By Hans Ebert

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By Hans Ebert

The longer I’m here, the more there’s the feeling that Melbourne is evolving to a point where the city’s elders and creatures of habit will, sooner rather than later, be replaced by a more vibrant music-driven city. It’s not going to happen overnight, but there are many things going on in a low key manner that there’s a future slowly falling into place now.

There’s a running gag that there’s only one reason to move to Melbourne: To die. And speaking to those over fifty, there’s always the urge to nod off as they ramble on about anything and everything negative- especially, their near misses in the insular world of horse racing- that often results in one astral traveling and wondering what the hell you’re doing listening to such discardable and monotonous fluff.

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By Hans Ebert

I once had a girl or should I say, she once had me. Wait: I once lived with a woman not that long ago who was on Repeat that “no one listens to lyrics anymore”. There have been songwriting partners over the recent years who’ve said the same thing, then change lyrics you’ve written into something to fit the melody line without letting you know and nonchalantly mention that it doesn’t matter if the line makes sense, that no one cares and how well it fits the chords. Yeah, but that’s not what musical partnerships are about and certainly not how the songwriting teams from Tin Pan Alley or the Brill Building like Carole King and Gerry Goffin, below, went about writing songs. It was a partnership on a creative and business level.

Having said this, times have changed, maybe they’re right and probably why the most popular songs around today aren’t written by tunesmiths like Jimmy Webb and aren’t exactly musical love poems with a story attached, but more like nursery rhymes. Don’t get me wrong: Justin Bieber is currently making the best music of his career, but is it actually music that will live on for more than a month?

Same with Selena Gomez. She’s back with a new sound, but it owes a huge nod to the sound the new team behind Justin Bieber has created- and the Bieb, an artist just out of his teens was close to being a has-been. Their musical formula is to take one line, keep it simple and flog it to death over synths. It’s stripped down pop with studio gadgetry and works for what it is- harmless, homogenised, asexual pop music.

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By Hans Ebert

To those musicians who think that performing covers is beneath them- and most who think like this are those still to make it anywhere except up their basement steps- well, they should get out more and travel. There are doing covers as note-for-note copies, and interpreting hits by others. Even the Beatles, the Stones, the Searchers and the Animals and so many others started out recording covers. When did performing covers of good songs become such an uncool thing to do, especially today when the world isn’t exactly flooded with great songs?

To these novices, no more astral traveling. Actually travel and see who’s out there, what they’re doing compared to what you’re doing, and really listen and learn how they’re changing things up with every opportunity that comes their way. And gawd knows, good opportunities for unknown musicians are more than rare- opportunities that actually lead somewhere other than the dead people’s cabaret circuit, rigged television karaoke competitions, pubs for former AA dropouts and lounge bars for tourists that are often five-star pickup joints in hotels though there’s nothing worth picking up.

In Hong Kong, these days, the Mecca for musical mediocrity with its copycat musicians, small pockets of originality though being “original” doesn’t necessarily mean being good, the unknown artists from overseas who become legends in their own dim sum because “foreign is better”, and the usual suspects who are first to grab the best gigs simply because there’s no one else, should get out of their comfort zones. Of course, if happy to be in these comfort zones and too paranoid to take a break for a refresher course in case someone new might step in, stay put and do what you’ve been doing for almost two decades thinking that ageism doesn’t exist while having egos stroked on social media.That’s fine. Not wishing to hear the truth is necessary high avoidance when facing insecurity and a career leading nowhere despite drinking the Kool-Aid.

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By Hans Ebert

We all need it. It helps pick us up to continue this journey with a real sense of purpose as opposed to just going through the motions. It shakes us off self-induced lethargy that leaves us waiting for things to present themselves to us. It makes us want to not just do it, but do whatever it is so that it is the best it can be. Anything done in a half-arsed manner is tremendously unsatisfactory. You’ve cheated yourself. This is why we need Inspiration.

We need to be inspired- continuously- to avoid turning our back on the world and going to sleep thinking it will all be better when we wake up. It seldom, if ever is. It’s often worse ‘cos some new nutter with a gun has decided to change his world and bring down everyone around with him. Or the politics and policemen of the world have allowed more bogey men in. Sometimes, going to sleep is not a good idea. Dreams seldom bring about inspiration. Well, sometimes, they do, but you’ve gotta make sure it stays with you. That you don’t forget it the next morning and you fall into your daily routine. “Morning, babe, sleep well?” And so it begins. Another day in paradise before going to sleep and waking up and repeating it all until you get tired of waking up, because there’s nothing and no one worth waking up to and with.

