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

Change Happens

Change happens. It isn’t easy but the earliest you understand it and accept it, the quicker you’ll be able to move on and make a living in the post-change world. 

There is still too much focus from artists on things they cant control, instead of focusing on things they can control, like creating art, connecting with people, using data from streaming listens to organise tours and merchandise deals in those areas that have super fans.

Super fans according to Spotify are people who have streamed the music of the artist for 45 days in a row. Spotify then targets these fans with updates and pre-sales and turns this data over to the artist for free.

If you have noticed, when you go to your favourite artists account and you see the number of listeners on their account, well, a percentage of those listeners fall into the super fan bucket.

But it takes work to do all these extra things, and there are people feeding your ear with how unfair it is that Spotify is taking the Copyright Royalty Board to court because the Board increased the royalty base fee that these services need to pay.

In my view, the board should not have this power at all, because it is not the fault of the streaming service for the low payouts to the artists.

The record label and the artist did sign an agreement once upon a time which explains in great detail how these payments will be divided, once the monies the label spent on the artists have been recouped.

In the process, the songwriters also signed deals with labels and publishers once upon a time, and in most cases, they also pocketed millions in advance payments in lieu of future earnings, and now suddenly, the fault lays with the streaming services.

Has anyone seen Spotify’s financials to check how much of an expense Royalties are to their business?

They are not avoiding paying.

Music like any other form of economic business needs to operate in the economic world. That means the price and value of art will fluctuate based on market demand. If it has a government institution setting a royalty fee, then the whole business model is in trouble, because the government is over inflating the real value of the art, by setting prices which are out of touch with market demand.

But the oldsters in charge of the RIAA and the labels and their politician friends are all colluding, so the Government props up and shields a business that refuses to operate in the real economic world.

Let me tell you a story about Leo Feist and Harry Von Tilzer. If you don’t know who they are, it’s okay, and if you do, great. Remember how once upon a time there was a booming sheet music business. Well these two guys were influential in this business.

And they gainfully employed musicians to demonstrate playing the sheet music songs to people, as a way to sell amateur musicians on the idea to purchase the sheets of music. Music stores then started to employ these kind of musicians as well, and suddenly you had a new industry of musicians earning a weekly wage, playing other peoples songs to people.

But like all great things, change is around the corner. They had a feeling that these new technologies called the phonograph and radio would change the game and they also knew that songs would go from local cities to state wide to country wide faster than ever before and to more people than ever before.

In due time, the musicians employed by the sheet music corporations didn’t have a job and the music business model these two men built and profited from began to fall apart.

But benefits also came about from the new technologies as more artists and bands suddenly becoming popular.

Change happens.

And the way you used to make money is not the same anymore. It’s the same for every business. Apple makes its money very differently in 2019 to how it did in 1985.

You might not have the global dominance of artists from the MTV era, but more and more smaller artists are building a career, with a small cult audience which sustains them.

As artists, be open minded, embrace change and look for creative ways to monetize instead of being angry. And in the end, enjoy the highs and lows the process brings with it.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Dirt

I grew up on a diet of Motley Crue music. And I never abandoned them, even when they changed singers and even when everyone wrote them off as has beens after “New Tattoo”.

Still to this day, Crue tunes get a listen and my kids even learned to play guitar to “Kick Start My Heart”.

I couldn’t switch off the movie, even if I wanted to and the script, the direction of Jeff Tramaine, the filming and editing was excellent, funny and at a good pace.

Maybe they missed a great opportunity here to make a series. Telling the story in ten, 60 minute episodes would have done me fine. So many things could have gotten screen time, but didn’t.

Nikki OD’d before, their manager Doc was drug trafficking during this period, and the fallout with him happened because of the Moscow Peace Festival concert.

Robin Crosby was with Nikki and had the same addictions but he got no mention, but they mentioned the Corabi period briefly like it was the worst period ever however it should have been fleshed out more. We got nothing about the Randy Castillo/Samantha Maloney “New Tattoo” period, the Tommy and Vince leaked sex tapes and punch ups, the solo albums and …

Nikki Sixx posted on Twitter that the critics hate it. And so they should, because even in their wildest dreams, these critics wouldn’t even be allowed to participate in the decadent 80s era to even report or write on anything musical. But hey, the internet and the social media platforms give people a voice. Hell I’m part of those voices via the blog.

