The “Hustle and Flow” of music and dreams

The 2005 movie “Hustle and Flow” is about a small-time Memphis drug dealer and pimp who yearns for something bigger. Being a movie about both dreams and making music, I was naturally intrigued. It’s an amazing film, even if rap isn’t your favorite musical genre, and writer/director Craig Brewer captures an emotional authenticity that keeps the story realistic and engaging. While it might sound like a typical, predictable “struggling artist realizes his dreams” movie, this is not “Krush Groove.” Continue reading →

Musicians are getting screwed

Just about everyone knows how the major labels have screwed musicians over the decades. A gold record, selling 500,000 copies and grossing $7.5 million, nets the artist only $40,000 — which would be $10,000 each for a four-member band. Jazzy Jef, who co-wrote hits with Will Smith, recounts how, after winning a Grammy for a hit record, he went out to his car and cried because he only had $500 to his name.

But even with the opportunities afforded by the Internet and inexpensive home production, musicians are still getting screwed. Continue reading →

Is live music dying?

We spent months preparing for the Gemini Soul tour, booking performances in Phoenix, Hollywood, Fresno, Santa Cruz and Orange County. We covered it all: a publicist, advertising, free ticket give-aways, flyers, posters, concert listings, postcards. We tried holding a charity benefit. We tried having an opening band. We tried free promotional concerts at colleges. We tried passing out free admission cards on the street. And still only a scattering of people came to each show. Continue reading →