A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Era Of The Song

The whole “we know how our favourite artists look” era is over. Blame MTV for making it happen in the first place.

Music television made the musicians mega stars. They took them from the magazines and the concert stages and put them into our TV rooms. It made an act that would maybe move 100,000 units in the pre-MTV era and turned them into Platinum superstars during the MTV era.

But the MTV era is history.

The era of recognising an artist and mobbing them is history. No one even cares how artists look these days. The song is back at the forefront as it should be.

It’s all about the song. Without it, you have nothing.

Pop Music might be in the press and reality TV shows might get the ink, the good thing (from a metal/rock head perspective) about those products is that their lifespans are limited. Their whole deal is the look. The song is irrelevant.

Meanwhile, the real good rock and metal artists are just working away and crafting their art, year after year. Music is a game of survival.

I remember I had a VIP pass for Coheed and Cambria’s Sydney show a few years ago. At that point in time we (my cousin and I) were not sure if it was going to be a meet and greet or an acoustic show. I was going up to the concert with my cousin and we were talking about the other band members. Apart from the distinctive look of Claude Sanchez, the other band members look like computer programmers.

If we saw the other band members in a line up we wouldn’t be able to make them out.

Which was a far contrast to the month before and the larger than life personas of Motley Crue and Kiss.

So we started talking about other current bands that we like. We both agreed that Robb Flynn and Adam Dutkiewicz are unique enough to be recognisable.

Yesterday’s hero is forgotten today. The internet machine makes them and spits them out. The only thing that survives is the song and that song needs to be great. It’s an artists greatest weapon in the battle for people to pay attention to you and to hang on your every world.

That is why I find Top 10 album lists interesting, because while they place the album high on a list, the ink attached to the album is all about the song on the album that connects with them. On occasions a few songs hit the mark. Very rarely do all of the songs on an album hit the mark.

For example, I am a pretty hard-core Zakk Wylde fan. The first reason was that he paid a true homage to Randy Rhoads (whom I am even a bigger fan off) when he joined Ozzy. While Jake E Lee and Brad Gillis tweaked and changed Randy’s solos, Zakk Wylde played them note for note. I remember a quote he made in “Guitar World” years ago when the magazine interviewer asked what is the thing that he likes the most about being with Ozzy. He said it was like being in a glorified cover band where you get to play your own shit along with songs from Black Sabbath, Randy Rhoads and Jake E.Lee in front of thousands of people each night.

Last year, Black Label Society released “Catacombs Of The Black Vatican”. The song “Angel Of Mercy” stood out right away. It is a constant on my playlist. If I had to do a Top Ten album list, then the album would be in that list purely because of that one song.

I dare anyone to name the full track list of their top ten albums for 2014 without having to refer to a visual aid to remember. It’s because we can’t. I would love too, like times of old, but I guess things change.

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Alternate Reality, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

Chapter 4

I finally got around to watching the “Through The Never” movie last night and there was a question nagging at me throughout the whole experience;

“How can James Hetfield think that this is good?”

Lars just wants to be front and centre on everything so any outlet that can put him there, he will agree with. Kirk and Rob will just follow what Lars and James do? But James Hetfield to me is the quality behind the band. He can have a different drummer, guitarist and bassist backing him up and it will still be Metallica.

And if he thinks that the movie was good and that Lulu was good and that the new live song “Lords Of Summer” is good, then I am hoping that all bad things come in threes. Because if they don’t then it is not looking good.

Anyway, I am still having fun with my so-called story based around Metallica songs and themes so here is Chapter 4.

–1978–The Armerous

Blackened Hetfield makes his way to the meeting place. Along the forest track, bodies are suspended along the trees. As he gets closer to his destination, winding his way up a steep mountain pass, the trail is littered by a series of pikes with severed heads on top. These are the people who just got in the way of the grand design.

