busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Monday, October 31, 2016

    A letter to Nirvana from Albini 

    albiniAfter Nevermind lots of producers probably lobbied to produce Nirvana’s followup.

    The winner was Chicago native Steve Albini, the no nonsense punk rock purist who refused to even call himself a producer, preferring to be deemed simply Engineer.

    One day I hope to be as principled and wonderful as he is in this letter.

    Yes he got the job and yes Geffen remastered it because it was too punk rock.

    I am still looking for a copy of the Albini original.

    Here’s how he got the gig

    Kurt, Dave and Chris:

    First let me apologize for taking a couple of days to put this outline together. When I spoke to Kurt I was in the middle of making a Fugazi album, but I thought I would have a day or so between records to sort everything out. My schedule changed unexpectedly, and this is the first moment I’ve had to go through it all. Apology apology.

    I think the very best thing you could do at this point is exactly what you are talking about doing: bang a record out in a couple of days, with high quality but minimal “production” and no interference from the front office bulletheads. If that is indeed what you want to do, I would love to be involved.

    If, instead, you might find yourselves in the position of being temporarily indulged by the record company, only to have them yank the chain at some point (hassling you to rework songs/sequences/production, calling-in hired guns to “sweeten” your record, turning the whole thing over to some remix jockey, whatever…) then you’re in for a bummer and I want no part of it.

    I’m only interested in working on records that legitimately reflect the band’s own perception of their music and existance. If you will commit yourselves to that as a tenet of the recording methodology, then I will bust my ass for you. I’ll work circles around you. I’ll rap your head with a ratchet…

    I have worked on hundreds of records (some great, some good, some horrible, a lot in the courtyard), and I have seen a direct correlation between the quality of the end result and the mood of the band throughout the process. If the record takes a long time, and everyone gets bummed and scrutinizes every step, then the recordings bear little resemblance to the live band, and the end result is seldom flattering. Making punk records is definitely a case where more “work” does notimply a better end result. Clearly you have learned this yourselves and appreciate the logic.

    About my methodology and philosophy:

    #1: Most contemporary engineers and producers see a record as a “project,” and the band as only one element of the project. Further, they consider the recordings to be a controlled layering of specific sounds, each of which is under complete control from the moment the note is conceived through the final six. If the band gets pushed around in the process of making a record, so be it; as long as the “project” meets with the approval of the fellow in control.

    My approach is exactly the opposite.

    I consider the band the most important thing, as the creative entity that spawned both the band’s personality and style and as the social entity that exists 24 hours out of each day. I do not consider it my place to tell you what to do or how to play. I’m quite willing to let my opinions be heard (if I think the band is making beautiful progress or a heaving mistake, I consider it part of my job to tell them) but if the band decides to pursue something, I’ll see that it gets done.

    I like to leave room for accidents or chaos. Making a seamless record, where every note and syllable is in place and every bass drum is identical, is no trick. Any idiot with the patience and the budget to allow such foolishness can do it. I prefer to work on records that aspire to greater things, like originality, personality and enthusiasm. If every element of the music and dynamics of a band is controlled by click tracks, computers, automated mixes, gates, samplers and sequencers, then the record may not be incompetent, but it certainly won’t be exceptional. It will also bear very little relationship to the live band, which is what all this hooey is supposed to be about.

    #2: I do not consider recording and mixing to be unrelated tasks which can be performed by specialists with no continuous involvement. 99 percent of the sound of a record should be established while the basic take is recorded. Your experiences are specific to your records; but in my experience, remixing has never solved any problems that actually existed, only imaginary ones. I do not like remixing other engineer’s recordings, and I do not like recording things for somebody else to remix. I have never been satisfied with either version of that methodology. Remixing is for talentless pussies who don’t know how to tune a drum or point a microphone.

    #3: I do not have a fixed gospel of stock sounds and recording techniques that I apply blindly to every band in every situation. You are a different band from any other band and deserve at least the respect of having your own tastes and concerns addressed. For example, I love the sound of a boomy drum kit (say a Gretach or Camco) wide open in a big room, especially with a Bonhammy double-headed bass drum and a really painful snare drum. I also love the puke-inducing low end that comes off an old Fender Bassman or Ampeg guitar amp and the totally blown sound of an SVT with broken-in tubes. I also know that those sounds are inappropriate for some songs, and trying to force them is a waste of time. Predicating the recordings on my tastes is as stupid as designing a car around the upholstery. You guys need to decide and then articulate to me what you want to sound like so we don’t come at the record from different directions.

