Unmet Expectations

I was just watching “Metal Evolution” on VH1 Classic. The “Grunge” episode. There were musicians ripping on seemingly grunge-influenced bands like Candlebox, Creed, etc. Whatever. My point is not to defend a particular band or era of music – that is all extremely subjective. What I do want to address is how angry people can become when their careers don’t quite turn out like they had envisioned. Be very careful to not get caught up in their negative energy. It is not good or helpful, and only makes people more cynical and asshole-ish.

Look, I fully understand there are myriad reasons to hate the realities and confines of the music industry on the whole. That is why I’m about to finish a book called, The Music Industry Doesn’t Have To Kill You. But, we all must try and get beyond crushed dreams and the shrapnel of dubious lies, and live life to the fullest.

Things rarely work out as we hoped, expected or built up in our minds – just like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. We often build things up in our minds to a point where if they don’t work out, we have absolutely no idea how to respond, other than ripping on everyone else that did make it.

Taylor Swift is one of the most talented and engaging entertainers, ever. One cannot deny the incredible “thing” she has going. She is spectacular. But I consistently hear people taking jabs at her. Why? Jealousy. Plain and simple. Taylor Swift has blown up to utterly-gargantuan proportions, and she continues to make the right moves. But I still hear that she isn’t a good singer, her songwriting is shallow, etc. Have you heard Bob Dylan “sing”?

If Taylor Swift called to hire you right now, you would gladly accept. Trust me, I saw the magic during her last tour.

Stop being negative.

It is one thing to not be a fan of something. It is another to simply try and tear it down because it’s not you.

I don’t like the New York Yankees or the New England Patriots, but I cannot deny the stellar legacy of both teams and their consistent competitive play.

Accept the fact that very, very, very few musicians will ever be rich and famous. If this is your dream, please check yourself. Don’t give up, but do your best to not unintentionally tear everyone around you down because it didn’t quite pan out like you hoped.

 

 

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Brand Like A Rock Star (book)

Buy this book. It is absolutely fantastic. I don’t care if you’re in the entertainment industry, pharmaceutical industry or automobile industry – this book will help you establish strong brands, and keep business moving forward.

Steve Jones, the author, does a great job of bringing what matters in to perspective. Learn what a brand really is, and how to not screw it up.

It’s Not Worth It

I have stood at the precipice of divorce, and later in life, entered its lonely confines. I do not like that, but I am thankful for the perspectives they brought me.

As I write this, there are two little boys asleep in their bedrooms about fifteen feet away from me. We share last names. They hang on my every action – the older one usually imitating my words and movements. There is not a single thing I would not do for either of them, but more than anything else, I cannot imagine walking away from them. The thought of purposefully leaving confused little eyes crushes my heart. Not to live motivated by fear, but consequences are good to keep in mind.

The entertainment industry can be a dark and dangerous place, and I am not referring to physical safety. The limitless temptations are baffling. Are they present everywhere else? Probably. But there is something altogether different about an industry built around mostly attractive people performing for people that idolize them. Add in long days, weeks and months on the road, in the office, or out at shows, and the issues are amplified.

I am not above any of the topics of which I write, and this is not a holier than thou discourse. Where do you think a lot of this motivation comes from? I simply want to call it what it is. When is the last time you saw an affair go well? When have you heard someone on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time in the office? When is the last time you talked with a child that enjoyed living amidst a broken mommy and daddy relationship? Rarely do temporary pleasures turn in to permanent joy.

This is difficult stuff. Let’s be very honest. In one way or another, each of us are tempted towards flashing screens that seem to light the way, but are nothing but the opposite of where we should be going. I have lived up-close with those that have taken the bait, and they will be the first to tell you it did not satisfy. All hell usually breaks loose. It may appear ok on the surface, but I have had enough conversations with those on the backend to be fully convinced that it rarely is.

Consider what this means for you. It is different for all of us. Whatever you may be silently leaning towards, it is not worth it.

The following lyrics, from one of my favorite artists, Andrew Osenga, have pierced my heart many times. The song is called “The Man of the House.”

You should have seen how I first saw her

Should have seen the way we danced

The bar became a ballroom

The haze became a trance

She kissed me like a serpent

And squeezed ’til my heart broke open wide

She told me that she loved me

Guess that’s when she crawled inside

The Wrestler: The Scott Hall Story

Thanks to my good friend, Todd Ramey, for pointing this video out to me. It’s an ESPN E:60 documentary (18-minutes long) about Scott Hall, who’s wrestling name is “Razor Ramon,” a character that was huge in the WWF/WWE/WCW, especially in the 1990s.

