Well, back in the late 80s/early 90s, the music business was not exactly like it is now. Nowadays, anybody can produce a CD. Back then, demo cassettes were king.
I got tired of working with musicians, as most of them are quirkier than a 72 Matador. So I decided to release a demo tape, with me playing every instrument. The advantage of this was that I didn't have to deal with any other musicians; the disadvantage was that I was constrained by the limit of my ability on each instrument. I rationalized this out by telling myself "This is a demo, not a full blown album. I don't need to create "Hotel California"."
So when it was done, I was happy enough with it. I had Warner/Elektra/Asylum produce a thousand cassettes for me, and I mailed out about 600 of them. Every single record company I could find. Many were returned unopened, with "NO UNSOLICITED MATERIAL" stamped on the front. Some responded with things like "We like it, but it fits no genre we have. How can we market it"? Some said "I love it, my friends love it, but there's no market for it.". Some said "This is the single worst thing I have ever heard". In any case, nobody wanted to give me a big dollar record contract.
Finally, after months of rejection, I got a positive response. A really positive response. Ashlyn Gere, porno queen, somehow got a copy of the tape. She claimed to like it, like it a lot. She wanted to use a couple of songs from the tape on her new feature: "Realities 2". I guess it would answer all those questions left unresolved by Realities 1.
At this point, after hearing nothing but rejection, I said why not. I asked if they wanted a DAT master, and they said no, they would just get the sound off of the cassette. At this point, I knew it wouldn't be a real quality production, but hey, why not.
Ashlyn also told me that her contract meant that it would appear on Playboy. Huzzah! Playboy! This meant two things to me: 1) I would get paid. I wouldn't get any money for the picture, but I would get some money from BMI when it was broadcast. It also meant that 2) I'd be a real songwriter.
My next step was to talk to the people at BMI about the publishing rights. Well, it turns out that there are two types of music in films/TV. First is incidental music, which is simply music going on in the background. The other is choreographed music. The BMI/ASCAP definition of "choreographed" was something like "would the action on screen have been different with different music". When I got the video, I felt that I could honestly tell them "Yes, the screen action would have been different". By the way, "choreographed" music gets paid at a triple rate. Boy, was that a fun conversation.
It was a good thing that my music was used for a masturbation scene. Somehow if my songs made people want to have group anal sex, I wouldn't have gotten a warm fuzzy.
Originally, I thought that they would use the one instrumental on the tape. Oh no. They were going to use my sickeningly sweet love song. Yecchh. My voice would also be on there.
I asked my buddy, writer Steven Schneck, if I should use my real name. He said "you'll never work in this town again". I told him that I wasn't working there now. Besides, Ashlyn rejected my favorite name, "Miles Long".
Steven was also the guy that had a Spanish copy of Dianetics: Dianetica. I asked him if he read it in Spanish. He said "Since I'm not going to read it, I might as well not read it in Spanish".
So, for a couple of years I received Christmas cards from Ashlyn (signed "all my sex"), thank yous, and requests for more music.
I did get one check from BMI. I thought about framing it, but by cashing it, I got to deduct absolutely everything musically related. Huzzah.
So there ends my foray into pornography, as well as my foray into the music business. However, people occasionally look at my PADI Divemaster ID and say I look like Ron Jeremy. That can't be a good thing, can it?
I worked with Darin when I lived in Seattle. He can write code like nobody's bidness. He's still there, still working in the communications industry, whereas I ducked out, went to grad school, and now I'm a full time blogger, since it must be the future.
For his bachelor party, I threatened to drive us to Vancouver. His fiancee put the kebosh on that real quick. Very, very smart woman. Still.
In any case, he was cleaning out some stuff, and behold, look what he found. Yes, the J-Card from the Ashley Morris demo cassette. This one was personalized (Warhol effect with highlighters). Behold, the glory. Also, note the Mary Tyler Moore font.
