Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dr Feelgood

Dr Feelgood had to be number 1. It was a million dollar blockbuster and the mythology around Motley Crue by 1989 supported and underpinned this blockbuster movie. The drug overdoses, the return from death, the crashed cars, the women, the drugs, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.

You see when I was young, Dee Snider was the leader who told us to not take the crap of institutions. But it was Motley Crue that told me to smoke in the boy’s room. It was the Crue that told me to take my fists and break down the walls. It was the Crue that told me to shout at the devil and at the time “the devil” was the teachers and institutions that wanted to control me.

I would argue black and blue that “Dr Feelgood” was the greatest album ever recorded. But the truth is it was one of the better records from 1989.

It is their first album with Bob Rock, who Nikki found via Ian Astbury from “The Cult”. Remember that music is a relationship business. That is how we are meant to roll. It was recorded in Canada at Little Mountain Studios at the same time that Aerosmith was recording “Pump”. Both of the biggest party bands had committed to a healthy lifestyle, going on jogs together.

Every fan of the band could relate to “Kick Start My Heart”. Hell, every fan of music could relate to that song, and when you add the true story of Nikki’s heroin overdose to it, the mythology behind the song just keeps on growing and you get a timeless classic. A blockbuster of a song.

And Nikki Sixx has a great knack for doing tongue in cheek break up songs.

“Same Ol Situation” is about losing your girl to another girl. What a classic twist.

“Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away” is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a Nikki Sixx composition where the Chorus acts as the crescendo. Hell, the Chorus doesn’t even come in until the 2 minute mark.

Then you have the usual “Sticky Sweet”, “She Goes Down”, “Slice Of Your Pie” and “Rattlesnake Shake”. We all know what the message is that the Crue wanted to put out on those songs. But what about all of the progress is derivative influences.

“Sticky Sweet” has a main riff that is reminiscent to “The Wanton Song” by Led Zeppelin. “Rattlesnake Shake” makes a nod to “Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo” from Rick Derringer in the verses and “Funk #49” from The James Gang in the Chorus. While “Slice Of Your Pie” has a big nod to “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” from The Beatles.

“Without You” was written about Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear’s relationship from the point of view that Tommy Lee could not live without Heather. Well, I guess that song know has a different view-point and a real tacky clip to boot.

“Time For Change” is the Crue attempting to address social norms. Listen and you will hear the melody from Mott The Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes” near the end of Mick Mars solo.

But the piece de resistance is “Dr Feelgood”. Musically, it is a Mick Mars composition, that he had completely mapped out on his own. He had to take the song to the band a few times before they started to pay attention to it and it was the song that started the ball rolling with Bob Rock, after the band sent him a demo.

Sonically, its heavy and pleasing on the ear drums. Hell, there is a lot of guitar happening throughout the album. And what about the groove. When you add lyrics that deal with a drug boss called Dr Feelgood, you more or less have the basis to create a comic book character from the song lyrics. Descriptive all the way down to the type of car with primed flames.

Can you imagine Vince Neil singing for a whole day and only having one line of a lyric that was deemed usable. Yep, that was the standard set by Bob Rock. Of course a million dollar budget didn’t hurt. And didn’t they come a long way from the seven days recording session for “Too Fast For Love”. Yep, album number five left no loose ends.

“Dr Feelgood” set a new standard for hard rock and a lot of the bands like Dokken, Great White, Firehouse, Poison, Ratt and so many others just didn’t take that next step. And of course, shortly after the album was released, Metallica went to Bob Rock and said that they want their own “Dr Feelgood”. We all know how that turned out.

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

Customers And Creators. Fans And Artists. They are the ones that matter.

Village Roadshow is grasping at straws in their fight against piracy. Still failing to understand why it is a phenomenon and how it can be competed against. And the spokesperson for all of the propaganda and misinformation is Village Roadshow senior executive Graham Burke.

He has gone after Google because he believes that Google is deliberately misinforming the public in their arguments on copyright breaches and on-line piracy.

You see Mr Burke reckons that Australia needs stronger anti-piracy legislation in conjunction with expensive legally available products because he has reports that this kind of approach works in other countries. He also believes that a three-strikes policy will stop people from stealing. Yep, the CEO of Village Roadshow still refers to copyright infringement as THEFT. If copyright infringement is theft, then prosecute the thieves under theft laws.

