Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Ripped Off – Here Is My Middle Finger Salute

“Gettin’ ripped off, underpaid” ….. from “It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll”

Bon Scott knew his stuff. For a person who had been trying to make it for a long time, he was well seasoned and experienced enough to come up with some great lyrics. He was a perfect fit to the youthism of the Young brothers. If you take the time to dig deep into his lyrics, you will notice a certain theme of being ripped off by promoters and record label execs, which is polar opposite to what artists are saying today. With so much backlash against streaming services and royalty payments, more and more artists are going on record to state that the “fan doesn’t support and respect music”.

So how can the music industry explain how bands that have performed live have not been paid the monies owed to them by the promoters?

The fans that supposedly “don’t support and respect music” purchased their $180 plus concert ticket. Surely this is a show of support to the acts on the bill that people value and respect music.

“So if you’ve got the money, we’ve got the sound,
You put it up and we’ll put it down,
If you got the dollar, we got the song,
Just wanna boogie woogie all night long” ….. from “Aint No Fun (Waiting Around To Be A Millionaire)”

For those that don’t know, the 2016 Soundwave Festival in Australia has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales. However, the roots of the problems go back. From the 2015 edition of Soundwave, a lot of bands are still owed money from their festival appearance.

For the full list, click on this link.

Here is a selection of a few;

The main artists;

  • Soundgarden — $2,132,075.00
  • Slipknot — $1,645,299.29
  • The Smashing Pumpkins — $1,267,446.43
  • Faith No More — $751,076.20
  • Marilyn Manson — $588,000.56
  • Incubus — $571,428.58
  • Slash — $484,628.00
  • Fall Out Boy — $394,107.14
  • Judas Priest — $349,560.55
  • Ministry — $203,952.01
  • Godsmack — $200,000.00
  • Lamb of God — $161,323.33

The medium-sized and self-financed artists;

  • Papa Roach — $93,050.93
  • Steel Panther — $92,517.57
  • Fear Factory — $78,263.96
  • Apocalyptica — $65,601.90
  • Falling In Reverse — $54,064.98
  • Atreyu — $52,044.64
  • New Found Glory — $43,279.88
  • Nothing More — $35,000.00
  • Of Mice and Men — $29,040.00
  • Killer Be Killed — $24,513.00
  • Escape the Fate — $21,985.68
  • Dragonforce — $21,000.00
  • Monuments — $19,153.00
  • Animals as Leaders — $16,607.14
  • Nonpoint — $8,137.54
  • Ne Obliviscaris — $5,720.60

Commissions to an agency for organising acts;

  • Live Nation Worldwide, Inc — $1,180,325.56

That’s some serious dollars taken from the hard-working hands of the fans and not paid to the artists. You see, a fan believes that the act would be getting their cut. It’s an unwritten law that it will happen. The fan also knows that the promoter, venue and so forth would also get their cut. Which in a lot of cases is more than the acts cut.

“Living on a shoe string,
A fifty cent millionaire,
Open to charity,
Rock ‘n’ roller welfare” ….. from “Down Payment Blues”

Life is tough and when you don’t get paid, it’s even tougher, because we all have other commitments that we need to make. So are the fans to blame again for not supporting music.

Are the fans to blame when managers, promoters and record labels rip off the artists?

“It’s a song (“I Believe In You) I wrote a long time ago. Well a long time before it got put on a record, which is kind of a drag in a way because our original managers ripped us off for our publishing (on) the first two Yesterday and Today records. We haven’t received a penny publishing to this day from those two records. I wrote “I Believe in You” about the time they were managing us so when I put it on the “Earthshaker” record well after they were gone they still took my publishing and never gave me a cent for “I Believe In You”. Anyway it was written a long time ago about a break up that I had with a long-time relationship I had with a girl so the song inspired itself more or less.”
Dave Meniketti 

There is a lot of money to be made in music and the fans are spending. The fans respect music and value music. It’s a shame that the corporate entities that benefit largely from the music that artists create don’t value and respect music in the same way.

Unless Artists make a stand and take back their copyrights or organise better rates for themselves when they sell/license their rights to the corporations, then that copyright royalty pay rise will just end up with the corporate entity the artists sold their copyrights too.

SoundExchange, the organization that collects royalties is considering an appeal at the Copyright Tribunals decision to increase the royalty rate that Pandora and other stations needs to pay.

Now why would SoundExchange want to do that?

It’s because they have collected over $3 billion dollars in royalties since 2003 and once you take their standard 30% administration costs, it adds up to a lot of money for SoundExchange for doing absolutely nothing. But they want more of that pie.

