Monday, 25 March 2013

Tambourine Man Wins Internet

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Why make all your music in 4/4 when so much of the world is in odd timings?

Odd timings are all around us so why is so much music in 4/4? Zappa based a lot of his stuff on speech pattens and this fella is doing the same....

Sunday, 17 March 2013

I didn't know Elton John was a Mahavishnu Orchestra Fan

I didn't expect to read this. From an interview with producer Ken Scott:

Q: I've often said, one of the ten albums I would take to the Island would be "Birds of Fire" by the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Ken, could you give us some recollections of the making of that recording ?

A: That was amazing. Well, lets see we first started off in England. I should give a little prep to this. When I was over in France recording one of the Elton John albums, it was a communal sort of dining room and so every night at dinner there would be some music playing and we would all be sitting at this long table eating. Well, Elton and Gus Dudgen were fans of Mahavishnu Orchestra's first album "Inner Mounting Flame" and that used to be playing. Now, I would catch snippets of the music when everyone sort of went a bit silent and then people would start talking again. And I just got the impression that it was a bunch of completely whacked out musicians each playing in a different studio-- no one quite knowing what was going on. I thought it was terrible. Then I'm back in England mixing the Elton album and I get this phone call from CBS and it's "John McLaughlin would like to meet you and they are coming over to England to do a TV show and he'd like to meet you with regards to doing the next album." My immediate reaction was "OK, send me over a copy of the album so I can sit down and listen to it properly" and was absolutely blown away. And then seeing them play live at the TV show took me even further. And then getting to work with them was amazing. We started it off in England and then finished if off at Electric Lady in New York.

Full interview here 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Fierce And The Dead sign to BEM

So I guess we're no longer unsigned, then. Solo records still will be DIY at the moment. Possibly. We'll see. I think you can take many different roots. Straight record deals, crowd funding or DIY releases. It's all there to try :)

"Fierce And The Dead sign to Bad Elephant Music for 2nd Album

"BEM is delighted to announce partnering with The Fierce And The Dead for the production, release and worldwide distribution of the band's second full-length album.

The Fierce And The Dead - guitarists Matt Stevens and Steve Cleaton, bassist and producer Kev Feazey and drummer Stuart Marshall - was originally born out of sonic experimentation when making Matt's second solo album, Ghost, and they've developed into one of the most original bands in the UK rock scene. Their unique brand of instrumental rock music, fusing rock, post-rock, punk and progressive elements, has made a big impression though one full-length album and two EPs, and their incendiary live performances, most recently as part of the Stabbing a Dead Horse tour of the UK with Knifeworld and Trojan Horse.

David Elliott, founder and CEO of Bad Elephant Music said: "We're proper made up to be working with The Fierce And The Dead. They're absolutely our kind of band, and lovely guys too. I'm looking forward to hearing what Matt, Kev, Stuart and Steve are going to produce for us, and of course it will be an absolute monster. Collaborating with a band of TFATD's calibre is a huge honour for us, and we welcome them with open arms to the BEM family."

Matt Stevens, on behalf of The Fierce And The Dead, said: "We are extremely pleased to partner with Bad Elephant on this album, they are true music lovers and believe in supporting the artist. This will allow us to make the music we want to make and have the support to help us gain a wider audience, without in anyway compromising our vision for our new album. And they like a good curry, which is nice."

The as yet untitled album is scheduled for release in the Autumn of 2013."

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Newsletter :)

Just quickly, I'd like to say thanks loads to everyone who came to the gigs this week, the Fierce And The Dead and solo gig "warm ups" in Birmingham and London - both trying new songs. Was fun and by playing new material live you learn so much. Really tightens you up. Us playing new songs in Birmingham:

This is the last week to download this 8 track free sampler album featuring my music, Fierce And The Dead and more:

If you like this music please share it, post a link on a forum or on your Facebook or Twitter or copy it or burn a CD for a friend. It really helps and makes a big difference. 

Some exciting gigs coming up, I'm supporting Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and Lorenzo Feliciati, then opening for former Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally. alongside my friends Godsticks in Newcastle then off to Cardiff. Full details of shows here:

The Y Prog festival we were supposed to be playing on Saturday 16th is now cancelled (non UK gig info to follow).

Then I'm launching to a crowd funding campaign to fund the new Wooden Boxes EP. I'll really need your help and I really hope you can be part of it. I'm so excited about the new music. 

My band The Fierce And The Dead are recording a new album, our first for a label and we're playing this festival in Blackpool that needs your help:

They are trying to crowd source it, so you can pre order a DVD ft all the bands for £9.99, even if you don't want a ticket. Good people.

