A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Divided We Stand. But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way.

Metallica resorted to a professional coach to get it together again. So did Aerosmith.

Motley Crue imploded at the peak of their powers with the firing of Vince Neil and then sued each other in the courts. Then when Vince Neil was back in, John Corabi was out and soon it was Tommy Lee that was out.

Bon Jovi and Megadeth resorted to group therapy. For Bon Jovi it was a way to keep the band together after “New Jersey” and for Megadeth it was a way to keep a stable line-up together.

Van Halen ousted David Lee Roth and there was a few years of bad mouthing each other. Then when Sammy Hagar was ousted, the feud turned ugly with both sides airing their dirty laundry.

Guns N Roses appetite for destruction more or less has the band as an Axl Rose solo project. According to Axl, “Slash is a cancer”. There was a lawsuit as well from Axl to Slash to stop the “It’s Five O Clock Somewhere” album as Axl claimed those songs were written for Guns N Roses by Slash.

Scott Weiland had a nasty split with his first act, Stone Temple Pilots (on more than one occasion) as well as with the Velvet Revolver project that featured Slash.

Sebastian Bach and Skid Row are still at loggerheads. Matt Kramer left Saigon Kick because he felt ripped off.

Machine Head and Adam Duce are in the courts because Adam Duce felt ripped off. Dave Lombardo is spitting venom at Slayer and their management team because he feels ripped off.

Paul Stanley went to town on Ace and Peter, calling them anti-semitic. Gene Simmons said that Ace and Peter didn’t deserve to wear the make up.

Dream Theater and Mike Portnoy ended their relationship abruptly.

And Rock and Roll was supposed to be fun. Yeah right, I hear people say.

The ugly truth is that the biggest obstacle standing between musicians and a career in music is the simple fact that we cannot get along.

Every band I have been in imploded because I was writing the music and the lyrics from the beginning. So when the other members realised that I am getting extra royalties and publishing moneys, then money becomes a factor and suddenly everybody wants to write a song or make suggestions to change a finished song just so they could a songwriting credit.

And I said NO a lot of times.

And that starts to put a strain on the relationship and the band dynamics. Eventually we became assholes to each other and one of the main commandments that I swear by is to “Don’t Be An Asshole”.

It’s easier said than done. Especially in metal and rock circles. You know, we are all alpha males in this business.

So how can we achieve a healthier band dynamic.

We need to handle criticism better. At one point in my life, the way I offered criticism wasn’t at all constructive and criticism towards me was seen as a personal attack.

Don’t be assholes to each other as everyone is replaceable.

True love of music is the best reward. Money is a byproduct.

Realise that if the guitarist does come in with a completed song, or an albums worth of songs, it’s okay. Same goes for the other musicians in the band. And if your song doesn’t make the cut, that is also okay.

If the band is a democracy, then happy creating, however let me tell you one truth. Bands that claim that their songwriting is a democracy are lying. There is always one that will be the boss.

Look at Van Halen. Songwriting credits originally showed Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth. However it is a well-known fact that Eddie Van Halen wrote all the music and David Lee Roth wrote the lyrics, with little input from Van Halen’s rhythm section.

Slow and steady wins the race. Remember a music career is a lifers game.

You will get screwed by someone in the music business. Don’t let it get you down. Roll with it and learn from it.

In order to be seen or be heard, we need to stand united.

Don’t see every other artist or band as competition. The history of rock n roll shows that it was friendships and recommendations from other artists that broke artists to an audience. This is needed even more so in 2014.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity

This Is The End (Sonata In (C)ourt # Minor)

Okay I am going to pick a side in the Adam Duce vs Machine Head court case.

Fans want their acts to be transparent and honest. Robb Flynn is pretty transparent in his journals. Adam Duce on the other hand used that transparency as a basis for a defamation case. The whole Machine Head message boards are down. Don’t expect any more Journals from Robb Flynn. They will be at a stop. How’s that for some democratic censorship?

The task of the band leader is to keep the ball rolling and to keep the money coming in. The task of the manager is to ensure that the ball is rolling so that they he also gets paid. The task of the other band members is to ensure that they play their part in keeping that ball rolling.

