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

The Machine Head Experience

By 9.24pm, on Wednesday, 24 June 2015 at the Metro Theatre, I had consumed my sixth beer in one hour waiting for Machine Head to hit the stage. A pretty awesome metal playlist was doing the rounds that had songs like “Sad But True” from Metallica and “In Due Time” from Killswitch Engage.

Then “Diary Of A Madman” started playing. It was ominous. The volume was initially low and the house lights were still on. Then the outro of “Diary” kicked in with the choir voices and the volume got cranked and the lights went out.

The chant went up, “Machine Fucking Head, Oh” (a point that Robb Flynn made later on in the show, that Australia is the only country to say Machine Fucking Head OH..) and the clean guitars started for “Imperium”. Everyone in the sold out venue knew that all hell was going to break loose. I was standing close to the mixer and I had a great view to the stage and to the circle pit. It was pandemonium.

Machine Head’s career was re-built upon “Imperium” and the 2003 album “Through The Ashes Of Empires” that it came from. The song is even more special based on Robb’s journals that covered the hardships in getting the album recorded.

“Through The Ashes of Empires” was released in December 2003 in Europe only. It took months to gain some traction and be discovered. In April, 2004, it got a U.S release and a subsequent world-wide release. Suddenly everybody knew it and everybody wanted to go see Machine Fucking Head live.

The knockouts kept on coming with “Beautiful Mourning” from “The Blackening” and “Now We Die” from “Bloodstone And Diamonds”.

“The Blackening” was another game changer for Machine Head. Released in 2007, it put them on the road for three years and in the process it cemented Machine Head’s reputation as a solid unit. That trend continued with “Unto The Locust” and “Bloodstone And Diamonds”.

I still think “Now We Die” should have been called “Now We Rise”. It would have been perfect in my eyes.

“Bite The Bullet” came next and then “Locust” sent everyone into a frenzy. It’s no coincidence that the first five songs all came from their last four albums.

I saw a person on crutches enter the circle pit and I said to myself that is not going to end well. Later on, I saw that dude on someone’s shoulders. He was okay, the Head Cases took care of him.

“From This Day” from 1999’s “The Burning Red”, “Ten Ton Hammer” from 1997’s “The More Things Change” and “Clenching The Fists Of Dissent” from “The Blackening” kept the knockout punches coming.

How good is that “fight” part in “Clenching”?

“Beneath The Silt” from “Bloodstone and Diamonds” was slow and groovy and “Crashing Around You” from 2001’s “Supercharger” album picked it all back up.

When I first heard “Crashing Around You”, I said to myself what an awesome rock song. It was better than anything that was mainstream back then. However, Roadrunner didn’t know what to do with the song, or how to market Machine Head and because of record label stupidity the song didn’t cross over. It’s one of my favourite cuts on “Supercharger”.

“The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” from “The Burning Red” came next.

But it’s all about “Darkness Within” from “Unto The Locust”.

What a song, what a groove, what a melody and what a guitar solo by Phil. Along with “Bulldozer” from “Supercharger” and “Killers and Kings” from “Bloodstone And Diamonds” those three songs proved another killer trilogy in the set.

How good are the lyrics in “Bulldozer”? Another unheralded cut from “Supercharger”,

Somebody told me, I should do what they told me
But there’s a hole in their plan, and I’m tearing it down

You can almost picture the scene. Record label A&R douche telling Robb to wear an orange jumpsuit. Robb agrees for the greater good but…..

Trust our guts, follow our hearts, no one can break these nuts
These lips ain’t kissin’ asre
The path of most resistance tests all of our strength
The strength will not be denied

It’s like Robb foresaw the crap that would come their way post “Supercharger” and the mission involved to get “Through The Ashes Of Empires” recorded and then released.

Bulldozer goes against the odds
Bulldozer goes against the grain

You can interchange “Bulldozer” with “Machine Head” as both have three syllables. Machine Head goes against the odds. Machine Head goes against the grain. And thank god they did. It’s like their story before it even happened, getting dropped, then rejected. What makes the track rock is the groove.

“Sail In The Black” was excellent (although in some sections the backing synths overpowered the intro vocals) and “Davidian” from the 1994 debut “Burn My Eyes” followed.

You would think it would be over, but, NO it wasn’t.

