March 24, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The episode is called The Rock Show because it’s close to a solid hour of rock music and ramblings. Check it out, it contains tracks from David Bowie, Oasis, My Chemical Romance, Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Space Age Playboys, Josh Todd, Refused, Anthrax, Loaded, Sound City Players, and Captain T.
July 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
It's been a long time in the making, but our debut EP "Motorcycle" is out now! Please check it out and download for FREE :)
For the FULL EP download: http://www.mediafire.com/?c4p4ui7c164np2t
Listen via Soundcloud too: http://soundcloud.com/sing-gazelle/
Please like us on Facebook too! http://www.facebook.com/singgazelle
April 23, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Hit So Hard is a documentary that focuses on the Patty Schemel, her time in the band Hole, her pitfalls into substance abuse and being able to turn all of that around. The documentary is equal parts inspirational, depressing, and at times disgusting. Disgusting to see what heroin, crystal meth, and other hard drugs can do to the lives of so many. It is a shame that even after so many people have fallen pray to these entrapments, that more people come along still thinking that they can grab hold, and at any point that they’d like overcome whatever pitfall they might have fallen into. Not judging, because I think people need to do what they think is best with their life, their kids, career, etc. I guess it’s just part of the human condition to think that you’re indestructible, and can overcome anything without any consequence to you, or those around you. Although the high may last hours, whatever it is you’re trying to run from will still be waiting for you on the other side when you come down.
In any event I really admire her as a musician, and enjoy a lot of the music she released while in Hole. I do have to admit that I have not really followed her career since. Thanks to this documentary I will go back and check out some of the other albums she’s played on. Hopefully her story helps others that are faced with similar issues, inspires people to play music, inspires people to be who they are, no matter what their sexual orientation may be, and gives them an appreciation of someone who was very influential (even if it was in a subliminal way) to a generation of music lovers.
April 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I just got done watching the Foo Fighters’ documentary Back And Forth. I love these types of band documentaries, and all though I don’t consider myself the biggest Foo Fan, I have massive amounts of respect for what the band has done, especially Dave Grohl, who is really part of a dying bread of musicians. This documentary was very inspirational, and reminded me why I formed my first band when I was 15, and reminds me of the real fun that I’ve had playing with assorted people along the way, and makes me long for certain connections that once existed between me and others.
I have actually been demoing songs for about a month now. The idea is to record these songs in a studio in the late fall or end of the year. I remember what it was like to get together with at least one other person in the bands or projects I played with, and connected when writing material. This time around I have roughly 16 songs that I could potentially record, but I’m shooting to do between 8 to 10.
The process has been interesting, and although I have laid some decent ground work for the majority of the songs, they still need a lot of work. Also, I haven’t made that type of musical connection that I mention above, I really feel that me coming from someplace very different has lead to me not “playing well with others” or others not giving me the opportunity to show what I’m capable of. As a result, I’m going to move forward and play and sing all of the material. I’d love to include people from bands that I’ve come to know from the interviews I’ve done, but I am not sure people would be interested, or have the time to get involved.
There is a lot of doubt involved in this process, again, would people be interested in what I’d like to put together, in the vision that I have in my head? I know that I can have people play that will play circles around me, but will the material then lose its essence? Will my playing live up to what I have in mind? It is important to me that I enjoy what I’m playing and recording, I honestly could care less if someone thinks it’s metal enough or not, if it’s heavy enough or not, cool or not. I don’t intend on putting this material out to sell money, play shows, or anything similar to that. It’s honestly just self gratification, and once it has been completed will either be available as a free download, or be connected to some sort of charity if I do intent on having people pay for it.
If you ask what it sounds like, it’s a mix of all things that have influences me, and that I’ve loved listening to since I was a kid, a little rock, a little metal, and a little bit of punk. I hear things like Kiss, Anthrax, Prong, Led Zeppelin, Monster Magnet, Misfits, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and a various assortment of other things. I’m sure some people will listen, and think, “wow, what’s he smoking, it sounds nothing like that!” but that’s what it sounds like to me. As far as the lyrical content goes, everything from personal topics, to political things, to sci-fi type things, to themes touched upon in books and movies.
I’ve honestly thought of giving up podcasting all together just to focus on this as my main hobby, there is a lot less drama involved, but I do have a few interviews in the can, and have hours of material for my classic albums column, if nothing else, I’ll release that once a month till all 36 episodes are out. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll touch upon this further in the coming months.
February 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I do realize that I am a small fish when it comes to the big ocean filled with plenty of small fish podcasters. And I do realize that a lot of people do a much better job than I do, some are in a much better location geographically to leverage people to secure interviews, have multiple people working on their show, etc. This is why I was close to hanging things up a few months back. It was the if a tree falls in the woods type deal. In other words if I put a podcast out, does anyone listen? It seems as if people do, and it’s funny to see how certain topics, groups, or comments can spark more visitors to my sites.
The one thing that seems odd (maybe just to me) is how the “carrot method” is still applied within the industry. Everything around the music industry is evolving, but you still have people that are steadfast to ensure that certain aspects don’t change. The carrot method is basically someone baiting you with their biggest band as a way to make you interview a much smaller band (usually only known to them or their immediate relatives, and friends). Which, hey, everyone needs to start somewhere, which is why I usually say yes. Anything to help a band whose music I enjoy. What bugs me (and you can accuse me of being a sell out, or whatever for doing the deed) is having a band forced on you, with an empty promise they’re reserving a big act for you. They never deliver that other band. I’ve even mentioned this to artists once I finally get to speak to them (usually setup through a third party, and not the person I originally dealt with), and most of them seem annoyed, or dumbfounded that someone they’re paying to help promote their band is doing this.
Now I’m not dumb, I realize that (as I mentioned above) I’m not the only fish in the water. If I pass, there are another 300 people waiting to do that very interview.
There is also you’re not big enough card that is played all of the time. Hey I’d like to interview so and so. The response varies, a lot of times it’s remind me who you are again? In fairness to the person on the other end, they probably have hundreds of people contacting them on a daily basis. You also have them asking how many visitors frequent your site, again, their trying to weed out who they want their artists to speak to. Given my relationship to a certain big name podcast, I have been allowed to use their name in the past, and I’ve even received well if you can promise that the artist ends up on their show, I’ll allow them to interview my artist. This leaves you scratching your head wondering if the old “what am I chopped liver?” statement applies? Hello, I was the person making the request after all, I’m assuming if they had interest in interviewing this person, they would have reached out to you? It can all be discouraging at times. I’ve even had someone tell me flat that I wasn’t big enough to merit speaking to her artist. “My artist only speaks to national press”, huh? So, ok, it’s cool they spend 2 minutes with someone that doesn’t know who they are, doesn’t care who they are, hates their biggest hit, but is obligated to have them on their show because someone at the corporate office says so. I don’t know, this doesn’t make sense to me. Why waste someone’s time with a station that treats you like a token artist, and only dusts off your music when you’re in town? I can honestly say most of the people I speak to say they enjoy speaking to me, and thank me for not asking them the same old, same old. Maybe an artist being happy doesn’t sell, who knows?
I realize that I’m in a very privileged position to be able to speak to a lot of the people I do, and I’m very thankful for that, but seriously 500 fiery hoops every time? I am also lucky enough to count on being associated to a bunch of cool sites, and thanks to them they’ve given me the kick in the ass that I need to get things going again.
I’ll leave you with this, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal once told me, “I don’t get paid to play music, that I enjoy, I get paid to deal with all of the other shit!”. Which is a brilliant statement, if only I got paid!
November 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
In recent weeks I’ve mentioned PledgeMusic and Kickstarter on twitter, in the podcast, etc. The music industry is changing and needs to change, some labels are better than others, but in the end the vast majority have more to do with why people are downloading music off of Torrents. Sorry, but that’s the truth, regardless of what your out of touch idol is telling you. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Steve Jobs innovation with iTunes, actually knowing how to successfully use the lesson Napster taught everyone (people are tired of paying over $20 for a CD to only find out the single you hear on the radio is the only thing that isn’t a hot steaming turd on the album), and create a business model around it (e.g. $0.99 single song downloads) is what has helped bring the industry down to its knees.
