Copyright, movies, Music, My Stories

Bands

Bands, the way we have known them will be no more.

It will be the era of the songwriter. It might look like a band on the outside but really it will be the main person or two and the supporting musicians. Sort of like how it was in the 50s and 60s up to a certain point. Until The Beatles changed everything.

For example, like James Hetfield and The Metallica Band or like Jon Bon Jovi and The BJ Band or like David Lee Roth and The Van Halen Band or Rob Halford and The Judas Priest Band.

Maybe they will just use their name like Bryan Adams, Keith Urban, Don Henley, Neil Young or Ozzy Osbourne.

Even Alice Cooper started off as a band and morphed into a solo artist with musicians supporting the artist.

Maybe a return to the Crosby, Stills and Nash kind of names.

These are just examples of using artists that I know. The new artist could use just their name or their name with a backing band or a group name but the reality will be that the group is really just the artist with other musicians supporting the artist.

If you look at bands right now and in the past, most of their songs are written by one main member. Sometimes two or three members, especially when bands had artists who paid their dues and had experiences before joining.

Ignore pop songs for the moment who seem to have 10 writers to start with, and if the songs are a hit, there is a writ and more songwriters are added to the list.

Yeah I know what your saying, U2, Def Leppard, Black Sabbath and Van Halen just to name a few, have albums saying that the songs are written by all the members.

But the truth is, what is in print for us to see on the lyric sheet or album, is not always the truth. Songs are complicated beasts when it comes to a band setting. It didn’t used to be that way but it is that way now. Especially when there is money involved.

For example ASCAP is a music publisher in the US, had total revenues of $1.226 billion dollars in 2018. They paid $1.109 million in royalties back to artists. And they kept $117 million in administration costs. Basically money for nothing and the chicks for free to the publishing company.

That’s just one of many in the US. Then there is BMI who had total revenues of $1.283 billion and paid out $1.196 billion to artists by 30 June 2019. And they kept $87 million for administration costs.

And each country has multiple publishing companies. And each country has record labels. And everyone is making multi millions from music for nothing.

The actual copyright registration and the splits associated with the song plus the band agreement which also has percentage splits determine who is entitled to what. Van Halen even took Michael Anthony off the songwriting credits when they renegotiated a multi million dollar publishing deal in the early 2000’s.

COVID-19 has changed the game.

A normal band makes their money on the road.

Some bands might have streams in the billions and own their own copyrights, but if they are that level, they will have a team of people in their organization like managers, legal, accountants and other employees who do fan club and website.

Right now, no one can tour and they don’t know when they can start touring again because having so many people in a room, theatre, arena or stadium is a problem when it comes to social distancing. And even if concerts are allowed, will people just go back to life as normal or be cautious. Maybe concerts will resume with a cap of 500 people max.

And no one gets into bands or starts writing songs to get paid. They do it because they love it and there is a need within them to create. But with any artist that starts to become popular, money is a byproduct of creating something which resonates.

And then it becomes about the revenue streams and how is the artist going to make money.

Streams will pay and the artist will get more if they own their rights. And the person who wrote the song will get two bites of that revenue. One from the streaming service to the Copyright owners account and another from the Rights Organization which administers their catalogue. This always causes resentment between members because one person has more than others.

Especially when the band agreement in place favors one over the other. And the other member feels like their songs should be considered but they are not up to standard.

Remember when Kirk Hammet told everyone he lost his phone with riffs and that’s why he had no song writing contributions on the “Hardwired” album but James set the record straight when he said that Kirk’s riffs just weren’t there, meaning they weren’t good enough to James and Lars to consider.

We wait to see what live music will look like post COVID-19.

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Alternate Reality, movies, My Stories

Catching Up

It’s strange.

Is it right to even say I am using this free time I have at night to catch up. Everything is just strange. The new normal in a strange land.

I’ve watched movies like this, then walked away from the movie, talking about the movie and then going on to live life again. And movies like “Outbreak” and “Contagion”, it feels like we are living in the script. As Morpheus said to Neo, in a construct.

And COVID-19 is keeping me home. I have been working from home for two weeks and now it is indefinite. So has my wife and I’ve kept my kids home from school since Thursday last week.

And the rules the government is applying are confusing. One person per 4 squared metres, social distancing but school with 30 kids in a class room is still on.

And all of my sporting commitments are on hold as every sport is either postponed or suspended to a date. So I’ve done what everyone else seems to be doing. Catch up on my Netflix and Amazon Prime shows.

All Or Nothing – Brazil National Football Team
There is a quote in this movie from the coach Tite, about courage.

How you need to have the courage to try things, do something new, the courage to help a teammate in need and if you fail, the courage to rise back up and try again.

