Music

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch at the Big Top

I wrote this post on Wednesday morning, however I didn’t post it as I was in a rush to get to work and then once work was over I had to rush over to the Richie Sambora show. Then I spent Thursday morning writing up the Richie Sambora post and after posting that, I was off to work and then after work I was off to see Mrs Browns Boys at WIN Entertainment Centre. So here I am, three days after the event, back to this post.

I attended the Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold Sidewave on Tuesday, 25 February at the Big Top in Luna Park. It was my first time seeing them both live so I didn’t know what to expect.

Did I mention that Asking Alexandria opened up?

Yep, they opened up and regardless of how much Revolver Mag creams their pants over them and cross promotes them in corporate sponsorship deals, the bottom line is this; They still need a lot of work. I caught the last three songs of their set and it didn’t make me want to go out and buy them. The best releases the band has done are the cover songs.

I caught up with an old school friend at the show who came one out to watch Avenged Sevenfold. I asked him if he had heard any music from Five Finger Death Punch and he told me that he hasn’t. Half way through the set, he yelled in my ear that he will be downloading their collection when he gets home tonight.

So on to the mighty Five Finger Death Punch. They started with “Under and Over It”. A great selection for an opener and a surprise one. “Burn It Down” came next and to me, the song just didn’t really work in a live setting. “Hard to See” and the show was back on the road.

“Lift Me Up” actually lifted the Big Top. It was anthemic all the way and what a great live song it is. “The Ultimate Sin” vocal melody was sung word for word and the crowd chanted chorus drowned out the band.

“Burn MF” didn’t really do much for me on the recording, however as a live song and the way Ivan Moody gets the crowd involved in the chant, it works brilliantly. This song was the biggest surprise on the night.

Another big surprise was Chris Kael. He looks like a cross between Kerry King and Zakk Wylde and what a performer he is, backing up on clean tone vocals and deep guttural vocals. Definitely a great choice for the FFDP band.

“Coming Down” actually kept the energy levels up for a mid tempo song and the band finished off with “Never Enough” and “The Bleeding”. As a live band, Five Finger Death Punch nail it. It’s no wonder that when they hit a city, sales of their albums increase the next day.

One thing about Five Finger Death Punch that a lot of people don’t understand is that they are sort of like a supergroup of independent bands. Each musician in the band has paid their dues in other bands. Some of those bands had small record deals, some of them played on large tours and some of them just played the club scene. So when you see Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook and Chris Kael on stage, you are seeing a group of talented musicians who have over 50 years combined in the music business.

On a side note, it looks like Ivan Moody got into some trouble on his Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney due to being an intoxicated unruly passenger and assaulting a stewardess. With his past alcohol struggles well documented in his lyrics and interviews, the latest occurrence is just another chapter in this saga. As a fan of the band, let’s hope that the other band members don’t over-react to this, because Ivan Moody is the key ingredient as to why the band resonates and connects with the audience. Changing him will be the death of Five Finger Death Punch.

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch along with Machine Head, Protest The Hero and Shinedown are currently providing the music for the soundtrack of my life. It is the familiarity of the songs and the energy that familiarity brings that provides the connection. I have this drive home playlist that is littered with A7X and FFDP songs.

So up next was Avenged Sevenfold, with their Machine Head inspired curtain logo opening up to the “Shepherd Of Fire” stage set. Some people in the audience wore Machine Head tops and they were getting heckled for it. It was all in good taste and everyone was having a laugh about it.

It is safe to say that “Shepherd Of Fire” and “Hail To The King” are great live songs. The best of the night along with “Lift Me Up” from Five Finger Death Punch. So regardless of what people call those songs or from what bands A7X and Five Finger Death Punch borrowed from in creating them. They are undeniable in a live setting. And didn’t we resonate and connect with them.

As is the norm, “Shepherd of Fire” opened up the sing along. It’s all about roots. A great song to kick off a concert with a sing along chorus.

“Critical Acclaim” from the 2007 self-titled album followed. It’s a hard song to pull off in the live setting, especially when you are playing a song that has “The Rev” on vocals via a backing tape.

“Beast and the Harlot” from the “City of Evil” album came next. The “City of Evil” album was the one that resonated with me and it was the album that got me into Avenged Sevenfold. I loved that whole Dream Theater meets “A Night At The Opera” approach.

