Andy Propst Talks About Cy Coleman on Broadway Radio

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Library Journal called Andy Propst’s new biography of Cy Coleman, You Fascinate Me So, “a fascinating look at an influential man whose showbiz career spanned more than 50 years…Highly recommended for theater buffs, fans of music history, or those looking for an intriguing study of a memorable man.”  Listen to Andy talk about Coleman and his book with James Marino, Peter Filichia, and Michael Portantiere at broadwayradio.com!

Seven Tips to Getting Sponsors for Your Band

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides tips for getting sponsors for your band in his latest article from Hypebot!

Sponsorships are a mutually-beneficial relationship wherein two (or more) product-based companies market their products via the support and approval of the other. Are you networking with companies that could help you build your career?

Artists can develop relationships with local sellers and national manufacturers and get Live show promotion, Free merchandise, and Credibility in the eyes of the public, as well as in the eyes of club bookers who might be interested in having that artist perform.

Companies, on the other hand, can form relationships with artists and get Exposure to selective target markets, Public awareness and sales, and Coolness by associating themselves with hip and “in” music.

What follows are seven tips that can lead to arranging your very own sponsorships.

1. Make a detailed list of the local businesses and national corporations you wish to target. Log on to each company’s website for specific information including the businesses’s name, owner, brand manager, event coordinator, address, phone number, store hours, website URL, submission policies, and more.

2. Be prepared to show various companies how they can benefit by sponsoring you: show that you’re creating buzz in your community, that you’re reaching their target demographic fan, and that you have the right personality that matches and aligns with their brand.

3. Create a press kit (physical and electronic) that is specifically designed with sponsors in mind. Show pictures of you promoting the product, and include biographical information. Check out companies like Sonicbids to help create your electronic press kit if needed.

4. Remember to express absolute excitement in promoting a company’s products. Emphasize your work ethic and commitment to following through on the deal. Many bands flake out on hanging banners at shows, placing logos on posters, mentioning the company’s name in record liner notes, and keeping sponsors up-to-date with career news. Some bands even attempt to sell or pawn products that were given to them. These are all big mistakes. Paris Hilton has been sued more than once for not honoring her sponsorship agreements. But, that’s no surprise!

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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Salon.com Interview with Susan Masino

Susan Masino, author of AC/DC FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s True Rock ‘N’ Roll Band, recently sat down for an awesome interview with Jamie Blaine!

SIMPLE IS BEST: THE SECRET OF

AC/DC’S SUCCESS — A CONVERSATION WITH BIOGRAPHER SUSAN MASINO

AC/DC biographer Susan Masino, also a longtime band friend, is perhaps the only writer to enjoy the honor of an actual shout-out in one of the band’s early tunes. (See below.) If that doesn’t give a biographer cred, nothing does.

Masino’s Let There Be Rock: The Story of AC/DC is the band’s definitive biography, but there’s always more to tell with AC/DC. Her stellar, brand new AC/DC FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s True Rock ‘N’ Roll Band is jam-packed with even more stories, behind-the-scenes hi-jinx, and tasty bits from the band’s long way to the top. We caught up with Masino to get her take on the secret of AC/DC’s forty-years-and-counting success.

The Weeklings: Dirty Deeds is my favorite AC/DC record. What’s yours?

Susan Masino: Mine is Powerage for several reasons, aside from how brilliant all the songs are. I was in constant contact with Barry Taylor (roadie for the band), while they were in the studio. I actually mailed them copies of the interview I did with them prior December (1977), when they played in Milwaukee, WI. My friend Barry kept bringing up the fact that he “helped” Bon with some of the lyrics. I thought that was nice, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized Bon used my name in the song, “Down Payment Blues.”

The Weeklings: Whoa! You’re Suzy baby?

Susan Masino: Well, I’d like to think I was one of them. I’m sure Bon knew other Suzys, but he also liked to tease Barry about his affection toward me. If he was referring to me, that is the most awesome thing an AC/DC fan can achieve, along with making it onto the Jumbo Tron when they played Milwaukee in 2010.

The Weeklings: You go back with the band over thirty years. Give us a quick primer to your history with AC/DC.

Susan Masino: I was lucky enough to meet AC/DC on the first leg of their first U.S. It was August 16, 1977, and I was writing for a local paper here in Madison, WI. I was sent to the club to help out the promoter, and fell in love with the band. I became friends with Barry and he wrote and called me every week for the next three years. He left the band in 1980, right before Bon’s death, and I stayed in touch with the band over the past 38 years, seeing them on tour and writing two books about them.

