Business-and-music-related observations and comment.

New here? Read the intro »


A fantasy fair

People on a concert We’ve become so used to the ubiquitous rock festival we tend to forget it once didn’t exist! Amateur historians point to the Monterey Pop Festival (Monterey, CA, June, 1967) as the first, but—as Rolling Stone reminds us—the first rock/pop festival was Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival in Marin County, CA. Sponsored by San Francisco’s KFRC, this concert took place one week before Monterey Pop.

The Doors, Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Fifth Dimension, and the Steve Miller Blues Band were among the 30+ acts who performed for the 36,000 people in attendance on June 10-11. In some ways it was a local crunchy-granola music-and-arts festival, which wound up exceeding all expectations, proclaiming the “Summer of Love” had begun. Most of the performers were pleasantly surprised by the looseness and informality of it and—with no dressing rooms available—they hung out and participated in the event with everyone else.

CONTINUE READING »

Rock & roll mentors

Mentor word cloud Mentoring has been on my mind this week. I’ve been impressed by a Boston hi-tech start-up, WomenLEAD, which is upending the mentoring model by offering an online Personal Advisory Board for women leaders. Instead of working with one mentor, a woman subscriber to WomenLEAD who needs help with a business issue will be matched with a group of advisors, hand-picked—by an algorithm—to help with that issue.

A support system like this, if adopted by enough companies, could help stem the tide of women who in mid-career leave management positions in droves because they lack mentors, role models, and sponsors. This could be a financial boost for their companies—which, surveys show, are more profitable with more women in leadership positions—as well as for the economy as a whole. A useful topic to explore on another day.

But this got me thinking about some of the mentoring I received in my rock & roll years. It was never formal or long-lasting—though it might have been, had I asked—but it was much appreciated, even when I didn’t follow the advice!

CONTINUE READING »

Ask me why

Beatle FinalFriends sometimes ask me why I blog about The Beatles so much. Well, to parrot a phrase, it’s not complicated.

1. The Fabs—though a mid-20th century phenomenon—exemplify the qualities that business teams need NOW in the Innovation Economy. You can check this band off for creativity, passion, personality, result focus, self-determinism, and the ability to harness conflict—team attributes that are the focus of my writing and consulting.

2. The Beatles deliver readers. Page views spike (at least three-fold) whenever I post about John-Paul-George-Ringo, primarily because other Beatles’ sites magnanimously link to these posts. This is noteworthy not only because it demonstrates the collaborative power of social media but it also points to the extraordinary reach of The Beatles community, 44 years AFTER their break-up.

CONTINUE READING »

Fire your boss

Empty stage Performing with my old band at our college reunion last weekend was a trip (so to speak) down memory lane. The original members of our group—The Morning—were back together, as we banged out three hours of originals and covers for our cheerfully inebriated audience.

I shouldn’t be too surprised that we sounded like our former selves (whom else should we sound like?) but I was impressed we played as well as we did while wearing earplugs. (The drummer plays too loud.)

We hadn’t gigged in 17 years—and hadn’t played together much at all since 1975—so it was fun to reminisce about our “golden years” in NY and LA, opening for the Dead, Sly, Joni, Zappa, Alice, etc. It was also fun to be reminded of a valuable rock & roll business lesson.

CONTINUE READING »

You say goodby, I say Hello Dolly!

Beatles LoveI often like to point out that The Beatles bulldozed the pop charts in 1964—and mercilessly laid waste to the musical milquetoast of the era. The Fabs ruled the Top 40 early that year with their original brand of rock, even holding the top five spots on the Billboard charts that April—a feat unlikely to be repeated in the lifetime of anyone reading this.

It was 50 years ago this month that the the Beatles' grip on the #1 spot was finally broken by Louis Armstrong's “Hello, Dolly!”—a great reminder that most of the artists who had major chart success after the Beatles' arrival had more talent and substance than the ones before (at least since the demise of early rock & roll in 1959). Somehow Satchmo, Mary Wells, the Supremes, and Roy Orbison managed to survive the Beatles’ onslaught. Yes, many decent soul and pop acts were crowded out of the Hit Parade by the British Invasion—and probably had their careers shortened. But one could argue (and I do) that the fittest survived. In the years that followed, the fittest included Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Smoky Robinson and the Miracles. Credit The Beatles and the survivors.

CONTINUE READING »


View the archive »


Never miss a post… get 'em by email or rss »