Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Podcast Episode 8

Check out Podcast # 8 HERE!

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Your Bands "To Do" List

~ This post originally appeared on LiveUnsigned blog. Article by Matt Stevens, illustration by Paul Linus Claassen.

The following is an example of things you can do regularly to make things happen (and it goes without saying your music has to be brilliant and remarkable for it to work). Some bands may do things at different times (i.e. only blog once a week or post videos more often) but this is a general example of a social media tasking sheet for a band:

- Post updates to Twitter/Facebook.
- Re-tweet and share the links of other bands within your genre (then they will be more likely to do it for you).
- Update Your Blog.
- Upload Photos to Flickr.
- Tell one person about your music and thank them for listening (someone you know, not spam).
- Comment on a blog you are looking to have review your music (relevant content, not spam for your music).
- Post on a forum (not spam) and engage with people who enjoy the music in your genre.
- Reply to fan mail/@messages on Twitter and Facebook posts (essential).
- Check Google Alerts to see who is talking about your band online and engage with and talk to them.

- Update your gigs on Live Unsigned
- Post links to your music and ask fans to share them with their friends on Twitter (keep this to once a week to avoid it seeming like spam).
- Hang out at a gig where bands within your niche play and hand out fliers.
- Post a Youtube video (perhaps an acoustic cover/video blog/live footage).
- Submit your music to a music blog (that you are commenting on daily and engaged with)
- Upload a rough demo/rehearsal or live track/remix to Soundcloud.
- Contact promoters about booking gigs
- Contact local/national print press about interviews and reviews.
- Contact podcasters about playing your music and post an episode of your own podcast.
- Update band website with news and the other content generated in the week.

- Post a new song/EP on Bandcamp (and allow people to Download it in exchange for an email address).
- Upload a high quality video to Youtube.
- Do a UStream concert and post the show on Live Unsigned.
- Send out an email to fans.
- Review band finances.
- Review where the band is at with regard to long term goals.
- Start a contest for fans (perhaps to make videos or remixes)
- Create a new line or merchandise (T-Shirt/Mug/Box set/Multi-buy). A monthly time limited special offer is a good idea (i.e. 2 - CDs for £10 etc).

Long term goals:
- Get 5000 people on the email mailing list.
- Release an album and sell 1000 CDs
- Do a national tour.
- Collaborate with a major artist.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Music Biz Wisdom From The Godfather

~ Brian Slagel is the king shit of Metal Blade Records, and with the exception of Black Sabbath, has probably contributed more to the community of Heavy Metal than anyone else. Metallica and Slayer were introduced to the world via the Metal Massacre compilation series. He also signed my first band Cryptic Slaughter way back in '85! Here he is dropping some knowledge from his experience that you young bands should take to heart.

“A 360 deal for those of you asking is when a label signs a band and they take money from every form of income the band gets. Touring, Merch Music sales, etc… So they want their fingers in all the money a band makes. Not cool if you ask me. Bottom line this is a business and I always say first thing a band should do is learn about the business as it is easy to get ripped off Also artists need to know that management, record labels, etc.. we all work for you! It is ultimately your business and dont entrust running it to everyone else, always make sure at least one guy in the band understands and knows business. The successful bands always have this.”

“Labels get a lot of bad press and some deservedly so, but also watch out for shady merch companies too. Merch is so important to bands these days, you have to be with a good company there as well. WIth a good deal too. Ultimately to be a successful band you need the whole team around you. Good label, booking agent, manager, lawyer and merch company. All need to be on the same page and working TOGETHER! It is like car, you have 4 wheels and if they do not all go in the same direction at the same speed, your not going to get anywhere.”

“In regards to health insurance, remember a record company is just a part of a bands income and deals. They have deals with publishers, merch companies, booking agents, etc… So a band is it’s own entity, merch companies do not provide health insurance for bands. Once a band is big enough they themselves need to be a corporation. Then they can get their own health insurance. That is how the system works. If bands were employees of the record company we would also have to take out taxes on all the money given to the artist. That would really limit what they would get as we would have to hold up to 42% of all the money for the government. So in the end it does kind of work and we try to help out the bands get insurance etc, also managers are supposed to help with that as well. As we have all said, this is a business and can get pretty complicated. I knew NOTHING when I first started out and learned mostly by mistakes. Knowing about business is really, really important for all! I know it kinda sucks, but better prepared than sorry.”

~ Cryptic Slaughter released 3 records from '86 - '88 on Metal Blade. 3 of us were teenagers in high school, and Les the guitar player was a few years older. By default he became the "business guy" simply by being not as immature as the rest of us. Back in that time the "360 deal" was not even on the menu. Hell, our first 2 records were only released on vinyl and cassette... yup it was that long ago. We all still lived at home and were on our parents health insurance. We all eventually parted ways after our summer tour in '88 in pursuit of adulthood and responsibility. I am happy to say that we all have stayed in contact and everyone is healthy and doing well. Thanks Brian for believing in us! Those were some Golden Years!

Podcast and Destroy!

Seth from and I have a podcast and it is up on iTunes. You can subscribe and listen for FREE!
Click HERE to check it out!

Please hit me up at if you have any topics and/or questions you would like us to tackle.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

TAXI Road Rally 2011

I will be speaking on 2 panels this year at TAXI's Road Rally Convention on November 4th. The Alternative Genre A & R Panel @ 2:45 and the Management Panel @ 4:30. Go HERE to sign up if you are a member or are looking for more info on the company and their annual convention.

Hope to see ya there!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Behind The Suit and Tie

A new preview clip from the long awaited heavy metal documentary "Behind The Suit And Tie" can be viewed above. The two-minute 45-second video clip features segments from Alan Becker (Red Distribution), Eddie Trunk (VHI Classic, That Metal Show, Q104.3, Sirius XM), Blasko, (Ozzy Osbourne), Missi Callazzo, (Megaforce Records), Al Dawson (Earache Records), Brian Slagel (Metal Blade Records), David Ellefson (Megadeth) to discuss piracy, corruption, manipulation issues and the future of a record label.

Due in 2012 on an as-yet-undisclosed European label "Behind the Suit and Tie" "pulls no punches and features some of the prime movers in the heavy metal industry drawing back the veil of mystique surrounding the music business and addressing tough questions about the industry itself, how it's run and where labels see their role in a digital future.

