Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

John Corabi and That 1994 Motley Crue Album

The first time I came across John Corabi was when I purchased the “Let It Scream” album by The Scream. It was early 1992. It was on heavy rotation. Then a few months after I got into “The Scream” it was announced that John Corabi had joined Motley Crue. Back then news didn’t travel as fast as it does today and to be honest, the source of the news for me in Australia was the rock magazines that I purchased.

I had mixed feelings. As a Motley fan from the early days I was disappointed. As a Scream fan after one CD, I was disappointed. But the thought of Corabi’s bluesy voice merging with the Crue was an intriguing prospect.

John Corabi should take the Motley Crue album of 1994 on the road this year. If Motley Crue choose to ignore their greatest work because Vince Neil didn’t sing on it then there is no reason why John Corabi should ignore it. There is a market there for it. If he is playing 1000 to 2000 capacity venues they should sell out. But the challenge that Corabi and his team have is getting that awareness out to that market that wants to see this happen. They can post it online, but that does not mean that the audience will see it.

People that have read this blog, will know that I have a lot of time for this album.

Twenty years on the album has survived the test of time. Darker, bluesier, ballsier, kick-ass rock and roll. What about the production from Bob Rock?

It has some of the best playing the band had and has ever done. And it was so ahead of its time that the record label just didn’t know what to do with it and how to market it.

People said they ripped off Alice In Chains because it packed serious groove. Umm, listen to the Girls and Feelgood albums. They also grooved.

People said they jumped on the grunge bandwagon because they down tuned. For most of their career Motley Crue down tuned.

What about all the scattered Zeppelin and Beatles influence all over the record? Nikki Sixx said that he was trying to write his own Physical Graffiti. And he succeeded.

It’s just a really great record with the unfortunate truth that it was released by Motley Crue.

In a perfect world, Motley Crue would include John Corabi and his backing band on their farewell tour and how cool would it be to have Mick Mars play guitar on a song during the set or Tommy Lee or Nikki Sixx come out and play their parts on a song.

But we don’t live in a perfect world and the album still remains hidden from any new fans connecting with it.

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

Then (1984) and Now (2014)

Then
A large marketing budget broke bands.

Now
Fans break bands.

Then
Musicians and bands were picked out of a pool of people by record label representatives based on the strength of the songs and the buzz around them.

Now
Musicians and bands are still picked out of a pool of people by record label representatives based on how they look and dress.

Then
Radio fed us streams of crafted products created by the record label machine.

Now
Radio hasn’t really changed however people can stream songs on playlists that they have created.

Then
You HAD to go into a big expensive studio to record.

Now
Musicians at home can record, mix and master their own work with little money.

Then
Bands/Artists wrote what they wanted and then the record label told them what they wanted and then the bands would go back and re-write songs to what the record label wanted.

Now
Bands/Artists can create whatever they want and in the version they want.

Then
A record label was needed to release music.

Now
Bands and artists can release their music in the way they want. No label is needed.

Then
It was hard being a musician. There was no guarantee that a band or an artist would make money from music.

Now
It’s still hard being a musician. There was no guarantee that a band or an artist would make money from music.

Then
Unknowns had no way of reaching millions.

Now
Unknowns can reach hundreds of millions of people with their music.

Then
Piracy was an issue however it still didn’t deter bands and artists from creating new music.

Now
Piracy is still an issue and it still doesn’t deter bands and artists from creating new music.

Then
Musicians rarely banked on making cash from recordings

Now
Musicians feel entitled that they should be making cash from recordings because they poured their heart and soul into it.

Then
Musicians focused on creating, recording and playing live.

Now
Musicians have their fingers in a lot of pies to make a living.

Then
Musicians obsessed about booking shows. That is where people went to find new music.

Now
Musicians hardly play shows. They are more selective. And people don’t go to watch unknown bands anymore, as they have so many different avenues to find new music.

Then
Music was the event.

Now
TV Shows are the events with music being relegated to a sideshow.

Then
Musicians made a living by putting the hours in.

Now
Those same musicians are still making a living by putting the hours in.

Then
Musicians did the hard work of building up a local fan base.

Now
Musicians want to take over the world in an instant.

Then
There was a monopoly on the distribution. There was a monopoly on the price.

Now
That monopoly has been replaced by the internet.

