Thursday, January 31, 2008

Only 1 hour to go!

There's just one hour before America's Giving Challenge ends so please hurry and make your donation!
Thanks for spreading the word and donating!

More Later,


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rocco's Rock n Roll Revue

It seems that more than a few of you might know one of our most valuable assets here at the Rock & Roll Library, my good friend MacDougall. (Pictured above with "Good Night Sweetheart" vocalist Pookie Hudson at the 2005 Doo Wop Hall of Fame inductions)

MacDougall taught US History and American Popular Culture at Newton North High School with his lovely wife and Math teacher Jo Ellen Hillyer for more than 35 years. He also produced Rocco’s Rock n Roll Revue, an annual 50’s Music Revue at Newton North for more than 25 years.

Years before I started the Rock & Roll Library, MacDougall was already pursuing our education mission on his own. He regularly referenced relevant songs in his classroom and taught students about the power of song. In a range of topics from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement his students learned that popular music could not only discuss important topics but that it could even affect change in our world.

Not to be limited by his classroom, MacDougall’s alter ego “Rocco” was born. Hundreds of students sang and danced their way through the annual Rocco show which gained Iconic stature in Newton, Massachusetts.

I met MacDougall through a mutual friend - Blue Suede Bopper, author and UMASS professor Reebee Garofalo. Reebee’s quite a character and music historian himself but when he introduced me to MacDougall I knew I was in for it.

MacDougall has been a Rock & Roll Library in-house historian, member of the Music Archive Advisory Board, Education Advisory Board, Song Lesson Contest review panel and general reference resource ever since.

I spoke with him earlier today and he was very excited to hear that so many friends, colleagues and former students were supporting our fundraising efforts. When you donate you have the option to dedicate your contribution to someone, many of you dedicated yours to MacDougall.

I also promised him that I’d let everyone know that his 2007 pick for Album of the Year is Bette LaVette’s The Scene of the Crime and that he’s also raving about Shelby Lynne’s new album, Just A Little Lovin' on Lost Highway Records that includes interpretations of nine Dusty Springfield songs.

If you'd like to reconnect with MacDougall email and I'll be happy to forward messages to him

For friends and fans of MacDougall I give you Rocco and the Celestials singing “1,000 Miles Away” from 1983

Thank you for your generous contributions.

We only have until 3PM tomorrow (Thursday) 1/31 to collect as many donations as possible.

If you haven’t already done so, please make your donation now!
More later,


MacDougall & Jo Ellen

Check back for a new post about MacDougall and Jo Ellen this afternoon.
Thanks for all the generous donations today!

Only 24 hours to please donate and share our work with your friends!

More later,


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Who's on first, What's on Second

So I had quite an interesting day talking with people all over the country trying to get air time for the Giving Challenge. We can still win but it will take a massive effort to get the word out and I thought that radio would be a great medium for immediate impact and that I could target several metropolitan areas across the country to help generate donors.

However, in radio, there is a heirarchy at each station it includes:Programming Directors, Music Directors, Marketing Directors, Show Producers, On Air Talent etc. However the heirarchy isn't always the same. One station may have a much beloved On-Air personality who has more power over content while at another station the Programming Director rules.

Unless you know a station's history it can be hard to know who to talk to. I suffered from this today. I spoke with Program Directors who said that individual show producers would have to make the decisions and I spoke with On Air talent that said that it would have to be ok'd by the Programming Director, I also spoke with Show Producers who said that the On Air talent has to decide for themselves if they want to talk about it. However, I shall persist so Programming Directors, Music Directors, Show Producers, On-Air talent be prepared for my call and please take it. (or if you can help, email me at

I just want you to talk about Rock & Roll Library on the air for a few minutes and tell listeners that we're a worthy public charity and that if they want to help preserve the history of music and access it free online they should donate $10 right now to help Rock & Roll Library win $50,000 on Thursday. Simple enough!

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Giving Challenge so far, it has been very nice to hear from everyone and receive all the Birthday well wishes. I also received a lot of positive feedback about January 28th being celebrated as the holiday "Music" or "Music Day" so clearly we should start a petition and get that going. Anyone know how to start an online petition? I don't think that I have that as a blog feature, but I'll look into it, I'm pretty sure that there are websites that host them for free.

