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

Cash From The Old

I read on a blog post by Seth Godin that “Book publishers make more than 90% of their profit from books they published more than six months ago. And yet they put 2% of their effort into promoting and selling those books.”

So what do you reckon the numbers would be for music?

Would it be fair to say that 90% of the income that the record labels get comes from music that came out six months ago compared to what is new.

The majority of people don’t normally purchase creative content all the time but when they do, they buy what is popular. It’s the reason why each year the “Black” album from Metallica sells. It’s the reason why “IV” from Led Zeppelin still sells. It’s the reason why “No More Tears” still sells. It’s the reason why “Slippery When Wet” still sells.

Then you have artists putting out new stuff.

Back in the MTV era, the new stuff sold well on the first week. It was marketed heavy by the record labels, all on the budget of the artist. The record labels controlled the distribution channel. So many other industries came to be because of this distribution chain. Vinyl manufacturing plants, cassette manufacturing plants, CD manufacturing plants, video clip services, record shops, delivery drivers, image consultants and so forth.

However we are living in a different era, one controlled by consumers. And the new stuff released by artists in 2017 is originally purchased by a smaller hard-core super fan group. Much like to 70’s. Then in time as word spreads, people will check out the release and keep it in the conversation. Much like the 70’s. You know that person that doesn’t purchase much creative content a year, well there is a pretty high chance they will purchased something that is popular when they decide to purchase. Like Metallica’s “Hardwired” or “Seal The Deal and Let’s Boogie” by Volbeat.

Actually Volbeat is one of those stories that you can write forever about. Death metal musicians in the 90’s. By 2000 they branched out into the Volbeat sound. By 2010 they had an opening slot on the “Death Magnetic” tour and U.S success came. “Seal The Deal and Let’s Boogie” was released June 3, 2016. It’s still in the conversation with physical sales, streams and radio spins. Even their “Beyond Hell, Above Heaven” album released April 24, 2012 was certified Gold in the U.S on March 22, 2016. Yep, 4 years after its release.

“Inhuman Rampage” by Dragonforce was released on January 9, 2006. On July 21, 2017 it was certified Gold in the U.S. Not bad for a power metal act and it happened 11 years after the album was released. “Come What(Ever) May” by Stone Sour was released on August 1, 2006 and on July 21,2017 it was certified Platinum in the U.S. Yep, 11 years after the album was released. “I Get Off” is a single from Halestorm. It was released on February 25, 2009 and 8 years later on July 12, 2017, the single was certified Gold in the U.S.

The one song I want to bring to your attention just to show how out of touch and behind the RIAA and their certification systems are is “Human”.

“Human” is a song by Rag’n’Bone Man. It was released on July 15, 2016. On July 7, 2017, a year after its release it was given a Gold certification for 0.5 million certified units by the RIAA. On Spotify, the song has 206,745,038 million streams. It was in Spotify’s Top 50 hits for six months before radio and the labels and the normal PR label press outlets caught wind of it. To put into context, Metallica’s most streamed song on Spotify is “Enter Sandman” with 166,178,415 streams.

What’s the above telling us?

Recognition doesn’t come on day one or week one or month one or year one. It percolates year after year after year until it boils to the surface. Will you be around to capitalise and monetise? Maybe, but I can guarantee one entity which will be around to monetise. The record label and the publishers. The labels/publishers via their lobby groups like the RIAA have got Copyright wrapped around their little finger so tight and they have the power/money to influence the copyright conversation even more in their favour.

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

It’s A Singles World

All of the “billions lost” post Napster can all be tracked back to the SoundScan era. According to Wikipedia, on May 25, 1991, Billboard started to use SoundScan data to work out the Billboard 200 Top Albums. Finally the music industry had a proper sales metric to gauge what was popular.

Prior to the SoundScan era, the charts were formulated by an honesty system from every record shop in the land. This meant that the manager of the record store had the power to decide what was popular. So the record labels swooped in and started corrupting the process.

But when it all went to SoundScan data, the record labels saw a lot of people were buying metal, rock and country than the old corrupted honesty system claimed.

Metallica had a large audience before the “Black” album came out, however their “sales” just didn’t match the concert attendances. Why would a record store manager tell Billboard that a band who had no MTV presence was moving product out especially when the same record store manager is encouraged by record label executives to report something different.

And like everything else in music, the record labels were dragged kicking and screaming into the new SoundScan era. SoundScan actually presented their proposal to the record labels in 1990 and of course the labels rejected their proposal. The MP3 technology was also presented to the record labels once upon a time before Napster and it was also rejected. But when Billboard made the deal with Soundscan a year later, the labels had no choice but to comply, although with much complaining. Gone was the “fixing” of the system by record label executives and “in” was the “people power” of the system, which put the careers of artists in the hands of consumers.

If this sounds familiar, Steve Jobs and Apple did the exact same thing to the record labels with the iTunes store.

Suddenly, the labels and the press had no idea what was happening.

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In the first month of the SoundScan era, Skid Row’s “Slave To The Grind” skyrocketed to number 1. In the space of two months, it was purchased over a million times. Trackable purchases, not inflated ones based on a store manager opinion.

For comparison, the self-titled debut album was listed to have sold “3 million” records under the good old honesty system. Really.

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And popularity is a monolith that dominates. If the album is selling and doing well, more people will turn to it. And in the internet era, this is so true. The chaos era means we return to what we know. Sure, we might listen to some obscure acts or certain scenes. Like for me, Swedish Hard/Heavy Rock has me hooked at this point in time. But that’s via my choice and not by some flash marketing campaign or by some feature in a magazine.

And the reason those acts are not getting rich is because just a few people are. It’s always been that the one percent of acts that become global underpin the whole industry. And SoundScan showed the recording industry just how global Metallica really is.

“Enter Sandman” comes out two weeks before the album release and it gets added to radio. Metallica have a listening party in Madison Square Garden. The song and the pending album release is building a buzz like never before. MTV takes notice and suddenly mainstream radio stations that play “pop” music have the single in rotation. The album comes out and it debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Suddenly, the “Black” album is selling by the hundreds of thousands. It’s trackable. And then, the back catalogue of Metallica started selling. Normal rock music lovers couldn’t avoid it. Pop fans couldn’t avoid it. Skater fans couldn’t avoid it. Suddenly fans of all genres are embracing Metallica.

I recently had a look at the recent RIAA certifications and it more or less confirms we are living in a “singles” world.

Check out all of the certifications that Shinedown received recently.

There is a platinum certification for “Simple Man”, a song released in 2004. This is what music is about. The longevity. 12 years later, people are still listening to the song and are still purchasing it. However, the record labels and a lot of misguided artists believe it’s about the instant payday. It’s not.

Next up is a Platinum certification for “The Sound Of Madness” single. Again, it’s been a long time between certifications but this song is a monster and as classic as anything from the classic rock era. Like “Simple Man” before, it’s about the longevity. 7 years later, it’s still listened to and it has close to 26 million streams on Spotify.

It’s just a matter of time before “Call Me” gets a certification and it was never even released as a single, however it has been streamed close to 33 million times on Spotify.

Then you have a few Gold certifications for the songs “Bully”, “The Crow And The Butterfly” and “Diamond Eyes”. “Bully” is a favourite of mine. It’s message is powerful.

 

Speaking of singles, Disturbed is killing it on the back of “The Sound Of Silence” and their album is moving units on the backs of their cover.

And Muse are now moving into album certification territory on the backs of some very large singles. “Absolution” gets a platinum gong, 12 years after it was released. Again, the longevity is more important than the payday.

So again, on the strength of a few songs here and there, artists are seeing an interest in their back catalogue. It happened to Metallica with “Enter Sandman”. It’s happening to Disturbed with “The Sound Of Silence”. It’s continually happening to Muse and Shinedown. This is music and music is for the lifers.

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

The Same Piracy Issues That Affect Metal Bands Affect Other Genres As Well

I’m over the “whole rock is dead” stories, the “copyright infringement is stealing” stories or “because of the internet/piracy no new artists will come out and be as big as the artists that came before them” stories.

First, let’s look at artists that are not in the metal/rock arena that have faced the same struggles/issues as metal/rock artists.

“The Script” is a pop rock band from Ireland. Their first album came out in 2008, when internet piracy on music was at extreme highs. It had Platinum certifications in Europe, Ireland, UK and Australia.

The second album “Science and Faith” came out in 2010 and it also had Platinum certifications in Ireland, UK and Australia.

Album number three, titled “3” came out in 2012 and it had Platinum certifications in Ireland and the UK, with Gold certifications in Australia and Philippines.

The fourth album “No Sound Without Silence” released in 2014 has Platinum certifications for UK and New Zealand with a Gold certification for Australia.

So the albums haven’t sold millions upon millions. They have no RIAA certifications for sales in the U.S, however their singles have;

Their main song, “Hall Of Fame”, released in August 2012, was certified 2x Platinum in June 2013. Their new song “Superheroes” was certified Gold in March 2015. The song “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” released in 2008, was certified Platinum is May 2013. The song “Nothing” released in January 2011 was certified Gold in December 2011. The song “Breakeven” released in March 2009 was certified 2x Platinum in May 2011. The song “For The First Time” released in January 2011 was certified Platinum in July 2013.

The statistics to me are saying that the songs are more important than the whole album package. And guess what, it’s always been that way, even in the heyday of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

To continue, they also played the “O2 Arena” in London on March 13 and 14.

