Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Descent into madness

The following has been taken from the blog of a Claymate. It is heartbreaking to see the path of a fan go from happy observer into a paranoid hostile state. Be warned that the blog below is filled with vulgar language and may be disturbing to some.

If you know the person behind the post below she may need psychiatric intervention. Please notify her family or the local psychiatric crisis intervention unit in her town.

Crisis Intervention Services

This is the one that services her town:

Crisis Intervention services are available 24 hours a day by calling 610-252-9060. The crisis unit is located at 45 North Second Street, Easton, PA 18042. Services include telephone counseling, mobile crisis, walk-in crisis, and assistance in accessing inpatient care and short-term crisis residential services.

The blog posts are in reverse chronological order.

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Fuck you, Clive Davis...Part 6

Yes, Mr. Davis, as long as I'm pissed at you I will continue to write my saga.

I'm still pissed.

I'm pissed that your fucking ego is so fucking big that you mandated a covers CD then had no plans to support it, especially to radio. That, to me, strikes at amatuerism and petty squabbles that you are too insecure to handle. Someone's dick is finally bigger than yours and you can't handle it? It's called integrity, you slimey old bastard. Evidently you never heard of the word because when one lives their life with integrity, having someone stand up to you wouldn't be so threatening, would it? And you're threatened, aren't you? I can see it a mile away.

You know, retirement can be a very good thing. Why don't you look into it. Now.

3:56 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Fuck you, Clive Davis...Part 5

I used to respect you, Mr. Davis. A lot. 'Used to' being the operative word. Things that I've heard lately have driven that respect to sub-zero level, especially knowing that your ego got in the way of sound business practices.

A business-savvy CEO of a major American corporation would not do that, would not allow his prejudices to interfer with the business of making money for personal satisfaction at a perceived wrong.

So yes, my respect has hit an all-time low. How's that feel, Mr. head-up-your-ass Davis?

8:59 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment

Saturday, October 14, 2006
Fuck you, Clive Davis...Part 4

Well, Mr 'lost-my-touch' Davis, what happened? What happened to your 'legendary' (heh) musical acumen? How in the world do you manage to fuck up so badly?

All I can say is thank God that Clay Aiken has in him the artistry to pull off your cover album because if left up to you, we'd probably get cheesy pablum wrapped in banal cover songs. Thank God that Clay Aiken took his time with your 'mandated' piece of shit. Thank God that he has the fortitude, the balls, to stand up to you and say, 'ok, if we're doing covers, we're doing them my way'.

I listen to 'A Thousand Different Ways' every day. There are a few songs on the CD that I hate, some that I tolerate, and some that I really love. Funny, the ones that I really love are the four originals, not the covers.

I listen to the CD to hear many things....Clay's voice, Clay's vision for how the song is crafted, Clay's phrasing, Clay's input into the arrangements, the turn of a phrase, the way he sings a certain note. Funny, the one thing I DON'T listen to the CD for is the songs.

The one song I listen to most? Not even on the CD, it's the itunes download, 'Lover All Alone', a brilliantly contemporary, stark and plaintive masterpiece, written in part, by one Mr. Clay Aiken. Jesus Christ, that song is brilliant.

I'm realistic enough to know that Clay probably wouldn't do 613,000 in first week sales like he did for Measure of a Man, he was just coming off American Idol and in the news almost every day, but, gee, a little pre-promotion for this all-important sophomore CD would have been nice. Just a little, like one or two major magazine interviews. Wait! Here's an idea! How about releasing a single to radio a few weeks before the CD drops and actually, you know, supporting it? Like you do for everyone else? Like you did for Mario Vasquez? Remember him? Your next superstar? While your next superstar was busy selling the absolutely amazing CD that sold, let's see, what was that?? Oh, yeah, 12,000 the first week, you lost sight of the superstar you already had.

You know, I'm really sick and tired of people assuming that anyone over the age of 40 only listens to soft rock and covers and that we wouldn't know good music if it bit us in the ass. Really, really sick and tired of it. Who the hell do you think invented rock and roll? Nurtured it? Grew up with some of the best music ever produced and made superstars of The Beatles, Led Zep, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Frank Zappa, Yes, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Journey, U2, Def Leopard, Aerosmith, Springsteen, Billy Joel, I could go on and on? We did, that's who! And until you realize that, will we be forever categorized as blue-haired old ladies who musical taste is subjected to your own personal prejudices?

