"Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A CAPPELLA Glo

Got something to say?

Do you think Mickey Rapkin does a good job of portraying the a cappella world in his book, "Pitch Perfect"?

Yes
15
56%
No
12
44%
 
Total votes : 27

"Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A CAPPELLA Glo

Postby brianpatrick » Sat May 31, 2008 9:10 am

This is my first post to RARB!!! I'm a long-time fanboy of a cappella music (specifically collegiate a cappella). I always look forward to new albums, new compilations, and every new episode of Acappella U. So when I received my copy of "Pitch Perfect" (Mickey Rapkin's new book) in the mail Thursday afternoon, I tore through it pretty quickly.

Anyway, I must say (with sincere thanks to Mickey) that I LOVED the book and all the insights it provided into the wonderful world of collegiate a cappella (and the a cappella world beyond educational institutions). It was a good, fun read, and highly informative.

I'm eager to hear other opinions and thoughts on the book, or any of its specific contents...especially having read so many RARB postings from people that are prominently mentioned or featured in the pages of "Pitch Perfect". Let's hear what you all think!!!

---Brian---
brianpatrick
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 8:55 am
Location: Encino, CA

Postby Ed Boyer » Sat May 31, 2008 12:28 pm

For me, reading the book was very surreal and totally unnerving. I had no idea how much I'd be discussed (if at all), how I'd be portrayed, how my friends would be portrayed, etc.

Because this is RARB, I'll say that it's similar to anticipating a RARB review, but with two things that make it way more intense.

1) Instead of your album being discussed, its your life....your job, your friends, your family, your groups, your professional peers, your mannerisms, your physique, your proud moments, your not-so-proud moments.

2) Instead of being presented as opinion, it's presented as fact.

Does it suck to give hours of your time to help someone with his book only to be mocked in several instances? Yes. Does it suck to see quotes taken out of context and little facts manipulated to make for better reading? Absolutely.

But, just like with an album review, you can't take the stuff personally. The writer is doing his/her job. And when you agree to let someone write about you, you have to expect to read some things you won't be thrilled about.

That said, for every awkward or upsetting moment, there were ones of pride (seeing your group's accomplishments documented in a public forum) and of giddiness (reading anecdotes I already knew but certainly never dreamed would ever be published)

At the end of the day, the question is "was it worth it?" For me, I'm still too flustered to make a clear call on that.

-Ed
Ed Boyer
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Ridgefield, CT

Opinion versus fact

Postby dgooding » Sat May 31, 2008 12:46 pm

Ed Boyer wrote:
2) Instead of being presented as opinion, it's presented as fact.

Does it suck to give hours of your time to help someone with his book only to be mocked in several instances? Yes. Does it suck to see quotes taken out of context and little facts manipulated to make for better reading? Absolutely.

But, just like with an album review, you can't take the stuff personally. The writer is doing his/her job. And when you agree to let someone write about you, you have to expect to read some things you won't be thrilled about.

That said, for every awkward or upsetting moment, there were ones of pride (seeing your group's accomplishments documented in a public forum) and of giddiness (reading anecdotes I already knew but certainly never dreamed would ever be published)

At the end of the day, the question is "was it worth it?" For me, I'm still too flustered to make a clear call on that.

-Ed


I haven't read the whole book - just got it this afternoon, and jumped to the chapters I thought might talk about me. Shit. Don Gooding, the confrontational, manipulative venture capitalist. At least, that's how it feels like I was portrayed. I'll post again after I've read the whole thing.

For sure, this puts a fire in my belly to write the REAL story of the evolution of (college) a cappella. I'm sure it won't be as entertaining, but hopefully at least 10X as educational, and balanced.

Grrr...

For those of you who haven't read it, I'm referring to Chapter Twelve, which has three section headings: "Don Gooding versus John Neal," "Don Gooding versus Mike Mendyke," and "Don Gooding versus Adam Farb."

Then again, it could be worse - I could be Jonathan Minkoff. Slammed!

Don "Versus" Gooding
Executive Director
AC100 - The A Cappella Centennial Celebration
dgooding
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:24 am
Location: Mount Desert, ME USA

Postby davecharliebrown » Sat May 31, 2008 2:10 pm

WOW. Now I'm even more excited to get my copy of this thing. Lots of rumors and history I've heard over the past few years, finally spewed in a very public way. It'll be interesting to see how the personalities in the book match up with the people I know personally.

*palms sweating in anticipation*
--Dave Brown

Image

now: Mouth Off host | ICCA & CARA Judge

then: CASA president, CASAcademy director, CASA Bd of Directors | BYU Vocal Point | Noteworthy co-foun
davecharliebrown
 
Posts: 855
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:39 pm
Location: Salt Lake City

Postby billhare » Sat May 31, 2008 10:25 pm

Yeah, I'm with Ed, this is kind of surreal - not only reading about yourself, but backstories of things happening around you that you were not aware of (kind of like a "meanwhile..." about your life!)

