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decisions that I didn’t necessarily agree with. Coming from the music itself, that’s my growing point, and that’s more relevant than ever before. People could see that and understand that I’m an educated, sophisti- cated guy, not just another guy.

Now, are there definitely people who say,

“We don’t give a shit about what Lefsetz has to say”? Sure, absolutely. But in terms of being a writer, the people read it, and whether they agree or don’t agree, that’s their choice.


: Do you see yourself filling the role of Lester Bangs or other music journalists of the

1960s and 1970s?

: How I started the newsletter is a crazy story. I was out of work and I went to see a job counselor, who said

there’s a famous book called What Color Is Your Parachute? {by Richard N. Bolles}, and it had a workbook, which I didn’t know {at first}. In the workbook you had to do six essays. I wrote the essays and I got back in touch with this guy, and said I wanted to be a writer.

So I wrote something and I sent it to

varying publications, and when the rejec- tion letters would come back I’d go, “Wait a second, here. You have to know the people! Just like the music business!”

I was starting out in my own nexus, but I like to view myself first and foremost as a writer. We’re at a crazy time now because

there’s so much information and there’s so much up for grabs, but that’s exciting unto itself. But we can go online and like the big story online today is John Mayer canceling his Twitter account. So I got an e-mail about that, I get another e-mail from England that’s got a couple of links. I can go to Google. I can get the raw information, which, generally speaking, surfaces pretty quickly. There are so many sources. Someone who’s going to explain and

analyze the information and explain what it means, that’s going to be less available. Someone who’s going to explain and ana- lyze it so that it’s fun to read, that’s some- thing worth doing. If you read The New Yorker, a lot of

times you think, “I’m not sure I’m really interested in this,” but you’re reading it and it’s so well written that you go, “Hey! That’s great!” I like to believe that what I’m doing is well written, and the more I do it, it holds my writing chops, and I certainly have an extreme passion about music. I hope I write so well that no matter what I write about people would still be interested in it.


: How do you keep yourself motivated to write an edition of the Lefsetz Letter nearly

every day?

come back. I’ll also be in conversation with somebody and that will stimulate me, or else I’ll be somewhere and we’re talking about topics, and it’s the stimulation and capturing lightning in a bottle that’s inter- esting to me.

A With the Internet, because basically

there are no publishing costs, you know you can play on a regular basis, whereas prior to the Internet it was hard to get your message out. You could send a let- ter to one person. If you go to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success paradigm, the more you do something, the better you get. There’s another book called The Talent Code: Just because somebody does something ad infinitum doesn’t mean they’re going to get better, not unless they persevere. But in my particular case, one of the side

benefits of being so prolific is I get better at it. When I was a senior in high school we had a teacher who took a sabbatical. It was a regular public high school, but I guess if you worked there long enough you could take a year off. He had this new writing technique. He said the first five minutes of every class we were going to write, and if you don’t know what to say, you’re just going to repeat the last three words ad infi- nitum. So in my case, I don’t want to overthink

it. There are too many people who are writ- ing and they’re so busy trying to get the sentences right and the scripts right and the



FACULTY ART EXHIBIT Mon, Aug 30 - Tues, Sept 28 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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: I write on inspiration. I’m reading all day long. It’s not like I’m out playing baseball or whatever and I

descriptions right that they get rid of all the life that’s actually in the sentences.


: One of the themes in your writing is that in the modern music industry we need a

filter, as there are simply so many bands and albums. Does blogging need a filter, too?

: Actually, the number of blogs is going down as a result of Facebook and Twitter. Mostly, people want to

communicate. Most people are not big writ- ers. Say, 140 characters on Twitter, that’s really great. However, because of the lack of a filter everybody’s making music and everybody’s a writer.

Every day, all day long, people are send-

ing me music, which I wish they wouldn’t. But these people put out these albums and they’re terrible, whereas it used to be that you couldn’t even get your hands on that equipment! How much money would you need to make it, to press it, to send it to somebody? Whereas now my computer’s got Garage Band: You make a recording and you send it to somebody. Every once in a while I see somebody

who comes up with a good framework in the music business, but they quit! They just can’t continue to do it. They could be lazy. They could want a change of direction. Usually it’s the rewards that do not come soon enough. When you talk to all these successful musicians, you find there was a time when they sucked. But they kept play- ing and playing and playing. You could make this a real discussion 14 September 22 - 29, 2010 Syracuse New Times NEWS & OPINION FEATURE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS CLASSIFIED

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