“Now I Lay Thee Down” from “The Blackening”, “Aesthetics Of Hate” from “The Blackening” again, “Game Over” from “Bloodstone And Diamonds”, “Old” from “Burn My Eyes” and “Halo” from “The Blackening” again rounded out the night.

I didn’t see a phone or a camera recording the show. Everyone was there to experience it.

If they played “A Farewell To Arms” from “The Blackening” I would have completely lost it.

From the set list, you can see how important “The Blackening” is to Machine Head and to the Head Cases.

Yeah, Machine Head did have a catalogue before and after “The Blackening”, however their entire career will be attributed to this one album, showing the power of excellence.

A defining album, and in time it will be held in the same light as Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” or Pantera’s “A Vulgar Display Of Power”.
By the end of the night, I had consumed 13 beers and still had room for many more.

To Machine Head, thanks for another great night in Sydney.

The future looks good, as the band is constantly replenishing their audience base. The crowd was a mixture of teens, twenty something’s, thirty something’s and forty plus. It was also a mixture of dudes and chicks. Like the song “Truckin” from The Grateful Dead, Machine Head just keep on truckin’ along and winning new fans along the way.

Two days later my ears are still ringing and I am still talking about the experience. That is what live music is all about. The experience

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

Recording Industry Dumb and Dumber – The Sequel

So the Recording Industry in Australia is welcoming new anti-piracy legislation. High fives all around for site blocking laws. Add to those Recording Industry high fives, Movie industry high fives and any other legacy content owner.

The question I have is this;

  • With site blocking now becoming law, what does the Recording Industry believe would happen to their businesses profits?
  • Would people suddenly return to buying CD’s?
  • Would people suddenly buy an expensive Foxtel subscription to watch ten episodes of “Game of Thrones”?
  • Would people who normally don’t go to the movies, suddenly start going to the movies?
  • Would people suddenly go out and buy books, or e-books?

Site blocking laws are designed to stop people from accessing websites that film, TV and music companies say are hosting their content without permission. Surely, our government officials would have looked at the U.K before deciding if site-blocking was the right way forward.

In the UK, The Pirate Bay has been blocked since 2012 however people have found ways to get around that block. Even though site blocking laws exist in the U.K, sales of music are still declining. However, if the industry puts more emphasis into their streaming business, then some different results could appear. Lucky for the U.K, they have a lot of popular artists right now and these artists are really pushing the streaming side of their music.

So in return the U.K have more people streaming more music than ever before. By 2019, streaming is expected to account for 49 per cent of music revenue in the U.K, compared to 22 per cent in 2014.

Digital music downloading (both legal and illegal) is a thing of the past. It’s history. Why would we want to pay for an mp3, when the history of music is at our fingertips with streaming and we, the fans, like it.

It’s easy and uncomplicated.

So since streaming is king, can someone tell me why we need the Entertainment Industries going to the courts to block websites based on their own evidence?

I think the catch-cry put out by the government is “the laws will protect the viability and success of creative industries while restricting the profitability of sites that facilitate piracy.”

Yep, Mr Government, as long as you and your financiers know what that means, it’s okay, we believe the shit you say.

I would be interested to see the model they used to show how the laws would protect the creative industries especially since Australia is a huge market for DVD and Blu-ray sales.

How can the entertainment industries explain the HUGE profits they get from DVD/Blu-ray sales in Australia?

Let’s use Game Of Thrones.

The TV show is hidden behind an expensive Pay-tv paywall in Australia. The actual subscriber numbers for that Pay-tv provider are lower than the sale numbers of the DVD/Blu-ray season releases.

Where did all of these extra fans come from?

The content owners need to be talking about lowering their licensing fees so that the monthly streaming plans are cheaper and that all content is available in the one place.

I have a Netflix subscription and a Spotify subscription.

The content industries should be pushing more people to these services. In return, the money pie will get bigger. It’s simply economics. These industries cannot pretend anymore that the old business models are coming back.

Let’s use Game of Thrones for another example.

If HBO wants to stamp out piracy, ensure that the show is available to everyone globally from the one HBO source.

Not from a reseller.

HBO makes, it, so they should sell it, to the people who want to watch it, when they want to watch it. I cannot for the life of me understand why people need to pay another company who paid HBO a fee to re-broadcast it. It’s a business model that is doomed.

Why do you think Netflix started to make their own TV shows?

Hell, why do you think HBO started their own TV shows? Remember, HBO was once a Home Box Office re-broadcaster.

Because re-broadcasting is not a viable business models. Same deal for music streaming services.

