Tuesday, February 28, 2012

English Dogs-Key Club,Hollywood CA, 2/24/12

Last minute show. A perfect blend of punk rock and heavy metal. This tour was a big deal due to UK82/Crossover thrash legends English Dogs. Just like T.S.O.L., English Beat and Dr. Know. There are two bands using the English Dogs name, the one I had seen was original guitarist, John Murray's line up, which is all the members that played in the crossover album, "Forward Into Battle". The other one with original singer, Wakey, still plays the punk hits and continues to record. Don't think they'll play America anytime soon.

I arrived late so I missed the two opening bands. One of the bands I missed was local D-Beat/Crust band, D.I.S. (Destroyed in Seconds). I've reviewed em' twice before, as well as the singer, Jon's, other two Grindcore bands "Panties" and "The Dolemite Project." Before I got a chance to introduce myself, Jon asked me, "Are you Turtle Boy? We've never met, but I've read your blogs." I was amazed, usually the bands that know I review them already know who I am. I complimented his bands, and he thanked me. He offered me pins but he had run out already. I've told you guys twice already to get D.I.S.'s first album (W/O Jon), Critical Failure, new tunes with Jon up on Facebook, new release to come soon! Also, check out Panties and the now defunct Dolemite Project.

The first touring band, Havok, hit the stage. Right away they got me and the metal heads headbanging. The pit was rowdy, full of thrashers and even some punks joined in for the hell of it. Havok, from Colorado, are part of the new wave of thrash. I've only heard the "PWN EM' ALL" EP, but since have had two full length albums (Burn and Time's Up), which have made a name of themselves getting on big tours like theirs with songs about destruction and Anti-Hardcore dancing, it's hard not to find these dudes fun. Big future ahead for them. They deserve it.

When people talk about "new modern thrash" bands, one of the first ones they mention is Portland, Oregon's blackened thrashers, Toxic Holocaust. The one man band project, formed by Joel Grind, recently became a trio with their recent release "Conjure and Command". As soon as they started playing a bunch of kids, including myself, sang along to the lyrics to "Wild Dogs" and "Nuke the Cross", it was still amazing even after seeing them two times before. Joel kept mentioning to the crowd how great it was seeing punks and metal heads together , and that's what inspired him to start Toxic Holocaust (they have a huge D-Beat/UK82 influence). Finally stage diving and screaming along to the songs like "666", "Lord of the Wasteland" and "War is Hell". They ended the set with "Bitch". Another great set.

Toxic Holocaust
Most metal heads moved aside and a bunch of mohawks and spikes packed the floor for The Casualties. Younger kids were talking among themselves about how excited they were (I first seen em' when I was 16). The speaker started playing the theme song to the classic cult film "The Warriors". They started with songs like "Under Attack" and "Static Feedback and Noise". Right there and then I somehow remembered all the lyrics (haven't listened to them since the Gwar show). The band invited us on stage, after that being said, kids jumped left and right off stage and flew off, including yours truly. Some kids stood on stage to sing along, the band didn't mind one bit. This insane set would not end, my voice got soar singing along to classics like "Punk Rock Love", "Tomorrow Belongs to Us", their ode to The Ramones, "Made in NYC" and a Motorhead cover "R.A.M.O.N.E.S.". Singer, Jorge, invited a girl on stage who he got in case she spent all her money on her little sister for the show for her birthday, after talking about how they were glad to be on a metal tour. They did an intro to Iron Maiden's "Run To The Hills". Some punk next to me had the most clueless face as if he had never heard the song before. They finished the set off with a title track with their latest album "We Are All We Have". Though they have been bad mouthed in the past, with poser punks and immature lyrics, I still respect these NYC street punks. They were one of the first punk bands I'd ever gotten into. Breaking my glasses was totally worth it.

The Casualties
English Dogs got on stage without hesitation, I'm pretty sure most of the audience didn't expect to be in for the crossover ED. Some thrashers began headbanging, while few punks began pitting. They played songs like "False Profit". The pit got huge and everyone was crowd surfing again. They also praised the punk/metal community, John Murray's guitar playing was excellent, while Aide's vocals were great. Very few punk bands that go metal can succeed (D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies), while some fail (Exploited, Verbal Abuse). Aide pulled it off great. By now they were winning the metal heads attention, they finished the set and then returned with punk hit "Psycho Killer", and suddenly the punks were won over too. It was great seeing this legendary band tour in America. For punk fans, I recommend the album "Invasion of the Porkymen" and to metal heads "Forward Into Battle"

English Dogs

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grant's Tomb: Yeah! Bring It On!

There has been a lot of discussion involving Limp Bizkit on the interwebs as of late. You see, it seems the band everyone loves to hate has just inked a deal with Cash Money Records, most notable for acts like Lil’Wayne and Nikki Minaj.

