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

Metal Music

Heavy F…. Metal.

In 2018, it will be 50 years from when Steppenwolf, screamed the words, “Heavy Metal Thunder” in their iconic “Born To Be Wild” song. And while the reference to “heavy metal thunder” was the loud sound of the motorbike, it seemed to stick for a style of music that was just around the corner.

But heavy metal goes back a bit further than that. You see, in the 1930’s there was a guitarist called Django Reinhardt.

He was a jazz shredder who passed away in 1953, well before heavy metal became a tour de force. But to become a shredder, wasn’t easy for Django. You see, a fire in the late 20’s extensively burned his left hand and other areas of his body. His right leg was paralysed and his fourth and fifth fingers on his left hand were badly burned. The Doctors told him that he will never play guitar again and they wanted to cut his leg off. Django refused the surgery and within a year, learned to how walk again with the help of a cane. But his two fingers remained paralysed. So Django had to relearn how to play the guitar by using his thumb and two fingers.

Fast forward to the 60’s and an unknown Birmingham guitarist tore off the tips off his middle fingers in a freak factory accident. A visit from the company foreman, alerted Tony Iommi to Reinhardt.

“It really inspired me to really get on with it, and start trying to play.”
Tony Iommi VH1 in 2015.

Although Iommi’s problems weren’t as severe as Django, he still had to do things a bit differently. While Django had to relearn how to play the guitar from scratch using less fingers, Iommi just needed to innovate. The first innovation was the creation of the plastic finger tips. The second was the down tuning of the guitar from standard pitch to accommodate the plastic finger tips.

And while Sabbath are seen as the forefathers of heavy metal, metal in general was more than just Sabbath. It was the attitude, the rebellion, the free-spirited nature, the community and gang-like mentality. And this attitude goes back to the early 60’s. In 1964, Beatles records accounted for 60% of all music sales in the U.S. according to Billboard magazine. Rock became a commercial force, priming the U.S kids for the more abrasive, distorted version of rock would enter in a few years’ time.

But to understand the Beatles, you need to go back to Chuck Berry, the father of rock and roll. The Beatles covered “Rock And Roll Music” and “Roll Over Beethoven”. John Lennon ripped off Chuck Berry for “Come Together”.

Hell, the Beach Boys ripped “Sweet Little Sixteen” from Chuck Berry and called it “Surfin’ U.S.A.”.

ELO’s career was jump-started when they covered “Roll Over Beethoven”.

Let’s not forget “Johnny B. Goode”, a hit when it came out, and in 1977 the song was launched into space with the Voyager I and II spacecraft to await discovery. Chuck Berry was a metal head before metal was even around. He sang about fast cars, women and teenage rebellion. In other songs, he questioned the status quo. And since those days, metal has grown worldwide. It’s the new world music. As an article in the Wall Street Journal states;

“Today’s “world music” isn’t Peruvian pan flutes or African talking drums. It’s loud guitars, growling vocals and ultrafast “blast” beats.”

The internet and mp3 sharing has spread heavy metal music to all corners of the world. Music in general was locked up, behind gates, but now we can hear every song ever recorded online, even the songs from “out of print” albums. People from oppressive countries who wouldn’t normally have access to metal music suddenly had access via their fingertips. Metal music is a lifestyle. You live the way you look and look the way you live. There are no pretensions. And you can’t get more metal and no bullshit than Ginger Baker, a person who inspired future metal drummers going on record detesting the style. That’s exactly the free-spirit of a metaller.

“I’ve seen where Cream is sort of held responsible for the birth of heavy metal. Well, I would definitely go for aborting. I loathe and detest heavy metal. I think it is an abortion.”
Ginger Baker – Cream 

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

Credibility = Musical Differences

Music used to be about finding some Avant garde musical and lyrical edge and pushing yourself and that edge to the limits.

Want to be as big as Metallica. Forget about the Napster court case and remember that Metallica once was a band that had an edge. They were an outlier versus the LA Glam Rock movement.

When did it all change?

Now it’s about what maintains.

Now it is about what can an artist do to ensure that the nice income they got from the last recording and tour cycle remains the same?

So they go away and recreate the same album thinking that is what the fans want.

Now imagine thousands of artists doing the same thing and pretty soon, we, the public will be ploughed under by the plethora of product that all sounds very similar. And we do either two things. We switch off completely and go back to the classics that we know or we gravitate to a few current acts and decide that they will be the ones that we stick with.

Because we don’t have time to sit back and listen to every new album just to find that one song that could blow our mind.

Musicians didn’t want to make the same music everybody else did. It was all about finding your style.

Musicians didn’t care about how they looked. It was all about how they played.

Musicians didn’t want to sell out to the corporation because it took away their street cred.

And credibility is everything.

That is why Rock/Metal bands didn’t really last forever.

Credibility equals musical differences.

How long were The Beatles together? Eight or nine years.

What about the original line up of Kiss? Eight or nine years.

Twisted Sister (the version of Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, Mark Mendoza and AJ Pero) had a run of 7 years before AJ Pero was booted and another year after that the band itself was goneski for a long period of time.