Also there is an interview with me in the new issue of Acoustic magazine in the UK (the one with that Slash of Guns N Roses on the cover) and we're having a good discussion on the Facebook about what everyone is listening to join in here:

As ever thanks for all your support, we couldn't do this without you. 

Speak soon


Friday, 8 March 2013

Does "Progressive Rock" Need To Diversify To Survive?

Recently I wrote about the Y Prog Festival going under, horrible news. However it does make you think...

Are there too many bands competing for the same audience?

As the original 70's/80's prog audience gets older will they be less inclined to go to gigs? 

Too many bands sounding very similar and not enough fans to support them? 

People only have limited funds, these are tough times! 

So in ten years time where will "Prog" be? Bands playing a rehash of the old stuff to an ever dwindling audience? 

This is where Jazz is now and that's a very difficult place to be. Very hard to get gigs outside of the jazz festivals or arts council events. (I know there are some wonderful examples of interesting jazz stuff, i'm talking about the mainstream festivals).


There is a whole new wave of interesting bands from Knifeworld to Antlered Man to Trojan Horse and many, many more to embrace. They may not be "proper prog" but they're bloody good and exploring similar "progressive" areas. Hopefully an audience will build for these bands. It's not about washing away more traditional bands and their fantastic music, it's about PROGRESSING.  Lets expose some of the more traditional bands to a new audience too. It can work both ways! Why can't we have the great more classic prog bands alongside the more unusual bands? Prog needs to diversify to survive! 

Porcupine Tree did well by crossing over into metal and doing gigs with bands like Sonic Youth etc and that fed back into their growing "prog" audience. I hope Knifeworld or someone like that can do the same. It often only takes one band to cross over, to do a "Nirvana". Although i couldn't imagine it becoming mainstream like that bringing in more fans is always a good idea. Although the likes of Syd Arthur have the potential.....

My own band The Fierce And The Dead came to prog as mixture of 70's King Crimson/Mahavishnu stuff and bands like Sonic Youth and Black Flag (and all sorts of other music) which comes out as being a bit "reverse engineered prog". No, the traditionalists won't like it. But does that matter?

I think this potentially a very exciting time. let's see what happens. 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Y Prog Festival Cancelled, Are There Too Many Festivals?

The Y-Prog (or Why Prog? as my wife called it) Festival has been cancelled. In prog circles this was quite a big event, lots of well know bands and a decent amount of promotion. No official announcement but it looks like poor tickets sales did it. I don't know and choose not to speculate. Kris who was putting the festival on is a nice bloke and I've played with his band Manning, all very decent people.

My beat combo The Fierce And The Dead were supposed to be playing. Balls.

It does make you worry that fans will choose not to come to these festivals in the future after being let down here - here are some posts from facebook and forums (names witheld as i don't want to invade anyone's privacy):

"I ordered my non-refundable airline ticket. There's no way I will spend £300 just to see Riverside "

"The train tickets are not (about £65), and I have to sort out the £70 weekend ticket, and I'll certainly be losing money on the admin charges"

"Having paid for my own coach tickets fom Inverness and hotel for weekend. I'm well and truely out of pocket (as both are non refundable)"

I've seen a lot more. I feel really bad for these guys, rubbish. BALLS!

Are there too many festivals now? Too many similar line ups? Too many prog bands not enough fans?

I know we are lucky to allowed to play these events as we're not a "proper prog band" but it's a difficult time. 

The very wonderful Electric Garden Festival is still only at 20%, please support it. It's a cracking line up:

Please also support the excellent Celebr8 Prog Festival. 

Tonight I'm doing a warm up in London...

Catch Bar - On At 8 - Trying new songs out :) 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Are Musicians Rich?

You know when you go to a decent size venue to see a band and it's £25 a ticket, how much money actually goes to the band? 





What if a gig makes £200,000 but costs £220,000 to promote?

Fair enough at that level the band will most likely be on a guarantee of some sort, but it's frustrating when people presume that musicians are getting rich. 

OK, here is another one. 

An album sells £20,000 worth of records but costs £30,000 to promote.

Yup it's still a negative number. Robbie Williams was massively in debt to his label, even at that level. Many bands never recoup. 

A lot of people want to attack record labels but if the revenue isn't there they can't pay the artist (it's too easy to attack labels as at the moment, lots of good people work for labels). Economics! 

And this is even before you get into labels/film studios etc who have dodgy accounting practices...

Want an even more scary example of the entertainment industry promotion versus profit equation (plus dodgy accounting):

Hollywood Accounting: How A $19 Million Movie Makes $150 Million... And Still Isn't Profitable


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