So a post that was uploaded today by Classic Rock contributor Scott Rowley centers around the topic of whether rock music is a dead music style, having read the article and deemed some points of significant truth, there are some points that are evidently and so misconstrued in context, that it clearly does not fully answer whether rock is dead or not.
Ok sure we can acknowledge album sales are decreasing (most likely becomes of downloads), festivals feature headliners that are from the days gone by (and in fact when we interviewed Pete Dee of Kremated he said that he would rather see festivals support unsigned talent i.e. Bloodstock metal to the masses than go to a festival to see Megadeth come out on zimmer frames), but we cannot totally agree that the music industry is faltering (as we show later)
'Empty spaces - what are we living for?
Abandoned places - I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are looking for?'
The Show Must Go On, Queen
Let's face it rock is facing a revival through various means and whilst to some it seems to be a dying music genre, it is in fact simply reawakening out of hibernation. Sure the media tends to whitewash the outlets with pop music and in doing so shoves some rock music aside, but like everything in life the significance of this still remains.
According to Earl Sheridan, late of Earl Sheridan and the Housebreakers, now president of the Rock 'n' Roll Appreciation Society, "contrary to press reports, rock 'n' roll is not dead. Rock 'n' roll is the only true music. It is alive, and here to stay". (Source: The Guardian)
There are numerous culprits at play and so lets look at two of these culprits that are keeping rock music hidden in the dark and not reinvigorating or investing into tomorrow's music. Let's have a look at these culprits in detail:
You cannot escape the clutches this time, you download music illegally or through iTunes and so you forgo the CD. Excellent, that is exactly what is causing the music industry to collapse! Let's take a look, say the CD you want is £7.99 in HMV, £7.99 iTunes download and oh you found a second hand copy online for 99p (p&p at £1.99), automatically as humans you want to opt for the cheaper option - download illegally - but through buying it is second hand. But the problem here is the profit allocaion, let me explain: £7.99 is the CD in your hand, that CD went through numerous processes to get into your hands, all accruing costs and subsequently decreasing in profit maximisation per entity, confused yet? Simple: HMV store < HMV regional warehouse < HMV national warehouse < UK distributor (Plastichead) < Record Label < Band. That's 6 exchangements and through that process the profit made depletes as it goes from shop floor to band, meaning the band receive the little amounts. Solution? Buy direct from the label, distributor or band themselves - bypasses those milestones and this means the money received is greater. But also supporting local unsigned talent, we cannot stress the importance of this anymore! Sod your excuse that you have no money, £3 is hardly worth milling over, get a loan from family or organize a friend to buy a ticket and pay them later.
Record labels rely on your purchases, give them the money for them to reinvest in their rosters activities, it's a cycle and you are an important part of it.
'Time passes by, nothing is changing,
A frustrating mind kind'
Digital Structure, Breach The Void
Technology is the corruption behind the world, let's face it we now live in an Orwellian society dogged by the mass surveillance of Governments, police and another other internet user and in fact the old methods of life are dying out.
We could go on and on, the truth of the matter is as technology changes, so does everything else and thus whilst rock appears to be in a decline, it is ironically facing a shift towards more internet based marketing and mass distributing. With that though comes a price, the moral ethical choice of going digital or physical within the context of music consumption.
Whilst we live in a digital era, sometimes it is best to back to basics and what I fear is that someday the whole technological world will be hit with a reality, a smack in the face signalling its imminent death. Because sooner or later, all avenues will be explored and all possibilities algorithmically calculated and finalized.
Whilst Classic Rock believe that rock music is facing its past, we believe somewhat the opposite is happening. Hear us out:
Classic Rock: "If you were a teenager in the 70s or 80s, you had a couple of decades of rock history to get your head around. Teenagers now have 50 years of music to delve into via Spotify, plus new sounds to discover every day".
GMA: Well ok we admit spotify is enabling the potential for delving back into rock music history to occur, the only thing that they misjudged here was that not everyone is entirely computer literate (handicapped people per se), furthermore what if some aren't familiar with spotify? What if some live in countries where downloads are monitored? What if people don't have internet?
Classic Rock: "The respect given to the bands of the past is so great (and mounting) that new bands are on a hiding to nothing: how can you compete with that?"
GMA: Sure the older bands are the classics, they will garner respect that modern bands tend not to receive, but that is purely down to the fact that some unsigned bands are either too slacking in their approach, have the talent but people are not taking interest, the media outlets focus more on older bands than newer bands, what about the bands back then who started it all off and today's bands who start off new genres? Same principle, different reason.
