Listen: Dave Thompson talks with BBC Radio Suffolk

BBC Radio Suffolk chats with Dave Thompson about his new book, Robert Plant: The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin!

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Robert Plant: The Voice That Sailed the Zeppelin follows the iconic singer through his heights of fame with classic rock giant 00120813Led Zeppelin, his second life as a multimillion-selling solo artist, and his more idiosyncratic pursuits. A wealth of former associates lend their voices and recollections to an account that steps far beyond the tried and tested tales of Zeppelin’s life and times.

This all-new biography details Plant’s early years as an unknown in Birmingham, England, with fresh depth and insight. It likewise tells the Zeppelin story from new and unexpected angles, focusing on Plant’s contributions to the band’s success and on the toll/effect of that success on him as a performer and an individual.

After drummer John Bonham died in 1980 and Zeppelin broke up, Plant went solo two years later, in time becoming the only former band member to maintain an unbroken career to this day. His single-mindedness in meeting this challenge might well be his greatest personal attribute, enabling him to push forward without regard for his past or any related expectations. Dave Thompson shows how it is Plant’s determination alone that ensured Zeppelin reunions would not become a routine part of the classic rock furniture, as he created a body of work that in so many ways artistically rivals what he recorded with the band.

Six Music Promotion Mistakes to Avoid

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianlists six promotion mistakes which can derail a music career in his latest article from Disc Makers Echoes!

Six music promotion mistakes to avoid

Are you having trouble getting the word out about your products and services and getting to that next level of your music career? Are you making mistakes that are costing you time, money, and even your own fans? What follows are six career killing mistakes that every musician should avoid.

1. Failure to communicate a consistent brand. Many artists fail to understand that literally everything – their name, logo, slogan, mascot, attitude, and sponsorships – affects the image that fans will form in their minds about them. If there is any confusion that is created (e.g., the title of the record or song doesn’t match the overall vibe of the band, the colors and fonts of the website don’t convey a consistent attitude, and your videos and photos make you look like a pop artist when you’re really into metal), the fans might get confused and not know what to think. Just remember that it is difficult for your fans to believe in something that is not clearly defined. Confusion equals disengaged fans, which equals lost sales. Be sure your marketing is consistent.

2. Failure to utilize a marketing mix of strategies (offline and online). Many musicians believe that promotion is all about the Internet and fail to understand that there are nine other strategies they can add to their music marketing mix: publicity, advertising, word-of-mouth, radio promotion, sponsorships, sales promotions, direct marketing, face-to-face selling, and guerrilla street marketing. As a result of this oversight, they don’t adequately reach their customers, increase awareness, and make sales. While it is true that many of your fans and potential buyers spend a lot of their time online, they also spend their time offline and respond well to a variety of other media. Just remember that the more places that you can deliver your message, the better.

3. Failure to be social on social media. Many artists forget to practice the same etiquette that exists offline, online. They invite fans who live in Los Angeles to gigs in New York. They send impersonal messages to people they don’t know and say, “Yo, check out my song!” They send friend requests without having a profile picture (they use that creepy default head). Careless promotion equals lost awareness and sales. Remember, to succeed in the music business, you must be more personal with your fans. After all, it’s called “social” networking for a reason.

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Listen: Lisa S. Johnson talks with Pat Francis

Rock Solid host Pat Francis chats with Lisa S. Johnson about her new book, 108 Rock Star Guitars!

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00127925Armed with a macro lens, an incredible eye for detail, and a truly groundbreaking vision, Lisa Johnson’s guitar art is taking the world of fine art photography on a rock-and-roll ride. A compilation of Johnson’s stunningly personal and intimate portraits, 108 Rock Star Guitars features the guitars of rock-and-roll luminaries, including Les Paul, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Nancy Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Chrissie Hynde, and many others.

Far from still life, Johnson’s work conjures the abstract yet also possesses a very sensual and ethereal feel that intentionally illustrates intimate wear-and-tear details. Her unique presentation personifies and captures a musician’s true spirit in these musical extensions of the artist’s body. This ultra-deluxe, coffee-table photo book reveals through Johnson’s signature macrophotography style the etchings, totems, and personal touches of each featured guitar. It is a rare perspective that few people outside of the musicians’ stage crew have seen.