And people don’t like to admit it, but we are out of touch with what’s happening in the zeitgeist. The young ones, those kids born at the start of the two thousands will watch it, to check out the era of their parents. And they will see how Hard Rock was all about the party, the highs and getting laid and with smartphones these days, rock and roll decadence will never return.

“She Goes Down” is one of my favorite Crue songs. Guess we cant have those kind of songs any more as they are politically incorrect. Or “Lick It Up” by Kiss.

And in the years to come, people will be talking about the movie as a cultural influence.

Nikki Sixx might have been the most fucked up and strung out of all of them, but he ended up being the smartest.

The negotiation to get his copyrights back is the smartest business move ever and it basically made the Crue comeback in the 2000’s possible.

Because when you have control of your music and it’s making money, the sky is the limit. Ask Joey Tempest and Europe, ask Def Leppard and David Coverdale, even Metallica.

But not all art holds any worth or economic value. Usually it’s zero or thereabouts, except for the ones who break through and still have their rights. Motley Crue did it and they lived to tell the dirt.

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

The Record Vault – Australian Crawl

There is no way you could have lived in the land of Oz and not known Australian Crawl. They had their own unique merge of Aussie pub rock, The Police, The Eagles, Reggae and Pop. Add to the mix, musicians who could really play their instruments, a guitarist who didn’t mind shredding pentatonic lines and a vocalist who had a unique singing style which at times you couldn’t make out what he was saying, which made it even more fun. 

I didn’t get these albums until the 90’s because I didn’t feel the need to own any Australian Crawl in the 80’s because every radio station played em, every music video TV show played em and when they split up in 1987 and singer James Reyne went solo, the same thing happened with his solo career as his solo songs were everywhere along with his Australian Crawl songs.

And my favourite song is “Reckless” and I don’t even own it. Also, the first ever song I wrote was called “The Final Wave” taken from the title of their last album, which I saw was out via a commercial on TV, but I didn’t buy it. At the time, the album was competing with a lot of big releases from the U.S for my hard earned dollars. But their most famous song, is “Boys Light Up” because everyone associated it with weed smoking. And it is a song you don’t need to own, because it’s still played on radio to this day, plus I used to cover the song in various 90’s cover bands I was in.

“Sirocco” is the first album I dropped the needle on. It came out in 1981 and it got its title from a boat which Error Flynn used to own. If you don’t know who Errol is, then read on below. 

“Things Don’t Seem” kicks the album off, dealing with a relationship where the girl’s mother has a bird’s nest hairdo, her brother gets plenty of action and her father thinks he’s a weirdo and all he wants to do is just get some action with the girl.

“Unpublished Critics” is the song that everyone in Australia reckons Axl Rose and Slash ripped off for “Sweet Child O’Mine”. And Axl Rose did have a like for Aussie music, covering songs from Rose Tattoo in Guns’N’Roses club days. Lyrically, I always thought it dealt with their critics, with the lyrics;

The singer in the band, he sweat on a pose
And he’s really such a jerk
Thinks he can call me stupid
Because he gets a lot of work

“Oh No Not You Again” is probably the best Eagles song not written by “The Eagles”. It’s got that “Take It Easy” feel. Actually “Take It Easy” was written by Jackson Browne, so… And if you think, Tommy and Gina had it hard in “Livin On A Prayer”, these two lovers in this song had it even harder or he had it hard for someone else.

Don’t own no swimming pool, not even a colour TV
He work awful hard some days and she lets him be
Things ain’t looking good for them, no love no more
Some friends are comin’ round tonight
He’s out on the town, knockin’ on the wrong door

“Lakeside” was also all over the radio. The sound and feel of the song puts you at the lakeside and the lyrics sum up the suburbia, with the lyrics;

I got a terrific Torana
A green hand going to wave bye-bye
I got a C.B. shuffle and a dashboard muffle
Pilot’s twitch my eye

My older brothers mates had yellow and black Torana’s, while my brother had a Holden V8 Calais, all done up. The cars looked super cool and they always had pretty woman in the passenger seat.

