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Thursday, May 24, 2007
  Q & A with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails | Herald Sun
I'm not the only one.

Yesterday, the tubes of the internets were clogged with people talking about this interview with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Reading the comments on Digg and reddit was amazing. Everyone missed the point. Yes, Reznor is disgusted with his record label, and feels that they overcharge for his products. But no one commented on the fact that he is very disappointed in the low sales of his latest album, Year Zero. He waged a brilliant guerrilla marketing campaign on his own, with multiple web sites and alternative reality games. He paid for it out of his pocket. He mysteriously placed flash drives with mp3s of the new songs in the restrooms of concert halls where Nine Inch Nails was performing. He spent extra money that comes out of his royalties on the packaging, but basically gave away the music online for free, in the hopes that people would value it enough to buy the physical product. They didn't.

He admits that he too steals music, I do too. Now he wants to distribute his music himself, allowing people to download a new album the day it is finished, at whatever bitrate they choose, for four bucks, payable by PayPal. Guess what, Trent? It won't work. A handful of people will show you some loyalty, and then the thing will be all over the bit torrent and P2P sites.

The problem is that people not only steal the music, there's this whole "pirate" mentality that encourages people to feel as though they're done something extremely clever to get something for nothing. The "free culture" movement is going to be a disaster.

At least you're still gigging.

Q & A with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails | Herald Sun
Monday, May 14, 2007
Remembering Eduardo Mora

The last time I was in La Habana, a musician friend was visiting David Bencomo. He lives in France now, but was originally from Camaguey, and has known all the guys from Manolito Y Su Trabuco from way back in the days when most of them were playing with Maravillas de Florida. He wanted to visit Eduardo Mora's grave, because Mora had been one of his best friends from Camaguey.

Mora died on September 20, 2005 from alcohol-related illnesses. I was stuck in Cancun, because a hurricane has shut down all flights. A few days after arriving, I learned what had happened. No one went to the funeral because of the hurricane. He was 52 years old when he died.

We made plans to meet at ten o'clock Sunday morning at my office, the cantina on 25 y 12. It's right across the street from Cemetario Colón, where I presumed Mora was buried. The guys showed up, bought flowers, and we piled into the ancient Lada of Jesus, David's neighbor. As we drove away, I asked David why we weren't going to Colón, and David replied that Mora was buried in Mariano, a suburb of Havana where Mora had been living for the last couple of years, after his wife couldn't put up with the drinking anymore.

When we arrived, we went into the cemetary office to get the location of Mora's tomb. All bodies are buried above ground in Havana, due to the high water table in the ground. The groundskeeper looked up the location, wrote it down on a scrap of paper, and led us to the tomb. Mora is buried in a tumba colectiva along with three other bodies. There is no name or stone to commemorate him. Seeing this, his friend from Camaguey filled up with tears, as did I. It didn't seem right.

They laid their flowers on the tomb, and I placed my offering: a cajita of Mora's favorite rum, Planchao. I remember the first time I saw Mora drinking this stuff I thought it was juice, because it's sold in the same sort of cardboard box that children's juice drinks are sold in. It was the stuff that did him in at the end, but I knew that if there was any part of his spirit in there, third down of four bodies, he could probably use a drink.

Of course I wasn't the only one to bring rum. The percussionist from Camaguey produced a bottle of Habana Club from his backpack, and one by one, we toasted Mora by drinking a big gulp from the bottle and then spraying it from our mouths over the flowers and the tomb.

The next drinks were for us, we were all very emotional at that point. We spent the next hour passing the bottle around and reminiscing about Mora, trading stories, occasionally laughing. Mora was a simple man, he lived for just three things: music, rum and cigarettes. The rum got him in the end. Cigarettes take longer.

We said goodbye to Mora by Spraying three more tragos and pouring rum over the tomb. I took out a cigarette, tore the filter off, and placed it on top of the box of rum. Mora liked to smoke fuertes.

Driving back to Vedado, we made plans to each put up some money to buy a marker for Mora. A friend of mine did just that for a living. But like many well-intentioned plans, nothing came of it. Later I mentioned that to David, and he said it didn't really matter, because Mora only had about four more months to lie in the tumba colectiva. He would be cremated to make room for someone else. I don't know if anyone will collect the ashes. He had no family when he died.

Ay, la vida! I told Mora as I said goodbye, that he will always be with us through the recordings he made. David said that Mora could say more with just three notes than other bass players could with a thousand. It's true.

Mamborama news and the world of Cuban music, accompanied by occasional self-indulgence.

Extensive Cuba trip report now online.

Here's an online scrapbook of photos of La Habana and some of the recording sessions for the new album.

August 2003 / September 2003 / October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / January 2004 / February 2004 / March 2004 / April 2004 / May 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / February 2005 / April 2005 / June 2005 / December 2005 / March 2006 / April 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / April 2007 / May 2007 /

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