Another great day in Portland. Woke up buzzing from last night’s open mic.
First stop, breakfast with Ezra Ace Careaff, local music editor for the Portland Mercury and owner of indie label Slowdance (home of the Velvet Teen). I continue to be inspired by the entrepreneurs who have started these labels. 50/50 joint ventures. It’s the future model for indie music.


Spent a fascinating couple hours with Bob Price, music teacher at the local DaVinci Arts magnet school. I knew we were in for an interesting conversation when he told me the first record he heard, at age 11, was Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. Grew up in the Amoco-funded arts mecca of Dallas Ft. Worth, TX in the 70’s, where he dove straight into experimental improv on the clarinet. He has had a long career in academia, and has witnessed the gradual decline in funding for music education. This is truly one of the great tragedies of today – the gradual dissappearance of music programs in youth education.
In his effort to interest his kids in jazz, he recently created a big band arrangement of System of Down’s BYOB (Listen Now). I got a great kick out of this – one of my greatest complaints about music education at all levels is the unwillingness of teachers/departments to accommodate the relevant interests of kids, and use that to draw them into theory. I think it’s the reason there is so little collaboration between rock musicians and classical musicians. Which if you ask Paul, John, Ringo and both Georges, has its benefits.
Spent the afternoon with Christopher Cooper, founder of Cavity Search (who had the honor to release Elliott Smith’s first solo record Roman Candle)- a true music fan. Had a great conversation with Connie Wohn who that very day had been the subject of a front page profile in the Oregonian life section on “queen’s of portland rock”. A long time booker of DJ’s, she clearly brings a passion for music. I was really jazzed about a program she works with called “Rock N Roll Camp for Girls” – a 6 year old program for 6-18 year olds to empower women through music. It sounds like just a fantastic program. They don’t even need to have played an instrument. The kids form bands, write a song, rehearse it, and record it – all overseen by a steady stream of female rocker role models. Can’t say enough about how valuable this is (see previous paragraph on the decline in education funding).
TownHallMtg2.jpg Millenium_Staff.jpgTopped the trip off with a magical evening at Millenium Records. About 70 people showed up for a lively conversation about digital music and the future of radio (with Peter Carlin and Rick Emerson – thanks gents). A very engaged audience, including folks currently working in radio from all sides. One emerging thesis was the need for terrestrial radio to localize more. Thanks again to owner Terry Currier and his crew (pictured here holding their favorite obscure disks for the genome). Their hospitality was a reflection of the whole trip.
Final thought – after spending two days talking with music fans, I’ve come away even more convinced of the transformative power of music. One thing I noticed about all the music fans a ran across – they all look much younger than their years. Something we should all contemplate‚Ķ

Comments

  1. Phronk
    March 11, 2006 at 1:59pm
    Where's the BYOB MP3? I'd love to hear it! P.S. I love Pandora more than I love peanut butter. And I really love peanut butter.
    Reply
  2. Katy
    March 12, 2006 at 7:03am
    I think you mean Elliott Smith's Roman Candle. ROMAN Candle. ;) p.s. This site is more awesome than awesome.
    Reply
  3. Tim Westergren
    March 13, 2006 at 10:48am
    Ooops, you're right, Katy. thx. Duly changed. T.
    Reply
  4. Jojo
    March 14, 2006 at 7:12am
    I enjoy the blog and Pandora. Since you are a music site, I feel obligated to call you out: Miles Davis Witches Brew?? It's Bitches Brews, dudes. Keep it up!
    Reply
  5. Tim Westergren
    March 14, 2006 at 1:52pm
    man, oh man. My bad. Thanks for the heads up Jojo. You'd think after transcribing half the record I'd know that...:) T.
    Reply
  6. Keith T.
    March 14, 2006 at 4:08pm
    For some reason, many music teachers are narrow-minded rigid purist fuddy-duddies, and consider all modern music crap, and therefore think they are doing the best service by calling kids' music crap and forcing them to listen to stuff ridiculously out of date. But kids don't work that way, and the reluctance of music snob teachers to realize that IMO makes them poor teachers. But there are other music teachers who are much more hip and, when rigidly puristic and narrow-minded fuddy-duddy school administrators will let them, they will try to inject some updated musical influences into their programs. Most kids in music class won't learn musical expression by listening to and reciting old-fashioned music without any connection to modern music. It's when modern music is introduced or connected to prior influences when students begin to envision angles of exploration. Heck, this principle is probably true of all teaching. My best English class ever was one in which included a deconstruction of Heathers.
    Reply
  7. Alison
    March 27, 2006 at 9:29pm
    hey! gr8 site!! i luv it! i'm in the celtic band tonn nua and i love music thru and thru!!
    Reply
  8. Gabe
    April 19, 2006 at 5:25pm
    I am surprised no one said anything about Storm and the Balls for your Portland jaunt. Hope you had a chance to check them out, or maybe the next time up. Also, wondering if you have a list of the bands that you have added to the Genome. I would love to see pieces of the list if not the entire list. I would also love to see more information about the project (a link somewhere on the website?) and the Genome that you created. Take care and enjoy your travels!
    Reply
  9. jim crocker
    April 20, 2006 at 2:41pm
    Got a band for you to check out.......... Falcon Five-0 they are from Oklahoma, very hot, very indie rock. I think they would fit pandora perfect. You Guys ROCK!!
    Reply
  10. Jason
    April 27, 2006 at 3:07pm
    It's too bad you guys aren't coming up to Washington... but you guys are doing an awesome job! Keep up the good work. Peace Out!
    Reply

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