Steve Ball Diary  







guitar craft diaries
dgm diaries
rep circle diaries

  Monday April 23  
Tuesday April 24 
Wednesday April 25 
Thursday April 26 
Friday April 27 
Saturday April 28 
Sunday April 29 
Read the archive
Monday April 30 
Tuesday May 01 
Wednesday May 02 
Thursday May 03 
Friday May 04 
Saturday May 05 
Sunday May 06 

Monday April 23

A difficult day, all around.  An even more difficult night. 

boys in the middle
and you're not here

Everything undone.  Everything unfolding. 

* * *

Managed to catch 15 minutes of the regularly scheduled SGC rehearsal.  

One moment of peace in an otherwise unsettled day: Dean's Star Power.  Nice to see Jax back home too.  And Bob and Dean's solos on KFAD were breathtaking. 

* * *

----- Original Message ----- 
From: TH 
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2001 1:00 AM
Subject: Meher Baba turnin' in his grave

The Who have sold the rights to use 'Bargain' to Nissan. The ad features not just the melody or covered tracks but actual Who's Next samplings. The original Townshend lyrics were in homage to his spiritual leader, the late Meher Baba. The 'bargain' Townshend wrote of was an exchange of all worldly goods for eternal enlightenment. Now it appears he'll just get a deal on a pickup truck.

Daltry:"I call it a bargain..."

Announcer:"Nissan's is offering 6.9 percent APR financing on selected Pathfinder, Sentra, and Alterra pickup trucks!"

Daltry: "The best I ever had..."

Announcer: "Hurry to your Nissan dealer today!"


* * *

Saw BillR briefly this afternoon downtown.  First time in a long while.    

* * *

Received and sent out a large order of CDs from an appreciative fan in Santa Fe.   

* * *

Tuesday April 24

Another day of high amplitude sine waves.  Major ups, and major downs.  Reconsidering everything.  Testing all assumptions.  Working to be very clear about next steps.  

* * *

Familiar feelings of confusion and depression are flowing through my brain and body. How to deal with these without being dragged into them?  Gravity, pulling down.

I will not fall down.

* * *

I am 38 years old. I remember (at 33) hearing my good friend HN speak about 'getting into his bones' when he was  38. The negative interpretation of this is that at 38 we become fixed in our ways. 

The positive interpretation may be that we know who and how we are. I know myself, strengths and weaknesses, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, healthy and ill. 

I have an identity. I may or may not be identified at any given moment, but I have an identity. 

At 38, I have led a diverse life as a musician, engineer, artist, entrepreneur. I have traveled. I have seen and worked with many cultures, teams, groups, individuals, personalities, and people. I have learned how to both solve and cause problems.  I have been inside large companies and small. I have seen success and failure. I have tasted the sweet and sour fruits of hard work. I have witnessed genius and stupidity in myself and in those around me. I have suffered. I have been fat and hungry.  I have been single, married, and single again. I have seen and lived in both poverty and great wealth. I have given and taken, led and been led. I have passion and compassion. At times to a fault. 

I am a lazy workaholic.
I am greedy and generous.
I am a sensitive lump.
I am an open book with many secrets and hidden intentions.

I am contradiction. 

* * *

To date, I have founded and closed or sold four companies. Most recently, BootlegTV was founded, funded, then evolved into Bootleg Networks in reflection of market demands.  And now Bootleg Networks is dead.  

Officially and publicly, declared dead.   

No excuses, no rationalizations, no well-reasoned arguments can diminish the real pain, loss, and regrets surrounding the 'death' or collapse of something into which you poured your primary life energy for an extended period.

My optimism and effort to keep this project alive is now spent and gone.  We gave it everything we had.  

Some interesting statistics: during my tenure at Bootleg, I created or participated in the creation of over 220 Powerpoint presentations, most of them tailored to tell the same basic Bootleg story for potential VCs and customers in the language and prejudices of whoever happened to be advising us in the moment.  Looking over some of these, they all tell the same basic story in 220 different dialects. 

How many hours does 220+ presentations translate to?

Here are some screenshots from one of my favorites:

11.jpg (38941 bytes)

In the end, the current media business environment and the crumbling VC landscape could not continue to supply or sustain the overhead required to complete and deliver our products.

That does not mean that there will someday be a BootlegTV, what ever it is called in five years.  

Someday, every concert ever recorded will be available, on demand, in a way that enables artists to be compensated for their work in proportion to the size of their audience.  Someday, every major concert played will be recorded and available remotely on various devices and platforms.  Someday, normal people will not require 24-hour support from an IT department and a PhD in Electrical Engineering to have a decent user experience with IP and/or broadcast-delivered media.  

Not this year.  And not with this entity.

* * *

Heard that EddieV, KellyC, Pearl Jam, and Sony have sold more than 1M copies of their live 'official bootlegs' from their summer tour.   Wonder where they got that idea? 

