Yoko Ono vs Ben Stein

Clearances for documentaries can be a total nightmare. I know these things, as I’ve been working on my LOUIE documentary for many years. Clearances and financing remains a major obstacle.

I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I’ve respected the rights of musicians, fellow filmmakers, and those that own or manage certain properties whose material I’d like to license. It takes time, patience and diplomacy to do things correctly.

This week, it’s Yoko Ono vs. Ben Stein. Ben Stein recently created a film that challenged the concept of evolution, and used John Lennon‘s “Imagine” without permission.

Here’s an interesting comment on this case that I found at James Boyce‘s blog entry on Huffington Post:

I work in the film industry and know that although these guys may be dumb, they’re not dumb enough to think this would fly.

They didn’t license this on purpose – it’s a costly publicity stunt. I’m sure they have a huge line item category called ‘lawsuits’ in their budget. There is no such thing as a “momentary use” and anyone in the biz knows this. Every film is required to carry E&O (errors & omission) insurance. It usually covers the film up to 1 million dollars but you must provide a statement saying that you have obtained all of the necessary clearances so that your coverage is clean and that there are no exclusions. No distributor (foreign, domestic, TV, dvd sales, etc.) will pick up your film if there are exclusions. I just wonder if the insurance would even kick in on this kind of thing if you blatantly didn’t obtain the license. I have never had that issue because I, like everyone else in this business, practice good ethics when it comes to licensing copyrighted material. We license, pay and credit the artists their due. I thought Christians were supposed to be honest? I will do some digging with insurance companies and see what the ramifications are.

This is very sad. I really hate this kind of hypocrisy. A film that tries to channel Christian ethics, but uses dishonest tactics to make their case.

Apparently, this is not the only ethical blunder they did in producing this film. From what I’ve read, they lied about the premise of their movie to get interviews, licensed music from other musicians under false pretenses of “academic freedom in schools,” copied Harvard/XVIVO’s cell animations, and then threatened XVIVO with a lawsuit.

Not exactly good Christian ethics, you know?

With any luck, Yoko’s lawyers should be able to “win Ben Stein’s money.”

This film opens on Friday. I’d tell you the name of the film, but why bother?

More information about this situation at:

http://richarddawkins.net/article,2477,Yoko-Ono-Filmmakers-Caught-in-Expelled-Flap,Ethan-Smith
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/04/the_sleaze_is_growing.php
http://www.prefixmag.com/news/update-ben-stein-did-not-acquire-the-rights-to-the/18179/

P.S. Ben Stein used to be a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon hated John Lennon, and tried to deport him from the USA. There may be a connection there…

A Farkin’ Mistruth

Sometimes, folks get information soooo wrong I don’t even want to correct them. It’s actually more amusing this way.

Take this example of a frame grab I took from FARK at
http://cgi.fark.com/cgi/fark/vidplayer.pl?IDLink=3552784

Farking LOUIE lie

I hope you’re not trying to click on an of this … it doesn’t work! It’s a FRAME GRAB, not a real link!

So why is this information wrong? Dick Peterson wasn’t even a member of the Kingsmen when the band recorded LOUIE LOUIE!

Then, there’s the matter of the supposed lyrics…

A tip of the hat goes out to Saint Gothric, who pays attention to such things…

Hail Hail Candye Kane!

As the international music community mourns the loss of singer-songwriter Chris Gaffney, who just passed away from liver cancer, I figured I should mention one of his very good friends, who also happens to be dealing with that evil cancer thing.

Candy Kayne may not have performed LOUIE LOUIE, but she’s a talented musician that deserves your attention. Her big problem is that wound up with pancreatic cancer. She’s got some substantial hospital bills, and will be struggling without income to support. Apparently after she had to cancel her European tour, she got stuck with some significant airline fees from a promoter that underwrote travel expenses for her band.

The good news, according to her MySpace blog, posted within the past 24 hours, is that she’s recovering nicely from her big 8 hour surgery, and it looks like there’s some very cool benefits lined up for her in different cities to show their support for her. In fact, in San Diego, there’s a show on May 14 featuring Mojo Nixon, Joey Harris (Beat Farmers) and Steve Poltz that I’d love to see… if only it wasn’t a 400 mile drive for me. Mojo doesn’t perform that often, so sounds like a real treat.

You can find more about Candye by going to her official CandyeKane.com website, where you can read about her colorful career, listen to her music, order some of her products, and make a donation to help her out during this very challenging turning point in her life.

A musician friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous, is being treated for cancer this week. I’ll be on pins and needles, hoping she’ll recover from what should be a relatively simple procedure. There a good chance I may be creating a benefit for her, as she’s already deep in debt from medical bills. More details as they happen..

Happy B-Day for Stretch & Iggy Pop- LOUIE of the week

Today, it’s a birthday celebration for Iggy Pop, punk rock icon, and Jeff “Stretch” Riedle, owner of the world’s largest collection of LOUIE LOUIE recordings.