“Trusting You” is one of their best constructed songs, with so many different stylings when it comes to playing the guitar; like guitar leads, arpeggios, power chords, off beat reggae upstrokes, natural harmonics and some whammy bar action. And the verse riff is similar to “Rockin In A Free World”, albeit in a different key. Which song came first?

Your time will come and go
For a while you’ll have control
Take your pound of flesh
Feed your greed and leave guiltless

Is it about a relationship, a bad business partnership or the record label bosses?  In any two way relationship, regardless if its peer, business or romantic, there will be someone making more decisions than the other party.

“Errol” is about a good ol’ Aussie womaniser called Errol Flynn, an actor who took Hollywood by storm with his legendary 12 inches. Musically, this one reminds of “The Police”.

Convict state
It just don’t rate
He want to get higher
Apple Isle
The inbred smile

Errol didn’t want to stay in Australia, he had bigger dreams and the U.S was the place for him.

He want to pounce
Like an animal
To girls he just can’t say no
He had them all
Screamin’ for more
He play the wild scene
Ah scandalise
No compromise

Errol, the boy from down under is showing Hollywood how it should be done.

They build him up
They took it all
And then they
Just cut him down

And like all entertainment careers, the movie studios who made him, took it all away, because they held the power and I think at that time, they would sign actors to long term contracts and then they wouldn’t give them any movies to do, and they wouldn’t release them either to go work for another studio. These kind of contracts got abolished when they were challenged in court by an actress, who was also in a similar predicament.

“Easy On Your Own” builds on their acoustic Eagles vibe. This one brings back memories of “Sweet Home Alabama” and because of their diversity to cover different styles, it is a big reason why Australian Crawl became so popular. Like for example, the guitar solo is a slide guitar solo. In other songs, it’s a rock solo, a reggae solo, a country solo, a blues solo and so forth.

Shirt tails flapping in the wind
Waiting for my train to come in
Ticket reads like a faithful friend
Run the gamut back again
Rounds completed there’s no more crowds
Towel around my neck-it’s finished now
Stumbles blindly to the door
Impending Monday morn

The end of a weekend, the end of a night, catching the train home as not a lot of people had cars. These days, people still catch the train but with fear. It wasn’t like that once upon a time.

“Love Boys” has this verse riff, which is a lot like “Long Way To The Top”, played in a clean tone with a chorus effect and it sounds heavy.

Kings Cross cruiser
Late night bruiser
The tattooed love boys
The tattooed losers
She’s ready for him
She’s pretty pretty
He’s pretty bent and
He’s bashed her silly

Those big bikie bouncers at Kings Cross in Sydney, always up to no good and in and out of jail. If you’ve ever been to the Cross, you will know what I mean.

“Resort Girls” kicks off with a lead break which sounds very familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. And that’s why I love music, taking your influences and making them your own.

Holiday resorts are really quite amusin
If ya don’t watch out you can really take a bruisin
Lots of pretty girls in very scant bikinis
With rum, boyfriends too busy with their surf skis

“Sons Of Beaches” is up next, released in 1982 and does anyone remember that Jersey kid called Jon Bon Jovi, wanting to call the follow up album to “Slippery When Wet” exactly the same. That son of a ….

Anyway, for us Australians, which is a land surrounded by water and sand, the title is perfect.

“Runaway Girls” starts the album off and it is another fast paced rocker, in the same vein as “Things Don’t Seem” from the previous album and it deals with a girl headed for big bright lights, use on the way but that’s alright, seems like there’s some things you got to sacrifice to get where you want to go.

