Saturday, December 9, 2017

Rock and Pop Musicians! Please Make Two and a Half Minute Songs!



"Brevity is the soul of wit." - Lord Polonius from Shakespeare's Hamlet 1602


Everyone knows that the attention spans of people are getting shorter yet rock musicians (people who are appealing to those with the shortest attention spans of all), keep making songs that are getting longer.

I don't get it.

According to the website: Attention Span Statistics data

"The average attention span in 2000, 12 seconds. The average attention span in 2012, 8 seconds. "

Yet, people keep making pop and rock songs longer and longer! Ever since "Let it Be" by the Beatles and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, which BOTH were six minutes long, pop and rock musicians keep making songs over four, even five minutes! Is this counter-intuitive? Or just plain, well, "Not smart"?


No. This is NOT what I want!

I think it's not very smart. Let me tell you why...

I used to program and select all the music for a very popular morning drive-time program in Tokyo. Our service area covers 42 million homes, so it's huge. I know that many people like me (I've asked) have agreed that the "perfect pop/rock song" is 2.5 minutes long (or thereabouts). Three minutes? Well, okay... Three and a half minutes? You're pushing it. Over 3:30? Hmmm, it had better be as good as the Rolling Stones, "Jumping Jack Flash" (which, I didn't look, but I believe is 3:48!) Still, with that, I will probably cut the last 30 seconds. Over 4 minutes? That's starting to get really difficult to use. Over 4:30 or 5? No thanks... Send me a radio-friendly version, will ya?

(By the way, if I must be going to a commercial in, say, 1:40 from now, and I have to cover the time, will I play the 2:30 song and cut 50 seconds, or am I going to play the 5 minute song that has a 48 second intro? Easy call, isn't it?)

Yet musicians keep sending us their new singles and the songs are all over four or five minutes. I hate it!

Why?

OK. It's simple. Did you know that there are ten times more listeners at 7 am than there are at 7 pm (due to people driving in the morning)? Let me repeat that: Did you know that there are ten times more listeners at 7 am than there are at 7 pm (due to people driving in the morning)? And the number of listeners rapidly declines after the morning driving time ends (in Japan, after 8:30 am). So that's why you want your song on before 8:30 am; there's many more potential listeners for your tunes if they are on early. 

Did you also know (at least in Japan's case) that the average listener listens to FM radio for only twenty minutes at a time? That's right.

Now, morning shows (the ones with, by far, the highest ratings) need a quick tempo and a fast pace. We don't have time to screw around. We have to get lots of information, news, weather, sports, traffic, commercials and music shoved into the shortest time span possible. That means we play lots of short songs in the mornings (when, as I mentioned, the ratings are highest)... That means we (well, I won't) play any songs at all that push the 3:30+ mark (or I just lop off a few minutes - do you want that?) 

I greatly prefer short songs. 

If you send me a 2:30 song, then I will greatly consider that for airplay during the peak times... But, if you send me a 5 minute song? Yeah, later on in the show... Or never. Long songs are difficult to use.

Of course, I'm talking about the fun shows that are on in the mornings (did I say the ratings = more listeners - were higher at that time? I did? Thanks.)

That means, in my case, I will play short, up-tempo songs like early Beatles, Stones, Ramones at peak times to get the listeners pumped-up and ready to go in the mornings. We don't do easy listening...

It used to be that, long ago, songs were always under 3 minutes. What happened? I don't know. But this "long song" business is foolish. 

It's simple; if you want your songs played when there are the most listeners, then make them short. If you can't say it in 2.5 minutes, then you need to work on it.

Of course, there is a time and place for longer songs.... But generally not on the highly rated morning shows... I'm trying to wake people up in the morning and cram in as much as I can in the shortest space I can... But, then again, maybe people don't care about radio anymore... OK. I can understand that too.

But, knowing this, and if you DO want radio airplay, why would you want to make long songs?

Your call.


NOTE: Oh, and PS: If you are a new musician, then make sure you "Like" the FB pages of the radio programs you are (or want to) promote to. Our FB page is here: https://www.facebook.com/MikeRogersShow/

NOTE TWO: THE PERFECT SONG? I don't know but it's a great example of what I'm talking about. Within the first 30 seconds, you hear the intro, verse, chorus and hook... If this isn't perfect, then it's damned close: The Beatles - Paperback Writer (if link doesn't work, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmVwo2DxkGg)




Here's another one (You can argue with me but you can't argue with the success of the Beatles!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qyclqo_AV2M



Friday, December 8, 2017

Letter from DJ Al Tarded


Sometimes people write things to me that are so full of twisted and faulty reasoning that I am astounded. I have a son who just entered high school and I would expect a much higher level of writing skill, as well as thinking than the mail I received today.