Why go after them under Copyright laws?

Mr Burke points to the music business to debunk the theory that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem.

Yes, Spotify and streaming services are all over the world and music piracy still exists. There is no doubt about that.

That is because people still want to download music for free, so where is the legal service that allows users to download mp3’s for free. Of course there isn’t a proper licensed one, so people turn to illegal downloading.

A free ad-supported service that allows users to download or trade in mp3’s will bring billions of dollars into the recording industry. Hell, the recording industry and the movie industry claim that pirated sites make millions upon millions from advertisements. So why don’t they along with iTunes, Spotify or a new player like Arena offer the same service.

Instead, we get Governments introducing new policies to “CRACKDOWN” on Copyright Infringement. And of course, these laws are all being collaborated in secret between certain interest groups.

As misleading as Graham Burke is, he has found an ally in Attorney-General George Brandis who benefited greatly from Village Roadshow in campaign contributions. In Australia, we pay the second highest honesty tax.

Yep, the powerful Retail Lobby groups pushed for a tax around $290 per household to offset the $AU1.86 billion in losses they incur from customer “deviant behaviour”. Let’s look at the deviant behaviour of Australians;

– Creating a fake US iTunes account to access and pay for content not available in Australia

– Using an IP Address to access content at a fairer price due to GeoBlocking.

– Illegally downloading TV shows, music and books from the internet for free, for personal consumption.

– Online shopping from other parts of the world because it is cheaper.

But the above behaviours are deemed “acceptable” by the people because hey, every news outlet reports that Australia has the highest rate of piracy. However, large organisations with a lot of cash, disagree with this. Instead of focusing on their models they focus on legislation. They need a tailored approach to their problem. If you have movie piracy, then it is your fault. If you have music piracy, then it is your fault.

Make your movie available as soon as it hits the cinema’s to download. Hell, most houses now have a home cinema.

But as long as people like Graham Burke exist and there are many of them, the industries will moan and complain. Once he finished with Google, he moved on to iiNet and accused them of “scaremongering”.

iiNet says that a graduated response is the wrong path to take in the piracy debate.

Village Roadshow wants to be judge, jury and executioner. There is no due process here whatsoever.

As we have seen with all of the takedown requests sent to Google, the Rights Holders are the main entities that are censoring the internet.

George Brandis has also labelled Australia the worst offender in the world when it comes to piracy.

So what we have here is a company called Foxtel (owned by News Corp) who has Game of Thrones locked up behind a paywall, claiming that over 500,000 Australians “legally watched each episode of the fourth and most recent season of Game of Thrones, but as many watched it illegally through online file-sharing.”

Then you have Choice, a consumer rights group that puts the blame at Foxtel’s ‘‘outdated business model’’ for the spike in GoT piracy.

So who is to blame.

500,000 illegally downloaded each episode according to Foxtel.

So why don’t Foxtel monetise those people by offering a service that benefits all. $10 to watch 10 episodes of Game Of Thrones, whenever you want. That is a cool $5 million.

Because in the end, all of these organisations in the middle, make their money from two groups.

CUSTOMERS and CREATORS.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Death Of The Traditional Charts

The “traditional” single release used to get marketed and promoted for months. It would then get radio airplay and with all of the hype that goes with each single release, the record label and the artist would hope that the single would sell.

After the single does its run it would be removed from sale. During this period thousands or maybe millions of people would have purchased the single. They would hand over their money at the store and then take it home and play it as many times as they liked. The actual sale of the single was counted by the charts but all of those plays at home didn’t count for nothing.

Until now.

One sale is just one count towards the artist.

But now with streaming, a song/single can continue to have traction for months, years or decades. And there is the paradigm shift right there.

Albums were designed to have a longer shelf life. Singles were designed to have a short shelf life. Now with streaming, the border lines between singles and albums have dissolved. But the record labels and artists still insist on spending three to nine months recording albums. That was fine once upon a time, when albums did have a longer shelf life due to gated releases, but in 2014, albums have a shorter shelf life. Release frequently is the norm today, but nearly every established artists refuses to do it.

An artist will continue to earn a streaming income on a recording for years from their fans, whereas that fan would in the past have only paid once. Actually, if the artist gave their rights away to the record label for an advance payment, then it would be the record label that will continue to earn a streaming income on behalf of the artist.

Artists need to negotiate better. Sell your rights away for an advance payment, however have a clause in there that stipulates that if a song reaches a certain target, then a different rate of payment kicks in or the advance needs to be topped up. Because at the beginning no one knows how big or how low the actual song could go.

Going back to the new charts.

I am expecting the best to rise up again, the classic songs that we have known. Don’t be surprised if AC/DC and Metallica make a comeback to the charts. Journey will be there with “Don’t Stop Believin’ and Bon Jovi will be there as well. Old recordings will reappear. I have no doubt about that.

But with any technological product, it is open for misuse and I am sure that streaming services could skew the results based on their corporate deals with TV Shows and Record Labels.

But in the end it is a change and a big one.

Are the Heavy Metal artists and their fans ready?

This is their chance to bring Metal and Rock music back to the masses because the power of the radio and the labels is diminishing in this area for now.

The power is in the hands and ears of the individual streamer. The fans of the artist have the potential to control the musical career of their favourite artists. As an artist this is a good thing.

And business models around streaming and ownership of music will continue to grow.

“We can say with a high level of confidence that it no longer matters how many albums an artist has sold. All that matters now is how many listeners that artist can convert into owners.”

The words above are from the Arena CEO.

Who is Arena you ask?

Arena is another player on the scene and their business model is very different. Once a listener streams a participating single song 5 times, Arena then gives the listener the MP3 file to download and own. Arena then will pay the artist $0.85, in addition to the $0.21 for the 5 streams, as if the listener had purchased the song to own directly. This is a combination of streaming and ownership, because if peer-to-peer downloading has taught us one thing, it is that fans of music still want to own and they want to own music for free.

What Arena is paying is well above the industry standard rates from Pandora, Spotify, Beats Music, and YouTube. To top it all off there is no monthly subscription. If Arena will take off, or if it will get swallowed by Spotify is a different matter. What is clear is that it is addressing a gap in the record label business model that is still unaddressed.

And that is peer-to-peer downloads of mp3’s. And how these five streams = 1 download will count on a chart is another matter in its entirety and it further highlights how out of date the current charts are.

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

COPYRIGHT = Powerful Organisations Fighting Over Who Gets The Biggest Slice Of The Pie

The artists have the power. They are the ones that create the works, the songs. But it is the rights holders of the artist’s work (otherwise known as the Copyright Holders, aka, Record Labels) that are trying to organise deals with ISP’s, the Courts, technology start-ups, streaming services and the Government. They are the gatekeepers in the middle and they are more richer than they have ever been.

They are flush with cash. The internet was supposed to level the playing field against the major labels but it only made them stronger.

Why?

Because they are using their massive catalogs as leverage against streaming services and other technological start-ups. Much in the same they used their power against artists. And all of this because the artists sold away their power so that they could be given the chance to record and be a star. Like today, companies like Spotify are selling their shares to the record labels so that they could operate.

In Australia, the Attorney General’s Department is trying to make the ISP’s the RIAA Surveillance Force.

If anyone should be organising these deals it should be the ARTISTS/PERFORMERS with the USERS/CONSUMERS. No Corporations in the middle should be involved.

But that is not the case.

Because the Record Labels have benefited greatly from this Government created monopoly. Even in the U.S, the House of Representatives judiciary subcommittee will be meeting to discuss music licensing. The RIAA will be there, streaming services like Spotify and Pandora will be there and the music licensing groups will be there.

But why are they all there?

They are all there to ensure they get as large a slice as they can from the Copyright pie. Hell, YouTube is starting a streaming service and they are negotiating for lower rates than their competitors

Bad form.

As usual, missing in all of these Copyright discussions is the PUBLIC and the ARTISTS.

Copyright was created to promote progress in science and useful arts. It was never created to be a social welfare tool and it was definitely not created to enrich corporations and turn them into powerful monopolies.