“Daughters Of The Northern Coast” has a riff which again sounds familiar to something I already know, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Daughters of the northern coast
Sons of beaches, don’t deliver the post

“Shut Down” is my second favourite and we used to cover it in various bands I was in. That lead break that kicks the song off and repeats in the Chorus, is simple, yet so emotive. And the lead break in the middle, hooks me in only to end when I think it’s going to go for a bit longer. The beauty of music, make a statement and leave the listener wanting more.

The outro section, we would play games as to what was sung. I always thought that “Alimony” was always repeated and after a few beers, my listening apparently got better and it sounded like “out of money” and then it morphed to “hey there honey”.

Lyrically, it deals about a girl with a slim waist, who is addicted to the swing jet set lifestyle and likes to go slow and pick up the pace. And then she moves on to another, hence the reason why the outro vocals are singing alimony.

“Downhearted” appeared on the first album, but it got a second wind on radio and appeared on the third album as well. Along with “Shut Down”, this song got played relentlessly on radio. Huge songs, that appealed to both rock heads and pop fans.  Lyrically it deals with a relationship left behind in Bali, and the empty feeling upon the return home to Australia.

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Music, My Stories

Hot Metal – Issue 30 – August 1991

I purchased this magazine religiously, every month along with all of the US magazines I could get my hands on. It carried the slogan, “Australia’s Loudest Magazine” and here is an example of some of the cool stuff in it;

KISS

Gene Simmons record label “Simmons Records” was all but finished as distributor RCA had dropped all the bands he had signed to it.

Eric Carr had open heart surgery to remove a growth and was expected to make a full recovery, however Eric had a business dispute with Gene and Paul over a cartoon comic character Eric was developing. Gene and Paul felt that since Eric is in the band, anything he creates means they should also get a cut. Carr rejected this as his cartoon comic has nothing to do with Kiss and the earnings he would have to give up would be significant.

GUNS N ROSES

Axl Rose rejected 27 mixes from Bob Clearmountain, wasting another $200K of Geffen’s money as the “Use Your Illusion” release dates kept getting pushed back from April to August and eventually it would came out in November I think.

Meanwhile the band had started touring in support of the albums and in between stops they managed to enter different studios to finish of the recordings and a new person was hired to mix.

WHITE LION

White Lion was a duo after James Lomenzo and Greg D’Angelo took a walk. And it wasn’t for musical differences. A few months after, White Lion was finished.

DEF LEPPARD

Def Leppard was seen as a band who may not have that much more of a future as Steve Clark’s death was still fresh and band members became keen to pursue solo projects.

We all know that didn’t pan out and while Def Leppard might have had a lean 90s period, they did come back bigger and better than ever later on.

RECORD LABELS

Lizzy Borden was dropped by Metal Blade and Bitch assumed they got dropped as nobody from the label would return their phone calls, but they never got anything in writing. To top it off, they finished up recording demos for a new album and didn’t know if they should give it to Metal Blade or shop it around.

Enigma Records finished up (meaning they went bankrupt) without paying its artists. Some of their artists got picked up by other labels. Stryper went to Hollywood Records, Yngwie Malmsteen went to Elektra and XYZ went to Capitol.

REVIEWS

Van Halen got a pounding review of 4 skulls out of 5 for “FUCK” with the reviewer saying, “this album is much, much better than anyone could reasonably expect from Van Halen at this point in their career.”

It’s because artists didn’t have a long shelf life and with every great band their are poor releases in the career, just ask Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kiss and Black Sabbath.

Dangerous Toys got 3 skulls out of 5 for “Hellacious Acres” with the reviewer saying, “Sadly they haven’t delivered the biting, driving punch of the first album, maybe third time lucky.”

Well we never got to hear a third album.

L.A Guns also got 3 skulls out of 5 with the reviewer saying the second half of the album is shit and a mini album should have been on the cards as the first half is excellent.

QUEENSRYCHE

Queensryche had momentum with “Silent Lucidity” just outside the Billboard Top Ten and “Empire” selling 1.6 million copies in the U.S. Chris DeGarmo spoke about how “Operation Mindcrime” laid dormant for 8 months and then went from strength to strength on the back of the “Eyes Of A Stranger” single. And they couldn’t tour Australia because they didn’t have enough sales.