Then it was back to the sing along with “Hail To The King”. I was actually singing “Sign Of The Cross” from Maiden throughout it as a test. “Eternal Rest” from the “Waking The Fallen” album came next and it hasn’t been played live since 2009. Personally, I would have loved to hear “Second Heartbeat” instead.

Then it came to the Nightmare vs City Of Evil part of the set. “Buried Alive” from the “Nightmare” album kicked it off, followed by “Seize the Day” from the “City of Evil” album.

Then the song “Nightmare” was played, followed by “Burn It Down” from the “City of Evil” album. It was also the first time they have played “Burn It Down” live since 2008.

The songs from the “Nightmare” album worked really good in the live setting. It gave me a new appreciation for those songs, as I saw that album as a very confused album and missing some direction.

A little Guitar Solo by Synester Gates introduced “Afterlife” from the 2007 self-titled album , that has that unbelievable shred solo that Synester made it to look completely effortless.

The main set finished off with “Almost Easy” from the 2007 self-titled album.

The Encore kicked off with “Unholy Confessions” from the “Waking the Fallen” album and finished with The Rev masterpiece “A Little Piece of Heaven” from the 2007 self-titled album.

In the same way that all the great bands had a definitive guitar player, Synester Gates is up there from the current trend. He worked that fretboard all night, sweeping up and down it, tapping it, pulling off and hammering on fast legato style leads on it and then doing some machine gun picking on it. This was a TRUE guitar hero.

And memories came back of practicing in my room, honing and refining my skills, hoping that one day, I will get a band together and have people appreciate what I do. It was never about riches. It was about the art of creating and connecting. I look at my kids and if I mention the words “Guitar Hero”, they think of the game. They fail to realise the hard work that goes into the practice.

It was entertaining and I got my money’s worth.

Compared to the Richie Sambora concert, Richie wins hands down. Sambora didn’t play it safe, taking us into improvised jams and sing alongs. Metal bands are not renowned for doing that. They are too scared in case they lose the audience.

What are the chances of metal bands playing it safe? Metal music is known for its rebellion and you have two of the big metal bands today, playing it safe in a live setting.

On a bad note, the $32 parking was a dead set rip off, especially when other venue parking stations charge between $12 and $16 dollars.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Thank You Richie Sambora – The King Of Swing at the Enmore Theatre

The Richie Sambora concert at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney last night renewed my faith in live music. The previous night, I watched Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold. While that was a great concert, the songs got played more or less “note for note” as per the album recordings. Last night, Richie Sambora was “communicating musically”. The sheriff was back in town. With three different hand motions he led the band into jams, out of jams and into sing a longs.

Sambora engraved himself into our hearts. He stopped and he talked. Sometimes it felt like for ages. I haven’t seen a lot of people do that a rock show. They are scared. You get the usual, “Are You Having A Good Time” comment, however that is it. Sambora is a true pro. He was endearing himself, creating a bond. And what a show he delivered.

Burn the Candle Down

It’s written by Sambora and producer Luke Ebbin, who was also part of the band last night. This was anti-mainstream. Each note was played with feeling and since the venue was tiny compared to say ANZ Stadium, every note resonated. We could hear it and we could feel it.

Whether it be Richie “communicating musically” or Aaron Sterling pounding the drums or Luke Ebbin singing backups or Mike Farrell making us go to church or Orianthi holding down the fort or shredding, or the solidness of Robbie Harrison’s bass. We felt every note.

There were no special effects and no auto tune. It was just a rock and roll band. Based on last night’s performance, I can easily say one of the best rock bands today in that free spirited Jimi Hendrix Experience sense.

Every Road Leads Home to You

This song is a dead set classic and better than the whole “What About Now” album combined. From when I first heard it, the song resonated with me, so when you hear a song that you like live, your put your hands up in the air and sing along until the voice breaks. Because this is what we love to do.

Putting aside the Kings Of Leon style vocal phrasing, this is classic Richie Sambora, selling the song and the new album (which is over 15 months old) to the audience. The keyboard synths kick it off, however when the whole band joins in, it’s a pleasure to be there, watching it unfold.

And Richie is on song. Hitting the notes, keeping the train rolling and getting us to sing along with him.

Taking a Chance on the Wind

It felt like Richie was asking us if we will stand by him. The audience answered with a resounding YES.

If times taught me a lesson, it’s don’t dwell on the past
‘Cause the bad things fade and the good things..
The good things are built to last

Ain’t that the truth. I spent a lot of time dwelling on how I could have done things differently in the past. It is time that I can never get back again. You see when you consume yourself on the bad things, you fail to see the good things. And then it will be “Seven Years Gone”.