And we need courage today more than ever to survive the madness around us. Life as we know it, is changing.

Very fast.

Things that we took for granted are just not the same anymore. And it never will be.

Altered Carbon – Season 2
I really like the concept of this show. It covers a lot of technology and science concepts, plus it uses our history.

In the show, Earth humans travelled decades to occupy a new world which had extra-terrestrial lifeforms on it, but the humans didn’t tell planet Earth about it, so they went about cleansing the world of “The Elders” as the original inhabitants are known. The occupation of a lot of lands in the world happened like this by the British, French and Spanish

Then there is the concept of immortality and cloning.

Memories/life experiences are saved on stacks, which are then backed up and if the sleeve (the body) dies, a new one is “spun up”. Of course, this is if you have money. The poor don’t have this luxury. And what I mean by “spun up” is that they already have a cloned body ready, on ice, waiting to have the memories downloaded into it, and its business as usual.

And the scientist who came up with the technology saw how it could it was used for evil and decided to destroy it and became a terrorist.

Then there is the concept of AI helpers and virtual constructs.

The First Purge – Movie

The NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America), had to come up with a creative way to get their economy and unemployment back on track.

So they designed a 12 hour event, called “The Purge” where all forms of murder are legal. And they did a social experiment in a suburb full of housing projects and derelict buildings, which was also populated by dark skin residents. Of course the NFFA have only white skin in their ranks.

But when the people of the area, didn’t really start killing each other, the NFFA brought in mercenaries with machine guns and rocket launchers to increase the body count and make the night a success, so the day could become a yearly event.

All in the name to get rid of the old, the homeless, the sick and the poor. And today, we have a virus doing the exact same thing. Except this virus takes the wealthy as well.

It doesn’t discriminate.

John Wick 3 – Parabelum – Movie

I like the John Wick movies. The first one is brilliant and they haven’t topped that, but this one is cool as well.

And the concept of “living under the high table” is mentioned a lot here. We have our society and our governments and the laws which come from that.

Then you have a secret society which has its own set of rules. But it still retains a hierarchy structure and even the High Table has an Elder who sits above the table.

And the question the movie asks is; what kind of life do you want to live and be remembered by?

A life under the control of someone and doing their deeds for them or a life that you see as free to make your own choice.

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

The Record Vault – Bonfire

From Germany.

My older brothers had a friend called Greeny. He had funds and he liked metal and rock music. It was from his car stereo I heard bands like Cinderella, Great White, Leatherwolf and Bonfire for the first time. 

I really got into this band. I thought they would be the next big thing. But they didn’t get there. Not for a lack of trying.

And it pisses me off that these two albums are not on Spotify Australia.

Fireworks

Released in 1987.

There isn’t a bad track on this album. Maybe when it came to the charts and the hearts and minds of consumers, its many years too late in sound and style, as the public by 1987 was hooked on Jovi, Van Halen, U2, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, GNR and soon, Metallica.

And then you get the Bonfire sound, which is rooted in melodic heavy metal circa 1982 to 1985.

The album tracks are written by vocalist Claus Lessmann, guitarists Hans Ziller and Horst Maier and bassist Jörg Deisinger.

“Ready 4 Reaction” is the opening track and it blasts out of the speakers. “Never Mind” continues the melodic rock. “Sleeping All Alone” is an attempt to hit the charts as Jack Ponti and Joe Lynn Turner have a co-write. It didn’t chart, however it’s a good song.

“Sweet Obsession” also has Joe Lynn Turner and Jack Ponti as co-writers. I got the single and then I couldn’t find the album for years. So I dubbed it.The current version of the band doing the rounds these days always reference this album in the live arena and they totally ignore the follow up.

Point Blank

Released in 1989.

A big shift in personnel happened on this album with founder Hans Ziller being fired even though the album features his music. And before Ziller was fired, guitarist Horst Maier-Thorn was also let go.

Desmond Child was brought in. Bob Halligan Jnr was brought in and Jack Ponti was brought back. Desmond Child even recovered the song “The Price Of Loving You” for his own solo album, that’s how high he held it.

Even Michael Wagener was hired to produce. It was an all assault to get the music buying public into the band.

And the album did nothing.

There was no promo in Australia for it and a little paragraph in the Metal Edge magazine many months after it was released tipped me off.

Like the debut, the album sound was out of date by a few years. By 1989, the tastes and sounds morphed even more. This album would have done great if it was released in 1987.

Acoustic/Unplugged was becoming a thing and the Blues had come back into the sounds of rock and metal with bands going back to their roots.

Of course, Motley Crue released a thunderous sounding album dripping with groove and GNR was still riding the wave of their punk boogie oriented debut album, furnished with an EP of acoustic songs.