POISON

Bret Michaels and CC came to fisticuffs and things were unwell in the Poison camp. We all know how that one played out.

FASTER PUSSYCAT

Taime Downe from Faster Pussycat spoke about how they got pelted by the Y&T fans in 1987 when they opened up for the band.

AC/DC

Brian Johnson could imagine himself becoming a Vegas act and singing “Back In Black” when he is 50. He was 44 at the time of the interview and when he was 50, he was still on top of the music world playing arenas and stadiums.

MINDFUNK

Mindfunk spoke about no limitations and no boundaries to their music. And I still haven’t heard how they sound.

METALLICA

Metallica started the press for the upcoming self titled “Black” album and the interviewer was blown away at what they heard.

The band was also still finishing off the mixes for “Enter Sandman” as the single was scheduled to be released in two weeks time.

The interviewer was also privy to hear the tracks “My Friend Of Misery”, “Sad But True”, “Holier Than Thou” and “The Unforgiven”.

ONE PAGE ADS

One Page Ads for “Hey Stoopid” from Alice Cooper, Metallica, LA Guns and Roxus.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

It’s Here and Then It’s Gone

My son wanted to play “Domino” from The Night Flight Orchestra. It is on their “Amber Galactic” album released a few years back.

He went to Spotify search, typed in the band name, when into their account, clicked on discography and couldn’t find the album. He went to his saved playlist of TNFO on his Spotify account and the album wasn’t there anymore. For reasons only known to the band and their label, the “Amber Galactic” album is not on Spotify Australia for Premium Subscribers to enjoy. It was here and then it was gone.

Even though I have purchased the CD, it’s basically remained in its plastic wrapping, and it’s a purchase made because I am a collector of bands I like, not because I want to play the CD and look at the artwork and lyrics. Hell, I don’t even know what the booklet looks like inside.

And the decision by artists to remove their music from Spotify or any other streaming service is wrong. It’s even more wrong when one streaming service has it and another doesn’t. What is even more wrong then all of the above, is that YouTube has the full album, and it pays less and torrent sites have it available for download in mp3 and FLAC, and they pay nothing.

But Spotify started in Sweden, by a Swede and here we have a Swedish band pulling their product from it. Even though the streaming company has turned the recording business around, they still are the punching bag for many.

And the loser here is the fan, who does the right thing, takes up the legal alternative, only to feel short changed or as my son said, ripped off.

Remember if the artist has no fans to connect with, they have nothing and the label has nothing.

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

The Record Vault – Arcade

EMI really wanted this album to work.

Stephen Pearcy’s previous band RATT splintered. Some say it was due to dwindling sales (500K units in the US is not a small amount for their “Detonator” album, but then again the labels reckon it was, especially after moving 3 million units for their previous albums) and others say it was due to Grunge.

Regardless, Pearcy didn’t wait around and he hooked up with Fred Coury from Cinderella on drums, Johnny Angel played guitar originally and wrote songs for the debut, but was dropped and in came Frankie Wilsex and Donny Syracuse, while Michael Andrews is on bass.

EMI even paired up Pearcy to write with Jim Vallance of Bryan Adams and Aerosmith fame, and they also got producer Dave Prater, who at this point in time had some serious chart success with Firehouse and Dream Theater.

But it didn’t work, and nobody really knows why. Good music is good music and it should find an audience. But it didn’t. Well it didn’t like how the label wanted it to.

So what happened to all of those rock and metal fans from 1984 to 1990?

Why didn’t they lap up this album?

Well, the base wasn’t as big as people thought. The bulk of the fans shifted between rock and pop and metal, so when it came to 1993, it was no surprise that some fans had shifted their allegiance to other styles. Maybe they just thought that Stephen Pearcy was done and dusted or he’s a one hit wonder or because fans became hip now, into more mellow music, like how Mark Wahlberg cut his hair in Rock Star, it wasn’t cool to like rock music anymore. I knew a few people like that, and if they existed in my circle, I am sure they existed in other circles as well.