Through a series of interviews with players from both indie and major labels, "Behind The Suit And Tie" "will showcase the truth of how the music industry is being affected by the downward spiral of CD sales and how new and up-and-coming artists must learn to adjust to changing times, according to a press release.

The film will contain insight from:

* Ed Rivadavia (RCA Music Group)
* Jason Lekberg (Eleven Seven Music)
* Brian Slagel (Metal Blade Records)
* Blasko (Mercenary Management, OZZY OSBOURNE)
* Doug Keogh (Roadrunner Records)
* Missi Callazzo (MegaForce Records)
* Carl Severson (Good Fight Entertainment)
* Paul Conroy (Good Fight Entertainment)
* Alan Becker (RED Distribution)
* Al Dawson (Earache Records)
* Burt Goldstein (Big Daddy Distribution)
* Eddie Trunk (VH1 Classic, Q104.3, Sirius XM)
* Pat Egan (Relapse Records)
* Ray Harkins (Century Media Records)
* Ralph Graupner (Indevent Music)
* Gary Susalis (Music Choice)
* Ged Cook (Demolition Records)
* Bryan Mechutan (Demolition Records)
* Lee Barrett (Ascendance Records)
* Adam Watson (Plastic Head Distribution)
* David Ellefson (MEGADETH)
* Ryan Forster (Moshpit Tragedy Records)

Commented creator/producer Robert Bolger, after five years in the making I'm proud to announce that this project will finally see the light of day!

For more information, visit

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Got An Answer

~ I do on occasion receive industry insider questions from some of you. Here are a few that I will do my best to answer:

1. How is an artist/band selected to be on your roster? What do you look for in an artist/band?
Typically I look for bands that are hard working. Ones that have already built some buzz on their own by taking their careers into their own hands. What I do NOT look for are bands looking to get to the "next level" without putting in the initial work themselves.

2. What do you consider to be a "successful" artist/band?
Success is arbitrary. I always say to young bands- Define success by how much music you make, not by how much money you make. Ensure that your music has integrity.

3. What exactly is your firm's job for/to the band? (Tour booking, Legal representation, etc..?)
To simplify, the manager is the CEO of your band business. All managers take on different responsibilities depending on the needs of the artist.

4. You most likely have a dividend of the earnings, how is that acquired? (album sales, tour?)
The manager is paid by a negotiated percentage fee of the artists income. This number can vary. A typical percentage is 15% of the gross income.

5. Is any of those earnings owed if the band does not make it?(break up, no crowds?)
15% of 0 is $0.00.

6. How is the marketing done, through YOU? The band? Do you hire a marketing firm?
As labels lean more towards sourcing out this component, in my opinion I feel that aspect of an artists career should be handled by the management.

7. Does your firm ONLY answer to labels, or do you take on indie artists/bands as well?
We are living in a new age. Artists are reinventing the wheel as we speak. None of us will succeed if we keep a narrow focus. This is a new era for the music business and the possibilities are limitless.

8. What steps are taken to BOOST your artists'/band's repetoire and sales?(details are a plus here)
There is no magic answer here... if only it was that easy. Every artist requires different attention to detail. Square pegs do not fit in round holes without some kind of modification.

9. Have bands been recommended to you that you have taken on? If so, how does one recommend them to you?
Yes. All of my clients have been referred to me. I am grateful to have made those connections. I try to repay those favors when I can.

Hit me up:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pay Attention

~ This is pretty much on point with what I have been saying to bands that hit me up looking to get to that "next level". The old school mythology of a label hearing your demo and signing you on the merit of your music alone and then the label does all the work is no longer a reality... and has not been for some time. Pay attention! Check out full article HERE.

Across the board, the companies that sell music on a national or global level are all looking for the same three things:

1. Ready-made artists
Record labels are no more in the business of developing artists than Wal-mart is in the business of growing apples or raising cattle. The A&R people who once brought some amount of expertise (meager as it may have been) to making records, choosing songs, or helping an artist define his or her sound have either been downsized into the role of an occasional consultant, or upsized into being label presidents, which of course means they don’t have the time to spend making records, choosing songs, or helping define an artist’s sound. Labels need a product that is ready to sell, but they are no longer in the business of making that product. That’s someone else’s job.

2. Marketing platforms
Even with allowances made for the impact of file-sharing and free YouTube music videos, it’s hard to deny that music, by itself, no longer packs the entertainment punch that it once did for the general public. Today, music competes with video games, social networking, and homemade movies of someone’s funny cat—and at the moment, we’re losing the game. As one A&R veteran bluntly told me, it’s simply not enough to try to get a song on the radio and hope that it will cut through the pop cultural clutter. This is why Columbia has just done a deal with the upcoming TV show “Smash”, that they hope will be the next “Glee” (another Sony Music project). It’s why Universal signed on for not one, but two, talent contests, with “American Idol” and “The Voice”. It’s why Bono and the Edge are spending endless hours reworking “Spiderman”. To be effective in the present entertainment economy, music needs to be teamed with some other entertainment or marketing element, whether it’s theater, live performance, television, brands, video games, books, or nightclubs. Music is becoming like sugar—it’s part of everything on the plate, but it’s not really a meal in and of itself.

3. Machines that are already up and running
They don’t have to be Big Machine’s, like Taylor Swift’s. But in the same way that a record label’s A&R department is not looking to develop an artist, a marketing department is not looking to create a marketing plan from scratch. Everyone wants to be part of something that is already happening. A marketing plan is a theory, which often looks good on paper, but doesn’t play out quite as expected. A marketing campaign, even on a very small, local scale, is already generating a response, showing what strategies work, which ones don’t, and whether or not there is an active audience passionate about the artist. Whether it’s artists selling their own downloads, YouTube videos getting seven figure responses, hot mixtapes generating a buzz, or high-profile guest spots with established stars, music companies are looking for artists with a story—and they’re looking to enter that story on page 50, not on page 1.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Music Biz Quiz

~ Are you cut out for a career in the music biz? Honestly answer the following questions and find out...

