His Unforgettable Lines

Jack White is all about authenticity. Forget talking about his tour rules, his family, his fights with other musicians, all the celebrity crap that the modern media shoves forward instead of engaged, genuine insight about the man’s art. Think about his music. Think about the songs and their sources. His heart is in 1930s retro, which includes the showmanship and attention to detail and his record label. Jack asks that fans not let their cellphone use obscure the SHOW happening right in front of their eyes. His opening tour spokesperson stepped on stage just before each show and addressed the crowd. He said our parents, and especially our grandparents, went to live shows to enjoy the spectacle unfolding in front of them.

Jack White is a time machine back to when the show was everything. Back to when going to a live show had both huge theatrical elements as well as deeply spiritual elements, for the fans who bought a ticket to see a show. Everything flowed from the live performance. I remember those days. I’m that old. In that way, in my opinion, Jack White is very like William Shakespeare at his Globe, as far fetched as that might sound. It’s all about showmanship and giving people something entertaining. High-flying words and buckets of blood, if need be. There are layers of meaning in White’s songs, song choices, lyrics, and the mighty sources from which they flow, far deeper and more emotional and real than digital technology can capture on a six-inch screen. It’s about the gritty live experience as a groundling, art and intellectual impact in one experience, which takes days and even weeks to access through memory and contemplation.

I attended both Seattle shows this week. These photos were taken by Jack White’s tour photographer, David James Swanson, which are all available on Jack White’s website. For free. I left my camera home so I could get lost in the music. One show I was at the stage, the other in a seat at the back of the room. Third Man Records has reminded everyone that their turntables aren’t dead, which should also remind everyone that the authenticity of the 1920s and 30s can still be conjured back into our lives, the best of the early Twentieth Century, if we want it. Music is life.

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Photo by David James Swanson

Let Them Feel Your Love

This morning the web is buzzing with the news that Thom Yorke pulled his latest Atoms for Peace, “Amok” (XL Records), record along with “The Eraser” (XL Records, 2006) from Spotify. I have no idea what the real back story is about in this dispute, with companies like Spotify and Pandora, but when artists like Thom Yorke raise questions about how they and others get paid when their work is played on these services, you have to pay attention. You have to! So I decided to drop my subscriptions to both of these services.

I also decided to buy even more vinyl, first and foremost, as I add new music to my library. I already had a serious collection obsession. But this latest news is pushing me even harder. I mean, you have to ask yourself how a company like Spotify can be worth $3 billion as of today, when that corporate value comes from thousands of artists who see very little revenue in terms of royalties, if one is to believe Mr. Yorke. I prefer to believe Mr. Yorke. If this isn’t the case, Spotify and Pandora should open their books so every artist on their services can see the numbers. Sure seems like something is wrong with this emerging picture.

I’m just a music fan. I want artists to make money so they can make more amazing music. Like the latest offering from the Third Man Records Vault. Sign up! You, too, can enjoy the sumptuous vinyl packages from this amazing label. And there are so many cool Indie labels working these days, all making similar amazing packages. Or go to the artists websites and see what goodies they off directly, like my recent discovery on the Fugazi band/label website. Soundboard recordings available for download for $5! I mean, that’s so amazing. And the money goes directly to the band. Go nuts. Grab em all.

Everyone wants a deal. I want every artist I love to feel my love. Wanna join me?

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Whatever You Love, You Are

Getting close to a final portfolio of my photos of Pokey LaFarge from his show at the Tractor Tavern 17 May 2013. He and his band will be touring for the rest of the year, possibly returning to Seattle in the fall. In a few weeks they’ll play at Third Man Records in Nashville, performing on the stage where, as bands play their set, they create a vinyl master of each show in real time, at the plant. It’s the only performing/recording facility of its kind in the world. Records are then pressed and sold at Third Man and on the web. I’ve added several of these recordings to my collection and the quality is amazing. Music is life.

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