The guy was responding to an article I wrote where I was giving hints to artists on how to treat DJs and get them to play your music. Refer: Your Music on The Radio? It's a Two-Way Street! https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/12/your-music-on-radio-its-two-way-street.html

DJ Al took offense and proceeded to send me this tortured correspondence. First I will print his mail then I will post it again with my rebuttals to his confused points one by one.

First his original mail:

-----
In a commercial radio environment your comments are reckless and disrespectful. Many of the indie artists are working full time jobs and don't have people to check all the social media that goes on daily. What your statement comes down to is, if you don't say hi, I will take my ball and go home. When you play these artists how many plays a week are they getting? How many a day? Is it just during your show or throughout the entire day? It is fantastic that you are trending on Twitter, but that doesn't equate to the number of listeners. You say you have the data to show you have a lot of listeners, yet you don't point to any reference to prove this point. You were quick to point out the Twitter data though. I am not saying you don't have them, my real point is you come across as an arrogant spoiled on air personality. My suggestion to Indie artists, is you don't have to pay a dime to radio to get air time, and you don't need to kiss the butt of guys like these. If your mom doesnt follow you on FB do you ignore here too. (sic)


-----

Now, my rebuttal. My comments are in blue.

In a commercial radio environment your comments are reckless and disrespectful. 

My comments are reckless and disrespectful? (is this your attempt at trying to sound erudite?) What does that even mean, Al? Reckless in what way? Do you even know what the definition of reckless is? Reckless means, "Careless of consequences," Al... Consequences of my writing tips to indies artists? Maybe we need call in the UN Security Council?

Reckless and disrespectful? This is a subjective judgment with no basis in science or fact; and since all morality is subjective, it doesn't mean anything. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has an asshole too. Reckless and disrespectful to who, Al? Go on, tell us more....

Many of the indie artists are working full time jobs and don't have people to check all the social media that goes on daily. 

Working at a full-time job!? Oh my god. Unheard of. Working at a job? My lord...  

Look, Al, I'll explain it so that even you can understand; there are lots of factors that come into play whether someone "makes it" or not. I don't know a single indies musician that doesn't have to work. We all have to work. The ones who do "make it" are the ones who get lucky (it is said one makes their own luck) and the ones who make it overcome nearly insurmountable odds and obstacles... They have a job and play the guitar too!? How do they ever do that?  Good lord! When do they sleep, Al?

What your statement comes down to is, if you don't say hi, I will take my ball and go home. (sic)

No, Al, that's not what it says. What it says is that this is a two-way street and there are only so many minutes in a radio show, so I can't afford to waste time on artists who aren't overcoming the difficulties and obstacles we all must face. If you can't, someone else will. It's the real world.

When you play these artists how many plays a week are they getting? How many a day? Is it just during your show or throughout the entire day? 

OK. I'll bite at this twisted reasoning and leap off into left-field.... Just my show, Al? Let's count it, OK? 

But since you live in the sticks in a city with a population of 383,822 and Tokyo is over 38,000,000 according to a 2016 UN estimate. That means one play on my show on one day is worth about 1 play on your show for over 3 months. (100 plays on your station). How about it, Al? Do the math. I hope your mathematical skills are not a lacking as your reasoning skills... Actually, Al, it's even worse than 100 to 1. You guys have hundreds of radio stations in your area. Tokyo only has 5 commercial FM stations. 

It is fantastic that you are trending on Twitter, but that doesn't equate to the number of listeners. You say you have the data to show you have a lot of listeners, yet you don't point to any reference to prove this point. You were quick to point out the Twitter data though. 

Al, you can't be so lost as to not understand that there is a direct correlation between Twitter Trending and numbers of listeners... Do you claim to be ignorant of how it works? 

Let me explain to you how it works, OK? During my live show, on air, I tell listeners to Tweet something and add my hashtag, they do it... That's how it works, Al.... It's REAL-TIME, that's why it is called "TRENDING." 

