Q & A with Bobby Borg

Bobby Borg recently met with Tom Lohrmann of Tom Lohrmann Music, a  musician, writer and marketing consultant from Washington DC. Here, Bobby answers some key questions about his brand new book from Hal Leonard, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician. Click here for the rest of the interview!

00124611Tell us about Music Marketing For the DIY Musician. Where is the book available?

“Thanks for asking, I’m really proud of the new book. It took years to write it. Essentially, the book is a step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. The goal is to help artists take control of their own destinies, save money and time, and eventually draw the full attention of top music industry professionals. It’s ultimately about making music that matters and gets heard! Right now Music Marketing For The DIY Musician is available at Hal Leonard’s website under “Trade Books”. Eventually it will be on Amazon in both physical and digital form and on my website. ”

How is Music Marketing For The DIY Musician different from other industry books?

“The biggest difference is that it is written specifically for DIY musicians by a musician with DIY, indie, and major label success, making it a more credible, focused, practical, and relatable resource for artists. It also covers the complete marketing process—from vision through execution—with handy templates and samples in each chapter to help artists create fully-customized marketing plans. Finally, it introduces sophisticated business and research tools (SWOT, SMART, AIDA, and PFB Charts) not found in most music marketing books, enabling artists to choose confidently and even scientifically the right strategies for their own career path.”

Could you provide one crucial tip from the book?

“Do not create music in a vacuum with the intention of just throwing it out there and hoping for success. Hope is not a strategy! Instead, have a clear sense of what you stand for, while also trying to uncover where the world is going. Look for ways where you can be unique and do something that has never been done before. As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “The key to success is to skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.””

Q&A with Harvey Kubernik (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 of an interview with Harvey Kubernik, author of Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows at Heck of a Guy — The Other Leonard Cohen Site.

00126365Q: Of all the stories you’ve heard through the years about Leonard Cohen, which strikes you as the most moving? funniest?A: To this day I still find it strange and funny, and still can’t comprehend on some level that in 1967 Leonard Cohen had a full length mirror in the Columbia recording studio so he could watch himself play and sing during his initial LP sessions. If he got lost in the creative process he could employ the mirror to keep him on track or remember lyrics or chords.

I also found the quotes from Nick Cave on Leonard very moving. In the mid-eighties I produced a Nick Cave spoken word reading at the Lhasa Club in Hollywood and we talked about Leonard Cohen around settlement. We were all in same frame game together. The impact an early Cohen LP had on him four decades ago was immense.

Q: You wrote that “this book is neither definitive nor encyclopedic.” How did you decide which content made it into Everybody Knows and which didn’t make the cut?A: Many of the choices were influenced by the supportive working relationship that developed among myself,  publisher Colin Webb, and UK editor  James Hodgson.  After I put together a formal proposal with areas of interest and interview subjects, we had many discussions. Both Colin and James were easy to work with. They were pleased to see names that had never been in a Cohen book and often emailed me about getting a photo to accompany a given quote or section of text. Sometime a photo would trigger a text to be written or a pull quote or a sidebar I would want inserted. Or they would ask if I was interviewing someone and I’d respond, ‘just ran tape on them.’

I also made the musicians a top priority way over the women or lovers in Leonard’s life, none of whom I even spoke to. It wasn’t that sort of biographical examination. If organically something is revealed, fine. But on this Cohen book I felt Leonard’s creative life needed to be re-defined partially by my own hand-picked west coast team of friends and musical associates as well as worldwide interview quotes I gathered to inform the text and enhance the visuals. “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

After my brother Kenneth, my regional editor, reviewed the initial large sections, he made some first look observations, namely that my manuscript had to be condensed from 100,000 words to 60,000. That was a stressful and exhausting process for me. You edit alone.

Authors, including Andrew Loog Oldham, gave me some important interior editing tips. Poets and writers Harry E. Northup and Jimm Cushing provided especially helpful feedback, reinforcing that the new data and photos were as potent as I hoped.

I wouldn’t have bled for this book if its pages didn’t contain extraordinary, important insights and observations.

Any major Leonard Cohen project demands certain essential voices and interview subjects. There are, as well, specific subjects and a biographical chronology the reader has to know. That being acknowledged, it was my responsibility to incorporate these obligatory elements with new material to create a portrait of the man from a unique perspective.

