“Werewolf? – There wolf!” – Jon Spencer BX + Dälek + Scott Matthew + A Rant About GEMA/BMI/ASCAP/CISACetc.

There wolf!”
Young Frankenstein

THE JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION are going to play at the K4 tomorrow, Monday, night.
COBRA KILLER are playing support.
I am excited.

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DÄLEK were great. Huge and dark and itense. I loved it.

I learned that one of the Dälek guys once has collaborated on something with Jon Spencer but I’ve clean forgotten on what. I just remember Stephan has told me we are supposed to say ‘hello’ from them to Jon before leaving on holiday. Everyone has their holiday travels except for me. No, I’m not complaining. Nonono.
Anyways, whatever that collaboration was, I would like to hear it. Another, far more interesting I’ve learned about that night is Geocaching. Mik made it first sound a bit nerdy and weird but I can absolutely understand the fascination, especially the ‘lost places’ part. I had seen some blogs about urban exploration before and found them quite cool. This is one example of those abandoned urban spots and here are pictures of whole abandoned towns. Overall I had a wonderful tipsy night out, talked too much and I am far too lazy to write a proper review of the Dälek show.
Apropos ‘no proper review’: It’s cool that one of our local newspaper wrote about the SCOTT MATTHEW show at all but please:
1. All of Nuremberg knows by now that the K4 festsaal has no aircon because at the two times a year in which a newspaper finds one of the shows we put up interesting enough to write about the writer always uses up half of his wordcount to complain about the heat. Or at the Trail of Dead show: about the smoking ban. Dear Scott Matthew reviewer, it would have been nice if you had dared to break with that tradition and instead dedicated a few lines more to the music and the artists.
2. Thanks for just writing how weird Scott’s shirt looked. I mean: Thanks for not spelling it out as “his shirt looked totally gay”.
See, it was one of those shows that seemed to delight everyone in the audience, and I wasn’t the only one who was even close to tears during some songs, and Antares and Mario had put a lot of work in a beautiful decoration to give the concert room a special atmosphere, and I really only got enthusiastic feedback from people in the audience, so I was a bit disappointed that the review turned out so loveless. Scott celebrated his birthday after the show which was more cozy than exciting (you can’t really go out late night on a Monday in Nuremberg) but Jessy had made a vegan birthday cake and we had champagne and it was quite nice.

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I saw this clip about a cross of art and kinetics on a messageboard and think it’s pretty amazing:


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GEMA/ASCAP/CISAC/SUISA/AKMetc. are institutions for helping musicians to protect their copyright. In practice they help the artist to get money whenever one of their songs is played. Sounds fair? Somehow it does. Whenever music is played in public, no matter if in a bar or a laundry or on the radio or at your hairdresser the bar/laundry/radio/hairdresser etc. have to pay money to the GEMA/etc. Of course it would take far too much time for a hairdresser to write lists of which songs by which artists they play as background music while their shop is open so there’s not really a chance that the artists get a share that’s based on what’s REALLY played. Instead the performance rights organisations use a formula that’s supposed to give a fair share to all their artist members. No one knows how that formula really works, it’s not public and from what I heard it’s not even comprehensible to the staff of GEMA/etc. The paying schema of the GEMA doesn’t work properly nor can their clients claim clear statistics to get informed what happenes with all the money. This has been criticised since years.

Like I already mentioned I find it kind of fair if the artists gets a bit of money whenever their songs get airplay also you could question that cause it also is a kind of advertisement service for their songs. What I don’t understand is with which arguments the GEMA can demand money from promoters for the bands that play their original music live. If it’s a cover band – fine, you could argue the original artists should see some money if their work gets played but I’m talking about bands who only play their own music. As a promoter I already have a deal with the band or its booker on how much money or percentage the band is getting paid. How does the GEMA fit in here? I KNOW that there are hundreds of bands who never see that money. I guess they would have to send in lists of what they played to the GEMA and then would get some money according to where they played, how often they played, how big the venues where, etc. There are some german bands of whom I know they do that but I’d estimate that 80-90% of the GEMA-bands I’ve put up shows for never ever have done so, many of them cause they don’t even know what they would have to do to get that money. I’ve already thought about sending out a questionnaire to them because I really would love to know:

a) Do you even know that the promoters pay fee to performance righs associations and that you have the right to claim it from the GEMA/BMI/ASCAP/etc.?

b) Do you know what you have to do to get that money from the GEMA/BMI/ASCAP/etc.?

c) If you send in your forms to claim your money: Have you ever really got the money for live shows?

d) If you got that money: Is it as much as the promoter paid as GEMA/ASCAP/BMI/etc. fee for your show?

