#Rock Music

CD Review – “Tapped In” by Don Lappin

TappedIn

I came to find Don Lappin through facebook and even though I follow guitar players, I wasn’t aware of Don’s playing until recently although being a fan of Michael Sweets (Stryper) I had probably heard Don before and didn’t realize it. Don is currently an Assistant Professor at the Berklee School of Music specializing in rock techniques for the guitar. Don has also played with musical greats such as Jon Finn, Chad Wackerman, Guthrie Govan and Jonathon Mover to tell you how talented he is. Don’s approach to the guitar incorporates a lot of tapping and 4 note-per-string playing which is slightly out of the norm and about as technical as I am going to get for this blog. This about the music and not his technique. You can contact Don for more information on that for you guitar nerds.

“Tapped In” is Don’s second solo release and it is full of stellar guitar work by this modern day guitar virtuoso. From the intro straight in the first song “Lappin it Up,” you know you are in for something very different for a guitar instrumental CD. I have done a few reviews of guitar instrumental CD’s and having listened to hundreds if not thousands of these guitar players, it is very hard to find one with their own distinct voice. The kind that once you hear them anywhere on any CD you know it’s them. Don has that unique voice. His playing is extremely fluid partially due to his tapping technique but also his mastery of his instrument of choice. Don is very melodic and his vamps are not your the tired typical power chord vamps that guitar players love to play over. After being sent so many bad CD’s to review, you almost dread getting another wanna be guitar shredder CD in the mail. Thankfully this is NOT one of those CD’s. There is a lot of creativity in every part of the songwriting on “Tapped In”.

The highlights on “Tapped In” for me are the songs “Lappin it Up, Captain’s Lady and A Song for Robert.” The first song “Lappin it Up” could possibly be the most original sounding guitar song I have heard in a long time, especially during the verses. It’s a fast paced groove with a different sonic texture then you’d expect and moves into some nice melodic lines and an uplifting chorus that is hooky. Laden with some tension coming out of the chorus to bring you back to earth, Don creates melodic passes that always keep the song fresh and interesting.

“Captain’s Lady” is a “pretty” song in the way Don constructs the melody from the opening. Although it’s a rock song, it has a light quality that brings you to a feeling of taking off in the chorus. One of the great things about artists like Don is you never know where the song is going to take you because they have so many tools in their arsenal. This keeps the songs fresh and invigorated which is great for longer instrumentals and can really show you that you don’t always have to have a typical ABABBABB type song to have a listener friendly tune. Great songwriters will keep you engaged at all times and Don does this very well.

“A Song for Robert” is a slow song that reminds me of the feeling I get when listening to an Eric Johnson composition. Don and Eric are completely different players and writers, but here Don achieves that same ability to create a musical picture that takes you away and creates that sonic landscape you can picture in your mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful song that will pass without you realizing it’s 9:29 long. That is effective songwriting when you get lost in the music and forget about time altogether.

“Tapped In” being Don’s first full length CD is an amazing effort with a great sense of melody phrasing and songwriting ability that is already very strong and I am sure will only get better as he puts out more CD’s. For fans of instrumental music, “Tapped In” should appeal to those that like listener friendly songs and tunes with a slight fusion feel for lack of a better term. You never really get thrown by anything here even though there are parts that shine with sparks of jazz influenced lead lines that drift from the main melody motif which again is another sign of solid songwriting.

I give “Tapped In” a solid 4 out of 5 stars. The only thing missing is that break out “Cliff’s of Dover” type song that just amazes your ears but also knocks you on your ass like nothing you have heard before.

You can purchase “Tapped In” here: http://donlappin.bandcamp.com/

You can find out more about Don Lappin here:

http://www.donlappinmusic.com/fr_home.cfm

https://twitter.com/DonLappinMusic

http://www.facebook.com/tappinlappin

http://www.youtube.com/user/TappinLappin?feature=mhee

Guitar Goddess Gretchen Menn joins Live From Music City!

GretchenMenn

Photo by Max Crace

 

Guitar Goddess Gretchen Menn joined Live From Music City to talk about the music business, her CD “Hale Souls” and her other projects. Listen in as she talks about image, haters and the struggles of being an instrumental artist.