There is a generic road sign on one of the pikes that states “No Trespassing”. A thick fog is beginning to descend. Everything is feeling and looking creepy like something imminent is about to happen.

Hetfield enters a partially destroyed Buddhist temple. The outside decay of the building masks a perfect and sterile environment inside.

In the wide room there is a table with a chair. The person sitting on the chair is not facing the door way. Instead the person is looking into something else. Flanked on each table are two Red Guards, clothed like Samurai but Samurai they are not. Next to the Red Guards are two more guards; however these ones wear black colours instead of red.

The colours are a rite of passage. All of the black colour guards/warriors have a first name of Blackened. The ones in red have a first name of Crimson.

Hetfield sits down on the leather chair that he normally sits on.“Lord Slither we have a new enemy”.

“So it is true”, responds a man that we assume is Lord Slither. It is a strange relationship as Hetfield has never seen Lord Slithers face, however he swears a loyalty to him that is broken only in death.

“Yes, the books of knowledge have a new keeper”, continues Hetfield. “It seems that The Phantom Lord managed the transfer before we got to him”.

“How did we not foresee this failure Blackened Hetfield?”

“I am unable to answer that my Lord. My failure is mine to own. The consequences are mine to suffer.”

“Not this time Blackened Hetfield. Your suffering will not be from me”. This was ominous and sinister from Lord Slither. Hetfield has been failing his master a lot recently.

“Are the new agents ready?” questions Lord Slither.

“No Lord Slither, the indoctrination process is taken longer than expected.” This is another failure from Hetfield.

“How is the child of “The Judas Kiss” tracking along?

Hetfield doesn’t let his hesitation show as the child of “The Judas Kiss” is also his child. “He is far exceeding our expectations in all disciplines.”

“And what about the one known as “Cyanide”. It has been seventeen years since he came into our possession.”

“He is almost ready. By far one of our best”.

“Unleash him. Send out to the “Creeping Death”.

“As you wish, Lord Slither”.

“It’s time to begin the whipping dance of the dead and colour their world blackened.”

–1976–The City Of Devils Dance

Two years post E.B’s tour of duty, the Vietnam War was lost.

Meanwhile back at home E.B had used the financial resources of his father, Cyprian Breadfan to establish the Unknown Five and the Metal Militia. One as a secret society and the other one as a public face.

It was then that E.B encountered the one known as “Prince Charming”.

His real name is Terence Blinks. The definition of the word corrupt in the dictionary doesn’t define Prince Charming in any way. He is in a class of corruption all on his own. He is equally known for his catch phrase of “the shortest straw has been pulled for you.”

Devils Dance is defined by the power struggle between the two wealthiest families. On one side you have the Breadfan’s who stand for fairness and justice and on the other you have the Blinks who stand for power and wealth.

“Fairness and Justice is a fool’s errand”, said Prince Charming in one of the many hostile arguments he had with E.B’s father.

The city citizens are either on the payroll of the Blinks or on the run from the Blinks. But then the Metal Militia was born and they became an equalizer to the situation.

The constant shop fronts shaken down by corrupt officials and forced to pay private levies suddenly had new protectors in the Metal Militia.

And Prince Charming didn’t like it.

–Current Day–The City of Devils Dance

The Metal Militia has a roll of honour on one of their walls, sort of like a Hall Of Fame. The list is broken into Immortals and Lifers.
Listed as IMMORTALS are E.B and St Anger. Listed as LIFERS are Frantic Frank, Stone D.F Clover, Nole A.F Clover, Dyers Eve and Lowman Lyric. The NOMAD list shows The Outlaw Torn and Wim Roam.

Then there is another list for the current membership status of the organisation.

Currently, Motorbreath is the President. His lady, ItsElektra is the Secretary. The Vice President is Overkill and the Sargent in Arms is Damage Inc. The Treasurer is Whiplash. Together they form the executive arm of the Metal Militia.

Orion is a sworn in member of the Metal Militia along with Two-by-four, Loverman and Astronomy.

