A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Playing Live

I just got an email from Visa about the “Kiss Early Visa Only Presale”.

You know how it works. Only a handful of tickets are available as pre-sales with prices which range from $99 to $310 and VIP Meet and Greets between $1,300 to $1,600.

And guess what, those limited tickets on sale are almost sold out. And not because fans purchased them.

And last week, I got another email from Ticketek about “new great seats that have been made available” for the Bon Jovi concert next month.

Why weren’t those seats available in the initial offering?

Why wait until a month before the concert to release these “new seats”?

Seriously, for how much longer are fans going to get abused with crap like this?

And the artists can do something about it but they stay silent.

Of course they would say they “need to increase the ticket prices” due to the decline in recording revenue, but hey most artists are on streaming these days and a lot of those artists don’t like it, because it shows that people are not listening to their music.

Did anyone read the Ticketmaster fiasco about how computer bots are buying up tickets so they could be resold at a higher price?

Because if the show has a “sold out” sign, the price of the ticket purchased by the bots will go up a lot on the reseller market.

Plus all the acts love to build the hype and image like “look at our show, it’s sold out”, but in truth it hasn’t. They are just hiding the truth.

Of course Ticketmaster has denied any wrongdoing and are launching an internal investigation but would you trust the words of a corporation. Hell, FIFA even said they would clean up their act after corruption and money laundering issues but instead they got even dirtier and even more secretive.

Remember when Metallica tested the market back in the early two thousands with higher ticket prices and people paid. And each time they went on tour after that, they retested the market with a higher price point. But like housing bubbles, the live bubble will burst and the prices will reset.

With time. And then what.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Dream Child

“Until Death We Meet Again” is the album.

Since Ronnie James Dio’s death, a few bands have popped up from ex-members that pay homage to his style of songwriting.

For “Dream Child”, Craig Goldy is on guitars, Rudy Sarzo is on bass, Simon Wright is on drums, Wayne Findlay on keys and singer Diego Valdez who is really underrated. You also have other Goldy projects in “Dio Disciples” and “Resurrection Kings”.

And on the other side, you have “Last In Line” which has Vinny Appice on drums, Vivian Campbell on guitar, Andrew Freeman on vocals and Phil Soussan taking over on bass after the passing of Jimmy Bain.

Of course, any retro sounding metal/rock band has Frontiers Music president, Serafino Perugino as the protagonist to get the ball rolling. Only “Dio Disciples”, who have a deal with BMG for an album of original material are not on Frontiers Music.

But the real secret sauce behind all of these Frontiers Music projects is songwriter and producer Alessandro Delvecchio. He is a very underrated songwriter. If you listened to “Revolution Saints”, well Delvecchio is all over those albums. If you listen to “Resurrection Kings”, he’s also involved with that. The same for “Dream Child”.

To be honest I don’t really remember any Goldy projects post Dio and suddenly he has three bands in motion.

It’s a symptom of the times.

Artists might blame file sharing and streaming payments however the truth is the recording business was way overdue for a price reset, the same way the housing market prices are reset when the bubble bursts. Eventually the recording business will return to profit. It takes time. And the artist will make a profit again but it takes songs.

And the biggest issue for any artist is getting their songs heard. There is no MTV or various magazines, pushing the marketing of the band like the Eighties. There is the noise of the internet and man it’s noisy.

If artists think Blabbermouth, Loudwire, Sleaze Roxx, Melodic Rock or any other like minded site will market their album, then they are in for a nasty surprise.

The artists are in control and they should be assessing how are they making a connection with a fan.

I’ve heard the album on Spotify. I’ve actually heard in six times and I have six songs I like.

“Under The Wire”, “You Can’t Take Me Down”, “Games Of Shadows”, “Playing With Fire”, “Light Of The Dark” and “Until Death Do We Meet Again”.

A connection is made.

Will I purchase the CD?

No.

Because I’m waiting. I’m waiting to see what comes next.

If I go back to the 80’s, I didn’t buy “Holy Diver”, however it was the album which made the connection. “The Last In Line” was the album I purchased. I skipped “Sacred Heart” and “Dream Evil” purely because I selected to buy other records with the limited funds I had but I did pick up “Lock Up The Wolves”. Other fans will have their own unique experience.

Eventually I would purchase all of the records but that was well into the Nineties.

Again each fans experience is unique.

So when it comes to Dream Child, I’m interested. What comes next is up to the artist.