I purchased the CD but I can’t remember from where. But I do remember the “Cry No More” single which I purchased via a second hand store, complete with ONE song. Yep, you read that right, one SONG on a CD which can hold 70 minutes of music.

And the album is not on Spotify, which is a shame. A real shame.

Calm Before The Storm

It has a wicked open string riff as good as any metal like riff at the time. It’s credited to Vallance, Angel, Pearcy and Coury.

But I dream of rising light
A sign it’s time to be reborn

And a Pearcy was reborn but ignored.

Cry No More

It’s written by Johnny Angel, Fred Coury and Stephen Pearcy.

And man, when a guitarist spends time being the main songwriter and then doesn’t get to play on the album or plays on the album and is fired before the tour, I see that as a low act by said band mates and management.

When I was young my daddy always taught me
To speak the truth and never tell lies
Now that I’m old and no one ever told me
The life you live, the truth you can disguise

We are living it everyday, trying to make out what is real and fake.

Down and out, I need a friend
Who’ll be there until the end

You don’t know who will be there at the end. And it scares people.

Messed Up World

A sign of the times we live in.

Greedy little fingers
Dirty little lies
Diggin’ themselves in deeper
Wearing their disguise
Crooked preachers sell religion
Underhanded politicians

Artists have written about corruption from when I can remember and it’s still happening without any end in sight.

And I ask myself why?

Maybe Geoff Tate was right all along, the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives and everyone has got to make a million, it doesn’t matter who dies.

I don’t wanna believe what they tell me
I ain’t gonna buy what they sell me
I ain’t gonna take what they’re givin’
It’s a messed up world that we’re livin’ in

Damn right and it is only going to get worse, because if you have school children who can’t vote, striking from school for climate change, imagine the changes coming when they can vote. The current powers that be will fight tooth and nail to keep the world messed up.

World peace and religion
Well you know that’s what they teach
But their arms hold up their halos
They never practice what they preach

Wearing masks is the name of the game. It’s all messed up, but that’s how we survive.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity

What Does Democracy Look Like?

While the rich pay for their kids to get into college and use other paid people to pass exams for them, the real and proper generation are out on the streets protesting about climate change and gun reform.

And people might say the Universities admissions scandal is a U.S problem, well it’s not. Trust me, there are plenty of wealthy people from other countries who have bribed University officials to get their children in. Hell, in Australia we even have judges applying the same rules of law differently to wealthy children compared to poor children.

In relation to climate change demonstrations, it’s happening world-wide.  Brexit and all of the crap that comes with it, about millions being lost to the economy means nothing to the next generation. The Wall that Trump wants to build means nothing to them. The state and federal government elections in Australia coming up means nothing to them at the moment, because if the world is not fit for living in, what is the point.

The days of tax cuts to sway voters are over. There is a new voter base in town, and they don’t wear the same clothes as their parents did. It’s about the environment, it’s about feeling safe and it’s about having a home to call your own.

They are showing what proper democracy looks like. Something that their parents have forgotten as they got too comfortable with life, concerned about keeping their job, making that mortgage and credit card repayment and ensuring that all the utility bills are paid.

Did you know that 90% of people live within their comfort zone in such a small crowded circle?

Well the next generation wants to change that. They want to change the status quo. If these old and out of touch politicians believe they have a chance at victory at the next election, well think again. Those 10% who live outside their comfort zone will grow even greater and we will have another defining moment like the 60’s revolution.

And the Governments better watch out when that happens.

These climate change protests started because of one person. A 15 year old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg, started a solo protest in Sweden in August 2018. This movement by one person striking from school for one day, will have almost 2000 cities striking today.

And it’s needed. The weather is too severe. Summer is not summer anymore, its death by humidity. The rains are not just rains anymore, its flash flooding or severe flooding. Hail is not hail anymore, as they come down in clumps the size of tennis balls and cause severe damage. Everything is changing, except the politicians viewpoint on climate change or the viewpoint of the rich when it comes to getting their dumb kids into Universities.

And right now I feel the need to listen to “Little Fighter” from White Lion.

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