Tag: LADY GAGA
Interview: MACHINE HEAD’s Dave McClain – From Gaga to Dub Step to the heaviest fucking metal Machine Head has made
Away-Team: I’m sitting backstage at Mayhem Fest with Dave McClain from the Bay Area’s Machine Head. Thanks Dave for your patience while we navigated through the ridiculousness that was the venue trying to get the gates open an hour late. Let’s just get right into it shall we?
Dave McClain: Absolutely man, no problem.
Away-Team: Machine Head released The Blackening in 2007 to critical praise. To many, myself included it was the album of the year, and again for myself it was the best album Machine Head has ever put out.
Dave McClain: Awesome, wow! Thank you.
Away-Team: There was a ton of press overseas that embraced you and the album and sang the praise of Machine Head and The Blackening. While the US press didn’t seem to even acknowledge Machine Head even existed. It seemed to me that you guys couldn’t even get arrested here. What is it about Europe and their fans that seem to embrace metal so openly and fully, and yet the states can seem to be bothered with it? What I’m asking is… Is it the fans that feed the media over there or the media embracing the music and opening up the fans to it?
Dave McClain: It’s something you really can’t put your finger on here. You go anywhere else in the world and it’s the same mentality as when we were all kids getting into metal. When I started getting into Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal back then… I think it’s the same thing here now, it’s a sub culture a community of misfits that latched on to this type of music and to this day around the world people simply live for this music. There are so many different things going on in the States to take your time and attention. It is so big over here territory wise that it’s harder to get to everyone or get everyone together for larger shows. Where Germany is the size of Texas and we can spend a week just in Germany hitting thousands and thousands of people, where in Texas there is a lot of empty space between towns and we’re playing to hundreds of people instead. There are so many types of music pushed here in the states and so many of those avenues don’t promote metal, I think Revolver is pretty much the only US magazine that promotes metal. And they are warming up to Machine Head now which is cool. There definitely was a while there in the US before The Blackening even where we couldn’t get any attention at all. We were sitting there like, ‘come on man, we’re right here!’ and they were just, ‘No thanks we’re going to go cover hip hop’ or whatever. So now, Through The Ashes was the record that finally kicked the door in a little and got our foot in. And The Blackening was the one that re-established us. It is getting better here; we are definitely NOT giving up on the US. We’ve never been that band in the US that’s just exploded! It’s always just been a fight for us, and that’s cool to us. Back in the day when gold records mattered we’d still be playing the same size venues as bands that had gold records. But it is coming around again now. Thank god for festivals like this. That are really band friendly and people like John Reese the guy that puts this thing on (John Reese is co-creator of Rockstar Mayhem Fest) loves metal, he tours with the festival, gets the bands together and has theme parties during the tour for the bands. It’s very cool to have the organizer be that involved with the tour and with the bands on that level. And then today with the internet the way it is, any interview you do can go anywhere, be read or heard anywhere in the world now. So that helps a lot in getting the word out about Machine Head.
Away-Team: So to you what is the main difference between US festivals like Mayhem and the European Festivals?
Dave McClain: Well mainly the festivals over there are just like for a weekend, where these are tours. It’s a lot of camping out over there, tent cities and stuff. They’re like the super die hards there. You’ve got some popping up here now like that, like Bonnaroo and Coachella. It’s really just a matter of time I hope before you see Metallica do like a Sonisphere over here you know? Just have a two day festival and do four or five of them around the country. And over there the festivals are pretty diverse music style wise.
Away-Team: You get a little bit of everything in a two day festival there. More of a “Lollapalooza” feel over there.
Dave McClain: Right, exactly. And this, while it is a tour, it’s different. Because for us, well, for the side stage bands, that’s the crowds we’re used to, the kids are flying around, the dirt is flying around, and everything is going crazy. Then you come over here to the main stage and you’re playing to a lot of people that don’t even get here till six o’clock and could give a shit about Machine Head or even Megadeth or Trivium. They’re just here for Godsmack or just Disturbed.
Away-Team: Those would be the people telling me to sit down and shut up as I’m trying to enjoy the show and your set.
Dave McClain: Right! Right. And we’re trying to win them over. And it is a great feeling really, because it’s just as good as having your crowd on the other stages in front of you, as having a new crowd being won over as they start to stand in their seats as our set goes on. We and Trivium have been doing this… and some days you come off the main stage and you’re just like ‘Fuck, man, those people could just give a shit about us.’ But then the days you do win them over, it is like the best feeling in the world.
Away-Team: You are getting ready to release Unto The Locust next month (out September 27th!!!), what can we expect from the new stuff? Is it a progression from The Blackening? Is it a foray into a new Machine Head sound? Have you finally gone Dub Step to get on the radio?
