THE END OF THE SILENCE, THE END OF THE IGNORANCE

Sometimes, the life of a blogger can be hazardous to that blogger's health. Photo by Lynn Vala

Sometimes, the life of a blogger can be hazardous to that blogger’s health. Photo by Lynn Vala

My WordPress screen prompts me by asking ‘what’s on your mind’? I guess I need to vent, come clean, explain why I have been absent from this blog for months now. Also to explain why a story was posted and then pulled almost in the same day. The story is long and convoluted so I will try to explain why I took a self-imposed sabbatical from this page.

But first, a bit of background on why this is personal to me.

Integrity has always been important to me. I have been asked to leave many bands because my integrity prevented me from playing over-exposed bands/songs such as Creedence Clearwater, or other bands I felt were not challenging enough to my ability as a player or were too commonplace for my liking. The more popular a musical genre, the less I find it appealing other than the finely crafted pop pieces from acts such as Hall & Oates, Foster The People, etc.

As I became older I found that bands who challenged the perceived norm of popular music or who went against the 4/4 popular time signatures lead to new vistas and horizons for me as a musician. Masters such as Frank Zappa, King Crimson and mid to latter era Todd Rundgren and or Utopia. Acts that really had musical meat for me, something I could dig my teeth into both as a listener and a musician.

So when I begin this blog I’ve virtually went into it with little to no restriction other than those imposed upon me by the webmasters. Limitations such as no obscenities, formatting, no artist bashing, promoting record sales… you can see how this would get tedious. Sad to say, one of the better things to ever happen to me might have been when Princeton Record Exchange dissolved it’s blog.  At that point I had to make a decision: Shit or get off the pot. I guess I shit because I am still on the pot!

The decision was made, I would start my own blog, go my own way and blaze my own path. Or so I thought. With this freedom also came a certain perverted perk. People would approach me and ask if I would want to promote either their own disc or an artist they represented. This is where things started to go downhill…

Overall I can’t say it was that bad of an experience I would give it a 66% positive rate. One of the first artists who contacted me was not so much an artist in his own right at first, but rather was representing artists. In fact, one of the artists he represented, I had already covered through Princeton Record Exchange. That being Gary Tanin representing Roger Powell. I had reviewed Powell’s Blue Note Ridge for Princeton Record Exchange and it was at that point that I came to the attention of Tanin. Tanin had since become involved with another artist fraying from his established group. As Powell had strayed from Utopia at the time of their dissolution, Sam Llanas had also strayed from his group, The BoDeans and was under the auspices of Gary Tanin’s guidance. It was at this point Tanin had approached me to review not only Sam Llanas for his 4a.m. album, but also a project Llanas was involved in with Doug Vincent. A play called A Day For Grace. I was given keys to the kingdom during their New York City run in 2012. It was through Tanin’s generosity I was able to attend a Llanas live show in New York City, A Day For Grace performance in New York City as well as interviewing both Vincent and Llanas (the Llanas interview has yet to be processed due to some technical difficulties). Both the Llanas show and the play were performances that were to my liking as was the 4 A.M. album by Llanas. So I wouldn’t consider Tanin’s contributions to BouleBlog a form of bribery, but rather an eye-opening exposure to something I might not have otherwise encountered.

The next positive contributor to BouleBlog is a New England artist by the name of Lord Russ. Lord Russ found me affiliated with the Princeton Record Exchange blog and contacted me directly asking if I would review his album, Heir Of Mystery. I remain grateful to Russ for contacting me because I simply love Heir Of Mystery, and I look forward to his next product and sincerely hope he will submit that for review as well! I feel Lord Russ is an up-and-coming artist that the Massachusetts/New England music scene shouldn’t really ignore. He’s got talent, he’s got the pipes, and his imagination seems to be boundless. I really hope I can say Lord Russ is an artist to keep an eye on.

But as life flows, it also ebbs.

The more astute blog follower will notice that a review was put up about a blues artist and it was quickly removed almost within 48 hours of being posted. This is because the promoter behind this artist gave me information which I used in the review. The promoter read the review and contacted me and asked me to remove a very important aspect of the review. My journalistic integrity was thrown into the toilet at this point. To sum it up, it equated to removal of the crash landing from the story of the Hindenburg.

It was at this point I began to truly examine what I was doing with this blog, the direction it was taking and my continuing diminished role in it. What the faithful reader might not realize is I put a lot of time and effort into each and everyone of these blogs. My process is as follows: purchase the item to be reviewed, then I give it some cursory listens. Then I listen to the disk again only this time not as a straight play through, but pausing the disc every time I want to make a note. Then the arduous task of typing in all those notes, gathering pictures as well as facts about the music/artist, and inputting it all into WordPress. If anyone has any experience with WordPress they know that sometimes this process can be very tedious and quite combative. Formatting issues, draft saving issues, attempting to read the text while entering tags… it can become very frustrating to do this on a regular basis. Then to have people who don’t appreciate you putting your art on the edge, cutting open the jugular vein, bleeding from any orifice possible, just to put up a review I feel proud of and is informative to everyone who reads it.

For this effort to be belittled by someone who may have been taking advantage of me, frankly it stung, quite a bit. So I hastened the retreat, shuttered the blog and began to think about whether or not I even want to continue doing this anymore. It must be in my blood because almost right away I decided I didn’t want to give it up but I didn’t want to continue doing it merely to be a parrot of other people’s opinion.

The following is something I published on the Facebook sister page to this blog and it explains my conclusion:

Some new news! As many of you know we have been off the grid for a while. This was to facilitate a reordering of priorities and to come to grips with what we are trying to do with this blog.
It started out as a musician’s point of view about artists that musician likes. It grew, perhaps too quickly, to the point of spiraling out of control. People began butting their nose in an attempting to usurp the basic mission statement of this blog. Asking to have acts reviewed that were off the path of direction this blog needs to maintain.
That has stopped now.
While I will still accept submissions for review, I will assert my right to say ‘No, this is outside my preferred genre’ or the more hurtful yet honest response ‘No, I do not like this disc/artist, I reject the submission’. At that point, I would suggest anyone who is new to this blog and who submits a selection for review may want to include a self addressed, stamped return envelope. If they don’t, any disc submitted that I choose not to review will be sold as used to a local music store.
Now more positive news, but first a touch of info: The process for these blogs has always been arduous. Listen to the disc, make notes on the fly. Then replay the disc (often at a later date to let the music sink in) and pause it at spots where I need to make notes, then once that is completed, transcribe the handwritten notes into WordPress.
This is now an outdated concept. Every above reference to my writing notes is now obsolete as I have mastered the dictation feature in Apple OS 10.yada yada. This means I can dictate those initial notes, then just talk the remaining notes into the review without ever having to pick up a pen/pencil. This is designed to save me infinite time and make the reviewing process fresh for me (I have been doing this for many years now). I also hope this will enable me to post more often and with greater frequency.
Once we return (after the holidays) we will have many new products to review (King Crimson live in Argentina 1994/5, Foster The People, Chris Arduser and many more) and hopefully the dark cloud of disruption will be gone!

So in conclusion this will be the last blog that BouleBlog publishes for the year 2014. We are eagerly looking forward to the 2015 calendar year! Where hopefully blog creation and execution will be a lot less troublesome, and a lot more productive!

Also from the BouleBlog Facebook page: Every good wish to all loyal BouleBlog readers during this the holiday season! See you next year…

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