Expect Spotify to start to sign bands and really shake up the streaming world.

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

Another Episode in the Recording Industry Dumb and Dumber File

Seriously, how stupid can the recording industry get!

Why would the recording industry associations battle a Copyright ruling that allows people who purchase a CD to legally rip it?

First, CD sales are on the decline. The whole history of music is available on YouTube and Spotify and Pandora and (insert any other streaming service here).

So why does the recording industry still fight “ripping a CD” laws. No one with any common sense can believe what the UK Music and the British Academy of Songwriters claim.

That if people are allowed to rip the CD’s they legally buy, it would cost the rights owners tens of millions. So what they want is a tax on back up CD drives.

Are these recording industry idiots seriously that out of touch with technology?

Don’t they know that most computers don’t even come with a CD drive! My Apple iMac doesn’t even have a CD drive. In other words, CD drives are disappearing at the same rate that CD sales are disappearing.

But the recording industry, which the article incorrectly calls the music industry, still believe in some 1998 ideal of CD sales and ownership.

Even one of the largest tech companies in the world, believed that music was all about ownership and not access. For whatever reasons, Apple is very late to the streaming party.

When Steve Job’s introduced the iPod back in October 2001, the selling point was “this amazing little device holds a thousand songs, and it goes right in my pocket”. For millions upon millions of music fans, the iPod became a must and in return Apple continued to grow into a very powerful company.

However, Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue offer nothing amazing with Apple Music. They offer a music service with features that already exist in Spotify or even Soundcloud. But they hinder their music service by putting it behind a paywall. This new “revolutionary” product is mired in the past.

It’s like the record labels constructed Apple Music and not Apple itself. Maybe that is the truth as Jimmy Iovine’s background leans more to the recording industry than the tech industry.

Artists payouts has proven to be a contentious issue again. Transparency in the area is non-existent. Apple was not going to pay artists during the streams that happen during the three-month trial period. Then Apple did an about flip and said they would. On top of all that, Apple Music is being investigated for anti-competitive behaviour.  The last thing the labels would want is a government investigation.

Did anyone also notice that when Apple did its reverse flip on paying royalties during the free 3 month periods, it was Eddy Cue who went on the record. Meanwhile, the recording industry stooge Jimmy Iovine, remained silent, just like the label heads at Universal, Sony and Warner. However it was those idiots that created this mess in the first place.

If you are a musician this is what you should know;

• Music streaming revenue is surpassing sales of music downloads.
Research from P. Schoenfeld Asset Management shows that there will be 250 million worldwide music streaming subscribers generating over $16 billion in streaming revenue.

Your challenge is to get people to listen to your music consistently. Forget about the CD sale, or that Vinyl sale or that download sale. They are memento products. Listens is your sale. Eventually, the fan base that listens will start to want your memento’s.

One last thing.

If your song is not on Spotify, it is on YouTube. Taylor Swift took her music off Spotify and saw her YouTube plays increase. Yep, that’s right. Sales of her music didn’t increase at all, but her YouTube stats went through the roof.

It’s because people want to listen.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Art and Music

The first album cover that comes to mind would be Kiss’s “Destroyer”.

In the Eighties, Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry”, Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave”, Motley Crue’s “Theatre Of Pain”, Stryper’s “To Hell With The Devil”, Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” and Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” are iconic images that remain in my head space over and over again.

Add to that list “Whitesnake”s self-titled album and Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction”.

The whole package of an album was crucial to me. It was an experience to look at the album cover, the lyric sheets and the credits, as I dropped the needle, kicked back with the headphones and digested the album.

The art was the doorway into the music of an artist. Sometimes it was a win and sometimes it was a complete waste of money.

Maybe I gravitated to heavy metal and hard rock because of my interest in the artwork and the stories I took out of the artwork. Seriously, who hasn’t thumbed their way through thousands of thousands of albums and stopped dead when an album cover caught our eye. On a lot of occasions, that was the difference if I purchased the album or not. The other key difference was who produced it or who was involved in the album. There was no “try before you buy” option.

Production guys like Keith Olsen, Tom Werman, Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Ezrin, Neil Kernon, Peter Collins, Martin Birch, Michael Wagener, Mutt Lange, Andy Johns, Mike Clink and towards the late Eighties, Bob Rock became key deciders if the album was a purchase or a leave for me. Especially if it was a band whose music I never heard before like Skid Row, Extreme, Guns N Roses, Bulletboys, Warrant, Tangier and even Whitesnake’s 1987 album was a NEW one for me in 1987.