Artists as usual get short-changed by all of the corporations taking their cut. And even when they perform live, it looks like they are still being shafted by the promoters.

In Australia, the recording industry revenues are growing and have been since 2012. And what was the defining moment in 2012 that caused this shift in revenue.

Of course, it was the arrival of Spotify in May 2012.

And that is what fans of music do. We double dip. I like to stream and on occasions I love owning something physical from the artists that I support.

Since 2008, those physical purchases include only the special deluxe pieces of art that bands produce. To pay $30 for a DVD/CD special edition album release is just not worth it. I would rather pay the $12 a month Spotify subscription and access that digitally. Recently, I was one of 40,000 people who purchased Coheed and Cambria’s “The Color Before The Sun” Super Deluxe Edition for $70US and I am one of many who have pre-ordered Dream Theater’s new album “The Astonishing” for $170.

Music doesn’t exist without its best customer; the fan. So as a fan, here is a big middle finger salute to all of those comments about fans of music not respecting music.

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Music, My Stories

Dave Mustaine

Dave Mustaine will never have to spend another dollar on marketing. I have a Google Alert set up for Dave Mustaine, and man, what can I say, the web is a flux with Dave Mustaine news. The most recent news item doing the rounds is the booting off the band Newsted from Megadeth’s Sidewaves shows, the blame game as to who was responsible and now Megadeth cancelling their Australian tour. All of that in 7 days.

In another interview on the FasterLouder website, Mustaine is asked a lot of hard-hitting questions, especially around the recent album “Super Collider” and how it is seen as a failure. Mustaine responded by saying it debuted at No 6 on the Billboard charts, so he wouldn’t call that a failure.

So I thought I would check out the album again, because after I heard when it came out, I only liked two songs, “Kingmaker” and “Cold Sweat” their cover of the great John Sykes penned Thin Lizzy song. So how is resonating almost a year after its release. Still love “Kingmaker” and “Cold Sweat”.

“Forget To Remember” is on the radar now. Musically the song is pretty sound and the melodies are really catchy, however the lyrical theme of the song just doesn’t resonate. “Built For War” has some cool progressions in it and “Don’t Turn Your Back” has a great intro riff (the fast heavy one) but that’s about it. “Super Collider” is not a bad song, however it is too close to “Almost Honest” for me, and I didn’t really like that song either.

Going back to the comment about “coming in at Number 6, so how can people call the album a failure.” It’s important to note that the charts do not have the same meaning and influence as they once did. When someone comes up with a chart that combines sales, streaming counts, YouTube views along with the conversation occurring on social media, only then can we call the charts sensible.

And the album “Super Collider” is a failure. Megadeth should have release a single of “Kingmaker” with “Cold Sweat” as it’s B side. Let that do its rounds for a month and then hit us with another release, perfecting the other songs and writing new ones at the same time. Megadeth have always had a hard-core fan base. They are the ones that rush out and buy the album in the first week. Then once we have it, what’s next. And that is the dilemma of the recording business in 2014.

In the end, we are mainly interested in what is great and it is better to release great more frequently instead of an album every 2 years that has a couple of great tracks. It is unfortunate that a lot of artists prefer the album format because that is what people are used to.

You know the cycle, spend six months writing and recording an album, so that you can tour the world for 15 months and then start the cycle again. It is not like that in 2014. We only have time for what is great. And as much as I love Megadeth, “Super Collider” is not a great album, however “Kingmaker” is a great song. I love the “Children Of The Grave” influence.

On the flip side, I’ll guarantee you that almost everyone knows who Dave Mustaine is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because that is another facet of the music business in 2014. Dave Mustaine as a personality has had more traction than “Super Collider”.

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Music

Richie Sambora

So Richie Sambora is coming to Australia as part of the Soundwave festival and of course, his backing band now has an Australian flavour in guitarist Orianthi. I saw Richie Sambora at Shellies (now known as The Shellharbour Club) back in June 1998. June 19 to be exact.

My future wife purchased the tickets as a surprise. It was a small venue and it wasn’t sold out. To see a living legend in such an intimate gig was breath taking to say the least and man can he put on a show. When he played the Bon Jovi songs, he didn’t play them note for note as on the albums. He jammed them. He was like the Sheriff, leading the band around into extended instrumental lead breaks.

At the time, I think you could say that the attendance was disappointing compared to the lofty attendances that Bon Jovi (the band) could draw. In addition, Jon Bon Jovi toured earlier and played two shows at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. However that did not stop Sambora and his band of merry gentlemen, putting on an awesome 2 hour show for the devoted.