Perhaps on BillR's living room floor 18 months ago.

Ideas are cheap.  Execution is everything.  

* * *

The transformation from BootlegTV to Bootleg Networks was a fascinating process to observe.  What an education this past 18 months has been.  

And now, to what end?

* * *

I feel empty.  Perhaps even hollow.

At 38, I am now beginning again. Starting over from scratch. So what next?

Curt's advice: take some time "off."

Those who know me, know that I suck at "off."  This is part of what is in my bones.   

Pelota abhors a vacuum.

* * *

1000 Words

caught a lite sneeze

time stands still

curt and frank, thinking about what to do next

uh-oh - band photo -- time to break up

whew - doesn't count - bob's not here!

photos by LH

* * *

Announcing the return of the Steve Ball Roadshow featuring special guests Travis Hartnett, Travis Metcalf, Curt Golden, and Bob Williams.

When: This Saturday Night, 8pm sharp
Where: Mr. Spots Chai House
2213 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107-4025
Phone: (206)297-2424

Opening for "Sun Henson."  (sp?) -- Greg Sundberg, John Henning, and Chris Gibson.   Should be a fun show. 

* * *

Sounds like Tobin is coming 'home' very soon after a fun run at TellMe. Wish there were more than a 15-year-old blue-striped couch to offer him here.  

Current outlook: bleak.

* * *

Wednesday April 25

Listening to OVO again last night and this afternoon.  I feel such resonance with this music: it is like a warm sonic blanket.

The Time of the Turning

In the big house
Where the sun lives
With the walls so white and blue
In the red soil
All the green grows
And the winds blow across your face
They blow across your heart

It's the time of the turning and there's something stirring outside
It's the time of turning and we'd better learn to say our goodbyes

All the earth breaks
Like a stale bread
And the seeds are folded in the soil
Oh the sun pours
Then the rains fall
While the roots reach out right through the ground
They reach out through the ground

It's the time of turning and there's something stirring outside
It's the time of turning and the old world's falling
Nothing you can do can stop the next emerging
Time of the turning and we'd better learn to say our goodbyes

If we can stand up
When all else falls down
We'll last through the winter
We'll last through the storms
We'll last through the north winds
That bring down the ice and snow
We'll last through the long nights
Till the green field's growing again
Growing again 

- Peter Gabriel, OVO

* * *

Thanks to all who emailed or called given yesterday's bleak entry.  Wish I could share some of the mails I received, but sharing private mail here generally gets me into more trouble than I'm already in.

* * *

Accidentally left Bob out of the pictures yesterday.  This should fix that:









* * *

11:38pm -- Just back from a very long rehearsal.  First, 7:30 with SBRS at Bob and Jaxie's.  So nice to have Bob on bass.  Bob is a joy-transmitter when he plays bass. First take -- great tone, great taste.  We worked up our five song set for Mr. Spots including three classics, an old tempo-changing dirge, and a new groovy poplove song.

Missed Dean's electric in this SBRS lineup.  Wanna get this group out into some clubs and theatres this summer.  And Brock...  < sigh >

Then the SGC sextet kicked in from 8:30 to 10:30.  Work on Twilight.   For Twilight, I have some new finger twisting chord homework to do.  The good news: it sounds faster and harder than it is.  Except this one part for my third finger.... ouch.

During our break, we explored the Redmond gig possibility that was phoned in today.  We need more information, but clearly, a high-profile gig in June is too soon.  End of August: better.

After break, we visited a new arrangement of a 36 YO piece of music wearing new clothes.  Then, we played a rockin' version of Dean's King for a Day, in which Bob blew our socks off with one of his ultra-fast, jaw dropping solos.  

I was done right then and there.   

Except then we finished the piece, cleaned up some loose ends, and dove straight into Birds of Fire.  Yikes - this group is getting scary-good.  

Post-SGC, 10:30-11:15ish, Curt and Bob and I stayed to review Needle and Thread once more as well as Time Stands Still.  Thought Jax might join us on her old JBro-esque vocal harmony for N&T at one point, but she retired...

Glimpses and a taste of a possible future tonight.

* * *

Letting go.  We'll see if and what comes back.

11:57pm -- off damn box.  To sleep.  

* * *

Thursday April 26

7:28am.  Sleepless.  Feeling a form of freedom that I have not felt for awhile.   With freedom comes responsibility.

* * *

More on the Who Sell Out from the mail bag:

----- Original Message -----
From: LH
To: TH
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2001 1:49 PM
Subject: tom's email immortalized

hey tom,

your email on the who selling 'bargain' is
immortalized in steve ball's diary:
so how's your 15 min. feel? ;^)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: TH
To: LH
Cc: SB
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2001 5:14 PM
Subject: Re: tom's email immortalized

Yeech - I see that ad almost every day now - except it's been localized for
'Your Northwest Nissan Dealers'

Daltry sure seems psyched over the Pathfinder deal.

