Liner Note #40: April 2014

ctan here. Okay, first the main news for this liner note:


Yes, it’s been two years since the last Kickstarter and it’s time for another. My plan this time is to put Ebook 4 and Ebook 5 (comprising the whole cross-country tour) into one omnibus paperback. I’m estimating that it will come out about 40 pages longer than the previous one!

Here’s the video I made about it:

The gist is that we need about $3,500 to produce the paperback and fulfill the rewards. If we raise more than that I’ll also do some stuff like paperback editions of the individual ebooks, and even invest in website upgrades (or maybe moving to paid hosting). The rewards include some cool things ranging from the usual digital bonus scene rewards to Moondog Three tour swag to a stuffed animal tattooed with Sharpie by Ziggy.

The campaign will run 30 days, until May 9. The earlier you can pledge the better, though, as my stress level will be much lower if we reach the goal sooner! (The charges won’t be rung up until May 9th so you can pledge any time.)

Click here to donate:

And here’s a short link to share!

Now for fun stuff. Daron, what have you got?

Daron: You like cats, right? How about this:

As this Flavorwire article says, the photography book by Alexandra Crockett “reveal[s] the softer side of menacing-looking metalheads, by way of their pet cats. Due out in May, the adorably evil Metal Cats features the felines that make these musicians, promoters, fans, and others purr. Band members from groups like Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Black Goat, Isis, and Exhumed are featured throughout. A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to no-kill shelters in the cities hosting a series of related benefit shows.”

ctan: I need this book.

Daron: I already pre-ordered it for you on Amazon.

ctan: Thanks! I love this from the author’s bio: “Beginning her idea for the book by doing promotional photos for bands and friends she would cat-sit for, she found an interesting dynamic between men in the metal scene and their cats.”

Daron: I like cats. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to have one when I can be gone months at a time.

ctan: Yeah. Okay, today I have a geography lesson and a history lesson. Which one do you want first?

Daron: Um. Does geography mean New Jersey?

ctan: It’s a USA map.

Daron: Lay it on me.

ctan: Well, two actually. The first one is “This Map Shows Each State’s Most Popular Music Not Popular Anywhere Else.” On Here’s the New England section of the map:

ctan: Followed by “The Actual Map of Each State’s Favorite Artists Is Kind of a Bummer” also by Spin’s Marc Hogan, who writes, “No Kurt Vile, but a whole lot of Drake, Jay Z, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.” (Click the link to go to the full size)

Daron: Thank god we live in the Daft Punk nation! Although Jay Z is cool, too…

ctan: Agreed. And I confess, actually, I don’t know who Macklemore or Ryan Lewis are. Or Drake.

Daron: Actually, is Macklemore the one who did the rap song I heard on the radio the other day about how he’s not gay but appreciates people who are? The lyrics were something like “When I was eleven I thought I was gay, because I kept my room clean and liked to draw.” Which obviously isn’t it since that doesn’t rhyme.

ctan: I’m Googling “when I was eleven I thought I was gay.” Wow. You are right. That is Macklemore.

Daron: We’ve heard that song in the car like ten times and never the name of the artist. So it had to be.

ctan: So my Google search brought up the Rap Genius website and I learned another surprising thing, to me anyway, which is that Macklemore’s white. (Rap Genius: The song is called “Same Love” and there’s a video interview of him explaining the song. Though the song is pretty self-explanatory.

Daron: Here, just watch the interview.

ctan: Okay, now here’s a 1980s history lesson. Remember gay singing duo Romanovsky & Philips?

Daron: Who?

ctan: These guys:

Daron: That video says the song is from 1994, though.

ctan: That was when their greatest hits collection came out, but most of the LPs are from the eighties. Plus in 2006 all their records came back into print. They have a website now with lots of videos and an e-store:

Daron: Aha, I see their greatest hits include:
-Don’t Use Your Penis (For a Brain)
-The Sodomy Song
-When Heterosexism Strikes
-She Has a Thing (For Men Who Love Men)

ctan: Relevant.

Daron: You do realize that this is my greatest fear, though, don’t you?

ctan: What is?

Daron: That if I get tagged as “gay” in the music business I’ll be reduced to singing parody songs about the lifestyle at pride parades.

ctan: Wait, “reduced to”? Didn’t you say you’d be grateful for any chance to make a living with music?

Daron: No. I respect people who can make a living at music no matter how they do it, whether they play in a wedding cover band or teach lessons or do parodies. But when I say “reduced to” I guess what I mean is “forced to” do something that just isn’t me. If the whole point of going into music was for the sake of self-expression on my part, and instead I’m reduced to faking something I’d hate… you get the point.

ctan: And you really fear that’s what would happen?

Daron: I didn’t say it was a RATIONAL fear.

ctan: Fair enough.

Daron: I could be completely wrong. Finding an audience who embrace you and love you counts for a lot. But imagine you’re a chef. Your dream is to open a fancy restaurant and be creative and invent recipes, etc. But say you’re Chinese, and people tell you you should open a Chinese restaurant instead. Or you’re Italian and people tell you you should run a pizzeria. They might be very very lucrative businesses. But you’d be pigeon-holed. Is it worth it? Nobody wants to be pigeon-holed, least of all me.

ctan: And yet that’s the music industry’s job. That’s what they do. Categorize and package what’s expected.

