Chancellorpink is the solo project of Pittsburgh, PA singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Raymond G. McLaughlin, who is also an attorney. We don’t hold that against him, we just think he makes cool music.
General news Archive
The brand name Muzak – often used as a generic term for all background music – will be retired this week as part of a reorganization by its current owner, Mood Media.
Mood Media, based in Concord, Ontario, is a leader in so-called sensory marketing, providing stores and other businesses the sights, sounds and even smells to envelop their customers. In addition to Muzak, which it bought two years ago for $345 million, Mood has divisions for signs, interactive displays and scents. Today the company announced that it is consolidating its services under a single brand, Mood, thus eliminating the Muzak name.
As part of Mood’s incorporation of Muzak the company has also reduced staff, although it has not said by how much. The Muzak brand was originally founded in 1934 by Muzak Holdings LLC, a company best known for distribution of background music to retail stores and other companies.
The original technical basis for Muzak was developed by inventor Major General George Owen Squier, who is credited with inventing telephone carrier multiplexing in 1910. In the early 1920s, he was granted several further US patents related to transmission of information signals, among them a system for the transmission and distribution of signals over electrical lines.
Squier recognized the potential for this technology to be used to deliver music to listeners without the use of radio, which at the time was in a nascent state and required fussy and expensive equipment. Early successful tests were performed, delivering music to customers on New York’s Staten Island via their electrical wires.
The rights to Squier’s patents were acquired by the North American Company utility conglomerate, which created a company named Wired Radio Inc. in 1922 to deliver music to their customers, charging them for music right on their electric bill. By the 1930s however radio had made great advances, and households began listening to broadcasts picked up through the airwaves for free, supported by advertising.
Squier remained involved in the project, but as the home market was eclipsed by radio in 1934 he founded his own company to deliver music to commercial clients. He was intrigued by the made-up word Kodak being used as a trademark and so took the first syllable from “music” and added the “ak” from “Kodak” to create the name Muzak.
Eventually the name came to be shorthand for any kind of innocuous musical wallpaper, even if in recent years Muzak and its competitors have also developed radiolike playlists of pop hits and oldies.
We recently passed on the sad news that original Mothers of Invention vocalist Ray Collins had died on December 24th. A couple of days later we received a note from drummer Art Tripp (through his friend Christopher Garcia), who worked with both Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. Here are Art’s memories of Ray Collins:
It’s not quite dawned on me yet that Ray Collins is no longer in this terrestrial world. Since the late 1960’s it had always been a type of comfort to me to know that Ray was around. And Ray did get around. A child of the 1930’s, he came of age in the 1950’s when times were good. He developed a free spirit and a resistance to labels and rules. His fine tenor voice got him work in prominent L.A. doo-wop bands; but he took other types of work as well. One of them was a good paying job building sets for the movie studios. He told me he quit because he got tired of the idiots.
He joined up with Roy Estrada and Jimmy Carl Black in the Soul Giants. When their guitar player quit they hired Frank Zappa, a musician Ray had worked with earlier in the 1960’s. Soon the Mothers of Invention were born, and Ray helped front the band, and was its lead vocalist for the next three years. His ribald and off beat sense of humor was a perfect complement to the unclassifiable group.
When I joined the band in 1968, it was as if I’d died and gone to heaven. The humor, the iconoclasm, the musicianship, and the wide variety of music were a perfect fit. And to me Ray was the fountainhead of the basic nature of the band. Yet later that year Ray’s distaste for the group’s musical direction compelled him to announce that he was leaving the group. I was stunned. Everyone was shocked. How could he quit when the group was getting so popular, and starting to provide us with so much work? But off he went, and I felt that he took the spirit of the Mothers with him.
Ray had his own convictions, and he was never one to veer from them. He resolutely held to his beliefs no matter what the popular course. As a man of the people, an everyman, Ray was a true free spirit—a Beatnik, and a wanderer.
I have many memories of Ray. We played the Grammy Awards in ’68 at the plush NY Hilton. Steve Allen was the host that year, Woody Herman and his Herd was the house band. When they drew the curtain up for our performance Ray walked over to Steve and said, “How’s your bird”? Allen let out a big horse laugh, and the guys in Herman’s band doubled over in stitches.
Ray joined us for a last gig in San Diego in 1969. During the show Ray improvised a gag which lampooned Jim Morrison’s “exposure” on stage a few weeks prior. Morrison’s antics had sent shockwaves throughout rock ‘n roll, and people suspected he’d gone too far. So Ray’s satire caused the entire audience to come unglued.
We kept in touch over the years. A few months ago my wife and I went out to L.A. to visit old friends. We got together with Ray down at the venerable Phillipe’s Restaurant near Union Station. Afterwards we spent some time at Olvera Street, then we walked down to Union Station to see Ray off on his train back to Claremont. After a few final words, he turned and walked down the tunnel to his train. As I watched him go, I knew that it would be the last time I was to see Ray. Yet I never would have dreamed that he’d be gone in six months. Goodbye, old friend. I can hear you singing to them in heaven.
- Art Tripp
Jim Skafish announces a Kickstarter project for the release of the first-ever live Skafish CD set. The recording is a bootleg of a concert performed for Skafish’s 21st birthday at Ratso’s in Chicago on August 29, 1977.
Skafish’s proto-punk, avant-garde performances started shaking up the Chicago music scene in February 1976. By the time of the Ratso’s concert, the band had already created a buzz in the local and national media and had developed a devoted underground following. Skafish later went on to tour America and Europe with groups such as The Police, XTC, and Iggy Pop, and was featured in the cult classic film, “Urgh, a Music War!”
The recording features 27 songs, including 15 Skafish compositions that have never been released in any form prior. The planned two CD set will be a numbered, limited edition of only 2000 copies.