Right now Orion is waiting outside the chapel, the meeting room of the Militia. Stone D.F has been inside for a long time with the Militia Executive. IMMORTALS and LIFERS are held in high regard. They have done so much and sacrificed so much that they don’t need to hold a rank anymore. Instead they are elevated to a status normally reserved for Gods. So if any living IMMORTAL or LIFER requests a meeting with the Executive, the Executive must adhere and be present.

And Stone D.F is the only one of the hall of fame list that is still alive.

Eventually after what seemed like days which was in essence about four hours, Stone D.F emerges from the chapel.

“What was all that about?” asks Orion

“Nothing that important”, answers Stone D.F.

“Not important. It was the longest meeting I have witnessed.”

“When you have a club that does what we do, meetings do seem to go on a touch too long. I suppose that is democracy at work,” counters Stone D.F.

“So it had nothing to do with the phone call I got”, continues Orion.

“That was mentioned as was our journey to the City of Beholder.”

“So what was said about it?” questions Orion.

“It was just a heads up to them that we will be out-of-town. So are you ready to depart” responds Stone D.F. There is no way that Stone D.F is going to let Orion take this trip alone, especially due to the mysterious circumstances of the phone call.

–Current Day–The City of the Beholder–

The City Of Beholder is a Bible belt mining town and it is only fitting that the reason why the town is known is also the reason why it is slowly tearing itself apart. An underground fire has been burning from one of the mine shafts for over a decade and it is slowly swallowing parts of the town.

A lot of people have abandoned the town. In its heyday it had over 200,000 people. Now it is lucky to have 40,000. Houses are levelled and areas are fenced off.

The High School is partially submerged into the ground. Orion glances at it and so does Stone D.F. Weeds, grass, trees and other forms of fauna are growing over it, around it and in between it. Looking at it reminds Orion of a dystopian future that he has seen in comic books and movies.

Orion notices a sign on the water tower.

“What is that sign?” asks Orion.

“It’s the symbol for corruption and capitalism,” answers Stone D.F. “It’s another business from Prince Charming”.

“Does Charming own all of this?”

“As soon as he can get rid of the Metal Militia” answers Stone DF.

“What do we have to do with it?”

“The Militia is the complete opposite of what Prince Charming is. Before the Militia, the people that Charming and his cronies intimidated had no one to fight back for them.”

A partially destroyed Buddhist temple in the distance grabs Orion’s attention. But with the speed they are travelling it vanishes as quickly as it came into view.

–3rd January 1966–

“Do you feel the disturbance?” asks an elder looking person that looks like a Buddhist monk.

“Yes” replies another, that could be a monk in training.

“Something’s changed.”

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

Dokken, Motley Crue and Ratt. More examples of the Progress Is Derivative Model

This isn’t a story about who ripped off who. To me those arguments are irrelevant as I am a great believer in the “progress is derivative” principle which is that all artists take a little bit of what came before and create something that to them is original.

It’s funny how you can have three songs that have pretty similar main riffs however each song has a totally different reach and impact with the audience.

Listen to “Young Girls” from Dokken’s first album “Breaking The Chains” and then listen to “Looks That Kill” from Motley Crue.

Now ask yourself the following question;

Do the opening riffs sound very similar?

If you answered YES then read the below, however if you answered NO then go back and repeat the above exercise until you hear that they do sound very similar.

Now listen to “Tell The World” from RATT.

Does the opening riff also sound similar albeit with a few small variations?

If you answered YES then read the below, however if you answered NO then go back and repeat the above exercise.

Musically, the three songs have a definitive riff that is very similar. However, one song is clearly forgotten, one song is considered a classic and the other one is a fan favourite.

The Dokken song was destined for the scrap heap just by the song title alone. Add to that some really crap lyrics, plus a really lazy uninspired vocal melody from Don Dokken and you have a disaster of mass distortion regardless of how good the bed of music is from Lynch. This is a perfect example of how good musicianship doesn’t shine due to bad lyrics.