I expect that most bands that we have had at the K4 and who have their music protected by GEMA/BMI/ASCAP/etc. would answer at least two of those three questions with ‘No!’. It is not just a few bucks we’re talking about. At the place where I put up shows with friends we pay between 100 and 250 euros for a show. For a lot smaller touring bands who go on extensive tours that might sum up to quite a big amount of money.
Last week I’ve got an email passed on by a booking agency in which someone told a story about how they sued the german performing rights organisation because they could prove that the money they had paid for their show had never been passed on to the artist. It hasn’t become a law suite because the GEMA preferred not to get the law involved and instead suddenly passed on the money to the artist quite quickly. I wonder what would happen if every band that has never gotten their money did the same.

My opinion still is: Dear artists, as long as you are not Rihanna or The Cure but play a lot of live shows please keep your music GEMA/ASCAP/BMI/etc.-free. Then the promoter can give you that money directly and does not have to pay it to the GEMA/ASCAP/BMI/etc. which would pass on most of it to Rihanna or The Cure anyway. I’ve heard that in other countries bands can sign some form to officially free a promoter from the GEMA fee for a live show if they wish to. In Germany that is not the case as far as I know.

There are so many things unfair about the GEMA system that you really should think twice before you join them. For example the price a promoter pays if they put up a show for you depends on:

– how big the concert room is (as far as I know including the bar and stage area. as if paying audience could use that space!)


– how high the entrance fee is (no matter how many people turn up which would seem a much fairer deal)

Another of the multiple examples to complain about the GEMA is: If you have a song protected by the GEMA you have to pay for making it available as a free download mp3 on your own website (I think 15 Cent per download). Let me repeat: You have to pay money per download if you want to give your very own song away as a gift to your fans. Pardon me?!

Still generation after generation of naive bands shove their songs into that system. Correct me if I’m wrong but basically it’s a system that feeds off the fear that you get ripped off, that someone ‘steals’ your song and that you don’t have a possibility to prove that you wrote it first. Pleas face it: The chance to get ripped off by the GEMA is far bigger than the chance of getting ripped off by someone else.
On top of this – but that’s another can of worms to open – it is more than questionable if bands really still write so much truly protectworthy original material and if the copyright law as such isn’t outdated.

The GEMA is so omnipresent and there are so many profit-oriented music institutions that hammer it into the brains of young bands that it’s the firstmostimportantnootheroptionpossible-thing to do to get their songs “protected”. The GEMA/etc. has so much power that some people even think they don’t own the copyright to their own songs if they don’t get the GEMA involved. Promoters don’t seem to dare complaining too loud because they fear they could lose the arbitrarily given contracts that grant them a reduction of the GEMA fee. Even I wondered for a moment if I have to fear consequences for posting this critical position. I don’t want to risk losing my mysp or getting sued for a mix.

My main problem with performance rights organisations like GEMA/AKM/BMI/ASCAP/etc. is that they have managed to turn their perspective into a system that every artist has to deal with, even if they don’t want to have their copyright protected by such institutions. You won’t get a manufacturer to press your own music on vinyl withouth showing them a GEMAreceipt that ‘proves’ that it really is your work and that you really don’t want to have it protected by some dubious organisation. If you put up a show for a band that plays no gema-protected material at all you are obliged to prove that to the GEMA/etc.. If you don’t have a form filled in with the songs they played and signed by the band you have to pay the GEMAfee. This sounds a lot like ‘presumption of guilt’ and has been a hot topic in discussions about the GEMA since many years. After all there’s a big scene of bands and electronic artists who are not in the GEMA or similar organisations but are constantly buggered with legal problems while they just want to play music.