This is one of the saddest videos I have seen in a while. It truly is a “real life” version of Mickey Rourke’s character from the 2008 movie, The Wrestler.

No disrespect whatsoever to Scott, but please learn from his story. Some things may seem good for a while, but in the end…

Watch “The Wrestler: The Scott Hall Story” here.

[PHOTOS]: U2 in Nashville – July 2, 2011

I had the honor of seeing U2 perform last night (7/2/11) in Nashville. Vanderbilt Stadium. 40,000 capacity for football. Some 48,000 on-hand for the show. This was, somehow, U2’s first concert in Nashville since the year I was born, 1981. What in the world is the deal with that? Even Bono seemed a bit bewildered by this tidbit as he made reference to it from stage.

This was also Vanderbilt Stadium’s third-ever concert, the first two being Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones.

U2 is one of those bands that comes really close to being (way) overhyped, and in a lot of ways they probably are by the extremists among us. Either way, last night’s show delivered in just about every way possible.

It is going to be a good long while before anyone can top what U2 has pulled off on its 360 Tour. The stage, the production, the everything – it is simply a spectacle of gargantuan proportions. Each show takes around $750,000 to pull off. I’m surprised it is not more.

As I stood last night and saw the spaceship light up, fog fill the sky and heard the music of U2 rock West End, I considered how impossible it is to convey such an experience via any medium. Someone like me can sit and conjure up superlatives to describe it, but nothing can replace being there.

If it is remotely within your capabilities to attend a U2 360 show, I assure you you will walk away in awe. You will walk away with a new level of appreciation, and expectation, for what a performance should be.

I also hope you walk away with a renewed sense of love and compassion for not only those around you, but for everyone. I like to think I did.

Bono really does have a special way of helping you see the world through a bigger lens, and making you stop to consider how you might make a difference. I highly recommend checking out the work of a wonderful, world-changing advocacy group called ONE.

Although it is impossible for me to fully relay the experience to you, at least here are some images I took from my seat, with my phone. Enjoy.

[PHOTOS]: U2, Nashville, Playing It Cool

I would prefer a lot of people I know not hear me say the following: I am pumped for tomorrow night’s U2 show in Nashville.

Look, I am fanatical about a few things, yes. But I have been around some crazy people that treat U2 and Bono as if they are the answer to all problems of all humankind. To those (wonderful) people, I suggest playing it cool, and above all else – don’t look down upon those that either don’t like U2, or do not share your (worshipful) level of fandom.

That said, I truly am elated for tomorrow night’s show. I downloaded the U2 360 Tour app to my phone this morning. I got as close as I could a couple of hours ago to take the below images, and marvel at the spectacle. I am super excited to see U2 in Nashvegas tomorrow night.

We all want and need something bigger. That’s really what this show is all about. That is why we go nutso for an event like this. Our day-to-day lives get ultra-boring, mundane and mostly lack the unending joyous and passionate celebration we all desire.

U2’s 360 Tour: the claw, the songs, the atmosphere, the anticipation, the sing-alongs, the tears, the emotional impact – it truly is a landmark moment in most attendee’s lives. I get it.

To my friends that love U2 at stalker levels, this is a moment where I can almost understand you.

U2 and Bono don’t have all of the answers, but one thing I can say with absolute certainty – the boys from Dublin are doing their damndest to help us all get closer.

 

The Story of Anvil

I knew I needed to watch Anvil! The Story of Anvil after the first review I read. Then I had multiple friends tell me I needed to watch it. For whatever reason, I finally got around to it last night, thanks to Netflix on my Roku.

Watch this documentary. Please. As soon as you can.

If you have stumbled your way to this site, I am assuming you have some interest in the music industry, or how people act in the music industry, or what to expect from it. Anvil! The Story of Anvil sums it up perfectly.

It is not a pretty place. Via the story of Anvil, you quickly see just how gruesome it can be. Not every story is Anvil’s, but let’s face it, most are.

The following quote is from Anvil drummer Robb Reiner. Keep in mind this guy has been in the same band since the early 1980s.

I hate the f*cking industry. You know? It will never change. It’ll never get better. They’re all f*cking bottom-feeder pieces of sh*t that run the thing. Organized criminals. You know? Drug f*cking runners. That’s what the business is about, right? I hate it, man.