Classic Rock: "Now it’s the consumer that drives it, so music will go wherever the consumer demands that it goes. We will not have another punk, or another acid house, or another Britpop. That’s a fact".
GMA: For sure the consumer is the one who dictates what sales are recorded and thus what albums make the charts, but punk made a revival did it not? As long as people listen to the music, then there will be the same music coming out from different bands and artists, so we feel what Classic Rock have said is not 100% true, clearly. We'd love to know their thoughts.
"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?"
Thank You For The Music, ABBA
Music is meant to be celebrated, it will never die collectively and as far as rock is concerned it certainly is not dying, it is simply not as strong as it was once but certainly not dying.
We agree that 'Web sellers like eBay and Amazon connecting us with previously hard-to-find rarities. And great new music everywhere' because this evidently true, but even sites like last.fm, YouTube and the Metal Archives give us new bands to check out, so there is a constant stream of new and old music waiting to be listened to.
Modern day bands can now harness the power of technology to their own benefits, they no longer have to follow the trends laid out by magazines, nor do they have to get signed to be big, it helps for sure but the overall gist of being successful is to work and play hard. Do something that different that sets you out from the crowd and you're aiming for the highest mountains, do an album that sounds like bands X, Y and Z to a tee, then you're staring into an abyss.
We disagree that society is wholly shifting from mass culture to individualistic cultures, some people still prefer to listen to bands covered by the magazines and they won't deviate, others prefer to search new music according to their tastes. But with this newer freedom of choice comes one issue, when will the time come when we dictate to bands and artists what songs we want, when will we be in the studio with them making sure our next purchase is what we want before it's even gone for pressing.
We do agree the digital world is the way forward, but we also disagree that is the main focal point of the next few decades, because the old traditions won't ever die, not whilst CD's exist in used and new forms. Moreover we disagree that the future will have less big bands, however ironically we agree that without supporting the unsigned and smaller bands, these wont ferment into bigger bands, simple as.
We agree with the following passage:
"Realistic doesn’t necessarily mean unsuccessful. Quality tends to rise to the top. Even as the influence of traditional media channels wanes, human nature means that we want to like the same things..... There might be little room in the new world order for hype, but we’re more connected than ever before, and we want to share. We’re music nuts. Turning people on to good music is what we do. All we need is the good music".
However, some good quality bands aren't making it to the top irrespective of hype generated, this is mainly because the media outlets here do not take notice of bands in Indonesia per se, meaning how can UK music fans listen to said bands? But we do accept sharing music is the key to keeping rock music alive, meaning the salient point we feel is that rock music is not dying, it is simply lingering and waiting to reemerge with a new army of bands to take the musical battle fields.
Challenging this article (www.classicrockmagazine.com/blog/is-this-the-end-of-rock/)
Being in a band is more than just being able to string a few notes together and linking that up with lyrics-cum-poetry and drumming sequences, not everyone can understand the true concept and meaning of being in a band.
Moreover, some bands do understand what it means to be in a band, but ironically not one that actually deserves attention. It's not the music that is the problem (or maybe it is, who knows?), it is more to do with numerous decisions undertaken by them that places a banner over their head saying "doomed to fail", what with already Metalcore clearly going beyond saturation point and local scenes fluctuating in fan support, the last thing the music scene needs is a thorn stuck up it's ass, that being unsigned bands who need to come back down to planet earth.
With that in mind comes five top reasons (in no specific order) why unsigned bands get it wrong, reasons that hinder their success or simply cause them to shut down after a few months to one or two years with only one near-credible release out, just to say "I was in a band".
1. Flash descriptions on Social Media.
So ok your band has a social media presence, you're on Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation and various other sites. Therefore you have the need to write a description about your band and your ultimate aim is to become successful, but hang on a minute you only have 300 likes and a handful of followers / listeners, and you're writing things like "up and coming"? This is one major cliche unsigned bands should avoid like the plague. You are not up and coming until you start receiving a massive buzz in your area, please keep it realistic. Also trying to convince people your shows are "kick ass" or "brutal" is asking for trouble, simply because these are your own words and do not originate from your fans, therefore ask your fans for their opinions and then draw a consensus on what has been said: if they say you're 'rubbish', 'untalented' or similar expressions, then go back to square one and think what you are doing wrong, don't just kick the can in and shut the band down. Information sells, therefore make it 100% legit and not 100% superficial.