Truth be told, I do blame Stretch for getting me into this LOUIE LOUIE mess. If it weren’t for that Maximum LOUIE LOUIE marathon at KFJC many years ago, I would have never known about Richard Berry, Jack Ely, or become captivated by the complicated history of the world’s most misunderstood rock song. Stretch was directly responsible for inspiring that crazy radio marathon. When I brought up the video gear to document this historic event, I had no idea what I was getting myself into…

Stretch Riedle - the man, the legend, the sex symbol

Iggy & the Stooges did the first definitive explicit recording of the song on their live album “Metallic K.O.” using the naughty lyrics that many folks believed the Kingsmen were singing for their 1963 recording. While there may be a certain degree of controversy over what Jack Ely was actually singing when he the lead singer of the Kingsmen, there was absolutely no ambiguity over what Iggy Pop was singing during the 1974 live recording at Detroit’s Michigan Palace. It was truly the nasty LOUIE that your parents warned you about.

In 1993, Iggy did a stunning re-interpretation of the song for his “American Caesar” LP, which included some new LOUIE lyrics with his thoughts about the current social-political environment, a reference to Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, and a lot of other things you wouldn’t normally hear this garage rock anthem.

As I launched a LOUIE of the WEEK award earlier this year to highlight different variations of the song, I thought I’d use this opportunity to salute a musician who’s released at least six different versions that are commercially available either on CD or DVD.

The version I’m sharing today is a rare acoustic version he did with what looks like a French television show. I have no idea what television show this clip is from, but it’s a bluesy version that doesn’t really sound like any of his other performances. Someone named MC Solaar conducts the interview after the performance. If anyone out there in cyberspace could tell more about this performance, I’d be grateful. Just drop me a line at LOUIE at LouieLouie.net.

Happy Birthday Iggy Pop!
Happy Birthday Stretch!

RIP: Chris Gaffney, Danny Federici, and others…

This is very sad. Less than two weeks ago, I posted information about a fund raising effort for Chris Gaffney, a musician that played with the Hacienda Brothers and Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men. Chris had liver cancer, no health insurance, and needed to raise $60,000 to cover extensive chemotherapy. A HelpGaff.com websitewas established to help him out.

Chris Gaffney died on April 17, 2008. I chatted with him a few times, and seemed like a real decent guy. I even shot video of him performing at a Johnny Paycheck tribute show in San Francisco. Originally, it was planned as a fundraiser for Johnny Paycheck, but then Johnny died right before the event happened. On March 19, 2003, which also happened to be the day the Iraq invasion began, the tribute took place at the Elbo Room. Originally, I wanted to shoot video of the event with 3 cameras, but one of the cameras got broken, which was a complete volunteer effort to begin with.

I sat on the video footage for a few years, as it wasn’t up to my usual standards. I released one of the Red Meat song peformances from this show on YouTube, and tonight, I’m unveiling two clips to honor the legacy of Chris Gaffney. I just spent a good part of the evening pulling this all together.

First, here’s Chris Gaffney and Dave Alvin, backed by Red Meat, performing “She’s All I’ve Got.”

Second, a performance of Chris with Red Meat, performing “Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill.” It’s an odd choice to honor someone that just died, but it’s the song that Chris chose, so I’ll let him sing it.

Another musician that passed away on April 17th was Danny Federici, who used to perform with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Like Chris, he was another victim of cancer.

Danny

The Danny Federici Melanoma Fund was established for the research and development of new and effective treatments for melanoma. You read all about it by going to to TheDannyFedericiMelanomaFund.com.

Sadly, there’s too many musicians struggling with cancer. Far too many musicians in the USA can’t afford health care, and even those with the finances to pay for such things are often powerless against such a complicated disease.

I’ve lost my share of friends and family to this terrible disease. Right now, I’m worried sick about a good friend of mine that will be undergoing an operation next week to remove some very large tumors from her body. She tells me that her condition is absolutely treatable, and I pray that she’s going to be OK. I feel so damned powerless, and I absolutely hate it.

The Perfect Length for a Pop Song – 2:42

Today, I’m looking at one of my favorites blogs, BoingBoing, which mentions an article by Joshua Allen of The Morning News that discusses the perfect length for a pop song. According to this man, all pop songs must be 2:42. Even one second, in either direction will ruin it.

What else is at 2:42? “Don’t Do Me Like That” by Tom Petty. “Divine Hammer” by the Breeders. “Helplessly Hoping” by Crosby, Stills & Nash. “Get Up” by R.E.M. “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas & the Papas. “This Charming Man” by the Smiths.

You need more proof? Jerk. Let’s look at Sgt. Pepper. “Lovely Rita” is two minutes, 42 seconds. It delivers that psychedelic vibe and a coda but then gets the hell out of your life.

