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

Michael Poulsen

We all come from different bands, mainly death metal bands and punk bands. So we’ve been in the scene for many years since the ’90s. I released my first demo with my first death metal band in 1991 or something. I also released four albums for a death metal band called Dominus back in the day. My song writing was kind of changing. It turned into be a little bit more rock songs. It seemed like all the inspiration that I had from my parents when they were playing their records from the ’50s got to me in a way that when I was writing, I wanted to include that ’50s feeling in my song writing. That came very naturally. But I just wanted to keep a distorted sound from the guitars and the pounding drums.
Michael Poulsen 

Volbeat started to break into the U.S market in 2010 on the back of their “Death Magnetic” opening slot. But the journey to fame/success or world-wide recognition started a long time ago. Almost 20 years before their U.S breakthrough. It started in a totally different scene and in a different continent.

A million bands will start-up today, however a very small amount will stick it out and become lifers in the game of music. And from the lifers who stick it out, an even smaller amount will end up rising above the noise and get some recognition. And even a smaller amount will make some serious money from it.

It turned into a very unique thing where we combined a lot of different styles. We kept the distorted sound, but you could definitely hear inspiration from a lot of the rock music of the ’50s, as well heavier music from the ’70s and ’80s. When you mix all that together, it becomes Volbeat. We never really branded the band in a certain style or direction. It was all about just playing. I think that led us to being who we are today. For us, it’s not important to be 100% metal or 100% rock ‘n’ roll or anything. It’s music, and we’re inspired by so many different styles and bands. You can hear that in the Volbeat music.
Michael Poulsen 

What an awesome concept!!

To take what came before as influence and use it to create something that is different. And the borrowing from different eras and cultural appropriation is what music is all about.

I also like how it’s seen as “Volbeat’s music” and not some term that came from a record label rep or a magazine editor. For those that don’t know, record companies (in most cases) came up with the terms that bands got labelled with. For example, Nikki Sixx is very vocal on Twitter about how “a record company came up with the derogatory term “hair metal” so they could sell new metal rock to a new generation.

A lot of metal histories try to track back the movement of heavy metal to a single artist. In most cases they pick the artist who had the most success. However like any popular invention, it is a combination of many little things. The first Apple Mac didn’t just come from nowhere without any influences. It was an amalgamation of products from other companies with some new additions and interface tweaks courtesy of Wozniack and Jobs. And music is no different. Music is a combination of influences with a few little tweaks here and there.

When you look at metal history, you don’t see a lot of black musicians listed there as influences, yet the whole metal movement was heavily reliant on the blues in those early formative days. Black Sabbath, the band seen as the first metal band, covered blues songs as Earth. But when you look at the written history of Black Sabbath, the writers talk about the blues of white musicians as influences to Sabbath. They talk about the influence of classical music to Black Sabbath which again is mainly written by white people.

The Beatles played Blues, Soul, Motown and Rock and Roll covers in their early days, made up predominantly of black artists. So did Black Sabbath. Hell, the Beatles even took a Chuck Berry song and called it “Come Together”.

Robert Johnson is cited as a large influence to Keith Richards who was introduced to his music by Brian Jones. Eric Clapton worshipped at the altar of Johnson and many years later, re-recorded all of Johnson’s classics. Howlin Wolf had a lot of songs covered by many white artists across many different genres.

We were sacrificing a lot of stuff in the beginning like jobs, education, girlfriends. Being away from family. And it was just to dedicate ourselves to the road and all the hard work there is to be an active band, to survive. We’re from that generation where we built everything up. There was no internet, no mobiles. It was old-school and I’m very proud of that. That could be part of why we’re still around. We earned our stripes.
Michael Poulsen 
Paying your dues and building up experiences matter. Esepcially when it comes to creativity. The pain of loss manifests itself into art. The happiness of life ends up as a song and so forth.

