The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America
May 19, 2015Posted by on
In the world of music – be it blues, rock, pop or even country – there are few names as revered as B.B. King. He was a pioneer of popularizing a sound that had been brewing along the banks of the Mississippi for generations.
As a very young man in the mid-‘90s, I was lucky enough to see B.B. King at the (then) recently rejuvenated, and now defunct, Bronco Bowl, in Dallas, TX.
It was a special night and I will never forget the silk suits, fedoras, and walking canes that were the chosen outfits of that evening. As an 11 year-old boy it was eye-opening – not for the venue and patrons, but for the man on stage. Little did I realize that few performances later in my life would rival what I saw that night.
Fast forward 15 years and I witnessed what, still to this day, stands as the most unique sound check I would ever experience. I was a young road dog – a glorified roadie – living in London and hanging concert PA’s for a family-run sound company called Canegreen; based just steps from White Hart Lane in Tottenham.
Our first show in our UK “tour” of five shows was at Manchester’s MEN Arena and having hung the stage left PA (16 Meyer Milo‘s on the main hang, 10 box side hang) I settled in stage left for what I thought would be an awesome sound check – watching a living legend play with his backing band without an audience.
It did not disappoint, but not for the reasons I had anticipated.
Keep in mind that this was the first of four or five arena shows and we were supplying every piece of equipment barring backline, including front of house and monitor engineers. So naturally you’d expect the band to come out and sound check, right?
But rather than seeing B.B. King make his way on stage with his band, out came his band leader James “Boogaloo” Bolden. I can only try to recount in writing what happened next (Editor’s note: This may have in fact been the drummer or bass player instead of Boogaloo as James was a killer trumpet player.):
Boogaloo: “Ok, we ready for sound check?”
Us: “Sure, the band coming out?”
Boogaloo: “Nah, I got this”
[MD moves to far stage right position, horn section]
Boogaloo: “Ok, ya’ll ready”
Us: “Uh, yea, ok… you want a trumpet?”
Boogaloo: “Naw…. [shouting in the microphone, NOT playing a trumpet] Bap bap bap bap bap!!! I’m a trumpet!”
[Silence from the sound crew]
Boogaloo: “Bah bap bap bap bap!!!! I’m a trumpet!”
Boogaloo: “Hey turn this up a bit…. Bap bah bap bap bap!!… hey, perfect!”
[moves to sax position]
Boogaloo: “Bee bee bee bee beep!! Be bee bee bee beeeeeeep!! I’m a sax!!”
You get the idea…
So we set the stage levels per the bandleader’s musical direction. Needless to say, when the band came out and we un-muted everything, a wall of feedback greeted the crowd and sound crew; and the first song was spent dialing in the band.
It was the most fun and laid-back set of shows I ever was a part of, and it sounded fantastic. The backing band – and B.B. King – had been performing and touring for decades. They mixed themselves, as the best musicians and performers do.
Luckily, I had a chance to meet B.B. King in person. He was gracious and I couldn’t help mentioning to him my father’s signed “Lucille” ES-355
Want to see B.B. King? Unfortunately he passed last week at the ripe old age of 89. But you can see Steve Arnold’s signed B.B. King Gibson ES-355 “Lucille” at both Promax NY and LA this June, where we’ll proudly have it on display. It’s our own small tribute to a man who transformed music – and the art of the sound check.
The King is Dead – Long Live B.B. King.
April 22, 2015Posted by on
What a long strange trip it’s been.
As you can guess from my last name, I’ve been around Stephen Arnold Music for quite a long time. I’ve often mused that it was quite an eye-opening discovery, around age 8 or 9, to find out that EVERYONE didn’t have a recording studio.
While the business has changed from its humble origins as Stephen Arnold Productions, one thing has remained the same: We’re proud to be an independent and customer service is our lifeblood.
So what exactly does that mean? Aren’t there lots of composers and music houses out there?
Sure, there are many fine composers out there, and many successful music houses. But to have staff including sales, marketing, admin, not to mention our creative team and all the musicians and talent that we count on daily – working alongside full-time employees numbering 15+, Stephen Arnold Music today is a different animal completely.
We’re proud to service over 300 television stations along with some of the largest networks on the planet. Our music helped launch CNN Headline News (now HLN) and recently rebranded CCTV China’s 5 international channels — the largest television network in the world by viewership.
Aside from the detailed creative and production that takes place daily in our studios, there is a heaving database of administration – from contracts to sales to copyrights to registrations to making sure payroll goes out; it’s no small task to keep Stephen Arnold Music humming on a daily basis.