Whether you're deep frying a turkey or roasting a tofu, have a happy thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite holidays because it's damned hard for anybody to commercialize it too much.
As a gift, here's Ashley with his buds Elliott and Bruce with most of L7. This is circa 1997 at, I believe, Tipitina's. The next one is Ash with Suzi of L7 backstage at UNO lakefront for Lollapalooza, or as Suzi called it, Dollop of Losers.
The impetus this time is that the Commission on Presidential Debates bypassed the Crescent City, announcing on Monday that it plans events next September and October at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Belmont University in Nashville, and Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The backup sites are Centre College in Danville, Ky., and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Though he would need to build his support -- he's third behind Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the national polls and in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina -- to make it on the debate stage, Edwards said today he will urge the debate commission to reconsider.
"As a nation, all of us have a responsibility to do everything we can to help rebuild this great city, and holding national events in this city, like a presidential debate, will help New Orleans move forward," he said in a statement. "I have made rebuilding this city a central part of my presidential campaign because I believe we cannot stand on the sidelines as President Bush continues to fail the people of New Orleans.
"The truth is America is not the country of the Superdome in New Orleans after Katrina. We can prove it by fulfilling our moral responsibility to get New Orleans back on its feet. At a minimum, when I am the Democratic nominee, I will push to make sure we hold a presidential debate in New Orleans. And, as president, I will make sure that our government does everything in its power to help restore the city."
Democrat Hillary Clinton also said she wished the debate commission had picked New Orleans, saying in a statement: "While the locations it selected are worthy ones, I believe the Commission on Presidential Debates missed a golden opportunity to show New Orleans that the entire country is committed to its recovery, by passing it up as a site for a debate. Hosting a debate in New Orleans would spotlight the city to the rest of world and push to ensure that its rebuilding is not ignored."
A confidant sent a letter to one of the members of the debate committee. Since the confidant's tone was quite unlike my snarky note, the member responded.
It appears to me that perhaps the problem was not with New Orleans at all, but with Women of the Storm -- namely, due to the fact that they trusted Nagin and the tourism board to carry their weight. Nagin and his acolytes running the convention center and tourism board are incompetent beyond belief, and are likely to blame for a debate not being held here.
I attach here the initial response from the committee member, the NOLAn's follow up letter, and the reply from the committee member to the follow up.
Dear Name Redacted --
I got your heartfelt email this morning and I wanted to offer you my personal response.
I have been to New Orleans three times since Katrina on church mission trips and have gutted homes in Lakeview, Gentilly, and the Upper 9th. I have also been involved in lots of efforts to raise funding for recovery efforts and have personally witnessed the heroic efforts underway there to rebuild.
I started the selection process for the debates very inclined to support the bid from New Orleans. I was disappointed that the bid organized by Women of the Storm did not come close to meeting the requirements we have. It was hard to figure out when our staff met with the group down there who would take real responsibility for making sure that all the arrangements would be in place. We heard reassuring words from the leader of Women of the Storm but there was not much accountability from the local or state officials who normally figure very prominently in these discussions (and who ultimately have to make good on the promises extended.)
We tried several ways to break through down there but, frankly, New Orleans was not well served by the people who put together the specific answers we needed to make a good decision. In the end, these debates are for every American who votes, not for one city. It would have been irresponsible for us to select a bid that did not measure up.
I wanted you to have my honest response.
Respectfully, Name Redacted
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my e-mail. I truly do appreciate the effort. Many people are working very hard to return my city to, not only her former self, but hopefully a better city. We would like the help of our fellow Americans because the task is greater than any community can handle on their own.
Where is the help? The sad fact is America has become a country where money is the over-riding factor. New Orleans has no money and is therefore forgotten. But New Orleans has something of greater value than money. It has a soul. It has a sense of community that America can only dream of. People have sacrificed greatly to return the culture of our heart and they are making it happen. We will survive as we have through fires, plagues, and, yes, terrible floods. It is just very clear to us now that we are "apart", from the country we pay taxes to.