1. Do you love writing, recording and performing music? YES / NO

2. Do you hate your day job? YES / NO

3. Are you willing to make sacrifices and take risks? YES / NO

4. Can you live on $10 a day? YES / NO

5. Do you think most bands suck? YES / NO

6. Are you typically a lucky person? YES / NO

7. Do you know what social networking is? YES / NO

8. Do you like to travel? YES / NO

9. In your opinion, are you great at what you do? YES / NO

10. Do you acknowledge that statistically you have little to no chance being a successful musician? YES / NO

~ If you answered:
YES on all 10 - Congrats! You will probably do well in the music biz.
YES on 5 or more - Not a total loss. Try and improve your answers to YES if you are truly serious.
YES on #6 - Well, any things possible. I would say good luck, but I guess you won't need it.

How To Run A Band

~ If you are not familiar with Seth and his real time experiments within the music biz, you should now! Check him out here:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This Is A True Story

~ Well, here it is directly from a horses mouth. This is a true story.
Article source HERE

“Isn’t it such a shame that the music industry is no longer about music? I started playing instruments when I was 10. 16 years later, I find myself leaving a career that I strived over half of my life to accomplish. I gave up almost everything to live in a basement in another country and make music with my bandmates in search of a record deal. We did the impossible and got signed to Roadrunner Records. It was my childhood dream and I had everything I ever wanted. Or so I thought.

“My love for singing and performing soon started to diminish as time and time again we got screwed over by the industry in some way or another. I love being in a band because I love singing and i’ve just found that everything i’m doing is for the wrong reasons. There’s no passion or drive to wake up in the morning and make music with the guys, so i’m not going to do that anymore. Maybe a new venture will come my way and it will restart the fire that I once had.

“We live in an age where labels don’t just take money from music sales, but from almost every form of a bands income. This isn’t the labels fault. They front money to let the bands make their music and put it out. They’re businesses and want to make a profit. But what happens when a band is given money to record an album, puts it out, and then doesn’t sell enough records…? They are evaluated and either dropped or given a second chance with a strict budget… We were dropped. We didn’t even hit 10,000 legal album sales in the USA. Yet looking at torrent sites around the internet, you can easily find 60,000+ illegal downloads. Our music was stolen, the label didn’t make enough money, and now there will be no more music. Why am I saying this? Because this happens to so many other bands and they stay quiet about it.

“After 4 years of working almost every day with the band, the reality is i’ve earned $100 in all that time. I simply cannot afford to continue on. Visa costs, living costs…people seem to think i’m rich because i’m a musician but many of you will know the reality of the industry. I don’t know the future of Mutiny Within, I wish them the best if they decide to continue without me, but i’m moving on and I hope that I find that drive and love for music that I once had.

“I’d like to thank our fans for being awesome and so loyal to us. You’ve been there for us on the road more times than I can remember and it’s you guys that have kept me going through all the bad times because standing on that stage and hearing you sing along is the best feeling I could ever have. We’ve had plenty of haters and i’d like to thank them too for entertaining me over the past few years. I play metal because I love metal. Some people seem to rip anything apart which isn’t their favourite band, yet if I sounded like your favourite band you’d hate me for copying them.

“I’m still on good terms with the band and there’s no bad feelings, so thanks again to the fans, the band, and everybody who has supported me along the way.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

When Dreams Become Goals

~ This is simple, sound advice...
article source HERE.

Humans have the amazing gift of dreaming. It allows us to imagine things that are absolutely crazy, and completely out of our reach. Like flying, staying hours under water – or world domination. That’s what we do. Ambition is a great source of energy. Being able to dream big will give you guts and make smaller dreams feel much more attainable. Ambition will make you creative and more resourceful.
Dreams are only dreams until you write them down. Then they become your goals. – Anonymous

The difference between a dream and a goal is just a question of attitude. Dreams are by definition something that’s out of reach. A goal is something that you plan and work towards. If you start treating your dreams as your goals, then you have already taken the first step towards making them come true.

1. Start Small

The first step towards your dream is to get started. Do something every day, anything. Don’t go and spend tons of money on fancy instruments and studio equipment. Don’t waste time on trying to get a gig at the best venue in your town before you’ve played the toilet around the corner. Start with the stuff that matters and that you know you are capable of handling. Give yourself time to learn your art and the tricks of the trade.

2. Live Cheap

You are immediately limiting your options if you get yourself into too much debt. If possible, start saving so that you have a bit of a buffer if you need to take time out of work, or your car breaks down. Don’t jump at every fancy new gadget that comes your way. Buy stuff only when you really need it. Keep your every day expenses reasonable. The less you spend, the less you need to make money. And that will give you more freedom to do whatever you want.

3. Plan Regularly

Ok, so you played that toilet around the corner a few times now. Maybe it’s time to move on. Take a step back and map out the road to your Big Dream. Break it down to monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. Decide what to do and make time to do the tasks you set yourself. By having a good plan will make each step a bit clearer. It will give you ideas of what you should be aiming for next. It will also help you realise what is useful and what is a waste of time. Set yourself a budget and stick to it.

4. Make Friends

Connections are gold. Your genius will go unnoticed if no one knows about it. The myth of the lonely genius is exactly that – a myth. Successful people are without exception well connected. Luckily making connections is easier than ever before. Connect with other bands, bloggers, music lovers, friends of friends and random people. Don’t try to gain anything from these connections. Have inspiring conversations and people will remember you. Offer to help and people will help you back.

5. Commit

No dream is going to come true if you don’t make a commitment to it. Everything that can, will go wrong. You will lose faith. You will suck. You will run out of money. You will play empty venues. You will be too busy. Sorry, you’ll just have to keep your head down and keep going. Without a commitment life will get in the way and before you know it the attainable goal has turned into a distant dream again.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Lemmy Interview!

~ A few months back I interviewed Lemmy from Motorhead for the cover of Bass Player magazine. That issue is on the stands now. Lemmy is a huge influence on me, and it was an honor to get this opportunity. Thanks to Lemmy for taking the time and Brian Fox at Bass Player for making it happen. Due to editing restrictions, some elements on the interview got clipped, so I am posting the interview in it's entirety now. Enjoy!

Blasko: Lemmy, I would just like to start off by saying what an honor and a privilege it is to interview you today for Bass Player. I was lucky enough to convince the magazine that I was the right guy to pull off this interview…

Lemmy: Ha-ha, you probably are man.

