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

Kamelot

I don’t mind my fix of metal that is now known as a whole separate genre called power metal or symphonic metal. Back in the Eighties it was just metal. Pure and simple. I think that the press at that time just needed something to define certain styles of metal. So they started to come up with different names like Pop Metal, Thrash Metal, Hard Rock, Glam Metal, Death Metal, Power Metal and so on.

In relation to Power Metal here is my own 10 second wrap up of a whole genre beginning from the Seventies.

It started with Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden. Then Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween came along. They both increased the tempos and Yngwie Malmsteen exaggerated the classical elements which led to the current Power Metal movement which is just a higher tempo version of the beast that Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween inspired.

The thing with power metal at the moment is that there are so many acts out on the market that are just not good enough to be there. They think by playing at break neck speeds it makes them good enough. They think by having a hot female opera singer in the band makes them good enough. Basically if the song is shit, then the whole band is shit. Like in Sport, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

Kamelot is not one of them. Because Kamelot is not all about higher tempos. There is more variation in their music.

Symphonic – CHECK
Progressive – CHECK
Groove – CHECK
Classic NWOBHM – Check
Hard Rock – CHECK
Classical – CHECK

Credit Thomas Youngblood, one of the bands original founders. In 1991 he along with drummer Richard Warner founded a band steeped in technical guitar playing. He stayed with that style during and after the Grunge wave. Eventually in 1995, Kamelot released their first album on the German Record Label “Noise”.

Yep, it’s that same label that specialised in melodic speed metal and they also had Helloween on its roster. It’s also the same label that took Helloween to court and won a seven digit payout in their favour when Helloween broke ranks and went to the majors direct.

So I’m listening to “Silverthorn”, Kamelot’s tenth studio album and their third concept story.

It’s the song “Veritas” that connected with me. And the connection comes in the form of a band called Savatage, who I am a big fan off, especially the era of Criss Oliva. Because it sounds like something that could have been recorded for a Savatage album. And the song is not even well-known. YouTube has a few fan audio videos with numbers less than a thousand. Spotify doesn’t even rate it in the Top 10.

The next song that appeals to me is “My Confession” and its the Within Temptation and In Flames connection that hits home. On YouTube, the video to “My Confession” is at 1,176,127 views. The other single from the album, “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)” is at 1,141,127 views. Actually, the bands YouTube numbers are way better than their Spotify numbers. If I was the band’s manager I would be taking note of this. The fans like the clips and the visuals that go with it.

I can’t say that I like everything that Kamelot has put out, however they have done enough on each album to keep me interested to come back and invest my time to hear each new album. And that is what matters today.

Are people listening to your music on a daily basis?

That is more important than how many first week sales are achieved.

One final note, when the cover by Stefan Heilemann reminds me of a cover that Gustavo Savez did for the last band I was in. I just found it bizarre that the styles are so similar.

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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, 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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