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Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and the Blizzard Of Ozz

To me, Randy Rhoads was a huge influence. My first introduction to Randy Rhoads was the “Tribute” album and the tablature book that came with it formed my bible for a long time.

He was just unique. Rhoads formed Quiet Riot when he was 16 years old however as good as Randy Rhoads was, the band couldn’t get a record deal in the U.S and they ended up releasing two albums (QR I and QR II) in Japan. Of course this incarnation of Quiet Riot was a totally different line up that sang “Cum On Feel The Noize” which in turn brought metal to the mainstream.

Most people know his musical legacy from the two landmark albums he made with Ozzy Osbourne.

While Quiet Riot focused on a more pop rock vibe, Rhoads was allowed free reign to draw on all his interests with Ozzy. It should be noted that Bob Daisley played a very important part in this project as well as the lyrical writer and musical contributor.

The two years he spent in Rainbow before joining the Blizzard of Ozz project put him in good stead to continue the style of music that Ritchie Blackmore was creating.

Listen to the style of music on the first three Rainbow albums and then listen to the first two Ozzy albums and you will hear that the styles are very similar. The song structures are very similar. The biggest difference is the LA flash of Randy Rhoads.

Randy Rhoads with Bob Daisley as his bass player and songwriter equals superstar.

Tragically, Rhoads died far too young in a plane crash on March 19, 1982 while on tour with Osbourne.

10
I Don’t Know
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

This riff would be the first thing that people heard who went and purchased the “Blizzard of Ozz” album without hearing a single note.

What an introduction riff it is. It is a simply ascending pedal point riff however it so effective because of Bob Daisley’s staccato bassline which he synchronized with Lee Kerslake’s bass drum. Back in the day it sounded so original.

This is Randy Rhoads announcing to the world that there is a new guitar hero in town.

This is what Bob Daisley said in an interview with the website Undercover (that was reposted on Blabbermouth).
“I got inspired for that when OZZY told me a story about BLACK SABBATH. Because they were considered to be an occult band and into all sorts of things, it was a reputation they had, people used to ask OZZY, “Tell my fortune” and I just wrote a simple song saying, “Don’t ask me, I don’t know. I’m just a singer”.

9
Suicide Solution
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

The whole intro riff is just full of attitude and defiance. And guess what, it is only three chords. If you are familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, you would have noticed the influence of the song “Force of Habit”.

While most of Rhoads earlier material with Quiet Riot was less adventurous, it did allow him to be a songwriter and a riff creator and he used derivative versions of his earlier riffs in his later work with the Blizzard Of Ozz band that was changed at the last minute to Ozzy Osbourne. This is one such song.

This is what Bob Daisley said in an interview with the website Undercover (that was reposted on Blabbermouth);

“I wrote that song about OZZY drinking himself into an early grave. He was pretty disturbed that he was thrown out of BLACK SABBATH and he described it as like going through a divorce. He was drinking heavily because of it and getting stoned and wasn’t very productive which is why he got thrown out of BLACK SABBATH in the first place. The word solution had a double meaning, meaning solution to a problem or liquid solution meaning booze. OZZY did come up with one line in that song “wine is fine, but whiskey’s quicker”.”

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website when the interviewer mentioned to Daisley that Ozzy has mentioned in interviews that Ozzy wrote the song about Bon Scott;

“That is bull5h!t. I knew Bon Scott and so did Ozzy and we did find out about Bon Scott’s death during the recording of that album but I wrote “Suicide Solution.” I wrote the freaking words so he can say all he likes about who I wrote it about but I wrote it about him killing himself with alcohol. It was a warning song. It is stupid to drink yourself into the ground. It is not a solution to a problem as it is really just hiding. Solution also has a double meaning in that it is a liquid like alcohol. I wrote about Ozzy just drinking too much at the time. We all liked to drink but he was really getting into it sometimes.”

8
You Looking At Me, Looking At You
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

This song doesn’t get the attention it deserves because it was left off the album. Plus it was written for an album that had so many other songs that are just great. However if this song appeared on any other bands album it would have been a hit as well.

The intro is Seventies Arena Melodic Rock. I can understand why the song didn’t get included on the album as it could have been deemed to poppy from the very metal sounding Blizzard album, however the riff is infectious.

Even in the pre chorus Randy Rhoads plays palm muted arpeggios (like Eddie Van Halen) and something that Vito Bratta employed on a constant basis. And that lead break just comes out of nowhere like another song within the same song composition. Again it reminds me of what Vito Bratta would end up doing.

This song shows what a band “Blizzard Of Ozz” was. Yes, that band had Randy Rhoads on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Lee Kerslake on drums and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.