LB's Latest Release
Shocking move? Oh yeah, considering the LB was dropped from their long time label Interscope (where frontman Fred Durst also happened to be an A and R rep-no word on whether or not he is still holding that job) unceremoniously last summer reportedly due to the fact that their most recent (come-back) album “Gold Cobra” failed to sell over the 75K mark. In all reality, if it were any other band, selling 75,000 copies of your record in this day and age would be quite the accomplishment, but Interscope must have had higher expectations; that or Fred did something to piss them off. We’ll just speculate here and go with the first.

Let’s back up here for a hot minute; you might be asking yourself “Limp Bizkit released an album last summer? Like 2011 summer? What? Why?” If you find yourself pondering these thoughts you are certainly not alone, but alas it is true, and as seems to be the case every time the LB is mentioned there is some kind of backlash that follows. Seriously, if you like trolling as much as I do on Facebook/Twitter(I do not twatter)/comment sections in blogs, go out there and say something nice about Fred Durst and crew and I promise you everything from your grandmothers sexuality to the food you eat will be attacked. There is this vehement hate for this band that is so ridiculous it almost can’t be justified. Although to give the haters some credit, most will admit they have no problem with the rhythm section of the band, other than the fact that they still play with Fred Durst.

Apparently every fan he has was at this show.
So, considering all of this, why does this band or more importantly, why does Fred Durst continue to make music under the Limp Bizkit moniker? His lyrics are childish and sophomoric at best, no freaking way anybody takes him seriously? The answer is actually quite simple: Fred Durst likes the attention. We’ve all heard that even negative press is good press because it’s getting your name out there and it’s getting people to talk about you and the product you’re selling. If my assumption is true, this could very well make Fred Durst the biggest troll this planet has ever seen and you all fell for it. Or maybe he is just a sociopath, but for arguments sake, let us just pretend it’s the first.

For a guy who went around calling himself  “The Chocolate Starfish,” he’s made a butt load of cash and he’s also not afraid to brag about it. The bands first record “Three Dollar Bills Ya’ll” has been certified 2x platinum, their sophomore release “Significant Other” hit 7x, and “Chocolate Starfish…” hit 6x platinum, and that’s just in the Unites States folks. Hell, even that album they made with former Snot guitarist Mike Smith went platinum and the extended play they released in 2005, that got zero promotion at Durst’s insistence still sold over a million worldwide.

Now believe me, I’m not trying to argue the legitimacy of an artists work solely based off of album sales, if that was the case Kanye West would be this generations Picasso, but pay attention here: someone out there is buying this stuff.

Fred Durst is no stranger to controversy, the Woodstock incident alone (during the bands set at Woodstock in 1999, several violent incidents were reported, including rape and assault) as well as what happened in Australia (during the 2001 Big Day out festival a teenager died due to suffocating because she was pushed up against the barricade), both events had Durst thrust into the forefront of the media attention. His response to Woodstock as that “I didn’t see anybody get hurt,” even though live audio of the event clearly stated otherwise. “People are getting hurt." He is taped saying to the crowd, "Don't let anybody get hurt. But I don't think you should mellow out. That's what Alanis Morissette had you motherfuckers do. If someone falls, pick 'em up. We already let the negative energy out. Now we wanna let out the positive energy".

Possibly one of the most controversial things Durst and Limp Bizkit have done actually involved no one getting hurt: During the summer of 2000, Limp Bizkit went on a free tour sponsored solely by Napster. Yup, you read that right, the file sharing program was endorsed by the man himself.

Couple that with the multiple feuds the LB mainman has had with other artists in the musical sphere (D12, Taproot, System of a Down, Zakk Wylde, Brittney Spears-claimed they were dating, Christina Aguilera-claimed he got nookie, etc.), it makes my assertion all that much more true. Negative press is good press, even Les Claypool said it about Durst. 

Now, keeping all of this in mind, recent comments from him (in an interview with ‘Poolside with Dean Delray') like “One of the things with “Gold Cobra” was that that was a record, for us, to do for ourselves. It wasn’t our step forward to make a big pop, smash radio record and finally we have been able to get off our record label and become independent…”

Really? Independent? You’re joking? I’m sorry, that was my brain literally farting out the questions there. I mean, he can’t be serious right? They just signed a deal with CASH MONEY RECORDS! In all reality, Fred Durst could easily put out his bands albums/releases independently, he has the connections, but when you take his recent actions into consideration, there is just no way you can believe what he said in the above quote. Wait a minute…he didn’t…oh crap, I just got trolled by the master.

To say that Fred Durst is insane is an understatement, but the line between insanity and genius is fine at best. So here’s to you Freddy D, may you continue to befuddle and piss off the masses while creating the (f)art you are so good at.

-Written by Grant Peter


Associated Links:

Blabbermouth - Limp Bizkit signs with Cash Money Records

Allmusic - Limp Bizkit Biography

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Promote Your Band on a ZERO Budget - Gain Fans and Friends

I've had people writing me and asking about what they can do to help promote their band.  Now, I'm no expert, but I have put countless hours into research and found a number of things that have helped MY band and for ZERO dollars.  That's right.  So, here is the first of a series on how to promote your band, gain fans and friends, and become better known without spending very much money at all.  All you'll have to do is take the time, in most cases, to do your job well.