Data from Neilsen research shows that, on average, out of 100 people, 1 might send an email to a radio station.... The numbers are slightly higher for Twitter (it's simpler to use). TV shows, radio shows, product manufacturers, etc. etc. all use Twitter in this way. Try it sometime, Al, you might even get into the Top in your neighborhood. Oh, did I forget that the population of tiny Japan is more than 3 times that of all of Canada? That should be pretty simple to figure out what that means, Al...

I am not saying you don't have them, my real point is you come across as an arrogant spoiled on air personality. 

Why? Why do you call me arrogant? Because I write an article to help artists to game the system and get an advantage? Did you write any articles giving anyone any tips? No? 

I am arrogant because I tell musicians what to do to get on air and stay there? Arrogant, because I try to help them get on air? Or am I arrogant because #Localmoose trends higher than your show on Canada's Twitter charts? Or are you just jealous because you are on a small local station? 

Because I do make the effort to help these artists and give them tips (no, life isn't always easy) you call me arrogant and spoiled? My ass. I work my butt off and have been breaking new artists on the radio for over 32 years... I have been involved the music business since 1977... 

My suggestion to Indie artists, is you don't have to pay a dime to radio to get air time, and you don't need to kiss the butt of guys like these. 

Your suggestion is more illogical nonsense. Try to stay on subject here, Al. Where did I ever say that any of us asked for money? Payola is illegal in most places and against the company rules (maybe you take it, good on you, Al.) 

No one asked for money. No one asked for butt kissing. It's 2017, try to get into the nineties, Al... If artists and losers have to whine about the difficulties of "making it" in the internet age then, no problem. We don't play your crappy music (because you are too busy at your McJob to make it anyway) and you don't support our programs. Wallah! Problem solved! Everyone's happy.

If your mom doesnt follow you on FB do you ignore here too. (sic)

Al, you've written some really stupid things here, but this is by far the stupidest thing you've written so far. My mom is not an indie artist, and if she were, and I did play her, I'm sure she'd have already liked my page... She's a mom. That's what moms do.

Your Music on The Radio? It's a Two-Way Street!



This is a message for independent artists on how to get radio airplay (FM, satellite, AM, internet) and how to keep that airplay.


There aren't very many of us DJs on FM or satellite radio left who are given the carte blanche to play what we wish... Corporate radio has taken over.  

Being aired on a powerful metropolitan FM radio station has massive reach. My station in Japan, InterFM897 reaches over 42 million homes in the greater Tokyo and Nagoya areas... It is also streamed On-Demand nationwide.

So, whether it is an FM station or satellite radio or internet radio, when we DJs pick an independent artist for airplay it is a labor of love and a struggle against all odds. 

That being said, if you are that independent artist and we air you, us DJs expect some mutual support. This is a team effort. 


Good morning everybody!

I am writing this post today because I personally know several DJs; FM, satellite and internet radio DJs, who feel exactly the same way I do: (sorry to put it so bluntly, but) If you won't support us, we can't/won't play you... Please read on.

The details? Recently, I did play this indies artist on the FM radio in Japan. I played them two weeks in a row. But, I stopped. Why did I stop? Because I gave up on them. After I stopped playing that artist (it's been a few weeks back that I stopped), they wrote to me and asked me today if I had played them. They wrote: "Did you air any other songs of mine? Reason I ask is, I've received a large spike in Spotify and Apple Music streams all from Japan. Appreciate what you do."

Here's how I responded:

Dear Johnny (not his real name), 

Hi.. 

Let's be frank, positive and discuss business and how we can help each other.... 

Yes, I did play you, twice. I sent you a friend request on Facebook but you didn’t accept so I couldn’t tag you on my posts. Since I couldn't tag you or get any reaction from you, I stopped playing you after the two weeks. 

I stopped playing you, not because I was mad about it or anything, but because I figured it must not be a priority for you, so I gave the airtime to someone else who has great tunes and might be more hungry. 

Some artists I play will do great SMS promotion and really blow my mind. Renato Telles Sbeghen with his song "Late For The Last Waltz" did an amazing job for us. Renato got on social media and got us so many Likes that I actually feel obligated to play him them on air for at least a month.  Doing this cross promotion helps him and it helps us. (And when I say, "us" I mean it. I have staff who have families and mouths to feed too.)

