Are recordable DVDs and CDs only good for 2 years?

Here’s some news from PC World that really scares me:

Opinions vary on how to preserve data on digital storage media, such as optical CDs and DVDs. Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, has his own view: If you want to avoid having to burn new CDs every few years, use magnetic tapes to store all your pictures, videos and songs for a lifetime.

Unlike pressed original CDs, burned CDs have a relatively short life span of between two to five years, depending on the quality of the CD,” Gerecke says. “There are a few things you can do to extend the life of a burned CD, like keeping the disc in a cool, dark space, but not a whole lot more.”

Read the full article by clicking here.

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A friend of mine in the CD/DVD duplication industry responds:

This guy has been spouting this bilge for several years now. He is flat wrong. I don’t know what his problem is or what his agenda is – maybe his parents locked him up in his room when he was a child and he craves attention or something. In any case, he has been widely panned as a nut.

Video Transfers at Louie Central

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of transfers of old analog Hi8 videotapes, thanks to the generosity of my friend Aron Ranen of I’ve shot a major portion of my documentary on Hi8 video with PCM audio, which isn’t exactly a common format. Most of the Hi8 decks will only play back AFM audio, as does every Digital8 unit I’ve ever used. I loved the crisp image I used to get from my Toshiba TSC-200, but the Hi8 format had some serious drawbacks.

When I first got involved with this LOUIE project, I borrowed an old 3-tube JVC camera with a 3/4″ pack from the local public access channel. I figured a radio marathon with songwriter Richard Berry would certainly be newsworthy, right? One little video project turned into a much bigger project, and I’ve used all sorts of video formats over the years- Betacam SP, 3/4″ SP, Hi8, SVHS, Digi-8, Mini DV, and DVCam. If I had one regret about video formats, it would be that I shot way too much of my crucial interviews with Hi8, which turned out to be a really terrible format for drop-outs, but I am very fortunate that I was able to get interviews with all folks that I did.

Again, my hat goes out to Aron this week for his video support services. Aron was actually part of my production team when I did my very last video production with Richard Berry. Richard did a reunion with the Pharaohs as part of a Doo Wop Show in Long Beach, California. With Aron and my co-producer Jesse Block, we were able to get some great interviews and performances with the band. I certainly had no idea that would be the very last time I would ever see Richard alive.

For those of you interested in learning how to use the Final Cut Pro video editing system, Aron offers courses at in San Francisco. Aron’s also directed some very entertaining films of his own, such as “Did We Go,” a documentary that questions whether man actually did walk on the moon. If you sign up for any courses with Aron, be sure to mention that “LOUIE sent cha!”

In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse me, as I’ve got more video dubs to attend to…

Holy Crud… it’s the MUMMIES!

The Mummies Rock!

Somehow or another, I stumbled over at the official Mummies‘ webpage tonight. The Mummies haven’t been a band since 1994, and I do miss them. I used to see them all the time at Marsugi’s in San Jose back in the late 1980’s- early 1990’s, which was truly one of the coolest divebars of all time! Located downtown on First Street, this tiny little club which could hold something like 100 people at the most, had some of the greatest music this town had ever seen, providng a wide assortment of punk, rockabilly, country, funk, ska, power pop, jazz, and blues. With a little stage located right in the front window of this club, there was some unintentional comedy when some of the more outrageous performers, such as Buck Naked & the Bare Bottomed Boys did some of their schtick for the casual passers-by that happened to walking by.

Damn, I do miss Marsugi’s. I had a lot of great memories seeing folks like Spot 1019, Dot 3, A Western Front, the Spit Muffins, Girl Trouble, Dee Lannon, Sweetbaby, the Kingpins, and even the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, who I actually shot footage of, for an as-yet unreleased documentary. There were soooo many great bands at this place. I think even Nirvana raved about playing this fine little dump when someone wrote about them in SPIN magazine. I’m still kicking myself for missing the Gwar show…

Anyways, seeing webpage brought back a lot of memories, as this page listed all of their various Marsugi’s shows, and even reproduced one of the Marsugi’s drink tickets. I knew the Mummies used to go apeshit over the Wailers music, playing a lot of their songs, and even doing a nice photo spoof (see above) that was used for the cover of a single. Reading the webpage and an email that woke up to their webpage, I discovered a couple of other things about the Mummies I didn’t know:

1) They did an extensive tour of the Northwest with Billy Childish and Thee Headcoats.

2) They broke up in 1992, but reunited in 1993 to open up for a Supercharger tour of Europe, returning to headline shows in Europe in 1994 before breaking up for good.

3) Their final performance was for John Peel‘s radio show in England.

4) They actually released a song called “Don Gallucci‘s Balls.” Don Gallucci was, of course, the original keyboard player for the Kingsmen that went on to lead Don & the Goodtimes, and produce (Iggy and) the Stooges “Fun House” album. I wonder if Don knows about this odd tribute?

I love their webpage! Can you believe there’s absolutely contact info? Those silly Mummies!

Here’s hoping for an eventual reunion…..

What about Vince Welnick?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks over at LOUIE Central. I recently purchased another DV deck, and I’ve been transferring a lot of old videos to the big hard drives.