Alongside these images, Johnson provides personal anecdotes describing her 17-year journey to photograph these iconic instruments, documenting her travels from the backstage hallways of some the world’s most famous concert venues to the artists’ private homes. 108 Rock Star Guitars is a music and fine-art photography aficionado’s private backstage pass to witness up-close these six-stringed works of art.

Happy Birthday, Dickey Betts!

Forrest Richard “Dickey” Betts turns 71 years old today!  In celebration, we chose a special excerpt from Scott B. Bomar’s book Southbound in which he introduces us all to Dickey:

00102657When Gregg Allman returned to California to fulfill the Liberty Records contract, Duane kicked around Jacksonville jamming with local players who gathered in Willow Brook Park each Sunday. Butch Trucks was usually there, as was a Chicago-born bassist named Berry Oakley, who was a member of the Second Coming. He’d played lead guitar for a band called the Shaynes in high school, but got a break in 1965 when he joined Tommy Roe’s backing group, the Roemans, and relocated to New Port Richey, Florida. Roe, who is best known for his #1 pop hits “Sheila” and “Dizzy,” eventually fired Oakley. It was then that Berry went to live in Sarasota, where he met a guitarist named Forest Richard “Dickey” Betts.

Dickey Betts was born in West Palm Beach but moved to Sarasota with his family while still in elementary school. He was raised on
the country music of Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, and from an early age he was jamming with his father and uncles, all of whom were amateur musicians. “I always said when I was a kid,” Dickey recalled in an interview with Kristen West, “that I was going to play on the Grand Ole Opry.” As a teenager, however, Betts discovered the blues, and his interests turned toward black music. “I used to listen to Chuck Berry almost religiously,” he explained. When Dickey was sixteen he was offered a job playing with a group called Teen Beat in a sideshow with a traveling fair called the World of Mirth. “This guy would bring our band out,” Betts recounted, “and tell all these lies to the people about us. We were pretty good, though.”

At eighteen, Dickey joined an Indiana group called the Jokers that was later immortalized in the first verse of Rick Derringer’s dickey_bettshit “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo.” Dickey eventually began putting together his own groups and hitting the club circuit back in Florida. “I met Oakley at a club in Sarasota,” Betts remembered. “Pretty soon, Oakley was sitting in a lot, and he and I began to talk about putting something together.” They would go through several incarnations before establishing themselves in Jacksonville as the Second Coming. “Berry and I started with a band called the Soul Children, which later became the Blues Messengers,” Betts recalled, in a 2007 interview with Guitar World magazine. “Eventually Oakley and I . . . went to Tampa . . . and we really started coming up with some very interesting stuff. We were doing a lot of off-the-wall Jefferson Airplane stuff, stuff that was way
out there.” They spent about a year in Tampa before moving on. “By 1967, ’68, we moved to Jacksonville, and our band had become the Second Coming, so named by a club owner because he thought Berry looked like Jesus Christ. . . . The club was called the Scene, and it was the only place in Jacksonville like that, and we were the only people in town with long hair. We’d drive somewhere, and people would throw shit at us!”

5 Mistakes Keeping You From Becoming a Great Musician

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandetails several common mistakes that hinder greatness in the music industry in his latest article from Sabian Cymbals!

5 MISTAKES KEEPING YOU FROM BECOMING A GREAT MUSICIAN

Becoming a great musician is certainly not an easy proposition. But after reading the five common mistakes that musicians make, you just might increase your odds for success.

  1. Failure To Practice: As Malcolm Gladwell eloquently states in his book “The Outliers,” anyone wanting to be good at their craft must put in their 10,000 hours of practice. While this is a no brainer for most people, you’d be surprised at the number of musicians that do not adhere to a regular practice schedule each day as if their life depended on it. No matter if my family was on vacation or if it was Christmas day, I never missed a practice day. I literally practiced up to 18 hours a day at one point, and I can honestly say that it is one of the biggest reasons why I was able to get to the level of playing that I had achieved.
  1. Failure To Take Lessons: While there are many examples of musicians who got good at playing their instruments without a teacher, there are countless more examples of musicians who never reached their full potential. A skilled music teacher can prevent young musicians from forming bad habits, train them to perform well in real-world situations, and so much more. Drummer Kenwood Dennard, who played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sting, helped me to identify my musical strengths and excel at them. Kenwood even served as a mentor and inspired me to push forward when I was feeling low. Even better, he took me to jam sessions and introduced me to a variety of different pro musicians in New York City. Needless to say, studying with him was priceless.

