In that piece, I called out Wu Tang Clan’s plan to auction the sole one copy of their new record as a HUGE fuck you to fans. Today I learned that Wu fans are trying to win the auction with a Kickstarter campaign. From an interview with the ringleader:
"I can’t imagine RZA being upset if enough Wu-Tang fans get together and raise enough money to purchase [the album]," + "We don’t want some guy in Dubai who literally has money to burn to buy it as a collector item that only six people will get to listen to." - Russell Meyer
This is perhaps the most frustrating music fan quote I’ve ever read. Upset? Really? We’re so far from the proper fan response to this money-grubbing stunt that we’re worried our favorite artist will be mad at them for raising millions to hear their new music? Dear Russell Meyer, RZA is pissing all over your shoes, man. You shouldn’t be raising money to do this, you should be throwing all your Wu albums in the garbage. RZA WANTS the guy in Dubai to win this auction. This was not designed, in any way, to service fans. It’s a bold money grab that every member of Wu Tang, past and present (I’m talking to you RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa*), should feel ashamed.
In the early 1800’s this region was part of what was known as the “Burned-over district” denoting that evangelists had so thoroughly campaigned the area’s people that there was “no ‘fuel’ (unconverted population) left over to ‘burn’ (convert).” Later, in 1849, twelve miles from where I type this, two adolescent girls, Maggie and Kate Fox, began to hear, summon, or clandestinely produce knocking sounds that they claimed were communications from dead people. The Fox Sisters claims became a worldwide phenomenon and triggered the Spiritualist movement in America. During the peak of the Spiritualist movement even President Lincoln tested the waters, allowing Mary Todd Lincoln to hold seances in the White House, some of which he purportedly attended. There is a memorial obelisk dedicated to the Fox Sisters nearby, and you can trace a direct line between the two girls and any modern day scenario where you pay someone to communicate with the deceased for you. Point is, sometimes you think you’re just messing around in your parent’s house but in the right circumstances, your bedroom mess-arounds escape that house. Where did young people put their weird ideas before rock bands? Maybe you had to pretend you were summoning knocks and whispers from the dearly departed? I don’t know. Just an idea.
I would’ve loved to hear the Fox Sisters’ indie rock band.
Anyway, here we are at 1809 Studios making our fourth album! You helped us get here! Thank you! Yesterday was day 1 of 5 days of tracking. We have 11 or 12 songs to record here, which is a lot for 5 days, but we know this album backwards and forwards and we’re ready to let these songs be whatever they tell us they are (see the parallel there? I’m telling you, The Fox Sisters would’ve gotten “Best New Music” for sure). Dave Drago is producing here and he’s already made 6 suggestions which were real “Duh” moments for the recipients of the suggestions. Meaning, he’s real good at this. The studio is in a former tavern/inn built sometime around the time the Fox Sisters starting scaring the shit out their parents. The studio is gorgeous and there are built-in living quarters here, so we can literally roll out of bed and be in the control room in under five steps. If you were a fan of the television show L O S T think the hatch where Desmond lived. It’s kind of like that (Oh man, as I typed this the fire alarm just went off and it sounded exactly like the warning beeps that used to sound in the L O S T hatch, wow).
We tracked all day long yesterday, finally arriving at a Chinese restaurant attached to an apartment complex (what - why?) for dinner at 10PM. We were the only ones at the establishment and the food wasn’t that great (see my full review on Yelp). As usual, the fortune cookies arrived with the bill. Did you know that most of the world’s fortune cookies are made by Wonton Food, Inc. in Long Island City? Did you also know the the company’s president Donald Lau is the author of most of the fortunes inside the cookies (his daughter writes some of them too)? I have an interest in interviewing Lau. I want to know what he thinks about having such an influence on people’s lives. I want to know if he thinks gullible people are behaving in irrational way towards his casual mini-statements or if he believes himself to be an unwitting instrument of fate. Answer the question, Lau! (Seriously, I emailed him, and he wouldn’t write me back)
Each member of Hallelujah the Hills then read their fortune and placed it away for safe keeping. The challenge is to use the text of the fortune you received in normal conversation, sometime today. Band members who do so undetected will receive points, those who guess incorrectly will lose points. My fortune was pretty conversational, and I feel my chances are good.
Today’s recordings are dedicated to Donald Lau and The Fox Sisters. Because sometimes it’s a fine line between channeling something divine and just messing around with some bullshit. All the best bands reside on this fine line, I think, and so I say: Meet Me At The Fine Line Party.
Best, Ryan from the band Hallelujah The Hills
p.s. when we return from recording we’ll play live Feb 14th at The Lilypad in Cambridge with The Dazies, The Fagettes, and Nice Guys.
I wrote this story about a musician who figured out how to make money from music with ZERO hype. You’re gonna love this story - it just came out today. It’s also about where the ongoing music industry shakeup is headed next, I think…
I consider this story to be related, in a way, to my Overdub Tampering Committee article from 2012 in which, if you’ve read it, you know I was very closely involved in. That hoax was an exercise in an extreme and bizarre reactions to a quickly changing music industry/culture. I am so glad that someone went beyond a hoax and took an idea from the same ballpark and has run with it for years.