I think it is safe to say that Robb Flynn is the band leader in Machine Head. Since he is the band leader, if he says, “let’s get to work”, you would expect that the other band members would get to work. Adam Duce had some comments in relation to this in an interview from 2011;

“I had some issues with [the writing] process [for 2011’s ‘Unto The Locust’]. I kind of took myself out of it until it was time to write my bass lines. I wrote a bunch of music, or riffs, that Robb didn’t have any idea what to do with vocally, and so he didn’t wanna use any of that. But more importantly, I wrote lyrics that meant a lot to me and I gave it to him. I’ve given him page after page after page of lyrics. And it usually comes back that way, [where] he’ll use a verse or a part of it or whatever — ‘I’m gonna take this part and put it down here.’ . . . whatever works for the cadence. But I got kind of burned on putting my soul out on a piece of paper and giving it to him and when I see it next time, there’s no remnants of what the original idea was. And I was just like, ‘You know what, dude?! I’m not giving you any more fucking lyrics, because I’m fucking sick of looking at this, the way that it fucking turns out.’ I said, ‘I’ll work on it with you at the same time, but I’m not giving you any more lyrics. I’m not giving you pages of lyrics.’ He was fucking angry at me for a while, but you know… that’s fucking what happens.”

“I’ve thought about quitting on different occasions, but I mean,Robb‘s thought about quitting on different occasions as well. Dave[McClain, drums] actually quit the band. I can safely say everybody’s thought about quitting at one point or another.”

“…that’s what happens in a fucking situation like this, but it’s a one-way street in my situation, ’cause [Robb] can work on his stuff as long as he wants to until he’s got it [right]. But it doesn’t work the same way, because I’m not the singer, so I don’t decide which cadence it goes into and what works for me. The final say is always his, because he’s gotta sing it.”

Reading the above, it made me sympathise with Adam Duce’s plight. As an artist, you want to contribute. You want your message, your words and your music to also come out. Now I have been the Robb Flynn persona in a band and even though I tried to keep it as democratic as possible it never worked out. Band members became unhappy when their ideas got shot down or their lyrics got manipulated and re-worded.

Then I have been on the other side of the coin, where I have handed in music and lyrics to the singer/guitarist of the band I was in, only to have them rejected or ignored or re-arranged into something that wasn’t even close to the original idea.

In 2009, Flynn and Duce had an altercation which led to therapy. Word on the street was that Robb Flynn was ready to quit the band, until Duce reached out to call a truce; This is what Duce had to say about it in a Metal Hammer interview from 2009;

“I didn’t think about leaving [following the arguments in Europe] but I have thought about it. There have been times when I’ve thought, ‘Well, if this is the way it’s gonna be then I don’t want to be a part of [the band].’ But I was 30 when I thought about leaving, and I’m 36 now. I haven’t thought about leaving recently.”

Adan is referring to 2003, the same year that Robb Flynn mentioned in his journals of when Adam actually left but never bothered telling anyone.

“We may have fired Adam on 2-11-13, but Adam quit Machine Head well over a decade ago. He just never bothered to tell anyone… but we all knew it.”

Can anyone speak the truth in the music business anymore, without the threat of a court case? Can a band member leave or be fired without the threat of a future court case?

In the same Metal Hammer interview, this is what Robb Flynn said about the Amsterdam 2009 incident and about Duce;

“But sometimes it seems that he gets consumed with stuff at home that supersedes the band totally, you know. A lot of it had to do with trust issues, and him honoring, or not honoring, the things we agreed to. He doesn’t like touring, and that’s a hard thing to get your head around with a band that tours as much as we do. I was pretty sure he was going to quit in 2007 not long after [the Download festival], he just seemed miserable. When he broke his leg and we toured without him for the one tour, I think it helped him appreciate the band more, and it made me appreciate him more and what he brings to the band.”

Adam Duce was also a part of that same interview and he didn’t object to Robb’s statement. In the end, if Machine Head lives and dies, the buck stops with Robb Flynn. If Adam didn’t want to be a part of it anymore then he had to go. From the various incidents it looked like Machine Head was carrying Adam Duce.

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Music

Who Should Be Credited For What?

As a guitarist, I more or less write a whole song from start to finish with completed lyrics and melodies.