Daron: Exactly. But I guess you could say I’m more afraid of artistic death than of actual death. At this point, I’m not worried someone’s going to try to kill me because I’m gay.

ctan: Even though you almost lost an eye.

Daron: That wasn’t–

ctan: And that incident is what got Ziggy hooked on painkillers, too.

Daron: … True. Okay, fine, there’s plenty of malice in the world going to be aimed at me for being gay. But I accept that. I’ll deal with it as necessary. But I can’t live in fear for my life. If anything, now I worry more about other people.

ctan: You mean like the high rate of suicide among bisexual and gay youth? (March was Bisexual Health Month, in which I learned that bisexuals have a higher rate of suicide and a higher rate of suffering abuse and violence by their partners than gays or lesbians. For more info:

Daron: Well, suicide is one thing, domestic violence another. Then there’s messed up stuff like the woman recently who killed her four year old son for “acting gay.”

Mother Accused of Murdering 4-Year-Old Son Who “Walks and Talks” Gay

ctan: I’ve got friends who still find it unbelievable that people “disown” their kids for coming out. I think they believe that in time the freaked out parent will always “come around” like something from a family movie of the week.

Daron: That’s because they are caring, privileged people who have trouble imagining that someone can be so heartless to see ALL gays as not human, even their own flesh and blood.

ctan: Do you think your mother thinks you’re not human?

Daron: Let’s not talk about my mother. Let’s talk about Steve Grand, the gay country singer who did that YouTube video, All-American Boy? His Kickstarter wrapped up last week with 4,905 backers and over $326,000. Only two music projects on Kickstarter have been bigger: Amanda Palmer’s and one other.

ctan: That’s cool. But I wonder how many he’s actually going to sell?

Daron: Does it matter? I mean, if he’s raised the dough and 5,000 people get the album, isn’t that better than if he sold a hundred thousand records but was broke or in debt at the end of it?

ctan: You tell me. You’re the one who nearly fell over when you saw that gold record for Candlelight.

Daron: True. But you’ve read the classic Steve Albini rant from Maximum Rock n Roll about how a band who signs with a major label is fucked financially?

ctan: Yeah. It’s called “The Problem With Music” and you can currently read it on the Negativland website here: The tl;dr is a spreadsheet showing how a typical band who sells 250,000 albums ends up making nothing and in debt to the record company. (Meanwhile the record company has raked in $710,000 in profits.)

Daron: Only two things protected M3 from that fate when we signed with BNC. One, we had signed first with an indie label who were actually decent to us contractually, which reduced the amount of fuckage somewhat. Two, we broke MUCH bigger on the road than what Albini is talking about.

ctan: And yet you ended up unrecoupable anyway.

Daron: Yes. But that brings me back to what we were just talking about: the difference between making money to live off and having creative freedom.

ctan: But but but… when you sign with a major pigeon-holing label, you don’t have creative freedom really.

Daron: I know. I KNOW. The dream is to do what you love, to make the music you were put on Earth to make, but to manage to build the commerce around it that you need to to survive financially, too. In the old days, there weren’t too many ways to do that. Now, you can potentially be a YouTube star, and fund your efforts through your fans. It’s something!

ctan: I guess the real question is will something evolve where a major chain like Target will buy copies of All American Boy and give it that “mainstream” validation, or if so many YouTube views will add up to Billboard chart position and radio play?

Daron: I don’t know.

ctan: I mean, 50 Shades of Gray was kind of that in publishing. It was first done by a small press, but word spread through the Internet, increasing the demand and buzz to the point where one of the Big Six publishers bought the rights to do a re-release and that one sold 300 million copies.

Daron: If you sell 300 million albums, I think you get out of the situation that Steve Albini describes. I hope if Steve Grand gets approached by a major label that he has someone who can play hardball and keep the financial exploitation to a minimum.

ctan: I hope he keeps making good music. Will he feel pigeon-holed in five years? Ten? As a “gay” singer? Isn’t that what you objected to?

Daron: Gooood question, and kind of. Seems to me Steve Grand has decided to grab that as his identity, Gay Country Singer. We’re back to music is a form of self-expression, and Grand has taken “coming out” to a whole ‘nother level! Coming out and establishing his public persona were the same thing and IT WORKS. I don’t think I could have done that.

ctan: Because it was the 1980s?

Daron: Because I don’t feel like my sexuality is what defines me and I really don’t want it to be what defines me.

ctan: So what defines you, artistically?

