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

Rich And Famous

“Don’t expect to be rich and famous in this day and age, that is a very narcissistic attitude. You get into it because you love artistic expression, actually making music.”
Phil Collen in 2015

It’s a bit misleading when artists that have made money from the music business, state “don’t expect to be rich in this day and age”.

Artists never expected to get rich from creating. The classic rockers from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties had no idea there was that much money in music. No one thought being a rock musician was a role they could keep till death.

The stardom always came after, but when MTV put the rock stars into our lounge rooms, a hive mindset was created who wanted to be rich and famous without being musicians first. You know the kind of musician I am talking about, the one who practiced alone instead of Facebooking how great their practice is and how a possible song might come out of it. You know, the type of musician who is oftentimes ignored. Sometimes for their entire career.

“Rock ‘n’ roll should never have any limitations. That’s why Elvis took the guitar and not only did he play it, but he swayed his hips with it and he sang cool songs and he did choreography. When you start holding yourself back, then you lose the meaning of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Bret Michaels in 1987

Let me tell you a story about Vincent Van Gogh.

He never sold a painting in his life even though he had family members as art dealers.

He died broke.

100 years after his death, one of his paintings sold for over $100 million.

Did Van Gogh create art expecting to be rich and famous ?

There is a lot of discussion about the state of music today.

  • There are people who are asking where are the Lennon/McCartney’s, the Todd Rundgren’s, the Paul Simon’s, the Tyler/Perry’s, etc. of today.
  • Then there are people who believe that music is in a good place today and because there is so much music out there, it is ignored.
  • Then there are people who believe that artists these days write songs with an ulterior motive, replacing the art of music with the art of a product/service.
  • There are people who believe that there is still good quality music out there but it’s all underground and on the fringes.
  • There are people who reckon that the major labels ruined it all, by chasing what will make them the most money today, instead of years down the track.
  • Finally, there are people born way after the 60’s and 70’s finished who listen solely to artists from that era because they don’t see anything worthwhile/creative these days.

You see, in 2015 fans of music have a problem. Depending on your point of view it could be a good problem or a bad problem. As Steve Albini stated in a recent lecture;

“Now there is so much music it’s hard to be noticed. But that means there’s so much music available because it’s so easy for music to become available. If your music is not special, it’s no longer possible for hype and promotion to do all of the work. There are always going be a few mainstream pop stars, but that is no longer the main focus of music scene. The main focus is going to be people finding music on their own and discovering stuff that they like specifically for themselves.”

There is no doubt we live in a pop-dominated world so who can we can trust to give us the truth when it comes to metal and hard rock music news.

  • If you go to Loudwire or Ultimate Classic Rock or Diffuser, you will see that it is paid advertising from the bands PR companies.
  • Go to Blabbermouth and what you get is a carbon copy of a post that happened somewhere else on the internet. Why give the view to Blabbermouth?
  • Metal Injection and Metal Insider are two cool sites, but they also border on promoting one style of music over another because it suits their ideal.

The speed of change is increasing and the ones that are most adaptable will survive. And that means in the way the artists connect with the fans or market their music.

“They called it ‘nu metal’ is because it damn well was. When we came out of Hollywood, the ‘hair metal’ bands totally killed the scene. The Roxy, the Whisky… nobody was drawing anybody. And here comes COAL CHAMBER, here comes the DEFTONES, selling out shows. The Roxy, the Whisky… Here you’ve got this new scene — ‘nu metal,’ cause it was heavy. But I think the term ‘nu metal ‘is almost, like, pretty badass. Because you’re doing something new within a genre that existed forever and is heavy as hell, but it sounds newer and [with] newer influences.”
Dez Fafara – Coal Chamber

No one saw it coming. Great art comes from a hard life.

Like the British Invasion between ‘66 and ‘72. Like the NWOBHM and Punk movements between ’78 and ’81. Like the Sunset Strip from ’81 to ’87. Like Seattle in ’91.

And the story is still the same.

No one started to create for riches and fame in this “day and age” or in old “day and age”.

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

The Uncanny Valley – Be brave, make the decision, stick with it and move on

The Uncanny Valley is a song from Stone Sour and it appears on the House of Gold and Bones II album. Corey Taylor explained it as a song that is about fighting off pessimism and trying to reach for positivity and being brave enough to make a decision and stick with it. If you are a musician starting off, that is the unwritten rule. Make a decision, stick with it, be positive about it and don’t let the haters drag you down.

Five Finger Death Punch recently covered Mama Said Knock You Out. When Nu-Metal came on the scene 15 years ago, this would have been an accepted practice. Nu-Metal was riding high in the charts, it was a successful genre and it was the norm mixing hip hop with metal. These days, you don’t see any bands mixing rap with metal anymore. So what does Five Finger Death Punch do. They do the uncool thing and cover a hip hop song, in a metal fashion. Being brave enough to make a decision and stick with it. Being strong enough to fight off all the haters and pessimists. Being positive about it. Raising their stiff middle finger at what the norms are. This is what artists need to do.

As Ivan Moody and Zoltan Bathory have stated in countless interviews, there is no grey area when it comes to Five Finger Death Punch. People either love them or hate them, and all that matters to them is to focus on the people who get excited about music that comes from Five Finger Death Punch. In an age where people are supposably not buying music, Five Finger Death Punch have been able to achieve sales of over 500,000 in the US alone for each album cycle. It is clear that that the fans are supporting them and that is because they have been brave enough to make decisions and stick with those decision.