I will be very interested to check out Richie on a sidewave show, as I have no desire nor interest in going to an outdoor festival. It’s funny how at the same time that all of the Soundwave announcements were happening I was also reading an interview that Richie Sambora did back in November 1991, for the “Hot Metal” magazine.

The interviewer is Stefan Chirazi and it was part of Sambora’s press campaign for his first solo album “Stranger In This Town”.

I’d always taken one look at a photo of Richie Sambora and imagined a guy who thought he was God. Don’t ask me why, maybe it was the hat, but something made me think that Richie wasn’t without the knowledge that he was a super guitarist, a super stud and a super, errum, star. The photo’s always showed a lonesome pout, a little-boy-not-really-that lost sort of thing and I fully expected any meeting I had with Richie Sambora to legitimise my preconceptions.

I was wrong. Richie Sambora is, as we used to say in Britain, an obvious good lad. He’s also, obviously, a rocker through and through. When he tells me, gesturing up and down his body, that “I’d look like this whether I was on Bon Jovi or not” I instantly believe him. I don’t think Richie Sambora could bullshit you if his life depended on it, and once he’s started talking, he’s there, moving through the conversation with you.

1991 was three years after “New Jersey” came out and five years after “Slippery When Wet.” The band Bon Jovi was on hiatus. Jon Bon Jovi had another hit with “Blaze Of Glory.” This was a crucial time for the artist known as Richie Sambora.

Richie Sambora is a good guy, for real. It’s so nice to know that the camera lied. We’re sitting together to discuss Richie. It must be fun for him:

After years of being the Bon Jovi guitar player’ Richie now has his own album out titled “Stranger In This Town” and is striking a major blow for himself.

Deservedly. Just about the only linkage with his BJ side are those desert gypsy notes and moods that are created throughout the album. Richie the spiritualist?

“Y’see, I don’t wanna go back to being a rock star,” he starts warmly.

“I don’t consider myself a rock or pop star, I consider myself a musician and I would like people to consider me an artist. I don’t know if they do yet, but my dream is to have people respect me as a total artist…”

Sambora’s solo albums were never written to try and sell a gazillion records. They were written to please him. The first album really had this blues rock vibe happening. The second album has got this Springsteen Americana vibe happening and the third album has bits and pieces from the whole history of music.

Sambora allows his life and his work to merge on many occasions throughout the album.

“I wrote this album out of basically my life experience. I’m not saying each thing is exactly what happened, but it’s a general kind of outlook on the way my life’s been going.”

We talk about the song “Rest In Peace”, which seems like the natural extension of “Dead or Alive”.

“When I wrote that song I was primarily reading a lot of philosophy and a lot of poetry because I wanted to become…”

I interrupt to ask who he was reading.

“Well, a lot of Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Browning and Maria Rilke, who’s German. I’m not much for reading big books and biographies because I just don’t have the time. For 20 minutes I can sit down and read some poetry or philosophy, and I am a personal philosopher of sorts -I think everybody is if they really look at it. I have my own philosophies on my life and my views. This song was what I’d try and say to my old girlfriends when I’d go on the road. I’d tell them our love will rest in peace, kind of a way to say I love you. “RIP” is really a feeling, a dream I had which leads to the “Church Of Desire” and I think I’ve lived there many times with different relationships.”

“I think a lot of people have, because you get into a position where your romance reaches a stalemate. You have an argument, you’re here and she’s there and no-one’s givin’ in!”

The press have always hounded you more about your personal life and celebrity status than your music, but really the album contains all the answers to your feelings doesn’t it?

“You can get to know Richie Sambora from this album. Basically I’ve always tried to keep, even through the whole Cher trip, my life private. I didn’t do any interviews for a year and a half while I was living with her and I told her I didn’t really appreciate her doing her laundry in public with Rob Camiletti. I didn’t really appreciate the way that relationship went down, and I was friends with her through the whole thing. To me people know me as the guitar player from Bon Jovi but they don’t know me, the real artist, and hopefully this album can change that.”

“At the time Blaze Of Glory hit and things started to go good, Jon said he didn’t really know if he wanted to go on with the band again … not saying he didn’t wanna do it ever again but he wasn’t sure. That kind of left me in a difficult position because I didn’t have a record contract and I didn’t have a contract with Bon Jovi. For years I dedicated myself to that band and for three and a half years record companies were comin’ to me with all this money to do my own record and I would say, ‘No, I’m with a band.’ There was no time, so why load myself up with more responsibility than I can handle?”

Even back in 1991, everything Bon Jovi related was done on Jon Bon Jovi’s timetable. Sambora’s departure from the “Because We Can” tour goes back to the overdose of Jon Bon Jovi’s daughter in December 2012. When that happened Jon was in a different country. God forbid that if something really bad happened he would have been too late. This was Richie’s wake up call.