Again the Sheriff leads the band in and out of improvised jam sessions.

I’ll Be There for You

Richie begins it with a snippet of “Bridge over Troubled Water” from Simon and Garfunkel.

If you are a fan, you know the song as soon as it begins. That intro is definitive.

“I’ll Be There For You” was an unexpected Number 1 hit for Bon Jovi at the time. All of the focus was on “Born To Be My Baby” and “Bad Medicine” however it was “I’ll Be There For You” that stole the limelight.

Nowadays

Also from the new album. This song was unexpected and it went down brilliantly live. It’s got that punk rock vibe, but with a Phil Lynott style swagger in the lyrics.

Nowadays, trying to figure out who you want to be
Trying to tell your friends from your enemies
That’s the way it plays nowadays
Nowadays, trying to make some sense about the state of things,
Hoping better times are what tomorrow brings,
We’re just all insane, nowadays

That is why the song connects. Every day we are trying to find ourselves. Go on line and google self help books on finding yourself. Thousands of pages will appear.

You Don’t Wanna Know (Orianthi cover)

Swampy blues got a sexy make over with the Orianthi tune, “You Don’t Wanna Know”.

Richie teased the audience on this one with the double neck acoustic guitar. When the audience first saw it, we all got the impression that “Wanted” was going to be played.

Orianthi is a great talent, however her biggest success also proved her greatest Achilles heel.

“According To You” showed her to the world as “Avril Part 11” with some show off guitar licks chucked in.

It didn’t really show the real Orianthi.

Her best is still ahead of her. She doesn’t need a label and she doesn’t need to sell millions. She needs to be true to herself and “You Don’t Wanna Know” is Orianthi showing her true colours. It will be interesting to see what kind of music she creates with Richie.

Wanted Dead or Alive

The classics cannot be denied. These are the songs that bring us together. The funny thing is, “Wanted” never went to Number 1 like “Prayer”, however it was a hit and at a time it was so popular, I couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing it.

We got the real deal here, real musicians, infected by the spirit of rock and roll. Musicians who followed the call of music, despite being broke and no college degree to fall back on. They followed their dream and it came true.

We need to press the reset switch on life. We need more dreamers and less accountants. We need more dreamers and less lawyers. The dreamers clear the path and lead, while the accountants scheme and the lawyers bend the rules. I know who I would want to follow.

I remember back to December, when the current Bon Jovi band played it. It was a good rendition, however Richie’s version had that swing element to it, especially when he cranked into the solo break. He felt it, we felt it and we carried the song home with him.

Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)

I doubt Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, could do it any better. It’s all about musical roots, our ancestry. We all have roots. And as I read somewhere, the key is to never forget our roots. Listening to some of the music my favourites release today, it is easy to see how people can forget their roots when it comes to chasing dollars.

This is the song that had Richie saying afterwards “that the band are communicating musically on stage”. The band was playing the song like the audience wasn’t even there. Richie as the sheriff led the way as usual. It was like a jam session in a rehearsal studio. All of them looking at each other, waiting for cues from the Sheriff.

This is what makes a gig. When you hear the unexpected. It makes the night special.

Stranger in This Town

This the definition of a great song. When we sing the song by ourselves, with our own voice leading the way. Like the big Bon Jovi hits, “Stranger In This Town” is also in the same league. You don’t need no accompaniment.

On the album it sounds intimate. Last night, this song was like a freight train. It was powerful and mesmerizing. Sterling drove everybody forward with the shuffle. We all locked on, nodding our heads to the beat and in agreement.

Lay Your Hands on Me

Another number from Bon Jovi. The surprises. This song is one of my sons favourite Bon Jovi songs. They were disappointed when Bon Jovi didn’t play it live at ANZ Stadium in December.

However, Sambora didn’t disappoint. This is what the gig is all about. Hearing the unexpected. Even Richie didn’t know what song was coming up next as they have changed the set lists for each show.

The band was cruising on that crazy train, at a hundred kilometres per hour.

Seven Years Gone

The piano lines underpin the song, however it is the rock groove that comes after (which Richie made sure to tell the crowd that it was his favourite bit of the song) that propels it higher.

Being so close to the stage, I can hear every note. Every single instrument stands alone, breathing out and filling my senses.