They sold 32,404 tickets from the 35,167 tickets available. A ticket for the concert was either $US52.57 or $US41.07. The total gross earnings of these two shows for the promoter SJM Concerts was $1,670,320US.

You see the same issues that affect metal and rock musicians, affect The Script. However that didn’t stop them from making a lot of money for their record label from recorded music and to have gross concert sales of over a million dollars.

Florida Georgia Line is a country duo that formed in 2010. In 2012, “Here’s to the Good Times” came out. The album has sold over 2 million copies in the U.S for a double Platinum certification. In 2014, “Anything Goes” came out. That album has sold over 715,000 copies in the US and it already has a Gold certification.

But the interesting part is the song certifications.

The song “Cruise” released in April 2012 was certified 9x Platinum in January 2015. The song “This Is How We Roll” released in December 2012, was certified 3 x Platinum in February 2015. The song “Round Here” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in June 2015. The song “Dirt” released in July 2014, was certified 2 x Platinum in April 2015. The song “Get Your Shine On” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in September 2014. The song “Here’s To The Good Times” released in December 2012, was certified 2 x Platinum in July 2014. The song “Stay” released in December 2014, was certified Platinum in March 2015.

The songs “Sippin’ On Fire”, “Sun Daze” and “Anything Goes” all released with the album in October 2014, were certified Gold by June 2015, January 2015 and December 2014 respectively.

Like “The Script”, the statistics to me are saying that the songs are more important than the whole album package. It’s always been that way, even in the heyday of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

To continue, they played the Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 29, 2015. They sold 18,135 tickets from the 19,239 tickets available. A ticket for the concert was either $59.75 or $25. The total gross earnings of the show for the promoter Live Nation was $693,231

You see the same issues that affect metal and rock musicians, affect Florida Georgia Line. However that didn’t stop them from making a lot of money for their record label from recorded music and to have gross concert sales of over a million dollars.

Meanwhile, Halestorm played a sold out show in Anaheim, California on June 5, 2015. 1704 tickets got sold. A ticket costed $25. Halestorm have no certifications however they are consistent sellers for their label. They have a niche audience and haven’t crossed over yet.

A lot of sales in the Eighties for metal and rock acts were driving because all of the artists crossed over into the Mainstream during that time.

Now, metal and rock acts are back in their niches. This time around a certain elitism is also attached to these niches. It’s not the internet’s fault, or P2P piracy’s fault.

One of the biggest critics of P2P downloading is Scott Ian from Anthrax. Well, lucky for Scott Ian and Anthrax, they keep on getting put on tours as openers.

Let’s look at some Boxscore returns from Volbeat’s recent run of live shows in the U.S;

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, S.D. April 25, 2015
GROSS: $127,645
TIX SALES: 3,236 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Spokane Arena Spokane, Wash. April 27, 2015
GROSS: $97,806
TIX SALES: 2,500 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Adams Center Missoula, Mont. April 28, 2015
GROSS: $92,407
TIX SALES: 2,355 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
WaMu Theater Seattle, Wash. April 29, 2015
GROSS:$126,936
TIX SALES: 3,256 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot Brandt Centre Regina, Saskatchewan May 6, 2015
GROSS:$115,055
TIX SALES: 2,824 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot, Three Days Grace, In This Moment
Alliant Energy Center Madison, Wis. May 10, 2015
GROSS:$110,929
TIX SALES: 2,947 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
General Motors Centre Oshawa, Ontario May 12, 2015
GROSS:$81,242
TIX SALES: 2,023 / 2,776

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
TD Place Arena Ottawa, Ontario May 13, 2015
GROSS:$76,721
TIX SALES: 1,763 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Cepsum Montreal, Quebec May 15, 2015
GROSS:$80,565
TIX SALES: 1,946 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Dow Event Center Arena Saginaw, Mich. May 18, 2015
GROSS:$88,034
TIX SALES: 2,224 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Ford Center Evansville, Ind. May 19, 2015
GROSS:$71,715
TIX SALES: 1,832 / 3,500

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Ill. May 20, 2015
GROSS:$88,524
TIX SALES: 2,229 / 4,745

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Tyson Events Center Sioux City, Iowa May 22, 2015
GROSS:$76,990
TIX SALES: 1,973 / 5,000

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Verizon Theatre Grand Prairie, Texas May 27, 2015
GROSS:$71,636
TIX SALES: 1,827 / 3,697

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Bayou Music Center Houston, Texas May 28, 2015
GROSS:$79,474
TIX SALES: 2,012 / 3,304

Volbeat, Anthrax, Crobot
Pop’s Sauget, Ill. May 31, 2015
GROSS:$68,996
TIX SALES: 1,802 / 3,500

The truth is, any metal band in 2015 is in a niche market.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

If Money Is Not Filtering Down To The Artist, Whose Fault Is That?