“Then, at the end of our last tour, we had some disagreements about different things. I owned the record
company which is now Jamco and used to be The Underground – Jon and I and Doc McGhee owned it all together. And I didn’t wanna be part of that anymore because I was so tired and beat up from being out there so long. I wanted to make a solo record and be in Bon Jovi, so I felt like those two things would be quite enough to fill my life. And, on top of that, to have a personal life that was gonna be enough. I didn’t need to be a record company executive and take another artist’s life in my hands, because before I got into this band I’d been on the raw side of some record deals and hated it. And I wasn’t gonna tell an artist that I could make their record happen when I was trying to figure out whose f_kin’ underwear I had on.

Who am i?

“There are times you really don’t know what day it is, let alone what time it is. It’s not bullshit it’s true. So my disagreements with Jon came in that light, i said, ‘Man, look, the money ain’t worth the f_kin’ time I need to get my head together. I’m drinking too much, f_king around to much.’ I was just outta control, I was becoming the very
thing that you’re meant to be in that position anyway…”

A rock pig?

“Exactly, and I didn’t dig it.”

There you go. Even back in 1989/1990 the argument between Richie and Jon was over money. How much money does a person want or need?

One of my favorite guitarists Jake E Lee was selling off his gear to pay the rent during the nineties, while Jon Bon Jovi was getting sued by Skid Row for publishing rip offs and buying zillion dollar penthouses.

When did you realise you needed to bail out?

“There wasn’t any one point – what really made me think I could go out on my own was when I did “The Wind Cries Mary” thing. I was in South America in month 16 of the Bon Jovi tour and was starting to feel very creatively stifled, as well as depressed. There were many days between shows because we were doing the huge stadiums, so you’d have five days off at a time to sit in your hotel room. Paramount rang and said they were in a jam for the Andrew Dice Clay movie and could I help out by jamming on “Wind Cries Mary”, to which I immediately said yes.

Touring is a lonely gig. It is in isolation that our heroes turn to vices.

“I knew it’d creatively get the whole thing going, anything to get me going. I asked for every Hendrix video and CD to be sent, and I lived him for five days. Band Of Gypsies was one of the first records I ever bought in my life, that and Deep Purple’s Machine Head.

“Every morning before I went to school I’d be playing those albums, so that five days in South America it was like getting re-acquainted with Jimi. I wanted to exploit his wild side a little bit, and I wanted to get into his head. It was like studying for a test, because I was scared…”

Of what?

“The fact that it was a hard task to follow – I hadn’t sung lead vocals for 10 years. Also I was stuck in the narrow parameter of the Bon Jovi music, at that point I wasn’t sure if I could break out of it. I didn’t f_king know, and it was important for me to go and try that. But once I started playing the records and the videos it just came out. I didn’t plan it. It just happened and I knew I’d be able to do it.

“I was very insecure, y’know, with the mental fatigue and the frustration I was having within the frame of the touring schedule. Cher was very instrumental because when I came off the road she took care of me. I went to live with her and she was very cool. I always sing around the house, strum a guitar but I was so mentally f___ked up that I didn’t know if I could do a solo album.”

Is it painful for you to know how many people paint the picture of you as an aloof rock star?

“Yeah, well, I try when people meet me on the street not to let em know by just being me, I try really hard not to pay attention to the fame and unit numbers. I can’t even think about that – Bon Jovi’s sold 30 million records and I can’t even evaluate that or relate it to real terms. All I know is that I work as hard as I can, and at this stage of my career I’m still working this hard. The ethic I always upheld in my heart is still with me and that’s what keeps me together. I’m lucky enough to have good friends, my old buddies.”

He gestures to himself, pointing at his clothes.

“This is me, y’know, old jeans, T-shirt… This is me on the ground and relating to people.”

Richie Sambora’s finally getting to know himself better. He’s also a good guy. Talking with him was more fun than I ever thought it could be…

That is why Richie still matters today. He works hard. Back at the start of the nineties, his cycle from 1983 was album/tour. The tours originally lasted 10 months and then when Slippery broke the tours turned to 2 year tours. He worked his arse off.

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Music, My Stories

A Day In The Life of Sevendust, Soundwave and AJ Maddah

I purchased tickets to watch Sevendust open up for Creed as part of their Australian Tour back in March 2002. ONE week before the tour started, Sevendust pulled out due to “undisclosed unforeseen circumstances.” In their place was a band called “Crash Palace”. I was like WHO. I didn’t purchase tickets to watch Creed and Crash Palace. I purchased tickets to watch Sevendust only.

