THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BAND-A Degradation Theory

"...my music is perfect, you could go back to Beethoven and s***, but as far as this lifetime, though, this is all you got." -Kanye West Since the Second Industrial Age began in the late 19th century, human civilization has been continuously shaped and reshaped by notable advancements in technology. With every relevant invention or improved method of production, merchants scurried for the latest competitive edge while their customers rushed the market in search of Read more

ROOM TO BREATHE (Chase The Sample Super-Mix)

Wooooooooo, this is fun!  When it comes to music, I love taking a concept as far as it can go, so the 'Room To Breathe (Chase the Sample Super-Mix)' is a perfect example of my arguably unhealthy obsession with developing a good theme to its full conclusion.  In the past, it was 'Meatshake' or 'Einstein Buys a Monkey' but in 2016, I came up with the idea of singling out an element from my Read more

ROOM TO BREATHE-The Free LP

I am very pleased to announce that Unique Records will be releasing my first ever solo album 'ROOM TO BREATHE-The Free LP'.  This record contains ten, high-velocity, Hip-Hop tracks for listeners who enjoy intricate, action-packed rhyming skill showcased over fresh loops and funky drums.  Lyrically, I pushed myself as far as I could go with regard to style, pace and feel and the result, in my untrustworthy opinion, is a seriously cool collection of Read more

UGLY DUCKLING AND THE BOTTOM LINE

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, RAP RELATED, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 41 Comments

Not long ago, a guy named Matthias contacted EARTOTHETRACK.NET and requested that I write a column about the difficult realities of surviving (I don’t use that word jokingly) as a small-time musical outfit like Ugly Duckling.  Normally, I would stay a mile away from a topic like this because, for me, it’s difficult to imagine that any reader would find a nominal

u.d. backstage

Ugly Duckling backstage in 2014. We, of course, demand gigantic guitar tuning pegs to be mounted in all of our dressing rooms

Hip-Hop group’s struggles compelling or entertaining.  In fact, I generally assume that most people take an interest in music with the intended purpose of escaping their own daily drudgery, not to empathize with the plight of working-class Rap acts who are, at the very least, chasing their dreams and avoiding 9-to-5’s.  Plus, it must be recognized that no authentic aspiring artists (with the possible exception of Gene Simmons) ever joined a band expecting to become wealthy.  We may have fantasized about the gratifying thrill of an audience’s approval and a bit of adventure, but any actual musician’s earliest hope and plea was to simply make a living doing music.  With that clearly stated, it would, in my opinion, be pathetic and condescending to write anything that came across as whiny or ungracious but, in this case, I’ll share some of my more challenging band experiences for, if nothing else, the sake of Matthias’s interest…

 

Read more

WHAT IS HIP-HOP AND WHY ARE WE STILL DOING IT?

Posted on by andycooper in RAP RELATED, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 13 Comments
Ugly Duckling on stage at Brixton Academy in London

UD on stage at Brixton Academy (photo by Nick Sayers)

As Ugly Duckling prepares to embark on another European tour, I can’t help but wonder why three 40-year old men, and the audiences who come to see our show, continue to participate in a youth culture like Hip-Hop.  First off, I think we need to establish what ‘Hip-Hop’ actually is because, throughout the history of Rap music, B-boys and girls have generally disagreed about the fundamental definition of the genre.  Whether arguments have revolved around “Being basic”, “Keeping it real”, “Holding it down” or acting “2 legit 2 quit”, there has never, to my knowledge, been a true consensus on Hip-Hop authenticity.  Is Rap for everybody or strictly a Black art-form?  Is it gold teeth and over-sized T-shirts or tight pants and funny haircuts?  Making mad money or staying underground?  Civilizing the dumb, deaf and blind or deftly slapping the dumb until they’re blind?  Difficult distinctions indeed.  But I do believe that there are certain ties that bind all of us in the world of Hip-Hop and I would like to present five of them here… Read more

MY AFTERNOON AS A STAR: Ugly Duckling on ‘Top of the Pops’

Posted on by andycooper in RAP RELATED, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 5 Comments
TOTP

I’ve got my passport and fifty dollars in that silly pouch around my neck

Recently, when I writing about Jimmie Nicol* and his strange experience as a temporary Beatle in 1964, it reminded me of a time when I, very briefly, was thrust into the unlikely position of Pop-Idol. In June of 1999, Ugly Duckling (the silly, hip-hop band of which I am a member) was given the opportunity to gig around Western Europe for 2 months as the opening act for rap legends ‘The Jungle Brothers’.  At this point in time, Rod, Dustin and I had never taken part in a musical tour and none of us, aside from brief, depressing trips across the Mexican border, had actually left the United States so, as one might imagine, we were very excited and completely out of our depth.  None the less, we over-packed our needlessly large suitcases and boarded a ‘Virgin Atlantic’ flight from LA to London with grand expectations on our minds and newly printed passports in our hands…

Read more

A CRITIQUE OF THE CRITICAL

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, CLASSIC POP, THE UGLY (DUCKLING) TRUTH | 2 Comments
Michael_Jackson_-_Thriller

I shudder to think what’s on his mind

I once saw a horribly negative album review of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ by a music writer with a forgettable name.  I can still recall that the reviewer was incredibly disappointed by what he felt was a lack of innovation and imagination from an artist with such great potential.  I remember the words “Predictable” and “Cliched” being thrown about and an expressed hope that Michael Jackson would return to the style of his previous LP ‘Off the Wall’.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig out this particular article anywhere on the internet (I’m almost certain its author did a hi-tech, CIA-style wipe to remove all traces of his shocking misjudgment of the world’s biggest selling record) but during my search, I found some other doozies that got me thinking about the role of critics… Read more

%d bloggers like this: