fanwich: a sociological breakdown of how to promote yourself

I spend a lot of my time, probably too much time, thinking about ways to get my music out to new ears without actually getting out of my house.  Playing shows is obviously the best way to get your music known, the reasons behind it being deeply rooted in history, of gatherings of people to hear a troubadour or a classical piece, or a lute player sitting at a muddy street corner, playing folk songs for pennies.  This part of musicianship will never die, even as forms of music change (and in fact, some new musical genres — DJing, for example, thrive more at the live show than they do on an album).

The internet, however, is another beast altogether.  Busking is non-exististant.  There are no “live shows” unless they are online streams of an actual live show.  Thus, the sociology of what it means to play music, the gathering aspect of it, the culture of going to see a show, dissolves, and we are thrust back to square one without even realizing it.  So I thought I would attempt a discussion of the sociology of the internet, as it pertains to online music and fan gathering.  I would appreciate feedback on this, since this is mostly off the top of my head, and I could be dead wrong.

I have broken this down into three parts: Primary Sites, i.e., social networking sites; Secondary Sites, i.e., websites/music sites; and Tertiary Sites, i.e., weblogs/internet word of mouth. Continue reading fanwich: a sociological breakdown of how to promote yourself

simple ways to idolize me

UPDATE: This post is getting a lot of attention!  If you’re here from some website or re-Tweet, I hope you stay and check out my site, and download my free Christmas CD!

I also have a permanent continuation of this page here.

I’m sure at some point in your lifetime, you’ve thought, “Gee, I really like Josh Belville’s music, and I really want to help him become rich and famous, but I do not understand these Internets.  What can I, a simple beggar, do?”

It’s easy! Continue reading simple ways to idolize me

cracking down on illegal music downloading in colleges

The fine fine people at Artists House Music Tweeted this article and it immediately caught my attention.  I wanted to reply to them but 140 characters is not enough for what I want to say.  Then I thought, I have a blog!  Yay!  I’ll just write something there.


So I’ll just reprint what the article says, since it’s pretty short and some people (like me) don’t like to click on a bunch of links sometimes.  It reads:

A few legislative notes:

Yesterday (the very day the CMA Awards were hosted in Nashville) Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed into law SB 3794, a bill that requires all public and private universities and colleges in the state to take proper steps to assure that their networks are not being used to illegally trade copyrighted material. It also requires each school to develop and enforce a policy for computer usage, network usage and ethics. The House IP subcommittee was abolished and will be bumped up to a full Judiciary committee.

My immediate thought upon reading this was: they’re gonna screw it up and get a bunch of college students pissed off at them. Continue reading cracking down on illegal music downloading in colleges

a dude’s thoughts on the election of barack obama as president of the united states

I think this election is particularly interesting because it illustrates the fundamental breakdown of individualism vs. community, immediate satisfaction vs. long term satisfaction, and church vs. state, among other things.  I found it to be a very Epicurean campaign.  Epicurus, for those of you who do not want to read a biography of Epicurus, was a Greek philosopher who was interested in immediate gratification vs.  long term gratification.  He was also one of the first people who spoke of the world in terms of atoms — I think he may have even coined that term, I can’t remember.  He might’ve just said particles, who knows.  Crazy Greeks.

Anyway, Epicurus argued that long term satisfaction was ultimately more worthwhile than immediate satisfaction.  I won’t go into why he believed that, just that he did, though I’m sure you could make your case for both sides.  Continue reading a dude’s thoughts on the election of barack obama as president of the united states

NORML Con, Day 4: Sunday

SUNDAY, October 19, 2008

I woke up and knew that Russ wasn’t in the room.  And I knew that he had gone to the lobby and moved all of the sound equipment back into the ballroom and had probably done it himself.  And while I was a little miffed that he didn’t wake me up to help him, thereby having suitable leverage to use it against me, I couldn’t deny that the extra hour or two of sleep was very, very nice.

When I arrived in the ballroom the seminar from NORML’s legal committee was starting.  I thought, great, I’ll just sit down and film stuff like always.  I don’t even have to load anything in!

Not true, my friends.  There is always something to be done.

I received a piece of paper from Dr. Frank Lucido, with the instructions to make 200 copies.  Simple.  I walked to the front desk and asked them to make copies.

 The lady said, “The copier is broken.”

My first thought was, “Buuuulllshit.”  But I went back and told Russ that the copier was down.  He told me to tell Frank.  Bah, I didn’t want to do that.  Frank was sitting at his spot on the panel now!  I went up to Frank and told him, and he said, “This is a three hour conference.  They should be able to fix the copier by then.”