2. Conflicts with other unsigned bands
Look just because the other bands in your area have rich parents, or you fell out with them and their subsequent band-members and / or fans, does not mean you should start kicking up s*** about one another, you're just as much a part of the music scene as the other bands and so therefore by constructively working together to develop the scene into a musical factory; diving into the Taylorist 'scientific management' theory here, you begin to establish connections that you might later need to rely on. As a band you might not like other musicians as people, but they are after exactly what you want too, that is to be successful. You know, when rock bands started arising in the early days, there was little conflict between them because they wanted to establish the genre, that said Metal Music is the only rock genre not to have died. As the cliche goes, "If you can't beat them, join them".
3. Expecting too much to happen
Here is another cliche, "give and you shall receive". Bands who are in the mindset that everyone owes them the pathway to being famous are living in cuckoo land. You have to work your way up to the top, by showing work ethic to a professional level, you're more than likely to garner attention than some other band who has the attitude of "we have a release out, review it for us", "we want to play London, give us a gig or book us", "we want to play Wembley, oh wait...", the fact of the matter is that in order to gain success and become known, you have to work for it in order to earn it. Don't expect everyone in the music industry to lay down the red carpet for a band consisting of four, five or more schmucks just because you have played in your capital city by supporting another local-ish unsigned band. Tour the UK and maybe Europe, hook up with bands touring near you e.g. signed bands, get their PR and booking agents details and utmost attention that you would want to open up their gig for them, they may decline but you can only ask - they may even take your details down for future consideration.
4. Made up genres and songs sound copied
Being in a band is about innovation, challenging the rule book of music and setting yourself up to be different from every other unsigned band who seems to want to nick a riff here and there or just cannot be bothered to think for themselves. "We are different, we make our own music" is a statement that is highly overused, be honest with yourself, what exactly sets your band apart from other unsigned bands? Look at these signed bands and think what have they done differently? Motionless In White, ChthoniC, Apocalyptica, Black Veil Brides, Within Temptation, Nightwish, etc... well if you haven't worked it out and you're in a band, then you have been caught out. Distance yourself from your musical influences as much as possible, whilst retaining the best bits you like about them, you may now think that's a contradiction, but it's even more contradictory when people detect a riff that is used by a known band, you will be caught out; this applies to all elements of the song. Oh and made up genres? That's the music journalists job. Heck we're considering to acknowledge "Winter Metal" as a legit umbrella term.
What on earth is djent? It's Technical Prog Metal. See? And who came up with djent? Meshuggah.
Need we say more?
5. Fan control and bands buggering off
So you have been asked to play a gig, that's great no? You have just finished your set and then say bye-bye, or you stand outside until your set comes up and then go in the venue to play, or you turn up late (which is even worse). Promoters get pissed off by all of these and we don't blame them. If you were invited to a business meeting at work, you wouldn't turn up sloshed with your tie in your mouth and you weeing your pants, nor would you turn up to a gig stoned or drunk. You wouldn't either leave the meeting early (unless of course your missus is giving birth, or an emergency arises) would you? The same applies for a gig (unless a major emergency arises as stated), furthermore make sure you haven't got anything else booked that day or if you are getting transport make sure it's adequate. Promoters tend to time shows in accordance with public transport, so there is little excuse to bugger off early. Oh and tell your fans they are just as bad, this makes certain people laugh because those fans who pay anything from £3 to £20 to see a band (in general), and then bugger off afterwards, either because they have a poor excuse like they were only their to see their mates band (so what? They aren't bloody Iron Maiden nor Asking Alexandria!!!) or they don't care about the other bands, not only is it a waste of YOUR money but then why persist on moaning about supporting the scene when you f*** off (bands and fans this applies to) after your mates band just finished their set? Some promoters have said they will not allow anyone back in once paid admission, we think this is a damn good idea (smokers will have a cornered area). Don't moan about the scene if you're one of those who does this.
Just to reiterate the above, if you have to leave due to transport issues e.g. last train of the day, then that is totally acceptable (I think we've all been there), or if you have an early start the next morning at unearthly hours e.g. meetings at 9am that require transport, we have daily jobs or education of some sort so that can also be plausible. Credit goes to our reader Louise Yardley for pointing this out (we hadn't thought of this).
By Dark Theory's drummer Sam Field.