Johnny, it’s a two way- street, my friend. We take risks when we play new artists. We need to show that station management or sponsors or possible sponsors that we have promotional power. We do that through Social Media.

If I can’t coordinate with you on Social Media - that also means you don’t support our radio in return by Liking and Sharing with your friends and asking them to Like us too. 

Now, I am leaving Japan tomorrow and will not be back until end Dec. so the next few shows are recorded and your song is not on the playlist due to the reasons above. 

May I politely suggest that you check your Social Media (no point in having it if you don't check it at least once a day, maybe?) And when DJs air you, you are on the ball and show us real appreciation by promoting our show?

Like I said, I know many DJs personally who feel exactly the same way. In fact, one of the most famous DJs in the world feels exactly the same way.

I don't think I'm being unreasonable to ask (for all of us DJs) that, if we play your indies artist music, you'll reciprocate and make the effort to promote us back.... Like I said, this is a team effort and a two-way street. 

Anyway, I hope you will consider this carefully and that we can move forward in a positive fashion in the next year. 

Best, 

Mike 


...

Let me digress and allow me to brag. My show is extremely popular in Japan, and I have data to prove it. So if I play you, you have access to millions of people. 

There are 45 million monthly Twitter users in Japan, a nation of 130 million people; that means a lot of Japanese people use Twitter. 

My program has Trended Top 3 for all of Japan on Twitter four out of the last five weeks. We climbed to number one last Sunday for the first time. (See last week's Twitter chart for Japan here. My show is "Mike Rogers Show on InterFM 897 so my Twitter handle is: #mrs897.) It is unheard of for a radio show to trend like this. I am proud of my team and myself for achieving this. I thank the listeners the most. My listeners are the best in the entire world! 




I reckon being played on my show (or any show for that matter) is powerful promotion for any indies band. (If you are a major label famous act, like Guns & Roses or Coldplay, if we play you, we don't expect you'll Like our FB page or follow us on Twitter.) But if you are not, well, then...

My favorite DJ programs - Go check them out. Send them tunes. (But read this before you do send them tunes: Musicians! Do Not Send DJ's Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud Links!  (If link doesn't work, try this: https://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/11/musicians-do-not-send-djs-spotify.html)

Be smart, "Like" their FB pages, follow them on Twitter and listen in:



Alex Kish at Wassup Rocker Radio: wassuprockerradio.com
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2nHsPXe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WassupRckrRadio

Candice Marshall @ Limehead Radio: http://bit.ly/2y3EgZf
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2BeMjbE
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CAMARSHALLSMC

Gabbie and Chris at Biscuit Boys Radio: www.biscuitboys.co.uk
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2AFE2ud
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Biscuit_Boys

Kayla Marie Williams @ Radio Alchemy: http://bit.ly/2AFyAas
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2kBDG3X
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RadioAlchemyFM

Marc Platt @ Radio Candy: http://www.radiocandy.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RadioCandyIndieShow/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RadioCandyHits

The Mike Rogers Show InterFM 897: http://www.interfm.co.jp/mrs/
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2BTteZt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MRS897

World Famous Rodney Bingenheimer: http://www.siriusxm.com/
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2BKxuK4




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Russian Embassy, Vladimir Putin, Natasha and Me - Another True Story

This is a true story.... (well, sort of...)

So, it’s December 5, 2017. I get invited to a big film festival in Russia and the film festival is paying for ALL of my expenses! They are taking care of airfare from Japan, 5-Star Hotel, food, everything! Wow!.... 

In September, I went to Raindance Film Festival in London and met my hero Johnny Rotten, former lead vocalist of the Sex Pistols... Now, in December, I am going to Russia. Can I meet my other hero, Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation? I think so. Yes!

My wife said, "That's crazy. You can't compare a punk like Johnny Rotten to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia!" She's right, I suppose. 

Johnny Rotten has been famous for 40 years!

All expenses paid trip to Russia!? It’s my 2017 Christmas dream come true! 

"Everything is paid for!?... Wait a minute... What!?" 

First thought in my mind: "This must be some kind of trap!"

"Ve are paying for simpleton American to come to Rossia! Bwa! Ha! Ha!  
Ve vill kidnap him and hold him for ransom!" 
Bwa! Ha! Ha! Welcome to Rossia!" - Vladimir Putin


Really. Going to Russia is amazing. Going for free is like a dream come true.