At this point I was thinking that Mr. Lucido was kind of a big wig jerk sorta guy.  Mr. I Don’t Have to Make Copies Myself Well in Advance of the Seminar kinda guy.  But I was in no place to argue, so I went back to the front desk, talked to a different lady, laid out my situation.  They said the copier was down.  I said, “Can you fix it within three hours?”  She said no, only special people could fix the copier.  This is code for “We’re not going to fix the copier for you.  Ever.”  So I asked ever so politely if they would direct me to the nearest Kinkos.  They gave me directions and I took the Jeep into Berkeley, officially visiting a part of California in the daytime.  My verdict?  It was alright.

Nothing of interest happened while I made copies.  They cost .11 cents a copy in California.  That’s a lot of money for a piece of paper, I say.  I got a little lost but only because I drove past the Kinkos.  So the Verizon Navigator lady (her name is Michelle) said, “You are at your destination,” and I was like, “No I’m not Michelle!  Don’t you lie to me like that!” only to find out that she was right all along.  I’ll never doubt you again, Michelle.

I delivered the copies and Frank said thank you and the rest of the seminar went off flawlessly.  Afterwards Frank thanked me again for getting him copies, and I realized that he’s not a big wig jerk sorta guy at all, which disappointed me a little only because no one was a big wig jerk sorta guy, so there was no one that I could root against.  Not one silly selfish asshole among the bunch.  It would’ve made for a terrible TV show, that’s all I’m saying.

After the seminar we broke for lunch and the hotel staff generously let us know that they had double booked the ballroom, and thus had to cut our room size in half with those stupid separators they use.  So the next seminar from Oaksterdam was in 1/4th of the ballroom, with chairs set up almost around the panel, and the projector projecting on the wall.  Goo d work hotel, you have no officially devolved us into an amateur conference.  Thanks a lot.

Oaksterdam’s seminar was on “cannabusiness,” which is one of the cleverest portmanteau’s I’ve ever seen.  It was interesting but by this time I was working of little sleep and was getting tired.  After their seminar we broke everything down and loaded it into the Jeep.  I was under the impression that we were going to start driving, but Russ had one more fundraising party to go to, and so we did that.

The fundraiser was approximately in the middle of the hills.  Even Michelle could not navigate the streets we had to drive through.  It was in Canyon, California, which is near Oakland, I guess.  For a while we were on the freeway and then suddenly we were in some seriously suburban windy hillside streets, and then past that was a long stretch of road that looked downright dangerous to drive on.  Thank god for the Jeep’s four-wheel drive.

After a few minutes of scary driving we reached a house which I thought was the place but was actually a post office or something.  We found a place to park and a man directed us up a dark hill to the actual party location.  Once we got there we wandered around in a daze for a bit.  There was a big white dome tent thing where people were hanging out, and one of those inflatable slides.  It was pretty bad ass.  After a while we met up with Cindy and Marcia yet again (big pimpin’, spendin cheese…), and I pretty much latched on to them and Russ for the remainder of our time there, because what the hell else was I going to do?

At one point I was sitting by a fire when some young cute woman approached me and started talking to me about the fire, which turned into general conversation.  I thought, “Finally!  I don’t feel like a total loser now!  Look at me, talking to this woman and being all cool and stuff.”

And then we went to get more beers and she found her boyfriend.  C’EST LA VIE!

We were being beckoned down to the dome to hear some Rastafarian rapper.  Soulmatic, I think his name was.  The dome was cool but it was getting cold out, and Russ and I had a long drive to make.   So we hung out for a bit and then decided to take off.  I was the DD, which meant Russ was off his rocker and I had one beer, so he was trying to figure out how to go upstairs to say goodbye to the Jersey girls.  I was about to go myself when I turned right and saw them walking to me.  They were eager to leave as well.  They, however, took a limo here, and that limo wasn’t scheduled to leave until midnight.  So they wanted to come with us.  Well, we literally only had room for the two of us in that stuffed-to-the-brim Jeep.  I thought we could just wait or find the limo driver or even find someone else who was leaving and ask them for a ride.  Russ, however, wanted to make room in the Jeep.  So he wandered off to do that.

Which left me with the two Jersey girls.  No problems there.  Cindy was sitting on the curb, and Marcia was leaning against me, probably for warmth or to stop the spinning.  I’ll be honest – I never feel like I’m “big pimping”.  I know this comes as a shock to you, but it’s true.  Most of the time I feel like I’m in people’s way, and when it comes to women it’s more like, Not only am I in your way, but I actively repulse you.  Like I said
, socially awkward.  Plus they were drunk and I wasn’t, so it wasn’t anything fancy, it was more like babysitting (haha, sorry ladies).  

After a while I got worried that Russ fell into a ditch or something, so I excused myself to go look for him, and found him in some grand rearranging scheme that I knew wouldn’t work but decided to go along with just, I dunno, for shits and giggles.  So we spent a good thirty minutes trying to rearrange the Jeep to allow one more seat for the Jersey girls.  When we thought that we might make it work out (it wouldn’t), I looked over and saw the limo leaving.  “Uh, Russ,” I said, “I think the limo’s leaving.”

