Monthly Archives: August 2009

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Turing’s Machine

so if it will pass The Test,
when asked of its father’s death,
with denial and distress suppressed heartbreak suggests,
it’ll simulate the smell of whiskey on its breath,

and say, “I didn’t even notice he was gone, no I didn’t even notice he was gone.”

Another Peek

This is what I did tonight.  Click the music note – it’s the only way it works with .wav files for some reason.

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It’s not mixed, or good yet.  It’s also still in .wav format because I’M TIRED GOODNIGHT

PlayPlay

Antimatter

I posted my Amazon wish list last on Twitter or here or something week and someone bought me something already (thanks Kim)!  It’s a book called Antimatter by physicist Frank Close.  I’ve been really busy but I stayed up from 1 to 2 AM last night reading it because it’s so amazing.  Incidentally, if you want to buy me something from my wish list, you’ll get the next three Chris Merritt projects free (including the next album)!

Anyway, I’m always telling people, “Isn’t it amazing that we’re made up of heavy elements that have been fused in the center of a star?”  In my new book, Close says it better than I’ve heard it:

Nearly all of the atoms of oxygen that you breathe, and of the carbon in your skin or the ink on this page, were made in stars about five billion years ago when the earth was still forming.  So we are all stardust or, if you are less romantic, nuclear waste.

More on antimatter later.

The Music “Industry”

(Ok, so here’s a big, proper blog post.  It’s certainly meandering, and I wrote it with a cat on me.)

There is something that has been on my mind lately.  I’ve been thinking and thinking about the music industry, for about the last couple days, and three years.

But I think I should put the “industry” part in quotes, like this:  music “industry”.  Because in reality, as a supposed member of this supposed “industry”, after five years of touring, recording, writing, and working my ass off in literally a hundred unique ways and locations I haven’t seen a single vestige of an active industry.

There must certainly still be a music “industry” in existence.  Artists like U2, Coldplay, and John Mayer are presumably making bank.  But for artists that didn’t make it to the top before 2002 or so, it seems almost impossible to make an enormous name for yourself.  The waves are rolling higher than ever, but the surfers that just arrived at the beach can’t make it over the wake.  I can’t think of many post-2003 bands that have achieved legend-status, or even huge-status, or even my-parents-recognize-the-band-name status (OK, I can think of one or two *crap* pop acts that have arguably achieved that last one, but hold that thought).

This is because the mass media of the past is no more.

Here’s an example.  I’ve been played on FM radio.  My songs!  On the radio!  Every time it happened, I had a “That Thing You Do” moment.  And every time, I didn’t hear a word from anyone about it, ever again.  I’ve been written up in magazines!  Real magazines!  Glowing concert and album reviews!  My picture in The Washington Post!  How exciting!  But, again, very little came of these seemingly big write-ups.  My website hits on the day of the last example went up about ten more than average, as I recall.

There aren’t radio stations that everyone listens to at the same time (and the stations that DO exist play silly, bleeding-from-the-ears lameness, and must be some sort of elaborate joke).  There aren’t T.V. shows that everyone watches every week at the same time (Oh wait, American Idol.  OK, hold that thought).  As the majority of the media in the information age becomes more spread over location and time, so with it goes the staggeringly large mass venues of the 20th century (which was, historically, the real anomaly).

But here’s the real problem with all this, at least in music.  As some of the exceptions (American Idol, Sarah Bareilles, etc.) prove, there are still some gigantic mass-media outlets left.  But I would argue that objectively GOOD music is no longer experiencing many big breaks.  The elitist record companies of the 60s through 90s,  as vile and bad-business-minded as they could be, at least allowed for the rare artist to pass through that had real VALUE.  A&R people would seek out (which now seems like a crazy fantasy) talented, quality bands.  There were scenes.  There was taste and elitism that was allowed to reach a tipping point and experience explosions in popularity.

Now, in music, there is close to true and total democracy, especially among indie bands.  But if there’s one thing that’s for sure, great art doesn’t have strength in numbers.  Great art needs a certain amount of elitism to flourish in popular society!  This becomes apparent, to varying degrees, when I get a band-recommendation link from someone.  A YouTube video with a gajillion hits, and a cutesy, pseudo-emotional, indie band playing songs dis-genuinely.