I guess other musicians and label owners and promoters have lots of interesting gruesome stories or silly anecdotes to tell about their experiences with performance rights associations. I would also be curious to hear some positive GEMA/ASCAP/BMI/CISAC/etc. experiences if there are any out there.

“Exterrrrminate!” – Dälek, The Locust

The Daleks

Please pardon a little advertising for a show tomorrow night that I’d like to recommend: Dälek, icons of apocalyptic underground hiphop, a brilliant dark hiphop act from New York will play at the K4 and after the show the residents of the SUB:CITY party, Tobi and Selfintoxicated, will make you dance till the morning! I don’t listen to much hiphop but Dälek is one of the few acts I’ve liked for a very long time. Many years ago Kerstin and Tobi of Eartrumpet put up a legendary show with them and The Lapse at the old Kunstverein which was breathtakingly noisy and gloomy. All lights were switched off while Dälek played, only strobe light giving you glimpses of the band. I remember that after their show it felt like I had witnessed something outstanding. A few years later I saw another great Dälek show at the Desi in which I was especially impressed when their dj guy at one point swayed his turntable through the air towards the speakers to play with the feedback just like Hendrix did with his guitar, I don’t think any other hiphop dj ever did that. It’s hard to compare Dälek with other acts. Back when I first saw them they were the Neurosis of hiphop for me, later I found The Bug in his Techno Animal days being a similarly brute but aesthetic beast. By now I haven’t seen the Dälek live for quite a while but listening to their ‘Abandoned Language’ album I am convinced that they have even grown, and they sure are a LIVE act. It’s hard to capture their presence on cd or vinyl.

Or as popmatters.com describes Dälek:
“If there’s one hip-hop act that’s absolutely, perfectly suited for Mike Patton’s great indie label Ipecac, it’s Dälek. Upon first listen to any Dälek album, there’s nothing subtle about the music whatsoever. The lyrics, recited in a clear, direct manner by the group’s namesake, are pointed and unflinching, part street poet, part visionary, part psychotic homeless sidewalk pontificator. The man is going to make himself heard, damnit, and nobody had better try and stop him, or there’ll be hell to pay. The music is equally hard-edged, but when it first kicks in, it couldn’t sound more harsh; boasting a sound that’s both bottom heavy and eardrum piercing, producers Still and Oktopus assemble a cacophonous pastiche that’s equal parts Throbbing Gristle, New Kingdom, and My Bloody Valentine, crating some of the scariest hip hop music to come out since Tricky’s masterful one-two punch of Maxinquaye and Pre-Millenium Tension. What starts off as sounding jarring and atonal, however, somehow seeps into your bloodstream, and takes on a strangely warm quality, the lugubrious, hypnotic beats resembling a sedate, steady heartbeat, the turntabling and basslines forming a warm, numbing wave of sound, and all the while, Dälek’s lyrics overwhelm you with their passion and poeticism. That’s the genius of this New Jersey trio, the music is so deceiving; it’s far from noise.”

Tomorrow. 29th of August 2008. K4. 22:00.

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There are good news for those of you who miss the Sophisticated Boom Boom parties: Tobi, Peter and I have ganged up with Quirin to start something new: KILL THE POOR!

6th of September will be the first Kill The Poor party night. We have decided to make it a limited edition thing that will only take place 11 times. We plan on having mottos and masks, or even costumes, and other silly interactive stuff that makes it hard to stay passive-cool-scenester-bystanders. Most important: we want YOU to dance your asses off! I’ve made a myspace site for it that you can add right here:


There will be a possibility to get in for free that you will be able to get through that myspace site or if you email us at:

