Jeff Rowe: “You once had a fire inside of you. One that no one could put out.”

Jeff Rowe wrote a beautiful piece about growing up linked below.

If you ever get a chance to play music for a lot of people, be thankful. While working at the Co-Op I learned about a thing called shelf life. I’m pretty sure that even though this system was devised for food, it applies to everything.

 You really loved punk rock music. It was way more than the raw angst of the sound. When you felt like you had nowhere to go—it gave you shelter. So please, for the love of whatever bullshit you might have been led to believe, do not abandon it.

via Note to Self by Jeff Rowe | Enduring Gloucester

Here are some links to some worthwhile reading about Baltimore

I went to sleep last night thinking about Baltimore, my head filled with images of the unrest in Baltimore. This morning, I woke up and went in search of calmer heads to give me a little perspective on all of this:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves. – “Nonviolence as Compliance” by Ta-Nehesi Coates

There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his homegoing today.  But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death. – “Baltimore” by David Simon

After a day of reflecting on Baltimore, I believe it is as necessary now as it was in 1968 to simultaneously insist upon the following: that riots are to be condemned; that they are inextricably bound up with injustices perpetrated by the state; and that it is a moral imperative for us to condemn both sorts of violence. – “Two States of Emergency in Baltimore” by Conor Friedersdorf

The middle-aged woman buried deep in a crowd of protesters near the intersection of North Fulton and West North Avenues held up a yellow sign with black lettering. One side issued a demand: “Stop the lethal force.” The other provided what could be seen as an ominous warning: “Pow pow you reap what you sow.” – “Amid Violence, Factions and Messages Converge in a Weary and Unsettled Baltimore” via Ron Nixon

Brian Grazer on Curiosity


Brian Grazer posted an excerpt from his new book up at Medium:

…does having all of human knowledge available in the palm of our hands make us more curious, or less curious?

When you read about the speed of bees flying, does that inspire you to learn more about the aerodynamics of bees — or does it do the opposite, does it satisfy you enough so you go back to Instagram?

It was Karl Marx who called religion “the opium of the masses.” He meant that religion was designed to provide enough answers that people stopped asking questions.

We need to be careful, individually, that the Internet doesn’t anesthetize us instead of inspire us.

There are two things you can’t find on the Internet — just like there were two things Robert Hooke couldn’t find in the Bible or in the decrees of King Charles I:

You can’t search for the answer to questions that haven’t been asked yet.

And you can’t Google a new idea.

Have you been anesthetized by the Internet? I know I have at times. I’m trying to be better about it. Now I’m looking for inspiration.

Grazer’s post is a nice reminder to remain curious.

Paul Pierce: “Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great?”

Jackie MacMullan, one of the best columnists on the NBA, published this pretty amazing interview with Paul Pierce, which reveals:

  • that Pierce is under 230 pounds for a playoff run for the first time in his career
  • that he is happy in Washington
  • that he was miserable on the Brooklyn Nets
  • that he and KG basically had to keep picking up the rest of the Nets
  • that he would have stayed in Brooklyn with KG because of their bond (that’s a teammate!)
  • that he sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber before home games
  • that he had a strained relationship with Ray Allen even when they were winning
  • and that next season will be his last

“I talk to them a lot about mental preparation and consistency,” Pierce said. “I keep telling Wall and Beal, ‘You’ve got to make up your mind. Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great? Because if you want to be great, you gotta do it every single night, not just when you feel like it.’

via NBA: Washington Wizards’ Paul Pierce speaks the truth.

What If We Made Concert Venues More Fan-Friendly?

“You are one of us”

This quote from Sean Agnew, a promoter in Philly, got me thinking about music venues and how they make money:

The idea is to get people to become fans of the venue so they want to come back, versus, “Oh, we can make an extra $4 if we charge them this fee at the box office.”

There’s a common misconception when you’re running a club that more is always better. More shows + higher ticket prices + ticketing fees + higher drink prices = more money, right?

The idea is that once someone has come into your venue they’re yours – stuck there for the three to five hours from when doors open until the show ends. A few clubs even charge ticket fees even when you schlep to the box office. A beer that was $4 a few years ago is now $7 and so on…

But what if you flip the script?

What if you book less shows, but they’re all quality shows? Wouldn’t your club is known for good music? And wouldn’t that help create a scene around your venue?