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

Piracy

The debates and arguments never cease. There is no doubt that piracy has grown the fan base of established acts but it hasn’t brought the recorded income with it. For newer artists, look no further than Ed Sheeran, who used peer to peer services to spread his music. Without it, he wouldn’t be the megastar he is.

Researchers also try to quantify how ticket sales equate to people who pirated music. And there is a lot of research out there supporting it. Metallica post Napster started to play stadiums on their own. They rarely did that previously. On top of that, Metallica tested the waters on ticket prices.

Read this interview about how they seized the moment.

I know I became a fan of a lot of bands because of pirated material. Bands like Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, Shinedown, In Flames, Evergrey, Killswitch Engage, The Night Flight Orchestra and Corroded just to name a few. And I had no qualms paying ticket prices if these bands came to town.

High profile bands from the Eighties also had a renaissance in the 2000’s because of pirated material. Motley Crue, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Europe and Whitesnake come to mind immediately.

In the same way MTV gave the Seventies bands another chance in the Eighties, piracy gave all the Eighties acts who had some traction another chance in the Two Thousands. Provided they still wanted to work together. Bands like Skid Row, Ratt, Warrant and Dokken unfortunately missed out because key members hated each other.

It’s a pretty simple business model.

Have your music available worldwide for free and people will access it.

All of those bands mentioned above have played cities they’ve never played before and to crowds larger than before. They played these cities without selling any real recorded product in those cities.

But the Copyright holders still complain.

Seriously, is stream ripping really an issue these days. Think about the work/time involved to rip a stream. The people who are doing all of that are not interested to pay for recorded music. Those people will pay via other methods.

I can tell you that in Eastern Europe, I have not come across a legitimate music shop. The few shops I have come across (and I use that term loosely) sell rips of albums. So how do you think the people in Eastern Europe will access music.

In most cases, they will download a copy of the album. But that hasn’t stopped bands from hitting Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Russia on tours. And streaming services are fragmented. Spotify is not available in Serbia, Romania and Russia. Apple Music is available in Russia, but not in Serbia and Romania.

And YouTube is always to blame when it comes to stream ripping, but all the service did was to provide a gap that existed in the market, which Napster highlighted and the labels tried to kill.

Seriously if stream ripping us an issue, then video ripping of video clips in the 80s would also have been an issue.

Who knew that my video ripping ways would end up being a $2000 a year music habit.

It happens. People start to invest when they are ready or have the means to. And again if there is no artist to fan relationship, all of these issues the labels find are pointless.

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

The One You Loved Is Gone

What a solo from Slash! Actually two solos.

But it’s the middle one that hooks me.

It’s one of those moments that brings a smile to my face. You feel the emotion in the phrasing and the note bends. It’s on par with his “Estranged”, “November Rain”, “Sweet Child O Mine”, “Civil War” and “Don’t Cry” solos.

The way Slash starts off the solo in the lower register playing G major pentatonic notes in the open string position, then sliding up to the 5th fret position of the scale and finishing up on the 10th fret position of the scale. It’s a lesson on using the modes of the scale and a lesson in constructing a solo to any wannabe guitarist.

Each time he moves up the neck it’s by sliding and he bends the fuck out of those notes either half a step or a full step.

And this is where Slash is a natural.

He bends the string before he picks it, so when he does pick the string, the listener hears the bent note first and then when Slash eases off the pressure on the string, the listener then hears the natural note. This is a special skill as Slash must know the right pressure to apply to the string to achieve the right pitch for the bent note.

For example, Slash will have his finger on the 7th fret on the G string. This is a D note. But what he will do is to bend the string so the listener hears the E note first. And then he will release the pressure so the listener hears the D note.

Other guitarists will pick the D note and bend up to the E note and back. It’s easier as you hear the D note and your ears can guide the bend to the E note.

But Slash, while he also employs this technique goes a step further and pre bends to the E note and when he picks it, it’s spot on the pitch.

Of course Slash isn’t the first to this. But he is the one we are talking about now.

And that acoustic intro where Slash takes an open C chord shape and plays it on the 10th fret of the 5th string to make a G chord and then he plays an open G chord on the 10th fret of the 6th string. It’s brilliant and again, he’s not the first to play open string chord shapes higher up on the neck but he does it in such an assessable way.

This combination between Slash and Myles is musically excellent. And yeah, it might sound like an Alter Bridge song, but that solo is 100% pure grade Slash.

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

The Discrimination Against Grassroots Clubs

We played a tournament recently that involved accepted grassroots and representative teams. The difference between grassroots and representative teams is money. The parents of kids who play in grassroots pay no more than $200 in registration, while the parents of kids who play in representative teams pay $2500 in registration.

