From Aural Innovations #16 (June 2001)
These days I'm a bit worried. Independent music on the internet received a damaging blow recently when Mp3.com was purchased by one of the largest record companies in the world. I've long spouted about what a goldmine of indie music Mp3.com is. There are loads of artists there with music for online streaming or download, many of whom have no recordings available other than those on their Mp3.com web pages. When I say this site is a goldmine, I mean it is a GOLDMINE! Space, experimental, psychedelic, electronic... it's all there. And how long do you think it's going to last now that one of the big nasties has bought it? Well, as we all know record companies exist for no purpose other than to generate profits. They don't support adventurous music in the marketplace because they can't sell enough of it to make their millions. And the artists tend not to be video friendly. Hey, don't get me wrong. I know most of you that submit your music to Aural Innovations are just cute as can be. But I doubt that many of you would do the Michael Moonwalk or the Britney Bop for the sake of a mass market music vid would you? Anyway, it's too early to rant and rave because the hammer hasn't fallen yet. But I'll be monitoring the situation closely so more to come...
Last year it looked like two major American music festivals had seen their last in 2000. I'm happy to report that the Strange Daze Space Rock festival, though not taking place in its typical outdoor form this year, will occur on a smaller scale in Cleveland. In late October or early November, Strange Trips will be bringing Harvey Bainbridge back to the U.S., along with Mr Quimby's Beard, one of the very best of the current space rock bands in the world. Keep your eyes peeled on www.strange-trips.com for information as it becomes available. And Harvey and Mr Quimby's Beard will be touring during that period so if you would be interested in hosting a show, please contact Jim Lascko at email@example.com. Also, the ProgDay festival held every year since 1995 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina has been saved from the grave by a group of dedicated festival goers who pooled their efforts and resources to keep this wonderful event alive. The festival will take place in its traditional Labor Day weekend timeslot. Tickets are on sale now and you can go to www.progday.com for more information.
Now for a little ranting and raving... It's been confirmed by his actions that George W. Bush doesn't care one shag nasty snot for his children's future. He has evaluated his priorities and decided that the immediate needs of big business outweigh the need to protect the Earth from certain doom. He is comfortable with the sentence he has passed on our planet because... well... what do as-yet-unborn generations matter when there's profits to be made today? He'll be dead and gone when the ozone layer finally peels away so why disrupt business interests today? You see, the U.S. produces a full 25% of all the nasty damaging material that we emit into the environment. A fraction of the Earth's population is responsible for this much. Yet George W. refuses to sign treaties committing the U.S. to reducing these pollutants which will INEVITABLY destroy the Earth if nothing is done about it. The big businesses that contributed to his campaign, and are the lifeblood of the entire Republican party, wouldn't like it. And George W. is also pushing for drilling for oil in protected parts of Alaska. I'm not talking about trees and polar bears. I'm talking about general environmental devastation. Hell, I've never even really understood this whole oil thing. Oil is a LIMITED resource! It's going to be GONE relatively quickly! So why don't we think, just for a moment, about TOMORROW and put some $$ into researching alternatives to oil. Why don't we? Because the oil companies want to make as many billions as they can while there's still oil to be sucked from the Earth. And each of them has purchased one of the puppet Bush's strings. I'm an eternal optimist in many ways, but when it comes to our planet's future I truly fear that some of the scariest Armageddon themed sci fi movies will prove to be prophetic. And it will all happen because we are destroying our environment. And we're doing so because our government is aiding big business in their effort to enjoy greater profits made at the expense of the health of our planet. Maybe we need a Medicaid plan for Mother Earth?