Well, I refuse to fall into your narrow, pre-conceived idea of what I should like in my music. I think I'll purchase the latest by The Fray, or maybe Sno Patrol, or Bare Naked Ladies, or Jack Johnson or Coldplay, or the Dixie Chicks. At least their record labels aren't patronizing me, thinking that just because I'm over 40 all I'll listen to is covers, or oldies, or Buble.

Mr. Davis, you need to buy a clue.

1:10 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment

Monday, October 09, 2006
Fuck you, Clive Davis....Part 3
Current mood: still pissed off

Let's see...how many ways can a major record company (i.e. Clive Davis, whose name is on the masthead, so to speak) fuck up a superstar's promotion? Let me count the ways that are being discussed on the message boards:

1. No single released to radio in advance of the CD drop date.

2. No pre-promotion, such as a good, in-depth article, or barring that, some quotes to the press from the producers of the CD, or even Clay himself, describing how the CD was conceived and what they hope to accomplish.

3. A press release that left something to be desired. A high school intern could have written a better one.

4. A single finally being released to radio a few days before the CD drop. A song which, as good as it is, is STILL being played on the radio recorded by at least two other people. A single that was almost guaranteed to fail no matter how many promotional dollar$ were thrown at it. And I don't believe there was any 'promotion' behind the single.

5. No video.

6. One major print feature in People magazine that was published the Friday after the CD drop date.

7. Spotty stock issues with a lot of stores not being able to get their re-orders.

8. Let's talk about TV. GMA was nice, except for the fact that ABC edited that piece so poorly, I'd be ashamed to put my name on the piece if I were the producer. The View, Leno, Kimmel, and Martha, so far. Where are the appearances on The Today Show? The Early Show? Ellen? Oprah? Letterman? DWTS? How about Extreme Home Make-over? Next week they are building a home for a family with an autistic child. Missed opportunity, Mr. Davis, but then again, you've missed a lot of opportunities, haven't you?

9. Wal-Mart Soundcheck. Sounds good on paper, doesn't it? Have you even bothered to see what your money has bought? Half the stores had no idea that it was supposed to run. All the marketing materials that RCA paid for are not being hung in the stores and there's no stock for the customers to buy even if they did manage to catch the Soundcheck. If it were me spending all that money and not getting what was promised, you'd better believe that I'd be on the phone with the CEO of Walmart, reaming his ass out and demanding they either do it right or get my money back.

10. The best song not even on the CD...'Lover All Alone'. Another missed opportunity, Mr. Davis? What a perfect song for Grey's Anatomy. Do you know how many albums you could have sold from that song on a major Prime Time TV show?

11. All ballads. All ballads. All ballads. You ought to be ashamed for not having at least a few up-tempo songs on the CD. I KNOW you've seen Clay in concert. I KNOW you know what he can do.

12. Finally, where's the support from YOU, Mr. Davis? You know how you talk so well about Fantasia? How about just a little bit of that for Clay? Gee, it would have been so nice if you would have actually stood behind your project, wouldn't it? Remember the two weeks of continuous press that Clay received from a two minute, that's right, a two minute stint on AI5, when he walked out and he didn't even need to be introduced? Remember how all the press talked about Clay? Prince was there, too. Prince, who?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is some brilliant marketing scheme coming up, or maybe, just maybe, you and RCA blundered so badly that it should go down in the annals of business history as how NOT to market a superstar.

7:29 AM - 2 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment

Friday, October 06, 2006
Fuck you, Clive Davis...Part 2
Current mood: pissed off

Hello, Mr. Mogal, or should that be Mr. Squanderer of Assets? Whatever it is, it's a crying shame that Clay Aiken is being treated the way you're treating him.

His all-important sophomore album and what do you do? You waste the opportunity of a lifetime on tired covers. Tired covers that you had to know would get ripped apart in the press. Tired covers that come with baggage. Tired covers that are all fucking ballads.

Is your ego so fucking big that you wear blinders in your old age? What? Did Clay fight you on this album and now he's being punished? Because if that's the case, you need to buy a clue.

I just read the Sony/BMG 'best seller' e-mail that was recently sent out. Let's see: Audioslave, Bob Dylan, Jessica Simpson, Outcast, The Fray. Six out of ten supposedly 'best sellers' that Clay's first week sales beat and he's not even on the list.

You're supposed to be a businessman which means protecting your assets, building on early success to maximize profits. Well, Mr. Davis, you spectacularly failed with Clay Aiken. And you still have your job. Fcking amazing, ain't it?