Then
The cream of the crop always rises to the top.

Now
The cream of the crop still rises to the top. It just takes a little bit longer.

Then
The record labels killed off genres by pushing acts they signed to copy other acts.

Now
99 percent of artists and musicians still copy other acts. That 1 percent that do it differently are the ones that have a career.

Then
The Record label set up was basically a lot of non-creative people living off the backs of those who create content

Now
The record label set up is still the same, however it is starting to diminish.

Then
Artists believed that once they got signed by a record deal, fame and riches would follow.

Now
Artists know that there is no single solution and they are aware that record labels rip off the artists.

Then
Artists and Bands had two paths of getting our music out. The record label path or the do it yourself path.

Now
Artists and bands have hundreds of paths for pushing our music out. They just need to work harder at it.

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

Billion Dollar Deals and Still No RESPECT for Pre-1972 Artists

How would you feel as a musician and as a creator today as you hear and read about all of these board room deals taking place between technology companies and the record labels?

Millions upon millions are exchanged from a technological company to the record labels.

WHY?

Because if a technological company wants to offer a music service they need to license the music catalogue that the record labels hold. And the music catalogue that the record labels hold is music created by artists, songwriters and producers, including those same artists that are supporting the PRE-1972 RESPECT ACT. So where is the windfall for the artists from all of these backroom deals. In a nutshell it is their music that the record labels are using as leverage.

The RESPECT ACT says that some of the biggest digital radio services in the world have decided to stop paying royalties to artists who recorded music before February 15, 1972. It looks like the record labels never paid any royalties to these artists.

The Allman Brothers have sued Universal Music and Sony Music for unpaid iTunes royalties. The Temptations sued Universal for not paying iTunes royalties properly. The Beatles sued EMI over unpaid royalties. Martha Reeves sued Motown for unpaid royalties. Roger McGuinn, from the Byrds, has never received royalties (beyond a “modest advance”) for the 15 albums he recorded with the band.

The RESPECT ACT says these companies believe that they can use pre-1972 recordings for free, forever. It looks like the record labels use these pre-1972 recordings to negotiate licensing deals, without any compensation to the original artists and the writers.

The RESPECT ACT says that while the artists of today are paid royalties every time their songs are played, the inspirational artists who came before them — Motown acts, the legends of Jazz and Blues, and the musicians who gave birth to Rock n’ Roll — all get nothing. Um, those acts never got nothing in the first place from the record labels. Modest advances maybe.

The RESPECT Act states that the decision by these companies to cut off royalties for pre-1972 recordings caused artists and record labels to lose an estimated $60 million in royalties. Music is how artists pay the rent, provide for their family, and plan for the future.

Um, what about the estimated millions of royalties that the artists have lost due to creative record label accounting.

And what about all of the producers and songwriters that worked on those music catalogues that the record labels now own and use as a bargaining chip. Based on all of the research funded by the RIAA, producers and songwriters are the ones that are hurt the most because of piracy. It looks like they are really hurt by the streaming licensing deals.

Seriously think about it.

SPOTIFY had to pay a hefty license fee to operate and in the US they had to give up half the company.
BEATS also had to pay a license to the record labels and give up some equity.
APPLE also paid the labels to license their music.
GOOGLE, AMAZON and PANDORA also have paid the labels. The list just goes on.

Some could argue that the artists, producers and songwriters got paid a decent advance for their music. And the norm in the past has been to give the songwriters and the producers a modest advance for their work in exchange for any future royalties earned. But at that time when the advance is paid no one knows how big that potential song or album could be. Or vice versa, no one knows how bad that song or album could be. But if the song or album does blow up, it doesn’t mean that the producer or the songwriter will start getting some decent royalties.

Because then the maths start to get more complicated due to that record label black hole formula known as RECOUPED. When that formula starts to be applied to any money earned from royalties there is a 99.9% chance that the artists will not receive a cent.

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

Luv Power From The Sacred Groove

By 1993, everything changed. The Record Labels threw their lots in with the Grunge movement, abandoning the majority of the hard rock and heavy metal bands they had on their roster. However, the hard rock and metal releases still kept on coming. The only issue was that they became harder to get in Australia.