Ask around and you’ll discover what sets us apart: our dedication to customer service, understanding the science AND art of sonic branding, and always putting our clients first (even if adding that saxophone is a bad idea!). Our passion is to make our clients look and sound great; to brand stations, networks, TV shows, and media in a way that’s memorable, innovative and engaging.
Want to know what it means to be #indie? Pick up the phone and give us a call – ask for anyone in the company, from President Stephen Arnold to VP Creative Services Chad Cook all the way down to the mail room and you’ll be put right through. It’s always been that way at Stephen Arnold Music.
Happy Hour is Friday 4pm sharp – stop by, see us and we’ll show you around.
Editor’s Note: For more information on what is means to be #indie, check out Newscast Studios article: http://www.newscaststudio.com/2015/04/16/stephen-arnold-relishes-in-independence/
April 7, 2015Posted by on
A generation ago, the music listening experience was just that: an experience. Having returned from the record store, the eager listener – usually in the company of like-minded friends – would peel the shrinkwrap from the rather large cardboard sleeve and remove the inner, thinner paper sleeve to reveal the all-important vinyl record that awaited inside. After placing the fragile disc carefully on the turntable, the stylus would be lowered to the surface, gingerly, in the hopes of minimizing that inevitable *pop* of first contact.
And with that pop began an audio/visual adventure. For it wasn’t only the music that caught our interest. No, the best collections of music were always wrapped in large, stunning artwork that fired our imaginations and sparked our conversations. And no first listen could be complete without a thorough examination of that new masterpiece.
But as we’ve made the decades-long transition from Hi-Fi to Wi-Fi, the canvas has shrunk, and the listening experience has become less organic and, consequently, less engrossing. No longer do we take the time to listen to a new release in its entirety as a single work while intently studying every square inch of the packaging. And while vinyl is enjoying something of a resurgence in certain circles, downloads and Shuffle Mode still rule the day. And with that, we’ve lost our appreciation of the long-form album as a work of art in its own right.
So I’d like to share with you some of my all-time favorite album covers. No rhyme or reason here … no particular order … just revisiting some really fantastic work by an increasingly underappreciated class of artist.
And of course, I’d be remiss to neglect our two offerings from SAM. Give us a call if you’d like a copy!
March 25, 2015Posted by on
We are excited to announce the release of “Waking Up My Day”, our new morning show image campaign: a fully produced, cost-effective marketing package for morning promotions sure to make an emotional connection with viewers.
The heart of this market exclusive campaign is a vibrant morning anthem, chock full of vocal hooks, energetic guitars and big beat. “Waking Up My Day” was created to help grow viewership and generate additional revenue during the crucial morning news slot.
- Fully-Produced Market Exclusive Image Package
- Male and Female Vocal Versions
- 60s/30s/15s/10s & IDs
- Includes Donuts, Tags, and Instrumentals
- Custom Lyrics/Vocals Available upon Request
- Select Video Elements included. Exact video assets still in progress – Available April 10th
Check it out now at stephenarnoldmusic.com/wakingupmyday
March 16, 2015Posted by on
Tinley and I are back in the office today after having a great trip to DC this week for the RTDNF First Amendment Awards. Stephen Arnold Music was the entertainment sponsor (very fitting!) for the 25th annual event honoring individuals and organizations for their work on behalf of First Amendment freedom. SAM also provided special silver pens for all attendees, commemorating the 25th year of this amazing event.
Some of the highlights included getting to visit with many of our friends from around the country whom we are privileged to create music for, including Nexstar Broadcasting, Raycom Media, Sinclair Media Group, Gannett and CNN, along with The Associated Press, ABC news and many others.
Since we sponsored the music, of course Tinley had to take the stage and grab the mic while I banged away on the congas. And fortunately, we weren’t kicked out of the venue for having live music as so often happens at our Promax events.
It was a privilege for us to represent SAM and toast so many of our talented and dedicated clients and friends. It was truly an honor!
Congratulations to the 2015 Honorees!
Lifetime Achievement Awards
Bob Simon, Correspondent
CBS News and 60 Minutes
First Amendment Leadership Award
Kathleen Kirby, Attorney at Law
Wiley Rein, LLC
First Amendment Service Award
Perry Sook, Chairman, President and CEO
Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.
RTDNF Citation of Courage
Steven Sotloff and James Foley
Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award
Ann Compton, Former White House Correspondent
First Amendment Award
James Risen, Correspondent, Washington Bureau
New York Times