radiodrone I was recently introduced to Orange County rockers “Radiodrone” and listened with cautious optimism.  Let me be clear, I listened to them first, then watched a couple of rough cell phone videos of local shows.  I was impressed with many things about Radiodrone.  When I listen to unsigned bands I wait for the vocals to hit before I start to form my opinion.  Often I hear some really underwhelming attempt and I find myself struggling to listen to the rest.  In this case, they passed my phase one…I listen on.  The next tell tale sign of under-developed talent is the timing of the drummer.  Phase two; sounding good so far.  Phase three for me is the writing and composition.  Hooks and placement of riffs are not easy to put together to any degree of consistency.  These guys are sounding really good to me.  I am a tough critic.  I see 50 plus shows a year and get asked to write reviews every day.  I am not really into trashing someones efforts but I am not completely adverse to the idea.

Moving through “The Truth Syndicate Diaries” I come to appreciate the effort that was put not only into the musicianship but the political over-tones.  Each song is punctuated by a sub-clip of some geopolitical topic and I found it to be exerted in just the right amount.  With 10 tracks of fist pounding rock interlaced with some slower moments only helps elevate the vocals.  With tracks like “Game Change” that introduce new listeners to “Get Your Head Down”, Radiodrone shows me that they are thinking ahead for the live shows to whip the crowd into a frenzy.  They also know how to slow things down with track 12 “Massive” and do so with a feel like they have been doing this for some time.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear a mouth harp on “We’re Alright”.

For a band that was formed in 2014, I am wondering if they are sand-bagging me on something.  Unsigned?  Really?  I guess I am not surprised in this current climate of what record labels deem “worthy”.  Radiodrone is way ahead of the curve in my opinion.

But wait.  Not so fast.  There is one final phase that they have to pass for me to give my final approval.  How are they live?  Are they what I call a “studio wonder”?  I can’t answer that yet.  From the poorly filmed video that I have seen I do notice that they do have masks, lighting devices on their heads, etc.  There seems to be a lot of effort to put on a show and I can almost appreciate it at this point.  Again, I have not seen them live yet.  I am looking forward to see how they hold up.  If they can manage to hold a crowd with their appearance that equals how talented they sound then they are in for a great ride.  I hope that is the case.  Finally, if that does end up being the case, I do not see them being unsigned for long.  I will look for a time to watch them live and let you know how the final phase plays out.  Stay tuned…                 Tazz – Audiomorpheus.com

Queensryche – 2015

Posted: March 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

Queensryche – 2015.

Queensryche – 2015

Posted: March 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

I am by all rights a Queensryche purist.  I define the word “purist” as truly appreciating the pure essence of that which is QR to me.  The tone each album sets.  The journey they so artfully take us on with each early release.  Maintaining such a vertical trajectory in the music industry is nearly impossible.  The seeming immortality of the first several releases seemed to fly in the face of such impossible odds, and then…the plateau and steady decent began with “Hear in the Now Frontier” and continued until 2013.  Fans ultimately become critics when a bands need for growth and change dissect with the needs of what we as fans want to hear.  Historically, some (very few) bands continue to change with little to no regard to what fans want to hear with any degree of success; yet many try.  This has to be extremely difficult for the egos of bands to accept.  Artists take great pride in their new forays and when presented to the masses it gets rejected by the rants from the audience to play older material, it has to be frustrating.  So much so that some bands just can’t handle it.  Other bands such as “Journey” and many of the ’80s bands just settle in to this seeming rut because they understand that is what the fans want to hear.  There is a place for these and I am a fan of many of them.  Queensryche however, is not having it.  Thankfully.

The newest iteration of Queensryche will not go silently into that goodnight.  Original members Michael Wilton on lead guitar, Eddie Jackson on bass and drummer Scott Rockenfield along with new members Parker Lundgren on guitar and Todd La Torre at lead vocals are poised to shatter the historical norm.  I will forgo comparisons of the phoenix rising from the ashes here but what I saw recently at the House of Blues was clearly a new era for both Queensryche and their fans.  Those fans by the way, young and old alike, sang along with every word.  The placement of front man Todd La Torre is nothing less than cosmic intervention.  La Torre clearly commands the material with respect to the past but most importantly, respect for the future.  I spoke with Todd recently and found him as many of his fans both humble and confident.  These two traits rarely exist in the rock genre.  His candor about the weight of burden he feels to honor the past material is omnipresent as well as his rock solid commitment to join his band mates in ushering in a new era of equally solid music.  You have to understand how difficult and brave of an undertaking this is.  As this band took the stage, they all look to the packed house of rabid fans and hope that they are accepted.  Furthermore, they have to convey to them that they are committed to bringing new material to them that will not only not disappoint their very high expectations but also exceed them.

The band is currently in the studio wrapping up what will be said new era.  The stakes are high and everyone in the band knows it.  After what we all saw last night, everyone in that band is supremely confident in that delivery.  I first saw them live in 1986.  Almost 30 years later, after witnessing a nasty decline, I left that venue with a huge smile.  I saw many of those smiles.

