Monday, March 30, 2009

Another lazy posting Monday....

Well, rather busy actually, getting sorted for the week ahead and learning how to twitter. So here you go..... even though I might write something like this, I didn't and will leave it up to Dave Gjester of, to say it for me. Thanks David!

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009

In ancient times (or actually until quite recently) musicians had only option if they wanted to succeed. Success meant limos and private aeroplanes and all the glitz and fun of being famous. And everyone wants to be admired right?

Here is how that option worked
Get a record deal
Get a huge advance
Get a famous producer
Get your video on mtv and cough up payola to a bunch of gangsters to get it played on the radio
Get your record placed in the big and important record stores.
Almost never recoup the advance and wonder where it all went.
Think about this for a second. How many of the steps are still important?

You might still get a record deal if you are incredibly lucky, BUT....
NOBODY and I do Mean NOBODY is getting advances any more
Since you will not be getting an advance you can’t afford a famous producer unless he is a personal friend in which case you don’t need the deal anyway.
Nobody pays any attention to MTV anymore, and radio is to full of crap commercials to mean anything to anyone.
There are no more big and important record stores anymore.

So what the “#$”#&$ am I expected to do ? you might wonder.

How will I make money and how many fans do I need to actually make my day job go away.
Treat your career with the respect it deserves and you will be fine.

I know musicians. I used to be one. We are all hung up on talking about our amps and gear and less hung up on the bigger picture. Yeah, yeah I know we got into this so we wouldn’t have to put up with some bullshit office manager and now here I am preaching business plans and all the stuff we really do not want to deal with. What the &%$/ is that all about?

Well its about control. Control over your life and art. Cos even though you saw your fave rock star prancing around with groupies and limos, you did not see him broke years later fighting for the rights to perform his own songs and for royalties owed.

So get on with the job at hand
Work hard, play hard, and stick it to the man

Friday, March 27, 2009

Quest for knowledge....

Well to further my quest for information on the current music scene, emerging artists and marketing, and with the local media survey not offering up many results (the results we did get were very useful - but I think we went about it the wrong way, we were looking negatively at causes, instead of looking proactively at solutions), I decide to go a step further and start asking some people in the know, what their 'top 5 suggestions, relating to strategy and creative solutions with regards to the 'emerging artist'' might be.

I have not only put this out to music industry people, but the President of my University, our PM and Premier, media personalities, web strategists etc. Anybody and everybody who I could think of, that has had success in the business world, and who has 'been there done that'.

I also signed up for a course on writing marketing plans.

And I tried an experiment as well! While preparing to work on some PR for this weekend's upcoming shows, I looked to see what was new on MySpace, see me embracing technology. I read that they had finally updated their mail program. So on one artist's site I sent out personal 'mail' invites to hundreds of people and on another site, I just posted a bulletin. Sure enough not only did the first site get about 80% more hits, we received lots of personal messages back. I did go back and use the same strategy for the other site and within an half an hour the hits had increased tenfold.

This brings me to our first response to the query, and it came from Derek Sivers who sent 7 of his best ideas. I was happy to see that we think alike, and as he mentions, the simple (and age old) idea of treating others the way you like to be treated, has already shown success in my little experiement.

Read what he has to say here:

I'll be posting the Top 5's as they come in.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sam Feldman on the Vancouver music scene...

....with Juno week finally here....some good advice about the 'world stage'; you have to use the tools we have for getting music out there - Melissa was actually stopped on the bus the other day by someone who said they had heard her on the radio in Australia...

"And while some may grouse that Toronto and Montreal's music scenes have been getting all the attention from international media, Feldman maintains that Vancouver not only can, but does compete on the world stage.

"It's pretty amazing that given our relatively small population base, we have so many artists that are internationally successful," he says.

"I think there's pretty significant support for the music industry in this city. I mean, you've got three major companies, if I may be so humble as to call our company major. You've got Bruce Allen's company, and Terry McBride and Nettwerk, and even 604 Records, who are all major players on the world stage. Just those three alone provide a lot of help and knowledge to the artistic community. I mean, we can't help everyone who ever picks up a guitar, but there's a lot of knowledge and support that comes out of the community."