Which brings me to the point of the post?

The artwork and the music compliment each other. It gives the music a visual that I could attach myself too. I see it in my kids when they go through my record/CD collection. They connect with the graphic first.

My first Dream Theater album was “Images and Words”. It was purchased based on three things.

The artwork – it looked cool, surreal and progressive.
The length of the songs – By the early nineties, I was looking for music that had some substance. As a fan of hard rock and metal, I was getting bored and fried with the 4 minute songs coming out from the acts I supported. Seeing an album that had songs between 8 to 11 minute range was like a ‘HELLYEAH’ moment.
The producer – Dave Prater. I actually enjoyed his work with the band Firehouse on their self-titled debut in 1990 and “Hold Your Fire” in 1992. Also Bill Leverty is one hell of a guitarist who has not received the recognition he is due.

When I tell my kids that I used to purchase music without hearing it, they look at me, like I am the biggest idiot in the world. It doesn’t make sense to them to spend money on music without hearing it. The fact that I needed to buy a CD to hear Dream Theater is unknown to them.

So the artworks once upon a time, assisted artists in selling music and enhancing their lyrical messages.

You see, a fan can make a connection with an artist in so many different ways. It could be visual, musical, lyrical or a combination of all. So when MTV came, everything started to change.

Can you think of the Motley Crue “Girls, Girls, Girls” album and not think about the uncensored video clip for the song?

Can you think of Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” and not think about the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” or “I Wanna Rock” videos?

What about Whitesnake’s album and the Tawny Kitaen poses in all of the video clips?

What about the performance videos of Bon Jovi during the “Slippery When Wet” and “New Jersey” albums? What a shrewd marketing move to do each Bon Jovi video clip as a performance clip. It put their faces into houses around the world and turned the band into global superstars.

Music videos suddenly became another way for a fan to make a connection with an artist.  Take this quote on music-related art from The Conversation website.

Music-related art helps us learn more about the intention of an artist, and with more music being released than can be heard, this is important. This can, as shown, be the absence of artwork as much as is its presence. As the so-called music industry continues to shift its gaze towards live music events, so too can artists. New ways in which musicians can move and excite fans will continue to emerge, and with them the opportunity to work with artists in innovative ways. Album artwork will continue to catch our attention and create recognisable brands. Music videos will continue to accomplish similar feats, albeit with smaller budgets.

Why do you think Spotify is moving into video and other forms of streaming?

They understand that for a fan of music or for a fan of an artist, it is more than just music. The ones that spend the money want more.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

P.S.T (Piracy, Streaming and Touring)

All the talk in the media from the old gatekeepers is that piracy is bad for the artists or that Spotify’s free music-tier is bad for artists.

So can someone tell me how Motley Crue is playing in Abu Dhabi?

If we lived in the world of the old gatekeepers, the record labels would be in control and Motley Crue would have sold hundreds of thousands of albums (on a consistent basis) in the UAE before it was even considered to tour there.

However, in the internet age, it is a much different world.

Motley Crue suddenly has an audience in the UAE.

Is this audience courtesy of piracy or legit sales or legit streams?

There is a strong indication that Motley Crue’s UAE audience is due to piracy.

Do you know the Middle East is a huge region when it comes to illegal P2P downloading?

The following statement found in the book “Introduction to Private Security” by John Dempsey sums it up perfectly;

In Europe, Middle East, and Australia, P2P traffic consumes anywhere between 49 percent and 89 percent of all Internet traffic in the day. At night, it can spike up to an astonishing 95 percent.

You can do some further reading on countries where P2P piracy is very high at the following link.

Even though it is from 2011, the data tells us a few things.

Eastern/Central Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East have high rates of P2P piracy as regions.

When you break it up to countries, China, Colombia, India, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Taiwan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Italy lead the way.

So let’s look at some of the recent tours bands have undertaken.

Metallica in 2011 did the “2011 Vacation Tour” that focused on Europe, South America, Asia and for the first time ever, they took in India.

In 2012, Metallica undertook the “European Black Album Tour” that focused solely on Europe.

In 2013, Metallica undertook the “Summer Tour 2013” which took in again Asia, Europe, South America along with North America.

In 2014, Metallica did the “Metallica by Request” tour which again took in Europe and South America.