Blasko: Was there a defining moment in your life when you decided you wanted to play Rock ‘n Roll for a living?

Lemmy: When I saw how many chicks you could get. I was watching this show that used to be on English TV in the 50’s and 60’s called 'Oh Boy!'. It was a live kinda show that always had these visiting singers. They had Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent on one night and they were both fucking great and they were surrounded by screaming women who appeared to be tearing their clothes off. And then I thought, hey that’s the job for me ya know? That was the very moment right there.

Blasko: I had heard that you were able to see the Beatles before they even had a record deal. Musically speaking, were they a heavy influence on you as well?

Lemmy: I was way into Rock ‘n Roll before that. I mean Little Richard, Elvis, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, and Ricky Nelson. I was into those guys long before the Beatles.

Blasko: As a songwriter outside of Motorhead, is there someone living or dead that you would or would have liked to collaborate with?

Lemmy: There are a few of them. Kurt Cobain for one. Lennon and McCartney of course, although you really couldn’t write with them could you? I mean you would end up being beaten to death by the awe of it all. That girl from Evanescence, I would like to collaborate with her. I bet she is a really good writer.

Blasko: Your band Motorhead is one of the worlds most consistent and reliable Rock ‘n Roll bands. You are about to release your 20th studio album*, which is a fucking tremendous achievement. *(The World is Yours available worldwide Feb 8, 2011). There has never been a time when you have changed direction to fit into current trends. Motorhead fans get 100 percent from you on every album and every tour. What would you credit as the secret to the bands “never say die” work ethic?

Lemmy: Well that’s just it, never say die ya know? I mean for one thing, and you have to realize this, I am not qualified to do anything else. I am not going to suddenly quit and become an eye surgeon any time soon. And if I quit, the other thing is… They said we were going to be finished in six months at the beginning of the band. Well, I can’t let all those bastards be right. I would rather die, than let them be right. So here we still are, and now they’re all gone.

Blasko: Sure, but there are numerous musicians that have dedicated their lives to Rock ‘n Roll, however they don’t produce nearly as much material as you do: 20 studio albums, 5 live albums, 8 compilations, 4 ep’s and 21 singles. There has to be a pretty strong amount of love for what you do as well?

Lemmy: Well yeah of course. I always loved Rock ‘n Roll from the first day I heard any. I knew that it was me. It was like an invocation, like being called to the priesthood.

Blasko: Was the writing and recording process any different on the new album “The World is Yours” in relation to any previous ones?

Lemmy: No, it was just the same really.

Blasko: So what continues to inspire you?

Lemmy: One of the factors is that not enough people have heard us yet. We aren’t selling a ton of records, but I will keep on making ‘em until they do buy them. So if they want us to stop making records, all they need to do is give us a number one hit (laughs). Well, that’s not totally true. I mean it is one thing, but really I just enjoy doing it. I love doing it. It’s my life.

Blasko: Sure that makes sense, but do you ever get to a point where you think, “fuck, do I have to play Ace of Spades again”?

Lemmy: I used to get that moment a couple of times, but I killed it. Ace of Spades has been really good to us and it is in fact a very good song. It’s one of the best that I ever wrote. So I suppose you have to put up with it because everybody wants to hear it every night. And you have to realize that just because you have played it every night, they haven’t heard it in this place every night. In a small town on one night it may be the first time that someone has ever seen us, and they have to hear Ace Of Spades because it’s part of our fabric. It wouldn’t be fair not to play it.

Blasko: Speaking of Ace of Spades, the bass intro riff is legendary. As much as say, “Smoke on the Water” or “Paranoid” in my opinion. You’re mid range driven tone and hard-hitting pick style is uniquely undisputed. I assume some of the origin comes from your history as a guitar player, but for readers that maybe don’t know can you explain a little about how your style came to be what it is today.

Lemmy: Well as a bass player my idol was always John Entwistle from the Who, and he had this tone too if you remember. A little bit deeper, but still very much the same. They were one of the best bands I have ever heard in my life. But Entwistle didn’t have to cheat ya see, because he didn’t have to sing. He didn’t have to sing and play the bass line as well. But also as you said, like a guitar player, I like to be heard. I don’t like to be mumbling away in the background. You know, I am a front man. I didn’t get into this thing to be not noticed.

Blasko: You have been very loyal to Marshall and Rickenbacker for as long as I can remember. I suppose if it ain’t broken why fix it, but is there any particular reason you gravitated to those companies?

Lemmy: Marshall because I saw The Who using them and they sounded wonderful, and when I was working for Hendrix he was using them as well, and I thought 2 out of 3 ain't bad. I always liked Marshal anyway. I got my first stack when I was with Hawkwind and it sounded fantastic to me. Like ya said, why fix it?
And the Rickenbacker I just got it for the shape. It was just so wild. The neck was just so skinny as well. I am a guitarist turned bass player don’t forget so it was easier for me to play a Rick because of the thin neck. When I first started Playing Rickenbacker you had to change the pick-ups because the old toasters were no good. They were to trebly. I used to replace them with a few different ones. The original one I had I replaced the pick-up with a Gibson Thunderbird one. That was a great sound, but I wore it out. I killed it. Now Rickenbacker is using much better pick-ups. I don’t have to switch them out anymore.

Blasko: Can you give me a little insight into the history, death and eventual resurrection of your amp Murder One?

Lemmy: Well Murder One we had to lose for a while so that Marshall could copy it. They lost the blueprints to the original. My amps were mostly from the 70’s. The JMP Super Bass 2’s which is quite an exotic animal now a days. You can’t find those things anymore. They are like antiques. Now Marshall has started to make the Lemmy stack and so they copied the Murder One. They are very good amps and I use them quite a bit. For the cabs I use 4 x 15’s flat front and 4 x 12’s flat front in each stack. I have 2 stacks on stage.

Blasko: Wow, that is some serious power.

Lemmy: Yeah it is. That’s what I was after.

Blasko: Personally, I have never worn earplugs in rehearsals or live, and I will probably be worse off for that decision in the long run, but I subscribe to the notion that “ it doesn’t hurt if you like what you are listening to”. Have you ever had your hearing checked?