As a Sevendust fan I was disappointed. A week after they announced the “undisclosed unforeseen circumstances” press release, drummer Morgan Rose said that the reason why the band pulled out was that John Connolly’s grandmother passed away and he needed to be there. Also Clint Lowery married his long-time girlfriend and needed to spend more time with her.

In March 2004, Sevendust toured Australia as headliners with support from Sunk Loto and Full Scale. At that time I wasn’t financially viable and I didn’t end up going to the shows.

In May 2006, Sevendust cancelled a planned UK/European tour due to a “lack of tour support”.

In March, 2008, Sevendust toured Australia again.

Then Sevendust where on schedule to appear with Avenged Sevenfold. I didn’t mind Avenged Sevenfold, however I purchased tickets based on Sevendust appearing. Then in July, two weeks before the Australian tour commences, they issued the following message;

“Unfortunately we will not be making the trip to Australia this time with A7X. We will be making plans to come back soon. So sorry for any inconvenience and look forward to our next tour there.”

In 2010, Sevendust pulled the plug on their European tour earlier than scheduled for “circumstances beyond their control” .

In 2011, Sevendust made the trip to Australia, playing Soundwave and they also did a few Sidewave Shows as well.

In November 2013, Sevendust dropped off the “From Death To Destiny Tour” with Asking Alexandria, All That Remains, Emmure and For Today several dates earlier due to a “personal family matter.”

Now we have this issue of the Soundwave cancellation. The way the parties tell it is that the band asked for assistance with additional costs and if Soundwave/AJ Maddah didn’t agree to the request, Sevendust still had a Plan B to get to Australia. However, the rejection from Soundwave/AJ Maddah was a swift denial of their request for additional assistance and a cancellation of their Soundwave spot.

Okay, as a fan it is disappointing when a band you like and purchase tickets to go and watch, don’t end up showing up. Based on the above, Sevendust has built up a healthy trend of cancelling tours. The Australian tour cancellations are always hard to swallow as they happen a week or two before the shows are meant to start while some of the other tours have been cancelled mid-way.

It’s very easy to get caught up on the cancellations and forget the amount of shows that Sevendust play each year. Go to Google and type in “setlist.fm Sevendust”.

In 2013, Sevendust played 116 shows.

For comparison sake, Bon Jovi played 106 shows. Five Finger Death Punch played 78 shows. Coheed and Cambria played 97 shows. Shinedown played 103 shows. Volbeat played 131 shows. Avenged Sevenfold who had the most successful album of 2013 in the metal genre played only 49 shows.

The only band to eclipse Sevendust in the “Road Warrior” title of the year is Volbeat.

2012 was a lean concert year for Sevendust, playing only 19 shows.

In 2011, Sevendust played 120 shows.

To compare again, Bon Jovi played 65 shows. Five Finger Death Punch played 46 shows. Coheed and Cambria played 44 shows. Shinedown didn’t play any shows in 2011, however in 2010 they played 101 shows and in 2012 they played 128 shows. Volbeat played 97 shows. Avenged Sevenfold played 120 shows and shared the honours with Sevendust in the “Road Warrior” title of the year.

2010 saw Sevendust play 69 shows.

So what does the above tell you about Sevendust. They are bloody hard workers, who put in a lot of miles to perform to their audience. Of course it is disappointing that they have had to withdraw from a few Australian tours, however they are in the music business. With any business, why should anyone do something at a loss or if they can’t make any money from it. The only crime from Sevendust is not being transparent enough. We live in an information society and the fans wanted the information straight from the band.

As the war of Twitter words escalated, the story started to become clearer however that was all too late. The band has the attention of their fans via Facebook and other social media outlets. They should use that notice board to communicate with them in a proper personal way, not in the PR way of “unforeseen circumstances beyond our control”.

For any band to tour Australia it is a costly exercise. With our declining dollar, it will make it even more costly. I remember the nineties and the early two thousands. Not a lot of metal bands toured Australia when our dollar was worth 50 cents US. It wasn’t worth it.

AJ Maddah calls Sevendust pissweak for cancelling on him on three occasions. So what about the 314 shows the band has played since 2010. Three Australian tour cancellations vs 314 shows. I don’t call that pissweak.

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – Lessons Learned or Not Learned

The Stone Music Festival (SMF) will be back in 2014. So what lessons have the organisers learned or not learned from the inaugural festival.