Copyright laws need changing but that will never happen as the ones (RIAA, Record Labels) that control the money, will stand to lose a lot of it. That is why these corporations are NOT looking at ways to make Copyright better. They are just looking at ways to get the biggest slice of the current pie when it comes to Copyright.

Hey, pretty pretty
With the sweet sweet eyes
Order me up another slice of your pie

– “Slice Of Your Pie” – Motley Crue

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Classic Game Changer Albums

Is there any artist or band out there that can totally wow us like the first time that bands like Dream Theater, Motley Crue, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Pink Floyd, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Van Halen, Twisted Sister, KISS, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Blizzard Of Ozz, Rainbow and so many others did.

Don’t get me wrong, I hear bands that are good all the time and most of those bands sound like the bands that I have mentioned however they still do not make me feel like when I first heard those classic bands mentioned above.

I know that people will argue the point, however they really need to put themselves back into that head space of that era.

Just think about it.

Put yourself back in 1983 and Metallica is on stage. You are watching this band play a hundred miles a hour and they are in your face. Then think back 10 years from that point and pick anything that resembles what Metallica does on that night in any shape or form.

The same for Van Halen. Imagine it is 1978 and you are there watching Eddie Van Halen on stage and he is ripping up the fretboard with hammer ons, legato runs and finger tapping. He isn’t doing it as part of an extended jam or a guitar solo moment, he is doing it as part of the songs riffs and leads. Then think back 10 years and find another guitarist that resembled what Eddie Van Halen is doing on that night.

Of course, people will argue that Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix were all doing the rounds in 1968. That’s a decent argument. Then I say go back another ten years from then to 1958 and then you will see what a massive change was happening during that twenty year period.

Hell, the sales of guitars jumped astronomically from the fifties to the eighties. That should be proof enough of the change that was happening during that time as music started to cross boundaries and become worldwide.

There is no doubt that music has played a vital role in our society. We listen to it, we play it, we create it and we use it for almost everything.

Regardless of where people’s loyalties lay when it comes to their favourite artist, the truth is this; there are only a handful of truly great hard rock albums from start to finish that will stand the test of time. Of course there there are albums with a handful or just one truly great rock songs that will stand the test of time.

Since Metallica is in the news a lot with their request by fans tour happening, the new song “The Lords Of Summer” doing the rounds, plus all the petitions in place to kick them off a festival, lets kick off with them.

There is no doubt that the “Black” album is their TRULY Classic moment. One album that encapsulated and re-defined and re-classified a genre. A game changer in every sense.

What about the albums that came before the Black album?

“…And Justice For All” had two defining songs in “One” and “Harvester Of Sorrow”. Other songs that on any given day could be up there or are up there are “Blackened” and “And Justice For All”. The album wasn’t a game changer in any way as it just built on the three albums that came before it.

“Master Of Puppets” is a pivotal album in Metallica’s career for two reasons. It was the first Metallica album that was a true Metallica album, written by the band and it was the last album to feature Cliff Burton before his tragic death.

The one two knock out punch of “Battery” and “Master Of Puppets” is undeniable. However the next two songs, although good are mere imitations of songs 3 and 4 from the “Ride The Lightning” album. “Disposable Heroes” picks it up, while “Leper Messiah” is a foreshadowing of the “Black” album style. “Orion” is a great instrumental to fans of instrumental music like me and “Damage, Inc.” is jarring and in your face, which people either dig or detest.

The first four Metallica albums could easily be packaged into one GAME CHANGER album.

1. Battery
2. Master Of Puppets
3. For Whom The Bells Toll
4. One
5. Disposable Heroes
6. Harvester Of Sorrow
7. Creeping Death
8. The Call Of Ktulu
9. Seek And Destroy

Same deal for Motley Crue. Their first four albums could easily be packaged into one GAME CHANGER album.

1. Live Wire
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Looks That Kill
4. Red Hot
5. Home Sweet Home
6. Wild Side
7. Girls, Girls, Girls
8. Too Young To Fall In Love
9. Too Fast For Love
10.On With The Show

Here are a few more game changer albums from the Eighties;

Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

It gave Jon Bon Jovi a career that he is still doing victory laps on almost 30 years later.

Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction

It gave Axl Rose a career that he is still doing victory laps on it. It also gave Slash and Duff a springboard to go solo.