Motley Crue had a run of 11 years before Vince Neil was outed.

Led Zeppelin had a run of 12 years before the tragic passing of John Bonham and even though they got together with Jason Bonham on a few occasions, you could honestly say that was the end.

The Doors had a run of 6 or so years before the tragic passing of Jim Morrison.

What about Jimi Hendrix? He had a three-year reign before he tragically died.

Dokken had a run of 7 years before they went down in flames just because George Lynch couldn’t get over the fact that the band he was in was called Dokken.

Credibility is the honesty and openness of our past heroes and the lyrics in their songs.

Motley Crue didn’t come out and pretend to live the destructive lifestyle they sang about. They actually lived it. Same goes for Guns N Roses.

Dee Snider wrote his career defining songs when he was poor and broke. He had the anger and the credibility of knowing what it was like to be poor and hungry for success.

With Desperado and especially Widowmaker Dee Snider was in the same position as he was before the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” success and he wrote a lot of great songs for those projects that no one has really heard. Listen to “Reason To Kill” from the Widowmaker album, “Blood and Bullets”. Elektra boss Bob Krasnow at the time would have hired multiple body guards to protect his sorry ass.

This is what music was.

Truth.

The basic human connection to one another.

And now with music available 24/7 everyone is sacrificing that truth in desperation to chase a trend that makes money. But the ones that had longevity in music never chased trends. Like Frankie said, they did it their way.

That is why in most new acts, most people know the singles, the real stand out songs from the album.

That is the difference between the new breed and the old acts. The fans of the old acts know the material. Because when you have that one album for a six month period, it is all that you listen too.

I will let you in on a little secret. All of our heroes are “years in the making” success stories. They started something, failed, looked stupid doing it, dusted themselves off and started something again.

But everyone these days wants to parade themselves as a winner. Which is BS.

What we need are musicians pushing the limits of their art.

We forget the latest song we listened too in a matter of minutes but we are still talking about the latest Game Of Thrones episode.

It needs to be the other way around.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, Unsung Heroes

Lifers

If you want to have a career in the music business “Lifer” is a term that you need to get used to. You need to be in it for life.

Look at Mike Portnoy. He is a lifer. He lives and breathes music. In his youth, he worked in a record shop and substituted his pay for records. It shows his life commitment to music. Since December 2010, he has pushed out new music on a consistent basis and he has toured non-stop behind that new music. I can’t say I like everything from the bands that Portnoy is involved in, however he understands the current music business. And as much as the metal and rock bands don’t like it, the music recording business is not about releasing an album of 10 songs or more every two years and then touring behind it.

The recording business is about releasing music consistently. Capturing that spontaneity. When music is too thought out it loses its soul. It becomes processed. Even though I am not a big fan of “The Winery Dogs”, I do appreciate the soul of the songs, that loose feeling that anything could happen. This brings to mind a quote from Kevin Shirley who was the producer on the Dream Theater “Falling Into Infinity” album. He loved the original solo take that John Petrucci did for the song “Hollow Years” because it had this spontaneous feeling to it that fit the mood of the song. However Petrucci didn’t like it because it wasn’t precise enough and of course, Petrucci ended up re-doing the solo section to make it precise.

Going back to Portnoy, in 2011 he was involved in the Adrenaline Mob EP, the Neal Morse “Testimony 2” album as well as a tribute album to The Beatles (with Paul Gilbert, Neal Morse, and Kasim Sulton) called “Yellow Matter Custard – One More Night in New York City”.

2012 saw the release of the Adrenaline Mob album “Omertà”, the Flying Colors self-titled debut album as well as another Neal Morse album called “Momentum”.

2013 saw the release of a covers album from Adrenaline Mob called “Covertà”, as well as the self-titled debut from The Winery Dogs. In addition, live releases came out from the “Portnoy, Sheehan, MacAlpine and Sherinian” 2012 tour called “Live In Tokyo” as well as the Flying Colors 2012 European tour called “Live in Europe”.

2014 will see a new Transatlantic album called “Kaleidoscope” as well as the new BigElf album that Portnoy played drums on called “Into The Maelstrom”. Also in the pipework’s is a new Flying Colors album and a live release from “The Winery Dogs”.

In amongst all the studio time of the official releases, Portnoy was on the road, touring. That is a lifer to me. He implored Damon Fox from Bigelf to carry on when he thought about throwing in the towel and even stepped up to the plate to play drums. That is a lifer inspiring another musician to also become a lifer. It’s contagious.

What about bassist, Marco Mendoza? Who you say?

The first time I heard Marco was on the Blue Murder album “Nothin But Trouble” released in 1993. He then fell in with John Sykes, appearing on “Screaming Blue Murder” in 1994 and then on John Sykes’s solo album in 1995 called “Out Of My Tree.” He also appeared on the 1997 albums “Loveland” and “20th Century Heartache” and “Nuclear Cowboy” released in 2000. That year also saw a Thin Lizzy (this is the version that John Sykes put together in 1994,with guitarist Scott Gorham, keyboard player Darren Wharton and drummer Brian Downey. After a few one-off concerts, the band toured more consistently from 1996 until 2000, with Downey being replaced by Tommy Aldridge) live release called “One Night Only” as well as his involvement with David Coverdale’s solo album “Into The Light.”