Also, people keep bringing up how sales were so much better in the 90s. Ok, so let’s set something straight, those figures are skewed. Hear me out, back in the late 80s the industry had not gone to an all CD format yet. CDs cost too much, so the labels decided to start putting out poor quality vinyl albums. If you don’t believe me, check out any vinyl album that was released in the late 80s to early 90s, and compare the thickness of the album to something that came out a decade before. For anyone that says that doesn’t make a difference, than why are people now paying $30 to $40 for 180g vinyl albums? So they phased vinyl out, but the cassette tape took over, it was still cheaper than a CD, and everyone finally had a cassette player in their car, you could make a mix tape, etc. What happened? You guessed it, they cheapened the quality of cassettes. I was in collage radio at the time, and saw first hand how the vinyl albums, and cassettes we received were of better quality than anything you could find at a store.
So finally, they convinced people to start buying CDs in large quantities to replace their existing vinyl and cassette collection. But that wasn’t enough, the labels admitted to the fact that a lot of the early CDs were not mastered properly, so the remastering craze started, and people started buying a second remastered copy of certain albums. This is why 90s sales figures are skewed, if you take away/factor in people buying a piece of music only once, how would those sales figures be affected?
Now factor iTunes into all of this, how many people are just ripping their old CDs to MP3 and passing them over to their iPod, iPhone, MP3 Player, etc. instead of repurchasing something on iTunes? This is replacing the money that was made on people switching media from vinyl, to cassette, to CD. If people are going to iTunes, chances are, they’re only buying a song or two off of that long lost vinyl album, not the entire thing.
So now couple this with the fact that the labels are not paying artists more, and want to continue to pay artists under a business structure that accounted for things like scratched albums, broken tape, or damaged CDs, when the majority of what they are selling (in most cases) is digital media? If a track is corrupted, well you re-download it and you’re off! So why haven’t artists been paid more in accordance to what type of media is being sold?
In any event, back to the subject line. Similar to the old E.F. Hutton slogan, when Trent Reznor mentions something about the ever changing music business, artists should take notice! He just posted an article regarding TuneCore, and why people should look into their services when releasing an album, and wanting to have publishing administration of songs handled in a transparent manner. You can read it here.
October 6, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I just received a newsletter from a former client of mine. In it they tout how they “inspire, share, evolve, exceed, 100% Jerk Free”. This newsletter is also used to mention how a member of their organization has been promoted.
The funny thing is, after dealing with this person in question, the 100% Jerk Free didn’t really apply. The company in question sent feelers out to me mentioning how they were looking to possibly use one of my company’s solutions on a project an end client had presented to them. Sometimes these things go fast, other times, like this specific time, things proceed at a snail’s pace. So I was going back and forth with the company, and I went from one contact, to another, to another, to yet another. The contact was anything but constent, I’d write or call, and not hear anything for days, weeks, and certain stretches, months. But they kept saying it’s between your company, and a company pitching a Google Mash-up. I kept asking if the price was fine, and if they’d like us to develop a demo (which we did, and it took months to get feedback), but all they kept saying was that we were the front runners, and that the end client was happy.
Out of the blue we heard “the end client is deciding next moneth”, nothing came of it. Then “the end client is deciding in the next few weeks”, which finally seemed to be happening. Shortly thereafter I received an email asking “let’s have a conference call to make sure we’re pitching everything to the end client correctly”. As conference calls go, it wasn’t bad, had a few skeptics, but that’s the norm. All of a sudden we received word that “they’re deciding tomorrow”. How this unfolded is not uncommon in the IT business, but what I found to be a 100% Jerk move was how the project ended up, in the hands of the very company that had been stringing us along for over a year saying that they where pitching our solutions to their end client. What they failed to mention was how the competition was actually them, and they were basically using us, and leveraging our information in order to keep the project in house.
