off is greatly needed by all.
I'm limiting myself to errands & rest. Speaking of rest...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Virginia Beach, VA

10 hours of sleep is a very beautiful thing. So is two consecutive HARD days in the gym. I'm starting to really feel in shape. Not since high school have I felt this. It's where I should've taken my health 10 years ago. Better late than never, I guess. My Dawgs got beat again... leaving this as the worst possible combination of things to happen to Georgia sports in one week: the Braves getting knocked out of the playoffs, the Falcons becoming 1-4 (& losing to an average football team on Monday Night Football, no less), & Georgia falling once again out of contention of the national title picture. They still could have a chance to win the SEC East, but a few things still need to happen to accomplish this. Oh well... we'll see. Tonight was a great set. This band is on a roll. It really feels like we're heading for great things with next week's festival, the west coast the following week, & the studio & the CMA's following that. So tired now, though. Ready to brace for one more show this weekend. Adios.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Charlotte, NC

Was up EARLY for a show day. I normally get up around 10am on the buses. Much earlier today. Must've been from the early bedtime. Anywho, I DESTROYED it working out today. Cardio, legs, shoulders & such. More weight than I've done in a while. Some excericses were heavier than ever. I got a little rest after showering. However, I DID attend the Zamily gathering in the parking lot. The Zamily is full if some good folks. Tonight's show was good. We've been lucky the past few months that almost EVERY show has been great. A lot of it is luck sometimes. I really dug Zac calling "Can't You See" tonight. It's been a while & I just love that song... for obvious reasons. All I know is I'm gonna sleep GOOD tonight. Tomorrow... Virginia Beach & GO DAWGS!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In Motion

My girl & I hung out in Portsmouth, NH for most of the day today. It's really cool; old but taken care of, great food, neat "Mom & Pops" stores. The weather was pleasant too. However, all good things must come to an end. We had to make our way to Manchester airport... where I flew to Detroit. It was kinda fun to spend my layover in a sports bar in the Detroit airport. Especially, while the Tigers played an elimination game against the A's... in which they won. For some strange reason, I didn't even break out my headphones. I read my iPad & some magazines. I guess sometimes it's an OPTION to listen to music. Ha! I landed in Nashville in JUST enough time to be five minutes late for bus call. We're currently headed to Charlotte. Three day run this weekend. NC, VA, & VA. Ramping up for the Charleston fest.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Newest of Hampshires

Today was pretty chill. Woke up. Ran a few miles. Tooled around town for a bit. Waited on my lady to get out of work. WHen she got home we drove to Durham, NH (University of New Hampshire). She showed me around her Alma Mater. It's very much like most campus towns that I've been to. It's really nice though. Needless to say, the foliage is UNBELIEVABLE right now. A computer couldn't generate these colors. After that we made our way to Portsmouth, NH. It was nice to chill out for the evening. Great food. Great rest. I go back to work tomorrow so I'm really enjoying this now. Peace out.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Is Here, Bitches.

I was up & at 'em. Had a legit, proper workout at a gym today. Then went apple picking at an orchard with some friends. Had dinner with said friends. Then went to see 'Gravity' in IMAX 3D. If you are a fan of suspense, GO SEE THIS MOVIE> Right now. Go the fuck to see it. The camera work was great. It wore me out but I would love to see it again. It's also rather beautiful in IMAX 3D. IMAX really makes a difference. I remember the first IMAX movie I ever saw: 'Fantasia 2000.' In a time of pre HD & Blu Ray home entertainment, the vibrance of the colors was mind boggling. Anywho, IMAX should pay me. I am currently waiting for an apple pie to finish baking. My lady & I made that tonight. Can't wait to try it. Fresh picked apple, no less.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Here We Go

So here it comes. I'm gonna try this as long as I can. A true diary of sorts. If you've ever perused this blog, you know that I am no stranger to doing just that. However, since being in Zac Brown Band, I fell off the wagon with my blogging. I honestly don't know why I'm going to try this again... I just AM. This morning saw me up at 4:45am (Nashville). It was one of those travel days where you take the big plane to get on the little plane. My girl lives in New Hampshire. So I try to visit her (as she frequently visits me) as much as possible. This afternoon she had a meeting at work. That found me rummaging around a flea market style shop. I ended up buying a vintage Cross pen set, an 1893 Columbian Expedition half dollar, & a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar. Some of you know that I love sports. While I just enjoy watching excellence at every sport, I DO have some team allegiance. Being originally from the Atlanta area, I root for the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), the Atlanta Hawks (NBA), & the Atlanta Braves (MLB). I also love University of Georgia football. I've been rather spoiled as of late. Some really decent teams across the board for the past few years. I did, however, watch the Falcons lose tonight. Things are NOT looking particularly up with a 1-4 record. & to add insult to injury, losing to the Jets at home on Monday Night Football just ain't cool. Also, the Braves were struggling to stay alive in the NLDS tonight. The Dodgers were just too mighty for us to handle. L.A. is an average defensive team but their pitching & hitting is unparalleled this year. Two of their better players are injured & they are STILL unbelievable... & they should be; at $220,395,196 in salary, their payroll is the highest in baseball (finally eclipsing the Yankees by $20 million). They beat us fair & square... 3 games to our 1. Oh well. My sports heart is heavy. At least my Bulldogs look good after starting the season with a loss. Wish I could say the same for the Hawks. The best I can hope for there is to limp into the playoffs maybe at the 7th or 8th seed. Here we go.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Entertainer vs. The Entertaining Artist