* * *

More interesting fuel from the mail bag today.  Common sense tells me I should not be sharing it here.  But here are some new vocabulary words for the day from the mailbag:

gad·fly (gad?fli´) noun
plural gad·flies

1. A persistent, irritating critic; a nuisance. 

2. One that acts as a provocative stimulus; a goad

3. Any of various flies, especially of the family Tabanidae, that bite or annoy livestock and other animals.

* * *

goad (god) noun

1.A long stick with a pointed end used for prodding animals. 

2.An agent or means of prodding or urging; a stimulus. 

verb, transitive
goad·ed, goad·ing, goads
To prod or urge with or as if with a long pointed stick.

- Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin

* * *

Happy Birthday, Curt.

* * *

Wow - look what also came unsolicited from LH in the mail today: 

(Sorry Bob! Guess I'll have to paste you in here later today.)

* * *

Feels like home again tonight.

* * *

Friday April 27

Surprise phone calls this morning from both RobertF and TomR, both on the east coast.  Seems RFs cell phone is up and running again, and TR's start-up still has some hope of finding funding in this drought.  Nice to hear both of their cheery voices.

* * *

Spent the morning sweeping and cleaning up the former BN office space.  Managed to get some help from TravisH, GuyW, KenT, and VioletL in this process.   Felt like old times for a minute or two.  

Back to meetings in coffee houses for a while.

* * *

From TravisH's diary this morning:

April 26, 2001 

Day starts off with bad dream about Steve Ball kicking me out of Guitar Craft school/band. In the dream I can produce no pleasant sounds whatsoever on my guitar and feel sick and feverish throughout. Also, I have long hair with blue highlights. 

Travis got his haircut at Vain recently.  

Yep - he's out for sure now. 

* * *

On a different note, I received a nice mail from ChadB this morning thanking me for Tuesday's diary entry.   I'm not sure what is in there that is resonating with so many people, but the emails of support have been pretty constant this week.  Thanks ChadB for your mail.

* * *

Off to electric SBRS rehearsal from 2-4pm chez Travii sans Bob who seems to be the only person in this group with a job right now...  

And now, just back from rehearsal and Larry's Market.  Gonna be a good show tomorrow night.  These just in from rehearsal (c/o TravisM's digital camera), published close to real time:

TravisH (pre-haircut) shows CurtG 
the finer points of his Sustainor

scruffy guy, out the door

photos by TravisM

* * *

This just in:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "MichaelF
To: CG, SB
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2001 4:12 PM
Subject: BS Generator

I dunno if you guys have seen this, but as e-biz refugees you might find it amusing... 


* * *

Feeling better today. Could you tell?  Making dinner tonight for the monthly SGC Performance Team business meeting. 

Looking forward to posting more Bootleg history here over the weekend.

* * *

A wonderful meal with the SGC Performance Team.  Feels like the beginning of a new phase of work for this team.  Energy is strong, and we have access to 16+ years of work together.  Could be an interesting second half of 2001.

After dinner, I played some of Guy Whitmore's amazing Ximer demos for the SGC.  The evening before, I had been speaking to Jax about my (and her husband's) work with dynamic music.  Tonight, the demos speak for themselves. 

You may also hear more about Ximer here in future. 

* * *

A few photos from the evening:

Chris, Bob, Jax, SB, Curt, Dean

Don "Pelota" Johnson

Eve, Bob


Curt, Dean

Jax, Lisa, getting it on to Dynamic Music


* * *

Saturday April 28

As promised, here is some visual BTV history from the early days, sans commentary:

ironic logo progression: bad to worse

home page, circa october 2000

early business card design, (c/o kinkos)

early print ad idea, abandoned for obvious reasons...

One of our Tragically Hip shows on MS Media Player...

* * *

Excerpts from an early BTV business plan dated 1/21/00:

"The BootlegTV Vision

BootlegTV, a digital audio and video music performance channel, will make "live" concert recordings available in streaming or downloadable format on a pay-per-play basis to music fans worldwide. It brings the bootlegged performances of popular artists, which currently account for 10% of music sales in first world countries alone, back into the revenue stream of their legitimate owners, the artists themselves and their record company affiliates. By accessing a virtual audience for each concert, BootlegTV will bring live music to a wider public and increase the profitability of concert tours: 'the first major new source of revenue for the industry since the CD.'

As it develops, BootlegTV will foster direct creative and economic interaction between artists and their fans, with no negative impact to the record industry as it exists today.

The Opportunity

The conventional music CD averages about 9 months in the making. Even live concert albums are often irrevocably altered in the course of production into artifacts that lack the spontaneity and idiosyncrasy of live performance. As compared with the polished product of a CD, BootlegTV will engage fans in the raw process of music. BootlegTV has no interest in the digital distribution of conventional albums. We envisage new music for a new format.