When I watched Avenged Sevenfold the previous night, at the Big Top at Luna Park, some of the sections in the songs all bled into each other, creating a wall of noise. But last night, there was no noise. Just talented musicians, producing their own sounds and they all come together.

This song gave me goose bumps. It was intimate and magical.

Like the moth dances with the light
Sometimes a shadow that burns too bright
Shattered silence in the night
You wake up, move on

Livin’ on a Prayer

The funny thing about “Prayer” is that it means more to me now than it did back then. When you are in your teens you don’t appreciate the message, because the future was sold as clear skies and smooth sailing. In 2014, what a nice piece of propaganda that was. How wrong could our teachers be?

My Dad, he was a realist. He didn’t sugar coat anything. He told it how it was. I used to argue with him so much on these issues. When a stroke took his voice in January 2006, those arguments stopped. He is still alive today, but those wonderful days of communication from him are long gone.

In 2014, I have no savings. I live above my means. I have credit cards, a mortgage, a personal loan and no money in the bank. I am living on my pay, month by month. And I failed to follow my dad’s advice that he told me a few weeks before his stroke, “you can lose it all, your job, your house and your health.” It’s like he knew something was up.

This is the song that started it all. A great track that just couldn’t be denied. “Prayer” gave the Bon Jovi band traction in the charts and “Slippery When Wet” gave the band a career.

Don’t Change (INXS cover) (with Jon Farriss) and Richard Wilkins had a brief moment in the spotlight.

This was a historical moment. The start of the first encore and after “drumming tragic” Richard Wilkins had his shot, it was over to Tim Farriss to bring the song home. With INXS being in our headspace recently due to the mini-series and the recent interviews, it was a perfect match.

We all have influences. The greats always show their respect to someone else’s work and they make it their own. It’s all about roots. The lines on Sambora’s face are all about experience and life. It is that experience that molds and shapes us. It is that experience that influences us.

It’s My Life

When Bon Jovi played the song live at ANZ, it lacked the power. There was none of that tonight. Richie’s talk box is so definitive, it makes the song.

The best part of it was the extended jam in the middle that was just riff heavy, then the chorus was sung acapella before building up into the ending, with an improvised jam added in just for fun.

These Days

I rarely play this song. When the album came out in 1995, the lead single “This Aint A Love Song” just didn’t connect with me and it more or less turned me off the album, apart from “Hey God” and “These Days”.

Live, it was one of the highlights. The banter at the start with the piano playing the intro set the tone.

Purple Rain (Prince cover)

Hearing Purple Rain, I was reminded of Jon’s and Richie’s own attempt to write their own “Purple Rain”. In this case it is a demo called “Wedding Day”.

I’ve seen it done better. But Sambora still knocked it out of the park. I don’t think some of the youngsters in attendance knew this song. However the rest of us did. That’s the power of music and the power of a classic Prince tune, when music was his muse, instead of changing names and suing his fans for linking to bootlegs.

The song is basic, however that is why it works. Sambora is a professional, giving us not too much, just enough. With his hand signals to the rest of the band, he KNEW when it was enough.

The person behind me was screaming, “Rosie”. The person in front of me was screaming “Ballad Of Youth.” The person to the left of me was screaming for “You Can Only Get So Hight”. My boys started screaming for “You Give Love A Bad Name.” I guess that we all have to wait until the next time, because a great concert always leaves you wanting more.

My kids said they loved it, but they had to tell me that Richie Sambora was acting the way I act when I am drunk. I couldn’t stop laughing at their assessment. And what are the chances that he would play my kids favourite Bon Jovi song in “Lay Your Hands On Me”.

Coming out of the show, I just wished that every Bon Jovi fan that was at ANZ Stadium in December 2013 could have been at the Enmore last night to see and experience Richie Sambora live. Then people would finally understand, that music doesn’t need no backdrops, no dancing, no pyro. When it is done right, the sound, the emotion and the feel is enough.

Thank you to the KING OF SWING and the marvellous musicians he had in tow for renewing my faith in the live scene. Thank you for showing my kids what a live show should be. Not a perfect NOTE for NOTE forgery of the recording, but a real rock n roll show were the band communicates with each other musically and connects with the audience. It was the best $210 ($68 times 3) that I spent (compared to the $1000 ($250 times 4) that I spent on the Bon Jovi tickets).