There are still a lot of misguided people/entities in the recording industry that believe that they are immune to the changing times. Our world is constantly evolving. When will the recording industry accept that the landscape has changed.

Napster showed the recording industry what the fans of music want. The recording industry responded by shutting the service down. However, CD sales didn’t pick up as the recording industry would have hoped and what did happen was that the fans of music just went elsewhere. Suddenly there was Audiogalaxy, Limewire and KaZaA. Then came BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay.

In the end the customers just wanted free music. And even though Spotify and YouTube might give the illusion to the fan that music is free on their service, it is not. Spotify and YouTube do pay a large portion of their incomes to the rights holders.

Young people don’t purchase music the same way their parents and grandparents did. Access is more important than ownership. The car makers are being challenged at the moment as purchasing a car is no longer a rite of passage. The new housing market is being propped up by the older people, as young people are happy to rent or stay at home until their late thirties.

Spotify is a business based around access. This gives the fans greater choice whereas a purchase model takes away the choice of the fan and it makes them commit to which artist they would like to support. I remember walking into record stores, looking into my wallet to see how much cash I have and making decisions to maximise my cash with my purchases.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. More choice means confusion and the fan just doesn’t commit to anything or they revert to trusted filters or playlists.

It is in the best interest of the recording industry and artists that streaming services gain traction. Otherwise the fans will just go elsewhere and if you take away the free tier of Spotify or YouTube, then what.

Once Napster went to a paying service, did fans start paying for music again?

Of course not.

What about Rhapsody? It has been trading for at least ten years and it has failed to get mass appeal.

The struggles that the recording industries are facing today were already quite clear in 1997 to people paying attention. The focus of sales as a success metric had to be tweaked and worked together with a smart business model. What we have here is an inability to adapt to a changing market.

Today’s world is much better for bands starting out today than in the past because they don’t need to win over the gatekeepers. They can find their own audience. They can create their own business models and make a living — unlike under the old system, where you either hit it big or you gave up and went back to your day job.

Can someone please explain how getting people to stop listening to free music magically makes them start buying music again?

What will do that, however, are smarter business models and Spotify is one link in the NEW MUSIC ECONOMY.

Shinedown just received a gold certification for their album “Amaryllis”. That means their album has moved over 500,000 units in the U.S. They moved that many units while their music was available on Spotify, YouTube, P2P and other services that offer free-tier models. They toured for over 12 months on the backs of that album. Their business model isn’t just about sales as a metric of success.

I seriously struggle to understand the long-standing debate between Spotify and artists. The debate should be between artists and the Record Labels. The debate should be between artists and the Publishers. Spotify pays the rights holders (labels and publishers) 70% of their income. From the other 30% they make, a certain percentage goes to the record labels who are shareholders of the company. The record labels had the power to negotiate a shareholding stake because of the amount of copyrights they have amassed from the artists on their rosters.

Quincy Jones posted on Facebook that “Spotify is not the enemy; piracy is the enemy”. Daniel Ek put that into dollar terms. Piracy could lead to higher concert attendances and merchandise sales, however in relation to the recording industry, piracy yields a ZERO return. Spotify at the moment has paid TWO BILLION dollars to labels, publishers and collecting societies for distribution to songwriters and recording artists.

As I have mentioned before, if that money is not flowing to the artists in a clear transparent way, then whose fault is that. The streaming services or the record labels.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

M. Shadows and The Sales Of Music Today vs The Magical Eighties

In a recent Loudwire interview, M. Shadows mentioned some viewpoints on the current state of the music business.

One of the big comparisons that every artist or media personality makes today, is the status of sales right now vs sales more than 30 years ago. And everyone today, especially artists or media personalities, always say that the Eighties was so much better. It is a bold claim to make, especially when the Eighties have been known as the era that record labels ripped off artists.

In a way, the magical Eighties was easier for an artist as “a lot of the work around them” just happened like magic. All the artist needed to do was create songs, record them in a studio the label selected, then go on tour that someone else organised. Fast forward to 2014, the artist is across all aspects of their career and they need to make the decision. Things just don’t magically happen anymore. The artist is aware and they make these things happen.

In relation to sales, let’s look at Metallica and Megadeth compared to Avenged Sevenfold.

FIRST ALBUM

Metallica released “Kill Em All” in 1983. It wasn’t until 1989 (yep six years after) that the album was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. So much for the argument bandied about in 2014, that sales from the Eighties are better. After six months, Metallica was back in the studio recording the follow up.

Of course, on the back of the Black album juggernaut, by 1999, “Kill Em All” was certified 3 x Platinum, 16 years after it’s release. Yes, 16 years later.