Though BootlegTV will ultimately be platform-agnostic, it will launch using Windows Media Player and WMT 4.0. BootlegTV is one of twenty companies partnering with Microsoft in its new Broadband Initiative. We will be ready to expand and transform our delivery systems, as Internet and cablecast technologies continue to converge.

The Evolution

Our business model is evolutionary as well as revolutionary. Our initial offerings will be via the BootlegTV website, and we will make available existing concert audio and/or video recordings of our first affiliate bands. These will rapidly be augmented by live and almost-live content, as we create our own BootlegTV production teams-low budget, high contrast, highly mobile-and our own distinctive look. BootlegTV is positioned to offer touring artists their own web TV 'channel.' The aim is to record and make available every concert from participating artists' future tours. We anticipate this developing into a 24-hour live concert television franchise, offering our web and television subscribers entertainment on demand. 

BootlegTV content will not be limited to staged events. The world class musicians we've been talking to are eager for chances to share more of their musical process, not just their fixed and finished commercial products, with their fans. They want to collaborate. They want to improvise. They want creative freedom and fan feedback, and they want a format that offers them fair compensation for their labors.


We know of no sites that are exploiting the deep archives of artists. There are several sites offering live concerts including  and  (which broadcasts performances at the House of Blues) and offers some interesting statistics for the potential popularity of concert material on the web as it boasts over 1 million visitors per month. This is despite the fact that it has little material by major artists. 

BootlegTV differs from the competition in three critical ways:

1. Unlike other sites, we will specialize in extensive archives of each artist. For future recordings, we hope to offer every concert from an artists' tour. Once we have found a music fan and brought him to our site, we will have a large number of shows from his favorite artist available to him. The same fan going to the would find only one show from a chosen artist..."

Audacious, to say the least.

au·da·cious (ô-d?sh?s) adjective

1. Fearlessly, often recklessly daring; bold. See synonyms at adventurous, brave. 

2. Unrestrained by convention or propriety; insolent. 

3. Spirited and original: an audacious interpretation of two Jacobean dramas.

- Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin.

And now back to our regularly-scheduled, post-market-crash reality.

* * *

Sunday April 29

Last night at Mr. Spots:

IsabelW, star of the show

misc. SBRS photos -- mysteriously, none feature
TravisH;  bad angle for the camera-person -- sorry

* * *

Sunhenson: John Henning, Greg Sunberg, Chris Gibson

* * *

In general, we only got crappy photos from Mr. Spots last night.  Musically, there were some highs and lows.  A good beginning for a new phase of Roadshows.  

* * *

This just in:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "WilliamF" 
To: "SB" 
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 7:51 PM
Subject: FYI

Yo Steve... thought you would find this interesting: 

Thanks Bill.  Pretty interesting.  Wonder if it will fly?

* * *

A day 'off.'  

* * *


Monday April 30

A day of mixed news.   

Lunch with DavidLV in the same Pioneer Square restaurant where we first met over a year ago.  Encouragement and inspirations in the air. 

* * *

More mail from the weekend: 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "TonyG" 
To: "SB"
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 8:35 PM
Subject: A voice from the wilderness

Hey you.

Thanks for posting those photos. It is so good to see you all. I hope to make it out there this summer for a visit visit so we can spend some time together...

I know some people who have made and lost several fortunes in their lives. I also know of people who have had, spent time, and spent money on 40 ideas that have not worked out, then the 41st did.

Hang in there. We love you even if we do only email you once every 3 years.


* * *

Afternoon meeting with Travii at Uptown Espresso. Some lively discussions regarding some of the transitions that are underway now.   Excerpts: 

A quick snapshot of a a process going awry: 

1. idea
2. investment
3. energy
4. pain
5. fire-fighting
6. crash
7. burn
8. dissipation
9. disintegration

An alternate path through a self-sustaining process might be this:

1. idea
2. investment
3. energy
4. pain
5. product
6. sales
7. expansion
8. liquidation
9. new idea

Question from TravisM:  How to recognize the right thing, and not jump into the wrong thing because you are desperate?  

Reframing from SB: sounds like two different questions, each requiring independent answers and skills:

a) how to recognize the right thing?
b) how to avoid desperation?

Great questions.  But let's be clear about our words:

des·per·a·tion (des´p?-r?sh?n) noun

1. The condition of being desperate. 
2. Recklessness arising from despair.

de·spair (di-spâr?) verb, intransitive
de·spaired, de·spair·ing, de·spairs

1. To lose all hope: despaired of reaching shore safely. 
2. To be overcome by a sense of futility or defeat.

Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin

Insights from TravisH on factors that influence success:

a) hidden money (the rich uncle)
b) a period of outright exploitation

Also from TravisH, criteria defining a "dream job"

a) work that you enjoy
b) learning while doing
c) working with the right people
d) working with the right size company
e) working for the right pay

In summary, what have we learned:

a) patience
b) persistence
c) we'll try anything twice
d) we'll play anywhere twice
e) spend less than you earn

* * *

Reading this afternoon:

Proverbs of Hell - William Blake

1. In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

2. Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.