Interview here: Live From Music City with Guest Gretchen Menn

 

BIO

Apart from demolishing her mother’s violin with Pete Townshend-like vehemence at age three, Gretchen’s passion for all things guitar didn’t fully surface until her early teenage years. It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that Gretchen began her path on the instrument. Her father, noted writer and former editor-in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine, Don Menn, was quick to point her in the direction of the greats as soon as she expressed interest in guitar.

While earning a degree in music at Smith College, Gretchen’s adventurous approach to her education would foreshadow her approach to the guitar. She convinced a professor to allow her to launch a special studies project on the intricate and unclassifiable music of Frank Zappa. Her analyses of “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” and “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” showed a love for epic, melodic, genre-shattering rock and roll composition that would manifest later in her original instrumentals.

After college, Gretchen began heavily incorporating her love of rock guitar into her daily regime, the only hitch being that the music of her rock gods, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa, wasn’t exactly Guitar 101. She also began considering her career path, and how she might prevent a situation she sought to avoid: tainting her love of music with the necessity of paying rent.

The solution? She went directly from college to flight school, and two years later was flying regional jets for the airlines. Yet Gretchen was never without her guitar.

After a year in the jet, with the life of an airline pilot being more than a little incompatible with a career in music, Gretchen relinquished her position with the airlines, knowing that there was a pilot out there somewhere who would appreciate the opportunity. She decided to take a more direct approach to realizing her musical dreams.

Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, Gretchen’s projects have spanned the genres of jazz, funk, rock, progressive, and metal. In 2003, she donned a schoolboy uniform and joined AC/DShe as “Agnes Young.” In 2005, she joined forces with drummer, Clementine, to form Zepparella, currently with singer Noelle Doughty and bassist Angeline Saris. In 2007, Gretchen formed Sticks and Stones, the high-energy, instrumental “bassless power trio” with guitarist Mickael Tremel and drummer Sam Adato. In 2010, she played in Lapdance Armageddon, an aggressive acoustic duo with Jude Gold. In 2011 she wrote, produced, and recorded her first solo album, Hale Souls, which features bassist Stu Hamm, drummer John Mader, violinist Emily Palen, and guest artists Angeline Saris (bass on “Scrap Metal”), Jude Gold (second acoustic guitar on “Fast Crowd”), and Gretchen’s sister, Kirsten Menn (soprano on “Fading.”) Gretchen’s solo project, a trio with Angeline Saris on bass and Thomas Perry on drums, played their first shows in November of 2011, and will be starting to tour more in 2012.

Discography:

GRETCHEN MENN

Hale Souls (Mach Zero Records, 2011)

LAPDANCE ARMAGEDDON

Lapdance Armageddon (self-released, 2010)

FRANCIS BAKIN

Conversation with Francis Bakin (self-released, 2009)

STICKS AND STONES

Unbreakable Strings (self-released, 2007)

THE HOUSE OF MORE

The House of More (self-released, 2006)

ZEPPARELLA

Live at 19 Broadway (Bonny Boy Records, 2005)

A Pleasing Pounding (What Are Records?, 2008)

www.gretchenmenn.com

https://www.facebook.com/#!/GretchenMennGuitar?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/gretchenmenn

http://www.youtube.com/gretchenmenn

 

Stepping Over the Process…. is it Realistic?

First let me just say this blog is in response to what keeps coming across my email or phone conversations. This isn’t an attempt to come down on artists but an attempt at maybe setting some realistic expectations. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from artists either out of frustration with other band members or from artists that think they can just step over the process of touring and building/rebuilding a fan base. I guess anything is possible but it’s not likely to happen even if you have had success in the past. This is not the same industry many of us grew up with and we can’t keep assuming that because 20 years ago the artists had a hit or toured the world with so and so band that people have any interest in us or care about our music at all. Artists call with no budget, no new music, no website or one that has been “in development” for years expecting that they can just go on the road and make thousands per show because 20 or more years ago they had a minor hit or two. It’s not going to happen. Current artists with hits on the radio are making $2,000 guarantees a lot of times and yet artists that haven’t had a hit since 1992 that want $8,000 or more a show. You better be a legacy act with huge hits from the past that are still played on the radio to demand that kind of money or more. I know how expensive touring is, but the money isn’t there for touring with artists with no active history or fan base that will support the necessary tour numbers for there to actually be a profit. This is when a band or artist has to suck it up and either rebuild for little money, try something completely different or maybe decide this isn’t for them anymore and do something in music that doesn’t require touring for small dollars.

