PreNatal Playlist

My wife and I have been doing the headphones on the belly thing during her pregancy, so I thought I’d post the playlist that I made for the youngster. At this stage, it’s been heavy on the melody, easy on the rock… (click to enlarge)

Leroy’s PreNatal Playlist

Next up is the birthing playlist, which is bumpin’!

A Goldmine of Free (and Useful) Advice for Musicians

I don’t know how I only just now discovered Derek Sivers’ blog, but I’m glad I did. In fact, this will be a short post. Musicians, songwriters, bands, artists – you know who you are… Get on over to his site and start reading. There is a WEALTH of great information for you if you are interested in making a career of this thing.

To say anymore, would only keep you here longer. Bye.

How Do “Free” Economics Affect Music Producers?

The music industry is in a phase right now that’s similar to when you have been spinning around in circles for 2 minutes and you finally stop. Technically, you aren’t “spinning” anymore, but it can sure feel like it. Some players are still dizzy, some have acclimated and are heading out to seek the “hiding” fans, and some were never playing in the first place.

However, it’s also a fantastic time to come up with some new models of revenue and exposure, while many are still spinning. One of the most popular economic models emerging now (and certainly not just in the music industry) is the idea of “free”. I’m not going to review and repeat the thoughts of some of the more popular thinkers, but here’s a quick list of resources on the subject:

(marketing guru) has written about it extensively, and from here you can follow the “free” line back to



has continued to be successful in building his NIN fan base and is MASSIVELY successful at satisfying his existing one. He openly shares his thoughts and strategies for independent and upcoming artists

• Even the web site

has their take on the economics of free and how it applies to the music industry.

Clearly, this is a format that is getting a lot of traction with everyone from consumers to entrepreneurs, and clearly there is more to it than simply giving products away for free. Value, Attention, and Access are BIG leverage holders in these equations, so do your research as an artist before you dole out torrents of your latest EP.

Now, let me be clear that as a music producer, I am a fan of this model. In fact, I am a fan of whatever strategy gets my artists the most exposure. More exposure for them means more people hear their music, which means more people hear my work, which means more artists potentially want to work with me, etc. But, I also need to make a living. So how does the “free” music tactic include me?

Artists give away their album/EP/single for free, because they know they will get paid through concert tickets, VIP packages, private parties, merchandise, songwriting royalties, TV/Film placements, and ATTENTION. They are forgoing their interest in the recording royalties- royalties, which traditionally have been the sole source of payment to record producers (except for advances, which are technically related to royalties).

Now that the artist has found a way to create revenue, what about the producer?

Certainly a producer can get paid off songwriting/publishing (if they are included in the songwriting) and potentially they will get a percentage of any licensing placements (if they are able to structure a deal that way), but what if they didn’t write any of the songs and the band’s not exactly TV/Film-like? A producer traditionally isn’t going to be paid a % of ticket sales, merch, VIP meet ups, private parties, etc. So…

How is a music producer involved in the revenue stream of “Free” Economics?

I’m not sure yet (none of my artists haven given a record away for free), and my guess if that most mid-level producers haven’t figured it out yet either. And guess what? NO ONE is going to figure it out for us, because NO ONE cares. If the band has figured out a way to make money giving their music away for free and a fan has figured out a way to get access and music from their favorite band for next to nothing – They won’t care that WE aren’t being paid. And we can cry in our fancy sounding, high bit rate beer all we want.

So what are our revenue options as producers?

1. Songwriting – If you’re a songwriter, and it’s appropriate, get involved. Not to mention your relationship to the songs will be stronger.

2. Licensing – Get involved as an “agent”. Get it placed and work out a % for that.

3. Produce records as a work for hire – This is becoming a popular and easy way for some to deal with the whole uncertainty of which revenue stream the band will pursue. Personally, I’m not a fan of this method, because when I make a record I always believe that it has a TON of potential to be successful, and I want to be rewarded accordingly if the CD is paramount in garnering attention (and revenue) for the band. I guarantee Mike Clink is ecstatic that he didn’t work for a flat fee when a made a little record called Appetite for Destruction with some no name rockers straight off the strip.

4. Become an Nth member, or equity holder in the band – This is both the simplest and the trickiest. If you are working with an established act, the success of the record you produced may or may not be a result of how awesome it sounds. It may very well be a combination of the 2 years they spent in a bus AND how awesome it sounds.