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Jake E. Lee

A lot of people don’t know who Jake E Lee is. Do a survey and you will see. US sales for week ending February 5, 2014 had Red Dragon Cartel listed with 5,300 sold. Put those 5,300 people down as the hard-core fans. The niche. Now what. What is the next step for the album? It didn’t show up on any of the sales charts the following week.

In my view, sales of recorded music is not a true measure of success anyway. People still cling to it because they do not know how to do anything else. To use an example from the indie scene, Lorde was a streaming star before she became a sales star and the darling of the PR run mainstream media. Spotify broke Lorde.

I quickly previewed the new album on Spotify. I gave each song 1 minute, just to get a feel for it. Then I went back to Jake E Lee’s recording history just to re-visit what he has accomplished and get a feel for it. And then I went back to the Red Dragon Cartel album and gave it multiple listens.

It is a good listen, however there isn’t really a song on the Red Dragon Cartel album that can market the album. This is a problem in a world that only has time for the best. When Jake E Lee joined Ozzy, “Bark At The Moon” marketed the album, while “Shot In The Dark” marketed “The Ultimate Sin” album. When Badlands released their self titled debut, “High Wire” was the song that marketed the album, while “The Last Time” marketed “Voodoo Highway”.

“Bark At The Moon” was the first piece of music that fans of heavy metal heard from Ozzy Osbourne after the death of Randy Rhoads. And what an opening riff. The same riff that if you look at the albums credits is supposedly written by Ozzy Osbourne with one finger on the piano. The lyrics are written by Bob Daisley. Ozzy’s contribution is the title and the vocal melodies.

So it is fitting that the opening track “Decieved” from Red Dragon Cartel has a riff, very similar in style and structure. So it is fitting that the vocal melodies are styled from the Ozzy Osbourne vocal phrasing book. I have no issue with artists referencing the past.

“Shout It Out” sounds like it belongs on a Saliva album. Not that it’s a bad thing, it just wasn’t what I was expecting from Jake E Lee. “War Machine” sounded like a joke to me, however it does fall into the “progress is derivative” theme. The “War Pigs” intro then moves over into “N.I.B”

“Fall From The Sky” has a solo that is very reminiscent to the “You’re No Different” outro solo from Jake’s Ozzy’s days and “Redeem Me” captures the Badlands vibe.

Unfortunately, the Robin Zander (Feeder), Maria Brink (Big Mouth) and Paul DiAnno (Wasted) vocal songs just don’t resonate.

If there is a song to comes close to being “the song”, well that honour goes to “Slave”. It has the best of Jake E Lee. Metallic riffing, fast single note picking, tritone melodic infusions and it encompasses what Jake E Lee is all about. However, behind every great guitarist there needs to be a great singer. In this case, Jake has a decent singer and in today’s cut throat music, decent doesn’t cut it. We only have time for great. If the band decides to release more music, the decent voice needs to be great.

Regardless it is great to see Jake E Lee back in a band setting. Welcome back.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Entertainment Industries Innovation V4.0 – When Will “Smoke On The Water” enter the Public Domain?

As a fan of music and the public domain it’s hard to understand why longer copyright durations are requested from the Corporations that control/hold the majority of copyrights. The majority of the music that I like was under copyright when I was born and by the time I die, it will still be under copyright. So how is that benefiting the creator in creating more works (who will be long gone) and the public who are meant to build off previous works because that is how culture thrives.

Remember, copyright was designed to give the creator a monopoly on their works for a certain period of time so that the creator can monetize their work, which in turn provides an incentive to create further works.

So without really realising it, we (the public) have a copyright law that more or less lasts a lifetime.

Let’s use “Smoke On The Water” as an example. It was released in 1972. Copyright on the work is meant to last the lifetime of the songwriters plus 70 years. The male life expectancy is 80 years. The songwriters listed for “Smoke On The Water” are Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover and Jon Lord (RIP).

Let’s start with Jon Lord. Due to his death in 2012, his copyright in the song will expire in 2082. However the song will still remain under copyright due to the later deaths of the other members.

Let’s assume that all of the members live to the life expectancy age of 80 years old. That would mean Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover would have an end date of 2025. Add another 70 years to that and the copyright that they hold in the song would expire in 2095. However at this point in time the song is still under copyright.

Ian Paice is born in 1948, therefore his life expectancy end date would be 2028. Add another seventy years to that and the copyright monopoly held by the corporations on “Smoke On The Water” will finally expire in 2098, 126 years after the song was released. That is when, the public (provided that no more retroactive extensions are added) are allowed to use the song to build other works and derivative versions.