3. The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

4. Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid, courted by incapacity.

5. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.

6. The cut worm forgives the plow.

7. Dip him in the river who loves water.

8. A fool sees not the same tree that the wise man sees.

9. He whose face gives no light shall never be a star.

10. Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

11.  The busy bee has no time for sorrow.

12. The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.

12 of 70 

<< Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid, 
courted by incapacity. >>

I love this one.

* * *

And if that were not enough, this just in from my old friend Tim Beasley: 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: TimB
To: SB
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 5:09 PM
Subject: Sanity Check

You didn't think I went away did you?

How would you want to tell somebody something profound?

In a song, of course, isn't that what it's all about... Searching for the perfect song. Don't give up.  You are true to your art, and that's enough for me.

Anyhow, here is a little song for you. As is the way of one of the greatest magazines
of all time............. MAD Magazine, Sung to the tune of "The Ballad of John and Yoko":

"The Ballad of SB (a Ballistic ballad)

Standing on the docks of Seattle
Trying to get to Atlanta, GA
Fran called to say
You can stay here all day
But leave your laptop at home in a bag

Christ you know it ain't easy
To start a dot com these days
The way things are going
We won't make it through today

Made 200 PowerPoint presentations
Trying to dig up some venture cap
The businessman say your plan is O.K.
But when do I get my money back?

Christ you know it ain't easy
To start a dot com these days
The way we are going
We won't make it through the day.

Saving all your playing for those rainy days
Givin your presentations to anybody
One time somebody said,
Hey man just go to bed
Everything will be here in the morn

Finally made it to the SGC rehearsal
Playing til my fingers bled
It felt so good, I knew that it would
Just like TimB had said

Christ you know it ain't easy
To start a dot com these days
The way we are going
We won't make it through the day."

I have excellent friends.  Clearly, TimB is one of them.

* * *

Question of the week: what to do next?

My quick answers for today:

a) walk the dog
b) SGC rehearsal tonight
c) take care of business at home

* * *

11:00pm - home from SGC rehearsal.  This evening began with an extended silence.  For me, this was a chance to be still and open to the moment, free of baggage or expectations, or agenda.  It lasted longer than I thought it would.  This group has capacity to be still, quiet, and silent.

From our stillness this evening, a tender improvisation arose and went for a short walk with us.

Then, we, as a group, went for a literal walk next door to serenade Frank and Ingrid in their living room.  Their living room has great acoustics.  King for a Day sounded great.  Frank and Ingrid seemed to appreciate Dean's new piece and our surprise presentation.

After the road trip, we dove into Birds of Fire, and began work on the solo sections.  Yikes.  Much work to do here by the whole group.  This piece could be a brilliant explosion, or a real mess...  it's a blast to play.  Not sure how it is to listen to it.

After a short break, we rearranged Vulcanization with the Red Lion brothers on bass.  After 13 years of hearing, playing, and working on this piece, it was quite easy for me to 'learn' the bass part.  

Working to get out of auto-pilot when working with familar parts, pieces.  What a blessing to have simple, effective, practical work to aid in this process.  

This piece is a very difficult piece to play musically.  To work in performance, the group must play this piece with a group dynamic, a group pulse, and a group texture that is more than the sum of the parts.  The texture really comes to life when each part locks in with the whole -- but that takes precision, delicacy, and a lightness that we don't have with the inherent complications (not talking about the guitar parts: talking about our lives....)

A satisfying rehearsal.  Good, solid work.  No fireworks; just good solid work.  

* * *

Tuesday May 01

Two excellent mails from late last night:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard KW"
To: "SB"
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 12:04 AM
Subject: "we love you, yeah, yeah, yeah" & other quotes


Last time i checked your diary it was the batch that ended April 8. Later, i was listening to some old music (we put a CD on repeat, which presumably helps Lee to sleep) and, for some reason, these lines brought tears to my eyes:

Crossed a line around the 
changes of the summer, 
Reaching out to call the color of the sky.
Passed around a moment clothed in mornings 
faster than we see.
Getting over all the time i had to worry,
Leaving all the changes far from far behind
We relieve the tension only to find out the
master's name.

-from Close to the Edge, YES

Don't take this to be any indicator of my current musical interest - we put on any CD that our old, finicky, player will play over and not stumble over (Bill Monroe, Anonymous 4, Cocteau Twins, Djivan Gasparyan, etc.), and that won't wake Lee up.