5. Become an equity holder in the band for the duration of the record – If the band agrees to this, during the time frame they are touring and supporting the record (that they are giving away for free), you are an equity partner all income (except songwriting you didn’t participate in). When the next record comes out, they give that one away for free, but begin SELLING the previous one and you are back to standard royalty payments. It begins to get complex when singles independent of albums are released, but it’s a possibility.

Got any others? What’s working for you? I love to hear ‘em! Just remember, managers and labels aren’t going to come up with ways to pay us producers. It’s up to us.

In the Studio

I’m getting ready for a few weeks in the studio with the Steve Carson Band and we’ve decided to document quite a bit of the debauchery. You can follow it all here:

P.S. We’re tracking drums next week at Sound City. Here are some other records that were recorded there: ….not bad

(photo by Austin Bauman)

Momental Gratitude

I turned 35 a few days ago and was feeling both old and young at once. The younger me saw opportunity and the older flinched for a second at the fading memories.
While I drifted through the endless possibilities of what I could have done differently in the past to have MORE now and have achieved MORE, and on and on… I paused and instead decided to think of all the moments I am grateful for in my life. Experiences that possibly defined, but certainly remained permanently forged in my memory banks. I decided to wait until now to recall some of them so they would be freshly renewed.

In no particular order, I am grateful for and remember:

• My parents letting me build a half-pipe skateboard ramp with my friends in the backyard even though they were both attorneys. That’s cool.
• Going WAY too fast on my skateboard down that Georgia hill, getting the wobbles, sliding across the gravel and landing in a ditch of thorns. All while my entire family watched.
• Dropping in on my first wave at “Roca Loca” in Costa Rica. Missing the “Roca” and feeling the exhilaration of an 8’ Pacific swell and its power for the first time.
• Swimming with whales in Pacific many years later. Wow.
• Watching the reef pass under my surfboard in Puerto Rico.
• Not getting pulled over by that Puerto Rican Policeman after we left the bar.
• Swimming at midnight in the


• Sailing for weeks to the Bahamas, sleeping very little, drinking only Kalik, working throughout the day, diving and fishing for dinner, and feeling alive.
• Seeing my first eel underwater. WAY scarier looking underwater than a shark.
• Hearing “Take the money and Run” by the Steve Miller Band and deciding that I wanted to learn how to play it on the drums.
• Playing timbales on a Ringo Starr album.
• Paying a local fisherman in Costa Rica to take us to “Ollies Point” and “Witch’s Rock”. Two famous and hard to reach surf spots in Costa Rica.
• Asking Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew about the break at Rocky Point. Being VERY humbled by the power from the ocean on the North Shore of Oahu.
• Led by some Dominican teens, we snuck into the burned and abandoned mansion of former tyrannical ‘Dictator’ Trujillo. Although he died 30 years earlier, it was very spooky place.
• Walking a great distance in Paris to find the restaurant Chez Pierre. A hole in the wall that had the best lamb I’ve ever tasted.
• Seeing Patrick Stewart in London. Seriously, it could not have been a more fitting sighting for tng trekkie with only 5 hours in London.
• Playing in a Jazz quintet as a museum exhibit in the Boston. I don’t play Jazz.
• Playing on stage at a festival in Gainesville with my band. Hearing the sound of my snare ricochet off the back of the empty venue.
• Walking on stage barefoot at the Gainesville Center for Performing Arts and playing brazilian drums for a sold out show.
• Seeing my future wife for the first time. Awkwardly extending my hand instead of going for the hug. (Blind date jitters!)
• Laying on the smooth rock beach in Positano, Italy.
• Walking through the mazelike streets of Venice, Italy.
• Learning and playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on piano. Forgetting it.
• Going to a strip club with David Lee Roth.
• Nearly drowning in a Costa Rican river. Feeling very fortunate and grateful.
• Hiking the Grand Tetons with my father

• Watching Tiger Woods hit a golf shot up close.
• Listening to my mother play “Spinning Song” on the Piano
• Watching my beautiful wife walk down the aisle and hearing the bagpipes.
• Hearing my band on the radio for the first time.
• Having the opportunity to ask some artists in person about albums they made that I listened to endlessly.
• Surfing way out on the 3rd sandbar by myself during a storm and seeing a shark coming towards me. That was 15 years ago and I remember EXACTLY what that dorsal fin looked like.
• Spending 24 hours in solitude at the Great Sand Dunes.
• Ending that with time with amazing friends.
• Watching my father cry at my sister’s wedding.
• Watching my grandfather tune our piano.
and on and on and on…

Looking back on this list makes me feel incredibly fortunate and grateful to have had all these experiences and opportunities, grateful for the people I shared them with, and grateful for memories that I was left with. I’m ready for at least 35 years of new ones now.

“Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll” Debuts on HDNet!

My friend and artist Stuart Davis has just inked a deal with HDNet to air his wild and wonderful TV show (see press release below).

I’ve had the privilege of making 3 albums with Stuart Davis and they’ve all been a blast to make. Stuart is truly a unique artist and one I support fully as a producer, artist, fan, and human. I hope the world gets a glimpse of the humor and talent in whatever way it might reach them.
Woo Hoo!

Zen Buddhist-indie rocker Stuart Davis is launching a new comedy series: Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll.  Season One of of this ground-breaking tv show debuts April 26 on HDNet across the U.S. and Canada.  Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll is written, directed, and hosted by Stuart Davis, and features edgy humor from the open-hearted maniac.   Each episode follows Stu performing stand up comedy, news, sketches, and his acclaimed music.  A twisted mind and a sensitive soul, Davis has made a career out of parsing tricky topics, and Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll finds this ‘Punk Monk’ at his multi-faceted best.

“We are excited to welcome Stuart Davis and Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll to HDNet.  Stuart is one of a kind, and we are thrilled he is on HDNet.”
-Mark Cuban, President of HDNet

Davis has studied his heroes (Ricky Gervais, Amy Sedaris, Jon Stewert), but is finding a unique voice with his ‘spiritual’ brand of comedy.  SGR&R is a delirious dive into life’s Mysteries through the mind of a Cosmo-centric comedian.  It’s no wonder Davis has become known as the Twisted Mystic.

“Without exaggeration, Stuart Davis is one of the most fascinating and exceptional songwriters in modern music.”
-San Jose Metro

While Davis is a happily hyphenated artist (writer-director-actor-comedian-songwriter), he’s first known for his music.  The sound track to Season One of SGR&R (‘Songs From The TV Series’) is being released simultaneously with the debut of the tv show.  The first single, Twisted Mystery, hits radio in April and is also featured on Showtime in the series I Can’t Believe I’m Still Single.  Davis will be touring nationally through the summer to promote the TV series and the new collection of pop songs.

“Not since Bob Dylan burst through has Minnesota produced such a confident and creative songwriter and social observer.”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune

Filmed in HD in front of a live audience in Boulder, Colorado (take that, Mork & Mindy!), SGRR will also have a web-based home at

where fans can find exclusive content for members only.   The SGR&R subscription site includes interviews with spiritual figures, unreleased sketches, and regular vlogs from Stu.

“Davis may be the best songwriter you’ve never heard of.”
-Des Moines Register

Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll airs Sundays on HDNet beginning April 26.

About Codge

My grandfather was born Millet “Codge” MacIrons in Macon, Georgia in 1923. He was the son of Finnean MacIrons and Antigone Napier. Their story is for another post, but suffice to say they wound up in Macon and had little Millet in the Winter of ’23. He picked up the nickname “Codge” later in Navy, but once it was anoited, it was like it was always there.

Codge’s first experience with golf was with his father on a return visit to the Scottish homeland in 1927. It was appropriate that the great Bobby Jones was playing in the British Open that year, and Codge and his father were right there on the first tee to catch more than a glimpse of the great Mr. Jones.

In 1941, Codge MacIrons enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was sent to San Diego for basic training. After several stops to Hawaii and back, Codge eventually entered officer training and was then stationed aboard the USS Indianapolis with the rank of Ensign. While Codge found it comforting that he was under the command of a brotherly Scot in Captain McVay, he would not find it comforting to know what lay ahead.

In 1943, after delivering top secret materials and weapons (probably the bomb) near Japan, the USS Indianapolis head for Guam. Unfortunately, Commander Hashimoto of the Japanese forces saw otherwise and fired upon, eventually sinking the USS Indianapolis. As most people know the story of the Indianapolis, they would understand that Ensign MacIrons was among the surviving crew that braved the sea and sharks for the following 4 days and 4 nights.