When I was in bands, I would bring the song to the band and we would start jamming it. In the course of the jam session, the drummer comes up with a bass drum pattern under the current riff, so the second iteration I decide to syncopate the current chords with the pattern. Does that mean that the drummer now deserves a song writing credit?

The singer doesn’t like the chorus melody and suggests that we tweak it a little bit to suit his style. We try it out and it works. I don’t like it, however the band’s harmony is more important than my ego. With the vocal melody change, the underlying riff now needs to change as it sounds too busy. So instead of playing the busy riff, i move to just standard chords. Does that mean that the singer now deserves a song writing credit?

On both occassions the changes happened within the context of the song that I submitted. No new music was brought in and no extra lyrics got written.

The bass player locks in with the syncopated drum/guitar groove and suggest that we do that again for an interlude. The song didn’t have an interlude, so we try it out and it works well. It grooves. Does that mean that the bass player now deserves a song writing credit?

The above examples are all different scenarios that happen within a band and it those scenarios in the end that lead to court cases when bands break up or fire members.

There is always a main songwriter in each band. That is why in Motley Crue you see a lot of songs written by Nikki Sixx. Iron Maiden have Steve Harris. Skid Row has Rachel Bolan. Zebra has Randy Jackson. Badlands had Jake E Lee as the musical force and Ray Gillen as the lyrical force. Same as White Lion. Vito Bratta was the music man and Mike Tramp was the words man.

In the majority of the cases, the original song writer will be listed as the song writer. There could be a band agreement in place here that distributes monies earned from the songwriter to the other band members in relation to licensing royalties.

For example, “This Is A New Song” has Member A listed as the main songwriter and all royalties, licensing and publishing go to Member A. Member A has a band agreement in place that states that Member A needs to distribute 30% of those monies to the other three band members. So if the band has four members, Member A will get 70%, Member B will get 10%, Member C will get 10% and Member D will get 10%.

Then Member D gets fired or just leaves. The band agreement is renegotiated to include Member E who takes up the percentage of Member D.

When a band member leaves or is fired, they are angry. They feel betrayed. They want payback. They want recognition. So what do they do. They start legal proceedings. They start to claim they should be credited as songwriters. They start to claim mismanagement of monies and how they have been underpaid. They start to claim that “This Is A New Song” was their idea and that Member A took that idea from them.

For example, should Sting take all the Puff Daddy royalty monies? Apart from Puff Daddy lifting the chorus vocal melody, it is the Andy Summers guitar riff that is heard throughout his version. Granted, that the guitar riff is based on Sting’s chord structure. Maybe there needs to be a bit more common sense used for licensing arrangements if pieces of music are sampled.

I am currently listening to the Lynch Mob album called “Wicked Sensation”. It is a great album and it involves some of the best work of the guys involved. A look at the album credits shows that all the music was done by George Lynch. This is what bass player Anthony Esposito had to say about the song writing sessions that took place in an interview on the Metal-Rules website;

“George plays the way George plays and there are always little turnarounds that he’ll always throw in. Oni [Logan] is a genius at taking little things, like “Do that little lick, George. Give me that.” and making that the verse. … Oni’s very talented with that; you can hear what Oni did to George. My argument is that George goes around telling everybody that he wrote all the music, listen to every record George did after that and it doesn’t come close. WICKED SENSATION was completely a band effort and the reason why it came out so great is you had [Wild] Mick [Brown], Mick is like the king of the chorus, he writes these big choruses, these hooks, he’s like a Beatle guy. It was all of our colours and I’m the dark guy, I was always like the punk rock guy. I think I brought in the dark textures like “For a Million Years” and “Hell Child” that are like dark, you know, because Dokken wasn’t dark, Dokken was “foofoo”, with a great guitar player. Lynch Mob had none of that, it’s all the elements of the four of us and that made that record so awesome because it wasn’t just one guy writing it all.”

So let’s use Lynch Mob as an example.

