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Music Isn’t Just About Record Sales

Change is hard and in the end it is always worthwhile. There is a cliché that goes that after being fired or rejected or dumped one door closes and a million other doors open that will lead to a better place. It is true, however the main part that nobody talks about is how long it’s going to take to get to that better place.

The highs of success and fame are brief. It begins to fade and then what are you going to do next?

Vince Neil

On July 6, 2013, Vince Neil played a solo show in Mexico City. The venue was Jose Cuervo Salon. The capacity of the venue is 1,500. The attendance was 64 people. That’s right, less than 5% of the total venue size. Total Gross sales for the night was $2,286. There was only one ticket price at $35.72. So does anyone really care about Vince Neil outside of Motley Crue? Based on the ticket sales, Mexico sure don’t.

What a hard truth that is? Music is a tough business and this is what happens when you go out every night with Motley Crue and sing out of tune. Also why is he touring. He hasn’t released anything new recently. Also when he does tour, all he does is play Motley Crue songs. No one wants to hear Vince Neil do Motley again. I don’t know why, as there are some great songs in the Vince Neil catalogue that fans would love to hear live.

His debut album “Exposed” celebrated 20 years this year. He should have commemorated that release? It is a great album and there is an audience for it. It might mean he plays smaller venues that fit a couple of hundred. However he needs to sing in tune to get people to come back time and time again.

It is a good thing he is getting into the restaurant business and the Tequila/Wine business.

Classic Rock and Southern Rock Rule in Gilford, New Hampshire

On July 3, 2013, the Gigantour tour hit Gilford, New Hampshire. The venue was Meadowbrook. The capacity of the venue is 6,657. The attendance was 1,308. That’s right, 1,308 people turned up to watch Megadeth, Black Label Society, Device and Hellyeah. Total Gross sales for the night was $49,860. There was three tiers of ticket prices ranging from $42, $33 and $23.75.

My first opinion was that the low attendance is due to the poor recent albums put out by the bands involved. Don’t get me wrong, all of those albums are worthy of a listen, but there is nothing really engaging to go back for seconds.

This show should have been a sell-out. The Gigantour tour has never hit Gilford, New Hampshire before. So it is not a market that has seen the Gigantour tour before. However, if you take just the town of Gilford and its population of 7000, then you see it is a small market and the attendance of 1,308 people is not a bad result. Add to the mix that other rock shows are playing the same venue in the weeks leading up to the Gigantour show and in the weeks after, you start to form a different viewpoint.

With most shows a lot of people come from surrounding towns as well. I know in Australia that Sydney is the place that most bands play, however the audience is derived from places in NSW that are a decent hour or three or five away from Sydney.

On July 9, 2013, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Halestorm and Bad Seed Rising also played the Meadowbrook at Gilford, New Hampshire. The attendance was 2,718 in a venue that fits 6,219 (for this shows the capacity was reduced due to the stage size). Total Gross sales for the night was $142,431. There was four tiers of ticket prices ranging from $59.50, $49.50, $39.50 and $29.50.

Again not even half full. Daughtry is a platinum selling major label backed super star. 3 Doors Down are also in the same league, although they haven’t reached the same heights as the early two thousands and Halestorm are Grammy award winners. So what’s gone wrong. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company is what went wrong.

On July 26, 2013, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company also played the Meadowbrook at Gilford, New Hampshire. The attendance was 6,671 in a venue that fits 6,671 (that’s right people, classic rock and southern rock sold out the venue). Total Gross sales for the night was $407,641. There was three tiers of ticket prices ranging from $79, $59 and $33.25.

Classic rock and southern rock trumped everyone. Lynyrd Skynyrd released “Last of a Dyin’ Breed” in August 2012 however that album was dead and buried by the July 2013. Bad Company on the other hand haven’t released anything worthwhile for a long time. However when you combine the two acts, put a 40th Anniversary name to the tour and you have people from that era interested. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first album release and Bad Company’s formation happened 40 years ago. To prove my point, I am going to watch Bon Jovi in Sydney, because I want my kids to experience it.

Classic Rock Rules Part II

On July 19, 2013, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band played a show in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The venue was the MTS Centre. The capacity of the venue is 8,397. The attendance was 8,397. Total Gross sales for the night was $724,948. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $107.15 and $63.31.

Talk about turning the page. What a comeback from the man with the golden voice? Thank Metallica for their cover of “Turn The Page” in 1998. The Metallica version made Bob Seger cool with the metal community and who can forget the Metallica clip with Ginger Lynn.

Another turning point for Bob Seger’s comeback was 3 Doors Down and heir song “Landing In London” that Bob Seger sang on.

Once “Landing In London” came out in 2005, interest in Bob Seger was renewed. It was followed by a new album in 2006 and a few Greatest Hits / Live packages in between.

Guess what else is happening in the world of Bob Seger? A new album is on its way. Isn’t that like the old guard. He is hot at the moment so let’s release a new album. Why don’t the people that advise Seger release a new song first and see how it resonates with the public before dropping a slab of them.

Classic Rock III

On July 2, 2013, Alice Cooper played a show at South Bend, Indiana. The venue was Morris Performing Arts Center. The capacity of the venue is 2,552. The attendance was 1,662. Total Gross sales for the night was $77,967. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $69.50 and $39.50.

This is Alice Cooper fresh from his run with Marilyn Manson that ended in June. This show was billed as “An Evening With Alice Cooper” and it was his first show in South Bend in 4 years. There is still juice in the tank of a cultural icon.

On July 28, 2013, Ted Nugent and Laura Wilde played a show in Nashville, Tennessee. The venue was the Ryman Auditorium. The capacity of the venue is 2,037. The attendance was 1,254. Total Gross sales for the night was $67,893. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $59.50 and $39.50.

Just like Alice Cooper, Ted was coming off a Classic Rock run with REO Speedwagon and Styx. As with Alice, there is still life left in our favourite gun toting / wildlife hunter.

Wish they would take a leaf out of the Black Star Riders playbook? Their album, “All Hell Breaks Loose” is a great slab of classic rock songs. I was always a fan of Rick Warwick from The Almighty days so it was great to hear him rocking out again with a Phil Lynott swagger this time around, instead of a Brian Johnson swagger.

What Does A Grammy Award or Nomination Mean in 2013?

Halestorm (along with Age Of Days) played a show on June 26, 2013 at Edmonton, Alberta. The venue was the Starlite Room. The capacity of the venue was 700. The attendance was 492 and the total gross sales for the night was $12,778. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $27.61 and $24.76.

Halestorm are still paying their dues. The Grammy win means nothing to today’s music public. The record labels that pay the entry fee are the ones that can compete. It’s got nothing to do with public opinion.

Hell, Dream Theater and Megadeth were nominated for Grammies last year and their current albums can’t move past the 100,000 mark in sales. If the music is great it will sell itself.

Both Dream Theater and Megadeth should look up the Wikipedia entry of “Instant Karma” from John Lennon.
“It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history, recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios the same day it was written, and arriving in stores only ten days later. Lennon remarked to the press, he “wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.”

This is what both bands need to be doing. Writing some new material ASAP. Forgot about the next album or the tour coming up and go back into the studio and churn a couple of songs out. Surprise us for Christmas.

Alice In Chains is still powerful

On July 11, 2013, Alice In Chains played a show in London, Ontario, Canada. The venue was Budweiser Gardens. The capacity of the venue is 5,248. The attendance was 4,801. Total Gross sales for the night was $237,558. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $56.57 and $30.90.

I can’t say I am a fan of the new Alice In Chains album. It’s pedestrian. However the fans are there. If they are there because of the old or the new or both, it doesn’t matter. The band is a quarter of a million per show band.

Power Metal Rules In Europe

On April 18, 2013, Helloween, Gamma Ray and Shadowside played a Power Metal feast in Hamburg, Germany. The venue was the Docks. The capacity of the venue is 1,500. The attendance was 1,171. Total Gross sales for the night was $51,299. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $52.52 and $43.33.

You have German bands playing in Germany. Enough said. The thing with power metal bands is that they know the size of their audience. You won’t see them playing venues larger than the above size. Maybe 3000 max. it is a niche and it has a hard core and devoted fan base. They even have power metal outdoor festivals where fans even get dressed up in medieval clothing and enact sword fights and so forth.

This is a good indication of bands still carving out a living in a time where they have no promotion in the large US market. This is a good indication of bands still carving out a living in a time where people download music illegally or stream it legally.

The Black Crowes still do good business

On July 19, 2013, The Black Crowes, Tedeschi Trucks Band and The London Souls played a show in Nashville, Tennesse. The venue was the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel. The capacity of the venue is 4,056. The attendance was 3,273. Total Gross sales for the night was $215,641. There was two tiers of ticket prices ranging from $115 and $49.50.

I watched The Black Crowes at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre on April 1, 2008. The venue had less than a thousand people in attendance in a venue that has a capacity of around 10,000, so the stage was moved heaps forward to accommodate for the smaller audience.

It was the best show I saw. They jammed, they extended songs and just had fun. Rich Robinson was the sheriff. He was the one they all looked too for when the jam starts and when the jam ends.

That is a sign of a true champion. The night before, they played to a sold out Sydney audience 70 minutes away. They could have chucked a hissy fit at the small turn out for the Wollongong show, however they didn’t. They came out and they rocked.

There is plenty of money available in music and the more people that have access to your recorded music means more fans that could turn into customers.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Motley Crue – 1994 – Poison Apples, Hammered, Till Death Do Us Part – John Corabi Era – Part 2

Continuing on from Gerri Miller’s Metal Edge interview with Nikki Sixx.  The below excerpts in italics are taken from Metal Edge circa 1994.  The lyrics and comments are added by me.

“POISON APPLES”
A rocker with a punky vibe, this song was originally called “Hangin’ by a Thread.” Nikki wrote it last year in “Hawaii on vacation, when Bob [Rock’s band Rockhead] was out with Bon Jovi. I recorded the riff on a ghetto blaster and played it for the band, and they said this is really cool.  It got thrown into the Motley stew and turned into a bastardized version of the original. But nothing about it kicked ass.” Meanwhile Nikki was working on a possibility for his solo song with the title of ‘Poison Apples.  

Subject wise “The first part is my story what that time of my life was about. The second part is more about the band, and takes aim at the “tabloid sleaze” press preoccupation with Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear’s now-defunct marriage.  Lines like “Sex smack rock roll mainline overdose/Man we lived it night and day” refer to past excesses, and homage is paid to one of Nikki’s favorite bands, Mott the Hoople.  “Ian Hunter’s one of my favorite lyricists and Overend Watts is the reason I play,” he says. “Tommy Lee played honky-tonk piano on it.”

Don’t you love that knowledge.  How the song starts of as one thing and it ends up going through a metamorphosis into something else.    

Tabloid sleaze just maggots on their knees
Diggin’ in the dirt for slag
Moonshine, strychnine, speedball, shootin’ lines
Anything to push their rags

Nothing has changed these days.  If you want to be misquoted or if you want to have words taken out of context, do an interview for the mainstream.  If you want your fans to know what you mean, connect with them.  Let them be the interviewers.

Pretty little poison apples, see the scars tattooed on our face.
It’s your disgrace.
Pretty pretty poison apples, mama said,
“Now don’t you walk this way, just find some faith.”

The lyrics on Motley Crue are world-class.  I like how Nikki refers to the band as pretty little poison apples.  He is merging the Garden of Eden with LA and the dreams of a young kid trying to make it.

“HAMMERED”
Cool, heavy, with grooves galore, this song is “about a sleazy piece of shit person in anyone’s life.”  Some might infer that it’s about Vince Neil but when asked about it, Nikki insists that it isn’t.  I don’t know where I was coming from when I wrote it.  It’s a song about a dirt bag.  We all know plenty of them.  Written very quickly at rehearsal, its characterized by Nikki as having a Deep Purple vibe.

To be honest, when i first heard this song, I took it as a dig to Vince Neil.  According to Nikki, Vince quit because he wasn’t into music anymore and he wanted to devote his time to car racing.  According to Vince, he got fired, because he didn’t like the direction the new music was heading/  Apparently it was all keyboard driven.

Regardless of what story you believe, one thing is clear, Vince Neil delivered a superior hard rock album with Exposed, which came out 1993, a whole year before Motley Crue.  In my mind, this made Nikki’s words mean shit.

Act like Jesus crucified again
These four walls are closing in
Who and what do you think you are
A rich mother fucker in a fancy car?
Concrete jackal suckin’ on the past
Goldcard junkie kissing money’s ass

You can tell that Nikki is directing the words to a person who is suing him.  Vince Neil sued Motley Crue in 1992 after his firing, for 25% of the Crue’s future profits and $5 million in damages for being fired.  In addition, Exposed was selling close to the million mark.  As we know once, Motley Crue came out with their 1994 album, they only moved 500,000 units.

Hey, Mr. big time Hollywood,
Tell your story walkin’ if you think you could
Your money’s runnin’ low from your cocaine whores
Nothin’ but a rat scratchin’ at my door
Hey, now I’ve said all I’m gonna say
Time will judge, see who fades away

There was an incident where Vince and port star Savannah went to Hawaii.  After 4 days of partying on pills and cocaine, Savannah overdosed.  As much as Nikki denies it, this song is having a dig at Vince.  Time did judge, and it was Nikki that needed to get Vince back into the fold.

TILL DEATH DO US PART
This soulful heavy rocker is “about pride and standing up for what you believe in, standing up for yourself till you die.  It reminds me of ‘Danger’ off the second album,” says Nikki.  “It’s mid tempo but not really a ballad. It’s very emotional.”

Autobiographical lines include “I’ve walked my walk, talked my talk, lived and died in my songs. Temptation cuts so deep/Its fires still burn so strong/You know I’ve lived a few mistakes and I stand by them … Sometimes my words may cut too deep and I step on a toe or two/Half dead and barely half alive but I live by the truth.”

Nikki notes, “A lot of people tend to look at us from the outside in,” drawing wrong conclusions because of what they read.  But “I don’t really care, to be honest with you. The only thing that’s important is family and friends.”

Till Death Do Us Part is the best song written by Motley Crue.  They should have re-recorded this as a B side or a bonus track with Vince.  Of course Vince wouldn’t sing it, he has made that clear in previous interviews.  The album was meant to be called Till Death Do Us Part.  The guys even tattoed the name on their bodies.

Poison Apples – YouTube

Hammered – YouTube

Till Death Do Us Part – YouTube

 

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