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.
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.
December 30, 2010 § Leave a Comment
For what it is worth, these are the albums I felt where the best of 2010:
Metal / Hard Rock / Punk / Hardcore (Top 10 Only Counted):
1. Ihsahn – After
2. Filter – The Trouble With Angels
3. Monster Magnet – Mastermind
4. Overkill – Ironbound
5. Killing Joke – Absolute Dissent
6. Accept – Blood Of Nations
7. Danzig – Deth Red Sabaoth
8. Witchery – Witch Krieg
9. Armored Saint – La Raza
10. Ratt – Infestation
11. Charred Walls Of The Damned – Charred Walls Of The Damned
12. White Wizzard – Over The Top
13. Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia
14. Sick Of It All – Based On A True Story
15. Bruce Kulick – BK3
16. Mose Gianticus – Gift Horse
17. In This Moment – Star-Crossed Wasteland
18. Iron Maiden – Final Frontier
19. Fear Factory – Mechanize
20. Y & T – Facemelter
Non-Metal (Pop/Indie/Rap, etc.)
1. Christina Aguilera – Bionic
2. Duran Duran – All You Need Is Now
3. The Dead Weather – Sea Of Cowards
4. Combichrist – Making Monsters
5. Cee Lo Green – Lady Killer
Greatest Hits / Live Album (Only The First Album Counted)
1. Dio – Live At Donnington
2. Soundgarden – Telephantasm
3. Various – Big 4
4. Heaven & Hell – Neon Knights
5. Meshuggah – Alive
Reissue Of The Year (Only The First Album Counted)
1. Black Sabbath – The Eternal Idol
2. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
3. Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
4. Judas Priest – British Steel
5. Control Denied – The Fragile Art Of Existence
Spanish Albums Of The Year (Only The First Five Albums Counted)
1. Emboque – Voy A Por Ti
2. Bittencross – ….In Honour
3. Khael – Dualidad
4. Marlenne – Kailash
5. Cuming Soon – Welcome To The Magic Theater
6. She Lies – Seeds
7. Storms To Come – A Modern Approach To Middle-Class Failures / Frustrations
8. Nikaia – Dstructivismo
9. Face The Void – I Have Betrayed Me
10. Angelus Apatrida – Clock Work
December 10, 2010 § Leave a Comment
One of the worst things about living the part of Spain that I’m in is that A) There are very few decent CD/Record stores and B) The mail service sucks! Case in point I ordered a bunch of reissues/remastered CDs, Nine Inch Nail’s Pretty Hate Machine, Black Sabbath’s Seventh Star and Eternal Idol. I had scoured every shop, large box store, etc. a few weeks back looking for these CDs along with the new Dio Live At Donnington 83 & 87, and was only able to find the latter. As a result I needed to find an online dealer that offered the reissues in question. Keep in mind that internet commerce here in Spain is roughly 15 years behind what it is in the states. I looked at Tipo which is the last remaining nation record chain, FNAC which is the only Best Buy equivalent that allows you to purchase things online. None of them carried the NIN or Black Sabbath re-releases. So I turned to CD Universe, a site that I used to use all the time while in the states. Now I purposely paid extra for shipping to ensure the prompt delivery of these CDs, and low and behold three weeks later I finally received them.
Cool packaging for all three, my only gripe is that you need a microscope to read all of the lyrics and original liner notes for the Sabbath releases. With regards to the material itself, Trent’s remaster of Pretty Hate Machine sounds pretty cool, I honestly have to give it a few more spins before determining which of the mixes I prefer. With regards to the Sabbath material, let’s be honest this is just for die-hard fans that want official versions of the Ray Gillen recorded material. My issue with said material is that it sounds no better than the bootlegs that have been out there all of these years. It would have been cool if they would have gone back and given these tracks the sonic make over they deserved. With all of this said still cool to have two new CDs with Ray Gillen all over them. In a week where people have gone out of there way to remember Dimebag Darrell and John Lennon, it’s a shame that Ray is completely forgotten about by pretty much everyone. Check all three of these reissues out, along with the new Dio live CD I mentioned above.
- Victor M. Ruiz