Today, bands are so eager to get the attention, to get the success, before the work. I’m not a fan of that. I think there are too many youngsters who concentrate too much on the success before they actually concentrate on the music. The music is what it’s all about, and it has to come straight from the heart. We started playing in small bars and it was never because we wanted to be a successful band. We just wanted to do something. We wanted to belong somewhere. Friendship, brotherhood. And it just escalated. Somehow we got bigger and bigger, and the success came. So success was never the important thing for us. It came along and of course it feels good now and we do embrace it. But there’s a lot of stuff we don’t do because we still want it to be about the music. There are lot of TV programs in Denmark where we were getting offers to be on every f—–g day. All the commercials. But we turned it all down because it’s not the reason why we started a band. We’re very aware of not overdoing anything that is Volbeat. We want to be on the road, we want to make records and we want to earn the right to be successful. And we did that from the very beginning. So I can only say that too many young bands concentrate on success before they concentrate on the music. They will fail because that’s not what music is all about.
Michael Poulsen 

We’re living in the social media connection revolution. With so many people connected to each other and everyone building monuments of their lives online, young artists believe success is around the corner. Music is seen as a way to become successful. But if you get in the game with the mindset to be successful over creative, you will not last. Your success is based on your creations. Your success is based on your experiences and your community. It’s easy to license your music to TV shows and Commercials. It’s seen as a way to make easy money for a lot of artists. But then your music turns into a jingle. At least you got paid, right.

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

Money In Music

“I’m not lying when I say I’ve got £100 in my bank account right now. In the six years I’ve been doing this, I’m not anywhere near the wage that I used to be on when I was a copper.”
Dan Tompkins – TesseracT’s old vocalist who has become the new vocalist again.

You see, being a Police Officer is a job on a salary. It is a community need to have Police Officers. They are there to keep public order and to enforce the rules. Now, being a singer in a progressive rock band means that you are one of many in a crowded marketplace. There is no salary and no guaranteed income. Everyone needs to make a living, however you need to be in the industry for the music first. Money comes a distant second.

Simply economics 101 dictates, when there is unlimited supply of a similar product, demand is low. When supply is limited, demand is high. At this point in time, there is a lot of new music coming out everyday.

So what are the fans going to latch onto?

We don’t know, there is just too much noise, so we wait. Meanwhile that act is percolating, spreading slowly from city to city, country to country. But that takes time. In some cases, a lot of time.

So, it’s time to bust a myth.

Being in a band is a financial struggle.

Being in a band with a label behind you is also a financial struggle, unless you are in the one percent of acts that cross over. The label will give you an advance that they will need to recoup from sales, touring, etc. However if you are in a band and you have an audience that cares, you can monetize that audience so that life is not a financial struggle.

In today’s market, the audience needs to go and find you. The hype and marketing of the past doesn’t work anymore.

TesseracT is a good band who are good musicians and songwriters. However, the big money-oriented labels find these kinds of acts no longer acceptable, unless they start making millions on an indie label.

It’s just a shame that so many fall by the wayside because there’s just too much saturation. It’s always been that way. There’s plenty of good music, it’s just in different places than the equivalent of what being on the radio used to be.

Being an artist means that you have to work for free and if you have worked for free and have built up an audience, then it’s up to you to monetize them. Normally, the record label would enter at this point in time. However, the myth of the label as the hero is greatly exaggerated. I remember the transitional period in the early 80s after MTV broke and made everyone a star and music become a sales driven vehicle.

Look at Protest The Hero. They had a label deal. They sold decently. They had decent film clips. They toured a lot. Then the sales dried up. By the end of it, they had no label and no money. They could have packed it in and done something different.

So what did they do?

They went to their fans to see if anyone cared. They set a target of $125K. They got a lot of hate in the process. Days after launching Indiegogo, they broke past their target. The fans cared.

Just this week, I got an email from Protest about another campaign, a subscription based service. I signed up straight away for the $25 package. Imagine they get the same 10,000 people signing up. You do the math.

Coheed and Cambria broke away from the label’s and went DIY for “The Afterman” releases. Claude got creative with the release package for the double album release and offered up an excellent Super Deluxe package at $70.

And they get opening week sales of 49,500. Assuming those sales are a mixture of Super Deluxe and Normal releases, the gross return is still pretty impressive. Then they had second week sales of 10,200. Third week sales of 4,000. Fourth week sales of 2,800. After four weeks, the band had moved over 60,000 units of the “Ascension” album. Then they went on a year-long victory lap around the world. During that tour, “Descension” comes out, three months after “Ascension” and it moves 40,600 units.

Again, you do the math on gross sales.

It’s hard making money in music, there is no doubt about it, but so is every business enterprise. There is no guarantee that every start-up will succeed, and it’s the same deal for artists. But history has taught us one thing. The artists that stick it out, percolating on the fringes, do end up crossing over. Pink Floyd, Yes, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and Disturbed are just a few acts that come to mind quickly. And then, the sky is the limit.

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

Daybreak Embrace And The Music Business

Let me tell you a truth.

