My 15-Minute Meeting with Danny Goldberg

I was reading the Fashion Rocks magazine insert that came with the latest issue of Wired. In it there’s an excerpt from Danny Goldberg’s new book, Bumping Into Geniuses, which got me thinking about the time that I met Danny.

I don’t think my parents were ever really happy with the choices I made once I left the house and went to college at the University of Kansas. My dad always encouraged me though. My hunch is that he didn’t share all of the details with my mom, who was either more disapproving or just quiet about her disapproval. Either way, I didn’t really talk to her about any of it. I always talked to my dad, particularly about the music business. My dad was pretty much responsible for getting me interested in music at a very early age. Instead of fairy tales, he would tell me stories about Barry Gordy starting Motown or Quincy Jones producing a hit record with Michael Jackson. I assume he read books about these people, but now that I’m thinking about it, I never saw any books on them in the house. But there were lots of records to listen to, and I listened to all of them over and over.

As I grew up, I became obsessed with music. Whether it was listening to Casey Kasem‘s American Top 40 or buying punk rock records at Streetside Records in Overland Park, Kansas, I knew I wanted to be a part of music. Since I wasn’t a talented musician and couldn’t sing, I decided that I was going to work behind the scenes. It all culminated when I went off to college and Lawrence, Kansas was probably one of the best places to be in the 90s if you weren’t in Seattle or Athens. I started working at KJHK in the production department and eventually worked my way up to hosting “Plow The Fields,” which was the local music show. I was also a college marketing rep for Sony Music and started as an intern at Red House Recording Studio (now Black Lodge Recording), but what I really wanted to do was to start a label. I asked my dad if I could take some money from my life savings account and with that deposit and an amazing band called Action Man, I started Barber’s Itch Records.

In 1995, I went to New York for CMJ. My dad was always urging me to meet with people when I went to New York, but I didn’t have any connections. My dad was active in the ACLU and served as the President of the affiliate board. At some point, and I can’t remember when, he testified as a psychologist against the PMRC and if memory serves (and it may not), that’s where my dad met Danny Goldberg. I’m sure he talked his ear off too, but he also used this meeting as a way to get me a meeting with Danny in New York, which he did. I vaguely remember meeting with Danny, playing him some music and seeking his advice on how to get acquired by a major or get my artists signed to Mercury. I think the meeting lasted all of about 15 minutes, but I was anything but discouraged. He told me to work hard, get my music out to as many people as I could and only then might something happen, but chances weren’t good. And that small chance was what drove me to keep at my little label. I didn’t sell many records, but it was an experience that I will never forget and it helped me decided what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

Exercising without the gym

I’ve always had trouble motivating myself to exercise. I know it’s good for me. I know I’m not getting any younger, but I’m not fat (though my cholesterol is high now) and through the miracle of genetics, I have a decent build for someone who hasn’t consistantly worked out in years. I want to exercise, but I don’t want to do the work. Apparently there’s a pill now, but I’m not into taking pills. A couple of weeks back I was reading my daily dose of RSS feeds and came upon a pushup workout. It required little time, worked all sorts of muscles and it sounds pretty badass to say you can do 100 pushups, which, if I followed the regimine, I would be able to do in 6 weeks. Sold.

I’m a week in to the workout and while it’s not easy, it’s pretty fun to do and is a great, energetic start to my day. I’m taking a photo of myself after each workout, and will do one of those fancy time-lapsed movies at the end of the 6 weeks. Hell, maybe I’ll go for 200, but I don’t wanna get to far ahead of myself. If you’re curious about what I do pushups to every morning, my choice:

The Black AngelsDirections To See A Ghost
Download from Amazon

In addition to the pushups, I bought a new skateboard over the weekend and plan on skating around Hollywood a little during lunch and to blow off some steam during the day, when possible. It’s a Mark Gonzalez Krooked deck with Independent trucks, Bones Swiss bearings and Spitfire wheels. After years of not skateboarding following a nasty fall, I’m super rusty, but getting my confidence back little by little.

I may need to add another activity in there somewhere, but I’m totally determined to get in shape without stepping foot in a gym.

Everest hit the West Coast

The good men of Everest will be hitting the road, covering the west coast, beginning later this month. They’ll be playing with some other incredible artists.