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Sometimes I wish I would manage to get up early more often. Feel free to hate on me, you regular workers, but usually I don’t manage to get up before 9 or 10. Which is a shame because if you have time to take things slow the hours between 6 and let’s say 9 are really special. This early in the morning everything seems ‘clean’, the head still swept empty from sleep, everything still seems promising and only slowly the sounds and impressions of the day set in. Today I managed to get up at 7 and read the paper for almost two hours. Slow-mo day. Felt good. Then I put a messie-load of clothes into the washing machine, carried a bazillion empty bottles downstairs to take them away later. That made me instantly feel like having accomplished something and thus I felt free to take some time for blogging along.  Of course I got distracted by myspace browsing and messages… finding out Death Sentence: Panda will play at Kafe Kult, I will sooo be there! Checking and answering emails, finding out that Des Ark will now play in Würzburg at the 19th of October which is the date on which we can’t put up that show for them at the K4 because it’s one of half a dozen of ‘quiet holidays’. In germany (especially bavaria) church is still so powerful that there are a couple of christian cult holidays on which it is forbidden to dance and play loud music and put up shows in public. Makes me feel like being stuck in the Footloose movie. It’s so absurd and restricting if you think of it but in Nuremberg the police has controlled those days increasingly harsh over the last few years, and the fines are high. I wonder how long this has to go on until we get our asses up to start some real protest. I feel a bit lame for complaining but being so passive about it.

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Two days ago Quirin and me drove to a Locust show at the Feierwerk in Munich. We did a good job in acting it out as if it were a holiday trip because both of us can’t afford a real one. Once more I realised that I have too many friends that are equally careless as I am when we found out that both of us hadn’t looked up the route before we left, blindly relying on each other. This seriously happens too often considering the gas price these days. Thanks to mobile phones and friends and gas station staff we still found the venue. And as no trip to Munich is a good trip withouth a little socializing with at least parts of the Kafe Kult peer group I was relieved to see some familiar faces turning up with Steffi Ragarella and Christian and Gott & die Welt Stefan. I also met a friend from Gießen which was a nice suprise. We missed half of the Rumpeln show cause it wasn’t very loud so we didn’t hear that it had started when we were standing outside chatting and smoking. Please, venues, now that we have this annoying smoking ban, can you please put up some signal when a show starts? Thank you. The part of Rumpeln that we caught was all about noisy rhythmic structures and video stuff with a toaster and he seemed to control it with a wii stick, or rather: he seemed to try to shove things out of control with a wii stick and lots of analog electronic apparatusses. (Or is it apparatussi?) ‘t was interesting but I confess I didn’t get into it in the few minutes that I had a chance to listen. A bit too abstract. After that Made Out Of Babies played. The first two songs I felt like being time-kicked back to a cross of an early Soundgarden and Babes-In-Toyland show and somehow I first liked at least parts of it, I guess because I’ve got a weak spot for female screaming psych style singers but the longer I watched it just sounded and looked like exactly the kind of grunge/crossover stuff from the 90s that I really can’t stand. Too pathos-laden, too wanna-be-weird&tough… I don’t know. Not my kind of thing but I don’t complain: hanging out in front of the club was fine too. It was good to meet Jeroen and one after the other all of The Locust guys again. And their show was good. Except for one annoying guy standing about a meter or two away from me who kept shouting ‘fuck you’ and showing the band his middle finger but everyone did a good job in ignoring him. It was weird that I understood every word he shouted although it wasn’t exactly a quiet show. On the contrary: Synth, drums and vocals were really loud, and especially the synth working its way through a wide range of noisy frequencies during one of the ambient parts killed my ears. In a good way though. Sometimes it’s got to hurt to be good. I regret whenever the tinnitus sets in but I’d still say it’s worth it. Their set had a good ‘arc of suspense’ (in lack of a better word), shrieking sounds, sharp attacks just letting go to make the next hit seem even harder, ambient parts, intense rhythms (from a beautiful deep red ludwig drum set) that make you want to move along but also lots of unexpected breaks that make it impossible to tap along. Somehow that kind of music always gives me the feeling that it’s the incorporation of an intense longing for something absent that you can’t put in words nor music. Like something strong is happening between the lines but you can’t put your finger on it. It’s strangely satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time. Does that sound esoteric? Damnit. I’ll better stop.
Anyways. It was a wonderful little excursion and mucho thanx to Quirin for driving. Somehow that evening set a new tone to my days, I feel mucho better and calmer again.