MUSIC BIZ NEWS - A Department of Songwriters Notes

Music Business articles relating to the business of songwriting.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


From Barbe McMillen: I've been friends with Steve since the 70's when he returned to Dallas after leaving Denver. He was a wholesaler of a line of ladies ready to wear out of the Trade Mart. I'd met him around at the local jams where Steve was doing the rounds. I was very impressed by all the gold records on his walls. I was lucky to have him play guitar on my first EP in 1980. When we'd see each other later, we'd alway laugh about an incident that occurred on the way to the studio one day. I would work for him at the Trade Mart and sell his samples to all my GF's out of my house. We saw each other a lot in those early days and then drifted apart. We'd reconnect every now and then over lunch when we each had a major turn in our lives to share, his new house, his marriage, and of late when he left his business behind to play the Denver songs again in tribute traveling with world. He most recently played the Meyerson with the Symphony in April. He was a kind and very sweet man and a damn good guitar player. I loved him very much as a friend and think of him welcoming us by playing those Denver songs beyond those Pearly Gates. 

From Buck Morgan: A couple of years ago, a gentle and gracious guitar picker brought the 2nd Tuesday program to the Dallas Songwriters Assoc. Since that day, his name has come up again and again as someone we'd like to bring back. 
The picker, Steve Weisberg, lead guitarist for John Denver, was so friendly and encouraging that we asked him to judge our Best of Meeting Song Awards for DSA members. Steve agreed, but had to withdraw for health reasons. Cary Cooper gracefully stepped in for him. Then good news came that Steve's health had improved, and he went out on a final tour. 
With the death of someone special come mixed emotions. We feel sorry for ourselves, because we are going to miss Steve. But there are mysteries and questions about death that someday we will all confront. Death is part of the cycle, part of the journey, of life. Steve showed us how to live, to have courage and joy. 
From personal experience, I know that cancer can be kind, because it gives you and those who love you most a chance to say good bye. 
Good bye, Steve. You leave many smiles, and many, many tears. 

From DSA member Terry Bloss: Last year I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Steve Weisberg, the former guitarist and singer with John Denver. In the days that followed he gave me the honor of asking me if he could use some of the pictures I took of him that night. This morning I learned he has lost his battle with cancer. Another great musician and person lost too early.

From DSA friend Robert Harding: I met Steve Weisberg at Randy Tredway's house. I was there as Vicky Williams' guitarist. She was opening for Marina Rocksu at In The Music Room. When I arrived Vicky pulled me aside and said "Marina's guitarist is John Denver's old guitarist!" Well, you might imagine how that made me feel. We spoke very briefly. He told me he had made a career by playing in the background in a way that supported the hot-licks players. He wasn't being sarcastic. Rather, he was describing his place in a musical texture and I understood right away. 
But Steve was a hot-licks player himself. That evening he played Dobro. Vicky invited me to play a classical piece in her set. I played Villa-Lobos' First Prelude for Guitar. After the sets Steve shook my hand and said we sounded good. He seemed to be a kind man. He bought one of my CDs and I noticed him tearing off the wrapper just before he left. 
The experience has matured over time as I've re-listened to those early John Denver recording & TV performances. I'd grown up hearing this man's music. I am grateful to have meet him. Steve Weisburg passed away today.

Donna Duvall, Steve's ex-wife:
Heaven gained a great new lead player tonight. Steve passed away at about 8:15 Thursday night after an 18 month long battle with cancer. Words fail me right now…. 

From Steve Weisberg, April 13, on his Facebook page:
We must treat our body like the temple it truly is. So I work out religiously. As a matter of fact, I'll soon be at the Original Pancake House, working out on a 3-egg omelet and God knows what kind of delicious pancakes, with plenty of syrup. Followed by the most uncanny delicious cold brewed coffee I've ever tasted.

My body is a temple with an increasingly low center of gravity. 

Steve, telling a John Denver story: 

John Denver sings Steve's Christmas song:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Music Biz News

A thought-provoking article from The Hollywood ReporterWhy Music Producer Dr. Luke Sues People Who Claim He Copies Songs (Analysis)
The estate of the late Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley Enterprises, is suingArista and parent company RCA Records saying the star was exploited when he signed over rights for $2.8-Million in 1973.
In other Arista news, it looks as if Tony Braxton has scored a bankruptcy victory over royalites due to both Arista and her current labelAtlantic
And in still yet more legal action, Grammy Award winning singer Bruno Mars (whose real name is Peter Hernandez) has sued his publisher Bug Music, Inc. in Los Angeles Superior Court asking to be released from his contract saying that Bug Music did not exercise its option to continue the agreement
Singer T. Graham Brown examines contry radio, record labels, royalites and songwriting in an interesting interview
Former founding member of Destiny's Child Kelly Rowland has signed with the Collective for management and worldwide representation
Former Lost Highway VP A&R Kim Buie can now be reached at Thirty Tigers A&R and Artist Management in Nashville at 615-664-1167  - Management Client: Jessie Baylin
Two industry job-openings we've read about are Director of Sales atStones Throw Records (LA) and Copyright and Licensing Assistant at The Bicycle Music Company (LA)
A fascinating look into musical and cultural history is the report of the release of John Lennon's private letters and cards to be published in a new book by The Beatles biographer and author Hunter Davies
Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming Your Old Masters - an informative piece written by industry attorney Steve Gordon with assistance from Nari Roye (originally published for Digital Music News)
Ian Rogers has a brand new Weekly Music Industry TV show called This Week in Music.  His guests so far have been Mike D from The Beastie Boys, Nathan Hubbard-CEO of TicketmasterDermot McCormack-Ex VP MTVAndy Gould-Artist Manager & Rio Caraeff – VEVO.  Be sure to check out the featured interview with Ian Hogarth, Co-Founder and CEO of Songkick at 
How 2 Smart Artists Are Using Google+ Hangouts for Music Promotion
And another nod to Google+, The Ultimate Google+ Cheat Sheet - we found this really helpful so wanted to pass it along!
What are the odds of succeeding WITH a record deal? An interesting article by Blues musician Robin Davey
How Spotify's Casual Encounters Seduce Young U.S. Music Lovers

Thanks to The Music Business Registry for these timely articles.