The rugged history is that which is classic Rock fodder.  Bad splits between band mates, poor album sales, crew changes.  Things that typically destroy bands.  I am resolved to not really give a shit about what was, but choose to focus on what is and what will be.  I like what I see.  I love what I hear.  For the nay-sayers; you always have F U.  For me, I believe the frequency is in fact…known.

Tazz  –  Audiomorpheus.comIMG_2810 IMG_2835 IMG_2841 IMG_2846 IMG_2856 IMG_2859 IMG_2860 IMG_2861 IMG_2862 IMG_2882 IMG_2885 IMG_2898 IMG_2902

The Art of Self-Promotion

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Art of Self-Promotion.

The Art of Self-Promotion

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

einsteinThe formula for self-promotion success is very simple.  Are you ready?  Here it is; Make sure everyone you know and everyone that knows you knows what you do and where to find out more about you.  As basic as this sounds it seems to be extremely difficult for most artists to understand.  The following bullet points are just some of the things every band/artist should be doing or should already have done.

  • Have a band Facebook page
  • Have a band Twitter account
  • Have a band Instagram account
  • Post requests to everyone of your friends to Like/Follow your page and account
  • Post updates more often than you are currently posting and then post more
  • Ask your friends to ask their friends to Like/Follow your page and account
  • When someone posts about you; i.e. reviews of releases or shows, RE-POST those reviews!  Even if they are bad!  Someone once said, “Bad press is better than no press.”  Post it, comment on it, share it.  Open up a discussion about the review.
  • Make sure that all band members have access to all or at least most of these accounts to better multiply your exposure efforts.
  • Pics, Pics, Pics!  There should always be a steady stream of pics for your followers/fans.  You are either practicing, recording or touring…keep everyone up to date on what is going on.
  • There is a virtual Army of promoters out there that put a lot of time and energy into promoting bands they like and never ask for a cent in return.  Utilize these sources!  They are free and they are writing about you!  Why wouldn’t you re-post/share what they are doing?
  • Follow these promoters on your page so that every time they write or post something about your band you get an update and you don’t miss an opportunity to promote yourself through someone else.
  • Promote those that promote you!  It’s a free pass to say “Hey, look how cool I am!”, through another source without looking like a self-absorbed douche-bag.
  • Accept every opportunity to do interviews at shows for the locals.  These are your cheerleaders after you leave for another city.  If you are pricks to these people they will let everyone know.  Then they won’t buy tickets to your next show, they won’t buy your music and you will end up working as a fry chef at TGI Fridays.
  • If you do post to Facebook or Twitter and your friends/fans take the time to comment, at least take the time to like what they said if not acknowledge that you read these comments.
  • Promote anyone that promotes you!

 

There are thousands of ways to self-promote.  Most of the DIY bands out there think that DIY means “I set up my own shit man.”  WRONG!  DIY starts with DO IT!  If people are too lazy to accept help from others to promote all of their hard work, then they probably won’t be able to DO IT on their own.   I see bands that will take the time to post a picture of some random junk and write about it yet they won’t take the time to re-post a review of their last show or release.

Promoting is the equivalent of advertising.  Companies spend millions of dollars to advertise.  Coke still advertises and really don’t have to but they do because they understand the critical importance of keeping their brand in front of people.  You are the face of your brand.  Your social media is your advertising and the fact that you do not spend millions to get it doesn’t mean it is not worth millions potentially.

In closing, here is the reality; where ever you are right now in your journey in the entertainment industry, it is exactly where you want to be.  So if you are wondering why you don’t have a bazillion followers or why you are playing to a crowd of 9 crackheads in the middle of nowhere or if you are just plain bitter that everyone is getting more music and ticket sales then you have no further to look than the mirror.  Get off of your DIY ass and DI.

Goodbye Dr. Feelgood

Posted: January 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

220px-Crue_CIMG4784

Motley Crue announced that it would tour for one final time and signed a contract stating that after that they would dis-band.  Finally; a group that knows when to quit.  For a group of guys that are known for poor decision making they nailed this one.  From the first release of “Too Fast For Love” in 1981 until the last of “Saints Of Los Angeles” in 2008, the “Crue” has been through some of the roughest times a band could endure.   From manslaughter to overdosing and almost dying these guys are truly lucky to be alive and kicking.

I would have to question whether the decision to hang up the spandex isn’t really motivated by the declining health of Mick Mars.  Mick has had some near career-ending disabilities but has managed to hang on for quite some time.  I think it is great that this dissolution is unanimous.  This is true brotherhood.  I can’t help but think that if Mick were in better shape that we would be having this discussion.

Infighting caused the departure of Vince Neil in 1992 and the band brought in John Corabi from The Scream as the new front man.  In 1994 they released a self-titled album “Motley Crue” with John at the mic.  This album had its own sound, but it wasn’t Motley Crue.  Generation Swine followed in 1997, again with Corabi to minimal commercial success.  The fans didn’t seem to appreciate the absence of Neil on vocals.