Dream Theater is also a band that has gone through a period of a dramatic turn of events. The departure of Mike Portnoy was unexpected to say the least to the fan base. However, Dream Theater soldiered on, held auditions and hired the mega talented Mike Mangini. The haters and the pessimists came out. Dream Theater continued on. Then Mike Portnoy reached out and asked back in. Dream Theater showed how brave they are and said NO. They made their decision to hire Mike Mangini and they are sticking with it. They see positives in this change.

So fast forward three years and Dream Theater is at another milestone. September 24, is when the self-titled album drops, the first to involve Mangini for the writing process. In the press statements, Petrucci is saying that this album is Mangini unleashed. They have come to this point in time, by making the brave decisions back in 2010/11 and sticking with them. It would have been easy from a fan point of view to bring Portnoy back into the fold.

Which brings me to Mike Portnoy. Yes, I am critical of his decisions, however one thing the Portnoy cannot be faulted with is making a decision. Love him or hate him, he makes career defining decisions and sticks with them.

Hell or Highwater is the band that Atreyu drummer Brandon Sailer formed. The difference here is that Sailer is the lead singer and songwriter on this project. He wrote 8 of the 11 songs, before he even had a band together. While Atreyu was known as a metal core act, Hell Or Highwater is heavy melodic rock. It’s no frills hard rock, and that is what people are gravitating towards again. The big difference between Hard Rock now and Hard Rock in the Eighties is the subject matter in the songs. It is back to being personal, it is back to conveying a feeling, it is back to storytelling. Gone are the goofball Eighties style lyrics of Slipped Her The Big One and sticky side up.

The reason why this is mentioned in this post is the brave decision Brandon Sailer needed to make when Atreyu went on hiatus. He stepped away from the drum kit and became a front man. He started writing songs that are connecting with people and he is sticking with it. He is seeing positivity in this change, already thinking ahead to the next record. If you haven’t heard Hell or Highwater check out the tracks Gimme Love, Find The Time To Breath, Hail Mary, Go Alone (with M.Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold), We All Wanna Go Home and Rock Waters Edge.

Be brave, make the decision, stick with it and move on.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Next 100 Years, I Could Make A Living Out of Lovin’ You and Ain’t No Cure For Love – Classic Songs Waiting To Be Discovered

Crush.  Does anyone know that It’s My Life came from this album.  You can say this was Bon Jovi’s renaissance.  After delivering a terrible album in These Days and a worse solo album in Destination Anywhere, Jon Bon Jovi needed to go back to Rock N Roll.  Luke Ebbin was on board to produce the album.  It was to be his first major production credit and what a good job he did with it.  It’s My Life was a monster.  So whatever came after it, wasn’t going to matter.  Call it the curse of the Number 1 effect.  Crush was a great album.  However, it was the B-sides that came with the CD-singles that were the standouts.

Next 100 Years was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.  It has that Beatles Hey Jude ending and then from about 4.25 it just goes into overdrive.  It’s got that Seventies vibe, that abandonment.  Hell the song even goes up to 6.19 which strays very far from the pop formula that Bon Jovi is renowned for.  Sambora wails on the guitar.  This is the year 2000, Nu Metal is ruling the scene and guitar solos are non-existent.  Trying telling that to Richie.  He must have missed the memo.  If there is one thing I can say about Richie, he stayed true to himself as an artist.  He didn’t follow the grunge trend or the industrial electronic trend Jon followed on Destination Anywhere.   He just remained the same.  His second solo album, Undiscovered Soul was a real standout in 1998.  I even watched him perform, 5 minutes from my house, at the Shellharbour Workers Club.  Now that was an unexpected surprise.

I’ll believe 
When you don’t believe in anything

That is life.  When I don’t believe someone else i know believes in something better and vice versa.  The Yin and the Yang.

I Could Make A Living Out Of Lovin’ You was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Billy Falcon.   If you like AC/DC, if you like rock n roll, this is the song for you.    It’s the a quality AC/DC song not written by the Young Brothers.  This song was on the Australian deluxe version as a bonus track.  To me, it is one of the best rock songs Bon Jovi has written.  It’s got that Bon Scott tongue in cheek attitude in the lyrics.  It is the guys having fun.  Yes FUN.  That is what it is supposed to be about.  Having FUN.  

If there’s something that needs fixing 
I’m the man to see 
Look me up, I’m listed 
Just check under “B” 
If you’re ever on the spot 
Well, I’m good with my hands 
24-7 I’m your handyman 

Until the work is finished 
Well, I don’t get paid 
I don’t mind getting dirty 
That’s my middle name 
I’m in the service business 
So I understand 
Call me 24-7, I’m your handyman

Aint No Cure For Love is the best ZZ Top song not written by ZZ Top.  How this song has not ended up as a Bon Jovi classic is a tragedy.  It’s the guys having fun again.  It’s written by Richie Supa, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.  Supa is known for his contributions to Aerosmith, plus Sambora used him for a lot of the Undiscovered Soul songs.   This is Classic Rock revisited in the YEAR 2000.  It deserves more attention.  It show a different side of Bon Jovi.

Cupid was a blind man
He must have missed his mark
Shot an arrow in the air and hit me in the heart

I went to see Saint Valentine
Said whats come over me?
Daddy must have missed the chapter about the birds and bees

You can be the King of diamonds
You can cash in all your gold
You could hire Johnnie Cochran
It’s too late to save your soul

NEXT 100 YEARS – YouTube

I COULD MAKE A LIVING OUT OF LOVIN’ YOU – YouTube

AIN’T NO CURE FOR LOVE – YouTube

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