There is a bit of redundancy, such as citations and quotes from other publications, but as UCLA basketball coach John R. Wooden once explained to me, life, like hoops, is a game of repetition – as long as it moves the ball to the basket it’s OK.

View the rest of the interview HERE!

Q & A with Harvey Kubernik

Harvey Kubernik met up with One Heck of a Guy for a long interview about his new book, Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows. Stay tuned for part 2 of the interview later this week!

 

Music means everything because it informs everything if you let it. ~ Harvey Kubernik

Harvey Kubernik is to music journalism what Shane Battier was to Duke basketball. Harvey is also one of the few individuals likely to read this post who will understand that analogy without an explanation: Harvey and Shane have achieved distinction in their respective fields because of their hard work, energy, enthusiasm, dedication, perseverance, and commitment. They are both hustlers.

00126365Harvey Kubernik is the kind of guy who knows 97% of the individuals associated with popular music and knows folks who know everybody in that other 3%. During his 40+ years career, he has authored six books, including This Is Rebel Music (2002), Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon (2009), and, most recently, Turn Up the Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972. He has written liner notes for Carole King and Allen Ginsberg, appeared on documentaries about Bobby Womack and Queen, collaborated with Brian Wilson on a limited edition volume, and published multiple articles in Melody Maker, The Los Angeles Free Press, Crawdaddy!, Musician, Record Collector, Goldmine, MIX, The Los Angeles Times, MOJO, Discoveries, UNCUT, Music Life, Classic Rock, HITS, and Record Collector News. In addition, he has worked as a broadcaster, producer, and musician.

Harvey has a knack for turning up in the right place at the right time. He was, for example, in the studio during some of the sessions of the Leonard Cohen-Phil Spector collaboration that spawned Death Of A Ladies’ Man. That experience resulted in two classic Harvey Kubernik articles: What Happened When Phil Spector Met Leonard Cohen? and The Great Ones Never Leave. They Just Sit It Out Once In A While.

Most significantly for our purposes, Harvey Kubernik is the author of Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows, which I described in my review of the book as “either the most textually substantive coffee table book ever published or the most lavishly illustrated narrative about a Canadian poet-novelist-singer-songwriter-icon on the market” and the subject of today’s Q&A.

THE HARVEY KUBERNIK Q&A

How did you come to write this book about Leonard Cohen?
A couple of years ago I was contacted by Colin Webb of Palazzo Editions, an England-based book company and packager. He has read my three interviews I conducted with Leonard from the mid and late-seventies, and was mulling over a Leonard Cohen book. He was preparing a sample text which would include all my archive quotes along with photos for a presentation at a book fair he was visiting.

Colin asked me for permission to utilize my archive, and, if things went further, would I be receptive to writing a book on Leonard? A year later his name showed up on my computer screen and we put it in motion. I did stress the aspect of a multi-voice narrative for the book and he was receptive.

How would you describe the readers you view as the primary audience for Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows?
That’s a good question but early in the game, like a basketball match, before the opening tip off, I decided it would be a book I wanted to do for myself. Yes, it would be geared a bit to readers who already know lots of things about Leonard’s work, books, recordings and his road work, as well as the uninitiated, or new potential readers who might have just Greatest Hits package or checked him out only after hearing ‘Hallelujah” in some capacity.

Always ticking just a little in the back of my mind are the hardcore collectors and “Cohen Heads,” including website principals, previous Cohen book authors and pop music history book buffs that I knew would relish the information and data I would present.

Why even bother with the gig if I don’t deliver some new “voices” and observations as well as photos with visuals never displayed before. For a well-documented artist like Leonard Cohen I know I tossed in plenty of three-point baskets.

Even without this Cohen book scheduled. I have written and conducted interviews for decades without formal assignments or the security of publication. I like the education, the fun, the struggle, and the results. The last ten years book publishers have come to me about potential titles and suggestions for books. They are also mining Los Angeles and Hollywood for literary subjects or regional studies and not exclusively possessed or obsessed with New York subject matter or New York authors.

Secretly a lot of publishers and literary agents love and worship the lore and lure of L.A. and Hollywood, but most won’t admit it, let alone fund it. But the literary game has now changed and I’m in the league as team Kubernik.

View the rest of the interview HERE!

Scott Bomar and Music Tomes

Southbound author Scott B. Bomar answered some interview questions over at Music Tomes! Read the entire article HERE.