In terms of a secret to success, Feldman advises local artists to keep in mind that they are not just competing on a local, but an international stage.

"If an artist plays a venue, you know, once a month, they need to make sure that the crowd are enjoying it, and that more people want to come out for the next show. There's a responsibility of the artist to make sure they are putting on shows that people want to come to. To realize that you aren't just competing with other local bands, but bands all over the world. That's how good you have to be, if you want to make it. . Then there's those who just want to do it for the music, and don't care how many people come, and are just doing it for their own artistic pleasure, and that's fine too."

As for the future of the Vancouver music scene, Feldman is level-headed.

"It's cyclical, cities will be popular for whatever reason, whether it was grunge in Seattle, or way back when, with hippies in San Francisco, or Toronto has had it, or Montreal, or even Vancouver, back with Bachman Turner Overdrive and Bryan Adams. Whatever it is, record companies just tend to focus on one or two artist from that area and try to duplicate it with a 'sound' from that region."

With that end mind, Feldman see Vancouver's music scene emerging into the spotlight for just the opposite reason.

"With Vancouver, with both the geographic location and the smaller popular location, you're not going to get this sort of mini-star system. It's too small to have one sound, so you get people doing lots of different styles. You can't just play one sound here, because you can only play so many times in Vancouver, and then you've gotta get yourself across the Rocky Mountains and play to larger audiences."

For now, however, Vancouver musicians can rest easy, as the industry comes knocking at its door for a change. And with a great Juno Awards ceremony, plus a fantastic local festival, it's impossible to imagine they'll go home disappointed."

An excerpt from a Vancouver Sun interview today..

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Well, so much for trying to write on a daily basis! I can't believe it's Tuesday already.

Finished the last of my articles last night for Gonzo. Juno week coming up so lots of people coming to town, rcvd some tracks back for iPod song from Troye and just having a listen.

So busy, but I can't think what I have actually done...lots of paper work today...

Bobby sent a new song down, sounds great....we should have his album finished in a months time, then on to Melissa's next album. I have the beds sitting here so can hopefully get some scratch vocals on them in the next few weeks and we'll be ready to go. I'm itching to get iPod to the radio, but it's all a matter of timing now.

Hockey tomorrow, and it' suppose to be sunny! Nice.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Well, I tell ya...

Maybe I have solved the problem of fewer people out to gigs, and it is not an over saturation of musical artists as I thought, well perhaps it is a contributing factor, but more likely as Steve Rubel calls it an 'Attention Crash'. I would have to agree with his statement that perhaps we are, 'Reaching a point where the number of inputs we have as individuals is beginning to exceed what we are capable as humans, of managing. The demands for our attention are becoming so great, and the problem so widespread, that it will cause people to crash and curtail these drains. Human attention does not obey Moore's Law.'.

I was starting to think along these lines when 'Twitter' happened. With the invention of Twitter, breaking down our communication into even smaller fragments, so our time and attention are nearly completely spent...what time is there left in the day to enjoy anything, that isn't already available in our hand? Not that I am against new forms of technology and as Derek(Sivers) mentions, Twitter is another way of keeping in touch with all has it's uses...but there has to be a balance, and perhaps socially we have not yet found that balance.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Something light for Thursday night

If you can see this movie - do!

(Just scroll down and turn off the dang sheep video..not sure why it always starts on it's own!)


We were just watching more Midnight Special and looking at the audience, and thinking how different it is now...if that were today, nearly every one of those kids would have a home PT studio, or at least know how to use Garage Band and have their own music on their own myspace would they even be in that audience?

Perhaps today, everyone is self involved to the point of apathy. I have found that it's even difficult to get musicians out to support each other....

I think what's happening in the music industry is a direct reflection of what is happening in society....