Def Leppard – Hysteria

“Pyromania” got the ball rolling and “Hysteria” after laying dormant for a year went viral.

Motley Crue – Dr Feelgood

Sobriety leads to a lot of clarity and groove and a number 1 album.

Van Halen – 1984

The definitive statement of Californian Rock, launching David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen into every household of the planet

AC/DC – Back In Black

It launched the band world wide and solidified the growing reputation of a young producer called Mutt Lange.

Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry

It gave the band two cultural video clips and when they reformed in 2001, it was the launching pad for the next wave of SMF’s.

Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Ozz

It re-established Ozzy by giving his solo career a real boost and it gave the world the talents of Randy Rhoads and the lyrical writing talents of Bob Daisley.

Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance

It paved the way for metal to burn up the charts again in the U.S that no one saw coming.

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

Asphalt Ballet

It’s 1991 and “Use Your Illusion” parts one and two have hit the charts. However it was Asphalt Ballet’s debut album that initially had the most radio take up, beating out the juggernaut that was Guns N Roses.

And what a great band name, using a police slang term for a motorcyclist crashing and skidding along the road at high speed.

Their so called overnight success was over 14 years in the making that began in different states and different cities, far removed from the Sunset Strip of LA.

Vocalist Gary Jeffries has a huge story to tell. He put in a lot of time playing the bar circuit and his origin story dates back to the Seventies. Eventually he came to L.A in the mid Eighties to audition for QUIET RIOT after original vocalist Kevin DuBrow left. He didn’t get that gig, losing out to Paul Shortino from Rough Cutt.

After that he played with guitar virtuoso Alex Masi, Passion, Baronette and Broken Rule. That eventually led to a group called Mistreated which by sheer luck rehearsed next to Jeffries other bands. Guitarists, Danny Clarke and Julius J. Ulrich along with bassist Terry Phillips and drummer Mikki Kiner all came from “Mistreated”.

And before recruiting singer Gary Jefferies in 1989, Mistreated had a Bon Jovi meets Warrant pop rock sound. As they once said, “it wasn’t a believable thing and that they were doing it make a buck.” With Jeffries in the fold, Mistreated became King Kong and then Asphalt Ballet and the sound went to a more organic southern delta blues rock vibe.

As was the norm back then, bands needed to get a buzz happening and Asphalt Ballet did just that on the Los Angeles bar circuit, which eventually got the attention of Virgin Records via a recommendation from Myron Grombacher, drummer for Pat Benatar.

Start with the debut album. They wanted to call the album “Mood Swing” and once you sink your teeth into it, that is exactly what you will get.

It was produced by Greg Edward who paid his dues as an engineer on big albums like “Scarecrow” from John Cougar Mellencamp and “Like a Rock” from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Virgin Records released the album and it looks like they had no idea how to promote the band or the album in a changing musical landscape.

“Soul Survive”

What a song and what a groove. It gets the head nodding and the foot tapping. It’s written by guitarist Danny Clarke and it’s rooted in the AC/DC style of blues rock.

“I’ve seen the system fall apart from the rules
And all our Presidents lie
I’ve seen the needle and the damage it’s done
The wreckage left behind”

The system has gotten worse and the war on drugs has been lost. We have our own democratic governments spying on us and storing our information in massive data banks.

“I’ve seen the broken dreams and broken hearts
I’ve seen the strong be cruel
I’ve seen a man driven by success
And break the golden rules”

It seems that all we read about today are people committing some form of crime. All in the name of money. The RIAA claims that they are victims of copyright infringement. Then you get the minority and the poor claim that they are victims of corrupted or over zealous law enforcement officers. And the list of injustice just goes on and on. All the name of money.

Instead of singing “WAR, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?”, the catch cry of 2014 should be “MONEY, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?”

“Tuesday’s Rain”

It’s the complete opposite of “Soul Survive” and this one is written by guitarist Julius Ulrich. It’s the Yang to Clarke’s Yin.

“As I wait for my new high
And sit on my mood swing
And drift out like the tide
Into the deep blue sea”

That’s what life in general is all about. Mood swings and reactions that move us about each day.

“End Of My Rope”

Another melancholic rocker written by Julius Ulrich.

