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April 26, 2010

In a couple of weeks my production music library, Manchester Music, will be launching a new website, designed and developed by the fine folks at Ascend Marketing.  They advised me that starting a blog to publicize it was de rigueur. So here I am, and here’s the pitch:

Customers will be able to search and browse our catalog of 50 CDs and download Wavs and MP3’s.  We’re offering the most flexible license plan on the web, encompassing everything from Royalty-Free Music clips to Annual Blankets, the only ones we know of that are available online.

Designing the website with Ascend Marketing in Texas has been a life-changing experience for us, like being sucked up in a whirlwind (maybe cause our guys are in Texas – isn’t that close to Kansas?)  Sometimes exhilarating, often maddening. It’s been important to keep remembering why we’re doing it – for the music.

The Manchester Music library has always been for me a labor of love first, and a business second – though I’m of course gratified that we’re still in business, and that my music continues to be used, including the old stuff. (I heard a piece of mine broadcast the other day that I wrote in 1978!)

I’ve always taken inspiration from my patron saint, J.S. Bach, whose music served dual purposes. At the same time that it addressed the functional needs of the churches and kings he wrote for, he dedicated it “To the greater glory of God.”  I keep my spiritual beliefs to myself.  But if you’re going to mess with something as powerful and potentially profound as music, you should have your eye on something more than just making a buck.

In the last several years I’ve taken a break from writing music in order to write a couple of books. Meanwhile I’ve been working on my music producing chops – finding fresh new writers and helping to craft their stuff. I did write a piece of music a few weeks ago, and it felt pretty good. Perhaps a break after 30 years of writing (and 45 of playing) was a good thing.

The immediate necessity of starting this blog stirred a much older need in me – one that’s actually been around since I was teenager in the ‘60’s.  I was already playing guitar, but watching my heroes – Mike Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, and, yes Jimi Hendrix, live –I couldn’t imagine what was in my future – playing guitar myself for a living.

What I could do, I thought, as I delighted to the inspired ravings of guys like Paul Williams and Richard Meltzer at Crawaddy! was to become a music critic. Soon I was too busy practicing, then chasing gigs, to pursue it.

But I never stopped thinking about music, never stopped theorizing, criticizing, philosophizing….a blog’s  the perfect place to do it. I offer an insider’s view of music, from someone who’s spent the last 40 years making it for a living. And being practically a fossil myself, I’ve also gained some historical perspective on the music I grew up with.



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  1. John, this site looks awesome! And full of interesting as well as helpful information. Once I get a moment to update my site, I’ll add your link. In the meantime, keep up the good work.

  2. J Manchester permalink

    Hey, couldn’t think of a writer I’d rather get a first comment from! Good Ju Ju.


    • bonsoir moi j&qaour;si un telephone montre et quand je lance la version opera mini4.2 je voi apparautre google wikipidia mais le tactile ne fonctionne plus!!!  a par les les outons sur le coté mais que on ne peut pas validé ou ecrire quoi que se soit!!!

  3. Eric gutterson permalink

    Very cool, John, nothing like putting naked ladies on the home page! Seriously, though, I think it will be successful but, more importantly, lots of fun. I look forward to staying in touch.

  4. Aina Barten permalink

    You write with a sense for the “powerful and profound” in music, a kind of reverence, even, that’s rare among critics. I’ll keep reading…

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