My initial top ten at that time consisted off the following albums;

1. Vince Neil – Exposed
2. Coverdale Page – Coverdale Page
3. Blue Murder – Nothin’ But Trouble
4. George Lynch – Sacred Groove
5. Savatage – Edge Of Thorns
6. Aerosmith – Get A Grip
7. Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell
8. Candlebox – Candlebox
9. Scorpions – Face the Heat
10. Poison – Native Tongue

In five years time, the list would retroactively change to include Tool – Undertow, Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream, Harem Scarem – Mood Swings, Death – Individual Thought Patterns and Rush – Counterparts.

But a real favourite of mine at that time was “Sacred Groove” from George Lynch. It is god damn solid album, combining guitar instrumentals with hard rock songs that featured some of the best singers.

The best instrumental track by far on the album is “Tierra Del Fuego”. A six-minute tour de force in Flamenco Hard Rock music.

Then you have the D-tuned instrumental, “Luv Power from the Mama Head”, which has all the trademarks riffs and licks that George Lynch is known for. From the outset it is prototypical Lynch and man I was hooked in by that groove.

Finally, there is a nice little Western sounding number in “I Will Remember” that Lynch also used when he returned to Dokken.

The best vocal track on the album is “We Don’t Own The World”, that has vocals by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. The song is actually written by George Lynch and Don Dokken.

The intro guitar figure reminds me a little bit of “Street Of Dreams” from Rainbow, a little bit of “Woman From Tokyo” from Deep Purple and slightly reminiscent to “Nothing Can Keep Me From You” from Eric Johnson. I love that in a song.

Don Dokken was supposed to sing on the track, however he failed to show up at the studio. So Lynch got the Nelson twins who were in the studio next door recording the ill-fated “Imaginator” album, which ending up being rejected by Geffen and John Kalodner.

Prior to hearing this track, I really had no idea who the Nelson brothers where, however afterwards I sought them out and I came across their excellent “After The Rain” album that also features the great lead guitar talents of a certain Australian called Brett Garsed.

“Flesh And Blood” based on the album sequencing is actually the first vocal song. It is written by George Lynch and Jeff Pilson and this time it has the excellent Ray Gillen on vocals. This is a rare gem as Ray was to pass away that same year. That awesome groove sets it up and Lynch owns that solo. How good is that whammy bar trill lick that kicks it off? Then Ray Gillen just takes over on the outro.

Glenn Hughes involvement with George Lynch goes back to the Lynch Mob days, when he recorded scratch vocals on the second album, so that new singer Robert Mason could follow. On Lynch’s first proper solo outing, he sings on two songs, “Not Necessary Evil” and “Cry Of The Brave”. Both of the songs have music written by Lynch and lyrics by Hughes. This period of Hughes’s career is the one I like the most. He was everywhere. Solo project, George Lynch, John Norum, blues project and many more.

It’s a shame that we never saw further collaborations between Lynch and Nelson or Lynch N Gillen album or Lynch N Hughes. album.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

The “Respect Act” Does Nothing For The Artists But Everything For The RIAA and SoundExchange

I have been doing some reading on the “Respect Act” that is being pushed by SoundExchange the performance rights organization in the US that collects royalties. So the 1976 Copyright Act, made sound recordings from 1972 and after covered leaving all pre-1972 sound recordings in legal no mans land. Proponents for these recordings have suggested that one way forward is to retroactively say that all pre-1972 sound recordings are under federal copyright law.

BUT….

The RIAA has battled tooth and nail against this. Here are the reasons why;

Did you know that the copyright under state laws lasts so much longer. So in turn the record labels get to keep the copyright for a longer period. So the Record Labels and the RIAA like this.

Did you know that the copyright under state laws does not have any termination rights. The Record labels and the RIAA like this. In the 1976 Copyright Act, the original creator is allowed to take back their copyrights for all recordings released in 1978 and after. The Record Labels and the RIAA don’t like this and this is one of the main reasons why the RIAA has battled hard to not put PRE-1972 Recordings under FEDERAL COPYRIGHT.

Did you know that the copyright under state laws does not have a public performance right. That means that there are no necessary licenses for the streaming of such works. And it has been accepted in this way for over 40 years. And the “RESPECT Act” would only extend the performance rights part of the state laws to pre-1972 sound recordings, while leaving everything else about those works uncovered by federal copyright law. So the RIAA with SoundExchange is putting only the parts of copyright law that it likes on pre-1972 sound recordings, while keeping the remainder under state laws.