Your "Don Pelota Johnson" picture makes you look more like Roger Daltry. Pre-Nissan.


Even if you didn't say it, your diary shows you going through grief. Still, you are in an
enviable position. Many people are unhappy or depressed not because they haven't achieved their goals, but because they are not in a milieu that really supports their pursuit of those goals, or they can't clarify what those goals are. (how many negatives can i string together here?). That is, you are striving for something valuable and exciting (music and Bootleg X) and you are surrounded by people who support you and are working toward many of the same things. Bootleg (fill in the blank) may seem to be dead, but is it? Maybe it is waiting to come back to life.

Perhaps you are grieving not so much for the death of an endeavor, but for the fact that you have to go back and start over. At least you haven't wasted any time. Not a second.

much love,



----- Original Message ----- 
From: BobW
To: SB 
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 12:30 AM
Subject: In the eye of the beholder

Birds of Fire: "This piece could be a brilliant explosion, or a real mess... it's a blast to play. Not sure how it is to listen to it."

Vulcanization: "This piece is a very difficult piece to play musically. To work in performance, the group must play this piece with a group dynamic, a group pulse, and a group texture that is more than the sum of the parts."


Vulcanization: "This piece could be a brilliant explosion, or a real mess... it's a blast to play. Not sure how it is to listen to it."

Birds of Fire: "This piece is a very difficult piece to play musically. To work in performance, the group must play this piece with a group dynamic, a group pulse, and a group texture that is more than the sum of the parts."


* * *

And one more from this morning:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: CurtG
To: SB
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2001 1:21 AM
Subject: ray peck diary

just in case you think you're having a bad day...  

Uug.  Hang in there Ray.  Check out TimB's ballad above and remember Where it Goes (February 9th, 1998.) 

* * *

35. What is now proved was once only imagined.

- Proverbs of Hell - William Blake

* * *

There is at least one bright spot in my life.  I have been complaining lately, but I am reminded that I have much to be thankful for.  Thank  you. 

Thank you.  

* * *

Wednesday May 02

Mailbag review:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "LH"
To: SB
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 10:59 AM
Subject: FW: 5/1 tidbit

Jill's tidbit for the day!

-----Original Message-----
From: JN  
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 10:26 AM
To: Everyone
Subject: 5/1 tidbit
Importance: Low

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

An old favorite. 

* * *

----- Original Message ----- 
From: PeterD 
To: SB 
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 7:58 AM
Subject: Greetings and good wishes

Hi Steve,
Just wanted to say hello and best wishes as you go through this changing of gears. I have been there. When I had my record store (1993-1995), I busted my ass off to make it a success, but after two years and $45,000 in debt, it was time to close the doors. This past year we finally paid off all the debt. When I closed the store, which I had so much passion for, I was in a funk for over six months afterwards, trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grow up. Opportunities will present themselves, and we move ahead. In every work/business experience, lessons are learned, and it improves us in ways that will benefit us in the future. Best of luck in your search for that new adventure.

Peter Dervin 

* * *

----- Original Message ----- 
Date: Tue, 01 May 2001 04:51:56 -0700
From: Brock Pytel 
To: SB
Subject: Steve, your diary is a...

...lot more interesting when you are not a CEO or whatever you became after the coup d'etat!

My suggestion for what to do next: Go see the Mariners play the Red Sox at Safeco Field. Pedro Martinez is pitching tomorrow for the Sox and I heard there are still tix. Only $13 for the left field bleacher.

Alternately, you could come visit Vancouver on a Saturday and play ball hockey with me and 15 other Canadian boys...

Or eat poutine.

Well, ok, we wouldn't have to play ball hockey...but I might have to watch the Leafs game if its on. Oh, ok I'll only watch a period or two...unless it goes into overtime.

I am happy to know you are playing music again.

We miss you, Pelota.

Brock Pytel
Scamindy Records
1736 Napier St.
Vancouver, BC V5L 2N2

Thanks Brock.  We miss you too.

What the hell is poutine?

* * *

44. Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.

- Proverbs of Hell - William Blake

* * *

I will be dog sitting for the next few days while a 
close friend is out of town.

I hope to teach Frank to write my diary for me.

* * *

Meetings at MS this morning.  More Dynamic Music evangelism with the A-team.

Tonight: SGC rehearsal, 8-10pm chez Wilsons.

* * *

10:37 Home from rehearsal.  

I was dead-tired this evening.  Very low energy, all around.  And I was very hungry.  Nonetheless, some good work this evening on Vulcanization, Birds of Fire, Twilight, Cultivating the Beat, and Scaling the Whales.  Again, no fireworks, (except those coming from Bob and Chris during the Birds solos.)  

* * *

More from the mailbag:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "TravisH
To: "SB" 
Cc: "TravisM" 
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2001 9:20 PM
Subject: What is best in life?