George Lynch comes in with music. Let’s just say that it just riffs. No song structures, just riffs. Oni Logan picks out the bits that he wants and he writes vocal melodies to those riffs. So the music is created by George Lynch and the lyrics/melodies are created by Oni Logan. However, those initial riffs from George Lynch are just that, riffs, so the song is arranged by Oni Logan, as he was making the call on which pieces of music to use for verses and choruses. So should be another credit for ARRANGEMENT. If that is the case the credits would look like this;
MUSIC – LYNCH
LYRICS – LOGAN
ARRANGEMENT – LOGAN

Another way is that George Lynch comes in with the music, all arranged in an intro/verse/chorus fashion. Oni Logan writes the lyrics to the Lynch’s arrangement. If that is the case the credits would look like this;
MUSIC – LYNCH
LYRICS – LOGAN
ARRANGEMENT – LYNCH

Another way is that George Lynch comes in with the music, all arranged in an intro/verse/chorus fashion, however Oni Logan re-arranges the order of the riffs. The verse riff becomes the intro, the chorus riff remains as the chorus and the intro becomes the verse riff. Mick Brown then makes the chorus the pre chorus and a asks George Lynch to come up with a riff to suit his vocal melody. If that is the case the credits would look like this;
MUSIC – LYNCH
LYRICS – LOGAN, BROWN
ARRANGEMENT – LYNCH,LOGAN, BROWN

Another way is that George Lynch comes in with the music and the lyrics with vocal melodies all arranged.If that is the case the credits would look like this;
MUSIC – LYNCH
LYRICS – LYNCH
ARRANGEMENT – LYNCH

In my view there needs to be a rethink here. How is the ORIGINAL CREATOR going to be credited? They are the ones that spent time in solitude coming up with musical ideas and the lyrical ideas before presenting it to the band.

Dee Snider is credited as the songwriter for Twisted Sister. He has a contract with Jay Jay French, where 20% of the publishing income goes to Jay Jay French. Should he have that contract? What about when the band goes through the process of jamming on Dee Snider’s mouth ideas.

The bottom line is this; if the original band stays together and it’s always smooth sailing and monies are paid on time and honestly (without any creative accounting) no one really cares who is credited. However as soon as band members leave and are replaced it starts to get messy.

Expect dirt like this to come out with Adam Duce’s case against Machine Head.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Chaos + Disruption = The Music Business

It’s a chaotic and disruptive time in the music business and with chaos comes opportunity.

On one side you have COPYRIGHT. And that can be broken down into a lot of other little chaotic categories like infringement, the length of copyright terms, copyright monopolies, the lack of works entering the public domain and so on.

The public domain is culture. Keith Richards once said, ‘you can’t copyright the blues.’

Culture is built and expanded by sharing stories and building on the works of others. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all of the sixties greats like Hendrix, Clapton and Beck used this concept. They built off the blues.

However copyright law and its real purpose got hijacked by corporations and everything changed. Instead of culture being built up in the works that the public creates and shares, the public is now faced with copyright corporations locking away works that should be in the public domain by now. These works that should be in the public domain do not benefit the original creators in any way, however they are beneficial for the few copyright monopoly gatekeepers.

For culture to thrive once again, it is important to respect the public domain.

Then on another side of the music business you have the RIAA who continually push lies out into the world, so that technology companies can do something to protect crap business models. Did you know that the global music industry sent it’s 100 million takedown notice to Google, to remove search links to certain sites. It looks like the RIAA doesn’t get it.

So if a person types in “free mp3” in Google Search what should Google return?

Sites that have free mp3’s or sites that the RIAA want Google to point to when that term is typed in. Maybe when that person types in free mp3, they want a free mp3 and have no interest in paying.

Then you have the ISP’s on another side that are caught up in the middle of all this as they offer the service that provides internet access to users. According to the RIAA and the record labels, the ISP’s allow “copyright infringement” to happen, therefore, they need to do something about it to help out the music industry. In Australia, this is heavily disputed, however in other parts of the world gradual response schemes are in place.

Then you have the technology companies trying to offer low cost services to fans of music. However, low cost to a fan means high costs to the RIAA and the record labels in licensing fees. This is before the new service is even allowed to trade. If the new service starts to trade without licensing in place, expect them to be litigated into submission.

Have you noticed that artists have not been mentioned anywhere as yet. That is how far the music business has come, where the actual music is only a small part of it, however it should be the major part of it. For the business to thrive, you need great music.

I was looking back to some of the releases in 2013 that I liked. Two of my favourites are “Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria”.

“Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria” are working to the “Keep your fan base close” mantra. Both of the bands moved from major labels into a DIY independent mindset, realising that their fans are king.

Exceptional fan service is the key driving force behind a bands success. I expect “Coheed and Cambria” will get a lot more fans purchasing the next super deluxe package for the new album because they did such a great job with “The Afterman” releases.

“Protest The Hero” on the other hand have fallen into the fan funded conundrum where the perks always arrive later than expected for international fans. I live in Australia and I am still waiting for the perks to arrive. The band have been clear with their information, advising that it will take 6 to 8 weeks.

It’s good old business 101, “treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you forever”.

Then you have bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Volbeat, Alter Bridge and TesserAct that have label deals.

Should those bands go independent like Protest The Hero or Coheed and Cambria. It all depends on a person’s definition of success and hard work. Going independent means that you need to build a team around you like any business start-up.

What are the benefits of going independent?

The lesson is simple. Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important data to the record label. The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it.

Coheed and Cambria moved over 100,000 units of their deluxe “Afterman” editions. At $60 (I think it was $68, however I will use $60 for the example) an edition, that comes to $6 million in revenue. If the band was on the label model, what percentage would the band see from that $6 million.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. Music is a lifer game. It is a slow and steady approach that builds careers.

Artists should be looking at development. With each song release, artists should never be afraid to try things out. Even try out new technologies that make it very easy for their fans to interact with them and their music. In a company, this is called research and development. Investing in your career is never a mistake.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed, however with the rise of streaming technologies, even this arm can be in danger of disappearing. Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Protest The Hero and Digital Summer have seen the recorded business side of things and have decided, hey we can do it better. That’s what great businesses are made of.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall? Time will tell, however if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify will win the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. iTunes rules the mp3 and app market. Will the same fate happen in the music business?

2019 Crystal ball predictions;

Coheed and Cambria – will get bigger and bigger. Their style is unique, so expect them to keep to that style, sort of like how AC/DC releases music in the same style or Iron Maiden.

Protest The Hero – proved to themselves that they still matter. Will get bigger and more crazier. The future of progressive metal.

Machine Head – will still be bigger then what they are. Robb Flynn understands the internet and understands the change that is coming. He will make sure that Machine Head rides the wave all the way to the shoreline, while Adam Duce circles in the undercurrent, ready to litigate the band into submission.

TesseracT – will become the next Pink Floyd.

Digital Summer – are one of the hardest working rock bands around like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. They will get bigger as they are lifers.

Avenged Sevenfold – will become the new Metallica.

Five Finger Death Punch – I have a feeling that they will break up after one more album.

Shinedown – will be bigger than what Aerosmith ever was.

Volbeat – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Metallica – will still be relevant in the same way the Seventies act remained relevant.

Dream Theater – will still tour and do a lot of side projects, however they will be replaced by TesseracT and Protest The Hero.

Black Veil Brides – will take over the void left by Motley Crue and Guns N Roses.

Trivium – will deliver an astounding progressive technical metal album.

Killswitch Engage – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Alter Bridge – The world needs Led Zeppelin to continue. Expect Alter Bridge to fill this void. They have one of the best vocalists of the modern era in Myles Kennedy. Marc Tremonti is a prolific writer. Call his Creed project, “The Yardbirds” and Alter Bridge as “Led Zeppelin.”

Bullet For My Valentine – will deliver their own version of “Master Of Puppets” and “The Blackening”.

Lets see how it pans out.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Departed Bassist Breaks His Silence; Adam Duce vs Machine Head

This is big.

Read the full story here.

If you don’t want to click on the link, here is the gist of the news;

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Machine Head kicked out bassist/co-founder Adam Duce just before signing a new record deal then falsely claimed he had quit the metal band because he was “sick of it,” Duce claims in court.

Duce sued the band, its three current members and manager in Federal Court, alleging trademark infringement, breach of partnership agreement and defamation, among other things.

Duce and defendant Robert Flynn founded the band in 1991. Machine Head has sold more than 3 million albums and done four tours that grossed several million dollars, according to the lawsuit.
For the first 10 years the band had various members, but from 2002 until February 2013, Machine Head consisted of Duce, Flynn, and defendants David McClain and Phil Demmel, Duce says.

The band formed a general partnership – Machine Head – and a corporation – Head Machine Touring Inc. – under which each member owned 25 percent. But despite this, Flynn got a larger portion of the band’s income, Duce claims.

The band released albums in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2011 and toured after each release.
“Despite their increase in popularity and touring revenue, plaintiff became concerned with how little income he was receiving, despite the time and hard work put in to developing the Band,” Duce says in the complaint.

He says he questioned Flynn and the band’s manager, defendant Joseph W. Huston, but never got a satisfactory answer.

In 2009, Machine Head toured with Metallica in Europe, grossing more than $2 million. A 2012 Europe tour grossed more than $3 million, according to the complaint.

“After receiving very little compensation despite the millions the band was bringing in, plaintiff requested and reviewed the records from the tours. Plaintiff found that Huston, Flynn, and PFM [Provident Financial Management] had squandered money throughout the trip without consulting plaintiff for the vast majority of ‘expenses,'” Duce says in the lawsuit.

Huston and the band’s management companies received a percentage of the band’s gross income, but the band members were not receiving “an income commensurate with the work put in and the income earned,” according to the complaint.

“Despite plaintiff’s expressed concerns, he was unable to make enough money to live within his modest means. Because of this, when the band was not touring, plaintiff supplemented his income as a licensed real estate appraiser,” Duce says.

On Feb. 11, 2013, as the band was seeking a new record deal, “Flynn, Huston, and the rest of the Band ‘fired’ plaintiff – expelling him from the band after he put 21 years of his life into it,” Duce says.

Duce believes he was fired just before the deal was completed with defendant Nuclear Blast America to allow the other band members to make a bigger profit.
Flynn announced Duce’s departure on Machine Head’s website by “directly attacking plaintiff’s work ethic,” Duce says in the complaint.

“Therein, Flynn stated, inter alia, ‘We may have fired Adam on 2-11-13, but Adam quit Machine Head well over a decade ago. He just never bothered to tell anyone … but we all knew it.’ Flynn went on further in the diary entry, continuing to say about plaintiff, ‘No matter how un-happy [sic] or fed up he got, quitting the band would be seen as ‘losing’ or a ‘failure.’ Truth be told, he was sick of it. Sick of touring, sick of recording, sick of practicing, sick of looking at album artwork, sick of being-on-a-team-but-never-getting-the-ball, sick of yearning-for-the-honeymoon-to-resume when 20 years deep it never does. Sick of never quite hitting the big-time, sick of carving the niche … sick of caring.'” (Ellipses in complaint.)

Duce was replaced as bassist and back-up singer in June 2013 with defendant Jared MacEachern.

Duce says he still holds interest in the band’s partnership and company, but has not received any distributions from either. He claims that no agreement was ever made about his share of future royalties and profits.

The other band members “simply kicked him out of the band and presumed he would forget about over two decades of hard work, dedication, and effort he put into the Band,” Duce says.

The band continues to use Machine Head’s mark for musical recordings, live shows and merchandise, and performs as Machine Head, though the public associates Machine Head as “featuring Adam Duce playing bass guitar and singing backup vocals as it has for over 20 years,” according to the complaint.

Duce also says his likeness is used on the band’s website and in promotions without his authorization.

He seeks damages and punitive damages for trademark infringement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of partnership agreement, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic relations, negligence, defamation and unfair competition, and he and wants the band enjoined from using the Machine Head marks.

He is represented by Yano L. Rubinstein

When a member leaves or is fired from a band (depending on what story you believe), this rubbish normally happens and it is a dead set shame.

It will all come down to the band agreement in place. Being in bands previously, the band agreement is a document that is meant to be fair amongst the band members. Of course, in every band there is always one member that goes above the call of duty to keep the wheels turning, however their percentage split is still not that huge compared to the other members.

I think it is safe to say that Robb Flynn is that person in Machine Head that goes above the call of duty. He is a lifer when it comes to music. He lives and breathes Machine Head. He is the main songwriter, the one that goes home and thinks about Machine Head. The one that dreams about Machine Head. The one that stays to the late hours recording the albums, mixing them and all of that.