Keep in mind--the overall goal here is to get people interested in your music, but also YOU.  People want to know you, they want to understand you, they want to feel close to you.  Music is about passion, and most of us play music to share our passion with others.  Be real, make friends, wear your heart on your sleeve every now and again.  Being jaded is SO last year. 

You, too, can be a gunslinging panda of promotion.  It's not magic, it's work!

First things first--Create a Facebook fan page.  How can people like your band if they can't even confirm you exist?  Once created, put up the BEST photos you can that present the image you want people to see.  Put up the best set of information and details you can.  Assume everyone coming to the page has no idea who you are, what you're about, or what kind of music you make. Give them something to like. What is so unique about you? What makes you interesting? Why should people care? If you get them to care, you've got them--people who are as passionate about your music as you are and who can share the love (or anger or humor) that you're putting out into the world.

***Watch your spelling and grammar, always, or I'll send tiny angry pixies to put your guitars and drums out of tune. Do not doubt me!***

MUSIC.  You're in a band, right?  People want to hear you! There are a lot of decent home recording programs out there--that is how we have recorded our stuff. It can be time consuming to get it done, but in the end our CDs will have cost us about $1 each, which is excellent. PLUS, we have music online for people to listen to.  If you're in a band, people want to hear your music.  End of the story.  If a band doesn't have songs up, it's hard for someone to convince themselves that they should spend money or time to go see said band, especially if they don't have many fans or much activity on the page.

***Generally speaking, MOST people will think like this:  "If no one else cares, why should I?"  Make it look like the whole world cares, and the whole world will start to.  (You'd better be able to back it up with quality, though.)***

ReverbNation has ENDLESS ways to help you.  Click it and check out how WE are using it.

ReverbNation Profile--take the time, go through it, and put as much information as possible into it.  Take the time to make it interesting and relevant. Make sure everything is spelled well, grammatically correct, etc.  Put up songs, put up videos, find a way to get yourself some press so that you can put that information on your profile.  ReverbNation is a great way to connect with other artists as well as fans and venues.

***Make the most out of EVERY tool you have to use, and take pride in what you are doing!***

Videos are great to have--people love to just watch stuff. Anyone have a video camera? Even a bit of an acoustic jam would be great for people to be able to watch and it gives Facebook fans something to "share" that will help get you more fans.  It lets people into your world, to wander about for awhile.  If you think about why you enjoy reading a book or watching a movie, you'll understand. It's an escape.  Give people an escape.  Even if it's three minutes.

"Three minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven." -Flight of the Concords.  True, true story.

Get everyone talking on your page. The more interaction you get with people, the more MORE people will want to join in. Get every band member to invite all of his friends to like the band. Do this weekly. It's time consuming, but completely worth it.  Much easier if you download something like the "select all" bot for Firefox--it'll select your friends for you.  If you have 500 friends but your band page has 60 likes, you aren't doing it right. Make jokes, post photos, start conversations, ALWAYS REPLY to things posted on your page.  Someone took the time to do that.  Enjoy and get to know the people who are taking the time to enjoy and get to know you!

Work with other local artists!  Check out Greg Waldrop of DMI Photography for some sweet photos!

Help promote other bands, artists, and events.  Stop thinking of them as competition.  They aren't.  YOU are your worst competition.  Here's a secret: every time you make a post linking to another band/person/venue/event/etc, anyone who is friends with or "likes" those things, has a chance to see your post.  Let's say you're playing a show with Metallica.  You include a link to their profile in your status.  Now ALL of those Metallica fans have a chance to see you talking about it, to go to your page and give your music a listen.  Every time you introduce your fans to someone else, you're also introducing yourself to a whole new audience.  You NEED new audiences.  Another reason to help other bands and artists?  If they find you friendly and worthy, they'll return the favor, and a new contact/network has been created.  You NEED other bands if you want to play shows.  And bands that are more popular and well-known than you are are great to learn from.

Gabe Wilkinson, of Microwaved, says "Remember names, remember faces and shake hands. Have fun with people when you meet them at shows. I know a lot of us musicians are the shy type when we are off stage. It's a part of our insides for some reason. We can't turn it on when we aren't on stage, but push yourself to turn it on. Making friendships beyond the internet is important, too."

Is this what you're doing?  Is this what your fans are doing?
Again, YOU have to give the random person on the web enough information to make them care enough to want to spend their hard earned money on going to see what it is that you do.  That's pretty outstanding and can be pretty difficult to do.  In words similar to what David Lowry of the Lowry Agency used, if you don't have time to promote your band properly, than you may not have time to be in a band.  If you want more people to know about you, stop watching television and spend your time working on what you love.

That's the only way I think you'll get OTHER people to turn off the television and come to see your shows.

Thanks for reading!  Keep checking back--we'll have more of these.  Next time we'll be talking with some of those fancy journalist fellas.  I hear that if you treat them nice, they can help promote your band and shows.  We'll find out if that's true or not, and the best ways to go about it.

So.  When are you playing next, boys and girls?  Tell us about your show, and what you're doing to promote it.