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

Rich And Famous

“Don’t expect to be rich and famous in this day and age, that is a very narcissistic attitude. You get into it because you love artistic expression, actually making music.”
Phil Collen in 2015

It’s a bit misleading when artists that have made money from the music business, state “don’t expect to be rich in this day and age”.

Artists never expected to get rich from creating. The classic rockers from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties had no idea there was that much money in music. No one thought being a rock musician was a role they could keep till death.

The stardom always came after, but when MTV put the rock stars into our lounge rooms, a hive mindset was created who wanted to be rich and famous without being musicians first. You know the kind of musician I am talking about, the one who practiced alone instead of Facebooking how great their practice is and how a possible song might come out of it. You know, the type of musician who is oftentimes ignored. Sometimes for their entire career.

“Rock ‘n’ roll should never have any limitations. That’s why Elvis took the guitar and not only did he play it, but he swayed his hips with it and he sang cool songs and he did choreography. When you start holding yourself back, then you lose the meaning of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Bret Michaels in 1987

Let me tell you a story about Vincent Van Gogh.

He never sold a painting in his life even though he had family members as art dealers.

He died broke.

100 years after his death, one of his paintings sold for over $100 million.

Did Van Gogh create art expecting to be rich and famous ?

There is a lot of discussion about the state of music today.

  • There are people who are asking where are the Lennon/McCartney’s, the Todd Rundgren’s, the Paul Simon’s, the Tyler/Perry’s, etc. of today.
  • Then there are people who believe that music is in a good place today and because there is so much music out there, it is ignored.
  • Then there are people who believe that artists these days write songs with an ulterior motive, replacing the art of music with the art of a product/service.
  • There are people who believe that there is still good quality music out there but it’s all underground and on the fringes.
  • There are people who reckon that the major labels ruined it all, by chasing what will make them the most money today, instead of years down the track.
  • Finally, there are people born way after the 60’s and 70’s finished who listen solely to artists from that era because they don’t see anything worthwhile/creative these days.

You see, in 2015 fans of music have a problem. Depending on your point of view it could be a good problem or a bad problem. As Steve Albini stated in a recent lecture;

“Now there is so much music it’s hard to be noticed. But that means there’s so much music available because it’s so easy for music to become available. If your music is not special, it’s no longer possible for hype and promotion to do all of the work. There are always going be a few mainstream pop stars, but that is no longer the main focus of music scene. The main focus is going to be people finding music on their own and discovering stuff that they like specifically for themselves.”

There is no doubt we live in a pop-dominated world so who can we can trust to give us the truth when it comes to metal and hard rock music news.

  • If you go to Loudwire or Ultimate Classic Rock or Diffuser, you will see that it is paid advertising from the bands PR companies.
  • Go to Blabbermouth and what you get is a carbon copy of a post that happened somewhere else on the internet. Why give the view to Blabbermouth?
  • Metal Injection and Metal Insider are two cool sites, but they also border on promoting one style of music over another because it suits their ideal.

The speed of change is increasing and the ones that are most adaptable will survive. And that means in the way the artists connect with the fans or market their music.

“They called it ‘nu metal’ is because it damn well was. When we came out of Hollywood, the ‘hair metal’ bands totally killed the scene. The Roxy, the Whisky… nobody was drawing anybody. And here comes COAL CHAMBER, here comes the DEFTONES, selling out shows. The Roxy, the Whisky… Here you’ve got this new scene — ‘nu metal,’ cause it was heavy. But I think the term ‘nu metal ‘is almost, like, pretty badass. Because you’re doing something new within a genre that existed forever and is heavy as hell, but it sounds newer and [with] newer influences.”
Dez Fafara – Coal Chamber

No one saw it coming. Great art comes from a hard life.

Like the British Invasion between ‘66 and ‘72. Like the NWOBHM and Punk movements between ’78 and ’81. Like the Sunset Strip from ’81 to ’87. Like Seattle in ’91.

And the story is still the same.

No one started to create for riches and fame in this “day and age” or in old “day and age”.

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2 thoughts on “Rich And Famous

  1. Do you think it comes back to the hard work at the beginning of a career? In fact before the career even starts. Kids back in the 60s and 70s, played music in their garage and bedrooms for hours on end because they didn’t have many other options. Today a kid has about ten other things competing for their time. Are the kids of today spending hours and hours playing the guitar, learning songs and becoming inspired to write their own music?

    I don’t know.

  2. Good question and i am not sure of the answer.

    I still believe that hard work early on is important and if you look at some of the more recent bands that i listen too, like Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and so forth, you will see that the main songwriters are of high quality and very technical. The speed at which the Trivium and Avenged Sevenfold guitarists do sweep picking didn’t come from practicing guitar while Facebooking.

    But then again, most of these guys grew up in the Nineties and started to make waves in the early two thousands.

    To put into context what i mean, i saw Bruce Dickinson wearing a “Rise To Remain” t-shirt. So I Googled the band and saw it was his son’s band. I checked out a few of their songs on YouTube and thought they are okay, it would be interesting to hear the next album. This was in 2013.

    By 2015 they split up and it makes me ask the question, were they in music to create or to be rich and famous. The majority of the members were born in the Nineties.

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