87. Radio

Jeff decided to change the subject – as he does. “By the way, what are you listening to on the radio these days? I’m having trouble finding good shit.”

One of my favourite subjects! Time to lead the mule to water. “Dude, Problem #1: You’re looking to radio to tell you what to listen to. Radio doesn’t give a shit about music; it just gives a shit about advertising.”

He was puzzled. “But I thought radio stations were the best place to hear good new music.”

The dude needed a good lecture on the subject. I’d had some wine, so wasn’t entirely sure I was up to the job. I needed to clear my head. I know! “Pass the bottle.”

A little more of Jeff’s homemade goat piss, and I felt ready for the task. “The music industry needs a fucking enema.”

Hmm. Good start. Keep it rolling. “Seriously, dude. There are like five superstars these days and a whole bunch of old dudes, and we don’t hear from anyone else. They just want to promote the shit out of these pre-packaged superstars who are making their formulaic, pre-packaged music, and get the maximum return.”

Jeff tried. “But isn’t the internet the great equalizer, evening the odds for the smaller guys?”

“Half points for effort, my friend. Yes, the Web is where you’ll find what you’re looking for – original music of SUBSTANCE – but you have to know where to look. That’s like saying, ‘But aren’t there bands out there in the WORLD?’ They’re out there somewhere, but definitely not on commercial radio.”

“Okay, so where do I find the good stuff?”

“Well the first thing I would tell anyone else is that you should check out your local music. Go see who is playing in your local pub, and buy their CD. But since everything is local to you, I’ll tell you where I find my favourite music: YouTube.”

Jeff looked like he was understanding. “So I just go on YouTube and search for ‘New music’?”

Another sip of wine. “No. You search for ‘Street musician New Orleans’. The best new music is being played on the streets and in the pubs, and New Orleans is a great city to start in. You’ll find fantastic stuff. These musicians will never get big record deals, and never make it onto the radio – and never have their sound modified by a record producer – but you need to listen to it. Once you’ve done a good job of New Orleans, move onto another music-rich city. Chicago, maybe.”

“I love this! I just needed some rules. I don’t do so well when I have too much freedom. So, radio is always bad. I’ll remember that.”

“Well … there are things like university and community radio stations that will promote local and unknown stuff, but other than that, yep!”

Jeff pulled out his notepad and was taking notes. “Thanks so much for the education. How did you get so smart?”

“Clean living, dude. Please pass the bottle.”