Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

My “First” Rock and Roll Video (a.k.a “Come to VentureScape 2013!)

For those of you who know me, I have always loved being a musician.  For a while, I thought that I would make my living as a drummer, but the world conspired against me.  That being said, I couldn’t be grateful enough that I ended up as a venture capitalist.

Last year, I spearheaded the Foundry Group “I’m a VC” Video.  It was as ton of fun and I’m certainly proud of it, but musically it’s a parody song and I don’t have the same emotional attachment that I do with the real music that I create, especially those songs that I co-write with my business partner Ryan McIntyre for our band Legitimate Front.

Completely separately, I’m on the Executive board of the National Venture Capital Association, where I’m the Chairperson of the 2013 annual meeting, now called VentureScape 2013.  (Plug:  Sign up for the event!).  When I was drafted to come up with a different format than past years I knew that I wanted “fun” to be part of the event.

We decided to throw a huge party the night before the main event and thanks to Silicon Valley Bank, we are going to have a great event that revolves around….. wait for it….  MUSIC!  For the first time ever VCs are going to get together with their favorite folks and listen to world class music headlined by Pat Monahan of Train fame!

As part of the new format of the event (it’s not just the party, either, check out the agenda!), Emily Mendell, V.P. of Communications at NVCA created some great videos to promote the event.  Today’s video:  VC Rockstar Dreams and it features the music of Legitimate Front!  I love that Ray Rothrock and Marc Cadieux, both of whom will be performing as well, were in the video as well.

This is probably the closest that I’ll ever come to making a real video of my music, but it was a wonderful experience.  Check it out for yourself below.  And oh, yeah…. Come to the event, May 14th at the Great American Music Hall!

Notes:  Yes, that is really me lying on the street outside in San Francisco.  And yes, I was told that a person once died in the exact spot that I “performed” in.  All for the love of art.  Special thanks to Long Haul Films for a GREAT job.

 

February 26th, 2013     Categories: Hobbies, Just For Fun, Music, NVCA, Venture Capital    

I’m a VC – My First Foray Into Film Making

Last May, I got an idea stuck in my head that I should create a music video to promote the release of Venture Deals:  Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist, written by yours truly and my partner Brad Feld.  It was a germination of a conversation that I had with Emily Mendell (VP of Communication at the NVCA and great blogger at MothersofBrothers.com).  Emily is a great PR person and threw out an idea that the Foundry Group could actually pull off a music video, in the SNL Digital Short genre, to highlight the book and have a ton of fun in the process.Having very little logical sense and a severely limited good judgment filter, I immediately jumped on what I thought was a great idea and thus “I’m a VC” was born.

For those of you who know me, I can get a bit (a lot?) manic when I get excited about  something.  I stayed up most of the first night writing the song and story boarding the potential video.  I woke up the next day, exhausted, but pleased with my first efforts.  I had never written any music in this genre before (cheesy 80’s boy band) and certainly have never made anything with video, but I felt confident.

First I emailed by partner in business and music Ryan McIntyre, who immediately told me it was a dumb idea and that he generally hated parodies.  Awesome.  My project was starting off perfectly.

Undaunted, I brought the lyrics and story idea to our regular Monday partner lunch and after a beer, I found a receptive audience, including Mr. McIntyre.  I was given a green light to proceed and the rest is history.

We issued a fake press release along with the video that I find funny, especially the quotes from my partner Seth Levine about his insecurities as a venture capitalist.

So without further delay, I present to you “I’m a VC.”  Please share with everyone you know if you like it.  Also, don’t forget to buy our book!

And just in case, here are the lyrics thanks to Ryan.

September 6th, 2011     Categories: Foundry Group, Music    

Next Big Sound Powers Billboard’s Social 50 Chart

Today, Next Big Sound and Billboard announced the birth of the Social 50 which ranks the top 50 musical artists on the world’s leading social media sites.

Given the upheaval in the music industry in that it has moved away from radio spins and record sales as the sole factors in achieving success, it’s great to see the preeminent keeper of music charts, Billboard, agree that it’s time to start tracking other metrics to determine an artist’s reach.