    #4: Where we record the record is not as important as how it is recorded. If you have a studio you’d like to use, no hag. Otherwise, I can make suggestions. I have a nice 24-track studio in my house (Fugazi were just there, you can ask them how they rate it), and I’m familiar with most of the studios in the Midwest, the East coast and a dozen or so in the UK.

    I would be a little concerned about having you at my house for the duration of the whole recording and mixing process if only because you’re celebrities, and I wouldn’t want word getting out in the neighborhood and you guys having to put up with a lot of fan-style bullshit; it would be a fine place to mix the record though, and you can’t beat the vitties.

    If you want to leave the details of studio selection, lodgings, etc. up to me, I’m quite happy to sort all that stuff out. If you guys want to sort it out, just lay down the law.

    My first choice for an outside recording studio would be a place called Pachyderm in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. It’s a great facility with outstanding acoustics and a totally comfy architect’s wet dream mansion where the band lives during the recordings. This makes everything more efficient. Since everybody is there, things get done and decisions get made a lot faster than if people are out and about in a city someplace. There’s also all the posh shit like a sauna and swimming pool and fireplaces and trout stream and 50 acres and like that. I’ve made a bunch of records there and I’ve always enjoyed the place. It’s also quite inexpensive, considering how great a facility it is.

    The only bummer about Pachyderm is that the owners and manager are not technicians, and they don’t have a tech on call. I’ve worked there enough that I can fix just about anything that can go wrong, short of a serious electronic collapse, but I’ve got a guy that I work with a lot (Bob Weston) who’s real good with electronics (circuit design, trouble shooting and building shit on the spot), so if we choose to do it there, he’ll probably come along in my payroll, since he’d be cheap insurance if a power supply blows up or a serious failure occurs in the dead of winter 50 miles from the closest tech. He’s a recording engineer also, so he can be doing some of the more mundane stuff (cataloging tapes, packing stuff up, fetching supplies) while we’re chopping away at the record proper.

    Some day I’m going to talk the Jesus Lizard into going up there and we’ll have us a real time. Oh yeah, and it’s the same Neve console the AC/DC album Back in Black was recorded and mixed on, so you know its just got to have the rock.

    #5: Dough. I explained this to Kurt but I thought I’d better reiterate it here. I do not want and will not take a royalty on any record I record. No points. Period. I think paying a royalty to a producer or engineer is ethically indefensible. The band write the songs. The band play the music. It’s the band’s fans who buy the records. The band is responsible for whether it’s a great record or a horrible record. Royalties belong to the band.

    I would like to be paid like a plumber: I do the job and you pay me what it’s worth. The record company will expect me to ask for a point or a point and a half. If we assume three million sales, that works out to 400,000 dollars or so. There’s no fucking way I would ever take that much money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.

    I have to be comfortable with the amount of money you pay me, but it’s your money, and I insist that you be comfortable with it as well. Kurt suggested paying me a chunk which I would consider full payment, and then if you really thought I deserved more, paying me another chunk after you’d had a chance to live with the album for a while. That would be fine, but probably more organizational trouble than it’s worth.

    Whatever. I trust you guys to be fair to me and I know you must be familiar with what a regular industry goon would want. I will let you make the final decision about what I’m going to be paid. How much you choose to pay me will not affect my enthusiasm for the record.

    Some people in my position would expect an increase in business after being associated with your band. I, however, already have more work than I can handle, and frankly, the kind of people such superficialities will attract are not people I want to work with. Please don’t consider that an issue.

    That’s it.

    Please call me to go over any of this if it’s unclear.

    (Signed)

    If a record takes more than a week to make, somebody’s fucking up. Oi!

