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If You Think Your Day Job Sucks...

...Just try working for one of the five remaining major labels I mean, in this day and age, with all the bad press, suck-ass bands, suckier singers, downloadable CEOs, and the merger plague, (we may be down to four majors by the time I pry this article out of my head, as the fate of the Sony/BMG merger hangs in the EU air) would you want to be seen attending Universal's anxiety riddled restrooms? Would you want to be buffing BMG's besieged corridors? Wandering Warner's woven pile?

Not me mate. I'm quite content here on Wallkill Hill just this side of the leveraged facade. Sure, every time a buzzed Courtney slays Goliath I get a vicariously, voyeuristic kick in the pants, but I still wouldn't want some dosed, loose cannon tweaking my faders day in, day out.

I wouldn't want to be the junior assistant flackie that tells Sir McCartney that due to America's tighter-than-usual-clam's-ass-knee-jerk-right-wing-Bushian-fascist response to Janet dangling a nipple, 'Hi-Hi-Hi' is on Clear Channel's decency hit-list. "Wanna get Hi-hi-hi / Get you ready for my body gun" And we thought he was the Nice One.

It certainly used to be the glamor gig for the musically challenged but not anymore. Even the dullest gofer could say "I work for Columbia" and be held in some esteem. Not now. It's like a pox or something closely related to anthrax. Now, thanks to the well-meaning diligence of NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, record companies will be sending out checks totaling approximately fifty million for outstanding royalties owed to thousands of recording artists (and I use that term loosely).

Sure the 10K and change is a night on the town for Bowie and Dolly's 17K makes for a host of wigs and make-up, but what about the A&R schlepper who you know damn well is going to get the pink slip to make up the diff. Back pay's back pay no matter how you cut the cheese but the coffers have gotta balance come the end of the day y'know so we're sorry to say we must terminate your employment. . .Hopefully whoever he or she is on the other side of the slamming door downloaded the whole catalog and can't wait to get home and upload.

The PR nightmare continues as CD prices rise, quality drops, and Clear Channel tries to corner the Instant Concert CD game. In case you're not familiar, that's the one where band's record their concerts and you can buy the live recording immediately after the show or over the net a few days later. It's a good idea for once. It's a better souvenir than another stupid tee-shirt or worse yet, baseball cap; it makes money directly for the bands, and on a more basic level, legitimizes bootlegging. But Clear Channel wants it and as history has spitefully proven, Clear Channel gets what they want. So how many more interns won't intern at EMI? Then there's that pesky issue of downloading that won't go away no matter how many times you beat it with a stick. All the money it takes to defend the industry fiefdom has caused more than 1500 folk at Warner's, including Stereolab and The Breeders, to wave bye-bye.

If this Sony/BMG monster comes to life, how many redundant responsibilities do you think the bean boners are going to find? Thousands I'm sure. But I'm also sure Mr. Bush will swear to you the job market's improving.

Never in a million billion zillion years did I ever think I'd admit this to myself let alone publically, but I'll keep the day job and hope the free-lancing starts to pay better. I'd much rather bicker with the town assessor to lower my tax assessment than hang my hat with an industry quickly turning into fossil fuel.

Posted on July 26, 2004
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The Rock n Roll

Since setting aside his rock 'n roll aspirations, Michael Jurkovic complains of far less migraines.

Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Advanced Air Guitar and Facial Distortions, MJ recovered from his less than National Honor Society collegiate experiments (1973-1976) for a life in rock 'n roll. Roadie, manager, lyricist, front man and producer, Mike saw the years of late nights taking a toll on his hair line and quietly backed away.

He served two years as VP of the then prestigious Westchester Songwriting Guild (1987-1989), delving into demos and the details of a once honorable music business. In 1993 he began producing and directing The Menus Of Chefman a cooking comedy TV show seen by legions on eighteen local access channels from Manhattan to Malibu. Of course, the Food Network got a hold of his demo and Emeril Live was suddenly a reality.

From 1995-1997, he served as president of the nationally recognized Hudson Valley Writers' Association and founded the Voices Of The Valley Poetry Performance Series, now on hiatus after a successful 6 year run in New Paltz and Kingston.

In 1997, Mike was invited by the publishers of Rhythm and News Magazine to "rant, rave and misbehave" and thus was born The Rock 'n Roll Curmudgeon. He now contributes interviews, CD and book reviews to, British Independent Record Dealers, and Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange.

Mike's poetry has appeared in Hunger, AlphaBeat Soup, Poetry Motel, Chronogram, Poet's Gallery, Medicinal Purposes, & Outlet. His poetry has been featured online with Recursive Angel, Soul to Soul, & SpokenWar, and appears in the critically acclaimed, nationally distributed poetry anthology Will Work For Peace as well as the regionally distributed Dyed In The Wool, A Hudson Valley Anthology. He regularly performs his stand-up poetry throughout New York & New England.

He loves Emily most of all.