Here ends the history lesson.  Vince Neil returned to the band sometime around 1998, they toured, and traction never returned for the band from the aspect of new material.  With Neil back on vocals, the boys seemed to be having fun playing on stage and watching the shows was still good for the most part.  In an interview recently, Tommy Lee made a profound statement; and I am paraphrasing here but basically he said that they didn’t want to be one of “those” bands that keep playing minus one or more of the original members.  Amen brother!  Very few bands have been able to pull that off and none have been able to do it without it’s fair share of controversy.  We all know that farewell tours only keep popping up in newer and older versions.  Stop it already.  The Crue get it.  Although they have not really had a solid release since Dr. Feelgood in 1989, all previous releases were stellar.  With the image of the guys on their Harley’s cruising Sunset Strip to the sweeping stadium sell outs of the ’80s with girls on shoulders raising their shirts in the crowds, Motley Crue gave us some really memorable times and music to remember them by.   For that, we thank them.  One more monster tour awaits.  Tickets will be hard to score but will be worth it to see the guys one last time.  Goodbye Dr. Feelgood.

guitar

I am going to save the discussion of how many types of metal there are for another time.  What I want to discuss (rant about) is the misplacement of something that I am seeing more often;  musicians that insist on playing multiple neck guitars and playing mostly on the neck.  Before I go too far, I want to state for the record that I think that these artists are extremely talented.  There; I said it.  BUT…it’s just not Metal.

I appreciate all types of music.  What I can’t get my mind around is why these neck-playing, no vocalist having, drum machine playing guys are opening for a Metal act.  I get it, your fast.  I actually kind of like quite a bit of it.  In small, well placed doses.  Maybe I am a purist.  I love a great riff and I absolutely love a great solo.  I just feel like these artists would be better suited for a beatnik coffee shop with their guitar case opened in front of them with a few dollar bills swirling around the red velvet.

Its fun to watch sometimes.  I totally appreciate seeing an amazingly talented person work an instrument with precision and complete familiarity.  I can only imagine the amount of time it takes to be able to do that.  It’s just not Metal!  I don’t care how fast you play it.  It is not ever going to be Metal.  There are two people, okay three people I think of that can pull off a double neck guitar:  Jimmy Page, Rick Nielson (Cheap Trick) and Lita Ford.  None of these artists ever felt the need to park the entire song on the necks.

Recently, we went to see one of our local favorites play.  They were not closing the show, but were playing second to last.  As with many local gigs you kind of have to be a little adventurous and open minded to sit through all of the openers.  Most of the time the smoking area has more people in it than in front of these bands.  But what we saw that night was a complete disaster by the “Promoter” who booked bands that in no way had any business playing with the band that followed the next.  It was physically painful.  That is what is happening with these neck-slappers opening up for a Metal show.  And I thought this went without saying but, if you have to set up your drum machine before you play…I’m out.  It’s just not Metal!

Are Metal fans stupid?

Posted: January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

Metal's_not_dead

Metal music fans among the non-metal circles are thought of as uneducated.  We might have long hair, tattoos and dress in black and when in our native environment be in the throws of some form of mind alteration to get prepared for the shows of the night.  This stigma is unfounded for the most part.  Lets be honest, you can throw a dart into any crowd and hit stupid.  But metal music is more than max decibles and mosh pits.

Metal musicians have to wear many hats.  Most musicians start out as techs of one form or another.  Techs may tune the instruments, configure the sound board or set up the lighting.  Musicians must know how to compose, write and perform as well as making sure that everything is ready when the curtain goes up.  In the many interviews that we have done with some metal legends as well as newcomers; one thing we find constant is the level of intelligence that these musicians possess.

In conversation we find that most are classically trained and have been playing some sort of instrument since they were in elementary school.  Many metal artists we talk to have post-graduate degrees.  I find that metal music is intricate and detailed with many levels of application and you have to be somewhat educated to appreciate the time, effort and delivery of these works of art.  As I dodge the rabid fans in the circle pit I am amazed at the freedom that is being expressed by the true fans of metal music.  Between sets, we get to meet and talk to the same bulls that were knocking people over in the pit and engage in intelligent conversation about the music we all just listened too.  History is tossed around about the beginning of metal, who is playing with this band and what band they used to play with.  Song titles, years of releases, where they toured.  These aren’t the musings of an idiot.  These are exchanges between educated people that share a common thread that we call metal.  Posers are weeded out quickly.  You do not have to have long hair or dress in black or have leather wrist bands studded with spikes to be let into this club.  The only thing you need to bring is your appreciation for the craftsmanship it takes to put on a great metal show.  Those that look down on metal heads and pull their children in tight when we walk by stand in judgement for one reason:  They are stupid.  And you just can’t fix stupid.