For example, the first thing I am asked by anyone in a position of helping is “What do they have going on?” Many times the answer is nothing (note that when artists come to us or anyone else for help they have this notion that 3 months is an expected amount of time to make things happen), they have no new music, no tour dates, outdated photos and websites. How do you expect anyone to help you if this is your state of business and you don’t take the time to get it right before approaching anyone? The second thing is “Do they have a budget?” The answer is almost always no and people understand if times have been rough on the career but it’s amazing how many artists are not willing to put money into their own career but expect others to. If the artist doesn’t  have a budget then almost no one is willing to help and people can’t giving away their services for free. Video EPK’s cost money, photography costs money, etc… but artists are always hoping people will help them for free and then expect that things happen in a short time period. For the person that is connected like Irving Azoff and has his resources this is possible, for the rest of the “real” music world it probably isn’t. Music is a very speculative business to begin with and no one is looking to lose money on an artist no matter how much success he or she may have had in the past. As much as people love some of these artists, he or she needs to get paid as well and they can’t work for free or spend time with unrealistic artists that can’t or won’t rebuild career realistically if there is no interest in them at all.

Just because an artist may have had success in the past doesn’t mean they get a free pass of touring the bar circuit again and starting over. Yes that means rebuilding your fan base and getting paid very little most of the time. If you can’t do that then maybe playing isn’t for you anymore. I know we all have bills to pay but money is in short supply and investors want a return on investment. They don’t want to support an artist that hasn’t been on tour in 10 or more years and won’t draw 150+ people to a show. You as an artist are in the position you are in because you let yourself get there. You chose to not tour, you chose to not listen to your team or possibly choosing the wrong team. It could be a lot of different reasons for your situation and many of those may not be your fault, but it’s still your job to be realistic and make things happen with today’s current landscape, not what was possible 20 years ago when people were throwing money around like it was water.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself with unrealistic expectations. For example, if you think a major label is going to sign you, fund your tour and you’re a prog rock band, think again. No label is going to fund that tour unless you already have a huge fan base and more than likely you will just get shelved as prog rock probably isn’t there thing at this label. Most prog rock bands aren’t huge and most likely never will be. If you get a label interested in your music, at least entertain the idea and not shoot it down because you think a major is going to offer you something when you won’t even play shows because you don’t make any money on them. Do you know why you don’t make any money? Because you have absolutely NO FAN BASE at all. Who is going to fund a tour for a band with no fan base these days? Please tell me so I can call them up.

There are no shortcuts normally in this business. Take Mike Portnoy for example. One of the most popular and talented drummers in the world, who has a large fan base from his history as a musician and still he and his current project “Adrenaline Mob” are playing clubs to a couple hundred people a show. He knows he has to build this band no matter who he is and he is willing to put his money and time into it. Even someone as relevant as Mike has to work it the hard way sometimes.

If you are a musician reading this, please consider where you are at in your career. If you are in a band but won’t tour because your “cover gig” is paying more money, than back out of the band and let the band find someone hungry enough to make it happen. If you are an artist with a past but currently not where you were a long time ago, then ask yourself “how bad do I want this?” If you won’t play for smaller guarantees then you need to book yourself and stop making people’s lives difficult who are trying to help your career because you can’t be bothered with playing for smaller amounts of money. You are only as big as your last gig or chart success in the current times, not 20 years ago.

There is a process almost everyone has to go through. You are more than likely going to have to go through it as well. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the way for those that will and let your band move on with people who want it bad enough to put up with the crap of the road and bar tours.

Good luck!

Gretchen Menn Joins Live From Music City!

GM_BW-full

Photo: Mark Manion

 

Apart from demolishing her mother’s violin with Pete Townshend-like vehemence at age three, Gretchen’s passion for all things guitar didn’t fully surface until her early teenage years. It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that Gretchen began her path on the instrument. Her father, noted writer and former editor-in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine, Don Menn, was quick to point her in the direction of the greats as soon as she expressed interest in guitar.