We both went over to see if the Jersey girls had left on the limo.  Russ couldn’t find out, but I just asked the guy who was standing there if they had left.  He said yes.  So all of our rearranging efforts were for naught, and we didn’t even get to say goodbye to Cindy and Marcia.

We put everything back in place in the Jeep, and I asked Michelle to get us out of these hills, and she did, and soon we were on the road to Portland.

I did manage to get my first taste of In‘n’Out Burger on the way back though.  And while we were ordering food at the drive thru a homeless man walked up behind the speaker and started shouting at me.  I felt that that was all the California I needed.

The ride back became a tag team effort to sleep and drive.  I would drive, Russ would sleep.  Russ would drive, I would sleep.  Russ and I would sleep in a rest area, etc.  We got back to Portland around 11am on Monday, got home, brought our bags in, and promptly passed out.  Russ had to get up to speak at the Artists for Obama rally at the Wonder Ballroom later that night, so he needed a bit more rest than I did.

I think I’ll close my travelogue with this: at the Artists for Obama rally, Russ told his wife all about the Jersey girls and the “big pimpin” comments he was getting, assuring her that it was very far from the truth.  Then he mentioned Marcia, saying that he was trying to hook her and me up.  I said something to the effect of, “WHAA?” to which Russ said, “She’s only 24.  Did you know she was 24?”

I turned into a very tiny sheep and said, “no.”

The moral of the story being, have fun.  Have fun first.  Enjoy the life you’ve got, don’t try to alter it or force it to other people’s expectations.  Smoke pot.  Get drunk.  Flirt.  Don’t be like me and assume that you have to act a certain way to get a certain thing that you don’t even know you want in the first place. In a few decades you are going to die, and when you look back on your life, you’re either going to say, “I had a lot of fun!” or you’re going to say, “I didn’t do shit.”  Which one would you prefer?

And Marcia, Marcia, Marcia … if you ever read this, then let me just say for the record that you are gorgeous and I should’ve hung out with you more.  Curses!

Maybe I’ll see you next year.

And that was my time at NORML Con.

NORML Con, Day 2: Friday

FRIDAY, October 17, 2008

Getting up early sucks.  Russ and I both had to get up very early to move all of the sound equipment from the fourth floor of the convention center to the first floor ballroom, located near the lobby.  This meant moving stuff all the way across the hotel.  If you think this is fun, then you are delusional.  We managed to set our stuff up in a relatively nice space in the room, right in front and to the left, where the panel’s desk and podium were located.  And the rest of my day was spent filming panels! Continue reading NORML Con, Day 2: Friday

NORML Con, Day 1: Thursday

THURSDAY, October 16, 2008

Russ started driving but I took over halfway, and I drove us into the Bay Area (which is sometimes known as the Yay! Area, which melts my little heart).  I would like to thank Verizon Wireless and their VZN Navigator for making what could’ve been a travesty on the freeway into an easy drive to the Doubletree Hotel and Convention Center on the marina.  A wonderful spot for a hotel; boats lined up at the dock, the fresh smell of sea air.  It looked like a lovely place to sleep for an entire day. Continue reading NORML Con, Day 1: Thursday

NORML Con, Day 0: Wednesday


Being the younger brother of a marijuana activist is tough work.  You wouldn’t think so, considering the nature (no pun intended) of the work, but it’s true.  Most people think of potheads as disillusioned youth listening to Pink Floyd on vinyl, lazily floating though life with no sense of direction or accomplishment.  All they do is wake up at 4pm, smoke weed until 4am, and repeat.  For my brother, this is far from the truth.  Russ smokes pot to relax, as he spends ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week working, whether it be his podcast, or his weekend radio show, or a random interview he has to get up at six am to do, or his software company that he created.  Not to mention all of the reading he has to do to stay on top of politics and culture.  The good news is that he gets to spend the day in pajamas to do most of his work.  The bad news is that he is stuck at a computer all day, and some of the night, doing that work.  And while some men might, at the end of the day, plop down in front of the TV with a frosty beer, Russ would much rather smoke a bowl.  The connotations of each activity are so incredibly different to most people.  Even I, who am liberal minded and pretty laid back, still have to shake that image of the lazy Dazed and Confused stoner, who giggles at everything they say and stares at you with bloodshot sleepy eyes.  Alcohol, meanwhile, has two images for me: alcoholics in wifebeaters and fun party time drink.  Seriously.  Both images are consequences of the media, and I have a hard time shaking these stereotypes from my head. Continue reading NORML Con, Day 0: Wednesday

multimedia from my excursion to reed college

This past Friday my friend and t-shirt designer Missy came down from Tacoma to spend some Awesome Time in Portland.  Since Paul was at work, I deemed it necessary to hang out with her.  So I went downtown, found her, we ate pizza, drank a soda, maybe, and then headed off on an ADVENTURE! Continue reading multimedia from my excursion to reed college