I'm rambling, but I was hoping to find a way to logically take you to:

before my battery dies, where we are hoping to get some more answers....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wed update

Guitars for Bobby's " All I Got Is My Guitar''s sounding really great...lots of paperwork and organizing, contracts and gig stuff....lots of colds going around so fingers crossed everyone will be ok to gig in a few days...

Also taking a moment to remember how fragile we are. I know, people die everyday, but a media death is an in your face reminder to be kind to each other....

Rave On sends regards to the Richardson-Neeson clan.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just so you know...

Just a question- if 78% of BC resident oppose the bear hunt, whyyyy is it still allowed?

We need a venue to put some pressure on the government.....the SPCA, who we support annually with the Very Vancouver Christmas album, has their hands full with domestic animals..... the government says that the sale of hunting licenses is actually supporting conservation measures...... I'm disgusted, and after seeing the stats, the video, and knowing the waste that trophy hunters create we are trying to think of something to do about this....maybe raising awareness at the Olympics within the International community...maybe something at EarthRun....'s hard to even care that that Canucks have broken their home record......

My Co-Salish blood is boiling...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beannachtaí na Féile Páraic oraibh!

Two of my favorite Irish bands to celebrate the day!

Weekly update

Busy days as usual - but a bit of a break, Carlos ( was in town last night - great show - but bad and muddy sound, which is a shame, but what a talent!

Coming down the home stretch on another of Bobby's tunes, so just 5 more to go for this album. I may edit & mix iPod tonight, I don't think there's much to do, just awaiting GB's thoughts on it and can hopefully get a radio mix/master happening.

I caved and said I would write two articles for the April issue of Gonzo, so will need to get on that before Junos. Finland was so large it wouldn't fit in the March issue of Siirtolaisuus-Migration Quarterly, so part one will be published in the May/June issue and the rest of it in the last issue of the year. The family were ok with it, and Dave said they've '... waited 60 years already, what's another few months!'.

Still trying to tidy up Christmas album sales and get on this year's cover so Johnny has something to work with for the new website design.

EarthRun(.org) is coming along and I am still trying to get a PA donated and the sound person sorted. It's been a joy to set up, so nice working with organized people, makes everything so easy when we all do our parts.

So far behind on my phone calls, sorry Gina...need to get some material for the PT course....soon, soon...but, at least with daylight savings, even though we lost an hour to the void, it 'seems' as if the days are longer when it is so light outside....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Two words...

Midnight Special - yeah! Never before have I spent so long in front of the TV with such a stupid grin on. After the New Year's gig 2007, so many people watched the ads for Midnight Special in their hotel rooms, and well, we may be some of the few that actually bought it.

I don't usually rave about something, but I have to say, music in the 70's was so amazing, and maybe that's why I am so picky now. It's hard to beat The Doobie Brothers and Billie Preston, come on! Gladys Knight and those Pips! Are you serious!? That right there is reason enough to say that the music scene today just can't cut it - those costumes and sinc'd up fancy dance moves! I'm not talking a stage full of half naked, thrusting teenagers, I mean, three pink double breasted polyester suits, some cool groove and smooooth moves. T-Rex, Loggins and Messina, and wow Steely Dan....when I watch this stuff I feel so fortunate to have this in my's what my brain is made of, musically speaking....

I say, let's bring back entertainment, solid and tight players, a little sparkle, some class, and get rid of the auto-tune and skin....and what the heck, creme rinse! yeehaw!

Burt Sugarman, you are my hero!

Communication 101 or professional is as professional does.

With all the social networking options we have available to us today, facebook, myspace, twitter, schmusic parties and even gigging in busy clubs, how much information you give out is more important than ever. This is not for those of you out to find a date or mate, but out to network as a means of finding leads and building support for your music and your music business.

There are some do's and don't out there and here are a few of them:

#1 You may not be giving enough information. If you are speaking to someone in person you should talk about hobbies, movies you have seen or books you have read. You don't just confront someone and start talking business. It can be the same on a myspace or facebook profile. Show enough personality that someone can connect with you, but don't give away the farm. Note here, if possible, try not to connect on negative levels or it can just turn into a gripe session which leaves a poor tasting first impression.