One of the interviews I just transferred was an impromptu interview I conducted with the recently-deceased Vince Welnick. The event was the 2002 Haight Street Fair in San Francisco, and Vince had just finished playing a set with his old band, The Tubes. I asked Vince if he had any interesting LOUIE LOUIE stories, and he proceeded to tell me about how he would use the song as a celebration of sexual gratification for his lady friends. It’s a funny story, and if I were to use it, it would definitely eliminate any chance of getting this film shown on the Disney channel.

As I watched some of my concert footage of Vince, I decided to assemble a quick little tribute to him, and share it on YouTube. The audio is definitely over-modulated and distorted, but the video is solid.

As this footage also features Chet Helms, it’s something I’ll offer to my friend James MacLeod, who is producing a documentary on Chet. Anyone that has any footage of Chet should send an email to James MacLeod via chet-video @ or call (650) 355-3276.

To recycle my own description….

The date was 6-9-2002. Merl Saunders, who’d been playing at Haight Street Fairs ever since they began, had just suffered a stroke, and folks were wondering if he was going to survive. Family and friends assembled the Merl Saunders Band for the Haight Street Fair as a tribute to their dear friend that was in a hospital, trying to heal.

This is a quick snippet from that show, feauring Vince Welnick, piano player for the Grateful Dead, the Tubes, and Missing Man Formation. You’ll see some random images of Chet Helms, George Michalski, Lee Houskeeper, and other friends at this festive San Francisco performance in the Haight Ashbury district. You’ll hear Vince sing a small sample of the Beatles song “Tomorrow Never Knows.

RIP: Johnny Grande, original piano player for Bill Haley’s Comets

Johnny Grande, photo by Chet Helms

I just learned that Johnny Grande, an original member of Bill Haley’s Comets, died recently. I had the privilege of working with Johnny when I was hired a few years ago to produce a video of a Comets concert in San Francisco. As a matter of fact, tonight I was preparing to work on editing the final program for a DVD release when I learned that Johnny was no longer a member of the living.

Johnny first joined Bill Haley’s band in 1949, back when it was known as “the Saddlemen.” He was an original member of Bill Haley and the Comets, and played with the band until 1963. Johnny not only played piano and accordian with the band, but also handled some of the arrangements, as he was one of the few members that could actually read music.

For many people including John Lennon of the Beatles, “Rock Around the Clock” was the quintesential song that started the rock and roll revolution. “Rock Around the Clock” was the first rock and roll recording to hit the top of the American record charts. Johnny was there when history was made, recording the song that changed a lot of people’s lives.

In 1987, Johnny participated in a reunion of original Comets that included Marshall Lytle (bass), Joey Ambrose (sax), Dick Richards (drums), and Franny Beecher (guitar). After receiving an enthusiastic reception for this music, the band turned this one-shot performance into a full-time career, touring all over the world to eager audiences. In 2006, the Comets joined Paul Revere & the Raiders and Bill Medley to become the first bands to perform at the new Dick Clark American Bandstand Theatre in Branson, Missouri.

Johnny died at the age of 76 on June 3 at his home in Clarksville, Tennessee.

For more information about Johnny and the Original Comets, be sure to check out:

The official webpage for the Original Comets
Marshall Lytle’s Comets webpage
The Wiki-pedia entry on Bill Haley’s Comets
The Wiki-pedia entry for Johnny Grande
Rock Around the Clock: The Record That Started the Rock Revolution, a superb book by my friend Jim Dawson
Chet Helms‘ photos of the concert that will soon be available as a DVD (featuring a few photos of yours truly)

We’re going to miss you, Johnny.

Eric Predoehl, producer/director of upcoming Comets DVD release, as well as MEANING OF LOUIE documentary

POST-NOTE: It’s ironic that Johnny had to be the third rock piano player to pass away in the same week that also included the demise of Billy Preston (June 6) and Vince Welnick (June 2). I don’t know what to think about that…..

God Save the Internet!

There’s been some weird rumblings in Washington D.C. by certain politicians to allow telecommunications companies to control what you can and cannot access via the internet. I wish this was an urban legend, but unfortunately….. it’s actually happening. There are a lot of greedy politicians that are allowing a massive power grab by large telecommunications companies that will ultimately change the dynamics of how people are able access the internet.

Luckily, there’s an organization like, which is doing everything it can to stop this terrible piece of legislation. It isn’t just a bunch of lefties like MoveOn or the ACLU. It’s a coalition of groups like groups like Consumers Union, Gun Owners of America, Christian Coalition of America, American Library Association, Parents Television Council, SEIU, and individuals like Professor Lawrence Lessig (Stanford), Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), Professor Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit blogger), and a lot of other folks that believe this is a bad idea.

Republican Senator Olympia Snowe is behind this movement, as are a small handful of other intelligent conservatives.

Former record company executive, current activist blogger Howie Klein has a nice entry about the subject at his DownWithTyranny blog:

I’ve been talking with the folks at and helping connect them with some artists who are eager to help keep the internet free and out of the greedy clutches of the big corporate telecoms who– with their bought-and-paid-for politicians– have every intention of privitizing and monetizing it. Some of the artists who have already spoken out include R.E.M., Lou Reed, Moby, Sparks, and Ice-T. Today a new singing group made up of Kay Hanley, Jill Sobule and Michelle Lewis, under the name The Broadband releases a KILLER song, “God Save the Internet” which you are welcome to listen to and to download for free.

Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE), rejecting any provisions that would preserve “net neutrality.”

Joshua Micah Marshall‘s Talking Points Memo has a current tally of where Senators stand on the issue of “net neutrality.”