  2. how am i supposed to go to sleep or do anything 

    riaders just win babymy mom and i watched the game tonight and it was fantastic. she thinks shes bad luck but Jesus tells us there aint no thing.

    i say ma i thought you loved the Lord. she says i dont know nothin about birthin babies or the holy scripture.

    im like well the good book says watch the game, enjoy it and good things will happen.

    so we watched. and i tried not to be superstitious. but i did have the radio on synched up to the tv so i didnt have to put us through the Joe Buck ringer. everyone online was complaining about him.

    you know if Two people complained at me at work i’d be canned but when millions of people complain about Joe Buck they just give him dump trucks of money and stick him on the biggest stages in the world.

    is life fair? ha. but you know whats great, watching the Cubs eek out a win in the last game at Wrigley with your mom. i was so nervous i couldnt eat. but i was hungry so i asked her to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. she also set me up with soup and crackers. i drank a half a coke the whole time. i have been eating terribly this month. but for some reason the Lord is looking out for me.

    even though im still very nervous about the Cubs as they head to Cleveland, heres the silver lining: because of MLB’s ridiculous rules about home field advantage, the Cubs get to use Kyle Schwarber now as their DH and we really could use one more solid bat in this lineup which tends to get stage fright sometimes. Schwarb is nuts and did well the last time we were at the Jake so im feeling great about that.

    plus tomorrow it’s Jake Arrieta vs their dude Tomlin. Arrieta is the reigning Cy Young Award Winner and even though he hasn’t exactly pitched like that this year, he’s damn good and Tomlin is on 3 days rest.

    i do have air miles. i could fly to Cleveland but i dont really have a grand for a ticket however i was thinking about IF I WENT to just hold up a sign that says “Cub Fan Looking For Free World Series Ticket. Will Blog About It” but so far my record with watching World Series games with my mom is 1-0.

    dance with who brought ya, as they say. so i guess i will stay in the suburbs and not risk our luck.

    even though luck doesnt exist.

  3. Sunday, October 30, 2016
  4. the nice people sent me to the world series 

    me at the world seriesit started as a dream a little kid has when he’s playing a made up game of throwing a ball at the side of a house.

    he throws it hard at some moulding and if it lands on the street its a single, in the grass a double, if it hits the tree its a triple and if hits the neighbors fence its a homer.

    if it goes over the neighbors fence its an out and the game is over.

    every time the goal is to get the cubs into the world series.

    now the game is to help them win.

    so there are more imaginary games: if i wear this cap they’ll win, if i wear this jersey, if i say my prayers, if i wear this undershirt, if i kiss this girl, if i change this blog header, if i eat this hot dog.

    if i leave game five of the playoffs in frisco.

    so far things have worked.

    because it was the cubs it was a bumpy road, but no one wanted the cubs (who were the favorites to win the whole thing) to just coast into the world series. and they did not coast. they had to win some tough games against the game’s best pitchers. they had to win on the road, they had to win with young players, they had to win with old players.

    and for the most part the unlikely heroes at the plate were catchers and pitchers.

    so walking from my Lyft a few blocks away from Wrigley and seeing almost every single person wearing Cubs jerseys and hats and tshirts and ski caps and sweaters and scarves and pajamas(!) i nearly cried right there because all of this was coming true. and so much of it was due to Theo Epstein who put the team together, the Ricketts family who paid for it, and Joe Maddon who managed them.

    basically a handful of strangers i’ve never met (and probably never will) have revitalized this part of Chicago, my favorite part, and did so in a classy way. so when i took this selfie in front of Harry, i was at the edge of tears because those strangers and all of my friends and readers had bought me a bleacher ticket in the second row for the World Series.

    and it was no longer a fantasy day dream. it was really happening.

    indians

    when i got it back together i saw another emotional scene that’s not getting a lot of play on tv or in the news: actual native americans who hate the fact that the cleveland baseball team is called the Indians and has a logo that would never be approved today.

    they have a long list of complaints, the first being that they are not from India. the name alone is racist ignorance based on a mistake by Columbus’s peers that they had reached India. but also they hate the fact that they are not being heard. No one today would name a team the Wisconsin Whiteys or the Jersey Jews. why do we continue to go on with being ok with calling them the Cleveland Indians when the actual natives, whose land was stolen and whose people were kicked out, do not like the name?

    so instantly i was grounded. and i thanked them for being there.
    lady

    i got in the park, found my way next to the ivy and i sat next to a really nice dude from Seattle named Brian who had season seats there in the bleachers for quite a while. he was the perfect guy to sit next to because he really knew the game.

    he and his wife come out to Wrigley 3-4 times a year he told me but throughout the season his Chicago  family uses the tickets and the rest they sell.

    next to him was a lady and her daughter. the lady was a senior citizen and her daughter said the night before she had gotten drunk at the game. join the crowd!

    the lady had these Cubs earrings and when i complimented her on them she asked if i had a wife. i said are you proposing? she said “if you did have a wife i would give them to you to give to her.”