An argument can be put forward as to why “No Bone Movies” made it on the album and not this song.

By the way, if anyone is familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, they would have noticed the rhythm guitar riff coming from a Quiet Riot song called “Kiss of Death”, that was only performed live, and the lead intro part is from the Quiet Riot song called “Trouble.” Also, the same structure can be heard on the song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” also from Quiet Riot.

7
Steal Away The Night
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

That intro is similar to the chorus riff in “Suicide Solution” at a higher tempo. Whereas in “Suicide Solution” it is a climbing motif, in “Steal Away The Night” it is a repeating motif.

There is also another nod to the Quiet Riot song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” in the riff that comes after the chorus.

Remember that progress is derivative and Randy Rhoads was very good at that technique. Sometimes he would take bits and pieces from a lot of different songs to form one cohesive riff.

6
Mr Crowley
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

The “was it polemically sent” part before the outro solo is just goose bumps stuff. The harmony guitar lines that interweave over a classical chord progression. The calm before the storm. From a lead guitarist point of view, Mr Crowley served as a showcase of the talent that is Randy Rhoads.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Ozzy already had the idea for that but he just had the title. He wanted to write it about Aleister Crowley who was into black magic and witchcraft and all that.”

And from the same interview, we find out how the organ riff came about;

“One of the auditions we had was a keyboard player who had an idea that went something like that. We got that idea and wrote that part for the beginning of “Mr. Crowley.”

When the interviewer asked if that person would sue, Daisley commented back to state that he thinks that they changed it enough to make it a derivative version.

5
Goodbye To Romance
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

This song connects from the very first note but it is that descending chorus riff that is pure gold.

Listening to the studio version of the song with its many layers and then hearing the way Randy composed his live performance is awe inspiring.

Though Rhoads was best known for the heavier side of his guitar playing, his ambition was to devote his time to classical music. “Dee” served as an example of his devotion to classical/flamenco music however it was songs like “Goodbye To Romance”, “Revelation Mother Earth” and “Diary of A Madman” that showcased how powerful classical music is in a heavy metal setting.

“Goodbye To Romance” was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.” The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath. On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy does mention that he was humming the vocal melody, and that Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. That part is true, as even Randy recounted the same story. However the way Ozzy recounts it makes it sound like that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process. It is a well-known fact that history is written by the powerful and the winners. That is what Sharon and Ozzy are trying to do. Rewrite history. Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics and assisted Ozzy with the melodies.

4
Crazy Train
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

After getting blown away by “I Don’t Know”, the ear drums were assaulted once again with “Crazy Train.”

The intro is a sing along riff and immediately identifiable. You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit and according to the chart makers it never was a hit.

The verse – Back in the Eighties, this was the first major key progression I heard that sounded heavy. It is perfect for the song, as the verses deal with hope so the major key is perfect and then the chorus deals with the world losing it over nuclear arms and by then it has switched to the minor mode.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song in a Bravewords interview;

“The thing that comes to mind is that Ozzy gets too much credit for it! Randy had the riff and chord structure, I wrote the chord structure for Randy to solo over. Ozzy came up with the vocal melody, and I wrote all the lyrics. Randy and I were both fans of trains and railways. We bought model trains and used to go to railway exhibitions together. Ozzy used to have a saying ‘you’re off the fucking rails’ and Randy had this effects pedal and it was making this sort of psychedelic chugging sound, like a train in his amp. And that’s when I came up with ‘Crazy Train’. With Ozzy’s saying, ‘I’m going off the rails on a crazy train’ came from. The lyrics were a statement of the world we live in or lived in as children, the cold war we lived through.”

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“What I am most proud of is “Crazy Train.” Randy came up with the riff and Ozzy came up with the vocal melody and I wrote the lyrics and the musical section that Randy soloed over in the middle. It has become a Rock N Roll anthem and I am really proud of that. When I was with Rainbow, one of my Rock N Roll ambitions was to write a hit single or to be involved in writing one with somebody else. In Rainbow, Ritchie and Ronnie wrote everything and they didn’t need anyone else. When Blizzard Of Oz happened it was great because I got to realize one of my ambitions.”

“Crazy Train” is really a peace song about how crazy it is that people are brainwashed and mind controlled by the powers that be over freaking stupid religion and stuff like that. That is why the opening lines, are “Crazy but that’s how it goes/Millions of people living as foes.” We have inherited all the BS from all of the cold wars and all of the crap. The young people inherited it and back then I was still young.”