Once upon a time, back in the Record Label controlled music business no one would have heard any music from Daybreak Embrace is outside of their South Florida scene. Back then, bands would release independent EP’s and singles in the hope to generate a big enough buzz at their live shows that they would get signed. Then once they got signed there was no guarantee that the band would still get a chance to release music on that label.

So a band like Daybreak Embrace could be at it for a long time before the world could get a chance to hear their music. However that is not the case in 2014. And I for one, am glad about that.

I really enjoyed Daybreak Embrace’s 2010 EP “Tomorrow Awaits”. From that EP “Thirty–Six” is a dead set classic and “Sanctuary” is not that far behind. This is where people should start.

So I was curious as to what new music they had released since then.

I go to Spotify, type in their name and I see that they have new music. The “Mercury” EP was released in 2013. Damn, how did I miss that. The Modern Rock scene in the U.S is a very crowded marketplace. You have bands like Shinedown, Three Days Grace, Three Doors Down, Alter Bridge, Lifehouse and many more. So if a band is to rise above the saturated marketplace, then they need to be great.

Producer and songwriter, “Paul Trust” has played a big part in recording the band at a high level. Sometimes all bands need these kind of experienced people. Daybreak Embrace by the way is James Wamsley (vocals), Giann Rubio (drums), Dan Cartagena (lead guitar), Keneth Figueroa (guitar) and Dani Costa (bass).

Yep, I know they are not rock star names like Slash, Nikki Sixx, Jay Jay French or Ace Frehley. But that doesn’t mean they don’t rock.

With all the beautiful things that the Internet has brought us, one thing hasn’t changed.

It is still difficult for a band to get attention and the odds of success are still very low.

However good bands always came from left field and from a place completely unexpected. They are around for years before they are fully embraced. Like all technological startups there are early adopters before critical mass.

For any band, first comes the music and then comes the fan base.

For managers and record labels, they don’t care what the music sounds like. They only care that it has an audience.

And that is the hardest part for any band. Proving that it has an audience so that they can gain entrance into a bigger league. And that doesn’t happen overnight or within a year or within five years. Remember that every overnight sensation is years in the making.

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

Niches and the Issue with too much music

Niches. There are lots of them. An audience that sees their scene as a sense of belonging and a badge of honor. In some cases, that sense of belonging is more important than the quality of the music.

You know what I’m talking about. People that keep on telling you how they listen to something non stop and then when I spin it, I go WTF was that.

In the old days, we would have to buy it and be default we would need to play it. But in the old days there was so much less music. In the old days the entry bar was higher and as a byproduct the quality was much greater.

But in the Internet era everybody can record and everybody can distribute. So we get diluted quality of music.

And in the end, it is a small group of label backed artists that succeed. And that is because all the other acts are just not good enough in their current formation or at this point in time.

Sure, bands that are self managed can have a career in music. Digital Summer and now Protest The Hero are two that come to mind, however if you want to have success like Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Volbeat and In This Moment, you will need good songs and a label behind you.

But if you really want to have success, you need to have realistic aims about what you want to achieve.

If you really want to have success, you need to know as much information on music publishing. Because the longer you control your own publishing, the more power you will hold in negotiations if you have a hit song.

If you really want to have success, don’t hand over your copyright unless you are aware of the consequences of doing so.

If you really want to have success, don’t try to follow trends.

If you really want to have success, be brutally honest with yourself has why you do what you do.

Because there is so much music available we gravitate to what is great. And that could happen the instant you put out a new song or it could happen years after.

Which means there will be fewer acts break through on a big basis.

Which means there will be fewer acts that will reach critical mass. And for the ones that miss the old days guess what, they are never coming back.

A career in the music business was always about that one song.

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

Band Harmony: Is There Such A Thing?

Who remembers watching interviews or reading interviews from their favourite bands about how much the band members love each other and all of that other rubbish about how great they are for the band.

The cold hard truth is this. Bands/artists want to show a solidarity, a unity.

They don’t want people and fans of the band to see weaknesses, so they try their best to make it look like everything appears fine on the surface.

However underneath it is a different story.

Every biography I have read, from “The Dirt” about Motley Crue, to “Enter Night” about Metallica, to “Lifting Shadows” about Dream Theater, to “Face The Music” about Kiss or to Dave Mustaine’s bio about his career. The same theme is prevalent throughout. The band members didn’t like each other.

No one really speaks their mind as it would cause problems in the band.