But first, the hassles: I have to go jump through some hoops and get a visa at the Russian embassy... Of course, nothing is easy anymore.

I get everything ready as they instructed me to bring: invitation letter to film festival and Russian government approved visa code; copies of my airplane e-tickets, application code, passport, everything. 

I go to the Russian embassy. On my way, I figure this could be a major pain in the ass, so I had better be nice to people. Since I'm going to a film festival because I made a film (of course I can act!) I figure I had better be in character and act like a nice guy and not a boisterous, loud, drunk and stupid troublemaking American tourist...

I lower my head, walk a little slower and remember that I am humbled to be alive and thankful to all...

Finally, I get to the Russian Embassy. The building reminds me of that movie "War of the Worlds." (You know the building the Morlocks had where they ate the humans? (The Eloy.) 

Trying to look surly like a real Rossian.

There are Japanese cops standing around the embassy everywhere. It’s 12:45 pm. The embassy is locked. The sign says they are closed for the day (at only 12:45!?) WTF?????

Operating hours are from 9:30 am ~ 12:30??? Dream job! 
Where do I apply for a job like that?

I go back the next day (today) at 10:45 am. I'm in luck! They are open!


There's a hot young girl at the window. I call her 'Natasha' (not her real name).  I very politely say "Hello. Beautiful. Day isn't it? How are you?" 
I hand her my papers. 

She says nothing. 


Imagine a blonde Natasha... OK? We're on the same page.

Natasha asks “How soon would you like your visa?”

“Today?” I reply.

She smirks derisively and shakes her head, “No. That's impossible.” (Wait! Was that a quick wink at me and at my humor? Maybe she likes me?)

“Tomorrow?” I say.

“No.”

"Day after that?" (Which is Friday).

"No."

“Friday?”  (Which is the 'day after that.')

Not amused, she huffs as if to say, “You’re going to keep this up, aren’t you?” She gives me the stink eye, pauses... and says, “OK. Friday. That’ll be $218 dollars!”

I protest. “$218 dollars!? But it said $108 on the webpage!”

“No. That is for Japanese nationals. Americans are $218,” she curtly responds.

(What???? They charge Americans twice as much??? Come to think of it, If I were them, I would too...)

“Do you take credit cards?” I ask.

“No.”

“I... I don’t have $218 dollars.” I meekly respond.

Natasha 
(not her real name) smiles and sweetly says, “You can go to the ATM across the street.” 

I look down and shuffle my feet like a 10-year-old.... “I... I don’t have a bank card.”

She looks surprised, “You don’t have a bank card????”

Slowly, in embarrassment, I sigh, “No. At my house, my wife is the boss and she handles all the money. I don’t even have a bank card.... She gives me a monthly allowance.” (That’s true. And about 80% of all households in Japan are that way and a reason divorce is low in this country. If guys don't have any money, they can't do so many stupid things.)

I take a deep breath and, in defeat, slowly gather up the papers. I lean towards Natasha and say, through the window....”It’s ok. I know it’s not your fault... I guess I can’t go to Russia this time... I don’t have enough money and I don't have enough time... My flight is Saturday... But, well...”

Natasha
 looks shocked. She stops filing documents at 500 miles, er, kilometers an hour, pauses and looks straight at me and says, “.....OK... I understand... For you, $108!”

"What the f...? Just like that? She can decide to cut the price in half?" I'm now the one who is shocked.... But I figure I'd better stay in character. 

Like old Bob Cratchit who just received a lump of coal from Ebeneezer Scrooge to give to Little Tim, I hold back the tears...I softly say, “Thank you!” to Natasha (not her real name).

She smiles ever so slightly and I pay the $108 dollar and whimper, "Thank you" several times over....

I pay and then scurry out of the room like a mouse.

Of course, ve hold your passport and give it back to you after ve 
insert tracking chip. Bwa! Ha! Ha!

I have to go back to the Russian Embassy to pick up my passport with visa stamp in a few days. But now I am ready to go to Russia and accept my film festival trophy for "Best Actor" in the real-life drama, "Dumb Ass Broke American Guy at Russian Embassy."

Thanks Natasha (not her real name!) See you in Sochi, Russia, Vladimir!

(Mike has artistic license to exaggerate.)