Is it coincidence or shrewd planning that Metallica has taken in those markets. Hell, India is known as a nation of P2P downloaders, however it hasn’t stopped Metallica or Iron Maiden touring there.

Iron Maiden’s “The Final Frontier” tour (2010/11)  took in Eastern Europe, along with Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico.

The “Maiden England World Tour” (2013), took in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Eastern Europe again.

The “Somewhere Back In Time” tour  (2008/09) took in (apart from the North American and European markets) India, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Puerto Rico. Then on the second leg it took in Dubai (UAE), New Zealand, India (again), Mexico (again), Costa Rica (again), Venezuela, Colombia (again), Ecuador, Brazil (again), Chile (again), Peru, Argentina (again).

The Bon Jovi “Because We Can” tour from 2013 took in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, China (again), Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Israel.

This was on top of the normal European and North American markets.

The “Bon Jovi Live” tour set to kick off in September 2015, takes in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Israel.

Five Finger Death Punch haven’t been around as long as Metallica, Iron Maiden or Bon Jovi, however it still hasn’t stopped them from hitting Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand on their recent “Wrong Side Of Heaven” tour.

Avenged Sevenfold’s “Far and Middle East Tour” from 2012, took in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and UAE.

Their “Hail To The King” from 2014 took in Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Chile and Argentina on top of the normal European and North American markets.

Their “Asian Tour 2015” will cover China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Again the question must be asked, is it coincidence or shrewd planning. Streaming services can tell the bands which countries or even cities are streaming their songs and at what rates. Other firms out there like Music Metrics can tell bands, which countries or even cities are illegally downloading their music.

All of this data, once in the hands of a person that knows what to do with it, is a marketers dream.

Articles always point out that “pirates” are the biggest spenders and after seeing large bands hit markets with high piracy rates and still sell out shows, I would agree with that assertion.

Piracy, Streaming and Touring go hand in hand.

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Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

Metal Loyalty

Why is it a surprise to people that heavy metal or hard rock fans are the most loyal fans?

There is a pretty good chance that every metal fan has purchased the same album, from acts they like, more than three times.

I am talking from my own experience here. I have the Crue’s Eighties albums on Cassette, LP and on CD.

In the Nineties, these albums got remastered and had some bonus tracks added to them. So I purchased them again. The same albums then got repackaged into Box Sets and guess what I did? I purchased them again.

All up, I purchased each Eighties Motley Crue album five times. Just typing it all out makes me sound silly. Now apply the same counts to Metallica, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Bon Jovi, Europe, Cinderella, Kiss, Whitesnake, Def Leppared, Guns N Roses, Skid Row and so on.

Others call it dumb, others call it silly, however I call it loyalty. And guess what? There are millions more people out there the same as me.

Talking about the Eighties, let’s look at the year 1987. The biggest hit singles for that year according to Wikipedia are “La Bamba” from Los Lobos, “Never Gonna Give You Up” from Rick Astley, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” from Whitney Houston, “It’s A Sin” from Pet Shop Boys and “Who’s That Girl” from Madonna.

However during the year, Guns N Roses unleashed their record-breaking “Appetite For Destruction” album and Def Leppard also unleashed their own record-breaking album in “Hysteria”. Both albums are known as slow-burners, meaning that they took their time to hit it big. Something today’s know it all musicians fail to understand.

For Guns N Roses, it wasn’t until “Sweet Child O’Mine” came out as a single in August 1988 that the album really started to sell. And that was 14 months after it was released. Using the RIAA certification system as a metric for success, by August 1988, Appetite For Destruction was certified three times multi-platinum. Not bad, hey. Then “Sweet Child O’Mine” came out as a single in the same month. By December 1988, (four months later) the album was six times multi-platinum.

You see what happens when one song connects.

Continuing on, by July 1989, almost 12 months since “Sweet Child O’Mine” was released as a single and two years since the album came out, the album was certified eight times multi-platinum. Five million units were sold after “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.

For Def Leppard, it wasn’t until the “Love Bites” single came out in 1988 that the “Hysteria” album started to sell by the truckloads.

Also in 1987, Bon Jovi was still riding high from 1986’s “Slippery When Wet” album. Meanwhile, Motley Crue came out with “Girls, Girls, Girls” and U2 released “The Joshua Tree”. All three bands proved massive drawcards on the live circuit.