In sports you are as strong as your weakest link and in this case the weakest link was the song title and the lyrics/vocal melodies.

Then you have the Motley Crue version that has lyrics drenched in sleaze, attitude and danger. The vocal melodies are simple with three or four syllable phrases, clustered together and barked out with venom. Add to that a song title that screams attention. Without even taking into account the video clip images and what not, “Looks That Kill” is far superior because of the way Nikki Sixx phrases his vocal melodies.

Then you have the Ratt’s “Tell The World”. Stephen Pearcy lived the L.A lifestyle. He immersed himself in the scene, along with his San Diego cohort Robin Crosby.

The main drivers behind all three songs are George Lynch, Don Dokken, Nikki Sixx, Robin Crosby and Stephen Pearcy. George Lynch was a constant L.A performer towards the late seventies and early eighties. Nikki Sixx and Robin Crosby would go on to be best friends. Both were consistent performers on the L.A scene. Stephen Pearcy was also a constant on that scene.

The music in these songs is not about who ripped off who. It is about how the sound of the L.A scene influenced all of the musicians involved.

In a nutshell playing two open string pedal points and then a power chord straight after was pretty basic Hard Rock/Metal 101.

This type of playing was very synonymous with bands like Judas Priest, UFO (Michael Schenker) and Scorpions.

In the U.S, you had the mighty Ted Nugent pushing out songs with definitive riffs based around open pedal points and power chords. Check out “Stranglehold”.

If you want to see that type of figure on steroids and totally original, check out the Randy Rhoads opening riff in “Steal Away The Night” . Rhoads starts it off with two open notes and then an inversion of a power chord. Then instead of doing two more open E’s he plays the B and A notes in lieu of the two open E’s.

In the end, as humans we are a sum of our influences and our cultures. The L.A scene was a culture based around a decadent lifestyle. In between all of that, the bands involved ended up crafting some great tunes along the way.

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

The Costs Of Entertainment Today

Last Tuesday, January 13, I took the family to watch Australia’s game vs Oman at the Asian Cup. To do anything family related is a hit on the budget.

The tickets cost me in total  $171.50 which is broken down by $98 ($49 per adult) and $73.50 ($24.50 for a child).

Apparel at the game cost me $140 for 2 kids T Shirts and 1 female T-shirt.

The parking at the venue cost me $25.00.

Mt Franklin Water cost me $33.60 for 7 bottles at $4.80 each.

Coke Zero cost me $5.60 for a can.

Hot Chips cost me $30 for 5 little round boxes sold at $6 each.

A Chicko Roll costed $5.50.

A Stadium Hot Dog costed $6.20.

A pack of Kettle Chips costed $6.00.

A pack of Honey Soy Chips costed $5.50.

All up the whole day with the tickets came up to about $430.

10 days prior on January 3rd, I also took the family to watch a local A-League football game between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets. Tickets for that event cost me $61.33 for the family. Parking was at zero cost (on the street with a 20 minute walk) and food/drink costs me $50 in total.

So in total I have spent about $540 on football/soccer related events for the month of January so far. To add to that expense, when I purchased the tickets for Australia’s group match against Oman, I also purchased tickets for the Semi Final and the Final. So those events are coming up on the horizon and thanks to some dumb and arrogant decisions from coach Ange Postecoglou, Australia didn’t finish top of their group, so instead of “hopefully” watching a semi final match with Australia playing, they now end up on the other side of the draw and play at different stadiums.

January is also the month when we gear up for the start of school, plus the registrations for all the winter sports (and gear purchases). So from a family point of view, the costs are adding up, plus we are coming off the Christmas craziness of credit card debt that we still need to contend with.

However, the recording industry and entitled artists are so out of touch that they don’t understand that society in general feels a lot of pain when it comes to money.