So the next time a copyright maximalist insists that copyright has an expiry date, tell them they are full of it. Copyright in reality has no expiry date during our life time. Remember in the US, the “Copyright Term Extension Act” extended the copyright of old works that should have been in the Public Domain to 2019.

And guess what the copyright corporations are gearing up for?

Yep, you guessed it. They are gearing up for another secret lobby/bribery effort to extend it. Using PIRACY as their weapon of choice, the lobby groups are pushing hard for the Government to step in and protect their business models.

Maybe they should focus on paying their artists accurately and properly. A story over at Hollywood Reporter, mentions about how Sony Music Entertainment is getting sued by the music company “Thursday by 19 Recordings” for royalties not paid, to the tune of $10 million. The interesting part of the case is how the record labels treat streaming payments.

The lawsuit is making the claim that streaming payments to the artists need to be classified as licensed works and not as sold works. The difference between royalty payments for licensed works and sold works is huge.

On what about this for a piece of innovation from the entertainment industries. Poor old LeaseWeb, the web hosting provider. One if it’s clients was Megaupload.com. As we all know, Megaupload was taken down in an Osama Bin Laden style raid in a classic example of overreach by the entertainment industries. The law enforcement bodies took action on this case based on evidence provided/lobbied by the Entertainment Industries namely the MPAA. Anyway, fast forward to 2014 and LeaseWeb is now being sued for allowing the hosting of websites that infringed on copyrights. While we are at it, let’s sue the car manufacturers for allowing us to infringe on the speed limits.

In Australia, the Attorney General, George Brandis wants the ISP’s to outlay money and carry the burden of protecting the business models of the entertainment industries. How about the entertainment industries releasing content on time and at a reasonable price. Graduated response schemes haven’t worked in France, the US and New Zealand, so let’s keep on pushing for them.

And to make this story even more interesting, the lobby group that is pushing for this three strikes rule has donated close to AU$4 million to the Liberal and Labor parties since 1998.

The Australian Screen Association (ASA), formerly known as the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) who is well-known for the triple knockdown they received from iiNet in the courts. So of course, since the 2012 ruling, ASA has lobbied the government hard for a graduated response scheme. ZDNet did a great piece on this around the donations.

Keeping with the Australia theme, I just finished reading a story over at News.com.au about how Foxtel (the ONLY Pay TV provider in Australia) is planning on taking on the people who pirate “Game of Thrones” with a new cut-price plan. Before we get into the new cut price plan, it’s important to set the scenario.

Foxtel holds the exclusive rights to the “Game of Thrones” season 4 run in Australia. This means that the only legal way to watch the fourth series of “Game Of Thrones” in Australia is to pay for a subscription. Nice innovation.

Obviously this is an unpopular choice. No one wants to take out an expensive Pay TV subscription just for a TV show that has a 10 week run. Foxtel has another package called Foxtel Play, which is pay TV over the internet.

So Foxtel is saying to people, hey, if you have a Foxtel Play account, which costs $25 a month for a package based on a genre and of course the movie genre/Showtime is not included in that package, however if you chuck in another $35 over three months, you can watch “Game Of Thrones” legally.

So in reality, that three month run is going to cost a fan of the show, $110 to watch Game of Thrones legally in Australia. That is $75 (from the $25 a month for a Foxtel Play package that will still continue after the shows run is over) plus the $35 for the Showtime channel.

Yep, that is typical innovation from the entertainment industries.

Or how about the comments from John Landgraf, CEO of FX Network and Rick Cotton, Senior Counsellor of IP protection at NBC Universal.

“The legal copy of a property that’s been placed online can then be pirated.”

Yep, much the same way a legal DVD and Blu-Ray can be copied. Much the same way a legal airing of the TV show can be copied. Much the same way a legal VHS cassette could be copied.

Yep, sounds like typical innovation from the entertainment industries to me. I also like the part how they are trumping up the stats that piracy websites make a whopping $4.4 million annually on ads. If that is the case, then why don’t the entertainment industries offer the same service as the piracy websites do and make that same money. That is one way to compete with free. The reason why they don’t do it, is that the licensing deals they have around the world is worth way more. A lot more.