5:15 PM - 1 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment

Saturday, September 23, 2006
Fuck you, Clive Davis

'A Thousand Different Ways' by Clay Aiken. His third CD since October, 2003, if you include his Christmas album, 'Merry Christmas, With Love'. I anticipated this CD with baited breath for over a year. I yearned to hear new music from Clay, yearnd to hear that glorious voice wrap itself around new songs and new lyrics. Hearing his four new songs on last summer's Jukebox Tour only whetted my appetite for more. I wanted to hear Clay on my radio, blasting out my car speakers. I thought, with 'Back for More', I'd get that.

I was wrong.

What Clive Davis and RCA Records choose to release was an album of covers with only four new songs thrown in the mix. Maybe RCA thought that they'd cash in on the cover craze started by Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow but they failed to understand that those CD's were recorded by artists over age 50 with a repetoire of respected work behind them. Clay is 27 years old.

The album, 'A Thousand Different Ways' is a vocal masterpiece. The following was written by Claymaniac in PA the other day:

I'm sorry more people don't get it, but that doesn't diminish my deep appreciation for what Clay and Jaymes (and all the others) have done with this album. It doesn't matter to me whether these songs are songs I would typically like, or whether it's a genre I would typically like--it's the musicality, the thoughtfulness and beauty of the arrangements (despite the fact that the strings are overdone), the elegance of the vocals, the many small details that indicate care and attention that make me love this album. A thousand bad reviews, a thousand unhappy or dissatisfied fans cannot make me love it any less.

While I agree with her about the musicality and totality of the concept CD, I just don't love this CD. I love the arrangements, I absolutely love Clay's voice and the things he did with it, I love how he's experimenting with vocal nuances and using his different voices to convey emotion. I only wish he would or could have choosen a more diverse representation of love songs, songs that were not so well-known, songs that would have challenged his emotions and voice even more. And let me be blunt. I wanted rock songs on the CD, the kind of songs you blast out your car speakers while rolling down the highway. Fist-pumping, get-up-on-your-feet, dance-in-the-aisle songs. I know Clay is capable of them, I know he can do them, because I've seen it. I've seen it at more than 25 concerts. I've seen the audience fist-pump and I've seen Clay rock out so an album of covers with not much difference in the tempo is perplexing to me.

It's not Clay that I don't like, it's not Clay's voice that I don't like, it's the covers on the CD that I don't particularly care for. That he sings his ass off on them is undeniable, but this writer is looking forward to the next CD, hopefully one full of original songs like the itunes download that reportedly Clay wrote, "Lover All Alone', a stark, contemporary song about a man trying to find a home for his heart. It's brilliant in its simplicity and Clay is finally writing. If this is the kind of song that is in his soul, I want more of that, please.

11:23 PM - 1 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment

Sunday, September 17, 2006
09/17/06: The wait before the drop
Current mood: frazzled

Well, Sept. 19th is almost here. Just two more days until I get the CD in my hot little hands. I've listened to the Clear Channel stream both with and without the voice-over. Clay sounds freaking fantastic, the arrangements are interesting. I need a few 'listens' over good speakers to really assess the CD so it will be a few days until I do my 'review'.

I leave tomorrow for NYC and the CD Release party in Times Square, then GMA on Tuesday. It will be a busy and tiring 36 hours, but worth it to hear Clay sing live.

3:46 PM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment

Saturday, August 26, 2006
Eating my words
Current mood: contemplative

I wrote this a few weeks ago:

"So.......now I'm anxious. I'm anxious to hear the CD, I'm anxious to hear what he's done with the arrangements, with his voice and I'm DYING to hear the song that Clay wrote. I don't think there's anything in this world that will make me like that Richard Marx song, even Clay..."

I've always wondered how words taste because it seems like I'm eating mine. After listening to 'Right Here Waiting', as sung as only Clay Aiken can sing it, well, I like it. Granted, I've only heard 30 seconds but it's such an improvement over the Richard Marx version that my ears are happy.