After being awarded the Medal of Honor and Silver Star, Ensign MacIrons eventually made it to Guam, where he was stationed for two years (picking up gout and scurvy as well). Needless to say, these few years hardened Codge to no end.

Note: Later Captain McVay was court martialed for failing to “zig zag” properly and abandon ship earlier. The prosecution called upon Commander Hashimoto as their star witness. Codge was enfuriated and it was the first and only time he cursed his own country. McVay committed suicide in ’68 and was exonerated in ’01 (“Thanks a lot” Codge said.)

By 1950, Codge was a Lieutenant Commander aboard the USS Juneau ported in Washington. When the Korean War broke out, the Juneau was sent immediately to patrol the 38th parallel. The final wartime combat Codge would see would be at Bokuku Ko (“Kokos”) and Chumonchin, where the Juneau destroyed several installations and sank three enemy torpedo boats. Once again, Codge was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery and service.

After “wasting the next 10 years” (Codge’s words), but still managing to stay in the Navy, Captian Millet “Codge” MacIrons was stationed in Guantanamo Bay (“Gitmo”). During a routine weapons training, but under the stresses of the Cuban Missile Crises, a couple of “island enlists” accidently detonated a frag grenade near Codge. The blast took off most of Codge’s left leg and surgery did the rest. If “Codge” hadn’t earned his nickname yet, it was forever set in stone.

Codge could never decide which would ultimately cause him the most anguish- that he lost a leg during “non-combat” or that he would forever be unable to “get to his left side” at the conclusion of a golf swing. “How did I make it 30+ years of service without a scratch and end up loosing a leg because of some careless Carribbean nips?!” Codge was awarded the Navy Expeditionary Medal and was discharged. Later, he “discharged that dis-honorable scrap of met(d)al down the jon.”

From 1966 to 1988, Codge taught high school history in Galax, Virginia. Codge was married to Sun Rhee in 1954 and they had Daniel (my father) in 1958, but she left him in 1983 for an African American ballet dancer in New York. Codge never remarried. He has always loved and the respected the game of golf and continues to watch every tournament that is on tv.

Are you there Peter? It’s me, Alex.

Lately, with the decline and fall of the music industry and all, I’ve been doing this “exercise” in the mornings, when I first wake up… No phone, no email, no anything -just sit still and shut up. It’s basically meditation, but I’m calling it listening.

The point is that the last year was pretty tough on those of us that are full time music makers, so naturally many of us are considering our place in all of this. Well, I’ll speak for myself. I’ve been inspired recently by guys like Brian Johnson and similar stories. Brian sold a successful social networking web site and decided to move to Bali and start Philosopher’s Notes. Basically, he’s going to summerize to others what he’s teaching himself. More importantly, to get to this point he really LISTENED. Not to others, but to himself and possibly what the “universe” was telling him. And now he lives in BALI, which sounds pretty rad.

There are a whole host of bloggers that are using our flaccid economy to encourage people to follow their gut and passion. “Things aren’t going well? Use it! You’re already fired, you might as well start on a new path of something that really moves you!” Which I think is fantastic. The more people are doing what they want in this world, the better for everyone, I feel.

So, I’ve been lying in bed each morning questioning my current path. Not in a depressed, hopeless way (I’m actually quite pleasent when I wake up,) but in an honest – “I’m listening if there is something else I’m supposed to be doing with this life. I’m available.”

Well, I’ll tell you what keeps happening. I keep getting “interrupted” by what sounds like the voice of Peter Griffin poking his head around the door frame saying, makemusictxt in that irritating, repetitive Peter Griffin kind of way. I usually just brush it aside, because hey – at the age of 22 I tossed my medical school acceptance letter in the trash and decided on a life in music. I mean, I did it already, so this can’t be what the universe is trying to tell makemusictxt me, right? This is the part where I get real…

Clearing my head again, because having practiced meditation for years I know it works like this. Thoughts arise in the makemusictxt brain and we gently brush them aside, quietly acknowledging and dismissing.

Ok, now that I’m back to emptiness, I can makemusictxt listen – damn. Really?! Are you sure about this? Because, I’m pretty sure that we makemusictxt have been doing this for a while and I don’t see a DB9 out in the driveway of this rented house!


I’d love to make a record right now with a kick ass band. What do you say?