Listen: Tom Wheeler on the Flo Guitar-Enthusiasts

Tom Wheeler, author of The Fender Archives talks with Jeff Floro and Scott Sill of The Flo Guitar-Enthusiasts, an LA Talk Radio Show. In the podcast, the hosts and Wheeler talk about all things guitar!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00103138Welcome to The Fender Archives – part history, part archive, part scrapbook, and part treasure chest. You are invited along on a research expedition, a sort of archeological dig through several sites: file folders in Fender’s offices; the family archives of Don Randall; author/curator Richard Smith’s collections; the photo galleries of John Peden and Fretted Americana; jammed metal cabinets in a sweltering warehouse near the Corona factory; and the home of the late Bob Perine in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, just blocks from the beach where he and Ned Jacoby took now-iconic photos of high school kids, surfboards, palm trees, and chrome-clad rocket-ship guitars in Shoreline Gold and Daphne Blue and Candy Apple Red.

The Fender Archives looks at the company from the inside. Handwritten letters, production totals, personal logbooks, in-house memos, Leo Fender’s drawing-board sketches, financial reports-such documents are freed here from long confinement in cardboard boxes and filing cabinets, dusted off, and promoted from background to spotlight.

The Fender Archives sheds new light on the inspirations for revolutionary instruments and amplifiers, their sometimes difficult births and growing pains, the environment into which they were unleashed upon the world, and the motivations and personalities of key players.

The 7 Core Aspects of a Marketing Mix Every Band Needs

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandescribes core aspects of marketing in his latest article from SonicBids!

The 7 Core Aspects of a Marketing Mix Every Band Needs

While most bands are clear about what they’d like to achieve (getting more fans to their shows, selling more records and merch, and even getting signed to a label), some have a difficult time with strategizing how to get there. While there’s not one correct way to market your band, there are certainly a few core strategies you need to succeed. These include the “4 Ps” of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) as well as three other important building blocks (band branding, product branding, and measuring). Let’s take a closer look at each one and see how you can start using them right now.

1. Band branding

This is the process of creating a unique name, logo, and slogan for your brand, and then stamping these elements on everything you do and have (e.g., your drummer’s bass drumheads, concert backdrops, guitar cases, and more). The idea is to create a positive and powerful perception of your band in the minds of the fans that is easily recognizable and very memorable.

2. Product branding

This involves creating album and song titles, packaging and set designs, and an overall personality that fits cohesively with your band’s brand. In other words, the identity of your band and the identity of your products should all make one cohesive statement.

3. Product development

This is the process of preparing your products for the marketplace by deciding whether to produce vinyl or USB flash drives, packaging your products together in a collector’s gift box, remixing one of your songs in another style, and so much more. The idea is to satisfy your target fans while creating a number of new revenue streams for your band.

4. Price

This involves making decisions about what to charge your fans for your albums, T-shirts, live performances, patches, and buttons. Considering your costs, knowing what’s reasonable to charge, and thinking about the image you want to project are all par for the course. Make no mistake – even when giving your products away for free, you must always let people know what they’re worth so that you can create the perception of value in your brand.

Click here to view the rest of the article!

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Dale Sherman: Quentin Tarantino FAQ

Quentin Tarantino FAQ has arrived! In honor of the book’s recent release, Dale Sherman has released a blog post exploring Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement in Quentin Tarantino films.

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Samuel L. Jackson and his Journey through the Quentin Tarantino Universe

It is not uncommon for certain directors to gather a group of actors around him or herself to be used again and again in their films. Some of Hitchcock’s best films star either Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant, for example. Martin Scorsese used Robert DeNiro in several films before switching over to Leonardo DiCaprio in more recent  years. An Ingmar Bergman movie is bound to have either Max von Sydow or Liv Ullmann, or both, turn up in it. It’s certainly no different with Quentin Tarantino, who has kept a number of people working with him over the years both in front of and behind the camera. 

It’s understandable, especially in cases where directors such as Quentin Tarantino guide the entire production and steer the scripting themselves. They have a vision of how the film should look, and with that comes how they want the actors to perform and sound. Anyone that can’t do that certainly would have little chance of returning, while those that do will have already established a working relationship with the director. As for Tarantino, he and others have made clear over the years that he likes an actor who understands the rhythm of his writing, and who can propel that dialogue to another level with their performance. Some can at least fake it well enough to pass his judgment, while a small handful seem to be in sync with what Tarantino has in his head. 

There have been performers that have been used here and there – in fact, the cast for The Hateful Eight has enough returning actors to Tarantino’s movie universe (Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, James Parks, a handful of actors that appeared in his previous movie, Django Unchained) that it’s almost a class reunion. Yet one of the most prolific of these actors has been Samuel L. Jackson, with seven appearances in Tarantino-related movies. Nearly eight, in fact. And even a couple of times where the parts originally written for Jackson ended up not being the parts he ultimately played. 