I haven't read it in great detail yet, but it looks like my mommy can still be proud of me after she reads it at least! I think I'm one of the lucky ones, though...

I didn't know what to expect, but I didn't expect it to be so surreal - meaning the experience of actually reading it. Man, if this DOES come out as a movie, we're REALLY going to be freaked!

Dave Brown wrote:It'll be interesting to see how the personalities in the book match up with the people I know personally.


Heh, YOU'RE in the book too, so you'll get the personality test as well!

-B

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

billhare
 
Posts: 2002
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 11:14 am
Location: Silicon Valley, CA

Postby dekesharon » Sat May 31, 2008 11:37 pm

I'm in Europe for another week+, so I'm gonna be late to the game w/ my take.

However, I have already heard the book teases me for perhaps bestowing the title "the father of contemporary a cappella" upon myself.

To which I respond:

Really? Well then... Who's the mother? And is she hot?

I must have been drinking...

:)
Last edited by dekesharon on Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

dekesharon
 
Posts: 1585
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 8:01 am
Location: San Francisco

Postby borski » Sat May 31, 2008 11:59 pm

I've been reading it and I've torn through the first few chapters. It's written well, is humorous, and is filling me in on all this history I never knew.

Admittedly, that's easy for me to say as I'm not in it.

For the record, I'm taking it all with a grain of salt, because it is written, after all, to sell books. Same as with Bringing Down The House and the MIT Blackjack team; much of it wasn't true, but it sold a lot of books. What're you gonna do?

As a great band once said, "Let it be." Ha, sorry, just saw Across the Universe. Y'all should watch it if you haven't yet.
borski
 
Posts: 241
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA

Postby Mickey Rapkin » Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:08 am

I am responding because I feel Ed Boyer has used some dangerous language in his post. I take my work very seriously, and I stand by the truth in the reporting of "Pitch Perfect" and the context in which the quotes and facts are used.
Mickey Rapkin
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 8:40 am
Location: New York, NY

Dangerous language

Postby dgooding » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:02 am

Mickey Rapkin wrote:I am responding because I feel Ed Boyer has used some dangerous language in his post. I take my work very seriously, and I stand by the truth in the reporting of "Pitch Perfect" and the context in which the quotes and facts are used.


p. 180-181
Don had, in time, become a partner at Accel. But he was burning out on the venture capital game. "Venture capital is about manipulating people," Don says (and, in light of his a cappella dealings, what comes next will strike some as ironic). "It took many years and a bruised ego to realize I wasn't good at this. I'm really an entrepreneur at heart."

So, Mickey, you insinuate that I manipulated people in a cappella - by implication, John Neal, Mike Mendyke and Adam Farb. How is this not "dangerous language?"

Those that know me understand that I am not a manipulator of people. In fact, my perennial optimism in people has led me to be manipulated - by John Neal, first and foremost. I was angry when the "divorce" happened, and much of that was anger at myself for letting myself be manipulated by him.

This quote you included from John Neal is classic self-aggrandizing: "I'd spend a year training a business manager to do his job," Neal says, "and then they'd graduate." John is a legend in his own mind... "training a business manager to do his job." Really? But you leave that unchallenged. And then he rationalizes not paying groups - "you didn't send an invoice." What your superficial reporting didn't pick up is that there are many, many artists who get slow payed by John Neal, a pattern that has stayed consistent for over a decade. I recently spoke to Phil Mattson, a real legend in the vocal jazz world. To paraphrase Phil, he now charges Primarily 1.5% interest a month for late paying, and he STILL doesn't get paid on time. "He's such an asshole" - that's a direct quote from Phil.

Finally in the book, John Neal pulls his "money is not important to me" routine: "Don Gooding is a businessman," he says. "Me, as long as the lights are still on and I can pay my employees and I've got my house, I'm not concerned with what the bottom line is." Mickey, you've been manipulated once again! First, John Neal has made more money on a cappella than I ever will. (I'm in too deep a hole to ever imagine getting out). He was pulling in about $40,000 a year on the Harmony Sweepstakes when I was a part owner... and he DIDN'T PAY TAXES on it. That was one of my big problems with him - I was partner with a guy who didn't declare significant income in a business I was party to (the fact that he's a Brit with a green card only makes it worse). He also didn't pay royalties to The Harry Fox Agency on Harmony Sweepstakes CDs. He ignored written contracts if he didn't like the terms. Many Harmony Sweepstakes champions have been manipulated and lied to by him (e.g., Idea of North) over money issues. He verbally abused female employees, and there are other things about his trips to the Phillippines that I'll leave to inquiring minds. His work ethic? He'd wake up at noon and be stoned by 6:00 pm.