Real musicians are lifers. He hasn’t had that hit single or appeared on that hit album, but that doesn’t make Marco any less successful.

He spent time with Ted Nugent, went back to John Sykes, then jumped ship to Whitesnake, while still continuing with the John Sykes Thin Lizzy project up until 2009. That project then became Black Star Riders. In between he appeared in Lynch Mob and their Smoke and Mirrors album in 2009. He is going to tour Australia with the band “The Dead Daises” led by former Noiseworks vocalist Jon Stevens.

Would you say that Marco Mendoza has been successful at his music career?

Marco has played with two of my biggest guitar influences in John Sykes and George Lynch. He is a great vocalist and from watching the live Whitesnake DVD from 2006, he hits those highs that Glenn Hughes did in “Burn”.

He has never been without a decent sized gig and if he is, he has his little solo band and his jazz three-piece project that play the bars and the clubs. The bottom line is that he is working non-stop. He is a lifer when it comes to music. That is why he is still around. While record labels whine about the lack of recorded sales in a society where streaming has won the war, Marco is the definition of the long hard slog to have a musical career. A lifer. Excellence is the key. That is why he is in demand. He fits in well, is professional and he doesn’t have a social media presence.

You want a career in music, prepare to be a lifer.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Chaos + Disruption = The Music Business

It’s a chaotic and disruptive time in the music business and with chaos comes opportunity.

On one side you have COPYRIGHT. And that can be broken down into a lot of other little chaotic categories like infringement, the length of copyright terms, copyright monopolies, the lack of works entering the public domain and so on.

The public domain is culture. Keith Richards once said, ‘you can’t copyright the blues.’

Culture is built and expanded by sharing stories and building on the works of others. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all of the sixties greats like Hendrix, Clapton and Beck used this concept. They built off the blues.

However copyright law and its real purpose got hijacked by corporations and everything changed. Instead of culture being built up in the works that the public creates and shares, the public is now faced with copyright corporations locking away works that should be in the public domain by now. These works that should be in the public domain do not benefit the original creators in any way, however they are beneficial for the few copyright monopoly gatekeepers.

For culture to thrive once again, it is important to respect the public domain.

Then on another side of the music business you have the RIAA who continually push lies out into the world, so that technology companies can do something to protect crap business models. Did you know that the global music industry sent it’s 100 million takedown notice to Google, to remove search links to certain sites. It looks like the RIAA doesn’t get it.

So if a person types in “free mp3” in Google Search what should Google return?

Sites that have free mp3’s or sites that the RIAA want Google to point to when that term is typed in. Maybe when that person types in free mp3, they want a free mp3 and have no interest in paying.

Then you have the ISP’s on another side that are caught up in the middle of all this as they offer the service that provides internet access to users. According to the RIAA and the record labels, the ISP’s allow “copyright infringement” to happen, therefore, they need to do something about it to help out the music industry. In Australia, this is heavily disputed, however in other parts of the world gradual response schemes are in place.

Then you have the technology companies trying to offer low cost services to fans of music. However, low cost to a fan means high costs to the RIAA and the record labels in licensing fees. This is before the new service is even allowed to trade. If the new service starts to trade without licensing in place, expect them to be litigated into submission.

Have you noticed that artists have not been mentioned anywhere as yet. That is how far the music business has come, where the actual music is only a small part of it, however it should be the major part of it. For the business to thrive, you need great music.

I was looking back to some of the releases in 2013 that I liked. Two of my favourites are “Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria”.

“Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria” are working to the “Keep your fan base close” mantra. Both of the bands moved from major labels into a DIY independent mindset, realising that their fans are king.

Exceptional fan service is the key driving force behind a bands success. I expect “Coheed and Cambria” will get a lot more fans purchasing the next super deluxe package for the new album because they did such a great job with “The Afterman” releases.

“Protest The Hero” on the other hand have fallen into the fan funded conundrum where the perks always arrive later than expected for international fans. I live in Australia and I am still waiting for the perks to arrive. The band have been clear with their information, advising that it will take 6 to 8 weeks.

It’s good old business 101, “treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you forever”.

Then you have bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Volbeat, Alter Bridge and TesserAct that have label deals.

Should those bands go independent like Protest The Hero or Coheed and Cambria. It all depends on a person’s definition of success and hard work. Going independent means that you need to build a team around you like any business start-up.

What are the benefits of going independent?

The lesson is simple. Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important data to the record label. The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it.

Coheed and Cambria moved over 100,000 units of their deluxe “Afterman” editions. At $60 (I think it was $68, however I will use $60 for the example) an edition, that comes to $6 million in revenue. If the band was on the label model, what percentage would the band see from that $6 million.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. Music is a lifer game. It is a slow and steady approach that builds careers.