There are no winners in court cases like these except the lawyers/attorneys.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Artists Need To Do More To Stay In The Game. Lessons from the Diary Of A Frontman.

I really dig “The General Journals – Diary of a Frontman… and Other Ramblings” that Robb Flynn puts out there. I see them as honest and man he talks some hard truths in there. In an environment where a lot of metal artists are still trying to get some ink in magazines and newspapers as a sign of success, Robb Flynn is going straight to the core. He is speaking to his audience without the need of a middleman.

The truths and frustrations on the song writing process, the whole parting with Adam Duce, the depression that came after it, the Beneath The Silt post, the acoustic shows, the gigs, the Power Chord post and so on.

Most fans of music dig the emotional connection and Robb Flynn is there on the front line trying to make a difference.

Love him or hate him, this is what Robb Flynn is doing for the metal community. He is making a difference. It doesn’t all have to be about YouTube videos or posts of cover songs. The blog is sufficient to keep people interested in Machine Head, without any new music coming. As soon as he releases a new Journal, hundreds of other websites pick up the story and add their own little take on his words.

Randy Blythe is another who is connecting with his photographs.

They are connecting with their fans on different levels.

Every post about the band dynamic and the song writing process, I can relate. I can connect with that. I am sure many other musicians can as well.

The metal community is still about the album cycle. This needs to change. It’s not the nineties anymore. Unless an artist’s product is so outstanding it sells itself, artists need to do more to stay in the game.

Too often artists are unapproachable. I have never met Robb, but I bet whoever he comes across, he will be open to discussion, because he is passionate about what he does. He is excited to talk about his past, the albums that influenced him and current music that has his interest.

Outside of the metal community, you can say that he is unknown to most. He is not mainstream, nor does he want to be. Most of us will fade away and those who create great art will live on, through their work.

Unlike so many in the metal community, Robb Flynn was a seasoned performed when he had success in 1994 with “Burn My Eyes”. As he is getting older, he continues to achieve success. From 2003, and with the addition of Phil Demmel, Machine Head has gone from strength to strength.

In a musical world run by Corporations, who only see the fame and the dollars, Robb Flynn is the anti-hero, the one that is looking for the career. You woodshed, you wait for your time, if you’re great, you will triumph.

He is not fussed if he makes a million dollars or thousands of dollars or hundreds of dollars. All he cares about is being involved with creating music. It’s all about the sound, the song and upon this foundation, Robb Flynn has created his best work. The post on “Halo” and how it took six months to be written is pure gold.

When the history of metal is rewritten in the future, Machine Head and Robb Flynn will be spoken about and revered.  

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

There Are No Instant Experts

I finished reading an article called “COMPLEXITY AND THE TEN-THOUSAND-HOUR RULE” by Malcolm Gladwell a few weeks ago and a few concepts from that article have been lingering around in my head.

CONCEPT:
There are no instant experts. The article used a study by psychologist John Hayes who looked at “seventy-six famous classical composers and found that, in almost every case, those composers did not create their greatest work until they had been composing for at least ten years. (The sole exceptions: Shostakovich and Paganini, who took nine years, and Erik Satie, who took eight.)”

While I would argue that rock and metal musicians start composing at an early age, for the purposes of this article I would use the first bands that artists are involved in as year zero or the birth date of when artists started composing.

Basically it’s rare for a debut album or the first piece of music an artist creates to be their best. Of course there are some outliers to this concept, however the concept generally works. So, how does the concept fit into the metal and rock world.

Let’s start with one of my favourite bands at the moment, Machine Head.

Their debut album “Burn My Eyes” came out in 1994. For a groove thrash metal band, the album was a success.

So who is the main composer on “Burn My Eyes?” Of course the answer is Robb Flynn.

Robb Flynn started writing songs around 1984 and by 1985 he was in a band called “Forbidden” or “Forbidden Evil” (depending on which story you read). So Robb Flynn’s birth date for creating music is 1984. Comparing these dates with the concept, you can say that Robb Flynn created a great piece of work with “Burn My Eyes” ten years after he started composing. Since this album is also the debut album of Machine Head, in relation to the concept, for the band Machine Head, this is also Year Zero or the bands birth date for composing.