3
Over The Mountain
From: ‘Diary of a Madman’ (1981)

As the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album kicked off with a pedal point riff, so did the “Diary Of A Madman” album. What a great drum intro by Lee Kerslake. A dead set classic. It has become a real trademark.

This song is the “progress is derivative” model in action. Did anyone pick up on the “Black Sabbath” riff used before the solo break?

The intro/verse riff is a musical mish mash of heavy seventies rock and decorated with Rhoads’ unusual voicing’s.

The bridge is very Rush sounding, which is simple power chords played over a shimmering and ringing of the open E and B strings.

The melody is pop all the way. It is infectious.

2
Revelation (Mother Earth)
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” is a song that needed to be written so that a masterpiece like “Diary Of A Madman” could exist. It is full of great riffs from Rhoads.

The intro/verse riff from 0.00 to 1.24 is just timeless. Hearing this song today and it doesn’t sound dated at all.

Then 03.03 to 3.21 just before the acoustic interlude.

Then from the 5 minute mark to the end is just brilliant. It is a merge of heavy riffing and classical / baroque influenced lead break that twists and turns into each other.

On the “Tribute” live album, the tempo is increased, further increasing the status of the song to legendary.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Some of the words came from the book of Revelations in the bible. I had been in the rehearsal room and I had been playing a song by John Lennon called “Mother.” Ozzy came in when we were doing the backing and he went “Mother” just like the John Lennon song. We started calling it ‘Mother Earth.’ I wrote that about the dangers of us destroying our own planet.”

1
Diary Of A Madman
From: ‘Diary of a Madman’ (1981)

This is progressive metal before the term became associated with bands like Fates Warning, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. The song was a giant leap forward in composition and technicality. It is dominated by Randy Rhoads from when the first note starts and the last note ends.

The song is a cacophony of dark dissonant chord voicing’s, unusual time signatures, serene acoustic driven interludes, heavy groove orientated rock and metal riffs and dissonant atonal passages, all combined with an eerie dark, mysterious mix. It is experimental music and it broke through to the masses. It has all of the elements that made Rhoads’ playing special.

The whole song is like a Randy Rhoads master class. Stand out sections is the whole intro section up to the first verse, and the heavy distorted riff before the dissonant solo break.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“I really wrote that one about myself. When I was 16 I had my first nervous breakdown and it really fucked me up. I was a sensitive kid and I have always been a sensitive person. I suppose you have to be sensitive being in the arts. I wrote the words about myself. Quite often we have problems and we are our own worst enemies and that is why “Enemies fill up the pages one by one in the diary. Are they me?” I am my own worst enemy.”

Bob Daisley also mentioned the following in relation to the composition of the “Diary Of A Madman” album pm the same Classic Rock Revisited website.

“We just worked five days a week, all day. Randy had riffs that he was working on. For Diary Of A Madman it was Lee, Randy and myself. A lot of times Ozzy wasn’t there as he either had hangovers or he was off to see his family. Lee came up with several of the vocal melodies for that album. I know he came up with the vocal melody for “Flying High Again.” He used to have a microphone at the side of his drums and he would sing while we put the songs together. The other thing was that Randy had the rough idea for the song “Diary Of A Madman” and I came up with title. I wrote all of the lyrics as well on the album. Ozzy would come and go from rehearsals. One day he came in and we played him “Diary Of A Madm an” and because it had funny timing he couldn’t get his head around. He said, “Who the fuck do you think I am? Frank Zappa!” We said, “You sing in this part but you don’t sing here. This timing goes like this ect.” He started to like it when he got his head around but at first he was like, “This is not for me.”

There you have it, my top ten Randy Rhoads riffs with Ozzy.

http://www.bravewords.com/features/1000971

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/bob-daisley-would-the-real-ozzy-osbourne-please-stand-up/

http://www.classicrockrevisited.com/Bob%20Daisley%20Interview.htm

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Music

Cry For Freedom

White Lion had the balls to tackle the subject of apartheid when all the other bands in 1989 didn’t. That was a long time ago. 1989. The Hard Rock, Glam Rock, Blues Rock, Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal movements where all riding high, at the peak of their mainstream successes.

It is unfortunate that the Eighties degenerated into a state of generic and clichéd derivative lyrical themes and subjects involving sex, partying and drugs.

When bands branched away from that, it was very hit and miss.

White Lion fell into that crowd of misses as the label “Atlantic” would still push the pop metal or pop rock edge of the band. The tours and marketing had White Lion sandwiched amongst bands like Motley Crue, Skid Row, Kiss, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Blue Murder and Badlands.