Artists should be looking at development. With each song release, artists should never be afraid to try things out. Even try out new technologies that make it very easy for their fans to interact with them and their music. In a company, this is called research and development. Investing in your career is never a mistake.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed, however with the rise of streaming technologies, even this arm can be in danger of disappearing. Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Protest The Hero and Digital Summer have seen the recorded business side of things and have decided, hey we can do it better. That’s what great businesses are made of.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall? Time will tell, however if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify will win the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. iTunes rules the mp3 and app market. Will the same fate happen in the music business?

2019 Crystal ball predictions;

Coheed and Cambria – will get bigger and bigger. Their style is unique, so expect them to keep to that style, sort of like how AC/DC releases music in the same style or Iron Maiden.

Protest The Hero – proved to themselves that they still matter. Will get bigger and more crazier. The future of progressive metal.

Machine Head – will still be bigger then what they are. Robb Flynn understands the internet and understands the change that is coming. He will make sure that Machine Head rides the wave all the way to the shoreline, while Adam Duce circles in the undercurrent, ready to litigate the band into submission.

TesseracT – will become the next Pink Floyd.

Digital Summer – are one of the hardest working rock bands around like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. They will get bigger as they are lifers.

Avenged Sevenfold – will become the new Metallica.

Five Finger Death Punch – I have a feeling that they will break up after one more album.

Shinedown – will be bigger than what Aerosmith ever was.

Volbeat – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Metallica – will still be relevant in the same way the Seventies act remained relevant.

Dream Theater – will still tour and do a lot of side projects, however they will be replaced by TesseracT and Protest The Hero.

Black Veil Brides – will take over the void left by Motley Crue and Guns N Roses.

Trivium – will deliver an astounding progressive technical metal album.

Killswitch Engage – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Alter Bridge – The world needs Led Zeppelin to continue. Expect Alter Bridge to fill this void. They have one of the best vocalists of the modern era in Myles Kennedy. Marc Tremonti is a prolific writer. Call his Creed project, “The Yardbirds” and Alter Bridge as “Led Zeppelin.”

Bullet For My Valentine – will deliver their own version of “Master Of Puppets” and “The Blackening”.

Lets see how it pans out.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Inc

There has been a lot of talk about Copyright and the Public Domain in the last month.

There was the whole Iron Maiden story about the band rewarding Copyright Infringers with Concerts. The website that ran with it issued an apology for falsely attributing Musicmetric quotes to the band, yet if you look at the markets that Iron Maiden has hit over and over again along with the “new markets”, all of those places are on the Musicmetric list of places that download Iron Maiden’s recorded music illegally. So even though the story proved to be false, there is some form of data out there that Iron Maiden is utilising to hit places where they have a low record sale amount but a high download rate.

Even their drummer, Nicko McBrian stated the same in the “Flight 666” documentary about their shows in India and Costa Rica. To paraphrase, he said something in the vein that Iron Maiden hasn’t sold any albums in Costa Rica however they sold out the sports stadium. So how did those fans get the music then.

Look at Metallica. They are also utilising some form of data to identify which new markets to hit or which markets deserve to be revisited. Their recent concerts in China proved this. The sale of Metallica music in China is low, however each concert was sold out. Peru is another new market that Metallica hit and will return too despite the fact that they have very low recorded sales.

I also just finished watching the Rush documentary, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” and in the documentary, Neal Peart is talking about their Vapour Trails tour of South America and how they didn’t know what to expect and in the end they played to their biggest ever concert attendance at Sao Paulo.

In other words, the Brazil tour took place in November 2002 . Napster launched in June 1999 and operated up to July 2001, Audiogalaxy launched in 1998 and operated up until 2002 as a file sharing system that indexed MP3 files. Limewire started operating in May, 2000 and Kazaa in March, 2001. So in three years of peer to peer mp3 sharing, Rush’s fan base grew extraordinarily.

At the beginning of each year, numerous works will have their Copyright expire and they will enter the Public Domain. There is an excellent post up at Techdirt titled, “The Grinch Who Stole The Public Domain” and it covers the works that should have entered the Public Domain in the U.S on the 1st January 2014, however for reasons that are still not clear to the public, these works have been taken away from the public due to a copyright extension that is in place up until 2019.

In the U.S, up until 1978, the maximum amount of time that a work in the US could be covered by copyright was 56 years. As the article states, a creator initially received a 28 year copyright term, which could be renewed for another 28 years.

So back in 1957, Ayn Rand knew that when she created “Atlas Shrugged” that it would be given back to the public to share and build on by January 1, 2014. Same goes for Ian Fleming and his James Bond book, “From Russia With Love.” The same goes for Dr. Seuss and his two books, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat”. All of these authors went on to create further works, so it is safe to assume that that the 56 year Copyright monopoly the creator would have was more than enough incentive to create further works.

In relation to music, the following songs should have appeared in the Public Domain in the U.S.

“That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty),
“Great Balls of Fire” (Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer),
“Wake Up, Little Susie” (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant)
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905).
Elvis Presley’s: “All Shook Up” (Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley) and “Jailhouse Rock” (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

The above musical works remain copyrighted until 2053 however based on their initial copyright terms, the works should be in the Public Domain.

The purpose of Copyright law was always to encourage the creation of works that would be put into the public domain to promote learning, knowledge and understanding. However, with large organisations controlling a lot of the Copyrights (and their power is growing each day), the law has been twisted into a system that is used to lock works up.

Then you have someone like Jimmy Page, who is really enjoying his Copyright monopoly by continuing to re-issue the same Led Zeppelin works he created between 1968 and 1980. Jimmy Page is a huge influence on my guitar playing. His body of work with Led Zeppelin, along with Coverdale/Page album were all brilliant. The new music he created with Robert Plant, “Walking In Clarksdale” was also a decent effort.

However, “The Firm” and his solo album, “Outrider” didn’t rattle any bones in me. Compared to Robert Plant who constantly creates new works, Jimmy Page has more or less sat back and monetised his copyright monopoly. Since 1993, Jimmy Page has overseen more than twenty three re-issues, re-mastered editions, live releases, greatest hits releases and more from the Led Zeppelin body of work.

While Jimmy Page is entitled to do what he does, Copyright’s intention was to give the artist incentive to create more works, not an incentive to rely on past works.

So while Jimmy Page is doing his thing on one side of the Copyright fence, on the other side there is the shameless releasing of songs by the big labels, purely to extend the copyright term of them.

In January, 2013, Sony released the “Bob Dylan Copyright Collection Volume” so that it could take advantage of an EU law to extend the copyright term on these recordings from 50 to 70 years. So instead of these works expiring in 2013 and entering the Public Domain, they got locked up for another 20 years. Nice one.

When Bob Dylan created these songs, Copyright was in place to offer him an incentive to create new works which he did. However, he also sold or licensed his copyrights to Sony and that is where the abuse kicks in.

Just recently (like December 2013 recent) Apple Records released 59 tracks from The Beatles for downloading on iTunes. These songs include outtakes, demos and live BBC radio performances. A Beatles fan and Blogger by the name of Roger Stormo said the following;

“The only reason why they are doing this is to retain the copyright of this material.”

You see, when “The Beatles” recorded the tracks back in 1963, they made a deal with the public. In return for a government-backed monopoly lasting 50 years, they would allow their music to enter the public domain at the end of that time. Like Bob Dylan, Copyrights got sold or licensed to the record labels. The recording industry then employed politicians as lobbyists and now European fans of “The Beatles” must wait another 20 years before they are able to enjoy and use the tracks as part of the public domain.

The biggest abuse here is that the tracks weren’t even available beforehand (in a legal way). They were safely locked away. Therefore it is safe to assume that the tracks weren’t earning any money for Apple Records. So releasing the tracks into the public domain would have resulted in no loss of revenue whatsoever to the label. However, for reasons only known to the label, they had an opportunity to extend the copyright of the songs for another 20 years and they did.

What about Saul Zaentz, the Fantasy Records label owner who passed away recently. For those that don’t know, he is famous for suing Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty for plagiarising John Fogerty.

Yep, Zaentz was that upset that Fogerty struggled for years to free himself from the one sided contract he signed with Fantasy, following the breakup of CCR, that when it finally happened, Zaentz called his lawyers to arms.

Zaentz and Fantasy alleged that Fogerty’s 1985 hit “The Old Man Down the Road” was essentially the same as “Run Through The Jungle” from CCR’s “Cosmos Factory” album released in 1970. Since Fogerty had traded his rights to CCR’s songs in 1980 to cancel his remaining contractual obligations, Fantasy and Zaentz now owned the rights to “Run Through the Jungle”. Under Fogerty’s old CCR contract, Fogerty owed Fantasy eight more records. In the end, he refused to work for the label. The impasse was resolved only when Asylum Records’ David Geffen bought Fogerty’s contract for $1,000,000 on top of the rights that Fogerty sold away.

So when the “Centerfield” album topped the charts in 1985, Zaentz sued. How is that for Copyright abuse?

During the tour, the fans complained that he didn’t play any CCR songs, however Fogerty said that playing the CCR songs meant that he would have to pay performance royalties to copyright holder Saul Zaentz, and he didn’t want to do that. Copyright is used as an incentive to not play songs.

During the tour, Fogerty also spent time in court and in the end Fogerty played the two songs on guitar right on the witness stand and won the case.

On the theme of suing, Evanescence singer Amy Lee is also suing her ex-label Wind Up Records for more than $1 million over unpaid royalties. Of course there is more to the suit than just the unpaid royalties, however one the theme is the same. The abuse of copyright by large organisations.

So next time you read about the need for stronger copyright protection, ask yourself the question; For whom is that stronger copyright protection needed for. Remember that if I write a song today, it is copyrighted for the rest of my life plus 70 years. If I sell the copyright to an organisation for a fee, then they own this copyright until then.

I will leave you with the parting words of James Hetfield as he spits them out in Damage Inc..

Living on your knees, conformity
or dying on your feet for honesty

Which side are you on?