We also have a lot of other outlets when it comes to entertainment and events. The more that the recording industry bitches about piracy and lobbies so that ISP’s send copyright notices and track our online behaviour, the more the fans of music just give their money elsewhere.

Normally this time each year, I am purchasing tickets to Soundwave Side shows. That has been the norm every year for the last 5 years. I don’t go to a festival because I see it as a waste of time and a real uncomfortable experience to watch only a few bands that I might like.

However, this year, I don’t really like any of the bands that much to go and watch them. So that money that I used for the music industry is instead going to football.

One last thing about all of the arguments about free music and competing with free.

Water is a natural product and it ends up coming out of our sinks for next to no cost at all. However, the water companies like Mt Franklin have found a way to make us pay a premium for bottled water.

One day an artists with a progressive thinking record label will find their own unique way to make the same happen for music.

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

Reach, Vinyl and Record Label Lies

Before Napster, the only way a band knew that their music was spreading was by record sales. However, the fact that if a person purchased an album and listened to it once or a million times was never taken into account.

Today, there are so many different distribution outlets. The old way has been blown to bits and 15 years after Napster the record labels are still failing their artists because they haven’t done their due diligence properly in creating tools that can measure “REACH”. Yep, that is the new catch cry for 2015, REACH, not sales.

However, the labels are still confused and the artists more so. Imagine the conversation;

BAND: We should tour [insert country or city or state].
LABEL: Why, you have sold no albums there?
BAND: But we are one of the most downloaded artists there?
LABEL: Well those downloads are not legal ones and P2P is illegal.
BAND: What about Shazam look ups? I see our name all over that report on your desk from Shazam. Our songs are one of the most looked up songs in [insert country or city or state].
LABEL: Look all of this doesn’t mean you have a fan base there that will support you financially.
BAND: But, our streaming numbers are huge there?
LABEL: Leave it with us, I might get the lawyers to get together a 360 degree that will protect us both.

And the cycle of the record label shafting the artist starts again.

The record labels need the artists. It is from all of the copyrights that they own the record labels have achieved this power. With power comes great reach. And the labels abuse that power.

They increased the price of music to cater for the “start-up costs” in the CD manufacturing process back in the early eighties. It was only meant to be temporary and they promised the consumers that the price would be cheaper once they started manufacturing at a certain scale.

However that price never came down when they saw these unbelievable profit margins from CD sales and guess what they decided to do. They colluded to price fix the price on a CD and they killed off vinyl.

And now they are using overpriced vinyl again to increase their bottom lines.

Guess what.

Vinyl isn’t making a comeback just because there are dedicated people out there that purchase it. I purchased the four vinyl singles that Machine Head issued for the “Killers and Kings” demo. I still haven’t opened them and the reason why I haven’t opened them is that vinyl has become a souvenir item.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of vinyl. I have so many great memories around dropping the needle however the turntable that I have at home just doesn’t get used. It’s easier and convenient to bring up the music on the phone and to be honest, I can’t see myself sitting back on the coach, listening to the record and reading the credits while following the credits. I am pretty sure I would end up on my iPhone.

 

We multitask. Yesterday I was cooking a BBQ and I called up the Evergrey Channel on iTunes Radio and listened to that. While the meat is sizzling, I am writing lyrics and listening to music at the same time.

 

Kids today have grown up with the internet. They are full-blown digital natives. They know nothing of the music business before Napster. If they did, then P2P downloads would have dried up when The Pirate Bay was raided in mid-December. Instead, the kids just found different outlets because the past is never coming back.

 

I have three boys aged 9,8 and 3. The older two are high YouTube and Spotify users. The younger one knows of YouTube and everyday he asks me to find Thomas The Tank Engine, Batman, The Wiggles, Planes, Garbage Trucks, Twisted Sister or whatever else has his interest for that moment.

And I am pretty sure that my kids are not the only kids that access content via these outlets.