Of course, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Kiss, Alice Copper all had big wins in 1989. Whitesnake released a great album however it didn’t get traction. Call it karma for David Coverdale killing off the promotion on the John Sykes, Blue Murder album.

Actually, Blue Murder and Badlands released timeless and serious albums that in 2013 are seen as cult albums.

Music culture was built by artists taking a stand on a subject. The history of rock and metal is littered with bands that made big statements.

It’s the guitar sound. The way it swells and hallucinates with each shifting chord change. You cant help but be drawn in.

“The fire is burning
We lay our weapons down to rest
This war ain’t over
‘Till all the people will be free”

Growing up in democracy it was hard to fathom how people could be suppressed and denied rights for such a long time. South Africa was never in the news in Australia. It was like a decision was made from the powers that be that South Africa will not be reported at all costs.

Despite the song having a thread of hope, there is still desperation and the idea that freedom was still far away.

“So stand up and cry for freedom
And keep the dream alive”

“Cry For Freedom” is the kind of track that can be played when any uprising to oppression happens. It could have been played during the Arab Spring, the fall of the Berlin Wall or the Syrian Civil War. It never loses its power.

“Our brothers in prison
But no crime was ever done
I call it racism
Ashamed i face my fellow man”

“The children are taken away
And families destroyed
And millions have died from starvation
We can’t go on this way”

And the way it ends, it just makes you want to play it all over again.

Credit Michael Wagener, who produced it and still captured a sound that was rock enough to satisfy the rock community. In the end it makes the track connected to the rest of the album.

The “Cry For Freedom” video has 730,603 views on the 80s Classic Metal channel.

White Lion really tried hard to depart from the rock clichés however the public at that time didn’t want to be reminded about the world. All we wanted back then was to let our hair down and escape from the working week.

Vito Bratta mentioned in his 2007 Eddie Trunk interview that the songs from “Big Game” didn’t really work in a live setting, especially in a rowdy hard rock setting.

It was a concert at the Wembley Arena on Wednesday 01 November 1989 that decided the fate of the album and the rest of the tour.

Mötley Crüe where the headliners with White Lion and Skid Row supporting.

Sandwiched between a wild and energetic Skid Row and a newly sober but still dangerous Motley Crüe, White Lion didn’t have a chance.

Skid Row sang about belonging (“Youth Gone Wild”), sex (“Big Guns”, “Sweet Little Sister”, “Rattlesnake Shake”), street violence (“Piece Of Me”, “18 & Life”) and relationships (“Can’t Stand The Heartache”, “I Remember You”).

White Lion sang about Greenpeace (“Little Fighter”), broken homes (“Broken Home”), organized religion (“If My Mind Is Evil”) apartheid (“Cry For Freedom”), broken romances (“Wait”), sex (“Dirty Woman”, “Hungry”), life on the road (“Radar Love”, “Goin Home Tonight”), a mystic healer (“Lady Of The Valley) and the state of the world (“When The Children Cry”).

All important subjects however the majority of the rock crowd didn’t want to hear heavy themes in 1989 from a rock band. Those kind of heavy themes were coming from thrash metal bands. With the death of Nelson Mandela, this song is back in my life.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

The Best Metal and Rock Top 10 for 2013

Well the year is almost over and it is time to look back at the albums that connected and hit the mark for 2013. Anyone who has been a constant visitor to this blog will notice that I have spoken about these albums in previous posts in more detail.

1. Protest The Hero – Volition

Disclaimer; I was one of those fans that contributed to this album, so the competition for the best album of 2013 wasn’t even close. Protest The Hero wins hands down. They delivered an album for the fans. It has everything that a condensed progressive technical metal album should have. Plus it has Chris Adler on drums. In 2011, “Scurrilous” was number seven on my list.

If you want the detailed breakdown, here it is;

This album also shows how the mainstream media is out of touch. Despite all the hype around Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Korn and Black Sabbath, the biggest release of the year belongs to Protest The Hero.

And deservedly so.

They connected with their audience via Indiegogo. They have cut through all the internet noise without the need of major label. In the age of information overload, Protest The Hero relied on their audience and their music to get their message through.

2. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King

Call this album what you will, however no one can take away the fact that it is a damn good listen. Having those nods to the past and building on those influences is what music is all about. In twenty years time, this album will be revered and copied, because that is how music is made.

3. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1

Part 1 is a killer classic metal album with arena melodic rock chorus. Watch You Bleed, Lift Me Up, The Wrong Side Of Heaven, Anywhere But Here are all rock sing a longs.

4. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent

Jesse Leach is back and man can he write a catchy chorus. Each song goes through so many vocal emotions, it’s one heck of a roller coaster. The Times Of Grace project brought Jesse back into the metal world. “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” was one great album and it was in my top 10 list for that year.

In 2009, I also had the self titled Killswitch Engage album at number five in my top 10 list.

5. TesserAcT – Altered State

This band is really branching out from the Djent constraints by embracing atmospheric style song writing. The math metal is still there and the vocals bring it all home. I have always said, TesseracT will be seen as the new Pink Floyd by a whole new generation. In 2011, TesseracT came in ninth position with the album “One”. I was pleasently surprised to see this one pop in Robb Flynn’s top 10 list.

6. Trivium – Vengeance Falls

Trivium have always had the balls to make decisions. Working with Dave Draiman is one of them. Seriously i cant see an issue with how the vocal melodies are phrased or delivered by Heafy. I really like this album. The music is top-notch and the songs are of high quality. In 2011, Trivium came in tenth position with the album “In Waves”.

7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension

Another band that is employing data to connect with fans. They have been on the road since January and released two slabs of music within 3 months. This album doesn’t have Domino The Destitute, but it has Sentry The Defiant plus others.

8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2

A Day In My Life. Man that chorus just hooks me in. Put to the side the cliché rhyming from Moody and just focus on the musical melodies and you will be hooked as well. It’s been played on repeat on my iPhone on my way to work and on my way home.

“American Capitalist” was fifth in my 2011 list and “War Is The Answer” was 2nd in 2009, just behind “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” from Dream Theater.

9. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies

I was a fan of this band before they broke through in the U.S. It was the “Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil” album from 2007 that made me a fan. I was really looking forward to this release and the band didn’t disappoint. It has all of their trademarks with a dash of country and hillbilly thrown into the mix.

10. Alter Bridge – Fortress

Mark Tremonti is one hell of a guitar player and most importantly a hell of a songwriter. Teaming up with Myles Kennedy has been a godsend. Alter Bridge get better with each album and they rarely fail to disappoint.

Notable Mentions

Audrey Horne – Youngblood

If you don’t know this band, you should. I swear every genre of music and time period associated with music is heard on this album. Give this band the attention they deserve. Their whole catalogue is on Spotify so there is no excuse to not check them out. Any band that is from Norway and with a black metal post deserves to be heard in a hard rock context.

Mutiny Within – Synchronicity

The only thing holding this band back is what their definition of success is and Chris Clancy. He is so hung up on fighting for the old system and how it used to be, he is failing to see opportunities in front of him.

Hearts And Hands – My Own Machine

A great pop metal or pop rock album. Hearts and Hands started off as a side project for Chelsea Grin vocalist Alex Koehler. However since he departed after their 2012 self titled EP, the band has undergone a significant transformation and their sound has shifted away from breakdowns and screams to effected guitars, acoustics and great songs.

Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost

A hundred times better than the new Korn album. They even sound like Korn on some of the songs. Brian Head Welch is a star and this album proves it.

Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut

Progressive Rock and a voice that sounds very similar to Phil Collins. Plus any album that has a concept attached to it, always gets my attention. Its plot follows an alienated, unnamed human who is tired of humanity and embraces his fate as a traveler of dimensions, time and galaxies. Throughout the story, the dimensionaut constructs his escape from reality, realizing new experiences and encountering love in the process.

Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band

If this band had the same attention as Avenged Sevenfold, critics would come out and comment how each song sounds like a rip off from every successful glam rock and blues rock album made in the Eighties. Music is derivative and Faith Circus deliver. It is a great listen from start to finish. Another band from Norway that deserves your attention.

Final Notable Mentions

Due to my kids overdosing on the music I placed on their iPods certain classic rock albums have come back into my life.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Kiss – Lick It Up
Kiss – Asylum
Kiss – Destroyer
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
Europe – The Final Countdown

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Have Digital Will Travel

Megadeth is in the news sections of the metal and rock websites a fair bit. It could be interviews, reviews of live performances, commentary about the album Super Collider, critical analysis on the current album versus the earlier stuff, reactions to comments made by Dave Mustaine and anything else that happens in the world of Megadeth which is a big one when you take into account the amount of musicians that have been involved with the band.

Regardless of what people think about Dave Mustaine or Megadeth, they can never take away the historical fact that Megadeth were early web pioneers.

Does anyone remember their old “Megadeth, Arizona” site that was launched in 1994 and then re-designed and re-launched for the “Cryptic Writings” release two years later. Apart from the normal pieces of information, it was also a place for fans to check in, hang out and interact with the band along with other fans. Something that social media has built on and improved.

Which leads us to today and how customers/fans now demand full access 24/7 and at a low price. We all live in a digital world and that means our lifestyles are all digital. We listen to music on our smartphones. We buy concert tickets online. We interact with acts via social media. Our mobile devices are no longer accessories. They are the first things we reach for when we wake up and the last things we touch before we go to bed.

So is the music business catering for this need.

YouTube is. We can all access songs on YouTube for free. Some are of high quality and others are not. The majority of the services when it comes to music are all pay models. To have Spotify on your mobile means that you need to have a paid subscription however Spotify has just announced that they are also moving to mobile ad-based subscription.

Fans need to have ZERO rules as to how they consume their music… It’s a brave new world! That is why three new players are set to enter the market in 2014.

It’s a swarm mentality. Once people see people gravitating to a certain act or platform others will follow. Marketing in the traditional sense cannot achieve this. Since fans are connected 24/7, if they are unhappy with the act they normally like even for just 2 minutes, expect a tweet or a Facebook post to hit the internet. If a lot of negative tweets happen, expect the swarm to fly in.

If a lot of them get out, it could lead to brand damage. Look at Queensryche. How far have they fallen especially when Queensrcyhe were also an early adopter of technology. They had the Ryche online boards and the whole Promised Land album came with a CD Rom adventure game.

If an act does not have delighted customers/fans then they have no market. The way that acts delight customers is by making sure every interaction leaves the customer happier than they were before. Bands that neglect to get to know their customers will discover they have customers who are sensitive to nothing but price.

Back in 1989, people paid $27 for a CD and everyone knew that the artist was getting $1 of that price to split amongst 4 to 5 individuals. However, for some reason that was okay back then and now artists are complaining about how unfair the payout is. Spotify pays 70% to rights holders. So if the rights holder is not paying you a decent cut, then you need to negotiate a better contract.

Remember fans have zero rules when it comes to consuming music.

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Influenced, Music

Dream Theater need to record new music ASAP & Is Mike Portnoy being written out of Dream Theater Lore?

So I gave the DT album another spin today. Favourite tracks are still…

The Bigger Picture – By far the best song on the album (both music and vocal melodies). It’s got a few Coldplay moments in addition with a few nods to Dream Theater’s past. Petrucci talked about encapsulating the past. This song does that. Isn’t it funny what some restraint can do

Illumination Theory – This would have been the best song on the album if it didn’t have that ridiculous Jordan Rudess sound effect interlude between 7.21 and 11.05. What a waste of space and time? However the movement that comes afterwards makes up for it. All I can say, is that we have a waste of space in “The Count of Tuscany” and we have the same in “Illumination Theory”. Let’s not have it again.

The next three songs have brilliant music, however the vocal melodies just don’t have the WOW factor.

Behind the Veil, The Looking Glass and Surrender To Reason.

For some reason “The Enemy Inside” doesn’t grab me. Listening to it today, it just reminds me of “Bridges In The Sky.”

Definitely have no connection to “False Awakening Suite”, “Enigma Machine” (which is a shame as the intro is heavy and evil and it deserved to be fleshed out better) and “Along For The Ride”.

So I went back to the “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” album. Still a big fan of the songs that became my favourites after the first listen.

Songs like “On The Backs Of Angels”, “Outcry” and “Breaking All Illusions” stand up with the best that Dream Theater has written. It’s safe to add to that list “The Bigger Picture” and “Illumination Theory”.

I still believe that Dream Theater needs to go back into the studio and record a few more songs to promote the upcoming tour. Do something that the fans don’t expect?

Also is it just me or is Mike Portnoy’s lyrical influence being written out of Dream Theater lore?

Look at the songs that make up the Live at Luna Park DVD. How many of them have lyrics written by Mike Portnoy?

If you said three out of thirty-six songs, you are right.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Does a band have customers or fans? Read on metal heads and find out.

A customer is a person who purchases goods or services from another. A fan is an ardent admirer of a pop star, film actor, football team, etc.

So how can a band turn fans into satisfied customers that keep on coming back, again and again?

You ask any artist what kind of fan/customer they want and I guarantee you they will say statements like the following;
Fans who are loyal
Fans who spread the word
Fans who spend money on record music, concerts and merchandise
Fans who spend money on concert tickets
Fans who spend money on merchandise
Fans who interact with the band

So if artists want fans then the artists need to do more than just satisfying them. They need to bring the WOW factor to everything they do.

A lot of artists and their representatives come up with loads of dazzling ideas and packages however they are still rooted in the old record label business models.