Techdirt – Public Domain – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131231/23434825735/grinch-who-stole-public-domain.shtml#comments

Led Zeppelin Reissues Will Continue in 2015 – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-reissues-2/

Techdirt – Beatles – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131216/09582225579/57-beatles-bootleg-tracked-released-officially-all-wrong-reasons.shtml?pid=110#c110

John Fogerty Responds to Death of Creedence Label Owner Saul Zaentz With Stinging Video – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/saul-zaentz-dead-john-fogerty-reaction/

Evanescence Singer Amy Lee Reportedly Suing Record Label – http://loudwire.com/evanescence-amy-lee-reportedly-suing-record-label/

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Great “Bark At The Moon” Song Writing Controversy

Coming into the “Bark At The Moon” sessions, the Blizzard of Ozz band was in disarray. Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake got fired before “Diary of A Madman” was released and in the process they had their credits removed from the album. The other driving force, Randy Rhoads died tragically when the plane he was on crashed into a mansion and burst into flames on March 19th, 1982.

Ozzy Osbourne as usual was at his drunken best and after delivering the “Speak/Talk Of The Devil” album, he was free from his Jet Records contract, ready to sign a major label deal with CBS.

Jake E Lee joined Ozzy’s band during the “Speak of the Devil” tour. The band at the time consisted of Tommy Aldridge on drums, Don Costa on bass and Lindsay Bridgewater on keyboards. Once that tour ended, the song writing process began for the next album.

This is what Jake E. Lee had to say on the song writing process in a recent interview with the Ultimate Classic Rock website;

Well, most of that was really me and Bob Daisley. Because Ozzy would show up and kind of play around with songs. I remember that I had the riff for ‘Bark at the Moon’ and I played that, and he said, “Oh, I love it — we’ll call that one ‘Bark at the Moon,’” because he already had the album title in mind. So he said, “That’s the one that’s going to be ‘Bark at the Moon.’” He’d come in with things like that and then he’d drink, and he’d either pass out or leave, which left just me and Bob. We’d stay in the studio and flesh out the songs. It was fun working with Bob. He wrote all of the lyrics, [and he’s] a great lyricist. So yeah, me and Bob, we had a good working relationship. It was fun doing that record.

Bob Daisley told his story to the Bravewords website in the following way;

“You see Ozzy and Sharon were trying to get me to agree to get rid of Lee (Kerslake) and get Tommy Aldridge in the band. I kept on saying no, it’s not broken, so let’s not fix it. Lee (Kerslake) was working fine. So they got rid of both of us. But a few months later, Sharon phoned me and asked me to meet her in London for a chat. She said that Randy wanted me to come back and that they wanted to do a third album. So I was supposed to do an album with Randy, Ozzy and Tommy Aldridge. It was all planned that I was supposed to do the third album, which I did but not until 1983 but was supposed to be in 1982. Obviously Randy was not a part of it and it ended up being Jake E Lee. Everything was postponed when Randy left us.”

That postponement meant that Dan Costa was playing bass on the 1982, Winter/Spring European tour. Eventually, Ozzy got fed up with him, punched him in the face, breaking his nose and firing him all in one swoop. The call went out to Bob Daisley again to do the US Festival gig and then the third album.

The US Festival attendance figure varies however it is safe to say that the attendance was somewhere between 350,000 to 450,000 people. The US Festival was the Metal’s world “Woodstock”.

From May 29, 1983 up until 1992, metal and rock ruled. Coming into the US Festival, Bob Daisley had a week to get himself re-acquainted with the songs. In typical rock star fashion, Daisley flew in to L.A, went straight to rehearsal from the airport with some series jet lag. After another rehearsal the next day, he walked out on stage to play to a sea of people on the third day. The bands that performed on the Heavy Metal day included;

Quiet Riot
Mötley Crüe
Triumph
Ozzy Osbourne
Judas Priest
Scorpions
Van Halen

The US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack) was a pivotal moment for all of the metal bands involved.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, if you heard those songs and liked them, you more or less would go out and purchase the album that has them them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. Isn’t it funny what a festival in May of that same year did to boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. Also in March 1984, “Love At First Sting” hit the streets with the worldwide smash “Rock You Like A Hurricane” further cementing the band’s status as superstars. This success didn’t come instantly either, as the Scorpions had been working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. The visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Ozzy Osbourne on the other hand was a very different place in his career. He had the momentum with the Blizzard Of Ozz band and then started losing that momentum when Sharon and Ozzy fired Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. With the death of Randy Rhoads, all of that momentum was totally lost. So the US Festival was an important moment for Ozzy Osbourne’s career.

For Daisley, coming back into the fold after he played the U.S Festival meant that he came with conditions this time around. Two of the conditions he stipulated was to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. Other conditions that he stipulated was to get bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came. Of course when the album was released in November 1983, by January of 1984 it was certified Gold in the US.