The Quentin Tarantino FAQ book goes into more details about the various movies with which the writer/director has been involved over the years, as well as other aspects of Tarantino’s career. Such as exactly how Samuel Jackson has continued to thread his acting career through Tarantino’s films over the years.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir_posterReservoir Dogs does not feature Jackson, although he did try out for the film. The assumption for years by way too many people was that he must have tried out for the part of Holdaway, Mr. Orange’s police contact and played by Randy Brooks in the film. Rumors also flew around that Jackson had tried out for the part of Mr. White – a part pretty much a done-deal for Harvey Keitel long before auditions began, as explained in the book.

However, in 2013, Jackson stated at a special screening of Pulp Fiction that he had actually auditioned for the role of Mr. Orange (played by Tim Roth in the film), only to leave the audition not sure if he even wanted to be in the resulting film if he had won the part. As he told Deadline: Hollywood after auditioning with Tarantino himself (“Samuel L. Jackson Lets Loose on Django, Tarantino, Slavery, Oscars and Gold Globes,” by Pete Hammon), “I thought he was just a really bad actor. I was like ‘Damn, these dudes are horrible.’ I look like I was overacting or hey have no judgment of what’s good and what’s not.”

After the film was released, Jackson congratulated Tarantino on the film’s success, which began the ball rolling for Tarantino to write a part in his next film specifically for the actor. But one film connected to Tarantino would introduce Jackson to Tarantino’s realm before that could happen.

True Romance (1993)

To make a long story short (but covered in more details in the Quentin Tarantino FAQ book), in the very earlyTrue-Romance-poster 1990s Tarantino had two scripts floating around Hollywood that he spent quite some time to sell – one was Natural Born Killers (1994) and the other was True Romance. It would be the money Tarantino made on the sale of the True Romance script that would help lead to the making of Reservoir Dogs, and the success of that film led straight to Pulp Fiction (1994). In the meantime, however, Tony Scott took over the reins on True Romance and hired Samuel Jackson for the short, but memorable, role of Big Don. Big Don is one of the criminals seen near the beginning of the film with Drexl (played by Gary Oldman) who argues in favor of a certain sex act before Drexl decides to end the party early by blowing Big Don and his associate away with a gun.

Jackson was already making a name for himself in Hollywood, thanks to roles in films by Spike Lee (a main reason why Jackson almost always gets interviewed by reporters when the feud between Lee and Tarantino is discussed), as well as co-star and smaller roles in movies like Jurassic Park and Patriot Games, so it’s no surprise he would turn up in a film like True Romance. Ironically, his first Tarantino-related film is the one not directed by the man, but that would soon change.

Check out the rest of Dale Sherman’s blog post here!

The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary!

Today is The Sound of Music film’s 50th anniversary! The film’s US release date was March 2nd, 1965. In honor of the anniversary, here is an excerpt from Barry Monush’s new book, The Sound of Music FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Maria, the Von Trapps, and Our Favorite Things.

00123101When the Trapps Were Die Trapps

The First Cinematic Versions of the Trapp Story

Pretty much everyone who has worshipped the movie The Sound of Music is well aware that it first came to life as a Broadway stage musical. Less known is the fact that there are not one but two previous movies that cover the story of Maria and the Trapp Family Singers. Although both pictures did good business in West Germany, where they were produced (in 1956 and 1958, respectively), there was no great rush or desire on the part of American distributors to release them over here. The first picture, Die Trapp-Familie, did, however, play a very important role in the development of The Sound of Music, as it was screened by Mary Martin and her husband, producer Richard Halliday, and gave them the idea of a possible stage show, albeit one they initially envisioned consisting of the actual traditional songs the Trapps had sung, and not a full-scale original score. It was not until they approached Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II with the odd idea of the team perhaps contributing one new number that the more obvious idea came to fruition: why not have two of Broadway’s greatest songwriters create their own full score for the story?

2117739,zvp+zhJc1q9tL9rhxced78+KC+0J2tUgonBGucHykXn7Y6ndrWVt3TSkakTsbdK0YDjzV1xJTYwtQa_3w1eR_w==It was because of the eventual success on stage of The Sound of Music and 20th Century-Fox’s purchase of the rights to turn it into a movie that finally allowed some version of the German Trapp films to see the light of day on American cinema screens. Fox did not, however, picture the two movies (Die Trapp-Familie in Amerika was the second one) as separate “art-house” entities showing in select venues with their original German language soundtrack, instead wanting to present them to a wider audience. To this end the studio took the drastic step of not only dubbing the films into English but trimming out a great deal of footage (mainly from the second installment) and piecing them together as one movie, The Trapp Family. 