The Weeklings: Some lumped AC/DC in as punk when they first began and you mention that Bon might have been influential to the early punk movement.

Susan Masino: I know during their first tour of the UK, the Sex Pistols were on their way up and the band claimed that once they (the Pistols) saw AC/DC, they started dressing like Bon with the cut off denim jackets. AC/DC hated being called a punk band, and didn’t care for the music themselves at all.

The Weeklings: Is there any band that AC/DC didn’t blow off the stage?

Susan Masino: Absolutely not! To be fair, when they were opening for bands like Aerosmith, UFO, and Cheap Trick, I chose to stay backstage after the band was done playing. Once you saw AC/DC live, you were good.

Read the rest of the interview here!

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The History of Canadian Rock ‘N’ Roll

Backbeat Books recently published The History of Canadian Rock ‘N’ Roll by Bob Mersereau. The book presents a streamlined, informative trip through the country’s rich history and depth of talent, from the 1950s to today, covering such topics as: Toronto’s club scene, the folk rock and psychedelic rock of the 1960s, Canadian artists who hit major stardom in the United States, the challenges and reform of the Canadian broadcasting system, the huge hits of the 1970s, Canadian artists’ presence all over the pop charts in the 1990s, and Canada’s indie-rock renaissance of the 2000s.

Check out the Foreword of this new Backbeat Books release, written by Neil Peart!

Foreword

A Life in Canadian Rock

It must have been the summer of 1964, so I was going on twelve. A group of four or five families from our neighborhood was living in a ragtag cluster of tents at Morgan’s Point, on the Ontario shore of Lake Erie. We were all camping there together for a few weeks that summer, while our dads commuted to St. Catharines for work. It was a boyhood ambience of sunburns, mosquito bites, campfires, a warm, shallow lake with a threatened undertow, playing coureurs de bois in the woods, and a first kiss under the sumacs.

One evening some of us kids were gathered outside the dance pavilion. We were too young to go in, and couldn’t have paid anyway (to have a quarter of your own was a big deal then), but stood nearby to listen. Who can now imagine such a remote time, pre-everything, when a man could remember the first time he ever heard rock music?

(And if that makes me “old,” I’m comfortable with it—proud of it. If a youngster tells me he was born in any later decade, my only response is sympathy: “You missed so much.”)

According to the posters, they were called The Morticians. They were pictured in long-tailed suits and top hats, and the battered hearse they and their gear traveled in was parked outside. My first impression of live rock music was that it was loud—surprise. They probably had a bunch of fifty-watt amps, but I’d only ever heard Dad’s hi-fi, the car radio’s single speaker, and the little transistor pressed up to my ear at night. The guitars were brash, jangly and warmly, voices echoey and unintelligible, something low was rumbling the walls, and I couldn’t understand why the drums sounded so metallic—not knowing what cymbals were. But the drumming sure galvanized my attention.

So did the noise . . . 

It was the time of the British Invasion, and soon there were rock bands everywhere—in every dance hall, and in every second garage. In those years I often spent school holidays with my Blackwell grandparents in Georgetown, Ontario. By an accident of familial timing, my uncle Richard was just a year older than me, so more like a cousin. He played drums in a band called The Outcasts, emulating the “blue-eyed soul” trend that was everything in nearby Toronto.

Even as I took up playing drums myself (well, practice pad and magazines on the bed for the first year), the musical education that was being delivered to me in little old St. Catharines was, in retrospect, astounding.

It is probably safe to say, from this twenty-first-century vantage point, that there was no better decade in which to be a kid than the ’50s, and no better decade to be a teenager—especially an inspiring musician—than the ’60s. Discuss . . . 

(If you missed it, see above sympathy.)

It was not radio or television or even word of mouth that introduced me to the music I came to love—it was cover bands. While I very much appreciated the R&B that influenced the “Toronto sound,” and played it in some of my earliest bands (still identifiable in my playing today), the first music that really electrified me was the “second wave” of the British Invasion. That was when rock ‘n’ roll became rock, I guess—edgy, aggressive-sounding bands like The Who, The Kinks, and The Hollies. I did not hear that kind of music on Top-40 radio, not then, but I heard it played by Graeme and the Wafers. They were a mod-style band from the Prairies who took up residence in the Niagara Peninsula one summer—and rocked my world.