And for all of you Californians,  Scott will be doing a 2:00 pm book signing August 30th at the Barnes & Noble on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Don’t miss out!

 

How did this project come about?

Mike Edison, who is a fantastic writer, was an editor at Backbeat Books. He was the guy who 00102657worked with Will Romano on an illustrated history of prog rock that came out in 2010. Will’s book was really cool, and Mike thought it would be great to do something similar with Southern rock. He contacted a good friend of mine named Randy Poe, who wrote a great biography of Duane Allman for Backbeat called Skydog. Randy recommended me to Mike. I was not a Southern rock expert, but Randy and I had worked together on some projects, and he thought I would bring a fresh perspective to the subject. I didn’t have any preconceived ideas, so it was just sort of “jump in and go.” This is kind of funny, but the first thing I did was listen to “The South’s Gonna Do It” by the Charlie Daniels Band and I wrote down the names of all the acts he references in the lyrics. From there I began reading everything I could get my hands on, and contacting all the great surviving Southern rockers for interviews. I grew up in the South, and I had listened to a ton of this music growing up, so I really connected with it.

Southern Rock has been something that has been often hard to define. How do you define it?

In the Introduction to the book I really grapple with this issue. There are a lot of ways that people have defined Southern rock, and most of the artists who are categorized with that label have been pretty resistant to the term. Gregg Allman pointed out that saying “Southern rock” is like saying “rock rock” because rock music originated in the South. Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and all those guys were Southerners. After the British Invasion, rock music shifted away from the South. By the time the psychedelic era ended, however, the Band, Bob Dylan, and Creedence Clearwater Revival heralded a return to the simplicity of rock’s Southern roots. That set the stage for the Allman Brothers Band, which came together in 1969. To me, Southern rock is about an era as much as it is about a sound. It was music that was created by guys (and sometimes girls, but mostly guys) from the same geographical region who shared a similar cultural background. Though you can point to specific sounds – multiple electric guitars, for instance – the music that I would categorize as Southern rock today is the music that best captures the spirit of the golden age of the genre in the 1970s.

Q&A with Laura Wayth

“Should I go to a school and get more training in acting, or should I just go out there and do it?” How important is training?” “Where should I go to get training?” “What is the right kind of training for me?” These are the questions every aspiring actor finds themselves asking at some point in their career. Answers to these questions and many more can be found in A Field Guide to Actor Training , a one-stop-shopping resource for student and beginning actors looking for guidance in selecting the training that is right for them. Author Laura Wayth has kindly answered some questions about the book below.

 

 Who do you think will benefit most from reading this book?Laura Wayth bio pic

I think any actor facing the big question, “What do I do now?” will be helped by this book. I think that all actors come to a cross-roads in their journey at some point- some come to it very early and some come to that cross-roads later. Many actors- both students and professional actors- have come to me knowing that they want more training but they aren’t sure what their next step is. They don’t know whether they should go to graduate school, get more studio training or just keep plugging away in the industry. I think that for every actor the right next step will be different, but I think that this book will help actors to ask themselves the right questions.

 

 What kinds of topics do you cover in this book?

I touch on most of the major acting, voice and movement methodologies being taught in training programs today. I tell a little bit about their history, gi00117162ve actors an idea of the basic principles and try to give them a taste of what it might be like to train under a given system. I think an actor who knows themselves and knows how they work and what they respond to can then say, “Ooo! This might be a tool for me” or, “I think something else might resonate with me better”.

I also talk about the value of different training routes; studio classes vs. private coaching vs. graduate training and certificate programs. I have a Q & A section in the back of the book where I asked my current and former students what questions they wanted answers to.

 

 What inspired you to write A Field Guide to Actor Training?

There was no book like this out there when I was a young actor. I had to figure everything out for myself. I did not have enough information about training and I wasn’t informed enough to make good decisions for myself. I wound up spending a lot of money on training that wasn’t right for me because I didn’t know what questions to ask. If I had read my book all of those years ago, I probably would have saved myself a whole lot of time and money.

 

Gibson Interviews Tony Bacon

In Sunburst, author Tony Bacon explores the origins of the Gibson Les Paul Standard and asks the question: was the Burst really the best guitar ever made? According to guitar greats such as Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, it sure is! Gibson reached out to Bacon to ask him why the guitar world remains enraptured with the sunburst Les Pauls. Read the whole interview here!