For example;

Dream Theater has been pushing the same Super Deluxe packages since “Black Clouds and Silver Linings”. The packages have more or less been in the same format, same items and for the same price.

Avenged Sevenfold did a similar package for the “Hail To The King” album.

Five Finger Death Punch didn’t.

Trivium had album and merchandise specials happening.

Coheed and Cambria focused on the Deluxe packages.

Protest The Hero focused on their Indiegogo campaigners and the perks involved with that campaign.

What would have happened if the bands “under promised and over delivered”?

Imagine the service Roadrunner and Dream Theater would have done by giving the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe packages, a site to download the mp3’s when they found out the album leaked on the internet.

Protest The Hero did exactly that. As soon as the band found out about the leak on torrent sites, they went into action. I guess it helps to know who your fans are and to have that data handy.

Customer satisfaction is artists delivering on promises, like releasing a product when they say they are going to release it. Cough Cough, Live at Luna Park DVD.

Artists are doing exactly as they said they would and fans/customers are satisfied.

Imagine if the customers get something more than they expect, like more options, early delivery, a special download site when the album leaks, additional perks attached to the orders, access to demo’s or ideas that didn’t get developed further – I would expect the artist to end up with a very loyal and more than satisfied customer base, that can propel them into the next level of success.

It’s a simply idea. When we get a service that we don’t expect, rather than a service that we do expect the payoff can be enormous.

However under promising is not just about throwing in extras and doing things faster.

If the album is being released on Thursday 13 December, make the mp3 download available a week earlier to the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe package. “Great news, we wanted you to have the music as soon as possible. Click on the below link to download an mp3 rip of the album. No extra charge.”

It’s simple, all bands need to do is change their promise and watch satisfied customers become devoted customers. What do you think Lady Gaga and Kate Perry where doing with their “leaks” and then bringing the album release date forward. They were employing the under promise over deliver business model.

Every artist needs to be looking at making their fans become customers.

“Our audience are fans first and customers second. We really try not to annoy them.”
The above quote is from Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich Director of New Media, Media Rights & IT.

A soccer/football club is no different to a band or an artist. The devotion is there.

“You have to think about what the consumers want and tailor the experience to their unique interests. And the experience is also very different depending on the platform the consumer is using.”
The above quote is from Ken Fuchs, Head of Entertainment, Sports and Games at Yahoo!

This is how the record labels tailor the experience.

PRODUCT A is coming out on DATE XXXX.
IT COSTS $$$$.
PRE-ORDER it now at iTunes, Best Buy, Amazon.

Wow, what an experience for the fan.

Imagine if the above experience was tweaked.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in three weeks’ time.
GO to YOUTUBE now and watch a recording of BAND A performing the songs live in the studio. That same recording is available to be downloaded as an AVI file and an MP3 rip via BitTorrent.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in two weeks’ time.
Go to YOUTUBE now and watch the latest video clip.

MP3 downloads are available for the Super Deluxe Package orders RIGHT NOW. That’s right, this is 2 weeks before the actual release date.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in two weeks’ time.
We have a special MP3 deal from our website. For $5 you get an mp3 rip of the album, regardless of your geographical location. This is a two week sale before the official release date.

One week before the release date, the album is available for STREAMING at YouTube, Spotify, iTunes Radio and Pandora.

The sad thing is no band with major label backing would do the above because for some insane reason they still believe that the charts matter.

DREAM THEATER LIVE AT LUNA PARK DVD IS #1. THE NEW DVD FROM THE GRAMMY-NOMINATED BAND IS CURRENTLY ATOP THE SOUNDSCAN DVD CHART.

See what I mean.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

What Can Lorde and Spotify Teach The Metal World? Plus The Ones That Control The Talent Will Win In The Long Run

Record labels were dependent upon record sales and when the profit margins from recorded sales shifted from high margin returns to low margin returns, they screamed piracy. To them the only way they could remain in business was to have laws passed that protected their gatekeeper based business models.

However technology and innovation is always moving forward, so while the record labels are lobbying hard for new laws, at the same time they were being pulled into the future, kicking and screaming all the way.

Spotify to me is just a legal version of Napster, that has arrived in most markets. However before Spotify was even allowed to operate in certain markets, they needed to make licensing deals with the relevant record labels and publishing groups.

Spotify came into the market with the idea that they need to compete with free. And compete they did. The service even started to break artists to the masses, something that the record labels are clueless to do in current times.

Look at Lorde.
Her song “Royals” was added to Spotify on March 19th. It did nothing.

On April 2nd the song was added to the popular Hipster International Playlist by Napster founder Sean Parker. Isn’t it amazing what a little help can do and this was achieved without any dollars going into marketing. This was purely a stakeholder of Spotify, liking a song and sharing that song with the masses.