Lemmy: No, I don’t understand that. If you can’t handle it, stop doing it. What you said is a true statement. If you like the material, than the volume is immaterial. It doesn’t matter. Rock and roll is supposed to be loud by its very nature. What’s the point of quiet rock n roll? That’s fucking nonsense.

Blasko: “Everything Louder than Everything Else” then becomes quite the appropriate slogan. Motorhead is notoriously one of the loudest bands ever. I once heard a story, and I am paraphrasing, but it went something like this… You were at a sound check, and you asked the monitor engineer if he could hear the deafening volume that was coming from your monitors. He looked at you kinda curiously, and your response was “Great, now fucking turn it up’! Is that close to how that story goes?

Lemmy: (laughs) Yes, that’s pretty much it. I think that bit is in the movie*. *(Lemmy: 49% Motherfucker 51% Son of a Bitch, in theaters now and due out on video Feb 22, 2011).

Blasko: The movie is out now, and hopefully by the time this issue comes out that more people will have seen it. I was fortunate enough to see an advance copy of it, and I thought it was incredible by the way. I don’t even have a question here; I just wanted to say I thought it was awesome.

Lemmy: Well, thank you.

Blasko: You may be too deep in it to see Motorhead from an outside perspective as I do, but Motorhead is probably the most significant brands in Rock N Roll. Whether it’s the logo, the song titles the record covers or the band members nicknames, it all comprises one complete vision and presentation. How much forethought went into the Motorhead branding?

Lemmy: Back in the 60’s almost every band had a distinctive way of writing their band name. You know, the Yardbirds, the Beatles or the Who all had their specific logos on their kick drums and record covers. That’s where I come from. As a band ya gotta stand out… ya gotta be customized.

Blasko: Where did the concept of the Motorhead logo originate?

Lemmy: I designed all that, and I still do today. I have all the initial ideas, but we don’t always use them if they are too silly.

Blasko: You have one of the most recognizable looks in rock n roll. So much so, it has been immortalized in video games and cartoons just to name a few. I don’t get the impression it is anything short of 100 percent genuine, but in terms of branding a self-image, how important do you think it was to your career?

Lemmy: Very! It was essential. You see that every night with Ozzy don’t you? You would recognize that guy from 30 miles away.

Blasko: Well, to me that’s the school that I come from. Everything has an identifiable look. Something where you take one look at it and go “yup, that’s me”! And today, I feel that a lot of that has been lost. Nothing makes noise anymore. Nothing stands out.

Lemmy: That’s because there are no heroes anymore. That’s the problem. People are too scared to be heroes.

Blasko: What wisdom can you share with the aspiring rock stars reading this magazine right now?

Lemmy: I’ll tell ya what wisdom I can give ‘em… nothing. And I’ll tell ya why. It’s because the problems I encountered on my way up this ladder they aren’t ever going to experience. They will have their own problems because they are in this time. I never came across their problems because I was in that time. So they are going to have to make their own mistakes and figure out a way to cope with them. And even if I gave them all my advice from chapters 1 through 56 it still wouldn’t help them. There is no real advice you can give to anyone about anything. If you want to do something enough, you will just cope with it ya know? Stop waiting on a bail out clause from someone else’s advice, because that won’t help. It won’t be a cushion, and it certainly won’t help you avoid anything in the future. My advice may end up just causing confusion (laughs).

Blasko: Lemmy, I have just one last question for you. If Little Richard is one of the originators of Rock ‘n Roll, and Motorhead is one of the kings of Rock ‘n Roll, what is the future of Rock ‘n Roll?

Lemmy: I have no idea. I hope it cure’s up a bit though, because it been pretty miserable for a long time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The New Music Business Model: Integrity = Bullshit

~ You hip to this Rebecca Black "hit" Friday yet? As a young musician with aspiring dreams and goals in 2011 this will either be a source of inspiration or suicide depending on how you look at it. Allow me to paraphrase / quote Peter Shankman in relation to this topic: "We like destruction. We embrace mediocrity because we need some level of proof that we're not the worst things out there". Enjoy the article, but I refuse to post the video.

Move Over Major Record labels, independent artists are becoming top sellers on iTunes today. New music artist Rebecca Black is living proof independent careers are more possible than ever. Recently going viral with a $2000 music video shot in California, her single "Friday" is going to earn over $1 million dollars thanks to her innocence.

Rebecca Black "Friday" YouTube music video has over 44 million views to date. According to iTunes, the song itself has sold over 2 million units, making her one of the hottest selling artists today. The only artists to strike double platinum in single sales lately is Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa, and Wiz Khalifa who she tops individually in daily averages on video views.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Launch Music Conference 2011

If you are on the east coast, or maybe need an excuse to travel to the east coast, you might want to think about attending the Launch Music Conference April 21 - 24. This is it's 3rd year running, and for what you get it is definitely worth the low price tag.

Network. Build relationships. Get your music heard. All things that your career requires.

Check out more info on their site HERE.

See ya there...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Success or Death

"Success or Death" should be your new mantra.
Without dreams we are nothing.
We might as well be dead.

I will tell you this: Please DO NOT think that your success is defined in the music business by how much money you make. If that is your goal, then I politely suggest you quit now, or wrap you head around this: Please DO measure your success by how much music you make.

Make great music. Make music that makes you happy. Make music that gets you out of bed every morning. Make music that is an escape from the responsibilities of everyday life.

Do this and consider yourself a success!

What are you doing right now?
What steps are you taking to reach your goals and make your dreams a reality right now?
How will you define your own success right now?

~ Thanks to Hugh Macleod and his new book Evil Plans for inspiration.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Your Daily Online Check List

~ I found this on the Music Think Tank. Read the full article HERE.

Do you or your band have a daily online routine? You better. At the speed this world moves you can’t afford to miss even one day of what is happening. Your competition is not sitting still, so you better be out there. But as a band you have to find a balance that is not going to hinder your ability to be a band. You need to write, rehearse, record, perform… if you don’t do any of those things, being online won’t mean much.

So I thought I would take a look at my daily online routine and maybe you can apply to it your routine.

10 Things Every Musician Should Do Online Every Day

1. Quick Email Scan. – When you wakeup, you’re a band, so whatever time of the day this might be is fine. Grab your iPhone or smartphone and do a quick scan of your email for anything important or urgent. Respond to those very urgent emails right away. You will know what they are when you see them.