The bands I saw at high schools, the roller rink, and the Castle (“A Knight Club for Teenagers”) included local heroes like The Modbeats, The Evil, The Ragged Edges, The Veltones (still remember their mournful single on CHOW radio from their hometown of Welland, “Just Another Face in the Crowd”), and dozens more, plus so many truly excellent bands from Toronto.

A few records trickled out from there, too, and we all liked the singles and albums by Mandala and The Ugly Ducklings. (One of my earliest conversations with bandmate Alex was about that album Somewhere Outside—including “Gaslight,” a single that ought to have been a huge hit everywhere—and Alex laughed when I played the staggered drum figure that opened “Just in Case You Wonder.”)

And the drummers! Anyone trying to lay down funky beats for those blue-eyed-soul bands simply had to have more chops that a surf-rock drummer. So they were all at least good, and some were masters whose playing still echoes in this eternal youngster’s inner transistor. Whitney Glan with Mandala, Skip Prokop with Lighthouse, Graham Lear with George Olliver’s Natural Gas, Danny Taylor with Nucleus, Dave Cairns with Leigh Ashford, and many more—all playing in my hometown on a weekly basis. Every drummer did a solo—it was simply expected—so even just standing in the audience, no young drummer ever had it so good.

Further afield, it was an adolescent thrill to see The Guess Who at a county fair in Caledonia, then again at the psychedelic youth pavilion called “Time Being” (1967, of course, the Summer of Love—still not fifteen, I was a little young for all that, but sure wanted to be part of it!) at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. The next time I saw The Guess Who was at a pop festival at Brock University in 1969, with Mashmakhan (Jerry Mercer another great drummer) and a number of local bands—including my first band with a handful of original songs, J.R. Flood. In front of ten thousand people, I played a drum solo in Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice,” just as Michael Shrieve had done at Woodstock, and it received a life-affirming reaction.

My head didn’t swell, but my ambition did. . . . 

In later years I would be privileged to become part of the history of Canadian rock, achieving unimagined success and accolades with my bandmates (“the Guys at Work”) Alex and Geddy.

Even that road was illuminated by touring with other Canadian bands—crossing paths early on with The Stampeders, April Wine, the great Downchild Blues Band, as we all struggled as opening acts and playing rock clubs around the U.S.

This book spotlights the pivotal role played by Ronnie Hawkins in early Canadian rock, and he had his part in Rush’s history, too. Our Moving Pictures album was written in the summer of 1980 at his farm near Peterborough—the same farm that hosted John and Yoko a decade earlier.

When Rush started to headline, we were able to bring other Canadian bands, like Max Webster and FM, on our U.S. tours. We even brought Max on a European tour—but even then they never caught on in the way we, as fans, expected they would. That “divide” remains a mystery—why so many great bands, from the ’60s and up through the ’70s and ’80s, failed to make that connection with American (or European) audiences. (That is to say, even when they had the opportunity.)

The Tragically Hip are another puzzling example. As a longtime fan of theirs, singing their praises, I sometimes describe them to unaware Americans as “the Canadian Pearl Jam.” In some aspects, notably lyrics and arguably songwriting in general, The Hip are the superior in that comparison—but again, by and large, Americans didn’t “get” them. I don’t get that.

Seeing them play at the House of Blues in West Hollywood one time in the early 200s, I had rarely seen an audience more engaged with a band’s songs. But alas, there weren’t as many in that audience as there might have been. . . .

The rest of the story can be left to the book you are about to commence reading. It is enough to say that the history Bob has researched so lovingly, and woven so deftly into an entertaining story, reflects a vitality, a creativity, and a power that is profoundly worth celebrating. It begins at a time when the only native rock was . . . the Canadian Shield and the Rocky Mountains. . . . 

Neil Peart, 2015

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Fashion Times Interview with Natasha Scharf

Natasha Scharf, author of The Art of Gothic, recently sat down for an awesome interview with Fashion Times. Read the rest of the interview here!

Fashion Times: What inspired you to write this book?

Natasha Scharf: “The reason why I started to write ‘The Art of Goth’ is partly because there had never been a book done like this before and partly because there’s such a huge amount of creativity associated with goth that I just thought there needed to be a book like this. The book is actually primarily about music and then there’s the fashion element alongside it. Obviously fashion is a big part of goth, so that’s why it was represented.

Fashion Times: Describe the goth aesthetic. 