8/20 San Francisco, California – The Independent (w/ Two Gallants, Howlin Rain, we have a large guestlist so check in with me!)
8/23 San Francisco, California – Outside Lands Festival (w/ Tom Petty, Ben Harper, M. Ward, Devendra Banhart) San Francisco, California
8/24 Sacramento, California – Old Ironsides (w/ Parson Red Heads, An Angle)  Sacramento, California
8/26 Seattle, Washington – Tractor Tavern (w/ Parson Red Heads, Elder Mason)
8/27 Salem, Oregon – The Space (w/ Parson Red Heads, Easterly)
8/28 Portland, Oregon – The Artistery (w/ The Parson Red Heads & Oh Darling)

Related: Check out their photos from the recent European MMJ tour and pick up Ghost Notes at if you don’t have it.

Some current favorite albums

I think about my music listening habits all the time. The music sometimes reflects my mood and I’m fickle as all hell. On to the next favorite band. It’s too easy to find a new band all the time with the amount of music I find online and get turned on to . I make my monthly mixes every month, which reflect my listening habits and sometimes a guilty pleasure or two. And then there’s the albums that I always seem to go back to, some of which you can see reflected in my profile. There have been a lot of great records so far this year and it’s never too early to start thinking about my year-end, best-of list, right?

Deastro Keeper’s
I originally heard Deastro on the free and absolutely amazing Ghostly Swim compilation. The whole thing is pretty stunning and you can’t beat the price. The Deastro album is only available through eMusic for the time being.

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, you probably will at some point this year. They get compared to Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket, but that’s only because of the lead singer’s voice. The similarities stop there. This band must be experienced live as well. They put on a Majestic show.

Jubilee In With the Out Crowd & Rebel Hiss
Jubilee hasn’t released their debut album yet, but that didn’t stop me from giving them the best $20 I’ve spent this year. If the singles are any indication of what’s to come, this band could be on their way to greatness, which they deserve. Powered by Topspin, this is some of the best rock I’ve heard in a long time.

KiD CuDi A Kid Named Cudi
One of the best hip-hop mixtapes I’ve heard all year and another free album that I would happily pay for. Save your money for his debut, which is due later this year. Everyone is gonna be talking about this dude.

It's been a week

It’s exciting being at a startup again. It’s even more exciting being involved with the web again. Just before I took off for a holiday break in December, I had dinner with my friends Scott and Anne. Scott had just left AOL to head up the new music department at Buzznet and he wanted me to come over to head up music industry relations. I had been at Control Room (f.k.a. Network LIVE) for almost 3 years. I was one of the original employees and took tremendous pride in what Control Room had become. Scott was presenting me with an awesome opportunity to really step out on my own, work with him on building something from the ground up and I was really excited about the prospect. After some back and forth, I accepted the position, resigned from Control Room and this past Monday, started working at Buzznet as Head of Music Industry Relations.

The week flew by. It was an exciting first week of getting acquainted with the culture at Buzznet, how things worked, what things weren’t working, looking at comps of the new layout for the site, sitting in on a few meetings, getting to know people, trying to remember names, showing people qik, Yahoo! Live, setting up promotions for bands on Buzznet, catching up with label people and lots of other stuff. One of the great things about working at a startup is that your job title doesn’t necessarily reflect what you do. You do 3, 4 or maybe five different jobs and it’s fun. I look forward to going to work in the morning and I’m fortunate to have been able to say that for the past few years of my life. It feels good to be excited about work and starting something new is always fun.

1 Year Later

As the sun comes up in the morning, it will be the 1-year anniversary of my dad’s death. I have so many thoughts swimming around in my head. I can’t even believe it’s been a year, but I draw incredible strength from the fact that I’ve made it through the last year. It’s been a rough one. I was reading back through the blog entries I made during the final weeks of my dad’s life, amazed at how they made all the emotion rush back into me. There’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t miss him intensely. My life just isn’t the same. How could it be? I do try and live my life a certain way that honors him. I promised myself that I would and I will continue to do so. Wherever you are, Dad, I love you. May your memory continue on in the minds and lives of the people who loved you.

Obama Is My Man

Next Tuesday, I will be casting my vote for Barack Obama. Over the course of the campaign season Obama has demonstrated that he is the only choice if we want to change the direction of America, change the international opinion of America and bring hope back to a country that has spent the last 8 or more years going down the wrong path. I find him to be extremely inspirational, spiritual without coming across as a religious nut and someone who represents my core values. 

Regardless of who you like as a candidate, please take the time to vote. It’s a privilege that we often take for granted in this country.