Others want to speak up and do more, however since a band member has already taken on that responsibility they step down as they don’t want to step on any toes.

Others want to have their songs included, however they keep on getting rejected or changed until the song loses it’s soul.

So they hold their tongue until it gets to a stage where they can’t anymore and all hell breaks loose.

Look at a few bands that are doing the circuit today and there is a pretty good chance that they do not have the original members in there.

Volbeat – holding on to lead guitarists proved problematic.

Five Finger Death Punch – holding on to bass players and lead guitar players proved problematic.

In This Moment – holding on to bass players, guitar players and drummers proved problematic.

Shinedown – holding on to bass players and lead guitar players proved problematic.

Dream Theater – where do you start. Singer changers after one album, three different keyboardists and a drummer change.

Trivium – changed drummers.

Evergrey – only Tom Englund is the original member.

Machine Head – only Robb Flynn is the original member.

When a record label signs an artist/band, they want to know that their newest signing/s are committed to the cause.

Want some advice.

Sacrifice everything. If you are in a band that means you are only as good as your weakest link. If the other band members don’t have the same committment, then they need to be sacrificed or you need to sacrifice yourself from the band.

If you don’t sacrifice everything then it is just a hobby.

Want to know about sacrifice. About change.

Look at Marty Friedman. Megadeth is on a high, selling platinum records (we’ll excuse the “Risk” album) and Marty Friedman leaves. As a fan of Megadeth and a fan of Marty Friedman’s solo work, I didn’t want it to happen.

Friedman reinvented himself by describing it as the best decision he has ever made, because, he was looking at the music that was making up the Top 10 in Japan and he liked it. Then he compared it to the music that was making up the Top 10 in America and as a musician he felt that Japan was the scene that he should be in.

It takes guts.

I can’t say I was a fan of the music he did while in Japan, however a musician needs to follow their muse. And that is what Marty Friedman did.

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

Money In Music, Greed, Elitism And A Lifestyle Of Not Taking Things Too Seriously

One thing about the world of heavy metal and hard rock was that we never took ourselves too seriously. It was always a camaraderie, a culture to have “Nothin But A Good Time”. A culture to “Seek and Destroy” and just have some fun “Smokin In The Boys Room”.

So when Zakk Wylde was playing “In This River” at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards for the fallen rockers and a picture of Jani Lane from Warrant came up, and it stated, Jani Lane, Motorhead, 1964-2011, it was just one of those things we had to laugh about. Of course, a lot people these days take stuff a little bit too seriously and the elite Motorhead fans were outraged that a wussy singer like Jani Lane was associated with their band.

Or what about when the Salem Community Easter Drama titled “Lamb Of God” actually used the Lamb of God logo on their tickets. It made everyone have a laugh. Because this is what metal and rock is all about. A lifestyle of not taking everything too seriously.

Then you have the other side of the metal and rock community, which is the elitism view.

First let’s go back to the beginning. It was all just rock, blues and folk.

Then it started to branch out into hard rock, blues rock, folk, R&B, Surf Rock, Brit Rock.

Then metal/heavy metal came into the picture, along with Southern Rock, Americana Rock, heavy rock, progressive rock and so forth.

Then came Funk, disco and punk rock.

Then came the New Wave Of British Metal and everything was just metal again for a few years. Regardless of how different the style of metal was, the audience always crossed over between genres. Fans of NWOBHM, also supported the LA metal and hard rock scene. Fans of that LA scene also supported pop rock and Americana acts like Kiss, Ted Nugent, Styx, Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Survivor, Reo Speedwagon and others.

It didn’t last for long as the genre that defined a cultural movement splintered into Hard Rock, Glam Rock, Glam Metal, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Extreme Metal, Progressive Metal, Black Metal, Metalcore, Groove Metal, Industrial Metal, Nu Metal, EMO, Punk Metal, Gothic Rock, Doom Metal, Djent, Technical Metal. Folk Metal and the list just goes on and on and on.

Within each genre, there is a subset of elitism within it. The type of elitism that sees the hard rock style as not just not hard enough for the heavy metal community. The type of elitism that sees Metalcore and melodic death metal as not evil enough for the “real” death metallers out there. Or the type of elitism that sees progressive metal as just not brutal enough compared to death metal or black metal.

Sort of like an episode I saw on the cartoon show “Metalocalypse” where the new song that the band Deathklok was writing just wasn’t brutal enough according to their singer.