The trailer (Eng. subtitles) for "Ghostroads - a Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story": 


Friday, December 1, 2017

Grandfather Dies. Father Dies. Son Dies. Grandson Dies: This is True Prosperity



An ancient Zen Buddhist story goes like this:
A very wealthy family in China bought a large farm and built a beautiful palace upon it. They wished for good luck, health, and fortune, so they decided to ask a famous Zen priest to write a scroll for them to hang in their den. The priest accepted the job and went back to his temple to pray for enlightenment.
After a few days, the priest returned with the finished scroll and the entire family gathered around in great anticipation to see the words that the priest wrote for them. The priest said a short prayer and opened the scroll and hung it on the wall.
The scroll said:

Grandfather dies. 
Father dies. 
Son dies. 
Grandson dies.

The entire family was furious at the priest. They shouted and demanded that he go back to the temple and rewrite the scroll for them.
As the priest was rolling up the scroll, he sighed and said: “I will rewrite the order of names on the scroll in anyway you wish. But I think there can be no other sequence. If all die in this order, I think that is true prosperity.”
My own mother died in a freak car accident in 1994. Of course, I was crushed. I was in Japan and she was in America.

After the car accident, she was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I understand that she floated in and out of consciousness before she died. Since I was so far away, I had no way of seeing her, holding her hand, and saying: “I love you mom. Thank you for everything.” But at least I can be thankful that my father was there to do so when she went away. Many people who die are not fortunate enough to have a loved one with them, to hold their hand, to whisper in their ear: “I love you. We all love you…. Please rest. You may go now.” And with words like these, my mother “let go” and passed away. I will always regret that I couldn’t be there with my mother in her time of need. I thank God that my father could be.
There are too many people in this world who die alone. Could there be a more woeful way to die, than when loved ones cannot be there by your side to say their last, “Good-bye”?
After my mother died, though, I was angry. I was angry at the world and I was angry at God. For months after my mother’s death I had recurring nightmares and the most bizarre dreams. Many of the dreams involved times when I was a boy. I would be playing in a playground and I would see my mother on the other side of a fence. I would cry out, “Mom! You’re back!” And I would begin to sob uncontrollably. My mother would grow angry at me and she’d start to leave. I’d cry out again, “Mom! Come back!” As she walked away, she would turn around, look at me, and always say the same thing: “I cannot come to visit you, if you are going to cry every time I see you.” And with that, she’d disappear into a field of tall grass.
I would always promise not to cry the next time. But I couldn’t keep my promise. I think I saw this same dream just about every night for at least six months.
Then one night, I had the most bizarre dream of all. My mother, as usual, walked away because I was crying, I was on my knees. I had my head in hands to try to hold back the tears. And then suddenly, I found myself in a huge chamber. It was like a colossal courtroom. I looked up and there was an old man sitting in a chair, looking quite frustrated and irate at me. He was massive in size. He was huge, at least 40 or 50 feet high and he was sitting down! He was brushing his beard and looking at me as if he was considering what to do.
I knew exactly who he was, yet I was not afraid of him; I was furious.
I shouted: “It’s not fair! It’s not fair that my mother died in an accident. My mother was still young and healthy. She should still be alive you bastard!” The old man just stared at me. I continued to shout at him. And I began to cry.
Then he calmly said: “So you think it is unfair that your mother has died?”
“Of course it’s unfair!”
The old man sighed and said, “Very well then, I shall allow you to be reborn and I will give you a different mother, and that mother will still be alive today. Would you find this acceptable?”
“A different mother!?” I said. “No… No, thank you.”
I suddenly awoke from my dream. I was in tears.
I pondered this strange dream for many weeks after that. Then it dawned on me: Instead of being angry that my mother died in an accident. I should be thankful for all of the wonderful times we spent together, all the hugs and bedtime stories. All the laughs and the great dinners. All the special times that my mother made me feel special, and all the other times she cheered me up when others did not. I should thank God for all the wonderful memories I received from being the son of this loving woman. She was always there for me when I needed her. And now, whenever I see her in my dreams, I do not cry. In fact the dream I often have with her now is one where I am on her side of the fence and we are sitting in the field and having a picnic and smiling together.
I haven’t seen my mother in a while, but I look forward to the next time I do.
I told this story to a priest who has become my friend. He asked me to show him a photograph of my mother. I did. He said: “Your mother was a very beautiful woman. Always keep this image of her in your heart. You are most fortunate that it is you, and not her, who has but memories and a snapshot.”
“How profound!” I thought. And I have always kept his words of wisdom in my heart. I share these words with my friends whose parents have passed away.
If only I could have been lucky enough to be there to hold my mother’s hand and be able to say, “I love you” when she passed away. How thankful I would be; thankful for that moment that I could be there. But I wasn’t.
But she was there to share and be a big part of my life.
I wouldn’t trade those photos or memories for anything in the world.