I am so ashamed of this country, I have been disappointed time and time again by it . I won't expect anything else from it anymore. My heart has been broken enough.
I understand that 100%. I have seen and felt that myself when I have been down there working. But I also see the spirit of that City in the people fighting to bring it back. To be honest, having the presidential campaign descend for 48 hours on N.O. won't make much of a difference. Having one of these jokers elected president pledging to make a long term commitment to rebuilding New Orleans and working with the people will make a difference. And at least some of the candidates seem willing to do that. Thanks for hearing me out!
I will close with an eloquent note from the confidant, to me. Check out that last sentence:
I think it is important to understand why we fail at getting these political events. If we know why we fail there is a chance to correct the problem. I know that this is just one factor in the denial, but it is important to see the situation from an outsider's viewpoint.
At times, it hurts to love New Orleans so much, but she IS worth the pain.
After promising to cooperate with authorities, Thomas told FBI agents and federal prosecutors during a debriefing that he "did not wish to be a 'rat'" and refused to discuss his possible knowledge of other crimes, the motion filed by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office said.
"It became abundantly clear that Thomas had relevant information, was refusing to provide it, and understood this was in violation of his agreement to do so."
How on earth could you be proud of the things this country is doing now? Between blackwater, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, the falling dollar, the penalties on the poor, the utter disdain for civility...how can you be proud?
As John Lennon would say: Imagine. Imagine, just for a second, if instead of declaring war on Iraq, the POTUS would have tried to become friends with Chavez in Venezuela? After all, their oil reserves are almost the same as Iraq. Why not try to just be nice for a second.
Since the federal flood, we've been able to host 2 Carnivals, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the State Farm Bayou Classic, the NCAA BCS national championship, the NBA all star game, Jazz Fest, and NFL playoff games.
That's not enough.
Oxford, Mississippi, population 19,000, evidently does have adequate facilities. They have the University of Mississippi there, home of the Rebels and Colonel Reb. A fine representation of racial equality, unlike, say, New Orleans. A backup site is Danville, Kentucky.
I was insanely mad yesterday about this. I was ready to put a bounty on fuckmook Paul Kirk's head. But over the past 18 or so hours, I've come to realize that it doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter what we do.
Nobody gives a fuck about us but us.
The candidates who endorsed NOLA for a debate were: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John McCain and Sam Brownback.
Kucinich is notable by his absence.
If you don't vote for one of the seven (six, now that Brownback dropped out) on that list, then just move. New Orleans is all that matters. Yes, I am a single-button-issue voter, and New Orleans is that issue.
I still think that the only one of those seven that really cares about New Orleans is John Edwards. The other 5 are trying not to piss us off.
Of course, there's only one GOP member on there, McCain. He's more of an independent than anything else. I guess they didn't want to give the Dems a big ass opportunity to throw Bush's Jackson Square speech back into their face.
In case you forgot, the GOP is the party of Bush. They are one in the same.
Not that the Dems are much better. They had the opportunity to have their convention in New Orleans, but fuckmooks working for Ray Nagin ensured it wouldn't happen.
What can you do now?
Well, other than putting the heads of Paul Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf on wooden stakes in my yard, you can email or snail mail the people responsible. There are quite a few addresses in this article in the TP. Kirk and Fahrenkopf are the co-chairs of the debate committee. Let's see how fuckmookish they really are.
Fuckmook 1, Mr. Fahrenkopf denied any political influence, saying the selections had been based on technical criteria and geographical balance. Geographic balance...right. So Oxford MS, Nashville and St. Louis, 3 of the 4 debate locations, somehow provide "geographical balance" despite being within 350 miles of each other.
Fuckmook 1A, Mr. Kirk said that acting as host of a presidential debate is “an expensive proposition,” he told The Associated Press, “and presents enormous strategic challenges. All things considered, New Orleans did not measure up.”