The elitism goes both ways, where elitism in hard rock sees other metal bands as not melodic enough.

In some occasions it is simply down to taste. People enjoy the pop structure of the “verse – chorus” sing a long, every day, all year round.

The way I see it, people either praise someone else’s success, or they try to tear it down because they believe they should have been there and that someone stole their ride.

People attach themselves to this cancer within them that says “If this band made it, they suck” because they don’t want to admit that they wish it was them on that throne. They don’t want to admit that they are undeserving because they are not qualified or talented enough or good enough.

From the people that I know, and doing some crude math, eighty percent of wannabe musicians drop out when the going gets tough. The remaining twenty percenters keep at it, networking, planning, practicing, creating and moving on. Then from those twenty percenters, another eighty percent drop out due to starting or having families, which means that they have obligations and the need to have a stable income. So let’s say 100 start off. After the first cut, 20 will remain. After the second cut, only 4 will remain.

See no one tells you that when you reach a certain age, the power players in music don’t really want you. That is why the focus is on the young. It’s like McDonalds. Get em young and work em hard for less money.

Making it is hard work. It involves a lot of variables and the main one is luck. Very few make it and a lot of others have excuses for failing.

Sort of like the people who always scream to anyone who cares about how Spotify is killing the music business and pointing to pay out figures without giving the full picture as to how much the label took, how much the manager took, how much the publishers took, how much the lawyers took and how much went to the slush account for expenses.

Seen what Jared Leto said recently.

“We all know that, as content creators, artists and musicians, a great deal of our work is going to be streamed, but the issue is that artists are getting the short end of the stick. The streaming companies are paying record labels, but record labels are not paying artists.”

I have been saying this for a long time in other posts that the greed of the record labels is putting a stain on the streaming model.

“Record companies are taking giant advantages, they’re taking pieces of stock options or technology companies in exchange for guaranteeing rights to artists’ streams, there’s all kinds of deals being made, and artists aren’t a part of those deals.”

This is a biggie. Spotify needed to give over half of the company to the Major Record Labels so that they could operate in the U.S. What did the Major Record Labels use as their bargaining chip in these negotiations?

Yep, you guessed it, the right to access the music of artists past and present. And as Leto alluded too, artists are excluded from these conversations and negotiations.

Spotify is a great enabler of getting music out to the masses. It’s also set to overtake iTunes in Europe due to the closing of a digital tax law loophole in the UK – that put an end to all song downloads being priced at £0.99 ($1.79AUD). This in turn is means that iTunes is expected to lose consumers opting for subscription streaming services instead of paying for each track as a download.

In relation to the heavy metal and hard rock communities, they are not doing a really good job at promoting Spotify by still relying on album sales as a measure of success. Streaming is a tried and true business model. Hell, the whole free to air TV industry is the same model as the free streaming option. And the TV stations made a monza. In 2014, there is no fundamental reason why music needs a “sales” business model.

And while popular culture artists are raking in 100 million plus streams a song, metal and rock bands are still going the mp3/CD sale route. It is the wrong way. There should be no reason why a metal act should not have a song that has surpassed 100 million streams on Spotify by now. No reason whatsoever.

It’s the selling (instant money in the pocket right now) mentality versus the streaming (money in the pocket later) mentality and everyone wants to be paid right now. From the labels, managers, lawyers and producers, down to the individual band members. Everyone wants money to live on and get by.

But music is a risk game. Music was never an industry that guaranteed an income.

So why are bands pushing that argument.

Guitar World ran an article back in April 1997, about where are the Eighties Guitar Heroes now. Now meant 1997 for the article. One of the questions they asked each guitarist was their FINANCIAL STATUS. This is what they had to say;

WARREN DeMARTINI (RATT) – “It’s not like I never have to work again, but I had the luxury of not doing anything right away and I really enjoyed the break.”

“Out Of The Cellar” sold over 3 million copies in the U.S. “Invasion Of Your Privacy” sold over 2 million copies in the U.S. “Dancing Undercover” sold 1 million copies in the U.S. “Reach For The Sky” sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. “Detonator” sold over 500,000 copies in the U.S.

In total Ratt sold over 7.5 million records in the U.S. Using the average retail price of $10, you can do the math on the gross sales of Ratt’s music.

And that break that DeMartini took was roughly 12 months. After that he was a touring guitarist for Whitesnake in 1994, releasing instrumental albums in 1995 and 1996 and new Ratt albums in 1997 and 1999.