Would you?
My mother and father sometime in the very early 1950s.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Musicians! Do Not Send DJ's Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud Links!


Once again, I have received a message from an artist asking me to consider their music for radio airplay. Once again, they sent me a Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link and asked me to go to the links and listen to their music, write back to them and tell them what songs I want, and they will send them along.

I won't do that. I don't know any professional DJs or curators who will.

It is good that artists make this effort; well done. But, artists, do not just send DJs only Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, please! Most DJs I know will not respond to you nor will they go to your link.

Why? There is no reason for us to go to the link. We can't play those links on air. So, if we can't play them on air, there's no point in even listening to them. 

If you want us to listen to your music, check out our playlist. If you think your song fits what we play, then put your best foot forward, and send us your fave MP3 or two (Don't send us full album downloads, either - if we want those, we can ask for that later.)

It is an extra process, or step, and a waste of time for DJ's to go to your Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify link. We don't have time to write back to you or download the tunes using special software. Sorry, but you need to do homework and check our on-air playlist.

Yes, we DJs are lazy (and underpaid). But remember, our listeners will not increase nor decrease whether we play your track or not. I already write to lots of artists and ask for tracks for things I found and like.

Send me those Spotify, Youtube or Soundcloud links, fine, but include a high -quality MP3 of your best track in the mail/message too.

If I listen to the MP3, and like it, I will immediately place it into the music list; I can't do that with a Soundcloud link. I don't have time to write back to you and wait for a response. I'll forget.

FYI: I know other DJs and curators who absolutely hate it when artists ask them to go to an online link and listen.  

Again, today, another artist has asked me to listen to their online music and pick what I like. They wrote: "Here's my Soundcloud or Spotify link. Please listen and then tell me what songs you like and I will send it to you." 

This frustrates me. 

The artist wants me to play their music on the radio in Japan? Great. But it is the artist's duty, not mine, to go to the radio show webpage, look at the playlist and then determine if their music is suitable (You'd be blown away at how many artists send me Heavy Metal or Death Metal - which I never play). 

I don't want to come off as a conceited jerk, but the artists have to make things easier for us. 

To the artist above I actually responded (most DJs won't). Here is what I wrote:

"Here is my radio show link. Please check out the link and the songs that I play. If you think your songs fit, please send me two of your best MP3s. I don't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud as it is a waste of time because I cannot play those on the radio. I know for a fact that most of my DJ friends, who do this job as an occupation, won't listen to Spotify or Soundcloud either. 

I'm not being a jerk. I want to, and always have, supported new artists. But I need for the artist to help me and save all of us time by sending the tunes that they think are the best fit (as MP3 attachments)

Please understand. 

Here is my show: http://www.interfm.co.jp/mrs/ 

Thx, Mike"

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Three Signs of True Stardom! A True Story about Donald Trump, Pamela DesBarres, Rodney Bingenheimer, Arnold Scwartzneggar & Stephen David Brooks


Today I have a (hopefully) humorous story about how one can know if they REALLY are famous! What is "Famous"? There's lots of definitions... But here's a simple three-step test to see if you have become REALLY famous.

You need to fulfill all three qualifications to be truly famous.

The First Qualification of Stardom!

You start getting people who bash you and/or threaten your life.

Sure, you have a hit song or you are a Hollywood in-crowd or starlet. But are you really famous? Well, you ain't famous unless some people hate you and begin to obsess over you. 

People diss you on Social Media? Meh... People disparage you in articles or on TV? Well, that's getting there. People stalk you or threaten your life? That's it! You must be famous if some nutcase cares about you so much to obsess over you like that!

Now, you can be famous and live in fear for the rest of your life! Well done!