Yep it sure sounds like some RESPECT for the artists. This is from the press release;

“Project72 kicks off with an open letter, signed by more than 70 recording artists, calling on digital radio to treat all sound recordings equally and to “pay for all the music they play.”

I like how they emphasise the “pay for all the music they play.” So who will actually get paid? History has dictated that it will not be the artist.

I remember reading a statement from Roger McGuinn that he made before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on July 11, 2000. And yes he is a supporter of “Project 72”.

Hello, my name is Roger McGuinn. My experience in the music business began in 1960 with my recording of “Tonight In Person” on RCA Records. I played guitar and banjo for the folk group the “Limeliters.” I subsequently recorded two albums with the folk group the “Chad Mitchell Trio.” I toured and recorded with Bobby Darin and was the musical director of Judy Collins’ third album. In each of those situations I was not a royalty artist, but a musician for hire.

My first position as a royalty artist came in 1964 when I signed a recording contract with Columbia Records as the leader of the folk-rock band the “Byrds.” During my tenure with the Byrds I recorded over fifteen albums. In most cases a modest advance against royalties was all the money I received for my participation in these recording projects.

In 1973 my work with the Byrds ended. I embarked on a solo recording career on Columbia Records, and recorded five albums. The only money I’ve received for these albums was the modest advance paid prior to each recording.

In 1977 I recorded three albums for Capitol Records in the group “McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman.” Even though the song “Don’t You Write Her Off” was a top 40 hit, the only money I received from Capitol Records was in the form of a modest advance.

In 1989 I recorded a solo CD, “Back from Rio”, for Arista Records. This CD sold approximately 500,000 copies worldwide, and aside from a modest advance, I have received no royalties from that project.

The same is true of my 1996 recording of “Live From Mars” for Hollywood Records. In all cases the publicity generated by having recordings available and promoted on radio created an audience for my live performances. My performing work is how I make my living. Even though I’ve recorded over twenty-five records, I cannot support my family on record royalties alone.

In a Ultimate Classic Rock interview, Roger McGuinn mentioned the following;

“In my case, I recorded ‘So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ with Chris Hillman and the Byrds. Chris and I wrote it in ’67 and it was on our ‘Younger Than Yesterday’ album that came out that year. Then Patti Smith covered it in the ‘70s and Tom Petty covered it in the mid-‘80s and they both get paid royalties for performance but the Byrds don’t. It doesn’t seem fair.”

The RESPECT Act would still not change the part about getting paid royalties from the cover versions that people made of the song and the unfortunate part is that most of the royalties paid for digital streaming would go to the record labels who only paid him a small advance.

Did you also know that George Holding, the American Representative that is bringing in the legislation used to work for a law firm called Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton that is well-known for its intellectual property practice. Sure sounds like a lot of RESPECT for the artists.

Did you also that John Conyer, the American Representative that is also supporting the legislation was involved in a copyright controversy when he opposed a bill that would make federally funded research freely available to the public. Conyers was influenced by publishing houses who contributed significant money to him.

Did you also know that Mark Farner, of Grand Funk Railroad would still not get a cent from his pre-1972 songs because after a dispute with the band’s manager over his $350 a week employee payments, he had to give up all the rights to the music.

I am all for artists getting paid. BUT in this case they are being used. They will not see a cent of these monies.

Another great article on the subject.

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Daybreak Embrace And The Music Business

Let me tell you a truth.

Once upon a time, back in the Record Label controlled music business no one would have heard any music from Daybreak Embrace is outside of their South Florida scene. Back then, bands would release independent EP’s and singles in the hope to generate a big enough buzz at their live shows that they would get signed. Then once they got signed there was no guarantee that the band would still get a chance to release music on that label.

So a band like Daybreak Embrace could be at it for a long time before the world could get a chance to hear their music. However that is not the case in 2014. And I for one, am glad about that.

I really enjoyed Daybreak Embrace’s 2010 EP “Tomorrow Awaits”. From that EP “Thirty–Six” is a dead set classic and “Sanctuary” is not that far behind. This is where people should start.

So I was curious as to what new music they had released since then.