I've noticed a certain amount of existential angst in your diary lately, along with advice and helpful quotes from friends and historical figures. In times such as these, it's best to turn to sources of True Knowledge And
Wisdom, and so I offer this excerpt from "Conan The Barbarian":

Mongol General: We have won again. That is good! But what is best in life?

Mongol Warrior: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcon on your wrist, wind in your hair!

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?

Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!

Mongol General: That is good.



* * *

Thursday May 03

This just in from the stop-me-if-you've-seen-this-before department:   I usually avoid forwarding email joke spam, but this arrived in my box this morning from a close friend, and I could not resist re-publishing it here.

A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. 

Better to be safe than... Punch a 5th grader

Strike while the .... Bug is close

It's always darkest before.. Daylight Savings

Never underestimate the power of... Termites

You can lead a horse to water but... how?

Don't bite the hand that... looks dirty

No news is..... impossible

A miss is as good as a... Mr.

You can't teach an old dog new... math

If you lie down with dogs, you'll.... stink in the morning

Love all, trust..... me

The pen is mightier than the..... pigs

An idle mind is.....The best
way to relax

Where there's smoke there's..... pollution

Happy the bride who.... gets all the presents

A penny saved is.... not much

Two's company, three's.... the Musketeers

Don't put off till tomorrow what.... you put on to go to bed

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry have to blow your nose

None are so blind as....... Stevie Wonder

Children should be seen and not..... spanked or grounded

If at first you don't succeed..... get new batteries

You get out of something what you...... see pictured on the box

When the blind lead the blind...... get out of the way

Better late than..... pregnant

* * *

Just home from rehearsal with Travii.  Shaping up some new old songs for summer gigs.   Going to be a musical summer. 

Also, pre-rehearsal, I took LH to the airport for a weekend in LA with friends.  I miss her already. 

* * *

67. Sooner murder an infant in its cradle, than nurse unacted desires.

- Proverbs of Hell - William Blake

* * *

This just in from Argentina:

Meli and Pablo

The Proof

Ferni, Meli, and Pablo

* * *

Friday May 04

6:14am - Up very early this morning, sleepless.  Had a nightmare that I was staying in a beautiful hotel where the guests were going berserk, running up and down the hallways threatening each other.

I also dreamed I could listen to Scaling the Whales one note at a time --  I could both hear and know what every note is in the four distinct parts as they flew by -- like my brain could hear music the way a 1974 computer could read punch cards.

* * *

Four back-to-back meetings today exploring past, present, and future possibilities.   Home in the late afternoon for some homework before diving into a new activity this evening.

Received a remarkable astrological reading in the mail this afternoon.  Not for prime time. 

* * *

69. Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.

70. Enough! or Too much.

- Proverbs of Hell - William Blake

* * *

10:31pm, home.  Laundry.  Homework. 

* * *

Conversations today have me rethinking the value of my work (music and otherwise) over the past few years.

Something of value from the archive:

I was an orphan to my parent's desire
when they decided to punt and pour some gas on their fire
as if their lives weren't tough enough 
without another mouth to fill

so without my consulting in between bitter screams
they arranged for my transfer to a family of means
I was tossed on the trash heap like a broken machine
a scrap of litter

there's a big lock left on the back porch door 
no cookies in that jar even if it says so
they drove me to the station in that rust blue Ford 
with the crack in the rear view mirror
I was born through that window in the middle of the floor 
before the baby boom had ended
mom and dad were scrapping dirty pennies off the floor 
when the grace of the lord descended
and I arrived just in the time for the setting of the son 
with a hunger in my heart and a question on my tongue
but there's no time for questions 
when there's work to be done
get to it, get to it boy

I was a stranger to a new family's care
with a father whose fuse was twice as short as his hair
although he wanted a baby, 
I'm not sure he really wanted a child

and I'm not sure Mr. Oscar Meyer meant to get pissed
but I was hurt by the criticisms made with his fist
and if he'd asked me to stay instead of breaking my wrist, I'd reconsider

I was born through that window in the middle of the floor 
before the baby boom had ended
mom and dad were scrapping themselves off the floor 
when the grace of the lord descended
and I remember mama's song like the back of my glove
her bed squeaking loud with the friction of love
not even a hot bath in a clean white tub 
can drown the sad song she's singing, singing for me
where are you mama? where are you mama? 
where are you mama?

here comes your son.

and I arrived just in the time for the sinking of the son 
with a hunger in my heart and a question on my tongue
but there's no time for questions 
when there's work to be done, 
get to it, get to it son

arrived just in time for the sinking of the son 
with a hunger in my heart and a question on my tongue
no time for questions when there's work to be done
no time for questions when there's work to be done

© 1994 steve ball 

orphan (2.049 MB MP3)
performed by Prometheus 1993, Los Angeles

sb: vocals, keyboards, hammers
sanford ponder: guitars
pat mastelotto: drums
nigel gavin: bass, outro rap
chris rhyne: piano

* * *

The musician can never really judge the 'value' of their work in the moment when it comes to life.  But what about eight years later? We prepare, we open, we receive, we reflect, we transmit.  In general, we pay through the nose to participate in this process.  If we are fortunate, perhaps there is a record of the process that may be shared after the fact. 

