This site is primarily for my own covers of songs from before the recording era was really underway. The time period is roughly 1800, when American musical identity started to branch off from its foreign roots, to 1927, when the economic and technological conditions created by recording ended the era of participatory music.
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band broke in 1917. Piano sales went into the toilet around 1923. Louis Armstrong raised the artistic game to a point that excluded ordinary musicians during the period 1927-1930. Bing Crosby started singing in a way that wasn’t possible in an acoustic environment — too quietly to be heard without amplification — in the early 1930s. There was a transition from a musical environment where music was made in person to an environment where it was made far away. Before, the product was sheet music and instruments. Afterward the product was records and phonographs. This blog is about the musical world before that change.
Also I’m going to put up pointers to pre-recording low culture like burlesque, Thomas Edison, municipal corruption and crime, and to current philia like steampunk and civil war reenactment.
The site will be as participatory as possible given that it is ultimately a personal blog. My own music will always be remixable. I’ll point to sheet music repositories that I come across, so that others can play this music also. I’ll welcome submissions from friends and music from around the net, and whenever possible I will try to link up to other blogs and social media.
There will be material from the real-world Los Angeles music scene — clubs, bands, friends, and events. I’ll post about the act I do with Tequila Mockingbird under the name “Alvin and Lucille,” though a Myspace page Tequila is setting up will be that project’s main home.
To some extent this site has conflicting purposes. On one hand I need a brochure to promote my music and get gigs. On the other hand I just want to have fun with a silly premise. Maybe these needs will sabotage one another and force the project to go in one direction or the other. But maybe they will complement one another. We’ll see.
This site is not an indefinite commitment. Maybe it will end sooner, maybe later. And once it ends it will definitely become a brochure, though I can’t say what it will be a brochure for at at this end of the experience.
Lastly, this site may have an undercurrent of digital politics, but it will stay submerged. My other blog is for technology and politics. This place is for goofing off with fun stuff.