From: Bob Davis (earthjuice_at_prodigy.net)
Date: 2003-07-06 02:36:22
----- Original Message -----
From: "Zeus Fiction nee n0z0" <zeusfiction0_at_yahoo.com>
> AL DI MEOLA
> A no-holds-barred look at the state of the music biz
This is an OUTSTANDING interview done by Anil Prasad.
Everyone here should go and check it out.
It's quite timely and most everything that Al Di Meloa says here is in LOCK STEP with the
things that Stanley Clarke told us when we interviewed him last week.
I wanted to repost a portion of the interview here containing some of Al Di Meola's
viewpoints concerning today's music scene.
They are quite eye opening.
And don't forget to read the complete article at:
THE EXPANSIVE NATURE OF YOUR RECENT OUTPUT INTIMATES THAT TELARC GIVES YOU QUITE A BIT OF
Telarc in no way dictates or tries to manipulate the direction of the music, which is
admirable. They dare not tell me to try to write something for radio. They probably secretly
hate that crap too, but they're in the business of selling records. Unlike a lot of other
artists in the contemporary jazz genre, I'm one that can still sell somewhat in that
environment without getting mass radio play from those easy listening bullshit stations.
In 1998, you tried to mount a campaign to get your fans to request radio play for your work.
How did that go?
It absolutely did not work. Radio is not going to listen to anyone who calls in and asks to
hear what I do or what they like to personally hear. Radio is going to play what the
consultants tell them to play - what women in hair salons or people in malls want to hear.
They take their surveys in the most asinine places and think they have a grasp on what the
masses want to hear. They couldn't be more dead wrong.
WHEN YOU RELEASED KISS MY AXE IN 1991, YOU SAID "THE MUSIC INDUSTRY WAS CONSPIRING TO KEEP ME
SILENT." SPECIFICALLY, WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?
I got blacklisted. You can ask the person that runs radio at Telarc. She won't say it to me,
but she thinks I've basically created enemies with radio. She couldn't be more wrong. In
fact, when I was speaking out during concerts about radio every night, I was being
complimentary. I was saying "If you like radio and you're not hearing what you want, I
encourage you to call the stations." At the time, radio was influenced by listener requests.
They took note of all that - not solely, because they also went by these consulting firms and
in-depth research. But they really took into account people who called in requesting what
they want to hear. So, I encouraged people to do that and it may have rubbed the stations the
wrong way and now I don't get any play. But you know what? That kind of format is so
God-awful boring that none of my fans listen to it anyway. It's such an epidemic. It's so
sick. That's the way it is, let me tell you.
Let me give you an example. I had dinner with one of the main people at Clear Channel
Broadcasting the other night. Here's the situation. Clear Channel bought out all the
promoters in the country, but they also own the majority of the radio stations that are hot.
Now, here's the promoter in Phoenix who did my show. He was bought out by Clear Channel too.
But they won't play my record because it doesn't fit their format, however they'll play that
other kind of crap. Now, if they had played my record, the show would have been sold out. So,
the argument was made "Why not play my record?" The program director says "Well, it doesn't
work for our format." But the Clear Channel banner is up at the gig.
Knuckleheads run those companies and know zero, zip, absolutely nothing about music. They're
just going with the flow of what they think kids want to hear. The music business is no
longer run by people who love music. It's got nothing to do with that. Thank God for XM
digital satellite radio though. That's the future right there.
YOU RECENTLY SAID "PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT VIRTUOSITY ANYMORE. THEY CARE ABOUT RIDICULOUS
FORMS OF HIP HOP AND PEOPLE LIKE EMINEM, WHO ARE DESTRUCTIVE AND ZERO-TALENT." IT SEEMS TO ME
THAT STATEMENT IS APPLICABLE TO ALL FORMS OF THE ARTS THESE DAYS.