So now that you know the difference you should understand what happens in these tournaments.

The tournament had three high performing grassroots teams enter an age group. They put all those three teams into one group with two low performing representative teams. So that meant 5 teams in Group A. The other two groups (B and C) had four teams each and all representative teams.

Now for the interesting part, only the team that came first in Group A would progress to the Semi Finals, not the team that came second. So effectively, the Governing State Body ensured that the high performing club teams knocked each other out, so only one would survive to make the semi-finals with three representative teams (who by the way played cross over matches of 1 v 3, 1 v 3 and 2 v 2 to decide the three SF spots).

Basically, the Club teams needed to come FIRST to get a spot in the SEMI FINALS and the representative teams could have come first, second or third and they still had the same chance.

However if they put these three club teams in each group, there could be a possibility that the semi-finals could involve the three club teams and one representative team.

And this is how discrimination occurs to protect an income source.

You have footballing associations so scared of failure and the brand damage which might come with it, they use their local area monopolistic power to influence everything.  If three club teams made it to the semi-finals of this tournament, how can the representative teams justify their inflated fees.

Imagine a starting line for a second.

All the kids that play football (soccer) are lined up on the starting line. A person says for all the kids who play football to take a step forward. And all of them do. The person then says, take a step forward if you want to play professionally and 80% of the kids step forward.

The person then says, all the kids who have played in a representative team take a step forward and 20% of the kids left take a step forward. The person then says, all the kids who are playing at grassroots, take a step backwards while the representative kids take another step forward.

The person then says, if you’ve played for a representative team for one year, take another step forward, for two years, two steps forward, for three years, three steps forward and for four years or more, take 4 steps forward.

And suddenly, you have 16 players who are steps ahead of the rest. But are those 16 kids really that far ahead or so much better than the grassroots kids.  Maybe there are 15 kids who don’t belong there, however due to being born earlier in the year, they have matured and grown faster than the later born players.

As the kids get older, those late developers are progressing and catching up or those players born at the start of the year that didn’t specialise early in football are also now catching up, but the Coaches and Technical Directors of representative teams (not all of them, but a lot of them) have a fixed mindset.

These people cannot believe how kids outside of their academies/representative teams can develop into great players on their own initiative or under the guidance of a grassroots coach or their own parent.

The Germans have shown how this is possible.

“Of those who were recruited at an age of under 11 or under 13, at the age of under 19, only 9 percent are left. On the other hand, those who made it to the national A team of Germany, those we see in the World Cup for example, were being built up gradually across all age stages.

The population of senior top athletes emerges in the course of repeated selection, de-selection, and replacements across all age stages rather than developing from those early selected.

There were athletes who did not exceed initial D squad (regional junior squad), they were first recruited into the system at 15 years. The C squad (the national junior squad) were first recruited at the age of 17. Those who made it to senior world class (A squad) were first recruited at 19 years. So the more successful at the senior level, the later was the recruitment into the talent development system.

Most early selected youngsters do not become successful seniors. Most successful seniors were not selected particularly early.”

Professor Güllich gave an example from the German football TDP (talent development programme) system

In Michael Calvin’s documentary, “No Hunger In Paradise: The Players. The Journey. The Dream”, of all the boys who enter the academy at 9 years of age in the U.K, less than 0.5% make it or make a living from the game. Of the 1.5 million boys playing football, only 180 will make it to the Premier League. A success rate of 0.012%.

As the article states, the odds are the same as being hit by a meteorite as you are going home.

There are good coaches and Technical Directors  in Australia, however there are also TD’s in denial. So focused on their source of income, and the selling of their curriculum pathways.

Governing sporting bodies have done a great marketing job in making people believe in the pathway. This magic golden brick road, a linear path, that promises athletes who start as beginners will end up as experts.

It’s a myth. It doesn’t exist.

The belief in “The Pathway” is destructive to the sport. The road to being a professional is different for every player. Kids start playing a sport for various of reasons. Some enjoy manipulating the ball, others want to have fun, others want to be a professional player from a young age, some just like competing and winning.

The pathway puts forward the idea that if a player joins an academy, then a rep team, then a National Premier League Team they will eventually progress to the Professional League and the national youth teams and main team.

Instead of everyone investing in “The Pathway”, maybe the monies and the coaches should be invested in building the grassroots clubs, there facilities, and growing Football from the grassroots clubs and not the other way around. And one thing is clear, if the child isn’t technically proficient, then they will struggle.