White Lion came out with “Pride” and surprised everyone with “Wait”. Suddenly Vito Bratta was in everyone’s lounge rooms courtesy of MTV. And because of MTV, White Lion also became a multi-platinum act.

Ozzy Osbourne paid a “Tribute” to Randy Rhoads while Kiss jumped on the Bon Jovi band wagon with “Crazy Nights”. Blues rockers Great White took the charts by storm with their “Once Bitten” album.

1987 also saw Whitesnake released their mega selling self – titled album, Heart released “Bad Animals” and the single “Alone” and Gary Moore released “Wild Frontier”.

Aerosmith also released “Permanent Vacation” signalling that their comeback was complete, while Pink Floyd did the same with “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”.

Marillion released “Clutching at Straws”, Y&T released “Contagious” and Rush released “Hold Your Fire”.

Savatage started to make a dent in the metal world with “Hall of the Mountain King” and Alice Cooper’s comeback was picking up steam with “Raise Your Fist and Yell”.

I own all of the above albums, more than once.

Metal and Rock music is a lifestyle. Metal and rock bands appealed to my belief systems. It is that lifestyle and belief system that inspires loyalty. Cultural movements have happened on the backs of metal music.

The term heavy metal in the Eighties was used a lot. A record store lumped bands with very different styles into one Metal category. I could walk into a heavy metal section of a record shop and find Bon Jovi, Metallica, Twisted Sister, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Poison, Van Halen and even Boston.

Judging by how big metal became, I guess I was not the only one that had the same belief systems. One thing that metal and rock bands did better than every other genre is the branding. Once we connected with the artists, we wanted to become to a member of the gang. We wanted to be patched in and sworn in. It was a tribe mentality.

You don’t need Spotify to know that metal fans are loyal. Looking at the releases in 1987, artists like Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Floyd, Whitesnake, Heart, Rush, Y&T and Aerosmith had been around since the early Seventies. Yep, 17 years later, they still had loyal fans waiting for new music. Almost twenty years later, those same bands still have millions of fans waiting for a tour or new music. Can’t say much for Rick Astley.

Other artists like Def Leppard, Gary Moore, U2, Marillion, Great White and Motley Crue had been around since the late Seventies or early Eighties.

The reason why the loyalty of metal heads becomes part of the conversation is that us metal heads/rock heads are stereotyped as antisocial who contribute nothing to society. So how does that explain the numbers that metal and rock bands do on the live circuit, sales circuit, streaming numbers and merchandise sales. That is a lot of money that the anti-social misfits are putting into society.

As the saying goes, pop artists come and go, but metal artists remain forever. Once we are a fan of a band, we are fans for life.

I strongly believe that this metal global audience was achieved because of piracy. Illegal P2P in the early days led to bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue earning a whole new audience. Suddenly their music was available to people who couldn’t get it. Suddenly these bands who had waning careers, had new markets to hit.

Nicko from Iron Maiden summed it up the best in the Flight 666 documentary. In the documentary, Nicko was mentioning that Iron Maiden hasn’t sold any recorded music in Costa Rica, however they had a sold out show that night.

There is an article over at Mashable that is quoting from Vince Edwards, the head of publicity for Metal Blade Records.

Edwards says that to book live shows, bands need to be able to demonstrate sales, which means using Nielsen’s SoundScan. Spotify streams don’t factor into SoundScan, so any streams that take away from sales also take away from touring. Touring, he says, is “mission critical” for bands. Streams, he says, just aren’t yet incorporated into the system. “It’s such a new metric that people aren’t really sure how to measure that yet,” Edwards said.

Spotify does have some data that can be used to inform bands where it might be best to tour, but Edwards says that doesn’t help metal artists much, since they tend to play smaller venues.

“I think that’s kind of the big disconnect between our world and the mainstream world,” he said.

Seriously, you would think in this day and age that the label bosses would have figured out how to incorporate streaming or even piracy data into their analysis. Online piracy has been around since 1999 and Spotify streaming has been around since 2008. To rely on SoundScan data in 2015 is ridiculous.

Lucky for these clueless label heads that the metal fans are loyal and generate dollars for them.

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

Dysfunctional Stories From The World Of Dokken

By 1995, the recording industry had undergone a lot of change. The flavour of bands shifted from hard rock to grunge, alternative and industrial. Guitar slingers like George Lynch suddenly were marketed as not cool to any new listeners.