The audience for entertainment products has changed. Napster changed everything. That happened almost 15 years ago. So why haven’t the entertainment industries given the audience what Napster did 15 years ago.

http://m.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/brandis-mooted-piracy-crackdown-riles-up-isps/story-e6frg90f-1226831754567

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/game-on-foxtel-takes-on-game-of-thrones-pirates-with-new-cutprice-plan/story-e6frfmyi-1226835839975

http://www.zdnet.com/au/lobby-pushing-for-australian-piracy-crackdown-donates-millions-7000026421/

http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/nbc-universal-fx-chiefs-call-for-increased-anti-piracy-measures-1201111186/

http://www.vcpost.com/articles/21728/20140219/digital-citizens-alliance-report-shows-piracy-websites-also-make-a-whopping-4-4m-annually-on-ads.htm

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The Rock Dream Was Never About The Money

Bob Daisley wrote that we are all going off the rails on a crazy train. And that train to the afterlife seems to be departing a lot these days.

People like Tommy Bolin, Paul Kossof, Steve Clark, Phil Lynott, Kevin DuBrow, Robin Crosby, Jani Lane, Brad Delp and Paul Gray never even made it to the station.

Along the way we lost Randy Rhoads in a plane accident, Dimebag Darrel in a tragedy, The Rev in a prescription accident, Ray Gillen to disease, Gary Moore to a heart attack, Jeff Hanneman to liver failure, Chuck Schuldiner to Giloma and Ronnie James Dio, Jon Lord, Phil Kennemore and Randy Castillo to cancer.

Criss Oliva, Marc Bolan, Steve Lee and Mitch Lucker all died in vehicle or motorbike accidents.

If our heroes are not taken young, they end up dying from illness and old age. So when the angel of death spreads its wings, even all the money in the world cannot buy more time. That is why it is important that musicians keep pushing the limits of what is acceptable while they are alive.

It used to be that way once upon a time, however then the record label CEO’s got rich and started to fly private, the musicians that made that happened wanted to be just like them. And that is the problem we have today in the music industry.

Everything that I thought was so important is more or less gone.

The rock dream doesn’t exist if you want to have a family. If you want to have a long term relationship, with kids to the same partner and still live your rock n roll dream, good luck. It aint going to happen. Sacrifices need to be made. And if you are unwilling to make the sacrifice, trust me, your partner will.

The days of rocking all night and partying every day are gone, replaced by social media/gaming/surfing all night and going to work every day. The sound of a stereo is now captured in expensive headphones.

The days of becoming the legends of the local scene first and then the world are gone. If a band/act is doing great in a city, the whole world will know about it.

It’s not a rockers world anymore. The new rockers are the technologists. They are the ones that everyone is listening too. Did you know that Jake E Lee has a new band called Red Dragon Cartel and that they just released a new album?

Once upon a time the guitar heroes mattered. They broke ground in songwriting, technique, sound and guitar making, inspiring us by demonstrating simplicity in complexity. They didn’t know from were they where coming. Now they think about where they are going to. Nothing is started unless an offer is on the table.

And that is what a lot of the new breed of young bands are taking on board, thinking that selling out to corporations in order to get rich is the means to a career. Even Nikki Sixx mentioned that if Motley Crue are to release new music, it will be via a sponsorship agreement with a corporation.

I remember when a record could bring about change. When “Shout At The Devil” broke, every band dressed up in leather and studs. When “Slippery When Wet” broke out, all the bands went to pop metal. When “Appetite For Destruction” broke out, bands moved to a more blues based sound. When Metallica broke out twice, bands moved to a faster dirtier sound and then moved to a big heavy groove orientated sound.

In 2013, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat had big releases. And to all those musicians who state that releasing new music is not worth it anymore, tell that to the three bands just mentioned. All of them are still selling today, months after their releases.

The rock dream was never about the money. It was about a lifestyle.

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

Lessons To Learn From Don Henley: How many hard rock and heavy metal bands are seeking to reclaim their recordings?

When it comes to music, I am still catching up. In the last few days, I have revisited Don Henley and Doobie Brothers.

As I was listening to Don Henley I started to jot down the songs that I liked. By the time I got to his 2009, “The Very Best of”, the list was almost identical to what was on the Best of album. After hearing the songs over and over again, I still don’t like “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”, “Sunset Grill”, “For My Wedding”, “Everything Is Different Now” and “Taking You Home”. They just don’t resonate.

Basically, Don Henley’s solo output to me as a casual fan of his music is a perfect example of some good songs and the rest as filler. I know that all the Don Henley fans will lynch me for saying it. But that is the truth to the casual fan.

From the first album, “I Can’t Stand Still” released in 1982, the standout songs to me are the title track “I Can’t Stand Still” and “Dirty Laundry”.

The themes in “Dirty Laundry” are still relevant today. Back in 1982, Henley displayed his disgust with the media and tabloid news. Today, people are airing their dirty laundry on Facebook, Twitter and other forums.

From the second album, “Building The Perfect Beast” released in 1984, the standout songs are “The Boys Of Summer”, “Not Enough Love In The World” and “Land Of The Living”.

What can I say, “The Boys Of Summer” was huge. It gave Don Henley a four-year victory lap (plus he served notice to Geffen Records that he will be reclaiming the recording of this song in 2019), because the third album, “The End Of The Innocence” didn’t come out until 1989. The standout songs are “The End Of The Innocence”, “New York Minute”, “The Last Worthless Evening” and the closer “The Heart Of The Matter”. The other songs don’t matter. It is these four songs that matter.

Bob Lefsetz said that to appreciate and to really get “The Heart Of The Matter” you need to have lived. You need to have played the game of love, lost and picked yourself up again. And he is right. While all of the kids make top 10 lists of what’s cool, classic songs like “The Heart Of The Matter” get lost.

“Actual Miles: Henley’s Greatest Hits” came in 1995. And I actually liked all of the three new songs. “The Garden of Allah”, “You Don’t Know Me At All”, and Henley’s cover of “Everybody Knows”.

“Inside Job” came in 2000. It was 11 years since his last solo album and on a different label. Geffen was gone and Warner Bros was in. This is the album that had better songs and since it was 11 years between solo albums, Henley had some time to perfect them.

My favourites are “Nobody Else In The World But You”, “Everything Is Different Now”, “Workin It”, “Goodbye To A River”, “Inside Job” and “My Thanksgiving.”

In between solo albums, Henley has been busy with the Eagles, Geffen contract issues, Copyright issues against Record Labels, termination rights on songs and the Eagles again.

That is why Don Henley is important. He knows his rights. While people criticise musicians who turn into business people, it was inevitable that musicians will end up taking the business path. The great record label rip off/exploitation caused it. It is just unfortunate that a lot of the musicians that didn’t achieve world-wide domination still don’t realise their rights on songs that they made famous. Not a lot of hard rock and heavy metal bands are serving notice to their record label to reclaim songs they had written 35 years ago.

While I don’t agree on everything Henley does, like sending a cease and desist letter to an independent band or trying to get a remix law taken off the radar, the bottom line is this, he is a musician that looks out for his own interests. And that is why we loved our heroes.

Remember the creed from the past.

Artists were always reinventing themselves and taking risks.

In relation to music, sometimes the audience went with it and other times they didn’t. Risk isn’t always negative. Positive outcomes can come from risk.

However it seems to be that a lot of artists are playing it safe. Don Henley on the other hand is still taking risks. Not so much musically, but politically.

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Music

Port Kembla

The Port Kembla Stack came down today. 200 metres of brick, steel and concrete.

I grew up in Port Kembla. My parents still live there. I attended the old Primary School, right underneath the Stack. Back then, we didn’t understand why we had to go indoors on certain days. As kids, we wanted to play outside during lunch time, however the teachers used to pull all the windows shut, turn the fans on inside the room and that was that.

It was only when I got older did I understand the implications of what the teachers did.

I also remember my dad putting in a claim for fallout damage to our house. The assessors came out and declined the claim. My father’s English wasn’t the best and the assessors exploited that weakness, so it was over to me to fight the good fight. All it took was one phone call, and one sentence;

“How can you deny my father’s claim for fallout damage, when you have approved the neighbours on the left of our house, on the right of our house, behind our house and across the street. Looks like the toxic cloud must have just missed our place”.

They put me on hold for about 5 minutes and then when they came back on the line, they replied approved.

“When a page turns, it turns fast.”

I saw that quote on a Bob Lefsetz post, that was attributed to Jerry Weintraub in the May issue of “Vanity Fair.” And finally that page has turned for Port Kembla. It took a while for the page to turn, but once it turned, it turned fast.

And with everything in my life, my thoughts turned to music and how songs about tearing down walls lead to new paths, new futures and new hope.

Let’s hope that the tearing down of the Port Kembla Stack is the start of a new path for my beautiful town.

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