Even three weeks after the horrors and carnage of September 11, 2001, the memories and images refuse to fade. Fortunately, in times of adversity, Americans are quick to rise into action. As hundreds of ordinary New Yorkers volunteered to help–whether passing tons of rubble through bucket brigades or converting nearby eateries into makeshift soup kitchens to feed emergency workers–the music community also jumped into action. Musicians have always been quick to reach out to support worthy causes, whether for events such as Live Aid or Farm Aid, or fundraising records like "We Are the World" or "Candle in the Wind."
The hugely successful "America: A Tribute to Heroes" telethon raised more than $150 million (plus more to come from CD sales) and was put together with less than a week's notice–a major accomplishment for an event coordinating multiple artists in London, New York and Los Angeles, and airing on 30 networks in 210 countries worldwide.
A week ago, producer Nile Rodgers and a variety of artists (ranging from Limp Bizkit and Orgy to the Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle and others) gathered at L.A.'s Record Plant to record a new version of "We Are Family," to benefit the American Red Cross and the NYC Firefighter's Relief Fund. And many more are planned, from another star-studded tribute headed by Michael Jackson, to countless local projects. In fact, Disc Makers has offered a 25% discount on manufacturing of discs where the profits are earmarked for charity relief stemming from the events of September 11. As with all noble efforts, the phrase "think globally, act locally" has never been more appropriate. Get involved. Do your part.
Of course, one way we can all help is by injecting normalcy into our daily routine. AES was correct in rescheduling–rather than canceling–this month's convention. Besides the financial devastation to the airline and financial industries from the terrorist attacks, the everyday tourist trade–hotels, restaurants, cabs, entertainment, etc.–in the Big Apple has also taken an enormous hit. By supporting an AES in the world's greatest city, we all benefit.
At the same time, we have to put everything in our lives into perspective. While billions around the world live in impoverished conditions and untold millions of children fall asleep every night accompanied by hunger’s lullaby, the arguments about analog vs. digital seem pretty meaningless.
I'd like to encourage Mix readers to read Stephen St.Croix's "The Fast Lane" this month. Over the years, in debating the virtues of cars, audio and technologies of every sort, Stephen has stirred the emotions of the entire pro audio community. This month's column has little to do with audio but much to do with life, and rarely have so few words said so much as what you'll find on page 16.
Perhaps too many of us–myself included–get too wrapped up in the intricacies of technology, when the simple act of listening to waves crash or watching the movement of white clouds against a blue summer sky offers a wonder that's infinitely more complex than any bank of ICs and ROMs could ever summon.
Get involved. Find your own perspectives. And let's make this the best AES ever.
See you there!
-- George Petersen