1 – The month of April for an outdoor festival is the wrong month. The organisers have put some PR spin on this by using ANZAC DAY. The festival website states that the point of the Stone Festival was to be “a timely reminder of our fallen veterans in the lead up to ANZAC Day, create a brand new Aussie ANZAC tradition”. Seriously, what a load of BS. The Stone Music Festival was created to make money. Nothing else. It wasn’t created to honour Anzac Day or the fallen veterans. If it was, it would have mentioned that from the outset, not after the festival was run. Shame SMF on using the Anzac legend in your PR rubbish. LESSON = NOT LEARNED.

2 – The festival will drop the “Stone Music Festival” brand name. For those in Australia, we know that the Stone movie is about bikies and bikie culture. The association with this movie and the bikie culture became a PR nightmare. The Sydney Bikie Wars is all over the news with shootings happening at least once a week. Fans believed that motorcycle gangs would be in attendance at the festival. The organisers realised this could be a problem. So the PR machine kicked in again, stating that any bikies in club colours will not be allowed into the venue. It was all too late. Ticket sales stalled. LESSON = LEARNED

3 – It has mentioned Muse, Kings Of Leon, Pearl Jam and The Eagles as possible contenders for next year.

The Eagles did big business in Australia on the stadium circuit, when they toured here in 2010. They haven’t released anything worthwhile, solely relying on their legacy.

Kings of Leon did big business on the Arena circuit when they toured in Australia in 2011 and are in the process of releasing their new album. If that album tanks, I am sure the organisers would book them, as they booked Van Halen and Aerosmith.

Pearl Jam played stadiums in Australia when they toured here last in 2009. This band is a dark horse, as they have that Grateful Dead cult following. The band members are connected to social media, they bootleg their own shows and release them to the fans and they are still churning out music. Personally I liked Pearl Jam on the first four albums. Backspacer wasn’t a bad album, but it wasn’t good either.

Muse on the other hand played the Big Day Out festival in 2010 when they toured Australia, so they are experienced at the Australian festival scene. They then totally ignored Australia on the recent 2nd Law tour. Maybe that is a good thing, since that album was terrible. To me, Muse is a downward spiral. They have had their heyday.

The organisers are looking at the past. They are not looking at the now. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

Here are some current international bands that are doing big business; Kid Rock, Stone Sour, Shinedown, Killswitch Engage, Black Veil Brides, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, Volbeat, Bullet For My Valentine, Coheed and Cambria, Imagine Dragons, Paramore, Papa Roach and Thirty Seconds To Mars.

4. Drugs is a big problem in Australia, so when you have a person involved in the festival that did time for drugs and the name of the festival is referencing a bikie movie, where the bikie gangs of today are the biggest movers of drugs, you will be scaring off a lot of people. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

5. Treating older fans like teenagers. Fans of music are not just 18 – 25 year olds as most organisers believe. Most of the money spent in the music business is by older fans. These fans don’t deserve to be standing for 10 hours in the rain or the sun to watch an act that they supported and grew up with. Organisers of any festival need to take this into consideration. When you have headlining bands like Van Halen and Billy Joel, you need to accept that an older fan base will be present. Show them some respect. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

6. Have a Plan B. There is no reason why these shows couldn’t move into the Allphones Arena. The second stage could have been set up in one of the foyer areas of the Allphones Arena. There was no vision, no contingency. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

7. The Supergroup Cover/Tribute band is here to stay.
Seriously, Kings Of Chaos stole the show at the venue. I remember back in time, where a certain “supergroup” in Australia was formed called The Party Boys and what fun they had as well, playing cover songs from other bands as well as songs from there solo careers/previous bands. .

8. Van Halen in the past did big numbers and so did Billy Joel. In America, those two artists still did big business last year. Of the 25,000 tickets that where on sale at the SMF for Day 1 – Van Halen, under 50% got sold. Of the 25,000 tickets on sale for Day 2 – Billy Joel, under 45% got sold. So why didn’t they do big business in Australia this time around.

Three things at play here;
1. Blame the month. As I have mentioned in the previous posts, April is the worst month to hold an outdoor festival in Australia.
2. Both artists haven’t released anything worthwhile recently. EVH is my guitar idol. When I was learning how to play in the 1980’s EVH and RR formed by body of knowledge. I even paid top dollar to get recorded cassette tapes of their demos to be sent to me. Imagine my shock when I purchased A Different Kind of Truth, and hear those demo songs on it. What a load of rubbish? I really liked the songs they did with DLR on the Greatest Hits packages, so why they couldn’t go forward in that direction is beyond me.
3. The lack of decent Australian talent. Jimmy Barnes and Noiseworks are finished. The Living End need to release something worthwhile again or they will be doing the nostalgia circuit as well. Australian fans like Australian talent, however it looks like everyone is pushing/shoving international rubbish acts past their due by date down our throats. The organisers need to be out scouting for talent. De La Cruz from Brisbane, has a recording deal in Europe with Frontier Records. They play hard rock music. Demolition Diva rocked it up at the Motley Crue and Kiss concert. Birds of Tokyo are relevant. My favourite Australian act is COG. They never got the recognition they deserved. Second placed is Karnivool and then The Butterfly Effect. These bands all have cult fan bases. And yes, I do know that COG is on hiatus or have split up, depending on what story you believe.

