Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Who Cares?

A Blog by Mick Anger #4


Today I am thinking about music, mostly, with a minor in gear.

I have been a music lover since my father inculcated it in me when I was young. He never pushed me in any direction in particular, at first he taught me by example. He enjoyed music very much and listened often to his console stereo and various radios. He was a traveling salesman and spent a lot of time in the car. In the 50’s and 60’s the radio was the only real option for most people. 

I’m certain I will return to this in future installments, but today I’m concentrating on a new, long term project, digitizing my LP’s.

I’ve held onto my vinyl ever since I went digital back in the early 80’s. I admit I’m pretty close to being a hoarder when it comes to letting go of anything even marginally useful, but I love my records for any number of reasons beside the obvious one, the music.

I also confess to being an amateur audiophile, I love the sound that can come from a decent system, no matter the cost, high or low. I am not a strict believer in the more expensive is always better school.

I am however a member of the “there can always be improvement with upgrades” group, to a point.

This has lead to my recent acquisition of several doo-dads necessary for the transfer and playback of the digital files.

It started innocently enough with the acquisition of a new DAC for the interface between computer and sound system. I bought a portable unit from a Chinese website that had good specs for the reasonable price of about a hundred bucks. It is called the “ Topping TP-D1 MKII MK2 USB sound card CS4398 USB decoder External For PC& laptop” and I got it here: 

It sounds great and works without hassle with my 2009 MacBook Pro. interfacing with my main system in the living room. 

I am using Amadeus Lite to record from my old turntable to the iMac that is my main computer rig. I had to buy a preamp for the turntable as the cartridge is low powered and neede a boost. I found one on Amazon, "ART DJPRE II Phono Preamplifier Dual RCA Type Inputs and Outputs Switchable Low Cut Filter" 

It was only about $40 and did the trick, boosting the level and sounding fine. I love low priced gear that punches above its price point.

I am digitizing at 96khz 24bits and using Decibel for playback from the macbook. The vinyl sound is addictingly rich and detailed, I can’t wait to hear how things sound each day as I complete new transfers. I’m discovering these records all over again. What a gas! Talk about cheap thrills!

Today I’ve selected a couple of Talking Heads albums. I like their music fine, even a lot, but I have problems with David Byrne due to an incident at a live show back in 1982 at the Olympic stadium in Montreal. I was directing video for the Police on the Synchronicity tour and the Talking Heads were on the show as one of the opening acts. During the day a request came from David Byrne to the management for them to let him use the video gear for their show. This was in the very earliest days of video projection at Rock shows and the Police management was reluctant to let them use their biggest production gimmick before they went on stage and refused them the use of the video system.

Then, during the Talking Heads set we got word that the were fucking around with our equipment. When I got to the stage I saw that Byrne was trying to pull one of our cameras up onto the stage so he could fuck around with it like a little spoiled kid. I got on the camera platform and had to pull the camera back out of his hands and back onto the riser. Luckily nothing was harmed and our show was not affected. But wow, what a spoiled brat he was!

Anyway, I still want to hear “Psycho Killer” on vinyl again!

What do you think? Tell me in the comments.

© 2012 Mick Anger – All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What do you love?

Who Cares?

A Blog by Mick Anger #3

What do you love?

Sara Palin is famous for not being able to recall anything she was currently reading, magazines, newspapers, books, blogs? 

Ah, no.

How could that be? I am always reading something, sometimes two things, or more concurrently. I love to read. I always have. I was blessed that it came effortlessly to me and I fell in love with words and language too, all at the same time. I must have been 5 or so, is that about right for the fifties?

I was voracious, and inhaled books as if they were the smell of fresh bread. I went to catholic school and was quite proud when Sister Terence told me I read with “good expression” when called on to read aloud. I could hear the words in my head when I read to myself and wanted to be able to convey what I was experiencing to others. I loved to read and I thought everyone must feel the same way.

How could you not love to journey into space or to other worlds or universes? To learn about science and all the wonders to come, soon. Science Fiction was my specialty, and I sought out comics to feed my furnace. 

Comic books were the best place to expand my mind and my vocabulary. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to encounter words like stymie or stygian. I loved all kinds too, from Superman to Amazing Fantasy to Donald Duck. And what about Classics Illustrated, they were incredible! I could feel like I had read Moby Dick and The Red Badge of Courage when I was in the fourth grade. I could never get enough to read.

My sister loves to tell the story about how I read the entire Encyclopedia that my parents bought one volume at a time at the supermarket. I almost swallowed them whole, and there were fabulous pictures.

I belonged to a science book club that would send a paperback book with color stickers of the pictures to be pasted in by the reader. Fascinating subjects like “Magnetism” and “Electricity” or “Flight”. The gave you cardboard sleeves to keep the books in, I still have them on my shelf. E-books are great, but can’t equal the feeling you get when you run your eyes over a shelf of books, it only hints at the wonders within.

I must confess that I have fallen out of the habit of reading a daily newspaper since I moved into a condo 25 years ago. I always read the sunday edition when I was home, but thank the universe for the internet. That doesn’t mean I don’t read one when I can, because I will, anytime. I love input.

I read for about 2 hours in the morning with my coffee. Usually a magazine, but it could be a book too. And on some days I will watch one or two of my “Great Courses” lectures on history or culture or whatever. They are almost as good as a book.

The point is, I know what I’m reading because I’m reading a lot of stuff all the time. After coffee I ride my exercise bike while listening to jazz or classical music and reading about audiophile equipment and music. Or Wired magazine. I wouldn’t, I don’t think, be at a loss for words if you asked me what I was reading like Sara was.