I’ve said it many times, we always gravitate to something that has reach and YouTube and Spotify have got the reach.

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Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

Metal Without Limits

Hot Metal was a monthly Australian publication that I religiously purchased each month between 1989 and sometime towards the end of 1995.

The issue I am flicking through right now is the August 1991 issue.

In the mag there is an interview with Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton from Queensryche taking place during the “Empire” tour. The album by this time had moved over 1.6 million copies in the U.S and MTV had “Silent Lucidity” in constant rotation. By December of the same year, the RIAA would certify the album as 2x Platinum.

Chris DeGarmo interviews well. He comes up with a lot of good quotes and truths.

“Rock records seen to have these long legs. We learned that with Operation Mindcrime.”

So true. Rock and Metal records if done right just continue to stick around. While Pop might rule the airwaves and get the mainstream ink, rock and metal records just keep on sticking around. Let me rephrase that; the great rock and metal records just keep on sticking around.

Look at the Whitesnake 1987 album. It came out in March, 1987. By January 1988, it was certified Platinum x5 (for U.S sales). By July 1992 it was certified Platinum x6, By February 1995, it was certified Platinum x8. It just kept on sticking around almost 8 years after its release.

Go on Spotify and YouTube and you will see counts of 10 million plus for “Here I Go Again”, “Is This Love” and “Still Of The Night”. It’s still sticking around.

There is another issue from July 1989 that also caught my attention and that one has another interview with Chris DeGarmo;

“Who are Queensryche? Why, after years of slogging around, supporting everyone from Bon Jovi to Metallica, has “Operation Mindcrime” suddenly captured the imagination of a whole new world of listeners? “

They caught the mainstream by surprise with “Operation Mindcrime”. No one knew what to do with them. Chris DeGarmo was pressured in the interview to describe Queensryche’s brand of music. This was his answer.

“Hmmm, lets see, aggressive pop music? (laughs). No, I wouldn’t call it that. I guess it would be… metal without limits.”

Not too sure how many people read Guitar World. In a December 1991 issue Dave Mustaine referred to Queensryche as “Yuppie Metal” which I found hilarious. But you know what, DeGarmo is spot on with both of his definitions. How cool does “aggressive pop music” and “metal without limits” sound?

“Promised Land” was their real “metal without limit”s album. The overall sound was still rooted within the hard rock/metal genres, however there was a melancholy undertow simmering underneath that dabbled in different styles and song structures. It didn’t have a crossover hit single, but man, it has some killer moods.

It was very interesting how we had been out there working our asses off for the better part of a year and some people thought this new album had just come out.”

You see even back in 1992. getting the news out there was still a challenge. So when you add to that challenge all the noise that the internet creates, you can see that the difficulty in getting your name out there today has grown exponentially. And for any artist in the music game, getting your name out there is still the challenge. Not P2P.

“In a lot of people’s minds we are a new band and we have to get used to that.”

Spot on.

Hell, a lot of people thought that the 1987 Whitesnake album was Whitesnake’s first album. When I looked at the video clip for “Still Of The Night”, I couldn’t make sense why the album shows one guitarist and the video clip has two. The information travelled slow and for me in Australia it was tied up in expensive import magazines.

Bon Jovi broke out big with “Slippery When Wet” and when these new fans found out that “Slippery” was actually the bands third album, they started snapping up the back catalogue. By February 1987, “7800 Fahrenheit” was certified Platinum, while “Slippery When Wet” reached Platinum x6 at the same time.

For Queensryche, “Rage For Order” and “The Warning” achieved a Gold certification in 1991. And that is because of the “Empire” album and the success of “Silent Lucidity”.

Artists could be huge in certain states or countries however it didn’t mean that the whole world or even their own country knew about them. And this was in the era when the record labels controlled everything and even they couldn’t get the narrative out.