“Well it’s a ruthless world with a painted face
Ain’t nothin’ gonna change but the time and place”

Aint that the truth. Different cities and different people all over the world are experiencing the same pain. Heartbreak, the loss of a loved one and so on.

“Winners and losers, beggars and choosers
Talkers, doers lost in illusion
Lawyers, villains, hometown killings
It’s all the same to me down at the end of my rope

Well lord, I’m losing hope, yeah!
Down at the end of my rope”

That’s it, right there, the unwritten law of the street. There are winners and there are losers. There are beggars and there are choosers. People that talk it up and there are people who actually do it. But when you are always hanging on, all of the shit that goes on up top is all the same. It doesn’t make a difference to you down at the bottom.

“Heaven Winds Blow”

Another song written by Danny Clarke and this time it’s got this Southern Skynyrd vibe happening.

He said you can’t stop and worry about the things that you’ve done
There’ll be no more looking back when the judgment day comes
Judgment day is coming, yeah!

A conversation with the Lord Almighty. We are a long time dead, but alive for a little while. So live it up until the heaven winds blow.

“Blood on the Highway”

Written by Julius Ulrich and Gary Jeffries. The “When The Levee Breaks” groove is hypnotizing and it hooked me in from the get go. Bon Jovi and their Nashville songwriting team ripped them off for “We Got It Goin On” from the Lost Highway album in 2007. But then again, it is a typical blues rock groove and Keith Richards once said, “YOU CANT COPYRIGHT THE BLUES”.

Living like there’s no tomorrow
Lovin when it comes my way
Well it’s a lonely road, a new town to go every day

So many songs written about life on the road. It isn’t a pop culture phenomenon like “Turn The Page” or “Wanted Dead Or Alive” but man, this song is a classic song just waiting to be discovered.

“Goodbye Yesterday”

It is written by guitarist Danny Clarke and Julius Ulrich. It is “Tuesday’s Rain” merged with “Soul Survives”. And for some reason I can’t stop shaking that Tesla connection from my mind when I hear this song.

“Wasted Time”

People might not know this song, but man its got the best lyric line ever committed.

Life done wait for you
Precious wasted time

Julius Ulrich, West Arkeen and Danny Clarke wrote this song. West Arkeen (RIP) also did some work with Guns N Roses and the “Use Your Illusion” albums. It’s got that Blues Gospel vibe that I dig.

Hearing this song again today, seventeen years after West Arkeen’s death due an accidental drug overdose, it sure is wasted time. The Skid Row song of the same name just hits home.

“Is it all, just wasted time
Can you live with yourself
When you think of what
You left behind”

“Taking a Walk”

This is a great song, again written by Julius Ulrich. The whole album is showing the eclectic style of Ulrich. In this case, he has crafted a song that merges the Van Halen SoCal vibe, with some pedal point metal riffing and a lot of swing.

“Do It All Over Again”

It’s a simple 12 bar blues acoustic ditty written by guitarists Clarke and Ulrich.

I’m no social grace, I’m no millionaire
I don’t wear a tie, I don’t comb my hair
If I sing out loud to myself, give me the stage

I’ve got a few things I can call my own
My TV’s broke, I ain’t got no phone
I’m doin’ just fine and I thank you just the same

Don’t mind the shape I’m in
I don’t mind if you let me in
‘Cause if I had the chance
I’d do it all over again

I get by on caffeine and alcohol
Some days I walk and there’s some I crawl
A few bad moves, it’s just a part of the game, yeah it is

A lot of artists just stopped soldiering on once they lost their deals in the wake of Grunge or they changed their styles to match the Seattle Grunge sounds.

The Record Labels and their predatory exploitive practices are to blame here, more so than Grunge or the saturation of the market place with inferior hard rock bands. The artists slaved away without a chance in hell of recouping because no one monitored or regulated the creative accounting practices of the labels.

Vocalist Gary Jeffries decided to leave during the tour for the debut album. The band had been out on the road for 12 months and in the majority of the cities they played, no one could find a copy of their album.

They did in stores and acoustic gigs in record stores and there wasn’t a copy of the CD in the store.

