Monday, March 31, 2014

Useful Perspective from Adam Hammer

On Friday I went to two separate presentation from Adam Hammer, who is the Director of Media Relations for Outlook Magazine at Saint Cloud State University.  He is also a singer songwriter that travels around the region performing his art. You can check out his website at

I got a great deal of insight about what it takes to get into mass media professions in today's world, and what classes I should focus on while in college. From what he said I should get my hands into a little bit of everything having to do with writing, audio and video editing, and web design. The biggest thing that he put out was that we need to focus on the written word, in other words we need to know how to tell a story. .

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Commodification of Kurt Cobain

When I think of music now days, I compare it to a factory assembly line, in that with the shows like American Idol, The X Factor, and The Voice just seem to keep pumping new music stars out on a monthly basis. But is this really different than what has been happening in the music industry since the times of Elvis Presley? Well yes and no. America has been commodifying music to people's tastes since the onslaught of rock and roll and probably even before that. It always seems that one or two bands were discovered at any certain time and it began a craze for whatever type of music. Some good examples are bee bop bands of the fifties, the surfer and psychedelic rock of the sixties, punk and disco in the seventies, and post punk and hair bands in the eighties. God was there ever going to be and end to the bandwagon of dudes in lace and makeup that sang like someone had clamped a vice grip on their family jewels? And the there was our savior, Kurt Cobain.

When Nirvana hit in 1991, it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally the death of the hair scene. Everything seemed to change overnight. Suddenly the record companies were scrounging for bands from Seattle and the west coast to sign. Other good music from the likes of Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, and Alice in Chains came along. Life was beautiful, for a while anyway. Back then the demon was MTV, which got ahold of the grunge scene, and everything else that was different and lumped it into "alternative music" which really did no justice for all the different bands and musicians that were lumped in there. If you want different we'll give you all kinds of stuff that's different. Unfortunately this was all a commodity, and once again crap music started to permeate the scene. Factory assembled copies of the original, might be good in the automobile industry, but sucks in music. Eventually Cobain died in 1994 and the scene pretty much imploded on itself. Around 1997 we saw the first Brittney Spears video, and just like the utopian scene began, just like that it is gone. A great deal of those bands never went away like the hair bands did, but the feeling was never the same as it was in the early nineties.