    THAT IS A CUB FAN RIGHT THERE.

    the bleachers were packed. we were squeezed in pretty tight. but it was ok. but i couldnt eat. i scarfed down my dog, nibbled on my nachos but couldnt make a dent in them. the cubs scored early but cleveland answered with a homer. so i left to get an Old Style.

    huge mistake because the Cubs gave up another run and by the time i was back in my seat and we were down 2-1.

    that took the air right out of us. the first inning we were standing and cheering every pitch. by the third we were sitting and probably all thinking, “is this the Cubs that we grew up with? are these the guys we fell in love with and then they break our hearts?”

    earlier Mark Prior had stood on the mound and the young lady he was with and didnt throw out the first pitch. she just placed the ball on the rubber and they posed for a picture. WTF? was that an omen.

    before that Cub hall of famers Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux actually did throw out the first pitch(es) side by side but their expressions were also like WTF. then Jeff Garlin from Curb Your Enthusiasm (WTF?) gave a one minute pep talk… but he’s from Curb YOUR ENTHUSIASM! Bill Murray is in the house, someone please hand him the mic. Or 329089 year old Dorothy. Someone give her a Jager bottle and have her toast the 41,000 in attendance and all our ships at sea! Why are we letting some tv “star” be our voice?

    nice ladies

    Garlin should have been replaced by these sweet ladies who were sitting in the bleachers for the first time ever who sported buttons of their deceased parents. they told me their parents loved the Cubs and this was their way of bringing them to something they had never gotten to experience: a World Series game at Wrigley.

    THOSE ARE CUB FANS RIGHT THERE!

    and then the craziest thing happened. bottom of the seventh, lead off hitter Dexter Fowler is up.

    the guy in front of me and to the left one is asked by the guy next to him “do you always bring your glove to the game when you sit in the bleachers?”

    guy says, “i always sit in the bleachers and i always bring my mitt but i have never caught a ball.”

    CRACK!

    everyone starts yelling. the ball is getting close. it might be, it could be. HOME RUN AND IT LANDS RIGHT IN HIS GLOVE SERIOUSLY ONE MINUTE AFTER HE HAD SAID WHAT HE SAID

    home run

    and stranger still, all of my friends who were watching on TV screengrabbed the picture, i guess looking for me, and there i was: Exactly where they had put me in the second row of my beloved bleachers at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field

    and yes i am holding my second Old Style and no i did not spill it. (as that would be alcohol abuse)

    the ball

    everyone took pictures with the guy with the ball but he would not let anyone touch it. and who can blame him.

    then one guy said if you go to the Cubs they’ll authorize it for you and he said fuck that.

    and another guy (me) said if you show it to Dexter maybe he’ll trade it for a bat or his jersey and he was all fuck that.

    and this guy from Switzerland said “ive come from Switzerland, may I touch it?” and he said fuck that.

    AND I HAD ZERO PROBLEMS WITH ANY OF THAT.

    i said, dude, everyone wants to touch your balls!

    rally cap

    but maybe the thing i loved the most was that people asked online “i thought you woulda been wearing your Cubs hat” and i was all, duh i WAS! i had my hat on inside out

    because thats what you should do in the late innings to get a rally going. it’s called a Rally Cap

    and in a weird way it worked. and i kept it that way as we headed into the 8th and i got this picture with my new pal.

    used tickets

    as you know the Cubs didn’t win. so i walked around in a daze. people werent really partying. but they were still buying up merch. i bought a ball and a pin inside but i lost them because i havent been able to focus on anything for the entire month. its a miracle im even alive. or employed. or not married to a crazy person with a José Cardenal jersey.

    ran into this guy who was paying people for their used ticket stubs because the word is on ebay theyre going for $50. i asked if he had any takers. he said “I was paying $12, someone gave me a $10, I thought it was a $20, so i gave her $10 back, so im actually down $2.”

    and you know, that’s a Cub fan

    right there.

    lets win two tonight.