2. Clean out garbage email. – Get out of bed, get yourself some coffee, breakfast, whatever you need to get going. Sit down and open your laptop, clean out all the garbage email you received overnight. Even with spam control all our inboxes get filled with crap. Get rid of it now so you only have real messages to deal with.

3. Review all new Twitter followers. – Twitter will send you a email for every new follower you receive. Do a five second scan of those new followers. No profile picture, no website link, no profile description, nobody follows them; delete the email and go on to the next one. If they have these items go check their profile in Twitter. Do a quick three second scan of their tweets, if it interests you follow them back. If they are clearly a music fan, a fan of your band, a fan of your style of music, a fan of similar bands… follow them back and send them a quick Direct Message thanking them for following you. Do this for everyone who is following you.

4. Do a Twitter brand review. – While in Twitter check for new Mentions of your Twitter ID. Check for any of your tweets that have been retweeted. Review your saved searches. Basically you are doing a review on who is talking about you on Twitter. Personally reply to everyone who mentions or retweets you. The searches could be for your real name, maybe your site URL, album title, anything. The key here is to get involved in the conversation!

5. Facebook initial review. – Review any friend requests. Check Notifications. Check Facebook Messages. See what is happening in your Facebook world. Just as you reviewed Twitter followers, do the same for Friend Requests. Do you have any friends in common? Are they clearly a music fan, a fan of your band or a similar band? If you accept their request, send them a quick message, or leave a wall post thanking them for the request. Check all your notifications. Who Likes your posts, left you comments, etc. Respond to comments that have been left. Check your Facebook messages. Same sort of review you give to your email can be applied to Facebook. Delete the garbage and respond to those that are important.

6. Facebook News Feed Review. – Do a quick review of your News Feed’s Top News. This will let you see what stories have the most activity. Leave comments and Likes on anything you like or anything that could help promote your band. Then switch over to your News Feed’s Recent News. This is a full list of everything all your friends have posted. Again, leave comments and Likes as you see best. Review everything since you last logged in. The key here is to get involved in the conversation!

7. Facebook Page Review. – Same drill, review all posts by fans. Review all comments. Respond to EVERYONE who left you a post or a comment. The key here is to get involved in the conversation! See a trend here? You have to talk with your fans on Twitter and Facebook.

8. Back to email. – Respond to any important emails. If using Gmail which I highly recommend… Star important emails you need to follow up on later.

9. Review your RSS feeds. – Switchover to Google Reader or your RSS reader and do a initial review of important feeds. Look for new, interesting and important stories. You can Star them in Google Reader to come back later for a full read. RSS feeds are the fastest way to keep up with new content added to your favorite websites, without having to visit every single one of them. You only visit the site when you find a new story that interests you. Be sure to review RSS feeds from other bands, see what they are doing.

10. Check your web or blog stats. – I bet most people never do this. This is so important, do not ignore it! Stats will tell you what your fans like and don’t like. Where they are coming from and where they are going. Be sure to look at these few numbers daily: Total traffic, Top stories, Referring sites, Top searches inside your site and searches that delivered you traffic and top exiting links (what links to external sites are being clicked). Google Analytics is a great free web stats tool to use on your website. Stats is a great plugin for a WordPress site that delivers great stats. Numbers don’t lie, so pay attention to them.

Now go write a song!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Innovate Don't Imitate

~ A few words of wisdom I scoured from the famous Lefsetz Letter. Check out the whole article, and the blog as well HERE.

Be unique. And stay there. If you’re like everybody else, you can be imitated into oblivion.

If you make metal music, don’t start working with beats, don’t follow the flavor of the moment. You might have momentary success, but then what? You’ve alienated your core for an evanescent new fan base?

Don’t mind the slings and arrows. It goes with the territory. If you don’t have haters, you don’t have a profile.

Let this be a lesson to you. Don’t go for world domination. Be happy you triumph in your own niche. Maximize the brand you’ve got. And don’t change your identity!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Is My Band Not Signed Yet?

~ Here is an interesting post originally penned by music attorney Martin Frascogna. You can read the entire article HERE.

1. There’s Nothing Unique About Your Group
At this point everyone knows music alone doesn’t get you signed. Music is indeed the lowest topic on the totem poll. Labels are looking for a unique hook, a hook which enhances the groups musical element. More so, labels are looking for something which they currently don’t have. Bands need to show they’ve penetrated a niche in the market which labels don’t have access to. Show you’ve got a niche, and labels will recognize you’re the vehicle to take them there. Don’t show a niche and you’ve placed yourself in the same category as the other thousand bands standing outside the label’s office looking to take your head off.

2. Attitude
Never under estimate the power of a good attitude. Labels are essentially entering into a business relationship with artists and the last thing they want to do is enter into a relationship with a group who feels entitled to being signed or someone who's arrogant. You won't find a person in any industry who wants to do business with an asshole. More often than not, bands enter negotiations with this attitude of “what could you possible do for me.” Wrong. In their defense they think this is the way business is done. Hard noise negotiations tactics are for the insecure and entertainment wannabes. Rather, have your entertainment attorney negotiate. They negotiate for a living, understand subtle negotiation tactics and know which buttons to hit.

3. Funds Aren’t Flowing
Contrary to any preconceived notion, labels don’t have money. There is a small percentage of labels who are in the financial position to take on new acts. On top of this daunting nibble of information, there is even a fewer number of legitimate labels. Record labels are everywhere but the numbers means nothing. Musicians should only sign with labels who (a) are legitimate, (b) have money for development, and (c) have distribution in place. Today this is the equivalent to finding a unicorn wearing a diamond saddle who’s sitting in a pot of gold while smoking fountain of youth cigarettes with a leprechaun.

4. Timing Is Everything
Simply put, some bands don’t get signed based on timing. You may have the right package, the right deliver system, unique music, and a solid niche market but the label says “no”. If the label tells you the timing isn’t right, they are telling you the truth. Cycles in the music business make and break sales. If you aren’t falling in the right cycle in terms of market demand and genre success, hold tight, the cycle will more than likely rotate back in your favor. At this point, stay ahead of the curve and approach the label when the timing is rights.

