Living in More Than One World,

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Management Secrets of Fairport Convention

Joshua Green’s article in The Atlantic, Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead, got considerable attention when it was published earlier this year. Last weekend’s Fairport Cropredy Convention, the long-running outdoor festival the British band produces each August, got me thinking that perhaps we should also consider the Management Secrets of Fairport Convention. Not that the latter has had anywhere near the business success of the Grateful Dead, but Fairport has many things in its favor. The band, which has been together in one form or another for more than 40 years, is as much a collection of concepts and ideas as a musical entity.…

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Declaration of Independents: 30 Years Of Indie Rock

I’ve decided to relaunch my blog by commemorating the 30th anniversary of the release of Declaration of Independents, a compilation of independent label rock music that I co-executive produced with Steve Leeds, now of Sirius satellite radio. It was the only album on the label we co-owned, Ambition Records. Declaration was one of the first compilations of its type, fittingly released on July 4, 1980. We licensed 13 songs from small labels nationwide, by such artists as SVT (from San Francisco, with Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna), Bubba Lou and the Highballs (also from San Francisco), Robin Lane and the Chartbusters (Boston); Kevin Dunn (Atlanta; with a highly original electronic version of Chuck Berry’s “Nadine”); Pylon (Athens, Ga.; their cut “Cool” was co-produced by the band and Dunn); The News (Rock Springs, Wy.), Luxury (Des Moines) and Ragnar Kvaran (Ann Arbor).

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Rock and Read

I recently wrote a post about the intersection of two of my favorite subjects, music and literature. Now I have discovered a series of posts on the Los Angeles Times’ Jacket Copy blog about rock music books and related topics, capped by The 46 essential rock reads, on Sept. 1. Obviously a list of this sort is going to be not only incomplete but controversial, as shown by the comments. But it does provide interesting food for thought. Among the 46 books is Get in the Van, by Henry Rollins, an account of his early ‘80s days as lead singer of Black Flag.…

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Paste Special: Music and Literature

Justin Jacobs, in Paste magazine, combines two of my favorite topics in the August 24th article Ten Fantastic Songs Brought To You by Books. Numbers one (“Song for Myla Goldberg”, inspired by the Bee Season author) and nine, “The Tain,” on Jacobs’ list are from a great band, The Decemberists. (I also remember the ‘70s album The Tain by the Irish band Horslips.) The only other female writer to be serenaded in a title is “Sylvia Plath,” #4 by Ryan Adams. Another writer name-checked in a title is “Saul Bellow,” #8 by Sufjan Stevens. The source for #3, Radiohead’s “2+2=5,” says Jacobs, is George Orwell’s 1984.…

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Fairport Convention’s Festival Came Around Again

The past weekend was not only notable as the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. It was also the weekend that one of my favorite bands, Fairport Convention, held its annual Fairport’s Cropredy Convention festival, in Britain. The long-running event regularly draws around 20,000 people. Besides the band itself – which has had countless members over the years — it attracts an eclectic lineup of performers, including former members of Fairport, especially Richard Thompson. For more background, see this Reuters blog posting. I’ve never been to the festival, but I’d love to attend one day. Fairport traditionally does a three hour closing set on the final evening, and this year their special guest during the set was Yusuf [Islam], formerly Cat Stevens.…

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Willy DeVille: Another Punk Icon Gone

I haven’t thought much in recent years about the rock singer Willy DeVille and his band Mink DeVille, names out of my music writing/selling days in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But I was still surprised and saddened to read of his death, at 58, of pancreatic cancer. As with so many rock passings, it came after years of living on the edge. But a little bit of your heart breaks when even a small part of your past goes away. DeVille was one of the pioneers of the New York ’70s punk rock scene, playing the legendary, now-defunct CBGB in the same era as bands that became considerably more popular, such as Blondie, Talking Heads and The Ramones.…

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WOMAD for Those Who Couldn’t Be There

I’m back on the festival beat with last week’s WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in the UK. This is yet another event that most of us can’t attend, but can learn a lot about online. It’s one of the premier world music festivals, and was the 27th time it has been held in the UK, where the WOMAD organization is based. They also produce festivals around the world, and I was fortunate to have attended two in the early ‘90s, in Toronto. Peter Gabriel is one of the co-founders of WOMAD, and though he doesn’t often play the festival, he was the headliner on July 25th.…

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Latitudes and Attitudes

I’ve written about a variety of festivals (music and otherwise) that I would have liked to have attended, but found that following on the web was the next best thing: the Aspen Ideas Festival, Glastonbury and The Guardian Hay Festival. Now there is another British entry, the Latitude Festival, which I had not heard of until now, but is four years old. It’s already over, having run from July 16-19. Check out Mark Savage’s Latitude festival is a class act and other BBC coverage. NME.com and others covered the solo set by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, in which he gave the debut of a new song, “The Present Tense.” (I used to read NME, then in its pre-online, weekly print-only days, as often as possible back in my music days of the ‘70s and ‘80s.…

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Amy Krouse Rosenthal, George Watsky and Mieka Pauley at ALA

On July 11th, the day of my book signing at the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago, I met three highly interesting people who were also either signing or performing: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, George Watsky and Mieka Pauley. I had never met them before, and had not even heard of George or Mieka. When I found out that Amy would be at the Chronicle Books booth that morning, I knew that I wanted to meet her, as I had enjoyed her book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I had a nice conversation with her after she finished a signing for one of her children’s books.

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Glastonbury For Those Who Can’t Be There

Most of us will not be able to attend Britain’s annual Glastonbury Festival, which starts Thursday. But we can live vicariously by checking out the festival’s extensive website, and the media coverage that’s already begun.  Today, The Independent has Elisa Bray’s The guide to Glastonbury. She notes that there will be 177,000 people and 300 bands, playing on 10 main stages and a dozen smaller ones. Guardian.co.uk has a page with news, blogs, videos and weather updates. The full lineup on the festival’s site is pretty amazing; there will be so many choices that it seems like it would be hard to decide which artists to see and which ones you’d have to miss.…

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