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View other events for the week of 5/27/2005
Date Friday May 27
Time 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Location Details
AK Press 674-A 23rd. St Oakland, CA
b/t MLK and San Pablo - near 19th St. BART and West Grand Exit of 80/980
For more info contact:
AK Press at 510.208.1700, or visit
All events at AK Press are wheelchair accessible.
Event Type Speaker
Organizer/AuthorAK Press
Friday, May 27th — 7 PM


At the AK Press Warehouse — the Oakland stop of his national tour

Callahan, a member of the music industry for over 30 years, will discuss his new book, which argues there is a crisis facing music. Positing that the signs are everywhere, from the saturation of public space by tuneful trivia to the digital downloading controversy. Quantity has replaced quality. The number of units sold is now the criteria by which music is judged and high-gloss, mass-produced, low-content music is everywhere. You can’t shop, eat, ride a bus or see a movie without hearing it as each day you are inundated with enticements to buy it. Like the replacement of essential nutriment by junk food, music lovers are expected to surrender their critical faculties and consume the phony McMusic that can be more effectively controlled and profitably sold than the genuine article.

Callahan unravels and elucidates the crises facing music as well as its liberatory potential. The Trouble with Music includes discussions of technology and its effects on music making and listening; superabundance and the absense of critical thought; the development of radio; music criticism; copyright; the digital domain and the internet; labor and music making; and the special relationships between words, dance, politics, and music. A large segment of the general public seeks a relationship to music, which turns an exceptional profit for those who own and control it. Callahan provides a means of evaluating music and a powerful critique of the music industry. Whether you whistle at work, sing in the shower or conduct concertos, Callahan and ,The Trouble with Music will challenge and enhance how you think about music.

MAT CALLAHAN has been involved in the music industry for over 30 years. He was the founder of the legendary San Francisco performance space / venue / recording studio / audio magazine Komotion, and founder / singer / songwriter / guitarist of Island recording artists The Looters, who in 1980, were instrumental in creating “world” music. He has worked as an engineer, manager and producer. He currently lives in Switzerland, where he works full-time as a producer, and continues to perform his own material as a solo artist. Callahan has just released a new CD on Broken Arrow records called “A Wild Bouquet”.

“Yes—let’s break the grip of Stars and Hits. Music could change the world. Read this book.”
—Pete Seeger

"The Trouble with Music isn't anything like most books about music. Those other books start by assuming that today's music world looked just the same yesterday and will be the same tomorrow. Mat Callahan understands that today's music world is a product of the past, struggling to bear the future. His story begins with reexamining what all music fundamentally shares, then sets about showing the ways in which those fundamentals have been distorted, all the while insisting we can free the music-and ourselves-to achieve a future worth celebrating. This isn't just a theory: Callahan, a working musician, crams his book with as much detail as opinion-and there's a LOT of ideas.

"Making music is a process as old as the human species,which means that if the music's in trouble because humanity as a whole is in trouble. The Trouble with Music speaks to those troubles and it maps a way out. It's invaluable." —Dave Marsh, Rock & Rap Confidential

“Author Mat Callahan swings a big stick at the inflated piñata that is the corporate music industry in his new book The Trouble With Music. He puts forth a theory that the music business has created a culture of anti-music (in the same way that McDonald’s would be anti-food), and as a result has removed it from music-making’s crucial community-based functions. Drawing on a wide variety of informational sources, Callahan’s argument is a cogent one that needs to be heard…” —Exclaim! Magazine

"If your most pressing concern with today's music is whether Justin Timerlake's acting career will detract from his pop sensibilities, go ahead and skip this book... 'cause you're part of the problem."
—Giant Magazine

"...a highly accessible, surprisingly optimistic essay that will change the way you think about music."
—Zink Magazine

“…This book will change the way you think about music forever. The world needs more thinkers like Mat Callahan..” —Slug Magazine

“Written by an intellectual with over thirty years of experience in the music field, this book chronicles exactly what is wrong with music today… If you have an interest in the direction pop music is going, this is a must read…” —Heartland Reviews

Added to the calendar on Thursday May 12th, 2005 3:32 PM

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