5. The Delivery’s Wrong
Bands rarely get themselves signed and A&R is dead and has no pull. Unless a label approaches you, which is a rarity, labels hear about musicians from entertainment attorneys. Entertainment attorneys know how to structure label proposals and better yet, work with label executives on a personal and daily basis. They know which labels have money, which labels are signing, and which ones will bite on particular clients. Like it or not, attorneys can navigate past the gatekeepers and get straight to the decision makers. Rejections are common when bands pitch their products inappropriately. You get one shot. Pitch incorrectly, the door closes. Attorneys know how to pitch, when to pitch it, and where to pitch it. Use them and maximize your chances of getting signed. Not to mention your attorney should be the consistent figurehead who helps you navigate all levels, indie or major. Use them on the front end and allow them to grow with you throughout your career.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

10 Tips for '11

~ some good tips here from The Future of Music Blog. Check it out HERE.

1. Living a life in music is a privilege. Earn it.

There is very little more satisfying then spending time making music. If you make this your life’s work, then you can be truly joyful. However, the chances of being successful are extremely low and the only people who are going to get there are going to have to work hard and earn the right to be a musician. Respect the privilege of being free enough to have this choice (if you do) and honor the opportunity.

2. No one is in charge of your muse but you. Be happy and positive.

People can be their own worst enemy. Countless times I have heard artists tell me the reasons why their career is not working out. Most of the time they are putting blocks in their way and pointing fingers at people and things that are holding them back. Stop whining and blaming other people and make the conscious decision that you are going to be successful and that things are going to work out in your favor. You are creating your own reality every day, so make it a good one and excel.

3. Practice, practice, practice – then go for it. Over prepare.

You can never be ready enough for opportunity. Your live shows can always be better, your songs can be more amazing, and your playing can only improve. As the CEO of your own musician business, you can learn how to run the company more effectively, reach out to more fans and be an more effective social media marketer. Don’t hold yourself back by not being ready. Be a professional.

4. If you suck, you will never make it. Find a way to be great.

Lets face it, it is really hard to be amazing. Some people have the natural talent and you can see it in the first 5 seconds of meeting them. They are truly blessed. The rest of us have to find our niche, our passion, our calling and then reach for it. Ask people around you for feedback. Find what you are good at and focus on that. Get other people to help you. If you don’t stand out and rise above the pack, you will struggle forever. Be amazing.

5. Learn how to breathe and keep your focus. Stay calm.

There is nothing more pleasant than working with someone who knows who they are and what their goal is. Remember the old adages of thinking before you speak, and taking a deep breath before you lay into someone. Most of us have a lot going on in our lives and we can all benefit from staying focused on our goals and remaining calm in most situations. Learn yoga, exercise, run, meditate, sit still, breathe, learn who you are.

6. Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does. Have fun.

I am amazed at how many people spend so much time looking backwards and trying to understand what people think of them. This is worrying about the past and not embracing the future. Reviews are important, but don’t run to them or let them ruin your day. Not everyone is going to like you, but more people will if you are having a good time.

7. No matter how difficult things get, move forward. Don’t give up.

The only thing that will help your career take off is forward momentum. That is how you are going to reach your goals. A lot of people are stuck in their own mud. Take action, make a move and then see what happens. Don’t spend time procrastinating or worrying about how hard it is, just do something positive to advance your cause. You will feel much better by acting instead of waiting or worrying.

8. Find a way to make money. Start small and grow. Avoid being in debt.

This is probably the most important strategy of them all and why so many artists have gotten into trouble in the past by taking label advances. All that is, is a big loan. Get some kind of cash flow happening right away, no matter how small. Sell merch, play for the door, license your songs, play sessions, teach, write, start your musician business. The biggest mistake you can make is to borrow a lot of money and then spend it on things that don’t matter.

9. Be unique and true to your vision. Say something.

The people that we remember are the ones that are unique, exciting, special, provocative, fascinating, original, inventive, interesting. Music is a basic form of communication. The really successful artists have something to say and work on delivering their message. Your chances of success go up exponentially if you have a unique position and message and create a following of fans who really listen to you because you have something important to say.

10. Work and play with people you like every day. Collaborate Often.

Music is a tribal experience. You cannot make great music alone. Surround yourself with talented people, write together, play together, try new things. Bounce inspiration off of each other and learn. Listen to each other and let the music weave it’s way around you. Find a producer, songwriting partner, other musicians and dive in together. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

D.I.Y or DIE!

~ Rick Goetz rules as does his Musician Coaching Blog. He recently capped off 2010 with "The Top 5 Business Mistakes of 2010"... Music business that is, in case you weren't following. If you are setting your dreams and goals on a future as a musician, I highly suggest you read the entire article HERE. In the meantime, here is a teaser to get you going...

I will let you in on a little insider secret – since the un-bundling of the album EVERYONE is making this shit up as they go along. There is no hard science to the initial stages of breaking new artists – it is a series of best guesses. Since no one is ever going to care about your career more than you do (at least I hope not) you may as well give it a try for yourself. Even if you fail you will no more about the job and be better qualified to find the right person who compliments your strengths and weaknesses.

There will, of course, be times when you are forced to wait for circumstances to change. It happens to all of us no matter what business we are in but I urge you to find ways of making these periods productive. No matter what major event in your career is looming large – get out and play, meet people and record as much as possible and remember – there is never going to be a perfect time to start that next phase of your career. Something will always be in your way if you let it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who Is The Enemy of the Industry?

~ Happy New Year! Someone sent this gem of an article to me, and thought it might be appropriate here... and they were right!
Original article source can be found HERE.

How the Artist Became the Enemy of the Music Industry

By Jeff Price

In the 80’s when I was in high school, smoked clove cigarettes and looked like a bad reproduction of Robert Smith, musicians were larger than life. They were a persona, a style, a representation of what I was and how I wanted people to see me. I connected with them and they represented me.

I would spend hours listening to 7” singles and cassettes, reading fanzines, scouring the shelves of a record store to discover that next artist that might mean something to me and, as importantly, that no one else knew. The more obscure, self-released or “indie” the artist or label the better.