One of the most daunting parts of any musicians life is thinking to themselves “what to buy”. The multitude of gear available means that people often don’t know what to choose, or they don’t even know that certain products exist! This weekly Gear review will be my top picks for Guitar / Bass and Drums, to find the best products and to fit specifics, this week;
TOP QUALITY PROFESSIONAL GEAR
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSH - £1739
Guitars need to be loud, and they need to grab the attention of whoever is playing it, whether it’s a dirty distorted sound for some Black Metal, or the higher clean solo squealer found in mainstream metal you want, you can’t go wrong with a good Fender, that’s pretty common knowledge. This guitar is the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSH.
This guitar can cover a whole range of sounds, if you want to play some classic Hendrix or Roses numbers, it can do it, if you want to play some Modern stuff, like Sevenfold or System, it can do it, amazingly versatile, the pickups are completely noiseless, it’s got S-1 switching and an LSR rolling nut, for the actual guitar’s sound, i give it 5/5.
As you would expect from Fender, the build quality is superb, featuring a maple neck, rosewood fretboard, Alder solid body, and a good quality 3 ply black pickguard with this model having a beautiful satin finish, under stage lighting it stands out, with the hardware glistening like diamond, i was actually surprised by how well the hardware just reflected the lighting, making the whole thing so much more beautiful. Sturdy, well built, and able to take being thrown around on stage (When i saw it being used, the guy was going mental, jumping all over the place, throwing it around his neck, dominating the stage). another 5/5
Now then, as with everything the part everyone dreads, the cost, Guitars aren’t cheap, especially not something as high end as this beauty, with the RRP being £1739, this guitar certainly isn’t a christmas present for an annoying sibling, this is a serious guitar, and it means business, if you’re touring on a county or country scale, or even globally, then this guitar is probably better suited for you, however for the smaller local band, this is something that you’ll be saving for some time for, however, it is less that it’s competitors guitars of equal quality, for the quality to price ratio, i’ve seen guitars of worse go for nearer the 3K mark, although it’s dear, it’s not extortionate. 4/5
Reliable, Beautiful, Professional, these three words i think best sum it up, if you’re going from local to the further stages, this is the guitar for you, if you want to be the envy of your local scene, this is the guitar for you, if you happen to find Donald Trump’s wallet, this is the guitar for you, One of the finest guitars i’ve heard and seen for a few years, and although the price tag is more than the multiplied IQ of a Post-Hardcore band, it is well worth the buy, all in all, i would give it a 4.5 out of 5, let down purely by the price tag.
DW Finish Ply - Red Twisted Lava finish - £3751
Drum Workshop, AKA DW is a household name for every drummer, their kits are both beautiful in their looks and their sound, the top dogs in the drum world, they know what they’re doing, and this impressive example just re-enforces that, This is from DW’s Finish Ply range, in a red twisted lava finish.
DW are famous for the sound of their drums, and this kit is no exception to the rule, the model i was lucky enough to be able to play was a maple / mahogany cross, and my lord it was wonderful! It had the ring of a vintage kit, and with a very quick quarter turn of each lug i could take it to deep and destructive, with the toms flowing into each other perfectly and the bass drum having an earthshaking boom, if i tuned them back up by a half turn i had a very modern and lively jazzy or poppy kit, perfect for Rock and the softer metals, this truly is versatile, the resonance was perfect, it rang for a good five seconds on the toms and a quick fat punch from the bass drum. Overall, 5/5 for sound.
The build quality of these drums is unlike anything i’ve ever seen, the shells had such a strong and rigid feel to them, with the hardware being exceptionally heavy duty, it felt like this thing would deflect a tank blast, i was quite amazed, the hardware itself never failed, the locks stayed where they should be, the bass drum spurs didn’t slip, and the drums didn’t untune at all, and i was playing it for almost an hour. This is helped by the Beautiful finish, the finish is a Red Lava finish that has been twisted, and there is no evident joints, everything lines up perfectly, and they have applied a clear lacquer over the top to provide that extra strength. 5/5
DW are famous for their drums, but infamous for their pricing, there are people who feel the drums aren’t worth their price tag, setting you back nearly 4K these thoughts are well founded, however, they are justified, if you want a kit that will last the rest of your life, and will always be the best kit, wherever you go, this is it, as well as being fully custom built, they are exceptional in sound and build quality, if you want something this good, this price is justified.
DW have really pushed the boundaries of quality drums here, they have created drums that just leave others looking and sounding terrible, looking dazzling under stage lighting and sounding almost unreal for their perfection these drums certainly earn their reputation. coming straight from the collectors range, these are part of the DW flagship, beautiful, elegant, and sounding amazing, these drums truly are a drummers dream, they have earnt a 5/5 rating from me.
Next week... THE BEST BUDGET GEAR.
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