#2 Don't say too much, give out personal information or even your phone number unless you are sure you want that call. Have a separate email address for work, and/or cards ready with you or your manager's contact information on them. Here is a good rule of thumb I found about what to post up and what not to say: " -- imagine having a conversation with a client. What types of details about your life would you feel comfortable telling your client? Those are good ones to share on your profile. What types of things would you NOT want your client to know about? Leave those off." In a club or in-person setting, a basic rule I also use is: be 'friendly not familiar'. Oh, and on more big thing here that may help curb your enthusiasm for telling everyone something only your spouse should know - especially if you are trying to network for work - don't get wasted!

#3 Last point and then I'll stop lecturing is: don't sell too hard or you will just turn people off. 'That doesn't mean you can't sell at all, but building relationships and connections should come first. Selling should come second. And when you do sell, make sure you keep the relationship-building up. Talk about yourself what you do, but do it in a non-hype-y way that shows your personality. And don't forget to add in a few personal details so your friends and followers can get to know you as a person.' And an important note here for in-person meetings, be interested in what the other person has to say - networking goes both ways and more often than not, you should wonder; 'what can I do for this person, not what can they do for me'!

OK, now get out there and mingle people!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm lazy and I know it

Not lazy in my day, but a lazy blogger lately...due to busy days. So here again, is a little something that I think is just plain amazing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gear tips and tricks.

This was posted today on the Dr Z forum, and as usual Buster had to get his two cent in there - what a dog - I thought I should post it here too as it really does work and will save you headaches and time!

Can't remove speaker
« Thread Started Today at 9:45am »
I recently bought a used Maz 38 1x12. The speaker will not come out of the cab. Unscrewed it and it just seems stuck..almost glued. Even tried prying it out. No luck. Any suggestions?


Re: Can't remove speaker
« Reply #2 Today at 10:56am »
The paint is still curing when the speakers are installed, so they stick pretty tight sometimes. If you pry them, you risk tearing the gasket and then you have a bigger problem. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Use a thin putty knife to work under the gasket and get it loose. Work slow and patient - putty knives are really hard on speaker cones. Take your time.
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Dr. Z SRZ-65; Dr. Z Maz Jr Combo; Dr. Z Stingray; Dr. Z Maz Sr; Dr. Z RXES; Dr. Z RXJr
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. - Arthur Schopenhauer
The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Godfather/Owner/Creator Z Amplification


Re: Can't remove speaker
« Reply #4 Today at 5:18pm »
I'd like to concur and further the previous by saying that even well after the paint is long dry(years even) the speakers may stick. Ditto with the putty or butter knife and lots of patience. I've spent as long as an hour to remove speakers. Once out though don't assume the problem is forever over. What I like to do is cut some rings the size of the speaker gasket, out of freezer paper or some other paper and glue stick them down on the speaker baffle before replacing speakers. Next time you remove the speakers they don't stick at all and you will save hours of needless work and spare your speaker gaskets too.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Best advice I've heard in ages....

It's that time of year again....

.....when I throw some musician tax form prep into the fray....

Just getting ready to start a new tune for Bobby, working on posters and pr and lining up some larger events for some of the artists in April. It's always a rush to be in on the beginning of something big...(

Melissa is going to borrow my cello; I am quite excited to see what comes of that marriage of talent and creativity....

It's suppose to snow this weekend and a bit next week....good time to be inside with a nice warm calculator I always say....and The Ventures circa 1966....just to get me revved up.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Beyond the call of duty.

It seems rare in any industry these days, to find someone that will go out of their way for you without being asked, so when you come across someone like that, it's really a breath of fresh air.

Paul Grove, the Senior Product Manager of Summit Audio, is just such a person, and we wanted to say; 'thanks for reading the blog, and keep up the excellent work!'.

We will be sure to pay it forward.