Even more cool, however, is that our very own Next Big Sound is powering the charts that Billboard is using.

Check out the Social 50 here.

 

 

December 2nd, 2010     Categories: Foundry Group, Foundry Group Investments, Music    

Next Big Sound 2.0

Over the past year and a half I’ve had a front row seat to the development of Next Big Sound. From my earliest phone calls with CEO Alex White to mentoring the team through the TechStars program here in Boulder, I’ve watched them go from passionate music fans and talented founders to building a company and products of tremendous value. Billboard naming Next Big Sound as one of the 10 best startups and Alex to their 30 Under 30 list in August was great outside recognition of the progress that I’ve watched being achieved day after day and week after week.

Like most startups in their early days, the company was super busy with many different projects. Whether it was the API, SXSW charts, the Premier product, or re-launch of their free site, development of these offerings took the full resources of the company and there wasn’t time to integrate everything together.

We are coming up on one year since Foundry Group invested in the company. I always like to take a minute and reflect on each year since investing in a company. I’m really excited about NBS. Now is the time that we are seeing the integration of all of their hard work. Their output is impressive and I believe will fundamentally change how the recording industry interacts with data and analytics.

The team has more than doubled in size and today releasing their Premier product, updating their website to include even more great free tools and is announcing several major partnership and client wins. See the official press release here.

What’s the all the excitement about?

  1. Premier – the most powerful analytics dashboard the music industry has ever seen. Charts, advanced geographical and demographic information down to individual fans, integration with Google analytics, record and digital sales, radio plays and P2P network information. And much, much more;
  2. Early adopters at record labels, TV stations, management firms and artist service providers are already paying subscribers of Premier. Now anyone can subscribe as well;
  3. Predictive Charts – Plenty of folks do a great job of charting who is already popular but there is no reliable place to go to find out who is going to become popular. The NBS25 charts the fastest accelerating artists across the internet identifying those artists that are statistically most likely to go on to become the next big sound; and
  4. Stats – you can still search and compare any artist in the world but it is now much easier to subscribe to weekly email reports on artists’ social media stats and share interesting graphs across the web

In short, it’s the launch of Next Big Sound 2.0. It’s been an exciting and fun ride so far with Alex, David, Samir, Eric, Todd, Sam, Walter and the rest of the extended family. Thanks guys for letting me hang out with you.

September 15th, 2010     Categories: Foundry Group Investments, Music    

Drummer Gone Wild

As a former drummer, I like to poke fun at drummers.  They/we are all wired just a bit “differently.”  A while ago, I listed my favorite drummer jokes and the post is now one of the top search results on Google. 

Yesterday, my friend John Bliss, CEO of Blipsnips, sent me this great video of a drummer who totally loses it.  The group is supposed to be all about the guitarist – it’s his band, but their drummer steals the show.  It’s really funny how the cameraman decides to pay little attention to the band leader.  The drummer is part bird man and part Tommy-Lee-wanna-be.

June 7th, 2010     Categories: Music    

The Worst Song Ever (or why Notre Dame stinks)

Alright, I know I’m going to get flamed on this one, but as a Michigan Wolverine, I can’t resist. 

Today, a friend of mine sent me the video below entitled “We are Notre Dame.”  It’s the worst song that I’ve heard.  Period.  The video isn’t any better and the fact the school endorsed it by allowing them to shoot on campus and utilize the cheerleading squad makes it all the better.  If I looked this dumb playing bass, I’d never play music again. 

My friend Mark Johnson must be rolling over right now.  And just so you know, I have plenty of ND friends, so this is all in good fun.  But I stand by this being the worst song ever.

In case you are curious what the second worst song ever is, it’s the Nixon Peabody theme song.  And the story of the law firm trying to shut off their embarrassment is even funnier.

May 3rd, 2010     Categories: Just For Fun, Music    

Best Guitar Show Ever?

