Observations and comment.

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Hats off to Charles Westover.

I just came across a fine article at "The Best Years of Music" on '60s R&R singer Del Shannon. I hate to date myself (though I save $50 a weekend when I do), but I personally learned a key business lesson from this early rock maverick. More on that in a moment.

Shannon—whose real name was Charles Westover—heard my LA rock band, The Band of Angels, at a small nightclub in the San Fernanco Valley in the early '70s and expressed an immediate interest in producing us.

In addition to his success as a recording artist (known for his piercing falsetto and highly original compositions), Shannon had produced hits for others ("Baby It's You" by Smith and "Gypsy Woman" by Brian Hyland), and had discovered Bob Seger a few years earlier. He was also the first American artist to recognize the Beatles' songwriting potential—after they had opened for him in London in 1963—and got his own version of the Beatles' "From Me to You" onto the US record charts long before they did.

So when Shannon dubbed us "a combination of the Rolling Stones and Everly Brothers" we took notice. But not enough notice, apparently, because we got busy and he got busy, and nothing came of it. (Come to think of it, that seemed to happen a lot in my music career at the time.)


Manage this: corporate bands?

Watch out! The Battle of the Corporate Bands—for amateur, company-sponsored rock bands—is back.

According to the press release:

'Fortune Magazine, NAMM, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum joined together to celebrate the benefits of music-making and the positive effects that music has on employee morale and productivity in the international business world.'

They're singing to the choir here at blfr. But we especially love the names of these bands.


Protecting your brand from heathens.

Uncle Crusty & the Venice Canaligators was an LA-based honky-tonk boogie band I performed with (as mentioned previously), sometimes in the street, sometimes in bars.

The band gained in popularity in the '70s & '80s—helped by television appearances on NBC's The Midnight Special. Eventually the Canaligators became "adopted" as the band of choice by a renegade motorcycle club, the Heathens. A mixed blessing, as it turned-out.

It seemed like a harmless enough partnership at first. (What's not to like about large, menacing, hirsute hulks, sporting skull-and-crossbones, in wild Bacchanalian revelry?)


More random musings.

One nice thing about being repeatedly hacked in your email and social networking accounts is hearing back from old friends and business colleagues you haven't been in touch with for years.

In my case I can't say that everyone on my spammed contact list has been entirely pleased to hear from me—or who they thought was me—but their responses have got me thinking.

Hundreds of folks are now wondering how I've been able to start so many multi-million-dollar home businesses this year and successfully sell cheap meds on the side (while maintaining a consulting practice).

Well I've decided to exploit this opportunity and share my trade secrets in a new book, How You Can Make Millions From Getting Hacked & Spammed In Your Spare Time. (The first step will be "don't give up that AOL account.") Subtitle: Business Lessons From Viagra.


A case of The Weepies.

In my eternal quest for interesting and creative rock/pop artists to glean business lessons from, I've expanded my search to include acoustic performers, singer-songwriters, and contemporary folk artists.

In the process I've discovered a bonanza of twenty-first century musicians who are doing innovative (and fun) stuff. Exhibit A is the Weepies, a fast-rising indie-folk-pop duo whose music has been featured on 'Grey's Anatomy', the Sex and the City movie, and an Obama presidential campaign ad.


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