Daron: I can’t put it in words. It’s in the notes. It’s in the playing. That’s why I fail. Mills was right about that. I’m not easy to package. Not easy to define. I’ll live with that. All any artist can hope for is to find an appreciative audience for what you want to do and enough lucre to make life work.

ctan: Agreed. So, hey, thanks again to all readers and supporters of DGC. I know the Kickstarter is a big deal and is all about money, but if you don’t have cash, there are so many ways you support what we do here:
-leaving comments on posts (we love love love comments!)
-voting for us every week on Top Web Fiction (click)
-telling your friends about us
-reviewing the ebooks on Amazon and Goodreads
-reviewing the audiobooks on Audible

Thank you everyone for all you do


  • ed69 says:

    you did not watch the 2014 grammys Macklamore sang/rapped while Queen Latifa officated over 30 couples marrage {can be seen on u-tube}

    • ctan says:

      No, Daron and I were busy drinking mezcal in a mexican restaurant the night of the Grammys meaning we “watched” it via twitter. While drunk. So we got a very very fragmented view of what happened during the show.

      • sanders says:

        It’s worth watching. Mary Lambert is amazing, the female vocalist sampled on the song. She’s a lesbian, just released her first single that’s the full version of the one sampled, and it’s getting “mainstream” play, if the pop stations on Sirius can be called mainstream. It’s also very blatantly a girl:girl love song. I don’t remember if the Grammy performance is when Jennifer Hudson joined them or if that was the MTV Awards, but it’s also a pretty awesome thing between the performances to have a straight black woman and a black woman about whose sexuality there has been speculation for ages (Queen Latifah has played at least one lesbian role in her film career) signing on in support of the song and LGBT equality.

        I have all kinds of ~~feelings~~ about “Same Love”, especially for the line about being gay and thinking hiphop hates me. There’s volumes of stuff for me about growing up black and queer and being alienated from “black” music. There’s also the absolutely gorgeous video for the song, which features a couple that may be interracial, and follows one of them through all the stages of his life. I dare you to watch it and not get choked up a little.

        Macklemore and Ryan Lewis also just joined USA Network’s anti-discrimination campaign, which is worth a look for the range of actors and musicians and other known faces taking part.

        On the other hand, though, there’s something a little… in the interest of not leaving you an entire essay, there’s some cultural appropriation issues going in half a dozen directions with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (straight white guys using an already appropriated genre of music to bring “sudden” awareness to LGBT issues). But. They’ve also made a name for themselves by staying mostly independent artists. I think you’d find their approach interesting, since they’ve done their albums as independent releases but gone to the major labels to get airplay. It’s a hybrid approach that shows some evolution in the industry to accomodate digital music.

        Sorry for just vomiting out opinions here/o\

        • ctan says:

          Yeah, I hear you on the cultural appropriation stuff, but I am heartened to hear the indie route they’re taking. Reading a little more about Macklemore it sounds like he’s well aware of the way the deck is stacked in his favor because of white privilege — any awareness of privilege already puts him light years beyond most young music stars. I guess the question is what’s he doing with that privilege and awareness? I guess I would give him points, then, for using it to spread a message of tolerance and pro-gay sentiment. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s a flash in the pan or if he builds some staying power.

  • cayra says:

    So excited for the new Kickstarter. Can only afford the book and no extra goodies this time, but the book I will get no matter what!

  • Connie says:

    Nice Liner note! Especially like that Daron, trying to explain how he doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed, can’t define himself. Sounds like an excellent way to keep the boundaries away.

    • ctan says:

      Daron asks himself the question time and time again whether he’d be so dead set on pursuing a life of freedom of self-expression if he didn’t live in a world so dead set on silencing gay people. Art is survival.

  • Joe Casadonte says:

    Just catchimg up, finally (as you can tell from all of my comments in the last couple of days).

    I came of age with Romanovsky and Phillips, saw them play at least a half-dozen times and still listen to them even now. I had the biggest crush on Ron…

    Were you going to say something interesting about them or was that just a way to get the whole pigeon-holing discussion going?

    I sometimes wonder if they and their songs are still relevant today? They are to me, obviously, but I wonder if I should be making sure that “kids today” know their music or if it’s all just ancient history?

    I also find it interesting to listen to their songs now, through the filter of knowing what the intervening 25+ years has been like. It would be interesting to hear what they think of their music now…

    • ctan says:

      What reminded me of Romanovsky & Philips after I forgot about them for over a decade was they started advertising on DGC, actually! My guess is that between YouTube and such they’re having a little revival selling digital versions of their albums. I don’t know if it’s just nostalgic folks or if they’re finding a new audience or what.

  • Bill Heath says:

    I had never heard of R&P before watching the video. It remains relevant because the gay vs culturally gay issue remains relevant.

    A good friend who’s a gay scientist is a conservative Republican and owns guns. Neither applies to me, but good for him. Why can’t he be whatever he wants?

    Another good friend is a straight retired Army general. He brought up the issue of gays in the military over drinks in 1992. His opinion was “Why should anybody care?” That, I believe, should be the goal. Nobody cares about sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and all the other superficial attributes about which we obsess.

    That’s what I like best about the Netherlands. The liberals spout gay rights slogans (needlessly, in my opinion) and the conservatives want the government to stay out of the bedroom and anything else to do with individuals and their proclivities and actions. It was actually the conservatives, who lean libertarian, that legalized prostitution, live sex shows, sex clubs, marijuana shops, etc. None of the government’s business.

    As the song says, “Wouldn’t it be loverly?”

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