Maybe.  Quite Maybe.  Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing the Larry Carlton Trio, featuring Robben Ford with Ryan and Jacqueline at the Boulder Theater.  So, in reality, it was a quartet, but I didn’t mind the misnomer.  One extra set of hands of guitar awesomeness is fine by me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Larry Carlton, he is generally regarded as one of the finest session players ever.  His most famous work is probably the guitar solo on Kid Charlemagne, of which Becker and Fagin went through literally a dozen players to try to get someone who could handle the changes.  Many, including Ryan, myself and Steve Lukather think its the best solo of all time.  Rolling Stone magazine rated it as #3 of all time.  (Losers)  

He’s played about every style of music possible with artists such as Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, The Four Tops, and the Partridge Family and it that isn’t impressive enough, he survived a bullet through his neck which shattered his vocal cord and left him for dead by a random act of violence outside his studio years ago. 

The thing with Larry is that you never know what you’ll get in concert.  He can rock, or he can play adult smooth jazz.  Last night, the only thing smooth was the sensitivity and creativity that he brought to every type of genre possible. 

Robben Ford, his co-conspirator is no slouch, either.  Also, one of the finest ax-men around, he has worked with Miles Davis, Gregg Allman, Chick Corea and Phil Lesh.  He’s a great blues man and can sing, too.

Together with an awesome rhythm section of Travis Carlton and Gary Novak (whom I hadn’t heard of before, embarrassingly, but is now on my top 10 list of drummers), Larry and Robben completely blew away the crowd.

I’ve never seen a band with two true lead guitar players who didn’t step on each other, were incredibly tasteful and very sensitive.  While Ryan called the show a “guitargasm” it wasn’t guitar masturbation, rather beautiful, sweet, sexy and rocking.  (Except for two solo-pieces that Larry did that were draw droppingly emotional).

At one point in the show, Robben broke into solo licks and dared Larry to try to mimic him. Robben did not take it easy on Larry, but Larry followed him – note per note. Wow.

Also, we learned half-way through the show that the group had just come together for the show last night.  They aren’t even on tour!  (So, no, you can’t go see them).  After we heard that, Ryan and I realized how far we are down on the musical ladder.

A great, great show.  If you ever see Larry and Robben on the same bill together, run, don’t walk to get tickets.  I’m still smiling from last night. 

April 30th, 2010     Categories: Music    

More Music Recommendations

I’ve been completely negligent updating my music recommendations (drinking too much beer, apparently), but today I updated my music page where you can find what I’m listening to and check out some of my own tunes as well.

I promise to do a better job updating, so check back in over time. 

March 31st, 2010     Categories: Music    

Them Crooked Vultures

No, this isn’t another lawyer blog, rather it’s a long time coming music review.  I’m totally digging Them Crooked Vultures.  Their debut and self-titled album is excellent.

The band is fronted vocally and guitar-wise by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age Fame and backed up by Dave Grohl on drums and John Paul Jones on bass.  How I wasn’t all over this group when their album first came out goes to show three things:

1. I’m getting old;

2. Music discovery is difficult despite my love of Pandora; and

3. I’m not listening to a lot of harder rock these days (see point 1, above).

But, wow these guys rock.  It’s totally original with great melodies, addictive riffs and powerful vocals with influences from all the bands these guys have played in.  Furthermore, there seem to be additional influences from bands like Alice in Chains, Living Colour, Lenny Kravitz, Cream, Stevie Wonder (yes, they have some great clav parts) and I swear that I heard some Electric Six lines, too. 

I’ve always begrudgingly liked Dave Grohl.  I thought his Nirvana drumming was a little sloppy for my tastes, but respected what he did in Foo Fighters.  After all it is a fact that all of us drummers are wanna-be singers, so that was cool.

I’m even more impressed with this album.  Grohl leaves the lead singing to the “pro” and does by far his best drumming work, ever.  He’s totally legit. 

Bottom line, I’m stoked.  I just wish that I had found the album sooner and didn’t just by chance heard about it from a friend. 

January 11th, 2010     Categories: Music    

Whatever

I’m not sure how I missed this song when it came out, but I’m glad that I found it now. 

Whatever. 

Thanks to my friend Steve Tonsfeldt, one of my most trusted musical discovery folks as well as an incredible M&A lawyer for passing along.  See, I don’t hate all lawyers, despite rumors to the contrary.

November 2nd, 2009     Categories: Just For Fun, Music