In other words even though he was the main songwriter in a band that grossed $75 million in album sales in the U.S alone, he still had to work his arse off.

REB BEACH (WINGER) – “I’m certainly not set financially. I still have to work. I didn’t sign the best contract. Back then, it was ‘Sign this, or we’ll get another guitar player.”

ERIK TURNER (WARRANT) – “We made millions and we spent millions. Now we’re like everyone else: we work for a living.”

BLACKIE LAWLESS (WASP) – “Slow and steady wins the race. We’re a lot better off that a lot of bands that sold a lot more records at one point because we have a cult following. We have the most devoted fans in the world. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

STEVE BROWN (TRIXTER) – “We came out of the whole thing in decent shape. We all have to work, but we don’t have any day jobs and I have a nice house.”

TRACII GUNS (L.A. GUNS) – “I’m by no means set. But I’ve established myself where people buy my records and come out to see us live.”

There is a lot of money in the music business and the ones that create it are the least underpaid.

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

Avatar

It’s hard to believe that “Black Waltz” is Avatar’s fourth release. Of course as is the norm these days for me, they are another band from Sweden and the famous Gothenburg melodic death metal scene. It looks like my love affair with Sweden continues. Of course, no one can touch my favourite band, which is the mighty “Evergrey”.

I was interested to check this band out after the guys from Five Finger Death Punch mentioned in an interview that Avatar’s new album is doing the rounds while they are on tour and that it is influencing them in the riff department.

The best way to describe their music is like a circus freakshow. Even one of their songs is titled “Smells Like A Freakshow”. Like Blowsight, Avatar has just so many elements in their music.

Industrial rhythms (like Rammstein) – check

Old Time Rock N Roll boogie – check

Swedish melodic death metal scene (like In Flames) – check

Twisted evil persona’s (like Marilyn Manson) – check

Hyperactive metal (like System of A Down) – check

Modern Metal elements (like Disturbed) – check

Technical Metal elements (like Meshuggah, Sikth) – check

Melodic, arena sized choruses – check

And that is what I got from listening to Black Waltz. A bizarre, melodic, psychotic freakshow.

They started out as a traditional melodic death metal band back in 2001. Since then they have tweaked their sound up to something very unique. Vocalist Johannes Eckerström (the Clown), growls his way through verses and when the choruses come, he turns on the melody.

“Paint Me Red” is about a girl hurting inside and pictures suicide. “Smells Like A Freakshow” is about standing up for yourself and not letting people get you down because they think you are an oddball or a freak. Other favourites include “In Napalm”, “Let It Burn” and “Torn Apart.” Seriously that section from 3.43; it’s like Enya/Enigma with a gothic metal touch. If anyone claims that part doesn’t get their attention they are lying.

So I went on Spotify to see how the band rates there.

So all the above songs except “In Napalm” are in the Top 10 of songs streamed the most.

“Paint Me Red” has 126,338 streams.

“Let It Burn” is the champion at 630,427 streams.

“Torn Apart” has 259,870 streams.

“Smells Like A Freakshow” has 229,755 streams.

We are all looking for greatness. We all want to share what we love. The biggest strength of the album is how it is able to be experimental, yet feel perfectly designed.

That is how you triumph today. You need to be experimental and spontaneous, however it needs to feel cohesive. The Top 40 is all about committee writers and generic songs. When an artist comes from left field, the Top 40 is shocked to its core.

The world today has people paying to get their story spread. Anyone heard the recent viral sensation called “Batkid”. It turns out that viral sensation had a lot of help from some paid friends. Read the story yourself. It was manufactured.

http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2013/11/22/Batkid-Brand-112213.aspx

There is always someone ready to take someone’s money, however what does all of it really do for an artists’ career and what does it do for an artists’ longevity. Manufactured superstars do not have a long shelf life.

Hell, even Bob Seger knew that when he wrote the words to “Old Time Rock N Roll”.

“Today’s music aint got the same soul, I love my old time rock n roll.”

Robb Flynn is doing wonders with his General Journals. It is working for him, and it is engaging his fan base. It doesn’t mean that it will work for every artist however artists need to play in order to win.

That is what Avatar encompasses for me. An eagerness to play and try out some new moves. Like all game winners, it is those moves that come from left field that end up winning the game.

So now that everybody is watching, what will Avatar do?

It comes down to the music. That is what builds careers. Today being an artist means that you need to be creating constantly, building an audience and holding it.

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