While earning a degree in music at Smith College, Gretchen’s adventurous approach to her education would foreshadow her approach to the guitar. She convinced a professor to allow her to launch a special studies project on the intricate and unclassifiable music of Frank Zappa. Her analyses of “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” and “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” showed a love for epic, melodic, genre-shattering rock and roll composition that would manifest later in her original instrumentals.

After college, Gretchen began heavily incorporating her love of rock guitar into her daily regime, the only hitch being that the music of her rock gods, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa, wasn’t exactly Guitar 101. She also began considering her career path, and how she might prevent a situation she sought to avoid: tainting her love of music with the necessity of paying rent.

The solution? She went directly from college to flight school, and two years later was flying regional jets for the airlines. Yet Gretchen was never without her guitar.

After a year in the jet, with the life of an airline pilot being more than a little incompatible with a career in music, Gretchen relinquished her position with the airlines, knowing that there was a pilot out there somewhere who would appreciate the opportunity. She decided to take a more direct approach to realizing her musical dreams.

Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, Gretchen’s projects have spanned the genres of jazz, funk, rock, progressive, and metal. In 2003, she donned a schoolboy uniform and joined AC/DShe as “Agnes Young.” In 2005, she joined forces with drummer, Clementine, to form Zepparella, currently with singer Noelle Doughty and bassist Angeline Saris. In 2007, Gretchen formed Sticks and Stones, the high-energy, instrumental “bassless power trio” with guitarist Mickael Tremel and drummer Sam Adato. In 2010, she played in Lapdance Armageddon, an aggressive acoustic duo with Jude Gold. In 2011 she wrote, produced, and recorded her first solo album, Hale Souls, which features bassist Stu Hamm, drummer John Mader, violinist Emily Palen, and guest artists Angeline Saris (bass on “Scrap Metal”), Jude Gold (second acoustic guitar on “Fast Crowd”), and Gretchen’s sister, Kirsten Menn (soprano on “Fading.”) Gretchen’s solo project, a trio with Angeline Saris on bass and Thomas Perry on drums, played their first shows in November of 2011, and will be starting to tour more in 2012.

Discography:

GRETCHEN MENN

Hale Souls (Mach Zero Records, 2011)

LAPDANCE ARMAGEDDON

Lapdance Armageddon (self-released, 2010)

FRANCIS BAKIN

Conversation with Francis Bakin (self-released, 2009)

STICKS AND STONES

Unbreakable Strings (self-released, 2007)

THE HOUSE OF MORE

The House of More (self-released, 2006)

ZEPPARELLA

Live at 19 Broadway (Bonny Boy Records, 2005)

A Pleasing Pounding (What Are Records?, 2008)

www.gretchenmenn.com

Night Ranger/Trans-Siberian Orchestra Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Joins Us On Live From Music City!

4163_80653734542_4828519_n

New York guitarist Joel Hoekstra plays for Night Ranger, the Broadway hit ‘Rock of Ages’ and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Most recently, Joel can be heard on Night Ranger’s new release ’24 Strings & a Drummer (live & acoustic), Jack Blades’ new cd ‘Rock ‘n Roll Ride’, Trans Siberian Orchestra’s new cd ‘Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) and Jeff Scott Soto’s release ‘Damage Control’. In 2011, he had the pleasure of filling in for Mick Jones of Foreigner. Joel’s cd’s ‘undefined’, ‘The Moon is Falling’ and ’13 acoustic songs’ have found a strong cult following and critical acclaim. Keep an eye out for Joel in the Warner Bros. movie ‘Rock of Ages’!

Joel has worked on/with the following….

ARTISTS/MUSICANS (LIVE & RECORDING):

Night Ranger

Trans Siberian Orchestra

Foreigner

The Turtles

Big Brother and the Holding Company

Scrap Metal

Dee Snider

Jeff Scott Soto

Eric Martin (Mr Big)

Alan Parsons

Rik Emmett (Triumph)

Tommy Shaw (Styx)

Robin Zander (Cheap Trick)

Wyclef Jean

John Waite

Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)

Beth Hart

Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple)

Ted Nugent

Sebastian Bach

Donnie & Johnny Van Zant

Don Barnes (38 Special)

Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)

Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Nelson)

Mike Reno (Loverboy)

Jimi Jamison (Survivor)

David Pack (Ambrosia)

Martha Davis (The Motels)

Mickey Thomas (Starship)

Constantine Maroulis (American Idol)

Dave Bickler (Survivor)

Mark Slaughter (Slaughter)

Hugh Jackman

Nuno Bettencourt

Chan Marshall (Kat Power)

Henry Paul (The Outlaws, Blackhawk)

Ray Parker Jr.

Debbie Gibson

Jim Peterik (Ides of March, Survivor)

Tom Keifer (Cinderella)

Kip Winger

THEATRE:

Rock of Ages (Broadway, off-Broadway)

Love, Janis (New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, Cleveland, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tucson, Sag Harbor)

The Boy From Oz (Broadway)

Tarzan (Broadway)

La Cage Aux Folles (Broadway)

It Ain’t Nothin But the Blues (Tucson, Phoenix, Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago*)

A Chorus Line (Broadway Cast Recording 2006)

Lovely Day (off-Broadway)

* nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for ‘Best Musical Direction’

TV

The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno

America’s Got Talent

Celebrity Apprentice

Late Night with Conan O’Brien

Bachelor Pad

Last Call with Carson Daly

Live with Regis and Kelly

Tony Awards (2009)

Visa Signature Tony Preview Concert

The Sandra Bernhard Experience (A&E)

M3 Festival (HDNet)

Imus in the Morning (Fox Business)

20/20 (ABC)

Nick Cannon (Nickolodeon)

Rock Star Kitchen (Comcast/NBC)

FOX Morning news (New York, Chicago, Tucson, Kansas City, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati)

WGN Morning News (Chicago)

ABC’s View From the Bay (San Francisco)

The Loose Leaf Report (LA)

WB Morning News (New York)

The New York Today Show

ABC’s New Years Eve Countdown (Chicago)

NBC “Good Company” (Cleveland)

UPN: Live at the Taste (Chicago)

I-90 North (Chicago)

NBC Morning News (Louisville)

Barry Z Show (New York)

Guitar Talk (Chicago)

NBC’s ‘The Bay Area Today’ (San Francisco)

NBC’s ‘Arizona Midday’

NY1

FILM:

Rock of Ages (the movie)

Resurrection Mary

The Last Winter

May the Best Man Win

OTHER:

Played the national anthem for a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden

Guitar Player magazine feature (May ’09 issue)

Guitar World magazine feature (30th anniversary issue-Fall ’09)

Guitar Player magazine article (May ’11 issue)

Guitar World Playlist article (November ’11 issue)

Jeff Scott Soto video – Look Inside You Heart

Dee Snider video – Mack the Knife

ENDORSEMENTS:

Gibson guitars

Suhr amps & guitars

EVH amps

Taylor acoustic guitars

DBZ guitars

Atomic guitars

Nady wireless systems

Ernie Ball strings

Monster Cable

Big Bends Nut Sauce

Seymour Duncan pick-ups

Schecter guitars

Star Access picks

Fernandes Sustainers

Mono Cases

Fractal Audio Systems

Head straps

Morpheus Drop Tune pedal

Tech 21 midi pedals

G7 Capos

www.joelhoekstra.com

Live From Music City with Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche

scott-213x300

Live From Music City talks with Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche about music business topics, their upcoming show in Nashville on March 12th, 2013, his other business ventures, the state of the chain drum cage and the outpouring of fan support as Queensryche moves forward with new music and a new singer. Join us and hear the classic Queensryche tracks “The Lady Wore Black, Walk in the Shadows and Eyes of a Stranger.”

Click the link here to listen to the interview: LFMCScottRockenfield020713

Scott was raised and has lived in the Seattle, Washington area for his entire life. He started music and drum lessons at the age of 11 and focused his studies on music and film classes throughout his high school years. In 1981, at the age of 17, he founded the now multi-platinum rock band Queensryche. Since the band’s inception thirty years ago, they’ve sold over 20 million albums worldwide and have toured around the world, encompassing 45 countries.
Scott first started composing music for film and television in the late 80’s during his time spent with “The Maestro” Michael Kamen. During that time, Kamen asked Scott to work on some additional drums and percussion for the 1993 film, Last Action Hero, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Michael continued working and mentoring Scott in all aspects of film music and compostion for many years to come, until his unfortunate passing in 2003. This began Scott’s exciting new journey scoring music for film and television. After only a few years in the specialty, Scott received a coveted Grammy Award nomination for Best Original Music for the animated feature film Televoid in 1998.
Scott has done a variety of projects since then including the recently completed additional music and all LIVE drums for the immensely popular video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops. Released in November 2010, the game set a new five-day sales record with an estimated take of approximately $650 million worldwide. Just prior to his involvement with Call of Duty: Black Ops, Scott did the orchestrated and electronic score for the horror flick, Albino Farm, released in September of 2009.
In 2003, Scott Launched his own custom drum company called RockenWraps, which specializes in custom graphic laminated wraps for drums and musical instruments. Working with artists such as Lady Gaga, SlipKnot, Beyonce, Rod Stewart, Rob Zombie, Megadeth, WASP, Metallica, Tesla, 30 Seconds to Mars, Snoop Dog and many many, more, RockenWraps has had a chance to design some of the most memorable drum and stage graphics ever to be available.
Scott also has his own music company, Hollywood Loops, that specializes in Sound FX for film, television and video game composing. Distributed around the world, Hollywood Loops products have now been used in video games such as Call Of Duty: Black Ops and also in numerous film and television trailers.
Scott now has dozens of film, television and multimedia projects to his credit and owns his own state-of-the-art recording studio.
He lives in Seattle with his wife and three kids.

http://www.scottrockenfield.net

http://www.scottrockenfield.com

www.twitter.com/scottrockenfiel

www.queensrycheofficial.com

www.twitter.com/queensryche

https://www.facebook.com/#!/QueensrycheOfficial?fref=ts

 

Live From Music City with Tommy Kessler of Blondie, Rock of Ages and the Blue Man Group

TommyKessler

Tommy Kessler is an American guitarist currently in the new wave/rock band, Blondie.[1] He joined the band in April 2010, replacing guitarist Paul Carbonara who had left Blondie to pursue other projects. When not touring with Blondie, he performs as a guitarist in the fictional 1980’s Rock Band Arsenal in the Broadway musical, Rock of Ages.[2] He has been with Rock of Ages since it opened off Broadway in 2008. He has worked with Kristin Chenoweth playing guitar during her performances on Good Morning America[3] and The View.[4] He has also been part of the band in the New York City performance of Blue Man Group since 2006. He currently uses Jason Z. Schroeder handmade guitars[5] as well as Taylor Guitars. The Taylor models he uses are 854ce and 810e in Rock of Ages, the K14ce and SolidBody Classic with Tremolo in Blondie, and GA3-12ea and NS74ce in studio. Tommy is also currently using a custom handmade JZ Guitars model TK-1 on tour with Blondie.

This interview was recorded in October but due to health and technical issues, it is being posted now. Our apologies to all who were waiting for this.

Click the link to hear the interview  LFMCTommyKessler

For more info on Tommy Kessler click on these links:

http://www.tommykessler.com/#!

http://twitter.com/TheRealTommyK

https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/tommy.kessler.75?fref=ts

http://www.youtube.com/user/tommykesslermusic

The Disconnect Between Musicians and Promoters Part 1

You hear it all the time from musicians. “Why won’t they book me for an opening act?” “How come they got the spot and we didn’t?”, or “the promoter didn’t do his job” even “the promoter screwed me or didn’t know what they were doing.” etc…. This is obviously a one sided opinion, and from my experience one that is very, very misleading. Many artists have little or no experience in promoting a show, or have an idea what it costs; they just want to blame someone for things not going right, without ever looking at what they bring or don’t bring to the table.

Granted there are instances where maybe a promoter didn’t know what they were doing or maybe there were a small company with very little cash flow to do an amazing job of advertising the show, but that is a risk we all take and like all bands, promotion companies have to start somewhere and grow as well. This is why working as a team is incredibly important and any acts associated with a bill, should be doing everything in their power to work with the promoter and make the show as successful as possible.

I find this can be very frustrating, knowing how much work and money it takes to put on one single show. For a 1,500 seat venue, this can become extremely time consuming and expensive for the risk involved, and a marginal profitable return on the investment. To have a small time musician/band say that the promoter didn’t do their job is completely asinine. First of all, the musician/band probably has no idea what it really takes to make one of these shows happen, and secondly, what an opportunity it is for the band to even get a spot on this when someone else is paying for your opportunity and the big media. Most opening bands should realize by now that their job is to put butts in seats or they have no business opening a show for anyone. They should be able to bring in at least 40 to 50 people to each opening or they shouldn’t complain at all.

To put on a show of this size can run from $50,000 up to over $100,000 depending on the type of venue, marketing, guarantee etc… It takes at least 60 – 90 days worth of work, negotiations, planning and so forth to get these things going. When a band is given an opportunity to open a show, many times they don’t deliver and don’t work the opportunity for all it’s worth.

Promoting the show is so important. I am not talking about Facebook posts or the other white noise that you are putting out. I am talking about getting promotional materials, getting off your butt, and doing your job. You should be out on the streets consistently promoting and showing everyone that you are the band to hire for opening spots. Getting the promoter, venue and others to notice you is as important as performing on stage. Doing everything you can to get your fans to purchase tickets to come see you at this event, and then deliver the best show you can that night no matter what the circumstances is the ultimate goal.

Remember, the promoter doesn’t owe you anything. They gave you a shot and if you don’t deliver, it’s no ones fault but your own. Once you do the show, if you happen to deliver and get butts in the seat, then you need to learn to turn that into other opportunities.

In the next blog we will talk about ideas you can do to not only get the opening spots but to also get people to the show but also how to possibly get more out of the show than just exposing your music to a new audience.

Good luck!

You can also read this and some of my other articles at www.metalholic.com. http://metalholic.com/the-disconnect-between-musicians-and-promoters-part-1/

CD Review – “Transitions” by Steve Lukather

CD Review – “Transition” by Steve Lukather

transition

For many of you, TOTO is a household name; for those of you born after 1985, maybe not. There is no denying TOTO is still a huge act internationally and world renown guitar player Steve Lukather is a huge part of their sound – from songwriting, singing, and, of course his legendary guitar playing. Steve is one of the most recorded guitar players in history – playing with the likes of Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Larry Carlton, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Eric Clapton and George Benson to name a few. A total of 602 album credits to date which by anyone’s standards is amazing.

“Transition” produced by Steve and CJ Vanston is Steve’s 6th solo record to date, not including a couple that are more Steve and friends releases. Having all these CD’s personally and being a huge fan, I was really looking forward to the release of “Transition” and let me tell you it doesn’t disappoint. Steve lets it all hang out on here and deals with some tough subjects such as all the criticism that artists (himself included) receive on a daily basis now that anyone can post anything on the internet.

The CD features an all-star cast of musicians such as Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chicken Foot), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Tal Wilkenfield, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Nathan East, Leland Sklar, Greg Bissonette and Lenny Castro. The CD’s hot spots for me are “Judgment Day” and “Creep Motel.”

The first track is “Judgment Day” and the bright point in my opinion. This song is a four on the floor rock song with a blistering solo. It has it’s laid back moments of Steve finger pickings a simple rhythm, but very melodic lines are inserted throughout with a nice bridge/pre-chorus build ups to add weight to the chorus. The song is a message to all the Internet haters out there so take head all you-who-love-to-comment-online about your opinions of other peoples work.

The second track “Creep Motel” deals with the same issues and to me has a slight hint of a Steely Dan vibe in spots. This is a solid rock song with another amazing solo by Luke. As the title would indicate, it has a slinky feel with huge background vocals.

Steve has an uncanny ability to really evoke different moods with his music and does so again here well. Luke’s voice and playing are in fine form and show no signs of slowing down. His sense of melody and playing are something all musicians can learn from. He is definitely someone that knows when to play and when not to which is more important.

The song “Transition” is a great instrumental song written in 7/4 time that adds vocals late into the song. “Right The Wrong” and “Last Man Standing” all have great hooks and are definitely radio capable. All in all, this is a solid CD with not one filler song in its ranks. Well written, well produced with a great energy, and a more organic sound from the Steve Lukather.  Songwriting is at the forefront of this CD, which as we all know, is something very lacking in today’s music scene.

I give this 5 out 5 stars.

You can purchase “Transition” here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/transition/id584478886

View the EPK Video for Transition here. Transition EPK

Social media sites for Steve Lukather:

www.stevelukather.net

www.twitter.com/stevelukather

https://www.facebook.com/SteveLukather

http://www.youtube.com/stevelukathertube

15 Tips on How To Give an Interview

It was requested that I write an article on how to give an interview for musicians. I know from the media sources I have, that there is a lot of laziness and disrespect, especially from the musicians that have yet to achieve any real status. Hopefully this article will help you realize to not piss off your media contacts. It is through the media that your music reaches the world many times over, so it is very important you take this seriously. You make a huge mistake in your music career if you don’t take this seriously and do your very best because they will not ever cover you again. Remember, they never have to interview you or cover your band, regardless of how good your band is or how big you think you are.

When giving a live interview for TV or radio keep these points in mind. I know I am going to get comments on these points because it should be common sense but here is the feedback I get from fellow interviewers and from my own radio show.

  1. Always be on time – Don’t rely on your publicist for the correct info either. Many times the artist does not know the time to call in because the publicist got it wrong, even after three emails or more. I know this is what you pay for if you have one, but everyone makes mistakes.
  2. Don’t assume they are going to call you – This is your business and career so make sure you know what is going on. It’s your job to know who is calling whom. Don’t miss an opportunity to get press by not knowing the details.
  3. Do your research and know with whom you are talking – Make sure you at least know which station or magazine you are talking with and the person interviewing you.
  4. Answer using sentences, not one-word answers – Nothing is worse than a boring interview because you don’t know what to say about your band or music.
  5. Don’t call in drunk or stoned – These people are being professional and working hard to promote your music. Be professional and do the same. Respect them and their time by being coherent for the interview.
  6. Make sure you leave enough time for the interview – A good interview takes more than 10 minutes most of the time. You have a story to get out so make sure you give yourself time to do it.
  7. Also be prepared that many of the interviewers don’t like your music and didn’t prepare to interview you – Sometimes you need to lead the interview or make sure they know everything about you that you want them to know. Don’t assume they actually know anything about you or your music.
  8. If doing an interview for an industry specific magazine, know your stuff – Say you are doing an interview with EQ Magazine; they are going to want to know how your signal chain works so make sure you understand your own gear or equipment. Make sure you understand what the interviewer is looking for.
  9. Be focused, but have fun – This is serious business, so make sure you pay attention and are not distracted. There’s nothing more obnoxious than listening to an interview where the artist is talking to someone else in the background, chewing gum/food, clacking away on a keyboard, or generally not engaged in the interview.
  10. Phone fodder – While it is always preferable to use a land line (or Skype), more often than not, interviews are done by cellphone these days. Make sure you are in a well covered area, you find a quite place to talk, and you’re not pacing about potentially endangering your signal.

 

When doing an email interview, please try to make it interesting. You have to keep the reader engaged and eager to learn about you.

  1. Write full sentences – Make sure you answer the questions as completely as you can and try to put some thought into your answer. Don’t rush through your interviews. This is your time to showcase or spotlight your band to an audience who has never heard about you in most cases.
  2. Be witty – Try to have a sense of humor. This will help with people spreading the article around and also keep the interviewer interested in interviewing you again at some point.
  3. Use correct grammar – I know many of us struggle with this, but try to use appropriate grammar. This will alter their pre-conceived perception of you, thus making you look like much more than just another musician who does not care about anything but chicks and partying. It will also help keep the grammar police off your page with pointless comments.
  4. Get the interview back in a timely manner – The webzine or whatever media source that has graciously interviewed you is patiently waiting for you to be professional and get your interview back to them. They have deadlines to meet; and if you wait too long, they may pass on you and post other artists that were more professional.
  5. The Extra Mile – Email interviews do not allow for follow-up questions, so if you touch on a topic or offer an answer that would lead to an obvious follow-up question, try to throw those extras in as well. If the interviewer missed something you’d like to get out there, add it in. The media outlet is always happy when artists give a little extra.

Please practice these basic points and watch your relationships grow with your media contacts, which is so crucial to your music’s future.

Good luck!

Note: This was originally posted on Metalholic.com

http://metalholic.com/musician-tips-15-tips-on-how-to-give-an-interview/