The band Dokken was like a beacon of light, a stability that George Lynch needed to return to. I am a great believer in focusing on what brings in the money first and anything else that I would want to do will be a spin-off from that. For George Lynch in 1995, the band Dokken provided that opportunity to him.

The “Dysfunctional” album was pretty much written before George Lynch joined the project. Even George Lynch stated the same in an interview on the Guitar International website.

“Most of this record, “Dysfunctional”, was finished by the time I got there. In fact, everything but the guitar parts were pretty much done. Everybody in management and in the band kept feeding me these horror stories of who they would get to replace me if I didn’t come back – you can guess the names. Well, when I listened to the tracks, I could tell that Jeff [Pilson, bass] and Don [Dokken, vocals] had written a lot of the songs with me in mind. I mean, there were parts in certain songs that I had done on other Dokken records – and even Lynch Mob records- years ago.”

However Don Dokken has said that the album is written solely by him;

“Dysfunctional was a great album. I mean they (Lynch and Pilson) had nothing to do with that album. I wrote that album by myself. There wasn’t a George, Jeff, Mick effort. They joined Dokken at the last minute. And I basically wrote it, produced it.” As far as ’97’s experimental “Shadowlife,” produced by Kelly Gray, known for his work with ’90s rockers Candlebox, Don considers that album Lynch and Pilson’s “bastard child.” He felt the band was trying to follow trends instead of being themselves.”

Don Dokken further described his experience in the following way;

“I felt guilty for bringing George back into the band for “Dysfunctional” & the money & the big record deal & I was just miserable & he was miserable, he made all of us miserable, it was just a very un-happy band & I don’t want to talk too much about him, you’ve got to meet him to understand, he’s just very dark…he has that look in his eyes & you never know who he’s gonna be, sometimes he’s hi, how are you & then sometimes he’ll walk on the bus & he has that dark look in his eye. Anger & I can’t be around that stuff”

In a separate interview on the Legendary Rock Interview website, Don Dokken further added the following;

“A lot of bands, there is one guy who sort of determines a lot of the direction, whether it’s the singer or the songwriter and things just work out, but with us it was just this continual power struggle between George and I that we never got over.  I remember when we got back together in 95 , we were in Japan and I thought we were older, wiser and could get on with our careers but the same old shit was happening, he was playing behind his amps and just screwing around and the band was just not playing good in general.   I asked George flat-out “What can I do to make you happy?  What is the problem that you just can’t seem to get on board no matter how well things are going?” and I will never forget it,  he just looked at me and pointed his hand up to our backdrop, this 30 foot backdrop that said “Dokken” and he said, “That’s the problem”.   I just said, “Well, I can’t do anything about the name of the band George”.  I will never forget that moment.  I think maybe if the band had been called something else we could have survived.  I’m not a psychiatrist you know but for some reason that was a major part of the problem in his head.  I guess he thought that the more everybody tried hard in the band the more I somehow got all of the credit.”

This is the way George Lynch described the “Dysfunctional” reunion;

“I never expected to be back with Dokken, and I know I said that a lot of times. But I have to be realistic about my situation. There is a huge market for the band, mostly overseas, and since things collapsed over at Elektra, I needed to keep my options open if I still want to have my solo career. That was one of the things that brought me back into the band. It was kind of like, ‘You do this deal with Dokken for two records, and you can still go out and do solo records at the same time.’ In fact, I was told that I’d be in a better position to do solo stuff. John Kalodner [Columbia’s A&R chief] is passionate about Dokken, but he also told me that he wants us on Columbia. That aspect of the relationship makes me pretty happy.”

Lynch obviously didn’t want to be in this situation either;

“I mean, yeah, it would have been great if The Lynch Mob could have sold more records, but there were problems in that band, too. I was leading the group, yet certain people felt they were entitled to more money or more perks than I could give them. They thought I had an endless supply of cash and resources. What it came down to was, I told them if they wanted to get rich and famous from a gig, they should go call Michael Jackson. With Dokken, at least I don’t have to be the one paying everyone’s per diem and cleaning bills.”

Dokken in 1995 was not an arena act. According to George Lynch, they had done “small, B-level clubs on the first leg of this tour, and the response has been really good. I’m kind of surprised. Japan and Europe were obviously good – the acoustic record [not available in the U.S.] has already sold nearly 100,000 copies overseas.”

If you want to read a review of the album that I totally agree with, go and check out the review over at mikeladano.com.

 

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