The Universe Does Not Owe You Free Music

Here’s how the last three days have gone down in the world of musical discourse: Emily White writes on the NPR All Songs Considered Blog that she has over 11,000 tracks in her music library, of which possibly 200 were acquired by paying any money whatsoever to anybody. Summary: I love, love, love music and […]

Response to (the Awesome) Roman Mars: Frozen Music

He did invite discussion and conversation, but I’ll be honest: the purpose of this post is not so much to respond to Roman — host of the 99% Invisible podcast, which I highly recommend — as to share his most recent episode, “Frozen Music.” You can listen here: For those of you who don’t know, […]

Art: What’s the Point?

Somehow, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve actually become less cynical about art. To pursue a career, or even just a paying sideline in the arts requires a tremendous amount of self-confidence because if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you, in good faith, ask someone else to believe in you and hand over cash […]

How Important is Fidelity?

When Hi8 seemed like an impossible dream I’m not talking about matrimony, here, but how well an audio or visual recording resembles the real-world phenomena it seeks to capture. High fidelity sounds and images used to be both a mark of professionalism and a barrier-to-entry for hobbyists in the temporal arts (film, video, music, etc.). […]

Regina Spektor, Orson Welles, and Fear in Creativity

My little boy wants to marry Regina Spektor. He’s five. I had to make a poster of Regina to hang on his wall so he could gaze at her as he falls asleep. It’s adorable, and I cannot tell you how pleased I am it’s not Taylor Swift he’s in love with. So the upcoming […]

God Bless You, Struggling Stand-Up Comedian

One of the more perplexing things about being a musician in Los Angeles is how often I’m invited to play somewhere, from an open mic night to a booked showcase, only to arrive and discover I’m the only person performing who isn’t a stand-up comedian.  This happened again last night, and made for a very […]

The Movie Poster Entry

No matter what the movie — comedy, drama, harrowing action film, indie darling — you can bet some studio exec desperately wants the movie poster to be nothing but the two stars’ smiling faces.  As a moviegoer, I find this lazy and uninspiring, and as an artist I find it infuriating, but as somebody living […]

Thinking About the Album as Art Form

As we gear up to head into the studio to record the next album, naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about albums. Everybody knows that the album as we generally understand it — a coherent collection of songs by an artist — is pretty much dwindled to a niche preoccupation.  Bands like Radiohead get some […]

The Agony of Love and the Album Title

The phrase “…and surrender my body to the flames” is Biblical, and I can’t say why it’s always stuck with me, but it has.  If you’ve been to a wedding, you’ve probably heard the famous passage from 1 Corinthians 13 that goes like this: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it […]