9. The one venue idea is ridiculous in Australia. To fly to Perth from Sydney is a four to five hour flight. Tickets return are normally $500. Talking about treating fans like dirt. Fans need to purchase a ticket to the show at $200 minimum, then book flights at $500 return. Most will end up staying the night, so then they need to book accommodation at $200 a night. $900 is a lot of money, and imagine if they are coming with a partner or their teenage kids.

The reason why Soundwave and the Big Day Out work in Australia as summer festivals is that it moves from City To City. To be honest, those two festivals have the January and February months booked down. So that leaves November, December and March for this festival. December is all about Christmas, so you can count out that month. So that leaves October, November and March. March is when Uni students return to school in most countries, October and November is the end of school exams, so already, the festival has an uphill battle to secure a suitable month. Remember Soundwave Revolution from a few years ago. They tried it in September, and it didn’t even start. It was cancelled. That was another one venue idea as well. If you are going to do ONE VENUE – do it in MELBOURNE. The Melbourne-ites go to everything. It is a different scene and culture there. LESSON = NOT LEARNED

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Periphery – Ragnarok – Classic Song Waiting to Be Discovered

Djent.  Who comes up with these terms for music?  Do people really need music to be labelled and categorised to like it.  Why can’t music just be music? It’s not like we are walking through super market isles with a list of what to get.

Seriously I grew up on 80’s hard rock / metal bands.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t like glam rock, thrash metal, pop rock, pop, death metal, technical metal, progressive metal (yawn as more labels come to mind)etc…   See how ridiculous it is.  The problem is when a niche explodes, it becomes mainstream and like it or not its part of the mainstream music machine.  Does anyone refer to Pearl Jam or Alice In Chains as grunge bands or Limp Bizkit as NuMetal anymore?  No they are just bands releasing music and playing shows.   

Coming back to Djent and Periphery.  I saw these guys live at the Annandale Hotel in Feb 2013, as a sideshow they did from the Soundwave tour.  They were good.  Very good.  Technical and melodic.  Technical and aggressive.  Technical and progressive.  Technical and rocking.  Technical and serene.  Technical and mechanical.  It was a pleasure to be there.  To me it is music.  I don’t see it as a Djent movement.  I don’t see it as a niche where only an elite group of fans can participate because they all like Djent style bands and everything else out there is crap.  Its music, that encompasses all the terms I mentioned. 

Periphery was formed in 2005 by guitarist Misha Mansoor.  It wasn’t until 2010 they released their debut album.  Are people prepared to put in 5 years of service these days without making a dime from music and working a full time job to support the dream of being a musician?  

Misha got traction by connecting.  He had a Soundclick account that he regularly updated with riffs and songs.  He went on to forums that mattered.  He didn’t spam everyone.  He went after the people that had a similar interest in the style of music he was into.  In this case, it was the Meshuggah, Dream Theater, John Petrucci and Seven String forums.  He met other musicians like this?  Those other musicians would end up as members in Periphery.  So from just Misha and his computer originally, now it is a band of six musicians.  Vocals are provided by the gifted Spencer Sotelo.  Where did he come from?  In the first two minutes you think he’s singing from the depths of hell and then the angelic melodic voice carries the outro of the song. 

Ragnarok.  The end of the world in Norse mythology by submersion of the world in water.  Afterward, the world will resurface anew and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors.  Does this sound familiar to all the Christian’s out there?  I will be clear from the outset, I am not a fan of screaming guttural vocals.  I appreciate what they bring to a song and what they try to add to the message/context of a song however I don’t really like them.  However, I like how the music is technically aggressive from the outset but to me this song explodes from the 2.20 minute mark to about 4.30.  I remember playing this song to people that like more of a commercial sound.  They were looking at the ceiling and then from the 2.20 minute mark they are paying attention.  Is this the same band they ask me.  I answer yes it is. 

Somewhere in time…
Off in the distance we can see, shining, clear, our demise to be.
We’re not listening to ourselves.

The end of the world.  We can see it, but we failed to stop it.  Allowing Corporations to influence legislation so that it protects their bottom lines and takes away from our liberties.  We need to stop it.  Allowing politicians to serve the lobby groups instead of the people that voted them in.  We need to stop it.  Allowing our privacy to be stored and traded on hearsay evidence.  We need to stop it.  Experience the end of the world with Periphery.  Be amazed.  For the ones that don’t like the death metal vocals, hang in there until the two minute mark.  