Burn My Eyes wasn’t Machine Head’s greatest work. That happened in 2007, with “The Blackening.”

From a Robb Flynn perspective, his greatest work happened 23 years from when he started composing. From a Machine Head perspective, the bands greatest work happened 13 years from when the band started composing.

Of course the biggest variable with the concept is that most bands or artists are the sum of their parts. This is so true for Machine Head. For “The Blackening” all of the members played an important part in the compositions.

Phil Demmel’s path is very similar to Robb Flynn’s. He founded the band Vio-Lence in 1985. It is safe to assume that he started composing a year before.

From Demmel’s perspective, it was 23 years from when he started composing that he was involved in the creation of a great work, with “The Blackening”. As already mentioned, from a Machine Head perspective, the bands greatest work happened 13 years from when the band started composing.

However with Demmel joining the band in 2003, this ushered in a new version of the band, so the composition birth date for this band goes back to 2003.

So for Machine Head “Version 7”, it took them 4 years to create their greatest work.

For completeness, here are the previous versions of Machine Head.
Version 1 (operated from 1992 to 1994) was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Tony Costanza.
Version 2 (operated from 1994 to 1995)was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Chris Kontos.
Version 3 (operated for a few months in 1995)was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Walter Ryan.
Version 4 (operated from 1995 to 1998) was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Dave McClain.
Version 5 (operated from 1998 to 2002) was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Ahrue Luster and Dave McClain.
Version 6 (operated from 2002 to 2003) was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce and Dave McClain.
Version 7 (operated from 2003 to 2013) was Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Phil Demmel and Dave McClain.
Version 8 (operating from 2013) is Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel, Dave McClain and Jared MacEachern.

So by looking at the above versions and taking into account the concept that all great works happen ten years from when they start composing, the new version of Machine Head, will create their greatest work in 2013 (of course provided that they are still together). However if Adam Duce, remained in the band, Version 7 of the band would have been creating their greatest work right now.

So what should be the greatest triumph of the Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Phil Demmel and Dave McClain era, will be a great debut album for the Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel, Dave McClain and Jared MacEachern era.

Let’s look at Motley Crue. Based on sales figures alone, “Dr Feelgood” is their piece d resistance and it was released in 1989. The main songwriters on Dr Feelgood are Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars.

Nikki Sixx, started in bands in 1975, therefore this is the year that Nikki Sixx started composing.

Vince Neil and Tommy Lee started off in bands around 1979, therefore this will be the year that they started composing.

Mick Mars on the other hand goes back to 1972, therefore this will be the year that Mick Mars started composing.

The band Motley Crue was formed in January, 1981. This is the year that the band started composing.

From a Nikki Sixx perspective, he was involved in creating “Dr Feelgood”, 14 years from when he started composing.

From a Mick Mars perspective, he was involved in creating “Dr Feelgood”, 17 years from when he started composing.

From a Tommy Lee and Vince Neil perspective, they were involved in creating “Dr Feelgood”, 10 years from when they started composing.

In relation to the band Motley Crue, it was 8 years from when the band started composing.

So based on the concept, the version of Motley Crue that we know, will not be able to create another masterpiece. So how did they end up creating “Saints Of Los Angeles” which everyone said is their best album since “Dr Feelgood.”

The answer is simple (just take a look at the songwriters on the album);

The song writing team of Nikki Sixx, James Michael, DJ Ashba and Marti Frederiksen wrote the songs “L.A.M.F”, “Face Down in the Dirt”, “What’s It Gonna Take”, “Down at the Whisky”, “Saints of Los Angeles”, “Welcome to the Machine” and “Goin’ Out Swingin.”

The song writing team of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, James Michael, DJ Ashba and Marti Frederiksen wrote the songs “Mutherf&cker of the Year”, “The Animal in Me”, “Just Another Psycho”, “Chicks = Trouble” and “White Trash Circus”.

Finally the song writing team of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, James Michael, DJ Ashba and Marti Frederiksen wrote the song “This Ain’t a Love Song.”

Even though the product was Motley Crue, three of the main composers are not from Motley Crue.

So by looking at all of the above, the song writing team of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, James Michael, DJ Ashba and Marti Frederiksen should create their best work by 2018. That is provided they stick around.

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