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By Hans Ebert

‘Go F— Yourselves’ – Little River Band Co-Founder Glenn Shorrock Is Unhappy With Jimmy Fallon

Like “Tell Her No” by the Zombies, “Reminiscing” by the Little River Band (LRB) remains one of the best pop songs ever written and recorded- but both tremendously underrated and with probably hundreds of stories behind them.

It’s quite baffling just how many musicians outside of Australia have never heard of “Reminiscing” or Little River Band, further proof that if you don’t voluntarily become a student of music, you become lost in the business of this art form, and falsely believe you’re owed all kinds of entitlement- monies from recording rights, monies from publishing, monies from streaming and from sales- plus continuing to be average musicians with no knowledge of everything that’s come before and which often results in recycling songs which leads nowhere except to the open arms of litigation. Children, children, grow up. Old Mother Hubbard’s musical cupboard is bare whereas who owns what and how much is owed can get tied up for decades in litigation. And then there are the grey online laws to contend with where no one is ever quite sure what has been signed away for free. Led Zeppelin were extremely fortunate that the recent infringement of copyright against them regarding the originality of “Stairway To Heaven” was thrown out so quickly. 

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By Hans Ebert

We don’t know it, but we’re letting things get away from us. Like being stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, we’re getting stuck in the trivialities served up and letting life’s priorities slide. We’re not looking out for Number One. We’re more concerned about what others are doing and which have absolutely no return of investment on our time. And while time keeps ticking, ticking, ticking into the future, we’re wallowing in the past and often leading vicarious lives. We’re everywhere and nowhere, baby. Just listen to the inane conversations that we join in. Why? What’s the point? Where’s any of this going to lead? It’s drunk talk even when sober.

Whether here in Melbourne or when back in Hong Kong, the onslaught of gossip continues with things said that has Lennon’s voice singing to me, “Everybody’s hustling for a buck and dime”. No idea, why it is, but finding the truth, and being with simple honest people with the talent to get things done, seems to be some impossible dream.

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By Hans Ebert

Some of you might remember listening to “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Yes, it was back in the day, but those sentiments probably apply more to today than before. And that’s because everything points to us having done a pretty crappy job of teaching our children. Either that or we’ve done a bloody terrible job of teaching ourselves right from wrong and which horses to back and which ones are non-starters. 

It’s pointless to list the daily horrors that are taking place. It would be too convenient to blame these senseless acts of violence on terrorists. The more terrifying thing might be to look inwards and over the garden wall and see that it’s not all white picket fences and Father Knows Best, but the secret and silent enemy within and in our midst. We’re on a constant rerun of “Criminal Minds”. What was too distressing and violent a series to watch on television has now become part of the daily news. It’s all become part of daily life- brother against brother, hashtags as to what lives matter most, and a morbid circus and commentary of violence. 

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By Hans Ebert

In the music world, where nothing today is what it seems, and those who artists once depended on and signed pacts with to make things happen, ignore what one would think are basic and legally binding requests for information, what’s needed most- management or a no-nonsense lawyer? Perhaps both, but most who work today as “management” are hopelessly out of touch with reality. They have not been students of music. They wouldn’t know Chris Blackwell from Mr Blackwell. They wouldn’t know how to press “Play”. They’re busy being busy.

There’s a great deal of huffing and puffing in an industry where the more one travels, the less one knows. It’s as stupid as streaming versus downloads and thinking there are millions to be made out of music. It’s the economy, stupid. And timing. And learning from past mistakes. We all screw up at one time or another. It’s not a crime. It’s part of a learning curve. It’s part of becoming smarter.

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Read the blog below from respected and outspoken American music blogger Bob Lefsetz.

Simply change the music industry to the Australian horse racing industry.

Apple’s Tim Cook can be any of the racing administrators involved in the Ride Guide farce.

Music fans can be punters, and Katy Perry and her team can be the circus behind the flawed Ride Guide concept that has no concept, but pretends it does.

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