So after the US Festival in May 1983, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. Writing continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman Engineering and producing again. The rest of the album was finished at The Power Station back in New York in 1983. The reason for the change was that Ridge Farm Studio was losing money at that point. In typical Osbourne fashion, the favourite Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio, with Sharon Osbourne constantly on his case as to why the drum parts were taking so long. So after Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. Appice appeared in the “Bark At The Moon” video and had a contract to do the tour. Eventually he got fired from the tour as well due to him sneaking off and doing drum clinics, which infuriated Sharon Osbourne, especially when he would come back late for sound checks.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the matter in an interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Sometimes he (Appice) would throw extra things into the songs that shouldn’t be there just to show his pupils that he gave free tickets to after doing the clinics. He got a little carried away with himself but it was wrong for Ozzy and Sharon to get rid of him because he had a contract to do that tour. They should have ironed out the problems but what do they do? They get rid of him and bring Tommy Aldridge back and I think it was a mistake. Carmine sued them and he won.”

How many law suits would the Osbourne’s face that all could have been avoided if they were fair to the musicians that really made Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career. Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way. The mix is horrible. Thank Tony Bongiovi for that.

“Bark At the Moon” was a title that Ozzy came up with. Ozzy mentions it and both Jake and Bob agree with it. Jake E. Lee came up with the riffs and Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics about a beast that comes out in a full moon.

I love the lyrics in “You’re No Different.” Bob Daisley has stated that it was Ozzy’s title and that Ozzy wanted the song to be about people judging and criticizing him.

Look at yourself instead of looking at me
With accusation in your eyes
Do you want me crucified
For my profanity

Concealing your crimes behind a grandeur of lies
Tell me where do I begin
If you think you’re without sin
Be the first to cast the stone

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes
Reflecting jealousy

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try to understand
But is that blood that’s on your hand
From your democracy

The lyrics to the song “Now You See It (Now You Don’t)” were composed by Daisley and were aimed at Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne. However Ozzy and the rest assumed the song was about sex. Even Bob Daisley stated once that the song is about hiding a sausage.

For the song “Rock N Roll Rebel” this is what Bob Daisley had to say about it on his website;

Ozzy’s title and another one about him being accused of being a devil worshiper. Some of the lyrics were his too but about 90% were mine.

“Centre of Eternity” or “Forever” was Bob Daisley’s title and lyrics. As Bob stated, it is a “tongue-in-cheek philosophical look at ‘time’ and our existence in eternity.”

“So Tired” to me was a great song. Jake E Lee hated the orchestra in the song. Bob Daisley has stated that it was his title and lyrics. On his website, this is what he had to say about the song;

Something quite unusual for me to write – a love song. The idea came from a Kinks’ song I heard on the radio one night driving back home from Ridge Farm. Their song was called ‘Tired of Waiting’ but that’s where the similarities end.

“Slow Down” is a Bob Daisley title and all lyrics are by Daisley. This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

Inspired by The Beatles’ song of the same name but again, that’s where the similarities end, the lyrics are very different. I remember Jake E. Lee particularly liked this one.

“Waiting for Darkness” to me is a favourite. It is Ozzy’s title however Bob Daisley wrote all the lyrics.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

I wrote it about the hypocrisy within organized religion, the brainwashing, mind control, paedophilia and manipulation through guilt, and that if that’s what equates to the ‘light’ then I’ll wait for the ‘darkness’. When Ozzy was asked what the song was about during his interview with ‘International Musician’ magazine, mentioned earlier, his answer was, “A witch.” It seems he didn’t understand the lyrics I’d written and he’d sung, although he took credit for writing it.

“Spiders” was a Bob Daisley title and lyrics.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song;

When we were recording ‘Bark’ at Ridge Farm, there were hundreds of little spiders everywhere. They were harmless but the glut of them inspired the song idea. I turned it around at the end with ‘the spider’s in your head’…

“One Up the B-side” is Bob Daisley’s ode to anal sex and the title and lyrics are all his.

In relation to the music, Jake E. Lee has said that he would come up with riffs and the ones that got the nod of approval ended up into songs.

On the Ultimate Classic Rock website, Jake E . Lee is asked the question if he went into the making of the “Bark At The Moon” record knowing that he would not be getting any writing credits. He answered that question with a simply “No”.

This is what he had to say on the matter;

“I was promised that I would get [credit]. Because I was young and I was in the middle of Scotland recording, I didn’t have a manager or a lawyer — it was just me. From the beginning, every musician, it’s always hammered into them, “Keep your publishing” and “Keep your writing.” So those were the only conditions that I had was “OK, I’m getting song writing credit, right?” I was always assured that “Yes, I’m getting publishing — of course you are!” When I didn’t on the first record, it was upsetting. But I figured OK, what am I going to do? I got freaked — what am I going to quit? We’re about to tour on a record that I finally got to make. There’s no problem for Ozzy to find another guitar player — am I just going to be that guy that played on that record, didn’t even get credit on the record and then refused to tour because I had a problem with Ozzy? No. I had to go out and tour. It would have been stupid not to. So I was only able to put my foot down at the end of the tour. “Let’s make another record” and I was like, “OK, but this time, you know what? I want the contract first before we start recording. I don’t want to be a dick, but I don’t want to get freaked again either.”

