Author Archive: mmelinger

Indian Food Made Easy. No, like, Ridiculously Easy.

First off, I know almost nothing about the true preparation of Indian food.  I have no Indian friends or even acquaintances.  I’m no longer a UT student, and in my neck of the woods, Indians tend to keep pretty much to themselves.  Which is just as well, because if they saw how I was cooking …

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Coming This Fall!

It’s that time of year again!  Get set for: America’s Got No Concept of Talent–The latest crop of self-immolating yodelers eagerly ignite themselves for your viewing pleasure.  New rule for this season: only one winner from each district will be permitted.  This year’s Celebrity Judges include David Lee Roth, Vlad the Impaler, and Snooki.  Sponsored by …

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Why Musicians Deserve Decent Royalties

The recent kerfuffle between recording artist Taylor Swift and Spotify has gotten a lot of folks questioning why recording artists need royalties in the first place.  I mean, why can’t they just earn money when they’re working, like everyone else?  What makes them so special that they deserve to draw payment while they are off …

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Performing Without a Net

The Internet is killing live music. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!  And don’t think I’m bitter or angry.  I’ve worked plenty and I’m well-compensated, and I’ve been doing it thirty years.  No complaints here. But between the dwindling ‘pay’ presented in clubs, the all-but-complete disappearance of royalty income due to online file-sharing, and the general …

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In Praise of Z

One of the best things about this profession is the opportunity to work with people who are great at what they do.  There have been scores of them, and I learn from every single one.  Quite often, it’s somebody from the rhythm section, because they have the greatest need to ‘roll with it’ and make …

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Does Jazz Belong in Nightclubs?

Just asking the question makes me feel queasy. I mean, on the one hand–of course it does!  Jazz was born in nightclubs.  And speakeasies.  And whorehouses.  (Sorry, Mom…) But that was over a hundred years ago.  Is it still a good fit? I’ve been thinking about it lately because of recent efforts in Portland, Oregon …

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Snowpiercer and your Smart Phone

I finally got around to seeing Snowpiercer, a near-future dystopian tale of claustrophobic chaos.  I had high hopes, because I really enjoyed the director’s previous feature called The Host.  The director is South Korean Bong Joon-Ho, and Snowpiercer is his first English-language film. The Host was essentially a creature feature, but with some nice twists.  I …

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The Death of Poker Night

Around 1975 or so, I lived at the Ark.  Not the ‘two by two’ kind, but the housing cooperative of a hundred residents that was at 2000 Pearl here in Austin.  The building is still there, and it’s still a housing co-op, but it’s no longer called the Ark.  I hope to high heaven that none …

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Thank You, Robert Fripp

Musical paths are meandering.  The point is never the arrival, always the journey.  And every musician can point to at least one event, and frequently several events, that spurred that journey onward. My first big push came from Robert Fripp.  Or more accurately, his band King Crimson–whose first album I bought just because the cover looked interesting. …

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Why should anyone pay anything for music ever?

Oh Lord, not this again. Speaking as someone whose sole income has been derived from performing/arranging/recording/teaching music for the past thirty years, I’m hardly impartial on the issue.  It seems like a no-brainer, right?  Commerce is based on the exchange of money for goods and services. But the onslaught of technology has now brought every …

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