And somewhere in between Bonfire sat, without one of its founding members.

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

Past Success

Is past success a good indication that you will have success again in the future?

Netflix thinks so, with the signing of the “Game Of Thrones” TV show creators to a $200 million deal. Their track record on reinterpreting other peoples material is pretty good, but their original content is pending review especially how they reinterpreted the last two seasons of GoT without really having source material to fill in the details.

This is like signing an artist to a $200 million deal when all of their songs are written by outside writers.

Remember the band Bananarama. They had a hit with “Venus”, a cover song and then their other hits were songs written by a British songwriting team called Stock-Aitken-Waterman. Well they got the mega deal, but didn’t really get the hits again.

Kevin DuBrow was given a million dollar contract to form his own band DuBrow but what the label failed to notice was that Quiet Riot’s two biggest songs are cover songs. Or offering Jay Jay French from Twisted Sister the same deal when Dee Snider wrote the material which made the band famous.

When Dokken splintered, Geffen went after Don Dokken and Elektra went after George Lynch, but what both labels failed to notice was that Jeff Pilson was the maestro, with a hand in co-writing all of Dokken’s most successful tracks. But no label went after him.

Even when Vince Neil left Motley Crue, he was courted by label’s and Warner Bros eventually signed him. But his fame is based on tracks Nikki Sixx had written.

Good business sense would be to see what their original shows or movies end up like.

But businesses don’t think like that. Netflix is losing subscribers for the first time in 11 years, Disney is taking back their content for their own streaming service and HBO and Amazon are also keen to get the GoT guys.

So by Netflix having these guys on board, by 2022 they would expect something in return. And Netflix would count on people keeping their subscriptions because of what they have in the pipeline.

But it’s all based on one key metric, as long as the GoT TV show creators brand doesn’t get further damaged in the meantime.

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movies, My Stories

What Is The Point In The Long Night

Spoilers Ahead.

One thing about great script writers is the details. They focus on the details and they get it right.

Have you watched a Tarantino movie missing in details?

Of course not.

And when the GoT writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, had source material to work with via the published books, they had details. Once they went past the books, they had a story outline from George RR Martin and they needed to fill in the details themselves. And they are lost in this department.

And I can’t shake the feeling that the writers have been watching too many big budget comic book movies like Avengers for story details.

They’ve built up Bran’s character to be like Dr Strange, but the acting is very different. A Stark in both stories saves the day. The aliens/undead threat in both stories is severe, but not as severe as the human political threat and back stabbing.

Which brings me to the point of Jon Snow?

Sure there will be people interested in the romantic ideal of Jon sitting on the Iron Throne especially when they fleshed out his ancestry. But it was all about the Wall, The Night King and Winterfell. A lot of people couldn’t care less about him and the Iron Throne. That’s not his story. Seriously would anyone want him on the Throne?

He makes bad decisions and stupid mistakes and has to rely on other people to save him. His whole mission was to fight the whitewalkers and in the end he didn’t even get to fight any of them. He just struggled riding a dragon for the whole episode. That’s it. And somehow he miraculously survived liquid nitrogen being sprayed around him from a re-animated dragon.

Details are important.

I am sure many asked how did Arya get past all of those White Walkers, and Twitter has a section devoted to how she sneaked up to Jon Snow in earlier episodes without being heard. But this time around, there are White Walkers around, and the Dead, who she was hiding from a few scenes ago in the library.

A long build-up of 8 years for the Night King threat and there isn’t really nothing after “The Long Night” that makes me feel the need to watch “Game of Thrones” again. “The Two Towers” left you with a need to watch “The Return Of The King”. “Empire Strikes Back” left you with a need to watch “Return Of The Jedi”. “The Last Jedi” doesn’t leave me with a need to see anything else after it and this is the same feeling. It feels like an end, not as a cliff hanger.

It did have some good stuff. The hallways and rooms of Winterfell became like a horror labyrinth with the dead following and chasing. The fire storm around the night king and he didn’t burn, points to a Targaryen blood line. I was laughing so hard when the dead “sacrificed themselves” on the fire to form a bridge so the other dead can walk over it. Who would have thought, the dead can commit suicide in order to aid the other dead to succeed.

But from the very first episode, the whole “winter is coming” and the “white walker” threat was an important story and it all finished within one episode, which I am okay with, but really, what was the point apart from a mere distraction and a way to reduce the numbers of people alive. All they needed was a Thanos moment and a click of some fingers to do it.

And all of those Whitewalkers created from human babies didn’t even fight anyone, WTF.

But it is a sickness that I will watch the remaining episodes and of course the next Star Wars movie, titled, “The Rise Of Skywalker”. Till next time.

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