I did not come upon this information/conclusion until we were informed via email that we had been passed over for the project. So after deliberating what I was going to write back (I was furious, this project would have been huge for us), I basically asking what went wrong, and asking why after more than a year of being told that we were the front runners did we not end up with the project? We jumped through every fiery hoop that was presented, in flying colors might I add, why were we being told that the project was going to someone else? I also asked what the lesson learned was to know how to move forward with other projects? And this is when the person that the company has selected to promote for “standing behind our core values” reared her ugly head! She basically gloated about the fact that in the year the project had been discussed that she had assembled a team that could put together what the project required. She also went out of her way to basically say that she was introducing her new team that would be more than able to leave a mark on our sector. Something which never took place, not because of them anyway (we’ll get to that in a second).
This wasn’t the first time issues came up with this company; they had also reneged to pay part of the first project they ever purchased from us. This was partly my fault for being too trusting and not putting certain things in writing. In an effort to try and make up for things, they mentioned “oh don’t worry; we’ll bring you tons of more business”. This is usually the kiss of death, and a sign that the company is one and done. We built a bunch of demos for them over the years, but they never purchased anything additional. After the run-in mentioned above, it does make you wonder if they just used our ideas and resold them to their end clients.
Anyway, yeah, so that’s dealing with a company that is 100% Jerk Free!
With regards to what made a dent in the industry, one company and specific name comes to mind, Apple and Steve Jobs. Let me mention that I send my condolences to his family, I proudly own several of his devices (iPods, iPhones, AppleTVs, etc.), but I want to touch on another subject that was brushed under the rug regarding Mr. Jobs and his stance against Flash.
For the longest time we thought that Google and their maps would be what would affect us the most. It did have an effect on certain products, but we were still roping in plenty of business. That was until Jobs decided, he no longer wanted to work with Adobe, and support Flash. For years Adobe kept Apple afloat, anyone that only focuses on the last ten years of Apple is very nearsighted. Had it not been for graphic design programs like PhotoShop and Quark keeping Apple alive, the company would have faded away years ago. What saved them? It was Jobs, and his team who were smart enough to cash in on a business model that Napster had accidentally stumbled upon. The concept was, people don’t want to spend $20 on a CD to only get the single, or perhaps only listen to a few select songs off an album. They knew this was what people wanted to and took full advantage. The marriage between iTunes and the iPod pulled them back from the ledge. The music industry blames P2P sites like Napster for their demise, but look at iTunes, YouTube, Setlist.com, MySpace, Facebook, Spotify and the industry’s own greed as what tore the industry apart. This is a discussion for another day as we’re veering off course (in the meantime check out Kickstarter and Pledgemusic two of the sites that are spearheading the music industry of the future).
Getting back to Adobe and Apple, Jobs refused to allow the iPhone and ultimately the iPad to use Flash. This sent shockwaves throughout the web. What where companies supposed to do with the Flash content on their websites? How where client’s going to see this information on their smartphones and tablets? Ok wait, the next version of iOS will include Flash. No seriously, the neeeext version of iOS will include Flash, and on, and on, and on. So what option did most companies look to exercise? Switch to a nonFlash-based solution. His analogy was that Flash was bulky, and cumbersome, and old fashion, etc. and everyone ate it up. Not exactly true, but enough people where listening that people started to turn their backs on Flash. Not because of the way Flash work, but because Jobs was against it.
So for as many wonderful things that Jobs came up with, he essentially turned his back on the one company that helped keep Apple alive during all of those trying times. Adobe is also at fault here; they threw their hands in the air earlier this year and basically gave up a platform, and countless developers that had put food on the table by putting up with their bug riddled software.
No doubt that the man was a marketing genius, he did so many things that big business thought could never be done. He also brought us some cool devices (and a crap load of things that were just that, crap). He left us way too young, and has left the IT industry with a lot of questions regarding what will happen with Apple as a brand and company. What they will do with their highly inflated prices. Folks you have to bring the PC vs. Mac argument into the now, they’ve both been using the same architecture for the last 10 years so why does one cost three times more if a software update is only $30? And so on and so forth, guess we’ll have to all wait and see.