Monthly Archives: December, 2008

Wilbert “Junkyard Dog” Arnold, R.I.P.

We’re sad to learn that New Orleans drummer Wilbert “Junkyard Dog” Arnold died. Junkyard was a special person, sort of New Orleans’ answer to Keith Moon–a talented, unique drummer whose life was filled with joy, pain and a drumming technique all his own. As the longtime drummer for Walter “Wolfman” Washington, we spent many hours enjoying his special sense of rhythm and one-of-a-kind style. Junkyard’s kit was always tied together with chains to symbolize the history of slavery. He was also a good singer, and, along with his very talented wife Marilyn, his latest band performed regularly in the French Market and at Ray’s Boom Boom Room on Frenchmen. Some of his best work can be heard on the New Orleans Rhythm Conspiracy CD released just after Katrina. See more about Junkyard on this site. He will be missed.


Chickens Headed to Roost Soon

The film tax credits scandal list of scoundrels is apparently nearly complete with the guilty plea today by Malcolm Petal.

It’s a damn shame how the few writers/publishers making money off Louisiana music have completely ignored the details of this story and its connection to the demise of the state’s main support mechanisms for music. I guess if the occasional ad money from the state keeps flowing, the criticism stays in check.

The New Fame

In this economy, nothing is what it was. And that’s bad news for the once-famous. Celebrity has changed. Thanks in no small part to the plethora of channels/movies/sites, the machinery of fame suffers from the media’s general state of dilution: there are too many sources pushing too many vapid “products” into a system that continues to expand.

Even athletes are losing ground. As business declines, endorsements are being withdrawn. You’ll be seeing less of Tiger Woods. And this year’s Olympic champions, despite record audiences and name recognition, are finding few companies interested in using their images. It’s a new world.

The narcissistic shallowness that is Hollywood will not respond well to being ignored. But the fact is, as things get worse, who cares about most of the pathetic tripe emanating from the movie and television industry?

I’ve said for more than ten years that the media giants are doomed. They played games with their accounting by constantly growing, masking their debt and overhead. Now, as the auto industry, which accounts for some 25% of ad revenues on television, pulls back, the media’s naked butts are showing.

Not that any of this is going to change the brothel-like affair Louisiana continues to have with the film and television industry. Consider this: if the State of Louisiana is willing to pay a percentage of the film business’ bill based on budget and impact, why can’t it do the same for music? Using the methodology of the film tax credit system, the state ought to be putting up millions to support our multibillion dollar music industry. Instead it continues to do nothing for music.

The silence from our tiny world of music writers and publishers is inexcusable.

Not that Louisiana can buy fame for our musicians. Fame will never be the same. But, the state shouldn’t be so in love with only one component of the media. Louisiana should love its music even more than it loves film.