What is the value of a song?

How can we measure the sacrifices, investments, and energies that flow into the process of receiving, reflecting, and transmitting a song against the 'value' generated by its performance(s)?

Sales figures?   Hardly.

What was the total opportunity cost (the sum of the energy, time, preparation, travel, practice, cash, resources, writing, recording, editing, mastering, manufacturing, promoting, performing, and other intangible sacrifices) required to deliver this five minute song to the few listeners who invested their time and attention in giving it their ears?

Was this 'worth' it?

* * *

Saturday May 05

6:56am  Up early again today.  Taking an all-weekend class; still have a bit of homework to do.  But first, must walk the dog.

Questioning all of my assumptions; searching for value within my values.

* * *

5:55pm.  Home from an all day class. Very tired, but feeling good.  Frank (dog) is very happy to see me.  Short nap, long walk on the way. 

Nice voice message from DavidS, now in Los Angeles, speaking at a music conference next week.  Rumor is that he is planning on coming to Seattle at the end of the week.

Pleasant surprise to run into HansR and his fiancé at my class today.  Now an ex-Bootleg employee, Hans is one of the most honorable people I've ever had the pleasure of working with.  

* * *

My plans this evening: home, reflection.   Later: out.

* * *

Two views of something else of potential value from the "what-did-you-do-with-your-twenties?" archive:


I drink your water
I breathe your air
I'm in your gas tank
I'm what you wear

I buy your houses
I shop your malls
I read your diary
I trace your calls 
But you can't see me in the dark
I will start a fire

You sign my contract
You shine my shoes
I fill your tummy
I pay your dues

Form your opinions
I plant the seed
where you are empty
I fill the need

But you can't see me in the dark
I will start a fire
Start it now

Inside your thinking
Inside your head
When you are sleeping
I'm in your bed

I am your broadcast
I pay your dues
You make decisions
I help you choose

But you can't see me in the dark
so I will start a fire
You can't see me
I am dark
I will start a fire 

© 1994 steve ball 

Homework assignment.  Compare and contrast:

dark (2.984 MB MP3)
performed by Prometheus 1993, Los Angeles.

sb: vocals, piano
sanford ponder: guitars, sound design
pat mastelotto: drums
nigel gavin: bass
chris rhyne: keyboards
bill forth: linda blair voice 

-- to --

dark (3.022 MB MP3)
performed by Greenthumb 1997, Buenos Aires.

sb: vocals, acoustic guitar
christian de santis, guillermo olivera,
horacio pozzo, martin de aguirre,
claudio lafalce, luciano pietrafesa,
marcelo o'reilly, pablo mandel,
martin schwutke, fernando kabusacki: acoustic guitars

* * *

Another surprise call from LA made my day.

* * *

Now, off to see Electrochakra. Nice to see TravisM is back in diary mode after a break.  Nice show at 2nd Ave. Pizza.  A full house.  And great to see these boys getting some attention from more than just JeanetteR, CurtB, and myself this evening.  They deserve it.  

* * *

PS - Happy Birthday Sue Ennis!  Wishing you a musical new year.

* * *

Sunday May 06

New cover song for the Roadshow in the works as of late last week:

Running Up That Hill

It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know know 
that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear 
about the deal that I'm making?
You, it's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
Say, if I only could, oh...

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder.
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts.
Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?
You, it's you and me.
It's you and me, won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
Say, if I only could, oh...

It's you and me,
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

C'mon, baby,
C'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

Say if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.
So if I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems.

If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.
If I only could, I'd be running up that hill.

© Kate Bush 

* * *

8:52pm - Another full day of diving into unknown waters with eyes wide open.  I feel a blissful exhaustion in every cell of my body. 

A call from LA earlier also has me mildly blissing.  Today is a significant anniversary.  Celebration comes tomorrow, however.

That, and spending a couple of hours with the best group of friends on the planet have put me in a very peaceful state.  Tobin is back, looking good, with new opportunities at his fingertips.   Need to get that boy over for dinner this week: Tuesday.

Now, Frank (wonder dog of love) is walked.  My house is kind of a mess tonight (laundry half done, books and CDs strewn about) -- but I'm comfortable with that right now.  Shawn Colvin is on repeat on the stereo as I type.  Life, today, is complete.   

I can barely keep my eyes open.  

Clearly, as of the past two weeks, I am also back in diary mode, in a major way.  When it rains in Seattle, it pours.  

Wish you were here.

* * *