Those of you who remember a Y and recall swimming pools with more chlorine than water, think again. The beautiful concert space at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association on 92nd Street in Manhattan (commonly referred to as the 92nd Street Y), regularly schedules musicians’ performances, music-related events as well as informative talks and political personalities. Last week, Elmore attended two music related events that couldn’t have been more different, or more interesting.
John Mellencamp relaxed comfortably onstage, engaged in a lively conversation with writer David Fricke and talked about his career, his friends and his political agenda. Mellencamp’s obvious intelligence and sense of humor were at the fore as he railed against record companies (Why don’t record companies follow big pharmaceuticals’ example and invest in the future?); the state of civilization (Calling something progress doesn’t make it right); touched on his own hits (There are only four songs, and I write them over and over. I wrote ‘Born in A Small Town’ in a laundry room in about five minutes); songwriting (I admire the way Woody Guthrie lived. He stole songs and admitted it. I haven’t written my best song yet. Some people come out of the womb able to write like Elvis Costello); good advice from Dylan and Willie (If you believe you’re going to execute something, then do it—don’t just talk about it. And be successful); and perhaps the best advice of the night: Always be honest and never kiss ass. Mellencamp obviously practices what he preaches. Amen, St. John.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which licenses and distributes royalties for performances of copyrighted works, held a series of educational panels for its New York-area membership. A packed house of creative individuals in the music industry filled the house and drank it up.
Seminars and panel discussions on songwriting, music placement in film, TV and advertising and music careers were all well-attended, as was the Internet tips panel which Elmore attended. The panel debated the relative advantages of mailing lists, websites, social networks and a variety of online services, including details about some 20 different companies which cater to the performing artist. A long day, but crammed with valuable information. A similar, larger, three-day event will be held in L.A. at the end of April.
Photo: Joyce Culver