I remember many years ago, Pamela DesBarres came to Japan to promote her best selling book "I'm With the Band" (the true stories of the life of a groupie superstar). World famous DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the Roq), asked me to take care of her in Japan, so I did... Rodney had only told me her name was "Miss Pamela." I picked her up at the airport. 

Being an idiot, I didn't know that her last name was pronounced, "De-bar" I thought it was pronounced "Des-Bar-res." So, while we were riding back to Tokyo in my car, she started telling me about what she did and why she was in Japan. As I drove, I started thinking, "Wait a minute! I've heard of you!" (This confusion about famous Hollywood people used to happen with me a lot when I was hanging around Rodney). Then she handed me the book, I looked at the cover, and I knew exactly who she was!

About that same time, the comedy and satire magazine, "National Lampoon" had done a satire of "I'm With The Band" and had a hilarious article lampooning Miss Pamela's book. The article, with funny photos and story, was entitled something like, "I'm With the Brass Quartet" (or something like that). This was really coincidental because I just so happened to have that particular magazine with me in the car and I showed it to her.

She didn't like it at all. But I told her, "No! This great! When you get made fun of or people bash you, that means you've 'made it!' It means you've become so famous that everyone knows who you are and so people can make fun of you. This is a real status symbol!"

It's true. People don't publicly bash people who aren't famous, there's no point in that. People publicly bash famous people; because then everyone gets the joke. It's one of the three qualifications for true stardom. 

The Second Qualification of Stardom!

People walk up to you at restaurants and say, "Are you somebody?" 

They say, "If you wanna be professional, act professional." If you wanna be a star, look and act like one.

A long time ago, I was with that same famous DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer, at Canters restaurant in Hollywood. It was in the daytime before his show. 

Rodney was being visited by many musicians who wanted to sit with him and chat... I felt it was my duty to be a sort of adjutant for Rodney and so, as people walked up to our (his) table, I would stand up and block them (politely) and ask them, "Can I help you?" 

Later, Rodney was sitting there with somebody super famous (I think it was Phil Spector but can't remember well) when some lady walked up (I think she was a tourist). I stood up and did my duty and asked how I can be of assistance to her. She pointed at Rodney and said, "Is he somebody?" 

I was surprised and said, "Uh, yeah. Everybody is somebody!" 

She then said, "No, I mean is he famous?" 

I replied, "He is the most famous disc jockey in the world." The lady then scowled and quickly turned and walked away uninterested. 

I should have told her "That's David Bowie!" 

Rodney Bingenheimer has that "look of 'somebody.'" He has two of the qualifications of true stardom.

The Third Rail is the Ultimate Sign of Fame

Forget the Academy Awards, Grammys, Oscars, MTV Music Awards, Tony's, Peabody & Sherman's! The true pinnacle of success, the peak of the summit, the plastic pickles on the cheeseburger, is when a Chinese company makes a Halloween costume of your likeness for sale to the public. 

Laugh if you will, but it is truly the ultimate honor... Lots of people have won Oscars or Grammies or whatever. Few. Very few have been made into Halloween costumes.

Every year, I see these costumes on sale here in Japan. Of course, there's the usual: Donald Trump, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley... But also in this year's Top 100 selling costumes, there's Heather Chandler, Severus Snape, Ziggy Bowie and, surprisingly, Uncle Fester from the Addams Family... 

But this morning, I saw something that dropped my jaw! My dear friend, movie director, Stephen David Brooks is now a Halloween Costume! Wow! Move over Sylvester Stallone and Arnie Schwarzenegger! I haven't seen you two loser's costumes in a long time. 

There's a new kid on the block! Movie director, Stephen David Brooks!

All hail the new king! 

Here is his costume on sale: https://www.cosplay.com.hk/comics/Celebrity/Stephen+David+Brooks


Really. What an honor, eh?

So, now, Stephen David Brooks enters that same hallowed Hall of Fame of where few have walked: there is a plastic costume of him on sale in Asia! 

Well done, Stephen! I hope that Hong Kong company is paying you good royalties!


NOTE: Stephen David Brooks is a multi award winning director of the movie Flytrap. You can read all about him here: SMC Spotlight Series No.1 | Stephen David Brooks 'Flytrap' Director & Writer Exclusive Interview starlightmusicchroniclesspotlight.com/smc-spotlight-series-no-1-stephen-david-brooks-flytrap-director-writer-exclusive-interview/

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