Archive for May, 2011

A brief history of Chef Menteur, part 1.

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

I’ve been involved with a lot of different musical projects, as songwriter, collaborator, hired gun, organist, guitar player, engineer/producer, and so on, but for the past decade, my main musical project has consistently been a band called Chef Menteur.

Chef Menteur started at a time when I’d tired of indie rock band clichés, and wanted to do something different: focus on experimenting and improvising instead of writing the perfect 4 minute indie/pop/folk/country tune. Having been spent some concentrated time in London’s electronic music scene, I had never been able to get that out of my brain, and technology was finally allowing those of us who couldn’t afford the vintage gear prices to do rudimentary sampling and sequencing for much less.

Listen to “Shotgun”.

At Rue de la Course, a coffehouse on Magazine Street in New Orleans, I saw an ad that mentioned My Bloody Valentine, John Coletrane, Sea and Cake, and John Zorn. And so, Chef Menteur started out with drum machines, keyboards, synthesizers… sounding like some weird mutation of Stereolab, the Chemical Brothers, Bruce Haack and weird Ninja Tune b-sides.. with fuzzed out guitars/bass that could be from Sonic Youth’s Sister.

Listen to “Chef Menteur Hwy”.

A four-track Tascam tape recorder was used to capture live sounds and Pro Tools Free was used to edit and mix. The plugins could take 4 minutes to render 10 seconds of audio and the Mac 8500 we were using would often crash, forcing a complete reboot. Each song took ages!

Listen to “An American Favorite“.

We put some tunes up on mp3.com (this is before myspace) and claimed we were big in Japan. We started getting some plays on WTUL and well-loved and respected DJ Chris Crowley offered us a show at the the Flophouse, which was kind of a communal living/party space.

Listen to “Betty B Free”.

We said yes, but were terrified: this changed everything! How could we play live sounds that were so studio-based?

Continue with part 2… Meanwhile check out the tracks above to see what Chef Menteur started out sounding like and how far we’ve come— and please, please consider supporting our Kickstarter project!

 

Jazz Fest ticket prices vs. inflation

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Native New Orleanians, long-time Jazz Fest goers, and others like myself who’ve been here awhile remember when ticket prices were well under $20. Now they’re headed rapidly upward — currently at $60.

I just wanted to dispel any doubt that inflation is the cause, so I made a chart in Excel with ticket data points I collected from this Offbeat magazine article that I found via the blog liprap’s lament, and this piece on NOLA.com.

I used this Inflation Calculator to adjust prices for inflation to 2010 prices, and since it’s now 2011 adjusted annual inflation (1.63%) backwards for this year’s prices to 2010 as well.

Here’s the chart. As you can see, the steep increase of prices occurs over the last decade and correcting for inflation barely affects it at all.

Jazz Fest ticket prices over the years (click for full version).

UPDATED: Thanks to Will T. for adding the Gregorian year values.