Megadeth released “Killing Is My Business (And Business Is Good) in 1985 and still to this day it hasn’t been certified anything. So by default this album hasn’t passed 500,000 sales in the U.S.

Avenged Sevenfold released “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet” in 2001 and like Megadeth’s debut, it still hasn’t passed the 500,000 Gold barrier.

So if you compare the first album release of each band, all of them failed to achieve GOLD status within the first two years.

But, but…. sales of the eighties are awesome compared to today. How can bands today survive? Rubbish is what I say.

SECOND ALBUM

Metallica released “Ride The Lightning” in 1984. It wasn’t until 1987 that the album was certified GOLD in the U.S, three years after it’s release. In 2012, twenty-eight years after it’s release, the album was certified 6 x platinum.

Megadeth released “Peace Sells.. But Who’s Buying” and it was certified GOLD in 1988, two years after it’s release. By 1992, the album was certified Platinum for 1 million sales in the U.S.

Avenged Sevenfold released “Waking The Fallen” in 2003. In 2009, it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S., six years after it’s release and with the new anniversary edition coming out, expect these sales to increase even more.

So who is the winner for the second album sales. Megadeth reached GOLD in two years, Metallica in three years and Avenged Sevenfold in six years. Still, is the Eighties so much better. Both Megadeth and Metallica went back into the studio nine months later to record follow ups, while Avenged Sevenfold had a longer run before entering the studio.

Who really knows what level of sales, “Waking The Fallen” will be at in 2031. Who really knows, the amount of streams or YouTube views the album would reach by 2031?

THIRD ALBUM

Metallica released “Master Of Puppets” in 1986 and it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S in the same year. In 2003, 17 years after it’s release it was certified 6 x platinum. The digital mp3 of the song “Master of Puppets” has also passed the 500,000 barrier. Again, massive sales numbers did not come right away. It took time and a lot of great music.

Megadeth released “So Far, So Good, So What” in 1988 and it was certified GOLD in 1990, again two years after it’s release. By 1998, 10 years after, it was certified Platinum. Again, massive sales did not come right away. It took time.

Avenged Sevenfold released “City Of Evil” in June 2005 and six months later it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. Eventually the album would pass the 1 million sales barrier in 2009 four years after it’s release. In addition, the song “Bat Country” also being certified GOLD in Digital sales.

So after three albums each, which band reached GOLD the quickest? Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold both reached 500,000 sales for their third album, within six months.

But…. Bands had way more sales in the Eighties than today…. The answer is NO, they didn’t.

Sales for Megadeth and Metallica got a lot better after the Black album and the Countdown To Extinction albums. Those albums converted alot of fence sitters into fans who then went and purchased the back catalogues.

In reality, sales of music really haven’t dried up. The fact that “Master Of Puppets” has moved six million units since it’s release should not be taken into account right now. Who knows how much “City Of Evil would have moved by 2022?

People still purchase music, so it is not harder for bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine or Five Finger Death Punch to sell millions like the artists from the magical Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

All they need is an album that will unite the fragmented metal genres in existence today.

What is harder is getting the great music heard from the rest of the noise that internet distribution has allowed. I am a believer that all great music will rise above. It might take years for some artists or it could be instant for others.

I am sure by 2030, young bands starting up will be saying that there will no band at that point in time that will be able to sell millions of albums or have their songs streamed 100,000,000 times or have YouTube views in the trillions.

However like the artist of today, they are as successful or if not more than those bands from the “glory” years.

As M.Shadows mention in the interview, don’t be worried following the sales metric as a sign of success. Focus on writing good songs and delivering live.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Great “Bark At The Moon” Song Writing Controversy

Coming into the “Bark At The Moon” sessions, the Blizzard of Ozz band was in disarray. Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake got fired before “Diary of A Madman” was released and in the process they had their credits removed from the album. The other driving force, Randy Rhoads died tragically when the plane he was on crashed into a mansion and burst into flames on March 19th, 1982.

Ozzy Osbourne as usual was at his drunken best and after delivering the “Speak/Talk Of The Devil” album, he was free from his Jet Records contract, ready to sign a major label deal with CBS.

Jake E Lee joined Ozzy’s band during the “Speak of the Devil” tour. The band at the time consisted of Tommy Aldridge on drums, Don Costa on bass and Lindsay Bridgewater on keyboards. Once that tour ended, the song writing process began for the next album.

This is what Jake E. Lee had to say on the song writing process in a recent interview with the Ultimate Classic Rock website;

Well, most of that was really me and Bob Daisley. Because Ozzy would show up and kind of play around with songs. I remember that I had the riff for ‘Bark at the Moon’ and I played that, and he said, “Oh, I love it — we’ll call that one ‘Bark at the Moon,’” because he already had the album title in mind. So he said, “That’s the one that’s going to be ‘Bark at the Moon.’” He’d come in with things like that and then he’d drink, and he’d either pass out or leave, which left just me and Bob. We’d stay in the studio and flesh out the songs. It was fun working with Bob. He wrote all of the lyrics, [and he’s] a great lyricist. So yeah, me and Bob, we had a good working relationship. It was fun doing that record.