10:31 AM - 2 Comments - 2 Kudos - Add Comment

Friday, August 04, 2006
An open letter to Clive Davis
Current mood: contemplative
Category: Music

When I first heard the track list for Clay's new CD, I was stunned at what the CD WASN'T, so I wrote an open letter to Clive Davis:

Dear Clive,

You Da Man. You found Janis, you discovered Bruce. You brought Whitney to the forefront. Three of THE most influential artists in the past 50 years. Now you're working with Clay Aiken:


I do not understand how you could waste the talent of the century on songs shot to hell with pabulum like the track listing on A Thousand Different Ways. The greatest voice this generation will ever hear, and you found a way to cut him off at the balls. I just don't understand how one could take a talent as great as Clay and totally screw him over by making him sing warmed-over dreck. Did you not hear him KILL on 'Back For More'? Did you not witness the throngs of people who turned that song into a concert arena anthem? Did you not notice a quarter of a million people who attended The Jukebox Tour rock out with Clay? Did you not notice his song choices, like U2's 'Where the Streets have No Name', Prince's 'When Doves Cry', 'Chain of Fools'? That boy has some green-eyed soul in him and enough rocker to satisfy the most discriminating tastes.

There's a time and a place for ballads, and a Clay CD with some ballads would be OK. His middle-aged fans, of which I am one, do not want bland, syrupy songs, we want rocking songs, songs that kick ass, songs that we can groove to, dance to, be on our feet for a 2-1/2 hour concert. After all, we grew up with The Beatles, The Stones, Led Zep, Zappa, Hendrix, Bruce, Bon Jovi, etc, etc, etc. Just because we've aged doesn't mean that we've lost all semblance of our musicality.

Per Clay's press release, about you: He is a man who not only knows music, but really has his finger on the pulse of what listeners want to hear

The pulse just flat-lined.


A Member of the Vanilla Revolution

Then I had 24 hours to process the information and I came to a different understanding, so I posted this:

I'm done. I'm finished. I just needed a day to process that the album that Clay will release on September 19th is not the album that I wanted. But you know what? It's not about me. It's about Clay. It's about Clay and what HE wants to do. It's about Clay and what HE wants to sing. It's about Clay and what HE feels is right for him. My rant was selfish because it was about what I want. And I'm not the boss of Clay Aiken's career.

I just want so much for Clay. I feel that vocally, he is the premiere talent of his generation and I don't want that incredible talent to be shrugged off because people may put labels on what Clay has chosen to do with his career. Maybe I'm just scared that he won't get the critical acclaim that I think he deserves. And, man, oh, man, does he ever deserve it. But again, it's not about me.

This is only Clay's second mainstream album. Maybe he's taking baby steps. Maybe he's experimenting with just what that incredible voice can do. Maybe this CD will be a Tour de Force of vocal beauty. I'm just having trouble with knowing that there's very few, if any uptempo, rock-ish songs on the CD when clearly he does them so well and his fans eat it up with a spoon.

Maybe Clay doesn't think of himself as a rocker. Maybe he thinks his strengths lie in ballads. After all, he sings ballads better than anyone else in the world. As I said, it's Clay's career and I'm either on board or I quietly leave the fandom. And you know what? I ain't going anywhere. I'm here for the long haul. Clay Aiken has the talent and the charisma to keep me glued to my computer, buying his CD's, and attending his concerts forever.

I can sit here and tell myself that he's under contract to RCA and Clive made his do this CD, that Clay wanted to do something different, but you know what? I'll never know. Not unless Clay talks about it sometime in the future and I don't think he ever will. He holds his cards close to his vest and I'll never be an intimate friend of his, so all I can do is either decide to support him or get off this crazy ride that I'm on. I'm supporting Clay Aiken. I'm having too much freaking fun to do otherwise.

So.......now I'm anxious. I'm anxious to hear the CD, I'm anxious to hear what he's done with the arrangements, with his voice and I'm DYING to hear the song that Clay wrote. I don't think there's anything in this world that will make me like that Richard Marx song, even Clay, but what will he do with the Dolly Parton song? Why did he pick that? It's going to be very interesting to hear the arrangement.

And the Susie Song? The fandom calls it 'IWKWLI', or 'I Want to Know What Love Is', that's hard to type out, so, since he duets with Susie McNeil from Rock Star: INXS, I'll just call it The Susie Song. In the snippet that I heard (I heard mostly her part), she kicks all kinds of ass so I can't wait to hear the finished product.

I just needed a day to process the loss of 'Back for More' and I was really hoping to hear 'I Can't Make You Love Me' without all the screaming that happened at the concerts last summer, a studio version of that song, like he did with 'My Grownup Christmas List' on GMA last Christmas. Every time I watch that video, I cry. That song, and what Clay did with, it moves me to tears with the sheer gorgeousness of his vocal interpretation.

Clay Aiken needs to craft his career the way that makes him happy so he keeps singing to me for the rest of my life. I'm cool with that. Although he may not sing that kinds of songs that I would prefer, I can get on board with what he chooses. He hasn't disappointed me yet.

3:31 AM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment