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

The Cover Song Is A Doorway Into Your Act

My first introduction into Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine was from the Kerrang “Master of Puppets” 20 Year Anniversary album. My initial interest to hear the album was because Machine Head was covering “Battery”. So after they blew me away with their downtuned cover, along came Trivium with their cover of the title track and man what an undeniable job they did with it. Bullet For My Valentine didn’t set the world on fire with their cover of “Welcome Home (Sanitarium) however they did enough to get me interested in it.

By hearing those two cover songs, I started to seek out the actual original music of Trivium and BFMV.

Another record was “Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden.” That one had Black Tide covering “Prowler”, Fightstar covering “Fear Of The Dark” and Madina Lake covering “Caught Somewhere In Time”.

Upon hearing those cover versions, I had to go and seek out more music from those bands.

So you see, as an artist trying to make it, those original songs that you create and release might be great, but it doesn’t get you the connection with the audience just yet. Sometimes a cover song does the job.

There is a reason why Jimi Hendrix connected with “Hey Joe” and “All Along The Watchtower”. “Hey Joe” didn’t do much for “The Leaves” in 1965, however it was The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s first hit single in 1966. “All Along the Watchtower” these days is well-known as a Hendrix psychedelic groove rock song instead of a Dylan folk song.

There is a reason why Van Halen connected with “You Really Got Me”. As good as the debut album is, the needed an introduction and “You Really Got Me” was the introduction.

There is a reason why Joan Jett and The Blackhearts connected in 1981 with “I Love Rock N Roll” that was penned by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker from the British rock band Arrows and released in 1975.

There is a reason why “When the Levee Breaks” became so enduringly influential. It’s origins go back to 1929 when husband and wife singer-songwriters Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie originally recorded it as a blues song about the Great Mississippi Flood.

“Hard TO Handle” was the breakthrough hit single for “The Black Crowes” in 1990 and it is a cover song from 1968, originally written by Otis Redding.

Quiet Riot went platinum in 1983, with “Cum On Feel The Noize” and it was a cover song from 1973. The thing is, the Slade version went straight to #1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland and was a top 10 single throughout parts of Europe. The Quiet Riot version reached the #5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

“Black Magic Woman” is known as Carlos Santana’s flagship song, however it is also a cover from the Peter Green version of Fleetwood Mac. Actually, Carlos Santana’s Woodstock-era period made a career out of re-imagining other peoples’ songs.

Cover songs are not the enemy and on a lot of occasions, the cover song broke a band to the masses. It was the doorway to the other treasures that lay in waiting.

Recently bands like “Within Temptation” or the “Smith/Meyers” project have taken to re-interpreting cover songs.

Machine Head have always selected great cover songs from “Battery” to “Hallowed Be Thy Name” to “The Sentinel” to “Our Darkest Days/Bleeding.”

Find a great tune and get cranking on a kick-ass remake/re-imagining of it. You never know how it could connect as music has a way of making peculiar connections.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

How bad can piracy be? A Case Study involving Protest The Hero, Iron Maiden and Digital Summer.

The MPAA and the RIAA are trying their best to stop all file-sharing services. They still don’t realise that the moment they shut one down through legal action, several more appear in its place. 

The RIAA has shut down Napster, Kazaa and Limewire. The MPAA has gone to the ISP level, first trying to get verdicts that ISP’s facilitate copyright infringement, then trying to get personal information of ISP customers for copyright trolling lawsuits. When that got complicated, they resorted to getting blockades against certain websites. They have even resorted to using law enforcement agencies to shut down “rogue” websites (MegaUpload comes to mind).

So with all the activity going on, has file sharing ceased? Nope. Sharing still happens. 

I just went onto The Pirate Bay and typed in “Iron Maiden”. The discography is available for downloading and it is free. There are 840 seeders and 290 leechers. So is this illegal sharing of Iron Maiden’s music bad? Is it harming the band?

Okay, so Iron Maiden is a “big” band and they broke through in the Eighties on the back of the dreaded “Record Label”. People can argue that the impact of piracy to a band of Iron Maiden’s stature is minimal. In 2011, Iron Maiden played 33 shows and had total gross earnings of $33,085,671. Yep, that’s right, they grossed $33MIL. The band is still signed to a major label and they have full control of their merchandising deals.

They are on Spotify and “Fear Of The Dark” is leading the way with 16.74 million streams.

What about bands that where on a major label and are now classed as independent? I typed in “Protest The Hero” into The Pirate Bay search engine. Their 2011 album, “Scurrilous” is available for downloading and it is free. There are 64 seeders and 3 leechers. Their 2008 album, “Fortress” is available for downloading and it is free. There are 48 seeders and 1 leecher. So is this illegal sharing of Protest The Hero’s music bad?

Between January and February, 2013, Protest The Hero had a Indiegogo campaign with the following slogan: “Protest The Hero – New Album. We have completed all of our obligations to record labels. It’s time to go it alone and take control of our careers. It’s now or never!”

The goal was $125,000. By the time funding finished, the band raised $341,146. Yep, that’s right. They almost tripled their funding goal. All up 8361 backers.

What about independent DIY bands? I typed in “Digital Summer” into The Pirate Bay search engine. The discography is available for downloading and it is free. There are 12 seeders and 3 leechers. So is this illegal sharing of Digital Summer’s music bad?

In 2012, Digital Summer had a Kickstarter campaign to give fans the opportunity to contribute to the release of their next album (which ended up becoming Breaking Point) in exchange for cool incentives and it also helped the band raise the money they need to finish the album and market it nationwide THE RIGHT WAY. They had a goal of $25,000. They got 340 backers and raised $51,080.

So is this illegal sharing (12 seeders = 12 people) of Digital Summer’s music bad? Is it harming the band?

The band released “Breaking Point”, toured behind it and are now prepping an acoustic album.

The unbelievers would say that the guys from Digital Summer all hold down day jobs, so the RIAA must be correct in their viewpoint as artists are not making enough money solely from the activities in the music business.

If you listen to the stories from the RIAA, you would believe that piracy is harming everything to do with music and this is so far from the truth, it hurts just to think it.

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