Bob Daisley told his story to the Bravewords website in the following way;

“You see Ozzy and Sharon were trying to get me to agree to get rid of Lee (Kerslake) and get Tommy Aldridge in the band. I kept on saying no, it’s not broken, so let’s not fix it. Lee (Kerslake) was working fine. So they got rid of both of us. But a few months later, Sharon phoned me and asked me to meet her in London for a chat. She said that Randy wanted me to come back and that they wanted to do a third album. So I was supposed to do an album with Randy, Ozzy and Tommy Aldridge. It was all planned that I was supposed to do the third album, which I did but not until 1983 but was supposed to be in 1982. Obviously Randy was not a part of it and it ended up being Jake E Lee. Everything was postponed when Randy left us.”

That postponement meant that Dan Costa was playing bass on the 1982, Winter/Spring European tour. Eventually, Ozzy got fed up with him, punched him in the face, breaking his nose and firing him all in one swoop. The call went out to Bob Daisley again to do the US Festival gig and then the third album.

The US Festival attendance figure varies however it is safe to say that the attendance was somewhere between 350,000 to 450,000 people. The US Festival was the Metal’s world “Woodstock”.

From May 29, 1983 up until 1992, metal and rock ruled. Coming into the US Festival, Bob Daisley had a week to get himself re-acquainted with the songs. In typical rock star fashion, Daisley flew in to L.A, went straight to rehearsal from the airport with some series jet lag. After another rehearsal the next day, he walked out on stage to play to a sea of people on the third day. The bands that performed on the Heavy Metal day included;

Quiet Riot
Mötley Crüe
Triumph
Ozzy Osbourne
Judas Priest
Scorpions
Van Halen

The US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack) was a pivotal moment for all of the metal bands involved.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, if you heard those songs and liked them, you more or less would go out and purchase the album that has them them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. Isn’t it funny what a festival in May of that same year did to boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. Also in March 1984, “Love At First Sting” hit the streets with the worldwide smash “Rock You Like A Hurricane” further cementing the band’s status as superstars. This success didn’t come instantly either, as the Scorpions had been working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. The visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Ozzy Osbourne on the other hand was a very different place in his career. He had the momentum with the Blizzard Of Ozz band and then started losing that momentum when Sharon and Ozzy fired Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. With the death of Randy Rhoads, all of that momentum was totally lost. So the US Festival was an important moment for Ozzy Osbourne’s career.

For Daisley, coming back into the fold after he played the U.S Festival meant that he came with conditions this time around. Two of the conditions he stipulated was to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. Other conditions that he stipulated was to get bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came. Of course when the album was released in November 1983, by January of 1984 it was certified Gold in the US.

So after the US Festival in May 1983, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. Writing continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman Engineering and producing again. The rest of the album was finished at The Power Station back in New York in 1983. The reason for the change was that Ridge Farm Studio was losing money at that point. In typical Osbourne fashion, the favourite Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio, with Sharon Osbourne constantly on his case as to why the drum parts were taking so long. So after Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. Appice appeared in the “Bark At The Moon” video and had a contract to do the tour. Eventually he got fired from the tour as well due to him sneaking off and doing drum clinics, which infuriated Sharon Osbourne, especially when he would come back late for sound checks.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the matter in an interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Sometimes he (Appice) would throw extra things into the songs that shouldn’t be there just to show his pupils that he gave free tickets to after doing the clinics. He got a little carried away with himself but it was wrong for Ozzy and Sharon to get rid of him because he had a contract to do that tour. They should have ironed out the problems but what do they do? They get rid of him and bring Tommy Aldridge back and I think it was a mistake. Carmine sued them and he won.”

How many law suits would the Osbourne’s face that all could have been avoided if they were fair to the musicians that really made Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career. Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way. The mix is horrible. Thank Tony Bongiovi for that.

“Bark At the Moon” was a title that Ozzy came up with. Ozzy mentions it and both Jake and Bob agree with it. Jake E. Lee came up with the riffs and Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics about a beast that comes out in a full moon.

I love the lyrics in “You’re No Different.” Bob Daisley has stated that it was Ozzy’s title and that Ozzy wanted the song to be about people judging and criticizing him.

Look at yourself instead of looking at me
With accusation in your eyes
Do you want me crucified
For my profanity

Concealing your crimes behind a grandeur of lies
Tell me where do I begin
If you think you’re without sin
Be the first to cast the stone

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes
Reflecting jealousy

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try to understand
But is that blood that’s on your hand
From your democracy

The lyrics to the song “Now You See It (Now You Don’t)” were composed by Daisley and were aimed at Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne. However Ozzy and the rest assumed the song was about sex. Even Bob Daisley stated once that the song is about hiding a sausage.

For the song “Rock N Roll Rebel” this is what Bob Daisley had to say about it on his website;

Ozzy’s title and another one about him being accused of being a devil worshiper. Some of the lyrics were his too but about 90% were mine.

“Centre of Eternity” or “Forever” was Bob Daisley’s title and lyrics. As Bob stated, it is a “tongue-in-cheek philosophical look at ‘time’ and our existence in eternity.”

“So Tired” to me was a great song. Jake E Lee hated the orchestra in the song. Bob Daisley has stated that it was his title and lyrics. On his website, this is what he had to say about the song;

Something quite unusual for me to write – a love song. The idea came from a Kinks’ song I heard on the radio one night driving back home from Ridge Farm. Their song was called ‘Tired of Waiting’ but that’s where the similarities end.

“Slow Down” is a Bob Daisley title and all lyrics are by Daisley. This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

Inspired by The Beatles’ song of the same name but again, that’s where the similarities end, the lyrics are very different. I remember Jake E. Lee particularly liked this one.

“Waiting for Darkness” to me is a favourite. It is Ozzy’s title however Bob Daisley wrote all the lyrics.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

I wrote it about the hypocrisy within organized religion, the brainwashing, mind control, paedophilia and manipulation through guilt, and that if that’s what equates to the ‘light’ then I’ll wait for the ‘darkness’. When Ozzy was asked what the song was about during his interview with ‘International Musician’ magazine, mentioned earlier, his answer was, “A witch.” It seems he didn’t understand the lyrics I’d written and he’d sung, although he took credit for writing it.

“Spiders” was a Bob Daisley title and lyrics.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

When we were recording ‘Bark’ at Ridge Farm, there were hundreds of little spiders everywhere. They were harmless but the glut of them inspired the song idea. I turned it around at the end with ‘the spider’s in your head’…

“One Up the B-side” is Bob Daisley’s ode to anal sex and the title and lyrics are all his.

In relation to the music, Jake E. Lee has said that he would come up with riffs and the ones that got the nod of approval ended up into songs.

On the Ultimate Classic Rock website, Jake E . Lee is asked the question if he went into the making of the “Bark At The Moon” record knowing that he would not be getting any writing credits. He answered that question with a simply “No”.

This is what he had to say on the matter;

“I was promised that I would get [credit]. Because I was young and I was in the middle of Scotland recording, I didn’t have a manager or a lawyer — it was just me. From the beginning, every musician, it’s always hammered into them, “Keep your publishing” and “Keep your writing.” So those were the only conditions that I had was “OK, I’m getting song writing credit, right?” I was always assured that “Yes, I’m getting publishing — of course you are!” When I didn’t on the first record, it was upsetting. But I figured OK, what am I going to do? I got freaked — what am I going to quit? We’re about to tour on a record that I finally got to make. There’s no problem for Ozzy to find another guitar player — am I just going to be that guy that played on that record, didn’t even get credit on the record and then refused to tour because I had a problem with Ozzy? No. I had to go out and tour. It would have been stupid not to. So I was only able to put my foot down at the end of the tour. “Let’s make another record” and I was like, “OK, but this time, you know what? I want the contract first before we start recording. I don’t want to be a dick, but I don’t want to get freaked again either.”

A lot of people think that Ozzy wrote a lot of the lyrics. Ozzy has led people to believe that. In interviews Ozzy has always stated, “when I wrote that”. It is all lies.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the matter, in an interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“The Osbournes won’t recognize or admit it’s true. They dislike the fact that, through my lyrics, I had a big hand in creating the magic and image that is Ozzy Osbourne. They’ve always tried to hide that. I remember at the time of Bark At The Moon, Jake E. Lee’s song publishing and mine had some complications. So we opted for a buyout and that’s why it says – ‘All songs written by Ozzy Osbourne.’ This of course, is not true. Ozzy did an interview with International Musician magazine, back in ’83 or ’84, they asked him how he wrote those songs and he said ‘with one finger on a piano.’ What a joke. The whole thing was ridiculous. Most people take it for granted that if someone is singing lyrics, that they wrote them.”

Now Bob Daisley got a buy out for “Bark At The Moon”, however it looks like Jake E.Lee got really screwed over for this release. There are no royalty checks for the songwriting and no publishing monies either. Let’s hope the Osbourne’s can sleep well each night, considering that a couple of million from the hundreds of millions that Ozzy is worth could right their wrongs.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)

It was a combination of events that cemented Cinderella as superstars.