In the history of music, there have ALWAYS been artists. Artists are the ones who craft memorable pieces of music that make you feel a certain way... good or bad. The idea of the entertainer really crept into the spectrum only 100 or so years ago. While there have been soloists in the opera & concerto idiom, the music or composer was always the focus - not the singer. Vaudeville & possibly the circus side shows were the official beginning of the entertainer. Hell, Scott Joplin, the most famousest of famous ragtime composers, had a tune called "The Entertainer." Trust me - you've heard it. Even if you've never seen "The Sting." Al Jolson, Cab Calloway, & even Louis Armstrong converted their previous performing backgrounds into being an entertainer. All of a sudden songwriters were penning tunes for vocalists to croon... not just sheet music. Shortly before the entertainer, music was something that people did together. They'd congregate around a campfire after a long day or in a parlor, around a piano, & sing "Camptown Races." Stephen Foster was the star of "Camptown Races." He wrote it though you never heard him sing it. Fast forward to the refinement of the entertainer: Frank Sinatra & the like. They were not only crooners of other peoples' songs, but they were stars. They made records, played concerts, & made movies... year 'round. It was actually fascinating how many records these entertainers would crank out a year... because other people were writing the songs, writing the arrangements, & handling their image. Truly entertainers. Now, I'm not sure if the invention of the entertaining artist came with Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles, or Little Richard... but it did happen during this time. Each of those artists penned their own music in the early days. But... the game changer was Bob Dylan into The Beatles. Some could argue that Bob Dylan is not very entertaining & made protest music... which was a by product of Woody Guthrie songs. So I'm going with The Beatles on this one due to their enduring & gargantuan impact. There are certainly entertaining artists BEFORE The Beatles, but they changed the game. After the influence of the Fab Four, rock & roll had never been the same. At the time, there was still pretty lame music on the radio. The term was called 'Middle of the Road': Pat Boone, bubble gum pop, & Perry Como... & other popular entertainers of the day. I'm not saying that there is no merit or joy in this music, I'm just saying that I don't like it. Rock n Roll, while not in its infancy, was at least out of diapers at this point. The late '60's was where The Beatles influence was starting to creep in. Add the hippie movement, experimental drug use, & creative kids starting to realize "hey, maybe I can do that too." By the time The Beatles were actually done, we had the beginnings of Carole King, CSNY, James Taylor, & The Eagles... & then you think about EVERY rock band in the '70's that you loved - almost every one of them wrote their own shit. All the while though, the public still had a need for the entertainer... even though there were some amazingly creative entertaining artists at this point in time (see David Bowie, Elton John). In the 80's, you can see a vast slow down in creativity from the artists on record labels. This was probably attributed to two things specifically: risk & cocaine. Go to any artist that you loved during their career & their's always one record you don't like... they usually chalk up that failure to cocaine. Also, in the 80's came the rise of the über-entertainer... & none was bigger than Michael Jackson. There STILL may never be one bigger than MJ... & he wrote a lot of his own shit. However, the entertainment & the showiness of the entertaining artist became more & more important. (I guess we can thank the right hand of Joe Jackson for that one). Anyway, thank the fucking Lucky Charms that grunge came along when it did... because 1990 fucking sucked for music. C+C Music Factory, MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, & Milli Vanilli were your staple entertaining artists that year... along with Mariah Carey, who was JUST an entertainer. In those days, she was pretty great. While now, eeeehhhh, that's a different blog. The '90's did have some pretty great moments. It was the last time that record labels actually spent resources on developing an artist. They made a bunch of bad bets but the good bets made up the difference. But... in creeps file sharing & the diminishing for money at said labels. The past decade has been the most interesting, & somehow, the most boring. There are infinity (∞) indie labels now. There are too many releases each week. The only great thing about the OLD way of doing business was that we had limited options... what the major labels released. Granted, today's business model allows ANYONE to release an album, it has also made it exhausting & impossible to sift through it all. Impossible. &, furthermore, they give very few artists a second chance. There is no such thing as development. You have to be readymade. The major labels only deal in entertainers now, as they are the best bet in investment. They put a team of songwriters, producers, choreographers, show designers, & spin doctors (not the band) together with a mildly talented, yet usually smoking hot, entertainer. To the labels, this is the safest bet they can make. They trust 0% of the art with the entertainer. All the entertainer is responsible for is the execution of the "art." Also, good luck to anyone who is over 25 who wants to make it in this day & age. Call me crazy, but when I hear some one singing a song, I want it to be them telling me THEIR story or a story from their own imagination. I guess that's my real beef with entertainers... I see their place in this world but to be slowly repositioning the artist to a servitude level (ghostwriter, backing musician, etc.) rubs me the wrong way for obvious reasons. However, it is we the people who get to choose what we want to consume... & if it's entertainers & reality TV, then that's what it is. This is much smaller of an argument than liberal vs. conservative, secular vs. religious, or even Coke vs. Pepsi. (In my household, we treat the word 'Pespi' like the word 'Voldemort.') $$$ fucked the whole thing up. I can't point to a time when the system or industry was perfect. There are a few times that you can point to when things were clicking creatively or financially. It's actually crazy we get to make music for a living... & it's not just a bunch of us in the living room singing "Camptown Races."