After my 45 minute ride to nowhere on the bike I have a bowl of cereal and go to the net for more input and exploration.

I love it too much. It’s a part of what I do and who I am. I’m a reader. What’s that you’re reading?

Tell me in the comments.

© 2012 Mick Anger - All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Old

A Blog by Mick Anger #2

Getting Old

If you are among the majority of us that are quickly gaining on the time of life euphemistically referred to as “the golden years” you might agree that that description is  blatantly bland and misleading. I believe that most of us are pretty unhappy with the advance of years and many of the ensuing changes that it brings.

Things like being upset when you see a teenager with their pants hanging around their ass so far they have to use one hand to hold them up when they walk or, they assume that wide legged gait that looks like there is a load in their shorts. I mean, What's up with that?

We ( the hippies ) dressed in a manner that, true to our youth and rebellious stance, put off our parents and their generation, but it really never threatened to take us down if we had to sprint across an intersection to avoid being hit by a car. OK, maybe an extreme headband could have been dangerous if you worked in a textile mill or a factory, but, who worked? I mean, at a real job?

And don’t get me started about the course that popular music has taken since the 80’s when I pretty much stopped listening to anything that wasn’t Punk or New Wave. Rap and Hip Hop escaped me, I tried at first, but it was futile. The stuff just sounded bad to me and eventually it could upset me just to hear it if I couldn’t get away from it.

And how about the misery of getting old with all the aches and pains? Remember laughing at “old people” when you were young because all they ever talked about was their pains, their meds, and the deads? 
Boy, talk about fucking irony, how about that one?

I could go on, but maybe that was enough for now.

Naw’ I’m just getting started!

Retail, what about that, huh? Remember when you walked into a store and were accosted by personnel fawning over you and offering help with anything you needed? Remember that?

Remember that next time you have to use one of those red phones at a Target store to get some crumb of information about something you want to spend your money on!

Another fashion note, “hooker wear” for little girls. I mean, it isn’t just the Toddlers and Tiaras girls who look like they are all ready for some deviant fun, mothers in the real world emulate what they see as a “Hot” look for their little princess. Can this lead to anything but more child molestation? These girls and the show are an open invitation to seriously demented people to let their fantasies run wild. Does the world need this? I think not.

I am not trying to say that my way is the only way, only a fool would do that. What I am really asking is “is this the world we imagine for ourselves”? Do you want 6 year old girls that look like they are 19? What good can come from that? Aren’t there better things to teach your daughter? 

What I do like is the proliferation of my kind of shows on TV. Two History channels are much better than one, twice as much, actually. And the amount of documentary programming is growing all the time. And I don’t mean “Reality Shows” when I say documentary. 

What I feel about “Reality Shows” is another subject, entirely! I’m sure I’ll get to it another time.

That’s it for now, talk to me in the comments.

© 2012 Mick Anger - All Rights Reserved

Who are you?

A Blog by Mick Anger #1

Who are you?

This is the first installment of my new blog about how I feel about the things that make up my (and by association, your ) world.

Like it says up there, who cares? Well, I hope someone does and that is the most important thing when it comes to this blogging thing, at least it is if your first goal isn’t to make money. The internet is littered with unsuccessful attempts at self publishing. You don’t have to look far. I have a couple myself.

Why do I think I have a chance would be a better question. And to elucidate that I offer a brief Bio.

I’m a white male, 61 and I confess to being of liberal persuasion. I was brought up a catholic in Phoenix, Arizona. I was a hippie in the mid sixties, into drugs like pot and acid and went to all the love-ins at Encanto park, if only to score. I was into music and the equipment to play it from the age of about 12 and ended up dropping out in my junior year of high school to end up in 1969 working for a band as a roadie, one of the people who takes care of the gear and the musicians, or musos as they are affectionately known. That band was “The Beans” eventually known as “The Tubes”.
I got lucky and made the “big-time” going pro in 1973 with a gig taking care of the back line and Carlos for Santana from’73 to ’77. 

After that I tried a brief stint as a graphic artist from ’77 to ’80, with a fabulous side trip into the field of concert video projection in 1978, years before it took the touring world by storm. After a summer with the Kool Jazz Festival I knew that the video business was the place I wanted to be from that day on, but it would take a few years for the world to catch up. That’s when (1980) I took a job with Nightmare Inc, the management company for Journey. 

With Journey I was the receptionist and the main go-between for the entire industry and their manager, Herbie Herbert at a time when they were rapidly becoming the the hottest act ever seen in the arena rock world. As the gatekeeper I met a lot of new and influential people who had to get past me to get to Herbie or even to his secretary. I learned a lot in those days about how the business really ran. A not especially fragrant vision.

Then in 1982 the management made me a proposition. They were going to invest in a new division of their production company for large screen video reinforcement and their first client would be Journey, guaranteeing a paying client from day one.

I talked it over with my wife, Nicki, and told them I was in, even though it meant I could not go back to the old job if it didn’t work out. We never looked back.

I continued to tour in the music business with some of the biggest names for more than 30 years until recently when the brutal physical nature of the work finally disabled me to the point where it got to be difficult to do the job, at least the more physical aspects of it.

I am currently recovering from total knee replacement and find myself with the time for other projects, including this blog.

I hope you’ll find it interesting to read and that you may occasionally agree with me, or even more interesting potentially, disagree with me. 

Like it says, “Who Cares?”

Let me know how you feel in the comments.

© 2012 Mick Anger - All Rights Reserved