“It’s funny when someone comes up to you and says, ‘I heard that song “Silent Lucidity”. Do you guys have any more songs?’. You don’t want to insult them by saying, ‘Of course we do, you fool. We have been around for ages!’ How are they to know, when no one has ever played any of it?”

The importance of MTV during the eighties and the early nineties was astronomical for a band to get that instant payola. If their clip got constant rotation on the channel, then the platinum armies would come a knocking. So while “Eyes Of A Stranger” opened up the MTV door, it was “Jet City Woman”, “Another Rainy Night” and “Silent Lucidity” that took it to a whole new level. However, it was only those songs that MTV played, so if people didn’t go out and purchase the old catalogue how were they supposed to hear it.

“There wasn’t enough people into Queensryche to support coming to Australia. If we came we would like to bring the whole show, but we’re just not sure of our following there”. 

They never came to Australia during the height of their popularity. The first Queensryche album I got was a cassette recording of “Operation Mindcrime”. “Empire” by default became a blind purchase for me.

I watched Queensryche in 2009, a version of the band that was missing Chris DeGarmo. The venue was at 1500 capacity. The ticket cost $80. The tour was billed as songs from “Rage For Order”, “Empire” and “American Soldier”. It was enjoyable to watch and no time would we have known the bullshit that was going to come.

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

Disruption Eruption

In life we are being disrupted all the time.

Music is no different.

The biggest challenge to artists is that it’s so much harder to reach people because everyone today has a voice. In the heyday of metal and rock it was all about scarcity. You know the drill. The bands and the labels were all about making it to the top of the heap and then once they got there, they aimed to dominate that heap.

The funny thing is that once the bands got to that heap, they would seem to implode and deliver their least valued work.

Pantera worked for years to get to top of the heap. “Cowboys From Hell” opened the door for domination, “The Vulgar Display Of Power” provided the steps to the top of the heap and “Far Beyond Driven” provided the motion to get to the top of the heap. As Vinnie Paul once said in a Metal Hammer interview, “Pantera could have been metal’s next Rolling Stones”. “The Great Southern Trendkill” came after and continued that domination however the fabric of the band was already tearing apart. “Reinventing The Steel” came next and the band split after that.

Metallica on the other hand delivered their least valued work after they reached the top of the heap with the “Black” album.

Twisted Sister struggled for years to get to the top of the heap. They where selling out local bars however they couldn’t get a record deal. In that Seventies and Eighties era you needed a label to go national. Finally, they got that major label deal. It all started via an Independent label called Secret, which led to the European division of Atlantic Records showing interest and eventually signing them, which then led to the U.S arm of Atlantic taking over.

They got on MTV and went multi-platinum.

Then they lost it all. Dee Snider filed for bankruptcy and so did Jay Jay French.

After the fall from the top, both Dee Snider and Jay Jay French had to pick up and start from the beginning again. An old saying always comes back into my head space. It’s not how hard you fall but how you get back up. In the end, failure is never final, however if you allow it to be, then it will be. Jay Jay had to take a job selling stereos before Sevendust came into the scene in the mid nineties and asked him to produce their first album. Dee Snider ended up with a “Reason To Kill” during this period.

The dirty little secret is that one year’s success does not guarantee the next year’s success. It doesn’t in sport, so why should it be any different when it comes to music. If money was the end game, then Jay Jay French made more money producing the Sevendust album than what he did while he was with Twisted Sister.

So what does that say about the correlation between success and money?

It says that while a band is successful, most of the money is going to others. Only when the band is at the stage of Metallica or Motley Crue who both own their masters/copyrights, do the economics change. Otherwise why do you think Tom Scholz from Boston and Don Henley from the Eagles and Jim Steinman for “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” are putting in motions to get back their copyrights. And why do you think the record labels are resisting even though the law states clearly that the labels have to return the copyrights back to them.

It’s all about negotiation power.

The labels don’t want to lose it and the artists that have the big songs want it.

Which means another disruption is around the corner?

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