ASSCAP

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Posted May 31, 2006 by Hearsay in Music

Let’s go out on a limb and say you haven’t read this column over the past few weeks. (Inconceivable, I know.) Now let’s say someone said to you, “Omigod! Green River Ordinance is playing 6th Street Grill this weekend!”

You’d probably tweak your head a little, right? “I don’t think so,” you (so well-informed) would likely say. “6th Street Grill is a blues bar – I don’t think anyone under 40 even goes there. Are you sure you’re talking about Green River Ordinance? Young, handsome dudes? Catchy alt-rock? Or are you completely stoned, and may I have some of what you’re smoking?” Well, I hate to break it to ya, but it’s true: The band is helping inaugurate the re-opening of the Cultural District bar, now known as 6th Street Live. The space, according to its new owners, is now extremely musician-friendly, thanks in no small part to the fact that the new owners are members of Six Feet High and Rising, a long-standing local radio-rockish band that’ll join GRO in ushering in a new era of music near West Seventh, Saturday, at 2736 W. 6th St. (817-338-9300).

… ASCAP is the largest music licensing company in the world, and they’d sue you for singing a copyrighted song in the shower if they could. The Metrognome Collective (1518 E. Lancaster Av.) is much bigger than a shower, and now that the upstart multi-disciplinary organization has become a bona fide destination for music, art, and theater, ASCAP is bringing down the hammer: The Man wants about four cents from every ‘Gnome cover charge, which, according to the art group’s calculations, will total about $500 per year. It ain’t much, but for a group that makes next to nothing and is on its way to becoming a legit nonprofit, it’s enough to piss me off. The problem isn’t the live bands – 99 percent of them play original music. The problem happens during art openings or between sets, when DJ’s brought in by the ‘Gnome do what they’re supposed to and spin a few well-known records.

No, not Beyoncé or Shania Twain singles, but tunes by ASCAP-protected small fries like The Silver Jews, The Fiery Furnaces, and Wolfmother. Funny thing is, ASCAP will take the ‘Gnome’s money under the auspices of “protecting” the small fries but will use the cash to do nothing but espouse an industry environment that produces more Beyoncés, Shanias, and other cash cows, and fewer Wolfmothers. A possible solution: Play all local indie stuff.

… I once had the pleasure to listen to a scratch recording by Dia De Los Muertos, an informal trance-y jam band that includes members of A-Hummin’ Acoustical Acupuncture, Spoonfed Tribe, and some other improv-capable local musos. Then time passed, AAA frontman Daniel Katsuk and singer Precious announced their decision to decamp to Colorado in June, and the amazing music attributed to Dia De Los Muertos seemed lost for good – until now. This Sunday at the hipster hot spot The Torch (711 Barden St.), the hydra-headed and multi-limbed jam band will perform its first and, unless Katsuk and Precious come back on vacation soon, probably last show. Trust me, this is one local performance you will not want to miss.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.


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