Compare that to “With a Little Help From My Friends.” It’s a mere two seconds longer but feels like it drags on for hours. Maybe it’s Ringo, maybe it’s the tedious melody—or maybe it’s the two goddamn seconds.

Then over here we have “Good Morning Good Morning,” rightfully discarded by the masses as a throwaway. Why? Two minutes, 41 seconds. Hey, Beatles, maybe next time think about tacking on an extra second to give a song the grandeur and majesty it deserves.

Naturally, after reading this article, I had to check the time on LOUIE LOUIE. I grabbed my copy of “Love That Louie,” the consummate LOUIE collection, featuring the finest digital transfers of the iconic LOUIE LOUIES that define the LOUIE genre.

The Kingsmen version of LOUIE LOUIE clocks in at 2:42.

Paul Revere & the Raiders version of LOUIE LOUIE is 2:41.

LINK:
http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/oped/two_minutes_and_42_seconds_in_heaven.php

The Hijackers – LOUIE of the week

This week, The Hijackers are the honored musicians for the LOUIE of the Week award!

As the YouTube comments are in French, a language I do not know, there’s little else I can tell you about this band, other than the fact they do a decent version of the song.

Remembering Laika the Space Dog

Laika the Space Dog

In less than 6 hours, I’ll be at the world’s largest Yuri’s Night celebration, premiering a new film I just created with my pal Alison. It’s a refreshing to work on a short project that doesn’t rely on complicated clearances, or music rights.

Tonight it’s a celebration of the spirit of Yuri Gargarin, the first man to orbit the planet Earth, and live to tell about it. As we both happen to share a common birthday, and Baltic heritage, I do feel somewhat connected to the man.

Yesterday, Russia erected a statue to honor the another very important astronaut. Laika the Dog was the first mammal to orbit the planet. Unfortunately, Laika did survive the adventure, and died upon re-entry.

Laika was a stray dog wandering the streets of Moscow when she was adopted by Soviet space program to be the first mammal in space. American press nicknamed her “Muttnik” as a pun on Sputnik.

Thank you, Laika for your contribution to science. You will not be forgotten. Tonight, as the world remembers Yuri, I will be thinking of you.

A free CD goes out to the first person to do a version of LOUIE LOUIE with the phrase “Laika Laika.” Bonus points if it’s recorded in Russian

Laika monument

Telestar Logistics blog article on Laika

Wikipedia entry on Laika

New film from the creator of this website

It’s not always “all LOUIE” from the folks at LOUIE LOUIE central. Nope, sometimes there’s other projects that have absolutely nothing to do with Richard Berry‘s immortal rock song, unless of course you use the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” principle, which means, of course, that everything in the universe could be actually tied somehow to this very important song by some imaginative use of inter-connections that form the web of human experience.

No, I’ll save that theory for another blog entry. Or not. We’ll see.

Today, I wanted to talk about a new film I’ve been working on for the past 5 weeks. I recently collaborated with my old friend Alison Victor, a former rock and roll guitar player (The Guttersluts, the Gargoyles, the Angry Samoans, AC-DShe) who’s now an Emmy-winning film maker living in San Francisco. We just created a short film entitled “INNER SPACE: Genoa Remote Guidance System For the Blind” that will be shown as part of the Yuri’s Night Space Party at NASA Ames Laboratory in Mountain View, CA on April 12, 2008.

Inner Space- the film by Alison Victor & Eric Predoehl

INNER SPACE: Genoa Remote Guidance System For the Blind” is the story of Ed Gallagher, a blind man that uses space age technology to interact in a world of visual stimuli.

Ed Gallagher was a visual artist until he slowly lost his sight over 8 years. Inspired by space technology, Ed Gallagher developed the Genoa remote guidance system for the blind using wireless internet technology to communicate with a remote operator. Receiving clear commands from someone viewing Ed’s world through his head mounted web cam, Ed, as a blind man, is able to participate in every day tasks, such as shopping, sailing and riding a bicycle.

The musical score for this film was provided by Chuck Lindo, a super-talented man that has a band called The American Professionals, that happens to feature Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedys. Chris Cornell, a guy with a name of another rock star, did some audio post-production for us. Then, there’s Alison and me, doing the work of ten people with a minimal budget.

I’m very proud of the work we’ve done with this film, and I hope to see some of my friends come out to see this show at the Yuri’s Night celebration, which has been compared to a space-age Burning Man or a St. Paddy’s Day for astronauts.

Details about the Bay Area Yuri’s Night party can be found at YurisNightBayArea.net. The film will be shown at 6:30 pm, so don’t be late or you’ll miss it.

I’ll be wearing my Flash Gordon suit.

Eric Predoehl
– producer / director / website guy

P.S. For what it’s worth, Alison did actually perform LOUIE LOUIE with the Guttersluts many years ago, but we’ll save that for another time….