What’s that word again? Sharing.

On April 8th “Royals” appeared on the Spotify Viral Chart. What does this mean? It means that people have started to share it.

In relation to metal, I have posted previously how Dream Theater is doing it all wrong with their album release, putting money into marketing and believing that the old school scorched earth policy would bring results. It doesn’t. Sharing is what brings results. Fans sharing your music. Hey didn’t Napster do just this. Didn’t Napster allow fans to share music.

On June 10th “Royals” started to appear on radio. Remember when radio was cutting edge and used to be hip. This is proof that radio is a format that is dead and buried. This is proof that radio is always late to the party. This is proof that radio is clueless. This is proof that radio only plays what the record labels pay them to play.

So if you are an artist and your idea is to get your song onto radio, forget it. It is pointless. It does nothing for your career today.

Go on Dream Theater’s Facebook page and they are telling fans to contact their radio stations, so that “The Enemy Within” can be added to the playlist.

To use a quote from Flying High;
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am and don’t call me Shirley.”

On July 9th “Royals” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 – three months after debuting on the Spotify Viral Chart.
See how important sales are. By July 9th, Lorde was already a super mega star. It didn’t matter if she finally made enough physical sales to enter the Billboard Hot 100. She was already a success.

This is another lesson that the metal and rock world fail to learn. They still focus on the sales in the first week and the chart position. This is so old school and not a great measuring tool of reach or success, especially for new acts starting out.

But the metal world is still clueless. This is what we get from the bands, their PR companies and the various news outlets that report on metal and rock. Here are a few examples.

Loudwire: Dream Theater’s new DVD ‘Live At Luna Park’ recently entered at No 1 on the Soundscan music DVD chart.

Loudwire: Volume 2 of Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven; lands at No. 2 on Billboard 200.

Blabbermouth: “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” sold 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart.

See what I mean. They are still reporting on the old system. What those websites are saying is that the first week of sales is a measure of success, which I totally disagree with. If that was the case, then the first Five Finger Death Punch album was a dud, after first week sales.

August 6 – Lorde plays her first US gig in NYC.

Slow and steady wins the race. You play where there is demand. Humanity wins out in the end. Those that can play, perform live and write their own songs will win. It’s a return to the song writer. Expect a back lash against the over processed songs written by a committee.

Forget about acts that focus on big screens and pyro technics. The people are looking for human performances. It is an escape from our increasingly digital world.

“Royals” is the most shared track in the US by a new artist this year. This is what matters. The track is SHARED. It means the fans are spreading the word, getting more people to invest time and money into you.

Spotify has finally released some information as to how they pay and it sure makes an interesting read. I have posted previously about the greed of the record labels and how that greed will ultimately kill the streaming star.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Spotify pays 70% of their revenues to rights holders. The rights holders in 90% of the cases are the record labels and publishers. The same people who lobbied hard to extend copyright terms and are lobbying hard again for longer copyright terms.

So in 2013 so far, Spotify has paid out $500 million dollars to rights holders in royalties. That’s right $500 million. When Spotify pays royalties to a rights holder they provide all the information needed to attribute royalties to each of their artists. Check out the post, it sure makes interesting reading.

http://www.spotifyartists.com/spotify-explained/

So it got me thinking about business models. It looks like to me that the new record label business model of today is to ensure that they have the talent. The one with the most talent wins.

The Record Labels are the only ones putting money out there and the rule of thumb is that if you want to dominate in the music business in the future, you have got to spend. So if record labels are spending, the talent ends up on a label.

That talent brings to the record label the following;

Any songs that BAND A writes will end up with the record label for the life of the artist plus 70 years after their death (the U.K has 90 years). So if the artist is say 30 years of age when they write HIT A, then the copyright of that song will be owned by the record label for 120 years (assuming the artist lives to 80 years of age). Talk about securing their future. Now multiply BAND A or ARTIST A by all the millions of artists who are getting into deals where they sign away their copyrights.

SECURE the most talent and be a winner in the long run.

Has anyone noticed the large push from Frontiers Records in signing up talent past and present? Has anyone noticed how they are getting the Eighties legends to re-record their classics by creating modern forgeries and in the process handing over the copyrights to Frontiers? Has anyone noticed how they are getting all of these artists together for special one-off projects like Michael Sweet from Stryper and George Lynch?

Since managers and other entities are afraid to spend on artist, the ones that do so will win. If a label is not spending money, then they are not in the game. If they are not in the game, then they do not control any talent.

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