What if you kept ticket prices low so that more people could come? Wouldn’t the number of tickets you sold in a year increase?

And once the fans are there, what if you treated them not just like bodies in the room, but actual music fans? What if you made it comfortable for them to see the shows? What if your venue had good sound, good sight lines, and room to move around? What if you hired staff who are music fans too so they actually know what it’s like to go to shows? What if you started shows at reasonable hours and ended in time for them to take public transportation home? What if you offered free water so they could hydrate? And what if you offered late-night food options to help soak up the beer?

What if you treated your guests as fans not consumers? What if you made the entire concert-going experience more fan-friendly? 

What if? 


The Need for Affordable Space


As I previously mentioned, I had the honor of hosting Dan Shea and Sam Potrykus of BRAIN Arts Boston Hassle / Boston Compass in my class on Monday.

In addition to talking about unconventional venues for shows and the landscape of music venues in Boston, we also discussed an editorial that Dan recently published on Boston Hassle calling for Boston mayor Marty Walsh and his new Chief of Arts and Culture, Julie Burros to facilitate the creation of:

  • Affordable small to mid-size performance spaces for housing social artistic experiences. Such spaces serve many kinds of artists, offering space in which to perform and hone their craft before an audience.
  • More affordable living space for working artists of all kinds: sculptors, musicians, filmmakers, painters, writers, visual artists, etc. Lower rents = more time spent creating art.
  • Affordable work/ practice space for artists. Artists need private space to work on their craft. Lower work/ practice space rent = more time spent creating art.

As of Monday, Dan hadn’t received much in the way of a response from the Walsh administration, but I still think it’s important that they are bringing up these issues.

Boston’s rent crisis has already driven most of the musicians I know out of the city. Affordable practice spaces are hard to come by.

If development in Boston is not paired with affordable housing, Boston’s going to be left with the city it deserves: gentrified, but sterile…and fit only for the 1%.

These are issues that are not unique to Boston. As cities grow and developers plan, we must to be mindful of the need for space for artists of all kinds. The vitality of our cities depends on it.


  • Did the working class / artistic community already lose the fight?
  • Are our cities already gone?
  • Or is there still hope?

What do you think?

“since 2000, rents [in Boston] have grown about twice as fast as wages”

Anyone else remember that one time everyone you knew got priced out of Boston?

Boston’s median rent last month was $2,149, compared to the national median, which was up 
3.3 percent to $1,350, according to the research branch of Zillow, the real estate and rental market website.

“It’s a crisis,” said Kathy Brown of the Boston Tenant Coalition. “Think about how many living-wage — let alone minimum-wage — workers it would take to pay $2,149 a month, especially if you factor in all your other bills. This is why we’ve seen so many people getting pushed out of Jamaica Plain and across the city.”

Renting is often considered a stepping stone to home ownership, but since 2000, rents have grown about twice as fast as wages, leaving many renters further and further away from their goal of saving enough for a down payment on a house in Boston, said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s senior director of economic research.

via Boston area rental rate skyrockets | Boston Herald

If we were French, we’d be rioting in the streets. But we’re not, so we just pack up and move to Woburn.

“say YES as much as possible and be frugal and hope to survive” – John Roderick


Everybody’s an expert and no one knows anything. If you focus on money you’re missing the point. The object for me is to do fun things and say YES as much as possible and be frugal and hope to survive.

There’s a great interview with John Roderick of The Long Winters here: The Business of Creative Careers: John Roderick, Musician | The Billfold.

First Post

Some say that your first post is the hardest. Well, here it is. It’s done. It’s out. It’s up. (Breathes sigh of relief)

I think it’s been hard for me because I just can’t reconcile myself to use the word “blog.” It sounds like a word a child made up.

Let’s call it an “online journal” instead, shall we? A document of thoughts, conversations, and things I find that might be of interest. A document of what I learned and what I want to share with you.

I spent the better half (the worse half?) of the past year reading. I think I was recovering from two really toxic situations and I needed help – help from experts, writers, and friends. And since I’ve never been good at asking for help, I burrowed into the world of books, articles, and other online reading.

(That wasn’t all I was doing: I started boxing again, I got coffee and lunch with interesting people, I applied to jobs, I volunteered, I put on a few events, I tour managed, and I taught a course at a local college.)

My whole career has been about moving things forward – for the businesses and organizations I’ve been honored to work with, the co-workers I worked with, the bands I’ve driven around the country, and the people I’ve set up shows and events with.