According to Skafish, he had no idea that there was a bootleg recording made of the show until he finally got the tapes a few years ago. “What’s so exciting about this,” says Skafish, “is that I can take my project directly to the people, and let my fans participate in the process.”
Fans are encouraged to visit the Kickstarter project page. The campaign lasts through June 24th. The anticipated official release date of the bootleg is on its 35th anniversary, on August 29, 2012.
In case you missed it: Weirdomusic.com is ten years old this year. A good reason for a party, don’t you think?
Tickets are available here [info in Dutch].
“The Cacophony Society Zone Show” is a retrospective look at the Cacophony Society, a national collective of guerrilla artists, dada pranksters, and various eccentrics pursuing “experiences beyond the mainstream.” Dedicated to activities mocking societal expectations, sacred cows, and good taste, The Cacophony Society evolved from the San Francisco Suicide Club and its members were chief organizers of the Burning Man Festival in Northern Nevada.
The Society’s pranking served as inspiration for the activities of Project Mayhem in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. The exhibition transforms the museums main gallery into a wildly immersive environment filled with photos, graphics, video, props, costumes, and original art from Society events. The exhibition runs through April 15 and admission is FREE!
The Feburary 4th opening will be celebrated with a block party featuring carnivalesque music and performance from artists associated with the Society including Fancy Space People (featuring Don Bolles and Nora Keys) art cars, competing protestors, dangerous stunts, an on-call ambulance, and other surprises.
Check here for all info regarding the exhibtion, block party and preview screening of the documentary “Into the Zone: The Story of the Cacophony Society”.
Sometime in january 2002 a young man from Heerlen, The Netherlands got a brilliant idea: he registered the domain name Weirdomusic.com and began a website. The rest, as they say, is history.
The 10th anniversary of Weirdomusic.com will be celebrated on March 3 in our hometown Heerlen [buy tickets], but for all you fine folks who can’t attend we have something else in mind: why don’t you celebrate with us from your own cosy homes?
Here’s the idea: send us your birthday wishes in a video message and we’ll publish them here and on YouTube! Talk, sing or dance, whatever you like, as long as you mention Weirdomusic.com.
- Your clip should be no longer than two minutes.
- Please don’t use any exotic file formats. Use something we know, like mpeg or wmv.
- Please use a service like Sendspace.com or WeTransfer.com to send your video.
- The e-mail addres to use is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t forget to send us your name and contact details. We may want to give away some presents.
- We will publish your video on Weirdomusic.com, our YouTUbe Channel and our Facebook page.
So, hook up your (web)cam and get to work! Questions? Just drop us a line.
Musical legend Russ Garcia – whose 70-year career in jazz and film saw him work with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Walt Disney and Clint Eastwood – has died at his home in Kerikeri, New Zealand aged 95.
Garcia died on November 20 after a short illness. He had been in good health until a few weeks ago, when illness forced him to cancel a series of concerts in the US.
A jazz composer and arranger, Russ Garcia was born in Oakland, California, but left at the height of his career in 1966 to sail around the Pacific. He and his wife settled in the Bay of Islands in the 1970s.
His CV includes a list of jazz and Hollywood greats, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis jnr, Walt Disney, Orson Welles, Judy Garland and Charlie Chaplin.
He got his first break from former US president Ronald Reagan, then a radio show director, but was writing music even as a child. The Oakland Symphony Orchestra played one of his arrangements when he was 11 years old. Even at the age of 95 he remained in demand and travelled regularly to the US for work. He also volunteered as a music teacher at primary schools around New Zealand.
Grammy award-winning guitarist Steve Vai will hold a master class at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, PA on Sunday, September 25th beginning at 2:30pm.
This 3 hour unique musical and educational event will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Steve Vai’s amazing talent as he demonstrates and discusses guitar techniques, music theory, the music business and methods to discover and unlock an individual’s personal musical identity. A question and answer session will be included, as well as the opportunity for several of the attendees to jam with Steve on stage.
Sponsored by the Perfect 5th Musical Arts Center, located on the Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg, the master class will culminate the school’s grand opening weekend.
The Perfect 5th is a new music school in the Harrisburg area that will offer a wide variety of private lessons, along with clinics and master classes. A “rock school” will be included along with classes in songwriting, theory, audio and video production and music business education. Some private lessons are already being offered – check the website for details.
Steve is taking a break from recording his current album to appear in Harrisburg, largely because of his strong belief in music education. Steve’s father, seeing the passion and potential in his son, sold his own life insurance policy in order for Steve to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1998, Steve created the Make a Noise Foundation and is also currently on the board of Hollywood Arts.
Vai’s first professional gig was as a member of Frank Zappa’s legendary band. Those familiar with the popular music of MTV’s early years will remember him from David Lee Roth’s band and Whitesnake. But his creativity and virtuosity are most evident in his solo work, beginning with 1990′s groundbreaking release Passion and Warfare up through his most recent album and DVD project Where the Wild Things Are.
Steve has career sales exceeding 15 million units with 3 Grammy awards and 12 nominations to his credit. He has his own record company – Favored Nations. He also helped design his signature Ibanez JEM series guitar and recently launched GuitarTV.com. A quick YouTube search returns many Steve Vai videos with well over a million hits. In 2000 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from his alma mater, Berklee. His breathtaking facility on the guitar is acclaimed in the rock world and beyond.
Tickets will be available Monday (8/8) at the Whitaker Center box office and online at ThePerfect5th.com. Ticket prices are $45 and $65, along with a very limited amount of $200 VIP packages which include front and center seating, a signed poster and a meet & greet with Steve backstage after the master class.
This is a special opportunity for musicians throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and a truly unique event for the Harrisburg area. It is open to all ages and skill levels.
More info at whitakercenter.org.