 

Superstrat cover singleWhat, to you, is the allure of a sunburst Les Paul? “It pains me to say it as an author, but the allure of a sunburst Les Paul is quite difficult to put into words. It’s like Frank Zappa said: ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ Why is a guitar good, why is it bad? How does it feel for a player? These are all very personal things. “So I don’t really address that in the book. What I tried to do was address why original Les Paul Bursts were overlooked at the time. And why, later, people hit upon it. And what’s happened since, including how Gibson reacted over the years… right up to now, and doing a very fine job of recreating the “uncreatable” if you like. The magic carries on. This is my fifth book about Les Pauls, but it’s always an interesting story and I keep coming back to it.”

Why did you write the book now? “I wrote the Million Dollar Les Paul book in 2008, but that was more of a conventional textbook. The criticism of that was: where are the pictures? And that was fair criticism. So Sunburst is, in some ways, a reaction to that. This book has the greatest pictures. “I keep finding out new things, there’s lots in the book, but it still can’t quite explain why original Bursts were so good. To understand, you have to pick one up and play it.”

Why do you think so many guitarists are obsessed by sunburst Gibson Les Pauls? “On the surface, they’re just wood, plastic and wire. But they’re not. Jimmy Page’s #1 is something else. Billy Gibbons’ “Pearly Gates” is something else. The Peter Green/Gary Moore Les Paul is something else… and it goes on. There are more pictures of all these sunburst guitars in this book than any other, I think.”

 

Interview with Neil Daniels

Pantera is widely regarded as one of the most influential and revered American metal bands of the past 20 years. Although its output was relatively short – from 1983 to 2000 it released only nine studio albums – its impact on the metal scene since the band split up in 2003 is still felt to this day. Author Neil Daniels wrote Reinventing Metal to help shed some more light on this important group, chronicling their humble origins and their massive impact on the metal scene. Neil met up with The Midlands Rocks to talk about the book. Read the entire interview here

 

00333473You’ve taken on the history of Pantera for your latest book, what made you choose the North American metallers this time around?

I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a serious critical biography of this important American metal band. I pitched it to a number of publishers that I’d worked with before but only Backbeat, who I’d never worked with, saw potential in the book and after a long process it was finally commissioned.

If you look at the band from Cowboys from Hell onwards you see a short body of work that is vital to the progression and growth of modern American metal. They made a huge splash on the scene and throughout the 1990s, with Slayer they were the two bands that kept the flag flying for metal. Dime was also an incredibly gifted guitarist and obviously became one of the greatest in metal.

Before Cowboys they made fun party pop metal. Don’t forget they were just kids self-releasing their own music. Their live shows went down a storm and they were hugely popular on the Texas club scene. Dime – then known as Diamond Darrell – proved his worth very early on.

They have this whole hidden history that I was largely unaware of and I actually found this the most interesting aspect of their story, what was your approach to researching the book?

It took a year – about 6 months of research and interviews and then 6 months to get the book into shape. First I started with a chronology of the band’s history and then I build the research into it and the word count subsequently grows to the 80,000 that it was contracted for. It then took several months in post-production with edits, proofs etc.

Thankfully a majority of people are on Facebook. That’s the modern world, I guess. Some friends from childhood didn’t reply to my messages but many did. I also got in touch with some producers and record label people; some refused my requests for interviews, others didn’t. That happens especially with a band whose history is as complicated as Pantera’s. Some interviews were done by email; many were done on the phone. Stuart Taylor, Dime’s best buddy, was a massive help. I also spoke with ex singers Terry Glaze, Donny Hart and Dave Peacock and they were great. It was great to have Jeff Waters of Annhilator write a foreword and Brian Slagel of Metal Blade Records to pen an afterword.

You mention in the notes that you were met with some resistance when trying to secure interviews with some people who are associated the band. Was this the worst instance you have experienced so far and it is an occupational hazard of writing about bands and what goes on around them?

Sometimes the publisher’s prefer for the artists not to get involved because it gets too complicated especially regarding money so I try to dig deeper by speaking to roadies, producers, friends, etc. I’ve been met with some resistance but you deal with it and move on to be honest.

Your books are largely highlighted as being unauthorised by the artists and written without their co-operation. I guess the benefits of this are that you can provide a balanced and critical viewpoint…

Yeah, I think so and there is a stigma surrounding unauthorised books. It’s silly, really.