THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Ringo At The Greek

Chris brought Tal into Rena's office.


That's Tal Wilkenfeld. You know, the curly-haired twenty five year old bassist most famous for playing with Jeff Beck. Hell, she's all over YouTube, you can even see her backing up Mick Jagger. You see Tal came out at the end of the show, during "With A Little Help From My Friends".


I went because Luke was the guitar player. And Luke positively WAILED!


But the crowd that showed up was so eclectic. Right inside the door I was introduced to Andrew Loog Oldham. It's fascinating when legends still walk the earth. I should not be able to speak with Andrew, he's a god, but here he was, talking about "Bittersweet Symphony" and Keith and living in Bogota. I could have gone on all night.


And Frampton was sitting behind us.


And on the other side of the aisle were the Bach sisters. Who almost appeared to be twins. They came with their own security. And needed it. For a drunk guy sitting behind them was dancing in the aisle with abandon, showing his butt crack to the point where everybody whipped out their cameras, but then he got tossed, thank god.


Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

And the unexpected highlight of the show was Richard Page, singing "Broken Wings". I know, I know, I'm not supposed to like that number. But you know how there are certain records outside of your genre that you just cannot burn out on? "Broken Wings" is one of them.


And I was stunned when Todd played "Love Is The Answer".


"And when you feel afraid
LOVE ONE ANOTHER!"


Do you know this record, England Dan & John Ford Coley had the cover, but it's syrupy, the original is ethereal, and powerful. And Todd looked like a buffoon, Ringo accused him of categorically being unable to "Act Naturally", but seeing this man in the flesh who belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before half its members is a thrill.


And Santana has all the fame, but Greg Rolie sang those Santana hits. And you should have seen Lukather wail on Carlos's parts. He earned his standing ovation. Hell, there were many of them.


This is our world. This is our tribal rite. Ringo might be 72, but now the age difference between him and us…is almost insignificant. We're all on our way out, we're all on our victory lap. Going to the show is in our DNA, and although we like our iPhones and digital media what we like most is having the music wash over us. Yes, there was this moment during the show that I felt like I was right where I both wanted and needed to be, that I was complete, that I'd not only survived, I'd won.


And self-critical Ringo was laughing that fewer than ten people had bought his 2012 CD, or downloaded it, or purchased the vinyl. You see we don't care. No one cares.


That's what too many musicians don't understand. That breaking into public consciousness is nigh near impossible.


Kind of like Joe Walsh, Ringo's brother-in-law, who came out and played "Rocky Mountain Way". His new album sank like a stone. They all do.


And during the finale the stage was peopled by so many legends. From Jim Keltner to Jeff Lynne to Frampton to Gary Wright to Joe to an essentially unrecognizable Bud Cort. Yes, we all get by with a little help from our friends.


And on stage too was Tal. Joe dragged her up. She didn't know him previously. She'd only me him this night.


Tal's making an album. Her guru Steve Perry says that she should be happy with it, because trying to second guess the market…if you fail, you hate everything about it.


And she proceeded to drop the names of a who's who of legendary musicians. She's recording at Jackson Browne's studio. She was talking about Benmont having a minor accident.


And I love all those people. But not a single one has a clue what's going on today.


Kind of like Jackson himself. He went down to Occupy Wall Street and performed a new acoustic song with Dawes that was amazing. I just found out by accident that it's included on the Occupy album, which if I don't know about, no one does, and furthermore, he killed it, sapped all the vitality and vigor from the street performance.


You see, today the YouTube version IS the hit. And if you're lucky, not only will your fans see it, they'll cover it. Albums are irrelevant. They're static moments in time, they're forgotten almost instantly after they're released. But the oldsters keep banging their heads against the wall, lamenting the change in the landscape.


Hell, Jackson could release multiple versions on YouTube, both acoustically, caught on an iPhone, and the studio take. He can have both on iTunes and Spotify. The oldsters perfect and dribble out material. Newbies release constantly, aren't afraid of warts and mistakes, they know their audience eats everything up.


Assuming you've got an audience.


And Tal said she had 100,000 e-mail addresses! I was wowed! Because that's how you play. If you don't know who your fans are, if you can't reach them, you're sunk.


And she's got an agent and is playing some test gigs and isn't sure about labels and I told her to forget about labels unless she's got radio-friendly music.


As for labels, they're publicity machines. Joe Walsh got a ton of traditional publicity for his latest album, the name of which I can't even remember, and I liked it, but it's like it never came out.


You've got to stay in the public eye. There's no such thing as mystery. Manipulation is for pussies. Hell, the truth always comes out.


The oldsters aren't hungry enough. They do one round of publicity and give up. Whereas to make it today, you've got to be working around the clock. And it's not about publicity, it's about creativity.


And Tal lamented she didn't have a manager.


But I told her she didn't want one. Because at this stage of her career, the people who'd take the gig weren't good enough and the great people won't do it until they get paid.


Yes, managers are about money. Artists are about music.


It's a brand new world.


And the youth will inherit the earth.

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