Natasha Scharf: “The goth aesthetic is what I refer to as a dark aesthetic. The goth movement comes originally from the punk movement which was running in the 1970s. So goth as a movement started organically toward the end of the 1970s and early 1980s. In that sense, it was very much stylized by a darker side of music with literary influences and cinematic influences as well. It was playing a lot on the kind of gothic literature and darker themes in general. From that, you started to get an idea of themes emerging. What started off as a darker style of post-punk then became what’s referred to as goth and people started to see a look emerge. The people who were following goth music were dressing in a certain way and they had particular influences. They were perhaps a little more educated that the punks that were around at the time. They’re more interested in literary things, cinematic things and art as well.”

Fashion Times: How did you become an expert on all things goth? 

Natasha Scharf: “I started to get interested in goth pretty much when it first started. There was something about goth that to me was really exciting. It tapped into something that I was fascinated by. It screamed me. There was something mysterious and very hypnotic. I was listening primarily to the music and dressing in a certain way and when I became a journalist in the 1990s, because I was so interested in goth, I just became a goth journalist. That became my specialist area. I did more research, interviewed loads of bands and have been doing so pretty much ever since. It’s become part of my personality.”

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The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part I

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciandetails a complete marketing plan for musicians in his latest article from SonicBids!

The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part I

Marketing is the complete process of innovating products and services to satisfy fans, build awareness, and make sales. This process involves a series of important building blocks including researching, goal setting, strategizing, and executing. While these concepts are covered in detail in my book, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, I’ve broken them down into 10 important steps over a three-part series. What follows are steps one through three, from describing your vision to analyzing your customers. So, which steps are you forgetting when marketing your music?

1. Describe your band’s vision and set your career on course

The first step in the marketing process involves identifying your “vision” and creating a vision statement – a declaration of where you’d like your career to be in seven to ten years down the road. A vision statement summarizes what you’re truly passionate about and includes everything from the type of music you’d like to create, the products you might release, and the overall brand image you might like to impart on your intended audience. With a clear vision statement, it’s far easier to map out the directions for how you’re going to get to your desired destination.

Long before Marilyn Manson hit the scene, he envisioned himself as being a pop star who would shock the world. According to one source in Ft. Lauderdale who knew him early on, Manson kept drawings of costumes and stage set designs along with other business and creative details in a personal notebook. This was Manson’s “North Star,” his guiding light. Several platinum albums later, he truly succeeded at bringing his vision to fruition.

As the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you can surely fall for everything.” So what’s guiding your music career? If you haven’t thought about it before, now is a good time.

2. Identify opportunities or “needs” by conducting a SWOT analysis

While keeping your vision at heart, it’s time to examine what’s going on in the world around you to ensure that your vision actually fills a need and represents a true marketing opportunity. As previously stated, Marilyn Manson had a clear vision of being a pop star who shocked the world. But he also identified and filled a specific societal need and void in the marketplace for an entertaining and horrifically dramatic “new” stage personality, similar only to what a now aging Alice Cooper had done 23 years before. In other words, the marketplace was ripe for an artist like Marilyn Manson, and he capitalized on the opportunity unlike any other artist.

A valuable tool to help you examine the external (and internal) environments of the marketplace is called a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The idea is to identify external needs and opportunities that match your internal strengths (skills, etc.), but while also considering your internal weaknesses (finances, etc.) and external risks (competition, etc.) that could impede your ability to succeed. While all this might sound like business school jargon, the most successful companies, both big and small, use the SWOT model. With a little training, so can you!

Click here to view the rest of the article!

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Robert Willey chats about his upcoming book!

Author Robert Willey recently sat down for an interview with the Education Market Manager of PreSonus Audio Electronics, John Mlynczak, to talk about his upcoming book for up-and-coming music producers, Getting Started with Music Production.

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00128992Getting Started with Music Production is for anyone interested in developing a more efficient and creative approach to music production, and it’s structured so thoughtfully that it can be used as a textbook for a modular, activity-oriented course presented in any learning environment. As an added bonus, the text and accompanying examples are built around the free version of Studio One from PreSonus, so no matter what their musical or technical experience level, students don’t need to purchase expensive recording software to benefit from the presented material. The fundamental concepts and techniques delivered in this book apply seamlessly to any modern DAW.

The author includes several supporting video tutorials that help further explain and expand on the instruction in the text. All supporting media is provided exclusively online, so whether you’re using a desktop computer or a mobile device, you’ll have easy access to all of the supporting content.

Getting Started with Music Production is intended for college music majors, high school students, and independent learners. The first ten chapters can be used by schools on the quarter system, with an additional five chapters provided for those on the semester system.