  5. Saturday, October 29, 2016

    im going to the game 

    world series

    im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game im going to the game THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUU ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  6. Friday, October 28, 2016

    pretty sure tomorrow i’m going to the 3rd most popular game since 2010 

    cubs indians first game at wrigley

    Cubs lost today 1-0. it was super windy but no one hit a fly ball.

    tomorrow they go against the Indians’ best pitcher.

    ticket

    it’s a must win for the Cubs and it’s clear they need me in the stands.

    how much will i pay? about $3,000. most of which was generously donated to me. and i love everyone for that.

    me monica patrick

    Ticket broker SeatGeek listed the five most in-demand events it has tracked since 2010:

    1. Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match (May 2, 2015): $4,672
    2. Super Bowl 50 (Feb. 7, 2016): $4,531
    3. 2016 World Series Game 4 (Oct. 29, 2016): $4,446
    4. 2016 World Series Game 5 (Oct. 30, 2016): $4,423
    5. Super Bowl XLIX (Feb. 1, 2015): $4,271

    easy parking $100

    im gonna wear my carlos zambrano jersey

    cub bear

    because they need a little spice in their lives.

  7. im here in chicago 

    schawarber

    couldnt sleep. poops couldnt sleep. heart racing. is this all a dream.

    pooped all night. pooped this morning. poops didnt even smell like mine.

    POOPS ARE YOU DREAMING TOO?

    raised $2,445 on my gofund me. people are leaving the nicest notes:

    Sorry it’s not more.

    Right Field Sucks

    Have an Old Style on me!

    Go Tony Go

    I hope you get to go my friend! If you catch a ball though you have to give it to me: (DONE!)

    Midwesterner supporting a Midwesterner with a little Canadian tossed in. Hope you make it there!

    Happy birthday and go Cubs

    Happy birthday Bring Yer Own Cup!

    This is the year. Go Cubs! Have the time of your life!

    Getting you to the halfway mark

    When the Cubs made it to the World Series, I literally thought, I hope Tony gets to go. Thanks for letting me contribute to making that happen :)

    easy decision

    Tony if I could I would buy you a ticket myself. You deserve this. You are a top notch human.

    oh tony I believe in you and the cubs!

    Beth and I are pulling for you Tony

    Someone has to represent the College of Creative Studies!

    Thank you for the busblog

    Godspeed Tony!

    Can’t wait to see your smiling face with a frosty beer in the stands

    You better catch a ball too

    Happy belated birthday!

    I’m a lifelong Dodgers fan so obviously this means I really like you.

    Go and enjoy every moment.

    I WILL GOOD PEOPLE I WILL!

  8. Wednesday, October 26, 2016

    i told you not to sweat it 

    three

    today the Cubs manhandled the Indians

    they now go to back home to Chicago.

    the first team that wins 3 games is champs.

    the next three games is at Wrigley Field.

    i am targeted to go to the third one.

    i am the luckiest man alive.

  9. why isn’t anyone talking about the battle of the art museums? 

    art institute of chicagoone of the nice things about the Indians and the Cubs squaring off in the fall classic is you don’t have attention grabbing mayors betting buckets of lobsters

    or if their team loses they’ll sing in the opponents uniform.

    instead, because both of these cities have gone lifetimes since they’ve last been in the World Series, they’re focused on winning it.

    they’re also super stoked just to be in it.

    no one seems more stoked than the art institute of chicago

    and the cleveland museum of art

    who had a heartwarming battle in social media yesterday when the chicago museum (as seen in Ferris Buellers Day Off) took some liberties with Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street; Rainy Day” – a work that was completed a mere 31 years before the Cubs won it’s last world championship.

    the art institute has always had a healthy sense of humor and civic pride when it comes to Chicago sports, when the Bears were in the Super Bowl they’d put helmets on the lions in front of the main entrance (since they have Jay Cutler they just put scarves on them). and this year they have fashioned some Cubs hats on them. They’ve also put Black Hawks jerseys and helmets on the lions.

    yesterday the museum posted the reworking of the Caillebotte on it’s Facebook and called out the Cleveland museum and quickly the Ohio museum rallied and posed for a picture of many of its employees donning Indians garb.

    there were signs, big heads and even one dude posed like Rodin’s “Thinker”

    cleveland museum

    gotta love museum humor.

    and midwesterners who don’t make goofy ridiculous corny bets

    like, oh god, this one between the governors of ohio and illinois involving mustard and deep dish pizza.

    oh well.

    Go Cubs.

  10. Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    it’s ok 

    sad jon

    we rallied a few times

    wore down their best pitcher

    gave up two dongs to their #9 hitter

    and popped our world series cherry

    this team is young and emotional and has a lot of pressure on them.

    they will bounce back tomorrow behind jake, i promise.

    enjoy the night.