My Founder's Day was quite good; Bruce Springsteen and Jerry Garcia were on the box. We danced and sang and acted silly. I got Jay-Z's American Gangster - look kids, an actual CD!

More Tomorrow,


Monday, January 28, 2008

Founder's Day, who knew?

We have some new feature stories up at announcing the blog and the Challenge Grant. Emails, news stories, press releases and blog entries equal a lot of writing; at this point the dog thinks that I’m physically attached to the keyboard.

I’ve also been working on a video promo that will go up on Youtube later today. Don't panic, I'll post it here too.

The Rock & Roll Library is usually closed on January 28 and all the interns and volunteers have the day off. They call it Founder’s Day, my mother called it my birthday but either way, this year I’ll be hard at work trying to generate interest in the Giving Challenge.

Yes, we are really closed on my birthday. I thought that it would be great to give someone a day off for this reason and I feel like I have to honor it if I want it to outlive me, so I close the library on January 28 and I take the day off.
I like the idea that in 100 years January 28th is a holiday maybe called Music that everyone has off, hangs out with friends and loved ones and play or listen to music and lets music enrich their lives. It's a holiday about the good things and wherever you are there are good things so make the best of it. Yes, I like how that sounds, who wouldn't? Your birthday is a holiday that reminds people to stop and live in the moment and enjoy themselves. "If you get confused just listen to the music play..."

In the event that in the future my birthday is not celebrated around the world as "Music" or "Music Day" I would still like the Rock & Roll Library to be closed and a concert should be held for all the staff and their guests, and some other guests, basically a big party. It should be awesome and we should be the envy of all.

To everyone who has donated so far, please accept my deepest gratitude. I am striking out beyond the boundaries of inner circles, friends, colleagues and Rock Library supporters to reach the masses.

Wish me luck as I pursue radio stations across the nation to help spread the word about our pursuit of $50,000 from America’s Giving Challenge. Maybe you’ll hear me on the air in your city.

If you’ve got a favorite radio station outside Boston send me a link to their website and I’ll send them our press release.

We only have 4 more days to get as many people as possible to donate. Please ask your friends, neighbors, mother and/or dog (if he has his own credit card & email address) to donate! It's only $10. Please donate by clicking the orange "Donate" button on the left.

More later,


Saturday, January 26, 2008


Tomorrow’s going to be a big day I can feel it.
More tomorrow,


Friday, January 25, 2008

Four in the morning, tapped out, yawning...

It's been a REALLY long day and it's got to end soon, but I didn't want to leave my regulars hanging so here's some incoherent drivel at 4 in the morning.

It's hard not having a publicist. I'm out there promoting this myself and it can be hard to make a donation request especially from teachers. We all know that teachers are overworked and underpaid and that is part of why we have an education department that creates helpful resources for educators and runs contests that reward them (both financially and spiritually). We like teachers a lot and we hope that they'll help us get a leg up so that we can continue and improve our work to integrate popular music and education.

As every charity fundraiser knows, you have to make the request; so I did, I made many request today and I plan to make even more requests tomorrow. We need to win this grant and we need people to know about our work and the Rock & Roll Library.

Enough with the requests for cash, for those of you in Boston I heard today that original FNX newsman Henry Santoro quit in the middle of his news update this morning. Now granted I didn't hear it because honestly, I'm not up at that hour, but Universal Hub blogged about it this afternoon (at 3:43PM so I doubt they were up either). It has now been suggested that it was a stunt but if it's not, it's a great loss for FNX and Boston radio. Henry has been a fixture at FNX since the beginning surviving countless talent replacements and he does a great job. It isn't easy being FNX in this radio market but they have created a niche and Henry has been integral in making it a solid radio station with some great events.

Henry has also been a friend to the Rock & Roll Library inviting me on air and helping me promote, the Music Archive, Song Lesson Contests and our local benefit concerts. I appreciate his support and I hope that things work out for the best for him.