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

Douche Posts

There are posts on this site from a few years back that I call douche posts.

You see in 2013, a few friends and I were talking about Blabbermouth’s link bait headlines and how in most cases Blabbermouth always picked some content of an interview that could be deemed controversial as their headline.

Anyway I said to my friends I would do a few douche posts like that as an experiment and see what kind of reaction we get.

It’s been over 4 years old and I can confirm those douche posts are the least viewed posts on the site.

You see, these posts are part of an experiment to test a few internet theories.

Theory 1;

With so much information available to us, nothing lasts on the internet. In other words, the post of today is forgotten tomorrow like the album you spent 8 months recording is released this week and forgotten the next week.

Theory 2:

Clickbait always wins. This was based on how Blabbermouth and Loudwire promote their posts.

My posts were designed to be a “not too obvious” click bait post. Maybe a douche post to some people, but in order to prove or disprove experiments, you need real life actors.

Results

In this case click bait doesn’t win.

The experiment is still in the early stages but this experiment has shown to me that clickbait news stories are not really worth it. You might outrage some people, and get some views but it’s not the way forward in the long term or if you want to build something that lasts.

Clickbait brings the wrong audience to the site. For sites to grow, they need users who are engaged with it, creating their own social culture group. And that’s my aim.

The bigger websites like Blabbermouth care about the clicks to the story. That’s how they make ad revenue. All the best to them.

And while these posts are the least viewed they sure have some interesting comments.

Of course, comments need to be taken with a grain of salt here. Insulting ones are ignored, however some comments asking me to check out other things that support the commenters viewpoint are engaging and worthwhile.

What these posts have told me is that people shouldn’t take things too seriously. I sure don’t. We are all imperfect and I don’t mind poking some fun my way. That’s what makes us human after all.

And one more thing, good or bad, everything lasts on the internet. Sometimes it takes time for people to find it. You know that song you released today, it could be forgotten for years, maybe decades. But as long as it’s out there, someone will find it.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Coheed And Cambria

“Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures” is the new album. The title can turn people away who are not fans and to be honest these long album titles did sound peculiar and they triggered an interest for me back in 2007, however I still needed another recommendation to dive in.

It started with a recommendation that came from a Guitar World interview about the “No World For Tomorrow” album, which also came out in 2007 but I still did nothing with it.

Then a few months later I was given a burnt copy of “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth” by an old band member. I was at work and I couldn’t wait until I got home as I had some after work activities to do so I would have been home late. Anyway I placed the CD into the CD player of the PC, grabbed the shitty e-training headphones from work and pressed play.

The rest is history as I became a fan for life.

So here I am 11 years later and another new Coheed release has hit the streets. Being a fan, I have no problem spending the $172.95AUD for the Deluxe Box Set. I’ve done this same routine for the last four releases.

It’s another concept album.

My first concept experience was “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche, then “The Crimson Idol” from WASP and then “Streets: A Rock Opera” from Savatage. But Coheed take it to another level, with more or less each album except one being part of a concept story called “The Amory Wars”.

Here is a quick summary. There are more detailed ones out there.

A scientist called Sirius Amory discovers an energy source called “The Keywork” is actually souls who haven’t transcended. This happens on “The Afterman” album.

Many years later, a person called Wilhelm Ryan starts using the energy of the Keywork to murder and rule. Coheed and Cambria are robots created to destroy him. Along with a person called Inferno, who also is a robot, they attack Ryan’s fortress and manage to destroy it. But Ryan survives. However Coheed and Cambria think he’s dead. Thinking it’s over, their memory is wiped. This happens on “The Year Of The Black Rainbow”.

In “The Second Stage Turbine Blade” Coheed and Cambria get killed and their last surviving son, Claudio, is left to take up the charge. I’m still not sure how humanoid robots have children. But the recent Bladerunner movie also had this story arc.

Claudio finds out that he’s like the chosen one in “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth”.

In “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness” there is a character called “The Writer” that starts to fuck up the story because he’s going through a relationship break up. It reminds me of the Matrix characters “The Keymaker” merged with “The Architect”.

In “No World For Tomorrow”, Claudio destroys the Keywork and releases the trapped souls. And the new album takes place after this event.

Now of you want to read reviews of the album I suggest you check out these reviews from Metal Injection and Rock Sins.

I more or less agree with everything they say. In my view, if the album music doesn’t convert new fans the narrative will. It’s a win-win for Coheed and Cambria.

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