But sometimes you need to step back to move forward. And so I took a step back. And I read. A lot. My browser history is a mess.

As a result of that reading, I learned a few things along the way:

  1. The rate at which we are producing and consuming information is mind-boggling. Not surprisingly, it results in lower not higher productivity.
  • It’s estimated that the average person will consume 15.5 hours of media (television, social media, online gaming) by 2015.
  • Combine Internet consumption, mobile phone use, and television, and you’ll find that we now consume five times as much. information as we did in 1986…or the equivalent of 174 newspapers per day! (That was published three years ago, the number is no doubt higher now.)
  • Every two days we produce as much information as we did in the entire time period from the dawn of civilization up until 2003!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a hi-tech lab rat “mindlessly pressing levers in the hope of receiving a pellet of social or intellectual nourishment.”

  1. It is far too easy to just check a few sites and read a few articles every morning. Then you peak your head out of the wormhole and find out that a couple of hours have passed. You’re squandering very valuable time that could be used in more productive pursuits. For me, I tend to lose my focus and it takes me a little while to get it back.

  2. So instead, I think I’m going to try focused reading and research and drill down on interesting topics. In other words, focus your time and energy on what’s most important to you.

  3. Finally, and this is the most important thing I learned: it’s not just about what you learn; it’s about what you share with other people. It’s about getting feedback. It’s about the give and take. It’s not enough to be a passive consumer of information. There needs to be a conversation.

So, what do you say? Should we start a conversation?


Paul Pierce: The Day The Truth Hits Home 1/26/14

In honor of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s return to Boston today, I threw up a few of my favorite links here:


Red’s Army had a nice photo collage of Garnett and Pierce:

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I love this.  A compilation of Paul Pierce’s offensive highlights:

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And then there’s Paul Pierce: Beyond the Glory:

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Paul Pierce is my favorite Celtics since Larry Bird and I thought Bill Simmons did a great job summarizing his career as a Celtic both here and in his Book of Basketball.

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Here’s Paul Pierce speaking at U-Mass Boston last year:

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How about Paul Pierce’s “Top 10 Clutch Plays”?

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Jeff Clark did a nice tribute for CelticsBlog.  Check out:

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Josh Zavadil had a nice tribute as well, I think summing up what most of us were thinking:

“Goodbye, Paul and Kevin.

Thank you for everything.”

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Christopher L. Gasper likened the trade with Brooklyn to pulling a Band-Aid off and mentioned the words we’d heard for a couple years, that, “the Celtics got six years out of a three-year plan.”


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Jackie McMullan of ESPN sat down with Pierce and Garnett to discuss the trade:

[Part 1]

[Part 2]

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I really love this one.  Great soundtrack and nice selection.

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I love the way Red’s Army put this:

“But this is what life is all about. When things don’t go the way they’re suppose to, we’re supposed to roll with it. Sure, we’ll make mistakes along the way, but if we learn from those, we’ll grow. Some day, we might have to make some sacrifices, but it will be ok, because we know they’ll be worth it. And finally, with our heads clear and a confidence that life’s lessons will carry us through the rough patches, we’ll get to where we need to be.

That, to me, is the story of Paul Pierce in Boston. Beyond the elbow jumpers that will forever be etched in our brains. Beyond the clutch buzzer beaters. Beyond beautifully choreographed footwork that managed to get him from point A to point B in ways that we still can’t comprehend; this is what his story is.

It is the story of a man who wasn’t supposed to be here, at least not this long. It’s about an L.A. kid becoming the purely Boston embodiment of hard work and, ultimately, the sweet vindication of that effort. It’s about a man who learned hard lessons along the way, and, in the end, became the one thing he was always supposed to be.

A Boston Celtics legend.”

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Perhaps the best tribute to Pierce’s time in Boston came from the man himself as he took to Instagram to thank Boston for his years here:

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Top 10 Plays as a Celtic? (6/29/13

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Red’s Army has a great slide show of Pierce and Garnett here:

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Amos Barshad of Grantland had a funny, yet touching note to Pierce and Garnett here:


Robert Mays of Grantland broke down the trade for both teams here:

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Paul Pierce’s Career Highlights, thus far:

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Red’s Army did an excellent job compiling the links leading up to tonight’s game here:


“Some things are forever, man.”