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!

>>Listen Here<<

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.

Click here to view the rest of the article!

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!

>>Listen Here<<

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!


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.

Click here to view the rest of the article!

00124611 Interview with Peter Aaron

In a recent interview, spoke with Peter Aaron about the multi-faceted nature of musician as an artist: You also wrote a book about Ramones? I grew up in Forest Hills where Ramones started out and I could tell you I understand the angst and ferociousness of their music to the core. Why did you decide to embark on this project?

I did. Sort of. It’s more of a book about stuff that relates to the Ramones. It’s called If You Like the Ramones… and IYLramonesCoverwas published last year by Backbeat Books as part of the If You Like series. I was in negotiations about doing a book for the series—originally I was going to do If You Like Frank Sinatra…, but Backbeat ran into legal problems with the Sinatra estate and took that project off the table—and the idea of a Ramones book came up, so I jumped on it. In keeping with the IYL concept, the aim is to steer new fans toward the artists and other entities (certain movies, cartoons, comic books, TV shows, etc.) that influenced the Ramones, were influenced by the Ramones, or are connected with the Ramones in some way. Obviously it mostly targets neophytes, but I did try to cover some stuff that even long-time fans might not know about. How important is it for a musician to get out of the music world and focus his energies elsewhere? Is it for sanity’s sake or mere detachment?

Very. The music world is like the Island of Misfit Toys. It’s a sanctuary for musician-freaks like me, who was never going to fit into the general population. And yet the music world, especially the underground music scene, is a bubble, an alternate reality that we’ve created to escape the insanity of mainstream society. I don’t at all advocate joining the masses, but I do believe it’s healthy to keep things in perspective by venturing outside your comfort zone and challenging yourself at least once in a while. I can’t help but think of all the interesting music, art, ideas, and people I would have missed had I remained stuck in the same New York rock scene I inhabited in the 1990s—which, from what I can tell, continues to be a largely tail-swallowing environment. Not only does trying new things make you grow as a person, but as a musician it makes what you do richer and more interesting. Are there any other arts you are dabbling with? Any more books on the horizon?

FAQ_LOGOwebRight now I’m working another book for Backbeat, The Band FAQ. It’s for their FAQ series, which is more in-depth than the recently discontinued If You Like series. So this one will cover everything connected with the Band and dig more deeply into topics connected with them—the music that influenced the Band and has been influenced by them, but also their history collectively and as individual members; examinations of each of their albums; their time as Ronnie Hawkins’s band, the Hawks; outside figures associated with the group; The Basement Tapes and their years with Bob Dylan; solo albums; their contemporaries and collaborators; their best and worst music; the Toronto and Woodstock scenes they were part of; books; movies; etc., etc. Since I’ve lived in the area that gave birth to Music from Big Pink and The Basement Tapes for over a decade, have covered the local music scene for both the main area newspaper and the arts magazine Chronogram (of which I’ve been the music editor since 2006), and even got to interview Levon Helm, I’m kind of sitting right in the bullseye for this one. I’m also planning an illustrated anthology of the many profiles of Hudson Valley musicians I’ve written over the years, which includes everyone from the Bad Brains to Pete Seeger, Sonny Rollins, Graham Parker, Pauline Oliveros, and others. And of course I’d like to write a memoir, which in addition to my time in the Chrome Cranks and the ’90s Lower East Side scene would cover my participation at the start of the East Coast hardcore scene, my years in the 1980s Boston and Midwest scenes—I was a promoter when I lived in Ohio and booked most of the touring underground bands of the day (Nirvana, Flaming Lips, Pussy Galore, etc.)—and perhaps some of the Hudson Valley stuff.

Check out the rest of the interview with Peter Aaron here:

Audiofanzine Interview with Alan Parsons

In a recent interview, Audiofanzine spoke with Alan Parsons about his book The Art & Science of Sound Recording:

00333735Audiofanzine: Great book.  It’s really comprehensive, but doesn’t go into ridiculous detail. Were you trying to make a desktop reference for recording musicians?

Basically, both the DVD series and the book were really intended to have a wide audience, not only existing engineers, budding engineers, but basically just laymen who had an interest in recording, because the recording studio has an air of mystery to most people. Everybody loves music, but very few people actually know how people achieve recording. It’s just an attempt to lift the lid on that, and at the same time get the views of other artists and engineers.

Audiofanzine: It’s cool that you included quotes in the book from a number of other well-known engineers, producers and musicians. An example is this one you got from Jack Joseph Puig about click tracks: “A real experienced musician understands the click track is his friend, and he knows how to play around it, and he knows how to play ball with it. The inexperienced musician hears a click track and goes, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s Hitler, and if I make a mistake I’ll be shot in the head,’ and so they’re focused just on making sure that they’re nailing the click, nailing the click, which means the creative part of the brain is turned off.” Great quote. I always find a click to be helpful, but I’ve run into a lot of musicians who feel uncomfortable tracking to one. Do you prefer playing to a click?

I generally feel more comfortable with a click. I don’t think the music necessarily suffers.

Audiofanzine: Do you think it hinders the push and pull of the tempo that happens naturally?

You’ve got a point there. If I feel that is happening, then I’ll take the click away. It’s often so useful later for sequencing and referring to bar numbers and all that kind of stuff.

Audiofanzine: You offer a good tip in the book, to use a drum loop instead of a click, because it might be more comfortable to work with for a lot of people, since click sounds are often harsh.

I find the cowbell is always a nice click sound, rather than something that sounds like a click. It just feels more real that maybe somebody was actually playing it, than a click.

Audiofanzine: How did you decide what to include and what not to include in the book. You could have written it five times as long, if you wanted to.

It was designed to be a companion to the video series, so we didn’t want to deviate too far from the content of the DVD, perhaps because of the fear that one product might be considered as a superior product to the other.

Audiofanzine: How is the video version available? 00631668

It’s available as a complete series. It’s a physical 3-DVD set. You can also download the whole thing. You can download individual chapters. There’s another way of doing it where you get it on a USB stick, which currently is limited to educational licenses, but we’re contemplating putting that as being available to the public as well. It’s on an 8GB stick. It becomes a lot more interactive that way. You can jump to a particular subject and find all the references to a particular subject that you’re interested in.

Check out the rest of Audiofanzine’s interview with Alan Parsons about his book The Art & Science of Sound Recording here: