Music, books, and personal thoughts on life

Archive for July, 2013

R.I.P. Kidd Kraddick

One of the best morning DJs has departed from our world.  Kidd Kraddick became a household name for me when I was in high school.  His show would keep me in stiches while I drove to school each day.  The last time I listened to his show was when it was my daughter’s last day of school back in mid-May.  The Mommy Test, making fun of Kellie Rasberry, imitating Kinsey, J-Si’s wife, Psycho Shanon on the air, 50 Shades of Grey with ad libs, Get Over It….The list could go on.  He had a big heart for helping kids with disabilities and had the Kidd’s Kids yearly vacation to Disney World.  He made a difference in many people’s lives.  There was one point in time I wanted to send him a recording of me changing my voice into different people.  I never did in fear of being rejected.  Kidd, may you rest in peace.  Also, I ask that you please give his family, friends and colleagues privacy during this time. 

“Keep looking up cause that’s where it all is!” – Kidd Kraddick  
August 22, 1959 – July 27, 2013


Background info on record labels

This information comes from my friend Claes in Denmark.  He has been in the music industry longer than I have been alive!  It’s a bit of an insight behind the scenes in some record labels.

The whole things starts by getting a demo together!!! Not easy… a band can’t afford to hire a studio. They generally do what’s termed a home recording. A crazy example: Years ago, Disneyland After Dark went to Mega Records in Copenhagen, Denmark, and presented what was recorded on a Dictaphone placed on the floor of their rehearsal room.  The sound was horrific. Claes insisted signing this punk rock band and they’re still active.  However, he had to deal with Disney, they were threatening a court case, unless their name got changed.
They changed it to D-A-D right away and they’re the very first #1 rock band in Denmark.  A manager won’t deliver anything at all to the label.  It is generally the band doing the leg-work. They will start honing in on that would understand their music and be enthusiastic right
away.
A typical record label boss is crazy, unpredictable, dictatorial, but still willing and occasionally listen to a crew’s advice. He or she has to be forcibly on top of every major decision, especially those having to do with costs!  The daily nitty-gritty is handled by the crew. Anyone making stupid decisions is fired right away.  A boss is always supervising meetings with lawyers about contracts.
A RC wants to sell TONS of records.  That’s the only aim and all about conquering the whole planet!  Some bands are let loose, do whatever you want. Others are under constant control and have to follow orders.  A producer is along the same lines and gets a royalty share! Plus wanting to impose his or her own sound.
Lawyers play a very major role in having to deal with a lot of stuff. Few are versed in music business, as already delineated. They’re however useful for contracts about investements and handling expenses. In Mega’s case, they were in theory to supervise artist and license deals, but rarely did.
Record labels abroad have fit their OWN markets to sell tons of records! They might well have opinions as to what’s a single for their territory. What’ll work in Japan might not be what works in Europe or the USA.
When composing a song, there are royalties due to composers for recordings plus radio, TV and live performances.  There are copyright societies collecting everything and then passing income on to for example societies in Sweden, after taking a share for themselves. They also deal with plagiary and non-approved illicit uses of songs.  Most countries have two copyright societies: one for what’s called mechanical reproduction (records sold) and the other one dealing with the rest. In the US: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers(ASCAP) for mechanicals and Broadcast Music International (BMI) for performances on radio, TV, vids and live. The split of it all is 1/3rd to each of the composers / authors / publishers. Any cover version is also a copyright matter as no royalty is paid to band members.
Unless we’re talking about a multinational company covering the entire planet, a smaller label, like Mega, licences rights to record labels abroad for what’s called a “territory”.  An international label has a head office somewhere trying to convince local territories to release the band’s albums and singles; not easy even though a head office has,in theory, dictatorial powers. Local head offices decide on their own whether to promote or not. The implication for a band is “Why are we not released/ promoted in X country?”.
Who’s laughing all the way to the bank?
RL/publishers and the band. To some extent also manager, lawyers and tour promoters… and not to forget banks!


Fan Wars

Fan wars, what is that?  I see it as when fans of one band attack fans of another.  An example:  Nightwish started out with Tarja  Turunen.  There were creative differences and Tarja wanted to leave, and she did.  When Anette Olzon became the new singer, there were some fans that were complaining that all the songs she sang fit Tarja’s voice better.  Some fans really liked Anette’s voice and became a fan of her.  So now there were fans who sided with each other that Tarja was better because she was the original voice of Nightwish.  Then there were the fans that stuck up for Anette and said she had every right to be a member of Nightwish.  The war between Tarja fans and Anette fans was born.  Some of the fans didn’t want to give Anette a chance.  Put yourself in her shoes.  How would it make you feel if you were chosen to sing with a band like Nightwish and the fans weren’t very receptive to you?  How would it make you feel if all you ever heard was, “The original singer was better; this new one sucks.”?  You would probably feel like crap!  Here you are working your ass off doing what you love and you’re getting crap from fans that think you killed off the original singer.  She left because she got sick and was pregnant. She felt replaceable since the guys had Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz sing in her place without even asking her about it.  Floor Jansen has done a great job stepping in and taking over vocals in Nightwish.  You rock, Floor!

Different bands can actually be friends with each other.  From what I have seen with the metal community in Europe, the bands are a close knit community.  They are like family and help each other out when needed.  I have seen Elize from Amaranthe and Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist tour with Kamelot,  Manda and Charlotte (from Delain) sang a duet on Nemesea’s  latest album, pictures of Tarja and Floor….I could go on!  There is no reason to bash or attack other fans because they like Within Temptation a bit more than Delain.  Think about it, the same kind of music is being played but has a different sound to it from different bands.  Hopefully you are able to follow what I’m saying.  We are all going to like something a little more than someone else, but it’s all the same thing.  There are a lot of bands out there that I like and don’t like, but just because there are some I don’t like doesn’t mean I should bash the fans who do.


Social Media and Bands

It’s kind of hard to remember a time without MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  Back in the day you would have to write fan letters and mail them to the record company or fan clubs.  You would always wonder if the band ever read your letter or if they even got it at all.  Flash forward to 2013, instant communication with your favorite bands; no more writing letters or having them “lost” in the mail.  Now I know there are some bands who have communicated with their fans via their website before social media, but these social sites have enhanced it for the fans of today.  I have seen some bands that pose for a group photo with the audience after a concert and share it on Facebook.  Huge change from when I was a teen back in the early to mid 90s.  How many of us years ago would have wanted to find out in real time where our favorite bands would be performing next?  Or find out how to win a meet and greet with the band before the concert?  We had to rely heavily upon the radio stations and MTV for tour information, stay up sometimes until the wee morning hours to catch their new music video or sit by the radio to hopefully catch their new single.  Now all we have to do is login to Facebook or YouTube and have the info instantly in our hands.  Over the past few years, YouTube and MySpace seem to have played a big role in discovering new music.  Any search on YouTube for a song will no doubt contain people covering it.

Staying connected to fans and gaining new ones has also been able to take place through Facebook.  They want to know that their fans out there supporting them and their music.  More connections means more fans and encouragement that their music is gaining ground.  I’m sure the record company, A&R, PR and band members check their page on a daily basis to see if the liked count has gone up.  If it was not for Facebook and even Spotify, some bands would probably go undetected.  I have discovered some pretty awesome bands through Spotify over the past five months.  Had it not been for that, I would have never known that these bands were around.

I’m going to get off topic here, but I want to express my views on it.  Some of the bands I have been listening to through Spotify are from Europe.  Some are known here in the U.S. and others want to break into the U.S. scene.  America is one of the hardest markets for any foreign band to get their foot in the door.  Yes, there have been a few that have charted but then disappear as fast as they charted.  Is America biased against bands from across the pond?  If they were, The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead, Oasis and some others would be unknown to us or one-hit wonders.  The U.S. is considered a HUGE stepping stone in music to becoming known all over the world.  How many of us heard the Vengaboys, 2 Unlimited, Alice Deejay, 2 Brothers On The 4th Floor, Robyn and Roxette back in the 90s and early 2000s?  They were able to tap into the U.S. charts and I believe it helped their careers by doing so.  Some of them are more popular in Europe but they can say they at least had one or more hit songs on The Billboard charts in the U.S.  If America can give these bands a chance, why not some others?  Some Euro bands have a huge fan base in some different regions such as their own country, other Euro countries, Asia, Japan and Latin America to name a few.  Yet it seems like they have a very small fan base in the U.S. and are just a blip on the radar.  Just give Euro bands the chance you have given others.


Remember The Words

Note: This is completely my own viewpoint.  So if I am wrong about something, understand it’s how I see it; I am a lyric freak.

Remember the days before iTunes and Amazon were around?  You had to go to the record store and buy the CDs.  Remember the excitement and frustration of ripping off the plastic wrap, slipping the CD into your player and feeling the rush of fresh music?  While listening, you probably pulled out the liner booklet and read over the lyrics so you could sing along.  How many times did you try to find the meaning of the songs?  It seems like some people are looking for a meaning behind the lyrics.  There is more to a song than just words, music and production.  There is more than meaning behind it all.  Songs are stories set to music.  It is about being a great storyteller and capturing an audience.  It is about feeling and seeing the story being painted in your mind.  There are some people who just skim over the lyrics, find some sort of hidden message and move on.  Some songs in mainstream today have lyrics that say, “I’m horny so let’s get our freak on.  Blah, blah, blah, blah I’m just singing about random shit.”  Where is the next generation of Bob Dylans, McCartney and Lennons, Joni Mittchells and Carol Kings?  Where are the next generation storytellers?  Yes, there are some talented people crafting and producing today, but it seems like they focus more on production than lyrics.  A storyline in songs is the heart and soul that brings it to life, aside from the music.  The next time you download or buy an album, look past finding a meaning and look for the story.


More poetry

The poems I’m posting are one’s that I wrote in 2007 and 2011.  I guess you could say I’m showing you my ‘dark side’.  It’s interesting how I wrote these a long time ago and have recently heard a few songs that are along the same lines.

Untitled
Slowly walking through the
Dim lit halls of my mind,
Images of you still taint
The walls.

I drank poison from lust.
That first taste had me
Craving for more.
You consumed every part of me.

The poison almost killed me
And you left me to die.
You came back around
To finish me off.
You viciously ripped out
My heart, spit in my face
And walked away again.

I survived and now cleaning the tainted walls
November 2011

Untitled #2 

There is a presence
Of fear as he
Starts to come near.
He tells her that
He loves her, but
She knows it’s a
lie.
She looks into his eyes
And sees nothing inside.

She is nothing to
Him anymore.
Nothing but a soul
For him to control.

She is sick of
Being in this place.
She takes one look
Look at her face,
And sees she is
Nothing to herself.


Some poetry

Enjoy some of my poems!

Thunderstorm
Dark grey rain clouds
roll across the sky,
it’s fun to watch
them pass on by.
Off in the distance
lightning strikes the ground.
Thunder rumbles afterwards,
breaking silence with sound.

Big drops of rain
soon come pouring down,
Wetting everything around.
The shower washes away
the grit on the streets,
leaving behind clean concrete
March 13, 2012

 

Untitled

Your voice from the
Past haunts me in
My sleep at night
Memories of you taint
My no longer peaceful
Slumber
You lurk in the
Shadows, just to torture
Me and watch me
Lose my mind

Let me go, let
Me live
Stop pulling me down
Into your pit in
Hell
Tired of living in
Fear
Tired of living here
In darkness

I’m breaking free tonight
No longer will you
Rule over me
I’m hunting you down
Like a bounty hunter
In the pale moonlight
An army of warring angels
Behind me; enough is
Enough
Together we plan on
Taking you down

Let me go, Let me live….
September 5, 2012

Drought

No more water flows
Through this ravine.
The heat of the
Sun dried up the
The flowing water of
Life.
Buzzards fly above
The dry bones.

Nothing left living in
This drought.
The love between them
Is gone.
No more love flows their
Bones for each other.
It has died in the drought.
June 27, 2011