Cause: Making sure performers, songwriters and record labels get paid when their music is played on the radio. Legislation to that effect is needed, advocates like the Recording Academy say, to make sure artists are fairly compensated — meaning, they can actually make a living at music instead of having to wait tables for all eternity between gigs.
Celeb: Guitarist Saul Hudson, better known as the top hat-wearing, boa constrictor-draped Slash, from Guns N’ Roses. For his day of lobbying on Capitol Hill, the rocker traded his signature chapeau for a lower-key stocking cap (is this his version of business casual?), and there was no sign of a reptile. Still, he was in no danger of blending in, sporting aviator shades, shredded jeans and a flannel shirt unbuttoned to mid-chest.
Scene: Imagine the exact opposite of rock-and-roll and you might come up with something like a reception room in the Cannon House Office Building. The Recording Academy’s holiday reception for lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon followed Slash’s one-on-one meetings with lawmakers. Under an ornate chandelier, House members and staffers in stuffy suits sipped soft drinks and chatted about tax cuts while Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer posed for pix. Chance of a mosh pit breaking out: less than zero.
Sound bite: “It makes it hard for me to tell kids to pursue a career in music — it’s almost like lying to them to encourage them,” Slash told partygoers, referring to the difficulty that today’s artists have making money in the business. “I’ve got a 15-year-old who is a musician and he’s awesome, so I encourage him, but it’s hard for me to tell him there’s a future for him where he can make it as a songwriter and as a performer.”