I go to Spotify, type in their name and I see that they have new music. The “Mercury” EP was released in 2013. Damn, how did I miss that. The Modern Rock scene in the U.S is a very crowded marketplace. You have bands like Shinedown, Three Days Grace, Three Doors Down, Alter Bridge, Lifehouse and many more. So if a band is to rise above the saturated marketplace, then they need to be great.

Producer and songwriter, “Paul Trust” has played a big part in recording the band at a high level. Sometimes all bands need these kind of experienced people. Daybreak Embrace by the way is James Wamsley (vocals), Giann Rubio (drums), Dan Cartagena (lead guitar), Keneth Figueroa (guitar) and Dani Costa (bass).

Yep, I know they are not rock star names like Slash, Nikki Sixx, Jay Jay French or Ace Frehley. But that doesn’t mean they don’t rock.

With all the beautiful things that the Internet has brought us, one thing hasn’t changed.

It is still difficult for a band to get attention and the odds of success are still very low.

However good bands always came from left field and from a place completely unexpected. They are around for years before they are fully embraced. Like all technological startups there are early adopters before critical mass.

For any band, first comes the music and then comes the fan base.

For managers and record labels, they don’t care what the music sounds like. They only care that it has an audience.

And that is the hardest part for any band. Proving that it has an audience so that they can gain entrance into a bigger league. And that doesn’t happen overnight or within a year or within five years. Remember that every overnight sensation is years in the making.

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Kamelot

I don’t mind my fix of metal that is now known as a whole separate genre called power metal or symphonic metal. Back in the Eighties it was just metal. Pure and simple. I think that the press at that time just needed something to define certain styles of metal. So they started to come up with different names like Pop Metal, Thrash Metal, Hard Rock, Glam Metal, Death Metal, Power Metal and so on.

In relation to Power Metal here is my own 10 second wrap up of a whole genre beginning from the Seventies.

It started with Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden. Then Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween came along. They both increased the tempos and Yngwie Malmsteen exaggerated the classical elements which led to the current Power Metal movement which is just a higher tempo version of the beast that Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween inspired.

The thing with power metal at the moment is that there are so many acts out on the market that are just not good enough to be there. They think by playing at break neck speeds it makes them good enough. They think by having a hot female opera singer in the band makes them good enough. Basically if the song is shit, then the whole band is shit. Like in Sport, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

Kamelot is not one of them. Because Kamelot is not all about higher tempos. There is more variation in their music.

Symphonic – CHECK
Progressive – CHECK
Groove – CHECK
Classic NWOBHM – Check
Hard Rock – CHECK
Classical – CHECK

Credit Thomas Youngblood, one of the bands original founders. In 1991 he along with drummer Richard Warner founded a band steeped in technical guitar playing. He stayed with that style during and after the Grunge wave. Eventually in 1995, Kamelot released their first album on the German Record Label “Noise”.

Yep, it’s that same label that specialised in melodic speed metal and they also had Helloween on its roster. It’s also the same label that took Helloween to court and won a seven digit payout in their favour when Helloween broke ranks and went to the majors direct.

So I’m listening to “Silverthorn”, Kamelot’s tenth studio album and their third concept story.

It’s the song “Veritas” that connected with me. And the connection comes in the form of a band called Savatage, who I am a big fan off, especially the era of Criss Oliva. Because it sounds like something that could have been recorded for a Savatage album. And the song is not even well-known. YouTube has a few fan audio videos with numbers less than a thousand. Spotify doesn’t even rate it in the Top 10.

The next song that appeals to me is “My Confession” and its the Within Temptation and In Flames connection that hits home. On YouTube, the video to “My Confession” is at 1,176,127 views. The other single from the album, “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” is at 1,141,127 views. Actually, the bands YouTube numbers are way better than their Spotify numbers. If I was the band’s manager I would be taking note of this. The fans like the clips and the visuals that go with it.

I can’t say that I like everything that Kamelot has put out, however they have done enough on each album to keep me interested to come back and invest my time to hear each new album. And that is what matters today.

Are people listening to your music on a daily basis?

That is more important than how many first week sales are achieved.

One final note, when the cover by Stefan Heilemann reminds me of a cover that Gustavo Savez did for the last band I was in. I just found it bizarre that the styles are so similar.

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