Godspeed, Leonard Nimoy

Mark Clark, author of two Star Trek books for the Applause FAQ series, pays tribute to both Leonard Nimoy and his most famous role.

00314873I knew it was coming. Leonard Nimoy was 83 years old and had been in declining health, suffering from chronic pulmonary disease. He had officially retired from the screen years ago, although he continued to make occasional cameo appearances, including in the two J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek movies. Nevertheless, when word of the actor’s death arrived this afternoon, I was stunned. It seemed unreal, impossible. How could immortal face of one of the greatest entertainment franchises in history, a source of comfort and inspiration for millions of fans, really be gone? Wasn’t there some way to ship his body to the Genesis Planet for regeneration?

That’s when I realized that I was confusing Nimoy with his most famous character.

I was hardly the first to do this. Even Nimoy struggled to keep his personality separate from that of his Vulcan alter-ego, as evidenced by his two memoirs, one titled I Am Not Spock and a second titled I Am Spock. The confusion is understandable. Nimoy was not Spock, but Spock is Nimoy. Although created by Gene Roddenberry, the half-human, half-Vulcan first officer was animated by Nimoy’s personality – intelligent, unflinching, analytical, yet approachable. The actor improvised many of Spock’s trademark expressions and gestures, including the FSNP (“Famous Spock Nerve Pinch”) and the split-fingered Vulcan salute (derived from a rabbinic gesture of blessing); the character’s indomitable spirit was Nimoy’s too. And Spock, more than any other character, came to embody the essence of Star Trek.

Although Nimoy is gone, Spock remains. He stands as an eternal testament to Nimoy’s ability to craft a complex, nuanced, believable character.

However, Spock is far from the only testament. I wrote extensively about Nimoy’s life and career in my books Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise and Star Trek FAQ 2.0: Everything Left to Know About the Next Generation, the Movies, and Beyond. As I noted there, although none of them earned him fame, Nimoy authored several remarkable performances in television roles prior to Star Trek (on shows like M Squad, Combat!, and The Lieutenant) and he did the same in later, non-Trek movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). He also had a successful career as a writer, producer, and director, helming Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, along with the comedy smash Three Men and a Baby, among other pictures. Nimoy declined the opportunity to create what became Star Trek: The Next Generation due to the demands of his feature film career. And movies were only one of Nimoy’s pursuits. He was a restless, polymorphously creative individual who also enjoyed careers as a recording artist, poet, and fine art photographer.

The pressures that arrived with fame led him to alcoholism during the making of the original Star Trek series. But he eventually found sobriety, and in later years always seemed to have a smile and a handshake ready for fans and castmates alike – even his onetime rival, William Shatner, with whom he belatedly developed a deep and abiding friendship. I confess that it brings a smile to my face to picture Nimoy being reunited, somewhere, with DeForest Kelley.

Surely Spock must be embarrassed by the outpouring of emotions displayed by fans and colleagues today, following Nimoy’s  passing. But Nimoy, I’m certain, welcomes and appreciates all the affection.

 

Enter to WIN a Red Special Guitar SIGNED by Brian May!!

Guitar Player magazine is hosting a contest to win a Brian May Red Special Guitar!!

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Prize Details:
First Prize: A Red Special Guitar signed by Brian May. This Brian May guitar is faithful to the spirit of Brian’s original ‘Red Special’, an instrument that has achieved iconic status and a unique place in rock history, and designed by Brian May himself. Retail value $2000

Second Prize: A copy of the book, “Brian May’s Red Special” Retail value: $30

Click here to enter the contest!

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6 Tips to Crisis Management That Could Save Your Musical Brand

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides tips on crisis management in his latest article from Hypebot!

6 Tips to Crisis Management That Could Save Your Musical Brand

The saying “all publicity is good publicity” is not always true. A band must be prepared to deal immediately with certain rumors and unfortunate mistakes that may unfold and tarnish its brand image. Good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster. Inspired by business consultant and USC Professor Ira Kalb, here are six tips to crisis management that can help save your brand.

Unflattering Rumors

A rumor is information (usually unflattering) that is passed from person to person, but has not yet proven to be true. When an unflattering rumor circulates, you might consider the following:

1. Do not publicize the rumor by repeating it. Repeating it, of course, only helps to spread it.

2. Promote the exact opposite of the rumor by reminding people of all the good you do, but again, without mentioning the rumor.

3. Deal with the person(s) who started the rumor by letting them know you are upset and that you will even take legal action if necessary.

Click here to view the rest of the article!

Also, check out these other articles recently written by Bobby Borg:

Five Common Reasons Musicians Fail and What You Can Do About It

Damage Control: Effective Strategies for Handling Mistakes or Rumors About Your Band

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