The main event was the supporting slot on the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour. Bon Jovi had just broken through and started selling out all of the arenas. Apart from opening all the North American dates, Bon Jovi had a little jam session during each gig where the Cinderella guys would come out and do a song with them. Sort of like how in the recent Sydney show, Jon Bon Jovi brought out Kid Rock, his sax player and his back up singers for a version of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock N Roll”.

Jon Bon Jovi even had a hand in getting the band signed with Polygram, by convincing Derek Schulman to check them out. By 1985, Schulman was four years into his A&R gig with Polygram and he was slowly proving himself at signing great talent. Of course he would also go on to sign such important acts like Pantera and Dream Theater in the years to come.

This is how Tom Keifer told it in a “Screamer Magazine” interview;

“We barely knew who he was because this was before Slippery When Wet. He was in Philadelphia making the 7800° Fahrenheit record, their second record, so we had no idea he was going to be there” stated Keifer. “He came back to the dressing room afterwards and introduced himself, Runaway was a hit, and he had a video on MTV so we knew who he was and for us at that point in our career, it felt like a big deal.”

“He was very complimentary, he really liked the band and enjoyed the show, nice to meet you and on his way he went. And we had no idea that he was y’know gonna get back to Polygram and he put in some very nice words to his A&R guy Derek Shulman who signed him. Derek had already had our demo tape as our manager had given it to him; and he was riding the fence. I don’t blame him because our demos were just god awful. We were pretty young and green and didn’t know how to record music. We didn’t really have much guidance. It’s a whole different thing to walk into rehearsal room or onto a live stage and blast out what you do, and then it’s another thing to walk in a recording studio and try to capture it!”

“So Derek’s riding the fence and basically what Jon did was, he said forget the demo tape, I just saw them live, and you should go down check them out.”

So the Bon Jovi tour gave Cinderella real exposure. Of course, they had the songs to capitalise on that exposure. While, lead off single “Shake Me” failed to make a dent, the second single “Nobody’s Fool” went nuclear, pushing the album to move 50,000 units a week. MTV put it in rotation and Cinderella became the new platinum darlings.

“Night Songs” was originally released in June 1986. In October 1986, the “Nobody Fools” video hit MTV and by December that same year, the “Night Songs” album is certified platinum. By February 1987, it was certified double platinum. So when it came time to record the follow-up, the pressure was on for the band to deliver.

Deliver they did. Within two months from when it was released, “Long Cold Winter” was certified platinum. “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)” certified Tom Keifer as a serious songwriter. Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album. Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Andy Johns kept on finding timing issues. The album is a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company and it celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

It’s got that piano riff that’s instantly memorable and secondary to Tom’s raspy voice. The song had everything that all the glam rock/metal bands where selling, but at the same time it was different enough to be stand out amongst the noise.

“Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long”

That’s what being an artist is all about. A need to express yourself. This is something that songs written by a committee cannot really achieve. The real stars of the Eighties wrote and performed their own material.

When you hit bottom, the first thing we turn to is music. Tom Keifer’s raspy voice brings the emotion out and connects on all levels. Truer words have never been spoken especially when in a few years, Tom Keifer would be diagnosed with a collapsed vocal chord. That still didn’t stop them from delivering “Heartbreak Station” and it would be another 4 years until “Still Climbing” hit the streets to a hostile musical climate. It quickly disappeared and their next project ended in a legal mess.

In an interview with Metal Sludge dated June 12, 2001, A&R Guru John Kalonder had this to say about Cinderella;

“Tom Keifer is a very talented musician and has always taken a long time to write a record. In two years, he demo’d some songs, only one of which I thought was good enough to be on a new album after so many years away. Just before we attempted to record some material last winter, I dropped them due to the lack of support from people at my company. Cinderella is one of my favorite bands and I hope they record a record and have great success with it.”

This is what Tom Keifer had to say on it on the matter of new music on Blabbermouth.

“We attempted that in ’98 with Sony and [former A&R executive] John Kalodner and it turned into a big legal hassle and lawsuit, which prevented us from recording the material that they claimed they owned, for five years. . . . Even though they didn’t want to record it. It’s typical in recording contracts. It’s called re-record rights. Once they claim they own the songs, you can’t re-record it for five years. They claimed ownership and decided not to make the record. It was like two years of writing and demos of material that we weren’t allowed to record. Needless to say, we had a slightly bad taste in our mouth. . .”

That’s the music business. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When the history of hard rock is written by the winners, Cinderella needs to be there. Their first three albums are all masterpieces. Tom Keifer’s vocal style is his life style. When everyone was going for high range vocals in the Eighties, Cinderella brought it all back to basics. With each album they became rawer and dirtier, which was the opposite of what their contemporaries where doing.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

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