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Daniel Craig Confirmed for Bond 25

Columbia Pictures has announced that Daniel Craig will return as James Bond in Bond 25, the 25th film in the James Bond series!  In James Bond FAQ, Tom DeMichael describes the various Bond actors’ individual portrayals of the iconic role. Here’s what DeMichael wrote about the latest Bond star:

Daniel Craig

The sixth official 007 would be flaxen-haired Daniel Craig. As usual, the public reaction was less than supportive, saying heJames-bond-daniel-craig was too short, too blond, or too pug-faced. The vitriol included hate mail to Sony Pictures and Eon Productions, as well as the establishment of an Internet site called “www.danielcraigisnotbond.com.” And Daniel Craig had yet to even order his first martini.

Daniel Wroughton Craig was born on March 2, 1968, in Chester, Cheshire, England. His dad, Tim, was a merchant seaman and eventually ran a pub called Ring O’Bells. Mom’s name was Carol—an art teacher—and the Craigs divorced when Daniel was four. Carol took Daniel and older sister Lia to the working-class city of Liverpool, where Daniel appeared in school plays like Oliver! Craig did find time to rough it up on the rugby fields, but was not the scholarly type, dropping out at age sixteen and joining the NYT—National Youth Theater, with alums that included Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Derek Jacobi, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Colin Firth. Craig toured Europe, while seeking admittance to the celebrated Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His auditions were repeatedly refused, and he waited tables in the meantime (poorly, by his own admission). But Craig was persistent and finally entered Guildhall in 1988 at the age of twenty. With three years of classical training in performance, he graduated in 1991 and was ready to leave the world of table-waiting.

Craig’s first film role came the next year, as he played a soldier in the John Avildsen–directed Power of One, which starred Morgan Freeman, Sir John Gielgud, and Stephen Dorff. His next ten years were steadily spent on British television shows and miniseries, as well as feature films.

Daniel Craig’s first prominent role
came in 2001, teaming up with Angelina Jolie as they searched for lost treasure in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. He followed that up by playing Paul Newman’s crooked son in 2002’s Road to Perdition. Craig played poet Ted Hughes to Gwyneth Paltrow’s poet Sylvia Plath in the 2003 biopic Sylvia. His roles as XXXX, the anonymous drug dealer, in 2004’s Layer Cake, and an assassin in Steven Spielberg’s Munich in 2005, filled Craig’s résumé with enough firepower to justify his appointment as James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale.

Justly, Craig’s take on JB changed a lot of opinions from negative to positive. Fans and critics alike appreciated his vicious physicality, his “rough-around-the-edges” charm, and straight-out acting talent. Dame Judi Dench—Bond’s boss, M, in the latest films—called Craig “a cracking good actor.” His performance in Casino Royale garnered something no other Bond actor had achieved—a nomination as Best Actor by BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the equivalent of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out America’s Academy Awards). Former Bonds, including Brosnan and Connery, gave their approval of the actor. Sir Sean Connery himself, appearing in the 2008 “James Bond Special” on the British TV program The South Bank Show, said Craig was “fantastic, marvelous in the part.”

00314951No doubt, Daniel Craig had done his homework in tackling the role. He knew the physical part would be key, working out with a personal trainer. He told an interviewer in a 2008 interview in Playboy, “I got big because I wanted Bond to look like a guy who could kill.” Craig also gave much thought to what this Bond would be. In another interview, this time in a 2008 Parade magazine, he wondered about 007, “Am I the good guy or just a bad guy who works for the good side?”

The actor took his rough-and-tumble Bond into Quantum of Solace in 2008. When he accidentally cut the pad of his finger off during a fight scene, Craig made light of the incident. “There’s nothing to tell about it,” he told an interviewer in a 2008 British edition of GQ, joking, “I lost my fingerprint so I can now commit all sorts of crimes with that finger. I look forward to that.”

Craig was also able to look forward to a third Bond film, following a two- year delay due to bankruptcy issues with MGM. Production of Skyfall, the twenty-third official film in the James Bond franchise, began in November 2011, with release scheduled to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the UK release of Dr. No in November 2012. Furthermore, producer Michael C. Wilson announced plans for Craig to be 007 for five more films (up through Bond 28). At the rate of a Bond film every two years, that would make Daniel Craig fifty-four years old (four years younger than Moore when he abdicated the throne) when that last film is released in 2022. Not at all an unreasonable expectation, but time will tell.