A lot of people think that Ozzy wrote a lot of the lyrics. Ozzy has led people to believe that. In interviews Ozzy has always stated, “when I wrote that”. It is all lies.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the matter, in an interview on the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“The Osbournes won’t recognize or admit it’s true. They dislike the fact that, through my lyrics, I had a big hand in creating the magic and image that is Ozzy Osbourne. They’ve always tried to hide that. I remember at the time of Bark At The Moon, Jake E. Lee’s song publishing and mine had some complications. So we opted for a buyout and that’s why it says – ‘All songs written by Ozzy Osbourne.’ This of course, is not true. Ozzy did an interview with International Musician magazine, back in ’83 or ’84, they asked him how he wrote those songs and he said ‘with one finger on a piano.’ What a joke. The whole thing was ridiculous. Most people take it for granted that if someone is singing lyrics, that they wrote them.”

Now Bob Daisley got a buy out for “Bark At The Moon”, however it looks like Jake E.Lee got really screwed over for this release. There are no royalty checks for the songwriting and no publishing monies either. Let’s hope the Osbourne’s can sleep well each night, considering that a couple of million from the hundreds of millions that Ozzy is worth could right their wrongs.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, My Stories

Talking About Riffs – Progress Is Derivative (The Non-Metal Version)

Okay so what do we know.

We know that Robin Thicke released a song called “Blurred Lines” that ended up going nuclear all over the world. That means a lot of dough to share around.

We know that the family of Marvin Gaye have lawyered up with King and Ballow to sue Robin Thicke and song publisher EMI April/Sony/ATV for copyright infringement.

They claim that Robin Thicke committed copyright infringement on Gaye’s “After the Dance” to create his song “Love After War.”

They also claim that Thicke’s “Make U Love Me” shares a similar bridge and identical lyrics to Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You.”

They also claim that “Blurred Lines” was stolen from Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up”. To muddle the waters even more, allegations also abound that “Blurred Lines” was also derived from Funkadelic’s “Sexy Ways.”

It is pretty obvious that the family of Marvin Gaye don’t care about derivative progress. All they care about is money. This is not about protecting Marvin Gaye and his legacy. A legacy is protected by people and fans of music. By simply having the conversation that “Blurred Lines” sounds similar is proof that Marvin Gaye’s legacy is protected.

Listening to “Blurred Lines” and reading the reviews of the song, you know it got me interested to check out Marvin Gaye and that is what matters in today’s times. Are people listening to the music?

Of course this lawsuit isn’t just about copyright infringement. There is an argument put forward against EMI, about how they strong armed the Gaye family, about how they planted false stories in the media, about conflicts of interest (due to EMI controlling both copyrights), about professional misconduct and breaches of contract

Of course the argument put forward by Thicke and EMI is that the genres of the songs are the same however the notes are different and as far as they are concerned no infringement occurred.

Regardless of how people view this argument. One thing is clear.

The family of Marvin Gaye have been ill-advised. Even if they win the lawsuit, they still lose “financially” in the long run.

The only financial winners here are the attorneys.

The Gaye family will lose out in the long run because artists will stop referencing Marvin Gaye. Once people stop referencing Marvin Gaye this will then lead to people not talking about him. He will be absent from the conversation. The only reason why this has all come up, is that people have talked about the similarities. The Gaye family even used those conversations as part of their counterclaim.

So once people stop talking about someone, in time that person/artist will be forgotten.

The shenanigans carried out by the Gaye family is a far cry to what happened to Bobby Parker. For those that don’t know, Bobby Parker was a blues rock guitarist that passed away recently at the age of 76. He wrote a song called “Watch Your Step” in 1961. The song was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Beatles hit, “I Feel Fine” released in 1964 had that riff. The influence of “Watch Your Step” also extended to “Day Tripper” as well. John Lennon even stated that “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper” were songs built on variations of the “Watch Your Step” riff.

Led Zeppelin used the riff in “Moby Dick” released in 1968.

However, in order to show the progress is derivative effect in action, the “Watch Your Step” riff evolved from the Afro-Cuban jazz composition “Manteca.” That is what music is all about. Evolution by derivatives.

However, Bobby Parker reaped few rewards from the song’s success as he sold the copyright to V-Tone records owner Ivan Mogull for next to nothing. In other words, he didn’t know enough about copyright and he got shafted. Sound familiar. Labels shafting artists.

So all you artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright. And guess what the labels are pushing for. Long copyright terms. Look at the massive expansion of the “Duration of Copyright Term” between 1910 and 1998. Just at the time that movie studios and record labels started to appear. Just at the time that the RIAA and the MPAA started to appear and become lobby powerhouses.

At the moment, in the US it is sitting over 100 years due to the 1998 Sonny Bono Act. To top it all off, the Copyright monopolies want longer terms. Longer terms means that our culture is all locked up. The whole point of copyright was to serve and benefit the Public while giving creators a short-term monopoly on their creations. There is nothing that is coming off copyright because Corporations own the majority of the copyrights.

Talking about riffs, what about that riff in “I Want A New Drug from Huey Lewis and the News. It was a hit twice. Once for Huey Lewis and the News and another time for Ray Parker Jr., with “Ghostbusters”!

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