So you missed the real story here, Mickey, and you've slandered me. I'm not claiming to be a genius, or a great businessman, or a saint - but one thing I'm not is a manipulator of people.

As for Adam Farb, you don't have anything about the fact that he was clinically depressed, and disappeared for about six months without collecting about $8,000 in revenue from events in 1999 that we were supposed to be profit sharing on... thus breaching our contract. Nor do you mention that the ICCA was only profitable once Amanda Grish took over. But you do say:

To make matters worse, he watched as Don did nothing to improve the NCCAs. "I thought he had plans," Farb says. "But I just think he didn't know what to do with the thing."

Only much later, in another chapter, do you recognize that maybe Adam Farb had pissed off a lot of college a cappella groups. So investing money in the people necessary to produce a professional event (six regional producers plus a national producer instead of Adam and an assistant) doesn't count as "knowing what to do with the thing?" Cleaning up after Adam's mess doesn't count as "plans?"

Mickey, so far I find your reporting and analysis to be superficial and shallow - although it makes for a much better story the way you tell it. "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."

And don't expect those who have received the blunt end of your words to take them without a challenge.

Don "Versus" Gooding
dgooding
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:24 am
Location: Mount Desert, ME USA

Postby H.F. » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:25 am

I too can attest to quotes in the book that were perhaps "accidentally" changed. One in particular refers to the Hullabahoos, when the actual quote was in reference to the Bubs. Completely harmless, and it doesn't bother me at all really, but it was rather obviously manipulated to make the story better at that point in the book.

That said, there are some very juicy quotes in there that it is about time the whole world (or at least our whole world) heard. And they're "true". For some other stuff - well you clearly didn't dig quite deep enough to get "the whole truth"...but I don't know that it matters all THAT much, except perhaps in Don's case?

I think the book will ultimately be great for us, Mickey. It's just a small slice of our "scene", an appetizer if you will, but it's a fun read and mostly on target. And hey, it's press! Bottom line though, it's kind of foolish for you to beat the bushes so hard to drum up interest among the people you wrote about, and then expect for there not to be some ruffled feathers when some of what you printed was incomplete/inaccurate. I mean, this sort of thing happens all the time with stories that are made into books/movies, etc., right?
Last edited by H.F. on Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
H.F.
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 7:42 am

Postby brianhaverkate » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:32 am

And it begins....

I've had a busy weekend and haven't even gotten out of the "divisi" chapter yet, which I've found amusing with some laugh out loud moments scattered about.

Good thing Don is writing his own book. It's always good to have both sides of the story.

As Bill likes to say a lot, "Is this person right, or that person right? Probably both and neither." This book is "right" through Mickey's eyes and since his name is on the book, we'll have to take the facts from his point of view. But our community being as little as it is, I can certainly see why some folks may want to set the record straight.
brianhaverkate
RARB
RARB
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2003 7:56 am
Location: Detroit, Michigan

Postby H.F. » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:47 am

BTW, the book is currently ranked #100 out of new arrivals at Amazon and #269 in total sales at B&N. No idea what that translates to, overall numbers-wise, but at least a few n00bs are learning about the scene for the first time.
H.F.
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 7:42 am

Postby Ed Boyer » Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:22 am

Just to be clear, I'm not questioning Mickey's integrity as a writer. I'm only attempting to convey the initial reaction of one subject.

At least for the parts of the book I'm involved with, he's certainly well within the margin of error when it comes to factual accuracy. Which is impressive, considering how many details are laid out in the book.

The thing is, when you were there, when it's talking about YOU, even the tiniest little distortion can ruffle your feathers, whether it's something that's been tweaked to make for a better story or it's simply an honest misunderstanding.

One thing's for sure: it really puts into perspective the lives of people who are actually and constantly in the public eye.

-Ed
Ed Boyer
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:55 pm
Location: Ridgefield, CT

Postby phollens » Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:42 am

I think we should be getting ours Monday in the mail after we dock in Florida. I'm pretty stoked to read it. I heard the first words in the book are actually my wife's name. Kinda neat.
www.PeterHollens.com
http://www.youtube.com/peterhollens
"No one can arrive from being talented alone. God gives talent; work transforms talent into genius."
phollens
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:09 am
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Postby davecharliebrown » Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:56 am

Ooh, it's getting juicy already.
billhare wrote:
Dave Brown wrote:It'll be interesting to see how the personalities in the book match up with the people I know personally.


Heh, YOU'RE in the book too, so you'll get the personality test as well!

What? Oh geez.
--Dave Brown

Image

now: Mouth Off host | ICCA & CARA Judge

then: CASA president, CASAcademy director, CASA Bd of Directors | BYU Vocal Point | Noteworthy co-foun
davecharliebrown
 
Posts: 855
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 2:39 pm
Location: Salt Lake City

Next

Return to General Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron