Her life was saved by rock and roll

Given Clear Channel’s financial difficulties, now might be a good time to point to the Sloan E-52s’ version of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll,” available for download in MP3 format, lead vocals and arrangement by yours truly. Lou knew thirty-two years ago that Big Radio was coming:

Jenny said when she was just five years old
There was nothing happening at all
Every time she puts on the radio
There was nothing going down at all

When we perform that song, I can’t resist adding after that line, “Must have been a clear channel.” 🙂 Other tracks from our live in the studio recording session are available.


Recording rocks

The E-52s did their most amazing performance today for the mikes. We recorded our repertoire in a tight two hour session—a far cry from sessions I used to do with the Suspicious Cheese Lords that would take two hours to cut one song. Of course the standards were much higher at those sessions. Here we wanted songs for archival, memory, gifts to families, and possibly on line promotional purposes, which made the pressure much less and we had a lot of fun.


Free a cappella in Cambridge

In concert tonight, in the lobby of Building E-52 (50 Memorial Drive in Cambridge for the MIT-impaired), the Sloan E-52s. Featuring lots of fine a cappella stylings. And stuff.

This is by way of apologizing for the lack of blogging today. I have things to say, but I’m saving them for my group.

A cappella in the NYT? Quick, call our publicist

New York Times: Campuses Echo With the Sound of a Cappella. It’s true, it’s all true.

But it’s not new. I graduated from Virginia in 1994, and in the time I was there the scene went from four groups (Virginia Gentlemen, Virginia Belles, Hullabahoos, and Sil’Hooettes) to six with the addition of the New Dominions and the Academical Village People, not counting the “graduate and professional school groups” (there was a group at the Med school whose name, shamefully, I can’t remember).

Now I’m directing a young group at the Sloan School of Management, the E-52s. In many ways our group is more typical. We don’t have 50 or 60 people trying out; we don’t sing in championships or Avery Fisher Hall. We just hang out and sing and have fun. And joke about singing songs like Radiohead’s “You and Whose Army” or the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll” a cappella. And occasionally we stop joking and start learning a song or two.

Not too busy to rock

I’ve been a bit quiet the last few days because I’ve been getting the Sloan E-52s ready to rock the house. Our Spring Jam is May 9 and we just signed one of the best MIT a cappella groups, the MIT/Wellesley Toons, as our guests.

I’m really excited about this show. It will culiminate more than a year of hard work for me as director of the group and a lot of sweat on the part of the group members. Plus we’ll be doing an a cappella arrangement I did of a Velvet Underground song…but I won’t tell you which one. (Hint: you’ve seen it on this page today.) After I graduate I’ll have to start making some of my arrangements available over the web; a lot of them will never be performed because they’re too weird.

Other people’s water, and new readers

Just finished a gig with the Sloan E-52s for admitted MBAs at a lunch at MIT Sloan. I sing harmony with the soloist on one of the songs, REM’s “Superman,” and I got a chance today to do something I’ve always wanted to do. There’s a section in the song where the soloist is by himself for four measures while I lay out after hitting a couple high notes in a row. Today, after the second high note I leaned over to the table to my left, asked “Is anyone drinking this?”, took a big sip, and got back in time to make my next entrance. Look on the soloist’s face: Priceless.

After the gig, I had my first face to face meeting with a new reader to whom I’m not related. One of the admits introduced himself and said he found my site while searching for weblogs by Sloan students. (As far as I know, I’m the only one.) He’s a Seattleite who’s “99.9% sure” he’ll be at Sloan in the fall. He’s also introduced his fiancée to blogging, but his own blog is currently in design paralysis and he hasn’t written anything yet. Well, here’s your public push: Get writing! A weblog isn’t a weblog without content!!

Would you like herring with that solo?

I forgot to mention: the E-52s had their inaugural gig on Thursday. It was surreal. We were singing for penguins. No, real penguins. The faculty party was at the Boston Aquarium, and it was a hideous performing space. Think cement cube with balconies facing into the center, which has a column of aquatic exhibits going up to the roof and a spiral ramp around it, and a pond at its base with rocks and penguins. The best option for singing was on a small alcove on the first floor facing the penguins. No one could hear us. But it was fun anyway.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Listening to the new Wilco album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, in streaming audio from their website. It’s a very different album from the predecessors, but I like what I’m hearing. I don’t think their old label, Reprise, did, though–they’ve been dropped and are currently shopping for a new home. I’ll be looking forward to hearing them next week at the Avalon. I haven’t been hearing as much music as I did in Seattle (after all, I have to go to classes!) but I’m still getting out when I can.

Any guesses on the meaning of the album name? I still get a giggle from an interview with Jeff Tweedy where he revealed that the name of their previous album, “Summerteeth,” came from the fact that a lot of the members of the band had severe dental problems while recording the album. “You know the joke: I have summerteeth. Some are teeth and some aren’t.”

Still playing with the website. I think I’m going to turn the front page of the site into a proper news bits format, like Dave uses on scripting.com. Maybe then I’ll update more frequently. The nice thing about that format is it works much better for syndication than essays.

If you haven’t looked at what’s been keeping me busy lately, check out “e-MIT” and the “E-52s”. I’m looking forward to Thursday’s general e-MIT meeting and finding some people who want to continue the work I’ve been doing on the operational strategy and execution for the website. And we should be announcing a new E-52s lineup tonight.