Why a book?

As I’m nearing completion of my first book, I’m starting to be asked, why this book? Why this topic? Why am I so passionate about an idea such as the music industry doesn’t have to kill you?

There are many reasons, but as I consider these questions more, I’m realizing it’s mostly because I know what it feels like to be an underdog, and I know what it feels like to be treated like I’m not good enough.

The decision to actually write a book came about after months of realizing how much I loved writing, researching, and interviewing people via my music blog, Clore Chronicles. One day I was listening to C.C. Chapman talk about goals and accountability and just going for it, and one of the specific things he mentioned was writing a book. I thought, “Why the heck not? I am going to do that. I have passionate beliefs and ideas. Let’s do this.” That was in May 2010. I didn’t quite reach my initial publish goal of June 1, 2011, but I’m really close. And in this case, I view the follow-through as more important than my self-imposed deadline.

I also was getting really tired of constantly working to push out more information, via my blog, in an information-saturated world. You could say I retreated for a bit to put all of my efforts towards one huge goal: creating a book.

When I first started, I thought I could just pull together some of my better, already written essays, and have enough for a book. Nope. Not even close. By the way, there have been many highs and lows and near give-up moments in this process. I have often thought myself a complete idiot for making it known that I was going to write a book. What in the world was I thinking? I will say though, making it known has often been my motivation to keep going – I knew I would not be able to move forward after having shouted such an empty promise from the mountaintop.

As for my personal experiences which turned into motivation to create a book titled The Music Industry Doesn’t Have To Kill You, I have experienced some things in my life that have helped me identify, and pursue, what really matters. I have worked with artists that no one cares about, artists that don’t get your phone calls answered. I have seen firsthand what happens to personal relationships when the glitz and glam becomes more important than treating people with respect and dignity. I have worked with artists that “used to be” really popular and wanted, but now are struggling to find their identity and are adjusting to being treated like they don’t matter. I experienced a marriage that did not work out. That last one was huge. I went from working on the “Country music” side of Nashville to the “Christian music” side, and received some pretty hurtful comments and questions in the process.

I can’t tell you how many people around this fickle town have treated me like I’m not good enough, for multiple reasons. AND, far more important than that, I can’t tell you how many people around this town I’ve seen treated like a nobody. It is sickening.

There is nothing else I want to spend my life doing other than working in and around the music industry, but I am not going to lose my soul in the process, or treat people like they don’t count, or leave my precious child sitting and waiting for me in his playroom.

The music industry is not going to kill me. It is not going to rob my life of the people and experiences that will matter once every last light has dimmed, and the crowd has all gone home.

I am here to tell you that this is a dark, fickle and unforgiving industry. Artists will come, and artists will go, but don’t ever forget that each and every single one of them is a human being, with thoughts, feelings and emotions. Do your best not to toss them to the side when they’re not on your precious little chart any longer.

The music industry does not have to kill you, but settle in, it’s going to be a fight.

Paul Simon and Privacy

In Nicholas Dawidoff’s Rolling Stone story on Paul Simon (RS 1130; 5/12/11), he writes:

It hasn’t escaped Simon’s notice that the more he kept his personal life to himself, the better life got. ‘At a certain point,’ he [Simon] says, ‘you begin to realize about your life and your private affairs that it’s inappropriate that it should be entertainment for somebody else. There’s no requirement that I tell how I hurt and how I feel. It’s a mistake you make early on. I see Eminem out there talking about his family, his kids, and I think 10 or 15 years from now he’ll regret it.’

I do believe most art (songs, paintings, books, films, etc.) comes from a very personal place, a personal experience, personal emotion – something one feels. Consider some of the greatest works of art – someone experienced whatever came out in that song or movie, but that doesn’t mean the writer let all interested parties into their deepest, most personal of places.

Be it in interviews, public behavior, or creative output – be self-aware. Some information is wholly unnecessary to divulge. Some things really are better left unsaid.

Consider how what you say may affect others. That’s really the point here.

Opinion piece from The New York Times

My friend Chris Hauser, who is an interviewee in my upcoming book, sent this along to me. It’s an opinion piece from The New York Times, written by David Hajdu, entitled “Forever Young? In Some Ways, Yes.” Read the article here. Hajdu talks about a very interesting age connection in music. What were you listening to / impacted by when you were 14?

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