Back in 1991/1992, the rule of thumb was that if a band plays a city and rocks the audience, then those fans would go out and buy the album. In the case of Asphalt Ballet, the album wasn’t in the stores so how can the fans buy it. Basically, the record label failed their artist. To top it off, the label then pulled the plug on any further touring because sales weren’t high enough. How ironic.

That was when their manager stepped up and financed a tour with “Shotgun Messiah” which as the headlining act, had no pull. Eventually, after living on $160 a week and with Virgin pushing the band to get a little bit more grunge sounding, vocalist Jeffries went back to Louisiana and a few days later he was working a normal job, trying to make an income to support his pregnant wife.

The band was thousands in debt based on the recouping label formula. Asphalt Ballet’s manager sweet talked Virgin to front up enough cash for a new album and after doing the CD, “Pigs”, they were dropped before any tour began.

But we have the debut album. Cherish it as a great piece of rock and roll music.

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

What Do Artists Need? Stronger Copyright Laws or Better Business Models

I absolutely support that musicians should be paid for their work.

What I don’t get is how the record labels and misguided artists feel entitled to push for stronger copyright enforcement as a way to guarantee an income which is contrary to the foundations of what copyright was designed to do.

As we all know, Copyright laws have been hijacked by Corporations that at this point in time, copyright is contrary to freedom, and in particular freedom of speech, to a degree where it is illegal to sing “Happy Birthday” at a birthday party.

The “Happy Birthday” song goes all the way back to 1893 and right now it is “protected” by copyright until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. If that doesn’t tell everybody that something is very wrong with Copyright then I really don’t know what will.

Because people who really believe in stronger copyright laws believe that if those extra enforcement laws do not exist then musicians will cease to create. Those same people believe that if people are not paid upfront to write an album, then musicians will cease to create.

The maximalist viewpoint doesn’t seem to be supported.

Look at Sweden, the birth place of Spotify and The Pirate Bay. Guess what, the country has a thriving culture around music. Sweden to me is the scene to be at right now. Other policy changes by the Swedish Government around making medical care free has also contributed to this vibrant music scene. And all of this has been achieved with the threat of copyright infringement.

Remember all of the lies that have come out from the entertainment industries.

“Home taping killed music” was a good one. Guess that is why the music business and as a by-product the recording business grew exponentially once cassettes came into the market. I guess that is why no popular music has been made since cassettes came into the market.

The point is that copyright protectionism is purely about protecting old business models. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about supporting thriving new industries. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about finding new ways of doing things. The thing is the Copyright cartels have had a big win in successfully skewing the argument that file sharing is “theft”.

Remember all of those commercials about stealing that seemed to appear on a legally purchased DVD. The irony. I purchase a DVD and then I get blasted with ads that links copyright infringement to theft. BUT, if file sharing was actually “stealing”, then file-sharers could no doubt be prosecuted under existing theft law.

But they don’t. Because file sharing is not theft of property. It is a violation of copyright. That’s an important difference.

Duplicating a pile of 1’s and 0’s does not deprive anybody of the original content. What all of this copying does is drive down the value of the product. What is the price of a song when the internet is littered with millions of copies of the same song and they are free.

That right there is a market with a customer base in the billions and it needed to be satisfied. And that is where YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services come into play. They are there to monetize that market by competing with free through ad-supported business models. Hey, if it is good enough for the free to air TV networks, why can’t it be good enough for music networks.

But this “free market” has a big problem when it runs up against Government protected monopolies.

And the thing is, people do also pay for music. Many studies are actually showing that the biggest consumers of illegal media are also the biggest purchasers of legal media. Ultimately this seems to show that people are more than happy to pay for content they enjoy.

Metallica’s self-titled Black album is still moving on average 2000 units a week. And it is doing this even though millions of copies of the album are available to be downloaded for free. It is doing this even though it is available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.

Volbeat has been selling records on a weekly basis in the U.S since 2011. They are doing these numbers even though their album/s are available to be downloaded on peer-to-peer networks. They are doing these numbers even though their albums are available for streaming.

Same deal with Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Skillet. Still selling, regardless of the state of piracy.

So what is it. Do artists need stronger copyright laws or better business models and terms that pay them a fair days pay for a fair days work?

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