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

So You Wanna Be In A Band

ENTITLEMENT

I feel bitter as I’m going through a clean up/archiving process of some old emails. What can I say, they just brought back so many bad memories from my ex band members.

The first thing that stands out is the entitlement of my ex band members. Just because they played an instrument on a song, they argued that they were entitled to a song writing percentage. Just because they suggested that we play the riff once instead of twice, they believed they were entitled to a song writing percentage. And the bass player who joined to play live gigs also put in a song writing claim.

The band was formed in 2008. The majority of the songs that I used in the band were written during 2004 to 2006. I registered the songs with the rights organisation during that time as I was planning on shopping them around to other artists. Even though I showed these facts to my band members they still argued with me over their entitlement to a song writing share for the songs.

Let’s face it, bands are complex beasts and very hard to hold together. Instant fame and riches could push aside some of those bad vibes for a little while or maybe even a decade. However those bad vibes will always come to the forefront until an explosion happens of mass proportions. Motley Crue and Vince, Axl Rose and the rest of the Gunners crew, Don Dokken and George Lynch, The Eagles, Machine Head and Adam Duce. And there are many more examples when that innocent love for music turns sour.

Arguments ensure over money all the time because each band member is on a different financial path. Some are on unemployment benefits, some are on unemployment benefits and casual wages, some are on something else all the time and some are full-time workers. Some band members are more important to the band than others.

The thing that pissed me off the most was when I used to hear the drummer or the bassist or the vocalist telling other people that they were involved in creating the songs and that they had some input. That piece of dishonesty didn’t sit well with me and still to this day it makes me bitter.

DISHONESTY

I know that all of the songs have been written by me and only me. I was the one that spent time away from my family to write the songs. I was the one that recorded them on my Zoom 8 track machine alone late into the night. I was the one who tabbed them on Power Tab while my foot was rocking the bouncer in an attempt to put them to sleep.

To me, if a person suggests that we do the chorus once instead of twice that is not a reason to add them as songwriters. They didn’t contribute anything musical to the song nor did they contribute any new lyrical ideas or melodies. All they did was suggest to play a piece of music/words already written once instead of twice. In an end of credits scroll list from a movie these people will be listed as editors. The writer is still the writer regardless of what the editors do with the script flow.

So of course, I confront the drummer at his dishonest statements, and of course he disagrees with me aggressively stating that he did provide input. Of course I don’t let it slide easily and I ask him what input did he actually have. What piece of music did he contribute? What lyrical verse or melody did he contribute?

He answers that he provided ideas on subject matter. I reply that an idea does not mean that he wrote any music and lyrics. He answers that he assisted with a melody in a verse. I ask him what did he actually change that was so different to what I wrote in the first place.

Singing a word by enhancing the syllables is not a reason to get a song writing credit. Otherwise, James LaBrie or Vince Neil would get song writing credits all the time. Hell, if I used the logic that the drummer put forward that would mean that Bruce Dickinson needs a songwriting credit for every single Iron Maiden song, even the ones from the Paul Dianno and Blaze Bayley era of the band as Bruce did enhance the vocal delivery.

At this point, the singer and the bass player are on the drummers side and I feel betrayed.

BETRAYAL

I remember the day when I got a call from the rights organisation advising me that counter claims have been made on the songs I wrote from the drummer, the bassist and the vocalist. I was in a state of shock. And boy did I hate and curse them bad. I will never forget that moment because it made me realise how deceitful and dishonest people can be.

I told the rights organisation that I do not agree with their counter-claim however the rights organisation did not care either way. The songs go into suspension and any money accumulated from them is held by the rights organisation. For the rights organisation it is a win win. But for me, it was a loss. I had to get a lawyer who charged an arm and a leg however the work that he did was not of the quality that he charged me for. I was told that the onus was on me to prove that I wrote the songs. I saw this as unfair and unjust. The onus should be on them to prove that they contributed to the song writing.

So why did all of this rubbish happen?

GREED leads to a sense of ENTITLEMENT. What I had was a bunch of average musicians that have never written a song in their lives wanting to change the truth so that they are seen as more important than what they really are/were. To prove my point once I was out of the band, in the space of eight months they didn’t write nor release not one NEW song. What a bunch of talents, hey? And then the band ended.

So while forming bands are initially fun, if any artist is serious about making it in the music business and they think that the above doesn’t happen then they are living in a delusional world. This is what happens in the real world because untalented people are greedy. This is what happens because untalented people want to trump up their efforts as being more important than what they really were.

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A to Z of Making It, Music

Entitlement

I don’t know how my kids will be when they are adults. One thing I do know is that I don’t want them to believe that they are entitled to things. I don’t want them to believe that just because they are smart, they are entitled to the riches of the hard work of others, or to be
earning $100,000 salaries the minute they leave University.

In the last couple of weeks, I have come across entitled kids/adults
that know everything and anyone older knows nothing. These are the kids that always look sad and depressed just so that they can get a reaction from people, asking what’s wrong? These are the kids that when they go to make it in the real world they see it is not as easy as they thought and that mum and dad actually know what they are talking about. Instead of acknowledging their mistakes, they play the whole guilt trip, asking for money to pay the rent, money for a new car and so forth. These are the kids that lash out at other people, without thinking of the consequences, knowing all too well that their parents will do everything they can to fix the situation.

Look at this clip from a Machine Head fan called Frank playing one of the quickest and hardest songs Machine Head has ever written on the bass guitar, with one hand. That is real and that is the spirit of hope and we, the people got to see it, because of the internet. The same internet that the labels and their lobbyist want to control, so that they can have distribution back to the good old days, where they controlled everything. If anyone is entitled to something, it is this guy. He has worked hard to learn the song with a physical disability. He deserves the fame. He has put in the hard work. He is entitled to be recognized.

In music, people still believe that if they write a song, people will buy it and they will be rich. Great music will find an audience. It all takes time. You need to be around for a long time to see success happen. Don’t be fooled with the so called stars from The Voice, Idol
or XFactor. If you want to be rich quick, go into tech. Invent something and lawyer up. I guarantee that you will be sued by some other entitled kid, because they would have had a similar idea as you, but they couldn’t make it work, and since you made it work, they are entitled to a share of your wealth. Or you will sued by some company who purchases patents for patent infringement.

The nerds of my day are the new rock stars of today. They are the cool people these days. In the seventies music was innovative, questioning authority and the artists that created the songs were heroes. These days it’s technology.

No one is walking around with the newest album of Bon Jovi or Van Halen.
They are walking around with the newest gadget from Apple or Samsung.
Once upon a time, the obtaining of a drivers licence and the purchase of a car was the rite of passage. These days, no one really cares what they drive, as long as they have the latest tech in their arsenal.

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