And the RIAA agreed. Music was special and the artists that created it were valued. Thou shalt covet the musician and fan. And the enemy? VHS movies and video games vying for my money and attention. The RIAA embarked on a campaign to frame music, and the artists that created it, as more important and of a higher cultural value then these other newcomers. I remember buying The English Beat’s “Special Beat Service” vinyl album with a big circular sticker on it stating in all caps, “Music, More Value for Your Money”. And I actually agreed with the RIAA. The VHS of Buckaroo Bonzai and the new Mario Bros. Nintendo game cartridge would come and go, but the song “I Confess” would forever hold a place in my heart.
The lines were drawn. The RIAA worked hard, even spent money to define music, artists and their fans as belonging to a higher cultural status that had more value than those of movies and video games.

More competition showed up for my “entertainment dollars” until new technology shifted the enemy from those competing with the music industry to those stealing from it. The problem got much larger than the episode of What's Happening!! when Rerun is at the Doobie Brothers concert with a tape recorder under his jacket (forward to 3:30 to re-live the stinging moment). Cassette recordings of albums were being mass produced and handed out or sold, CD burners chugged out crappy illegal copies of albums, smaller handheld recording devices allowed live shows to be more easily recorded and bootlegged. The enemy changed and grew in numbers.

Along came the Internet and MP3 compression technology as well as a new breed of technogeeks converting the huge song files on CDs to smaller ones and sending them around via the Internet. As net access via dial-up morphed to DSL and cable, the 25 minutes it used to take to download just one song changed to just minutes (or faster). Hard drives got bigger, computer sound cards and speakers improved, broadband net access became cheaper; it began to swirl out of control. Then Napster arrived: the first peer to peer filing, with the ability to scale in an unprecedented way allowing tens of millions of people to get their hands on music at the (double) click of a button. It quickly became the music industry’s public enemy number one.

And Napster was the event that triggered some in the industry to slowly lose their minds and creep towards insanity. Some in the industry began to move their cross hairs from Napster to ISP services and they kept going, looking to find someone, something (or anyone) to blame for the looming changes in control and revenue. Publicly and privately the industry attacked just about everything – retail stores, radio, press, the internet, computers, MTV, YouTube,, instant messaging, CD burners, eMusic, Soundscan, independent promoters, all technology, but they could not slow it down. New enemies had to be found. Reason flew out the window and they went after the very thing that kept them alive, the music fan.

The RIAA, with the backing of its label members, started suing the very people that paid their salaries and made them money. Get grandma, get the high school student, get the college kids, take them all down. Sue them, scare them, serve them up legal notices, force them to settle in the hope that a message would go out to the world and stop their behavior. Use fear and intimidation to get the genie back in the bottle. Don’t bother to explain copyright or the value of it, scare the crap out of them.

But this too did not work. The shift accelerated. Someone must be blamed. This MUST be someone else’s fault – panic ensued.

Public service announcements were launched featuring major label artists stating that downloading music via peer to peer services was stealing, but there was no real educational campaign embarked on to truly, honestly explain the situation. Where was the new campaign of “Music, More Value for the Money”, the “Music is Special”, the “We love our Music Fans”, the, “Wow This is Awesome, There are More and More People Listening to Music Now so Lets Figure Out How to Take Advantage of This Great Opportunity” campaigns?

The industry started to crumble faster as the media and distribution outlets opened to everyone:

eMusic launched creating the first on-line digital music store with unlimited shelf space and inventory.

MySpace took off, every band, signed or not, could now have a fan webpage.

YouTube exploded, anyone could now make a music video and let potentially tens of millions of people see it.

iTunes launched, the iPod came out and music fans loved it. Everything could be available to buy and would never be out of stock.

TuneCore launched, every musician now had access to have his or her music distributed and be on the shelf to be bought.

And some in the old school industry lost their minds, completely. They searched for new people or companies to attack, but they had already blamed them all. With no targets left, in a last moment of desperation, these few weary disillusioned out-of-touch with reality souls attacked the only thing that was left, the artist. The very creators of the music, who were needed to fuel the machine they built, became the problem.

The artist was now the enemy.

In their minds, it was these other artists’ fault that the music they wanted to sell was not selling. These other artists just made too much music, and all this music confuses people, makes music fans not like music, makes them throw their hands up in the air and say, “There is just too much choice, I need someone else to tell me what I like. I can’t deal with other people suggesting bands and songs to me that are not working for record labels or radio stations.”

Sitting board members of the RIAA, A2IM and SoundExchange went on campaigns and made public statements to the press that “these” artists, these evil bad artists, were to blame! It was these non-sanctioned artists hurting album sales and revenue for the labels. They are the reason why the music industry is failing. We did not let them in, but here they are making and recording music. These artists are “crap”. These artists “clutter” the world with their non-sanctioned, non-approved songs. These artists are not “developed” and are failing, taking us all down with them. Through their magical ways, these artists stop the sales of “good” music. The problem is THESE artists. They have to be stopped. We must force them all back into the old model where the RIAA member record labels get to decide who gets to put music on the shelves of iTunes, Amazon and other stores.

To make matters worse, these “crap” musicians actually record music without first checking with us. It’s bad enough it’s on their own hard drives, how dare they put it on Apple’s to be found or bought if searched for. Radiohead, Justin Bieber, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, The Black Eyes Peas, Jay-Z are being hurt by these “other” artists having their music available for people to buy on iTunes. And whose idea was it in the first place to let them have a MySpace or Facebook page or upload a video to YouTube! Berklee School of Music, how dare you teach these artists anything without first getting our approval to let them in.

A last desperate witch-hunt started. Some other old guard industry professionals started hammering in on these foul, evil, who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are artists – it’s your fault! You are now the enemy. It bubbled up and became a drumbeat to the point where other musicians in legendary bands even began to echo the sentiment.

You’re all crap. You are the problem.

Instead of embracing this new world – a world where more music is being created, distributed, bought, sold, shared and listened to by more people and more musicians than at any point in history - the RIAA, A2IM, SoundExchange complacently sit silent as their board members, and in one last desperate attempt, attack the creators of music.

But it did not work. 2010 was the year of the artist with more artists selling more music now than at any point in history. And now as these few old school guard sit and ramble insanely about how music is killing music, after they have attacked and blamed everything and everyone for the shift in power and loss of control, there is only one more thing left for them to blame…themselves.