Yeah, kids are growing up with bullsh*t. There's no two ways about it. I'm not trying to
sound like my Dad. He may not have liked the rock and roll thing when it came in, but God, I
have a 13-year-old daughter who listens with her friends to that Eminem crap and stuff
similar to it. They like it because of the peer pressure thing to a degree. But what if she
was turned on to some of the stuff I grew up with like the Beatles? Hello? It's, like way
We're in a dangerous time. We're in a time when bullsh*t sells more than ever. It's getting a
bit scary. How much bullcrap was there when I was her age? Not much in comparison. Society is
really getting screwed up. It gets worse and worse. It just is. There's a lot more anger.
There's a lot more divorce. There's a lot more everything that seems to be negative. The
business people who run the record business are using all of that as an excuse to glorify
these artists - they have the audacity to call them artists. They're not artists. They're
thugs, basically. These guys have zero talent. Nothing. Not a bit. They can't sing. They can'
t write music. They don't play an instrument. They can't even dance! They just have this
little poetry thing going. [laughs]
JOE ZAWINUL PUT IT IN AN INTERESTING WAY. HE SAID THE NET RESULT IS THERE ARE FAR FEWER
STORYTELLERS THAN THERE USED TO BE.
That's only part of it Joe. Joe should come out and say that basically they are glorifying
zero-talents that can't play an instrument or sing. What's all this about? Why are kids
relating to this? How come the Stevie Wonders - who are still brilliant - are being pushed
into the background? Because kids can't relate? Well, what can't they relate to? They can't
relate to music? This has very little to do with music. It's about what is hot and popular.
Look at Eminem. There's no music. It's just a kind of angry view he has put into some
pseudo-poetic form. That's it. It's amazing. It baffles me beyond belief that this guy can
sell out arenas with that kind of crap. But that's where it's at.
GIVEN YOUR PERSPECTIVES ON THE LOSS OF INTEGRITY IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS, HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY
THE POP PROJECT YOU'RE WORKING ON WITH THE SWEDISH PRODUCTION DUO MUSIC MIKE AND ROMY ROME?
Well, those are the stupid names that they use. The interviewer from Jazziz wanted to know
what names they go by. That's not what I call them. I think they were trying to be funny.
This has nothing to do with what we were just talking about.
THE JAZZIZ ARTICLE CHARACTERIZED YOU AS GOING AFTER THE COMMERCIAL MAINSTREAM WITH THIS
Well, there's music and there's not music and sometimes there's a thinner line than one can
imagine. But this is not rap that I'm talking about. The interviewer heard two seconds of
music. The article was not only unfair, it was downright mean.
SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. DESCRIBE THE MUSIC IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
It's a pop, hip hop, R&B project. That's the way I view it. It's cool. It's very today. It's
very happening. There are guest vocalists on every track. I like some of the rhythms that
exist in the pop world, but with music, harmony, soul, melody and some good singing attached
to it. I grew up with pop music, so pop, R&B and hip hop, if they're done well, can be
musical. There's nothing wrong with it. So, this project is me definitely stepping into a
world in which people may never have heard of me before. But, let me tell you, if my world
diminishes any more, I'm over. I'm barely able to go on tour anymore because of the lack of
radio and support - and I don't mean from the record company, although these are no longer
the days of getting 50 times the budget that a Telarc's got from a Columbia or Warner
Brothers. All of us in this genre are watching our sales go all the way down - straight down
like a rock - because of the lack of support and the image that our music is a thing of the
past. I can't exist on 200-to-300 people a night coming to see a show. It's an economically
losing proposition. Same for Joe Zawinul. Same for Chick Corea. Same for every artist in this
I see this as a way to build up an audience. I see Santana sell 30 million records and I go
"Wait a minute. Why not expand a little bit if I believe in it?" First and foremost, I have
to dig it. From another point of view, this can be a lot of fun. Is it me? Well, I have a lot
more admiration in a way for Flesh on Flesh. I'm very proud of that record. But I also like
this other record. It's a completely different point of view. I'm also proud of it, because I
'm not trying to water down what I do to get on easy listening jazz stations. I'm totally
bypassing that kind of stuff. If I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna go right down the middle. It's
either gonna be fu*king humungous or it's gonna go down the tubes. [laughs]
Remember to go to:
and read the rest of this.
Al gives some of the same insight that Stanley covered with us, with respect to a potential
(good sastuff indeed)
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