Archive for August, 2011

Breakfast with Kevin

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

     I recently hooked up with my friend Kevin Alger. Many of you know him as the go-to-guy on the phone at AVAD. It was our monthly breakfast meeting at the High Street Cafe.

      Music is an important element in his life. This includes live performances, CD’s, iTune files, and a solid collection of vinyl. On this morning he was particularly excited about a mini tube preamp he had just ordered. It’s the type that inserts between a solid state preamp and amplifier. He hopes it will add ‘warmth’ to the sound of his audio system.

       In addition to this news, Kevin suggested that I should check out a Stereophile article written by Henry Rollins. Rollins is not your normal contributor to an audiophile magazine. But he is a force in the world of music, film, and comedy as a singer, a songwriter, a poet, a spoken word artist, a writer, a publisher, an actor, and a radio DJ.

       Stereophile had foresight in inviting an artist to the audio conversation. Artists as Rollins have the gift to interpret and convey what us mortals can’t. For example Rollins wrote; “Why spend so much time and money to achieve optimum playback? For me it is simple, perhaps brutally so: Life is short, and music is humankind’s ultimate achievement. Michelangelo, Picasso, Einstein were all unfathomably brilliant, but I would toss any one of them off the center spot of my couch when I put on this pristine copy of Hawkwind’s Doremi Fasol Latido I got a couple of months ago. As soon as that music starts, every dollar becomes well spent, time becomes precious, and there is no place I would rather be.”

      Similarly the late philosopher and mythologist Joseph Campbell once told an audience,” I had a marvelous experience two nights ago. I was invited to a rock concert. I’d never seen one. This was a big hall in Berkeley and the rock group were the Grateful Dead, whose name, by the way, is from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. And these are very sophisticated boys. This was news to me. … Rock Music has never seemed that interesting to me. It’s very simple and the beat is the same old thing…….But…this is more than music. It turns something on in here (the heart?). And what it turns on is life energy.”

      Rollins and Campbell got it. Sometimes music is more than music. The same can also be true of film. And customers who share this excitement and devotion should be your primary customer target.

      I may be just an analog guy trying to reconnect the dots in a digital world. But who would you rather do business with? Would you choose those who share the passion or those who simply want generic lowest priced gear? Would you seek those who value your expertise or those who just want another delivery boy? Don’t answer. The questions are rhetorical.

      Earn the trust of passionate musical and cinema customers. Show respect for their music and film. Demonstrate your expertise by reproducing the ‘goose bumps’ that lie within the grooves of their vinyl and digital sources. If you seek assistance in filling a hole or two in the expertise category; get it from your manufacturers, trade groups, and my website:

      Last night my wife and I visited an intimate forty seat concert venue, the Tin House in Grass Valley California. If you live within driving distance, you have to check it out. The Texas singer songwriter, folk singer, punk rocker, and rocker, Jon Dee Graham was the featured artist. Kevin had informed us of the show. He was there too. Jon Dee’s music and performance was inspirational. Thanks Kevin.

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