Oh and Henry if you're reading this shoot me an email, I could use some help with America's Giving Challenge, we only have until 3PM on Thursday January 31 to get as many online donations as possible. Everyone please click the orange Donate button on the right if you can help. I have to take the dog out.

More tomorrow,


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Help RockLibrary win $50,000

I am very excited to announce that the Rock & Roll Library is participating in America’s Giving Challenge which will award $50,000 to eight charities that receive the highest number of unique donations before 3PM on January 31, 2008.

The Challenge is pretty simple: donations of $10 or more must be made through my charity badge located on the right side of this blog and a unique donor is defined by a unique email address and credit card or PayPal account (Visa, MC, AMEX and Discover are all accepted).

This is an extremely exciting opportunity for us as we are currently focusing on development and fundraising to help propel Rock Library to the next level of success.

The Rock & Roll Library is a 100% volunteer organization that I founded in 1999. Through tens of thousands of volunteer hours, additional donated services from a wide array of professionals and nearly 10,000 hours contributed by college interns, the Rock & Roll Library was built from the ground up.

We started in 1999 by building our first website, laying out plans for educational programs and mapping out the Music Archive. As we continued to grow we built the RRL Music Archive 1.0 in Cold Fusion (which I was assured was the most robust and scalable of database programs) with database consultants directing Computer Science undergrads and ultimately we began adding content.

With lightning advances in programming and data management our original Music Archive database became outdated and with an offer from established web/database developers we embarked on our most significant project: building an entirely new website and database in a different program, Microsoft Sequel Server and .NET.

Needless to say a project of this magnitude took up a good amount of time and because it was being done pro bono it took longer than we had anticipated. However we persevered and ultimately re-launched and the new RRL Music Archive and began adding content: people, bands, albums, songs, events, news stories, biographies, band histories etc.

Our next step is to create strategic partnerships that will serve the RRL and its visitors such as Click to Buy: Song, CD, Book, DVD, Ringtone, Ticket and Sheet Music by providing reputable retail vendor options to visitors and provide long term funding streams for the RRL. However I am committed to maintaining the integrity of which you may have noticed does not accept ANY advertising.

I was an early adopter believing that the Internet was the way of the future. Maybe it was because I saw its possibility or maybe because it served my needs. I always believed that I’d build a brick and mortar music library that would attract music fans from around the world to study the history of music, what I didn’t expect was the Internet to come along and make my music library available to the world from their own homes.

Please click the big orange "Donate" button on the right and make your contribution today and if you would, please tell one other person about my work.

More tomorrow…


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Where to start...

I refuse to have writer's block during my first blog entry but the writer's block doesn't seem to be cooperating...

I have some exciting news that I hope to announce here very soon about the Rock & Roll Library. If you're not familiar with Rock & Roll Library I encourage you to check out We're building a free online archive of music history along with some fun interactive features like This Day in Music History and Music Trivia.

Our goal is to include music from ALL genres and eras.

When we started adding to the Music Archive we started with some core rock acts complimented by some early influences, icons from other genres and a few of today's most popular artists. The archive still has a lot of growing to do but we continue to add artists, albums, songs, events, photos news and more on a regular basis. Eric Clapton is our current featured artist at and a great way to start exploring the Music Archive and see its potential for growth.

Beyond the Music Archive and features for music fans we also create educational programs that integrate popular music into all subjects; for example, if students are studying the American Civil War, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (written by Robbie Robertson and recorded by The Band) could be used to stir student's interest and raise interesting questions for discussion.

For example, the line: "Stoneman's Cavalry came and they tore up the tracks again" raises several questions for students:

Who's Stoneman? (George Stoneman was a Union cavalry general in the American Civil War and later Governor of California)
What's a cavalry? (military troops that fight on horseback)
Why did they tear up the railroad tracks? (destroying railroad tracks halted supply shipments across the south and made the war more difficult for the Confederacy)

This song can also be used in English classes to teach a wide range of topics including poetry, theme and narrative voice.

That's an overview of the Rock & Roll Library and I guess that it's as good a place as any to start this blog. I'll post more about our programs later.

Feel free to submit questions or comments and I'll try to be good about responding and definitely check back for blog updates as they'll be coming fast and frequently for the next few weeks.