You Tube

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Last Man Standing – Classic Bon Jovi song waiting to be rediscovered

I have been critical of Bon Jovi, especially around their latest release What About Now.  However, the band has created a lasting legacy and a lot of great songs along the way.  Everyone knows the hits.  They are the songs we go to the live show to see.  However, there are a lot of songs that deserve more attention than what they have received. 

This song has had some history.  It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon.  The studio version was meant to be on 2003’s This Left Feels Right greatest hits package, however, it ended up on the 100,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong box set released in 2004.  It was a laid back acoustic style ballad with slide guitar and all the country twang you can get into a song.  An acoustic live version of the song was added to the This Left Feels Right DVD.

It was then re-worked into a great rock song for the 2005 Have A Nice Day album.  The intro grabs you and makes you want to pay attention.  It’s no longer a ballad, but a real rocker.  This is the beauty of music.  You can try different variations of the same song.  The rockier Last Man Standing leaves the original version in the dust.

The theme of the song is about kids turning up to a circus/freak show act to see the last real performer of live music.

Come see a living, breathing spectacle
Only seen right here
It’s your last chance in this lifetime
The line forms at the rear
You won’t believe your eyes
Your eyes will not believe your ears
Get your money out, get ready
Step right up, yeah you, come here

I live in Australia.  In most cases, the bands that come down are the large arena bands.  Normally around Soundwave (February each year), I will get to some sideshows of the medium sized bands to come down for this festival.

This year I caught Bullet For My Valentine and Periphery sideshows.  Last year I caught Machine Head, Times of Grace, Shadows Fall and Chimera side shows.  I paid like $60 for those tickets.  I saw Motley Crue and Kiss last month and paid $200 a ticket.  I’m going to see Black Sabbath in a few weeks’ time and that is $160, compared to Coheed and Cambria at $60 the week before.

Basically the larger bands will try and grab more of the punters dollar as they have a larger entourage and then it will be the last man standing in the audience.

Once upon a time, rock shows where exactly that, people lined up around the side of streets just to get in.  These days, it’s not like that.  I have been reading articles where a lot of artists state that no new band can become a mega star like the artist of the old, and they always make reference to Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Bon Jovi, etc…

Bullshit, I say.  Artists are just as relevant today as they were in the past.  The difference is, in the past, artists created music and followed their muse.  If they sold a million or sold a thousand it didn’t matter.  These days, artists are in it for the money only.  If they sell a thousand, they see it as a failure.  The ones that are in it for the music end up breaking through.  Adele’s first two albums where so personal, she wrote those songs as a sort of therapy to get over her relationship problems.  She didn’t write them, thinking Rolling In The Deep will sell millions and 21 will move 13 million units plus.  The question is what Adele will do now.  Will she become another corporate money making slave?

You ain’t seen nothing like him
He’s the last one of the breed
You better hold on to your honey
Honeys, don’t forget to breathe
Enter at your own risk, mister
It might change the way you think
There’s no dancers, there’s no diamonds
No this boy he don’t lip synch

The debate, live vs. lip synch.  These days, it is acceptable to lip sync if you tell the people buying the tickets that you will be lip syncing.  However it is not acceptable to lip sync if you are telling the people that you are performing live.  There was that whole Britney Spears debacle here in Australia when she toured last time around, as she was lip syncing and didn’t tell the paying customers that is the case.

See those real live calloused fingers
Wrapped around those guitar strings
Kiss the lips where hurt has lingered
It breaks the heart to hear him sing
The songs were more than music
They were pictures from the soul
So keep your pseudo-punk, hip-hop, pop-rock junk
And your digital downloads

Artists used to play a tonne of live shows, to build an audience, to create a buzz and to get a recording contract that promised to make them mega starts.   These days, it’s not like that.  Artists can create something magical in the bedroom on a laptop, and reach a global audience of millions.  There is no need for the gatekeeper.   Bon Jovi wrote this song around 2002/2003 and you can tell he is trying to hold on to the old ways.  He’s even gone on record saying that Steve Jobs destroyed the music business and the album.  What he should have been saying is that Steve Jobs added money to the music business because the legacy record labels where too stupid and clueless to innovate and do it themselves.

If you like the country style of Bon Jovi, check out the ballad version.  It’s a live version that has Jon’s message in the intro about the song.

If you like the rock style of Bon Jovi, check out the rock version.

If you are a fan of Bon Jovi, check out both.

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