More ends and odds

Here’s another sparkling gem by Walk Off The Earth, who has turned the home-cooked, low budget, DIY music video into an innovation showcase. I’ve written here and here about the business lessons we can learn from WOTE. (For example, how much do you think this shoot cost them?) This superb song was written by the rapper/singer/songwriter/producer Jon Bellion.

In case you think this kind of guitar feat can’t be pulled off live, don’t bet your mortgage on it. I’ve watched them do this trick as their encore in every performance. (John Bellion's version of his own song is here.)


We recently spotlighted United Airlines' indelicate treatment of their customers—not to mention musical instruments. But the problem is bigger than imagined. So far in 2017, in addition to assaulting a passenger, United has killed two dogs and a giant rabbit, scared passengers when a pilot went on a rant about Donald Trump, and tried to wrestle a 17th century violin away from its owner so they could baggage check it. (To be fair, I hear Americans ranting all day about Donald Trump, but not a pilot over an intercom.)

Looking at the bright side, give United credit for brand consistency.

By the way, buying a seat for a musical instrument is always an option, which many professionals—if they can afford it—take advantage of. Paul McCartney even treats his bass to a first class ticket. Cellos have been known to fly in seats so often many have their own frequent-flyer accounts, as CNN reports. (I wonder how they spend their frequent flyer bonuses. Partying in the Bahamas? Cellos don't do well in the sun.)

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  1. If and when we move to Ireland, I don't know how I'm going to transport my instruments. Many of them are just money and I'd be sure they're insured, but how about my grandfather's '59 Harmony Monterey tenor archtop? We may be taking a big slow boat, methinks.

    What's the live music scene in your area? Do you see lots of bands down the pub or coffee shop, is it mostly real concert venues, busy buskers being busted?

    1. We've got a great club environment in Boston-Cambridge-Somerville, especially for singer/songwriters and small bands. Best music scene I've witnessed in decades—though I haven't traveled enough in recent years to compare and contrast to other cities. There's a terrific pool of world class rock/funk/blues/roots musicians that singers tap into for backup when they play the rock rooms. And open mics everywhere, some that allow bands. Plenty of buskers too. I routinely get kicked off the Boston streets on weekends—for violating amplification laws, I guess. But slide guitar isn't meant to be background music.

      1. What amplification do you use?

        Confession: I've never busked because I am congenitally a permission-instead-of-forgiveness kind of person. All they do is move you along? No threats of prison or deportation to North Korea?

        We finally have our own brewpub in the southeast valley. I'm slowly chipping away at the owner's concerns about live music. Because they should have it, obviously.

        1. Joel, I use a Roland Street EX, that a buddy has loaned me: 50 watts, 2 8-inch woofers and 2-inch tweeters with 4 inputs. It uses up 8 AA batteries fast (at the volume I play), but I love it. Super lightweight. Nice chorus and delay effects on one channel.

          There are rules against using any amplification in the Public Garden in Boston (I'm told). In April a park commissioner told me to move along, though he gave me a $10 tip. (I guess he likes Elmore James.) When I play the street the cops tell me to move along if residents complain. But there are SO many buskers in the area — especially on the weekends — you'd never feel out of place playing the street here. And they're organized. Every time the city threatens to ban buskers there's a huge protest.

          Playing clubs is fine, but I'd rather eliminate the gatekeeper. Disintermediation.

  2. Most airlines don't do a good job of taking care of pets or musical gear. But those are a lot of screw ups in four months for one carrier, on top of a history of breaking guitars. Once it happens the first time or second time you would think the word would get out to United gate agents, flight attendants, and baggage handlers to bend over backwards and avoid more incidents.

    1. It's astonishing to me—and demonstrative of a culture that doesn't take customer service seriously. Of course the buck stops with senior management. Reminds me of the Wells Fargo situation.

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