Thursday, October 16, 2008

An update on the Crocodile Cafe soundboard recordings

The Stranger recently finally reported on a story I wrote about back in March concerning the archive of the soundboard recordings from the Crocodile Cafe getting donated to the University of Washington by soundman Jim Anderson. Check out their blog story here, Anderson chimes into the conversation and provides a little bit more information.

Not much has moved along in the project since I mentioned it seven months ago, Anderson says the official announcement that it's happening is coming soon. Apparently it's taken a long time to organize the files, which are on a series of hard drives, and their has been some discussion of how they will be hosted at the Undergraduate Library Media Center. For music fans anxiously awaiting this awesome resource, I think you have to cool your jets. It's possible this project could take a long time, possibly years, to get up and running. Funding something like this may prove hard as the state squeezes the University of Washington's budget, plus it's fifteen years of live recordings to organize, convert to a streaming format, and to serve to the public in a way that won't be ripe for bootlegging.

Let's hope the project gets rolling soon though! I know Nirvana fans especially are dying to hear the recordings of the band on stage, as well as the banter between band members and the crowd between songs and during set up that often isn't present on the crowd-recorded bootlegs of their shows. Anderson explains, "What makes this collection unique is that in archival recordings from other clubs, there’s not a whole lot of the between song banter. I did blanket recordings, and was able to capture everything... Bands and people talk about politics, sports, events, the environment, equipment issues, technology, and so on. There’s a lot of stuff that gives you the flavor of what people were thinking and talking about at that point in time."

Plus, the sound quality I've heard on the recordings Anderson gave to bands (he'd offer to burn a copy of the show for a band for a small fee) were excellent. The Nirvana live music in particular should be a lot better than bootleg recordings done from the crowd that most people have heard of Nirvana playing at the Crocodile Cafe.


Anonymous said...

I'm curious, what's the legal status of these recordings? Can they be put online or do they have to get permission from all of the bands before they can do anything with the records?

Dan 10Things said...

They won't be put online, it will be an archive people can listen to in person, much like a lot of material donated to libraries. I think the hardest part will be putting them in a format that's easily accessible to library visitors, but not easy to copy/download and bootleg (where there could be legal ramifications). I get a kazillion hits from live Nirvana discussion forums to the info I've written on this, so I'm sure there are plenty of folks around the globe hoping to be able to download the Nirvana stuff, but it won't be set up that way. It gives music fans one more reason to visit Seattle!

Anonymous said...

he should get them up on too, they have a massive live show database. Plus it is non-commercial so no-one makes money off of them.

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