BUT, I am convinced that something more beautiful will grow from the graves of the music “industry”.  I predict a new musical renaissance, similar to the 60s, or the 90s.  I predict music scenes and great art and even new, amazing things that have never happened before in the history of man!  But, I might just be being overly positive.  In any case, I will be happily making music and selling music for the rest of my life, so I’ll keep you updated.

Man, writing stuff takes freakin‘ FOREVER!  I have to go to bed.  I have a lot of things to say about this, though, so I’m going to talk your ears off about them eventually.  The following music-industry-related subjects will be touched on:

  • why I will always be a professional musician
  • how technology through the history of civilization has created, and very recently destroyed, industries around information
  • why objectively good art eventually shines
  • why easily-available technology hasn’t affected and won’t significantly affect the ratio of great artists
  • my humorous accounts of talking with music industry “bigwigs” (who are now powerless)
  • my intelligent conversations with a music industry legend
  • the future for artists and genuine art
  • the tipping point and why people fall into distinct different categories of thought

Radio, Radio show in Indianapolis

I’ve been finding cool videos of shows and stuff! I’m going to start posting them here more often. Like this one.

I liked my solo in this and also my made-up-on-the-spot lyrics that I made up on the spot. I always forget the lyrics to this song.

How It’s Going

Here’s a preview of this record I’ve been building.

Beware, it’s unmixed and raw. You might need to turn your speakers up a bit.

Downloadpreview


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The songs heard here are tentatively titled People On The Street, She-Wolf, and Rain King. I just picked three random ones and mushed them together because it’s way past my bedtime.

Also, look forward to four songs with the whole band! Jacob and Brett and I have been hard at work. So far as a band we’re doing songs called Tarmac, Another World, Sequel, and Feminine Mind.

Issues

Man I really want this shirt http://www.threadless.com/submission/222011/from,th+twitter

Also, has anyone seen this show?  It’s like, my new favorite.

Brett told me about it and I watched like 3 of them at his house that he had saved on his Tivo-type-thing and stayed up an extra hour and a half and was tired at our show the next morning but I’m glad I saw this show.

Things

New blog post here.

Follow me on Twitter! I pride myself in providing both mind-expanding and mind-shrinking links every day.

Check out the Tour Dates page for upcoming shows! I’m playing in Chicago this weekend with these guys.

Double U Double U Double U Dot Amazon Dot Com

Here is my Amazon book wish list – http://www.amazon.com/wishlist/1HEO4OP22C9C

If you buy me a book from list, you’ll get the next three Chris Merritt records FREE!!!  Including the newest one that comes out probably next week.

Speaking of the new record, it is coming along nicely.  Songs on it will include Rain King, Magical Stones, Sequel, Pretty Bitch, Tarmac, Feminine Mind, Isabelle, Another World, People On The Street, and others.  There will also be this really pretty song that doesn’t have a name yet.  It’s my best song I ever wrote.

Today recording vocals for Isabelle, Feminine Mind, Magical Stones, and maybe others.  We’ll see if my voice can handle it.

A NEW CHRIS MERRITT

Hey everyone!!!!!!!  How the heck are you???

I’m making a big change in my life.  I hearby declare that from now on I’ll be updating my website EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DAY.  Or almost, anyway.  There will be two types of posts:  front page posts, with news, songs, pictures from shows and stuff, etc.  And then there will be the “Chris’ Blog” posts, which will consist of me ranting about the following subjects:

-technology

-art

-physics

-girls

AND ALSO LISTEN TO THIS

Come and see me play tonight (in case you’re reading this today and didn’t know about this show and still have time to change your plans and come to a concert) in Upperville, VA!  It will be AN AWESOME CONCERT and it looks to be a good crowd so far.

AND ALSO LISTEN TO THIS

I’m making a new album.  I think I said it would be done today, and if so, that was a big fat lie.  But it really will be done in a week.  And my plan is to sell it right here on this very website for a low low price.  My goal is to sell a thousand of these things in the first few weeks.  The money from it will help my drummer Brett and I move to New York City in the next couple months!  So it will have this big “send Chris and Brett to New York” vibe (more info on moving to New York to come).

I know I can do it.  WE can do it.  Let’s get the word out about this thing.  It’s sounding awesome so far.  I’m listening to Brett and Jacob record bass and drums to some songs right now.  Jacob says hello!  No, he doesn’t, I lied.  But now he really does say hello.

LOTS OF LOVE,

CHRIS MERRITT