Dave McClain: (laughs), Yeah! That’s it! Really, we just definitely challenged ourselves going into it. We were in no way going to make The Blackening II. From Through The Ashes Of Empires to The Blackening to now, there are the same feelings going on and we’re just pushing them further. The main difference is that we now have total musical freedom; no one is looking over our shoulder. Roadrunner is just like, ‘Just give us the record and we’ll run with it.’ We’ve tried to challenge ourselves as musicians. The first song we wrote called This Is The End, Robb and I got together one day after everyone had taken a couple months off and he’s like, ‘It’s not complete yet, but I’ve got this song here…’ and he goes into this classical guitar thing that he couldn’t really play that well yet because he’d just gotten into the classical guitar thing. Then the song just goes into this super blast beat thrashy thing and we were just, ‘FUCK! It’s the first song and it is already a super hard one to play!’ And that just set the tone for the whole album writing process. On this new album we have the hardest, fastest, most brutal stuff we’ve done. And then we have the song Locust which is middle of the road, like almost a rock song for us with groovin’ beats, it’s just really weird. We’ve got some super dark stuff on there and then some mellow stuff that gets heavier, but over all just super dark theme wise. Robb Flynn went up to New York and started taking classical guitar lessons from this guy at the same time he was taking vocal lessons from Lady Gaga’s vocal coach. It’s all just us trying to push ourselves into a new place.
Away-Team: According to your bio, you are originally from Germany, yet speaking to you, you have no accent.
Dave McClain: Well I was born there; my dad was in the military…
Away-Team: Ah, that explains that…
Dave McClain: Yes, I am not a German. (laughs)
Away-Team: So how did you end up in the Bay Area and in Machine Head?
Dave McClain: I joined Machine Head in the end of 95 and I moved there in January of 96.
Away-Team: I know Machine Head went through something like 3 drummers in one year…
Dave McClain: Yeah, by the time I got to them they were pretty sick of drummers!
Away-Team: They were through playing Spinal Tap?
Dave McClain: Totally! But instead of their drummers dying there were just… ah, never mind, I’m not going there…
Away-Team: Ok, moving on!
Dave McClain: Yeah, moving on (laughs), so I was in a band called Sacred Reich out of Phoenix,
Away-Team: Yes, I am very familiar with Sacred Reich!
Dave McClain: Awesome! So a mutual friend of ours, who worked for Century Media at the time, knew they were looking, so he was helping them find a drummer, and he called Igor from Sepultura who also lived in Phoenix at the time. Igor was like, ‘Call Dave man.’ So Robb called me and at first I said no thanks, I was going to stick it out with Sacred Reich. That day I was laying in my bed and I was like, ‘What am I doing?!?’ Don’t get me wrong, I love Sacred Reich, but they were notoriously kind of lazy, and talking to Robb and only hearing Burn My Eyes once or twice… Just talking to Robb and hearing his passion and determination I was like, ‘What am I doing? These guys are where I’m at we’re like on the same wave length here.’ So I called Robb back and I’m like, ‘Hey man, I thought about it and I really want to do this!’ So he said to come in and audition. So I went out and auditioned, we played the whole Burn My Eyes record a few times and I could tell they were really into it, we were jamming really good. Then they kind of left me hanging as they went through the audition process for another week or so. And they called me up and told me to move out.
Away-Team: You were out on the road with Metallica for like a year, year and a half off and on. What are the pros and cons of supporting the biggest metal band in the world?
Dave McClain: There were definitely way more highs than lows on that tour. When they first asked us we had to tell them no! We’d already committed to doing the Slipknot tour over in Europe. They said, ‘That’s cool, we totally respect that, we’ll be touring for a while so we’ll work something out.’ Then they offered us all these dates and…
Away-Team: Yes, you were basically on the second leg of the Death Magnetic Tour correct?
Dave McClain: Yes, we did the US, Europe and then other countries like Poland and a bunch of little weird countries too. And with them being the not just the biggest metal bands, but being one of the biggest bands on the planet… the way they treat bands is fucking amazing! They are at the point where they just take bands out that they want to take. I mean they didn’t need us. They didn’t need The Sword, or Lamb Of God, they didn’t need Mastodon, but they WANTED us and them. They just take really good care of everyone. Like once a week they’ll take the bands out to a restaurant and just hang, and eat and drink. They took us on their jet for a show and, just made sure we were taken care of while we were out with them. The one thing about opening for them is that everyone in that crowd is there for them. Metallica didn’t need us to open, and the crowd didn’t fucking care that we were there (laughs)!
Away-Team: I can totally see that here in the states than Europe because they tend to be much more open minded musically there…
Dave McClain: Yeah, but still you get the Metallica die hards that follow, literally follows them around, go to multiple shows and it was hard. We were on the stage in the round and all the people on the floor are like fan club people and die hard Metallica fans, just rabid fans and you end up playing to the people way up in the stands that are actually into you. And you have those same nights where you’re, ‘Fuck man, we just couldn’t get it going tonight!’ It’s just very frustrating, then other times you have the crowd and it’s just killer. You don’t have them like Metallica has them, but you have a part of them. Probably THE best show we did on that whole thing was in Paris and it was like that was our crowd, everyone in the crowd was into us and they were all singing along like it was our own show, our own crowd.
Away-Team: Is that the show that Metallica released a DVD of?
Dave McClain: No, this was a different show. As amazing as that set was for us, when Metallica came on it was like being on a movie set and the director is like, ‘I want everyone to act as crazy as you have ever been!’ and yells action as they take the stage (laughs).
Away-Team: 2002 was a rough year for you guys; you had just released Supercharger and a video a few weeks after September 11th, 2001 that depicted falling buildings. It seemed everyone even your label stood against you and pulled the plug on the band. You negotiated out of your contract with Roadrunner. How close where you guys in the band to pulling your own plug?
Dave McClain: We were real close man. It was a super bad time and we were just so pissed off about everything that had happened. We weren’t working the record and we just felt like we were at an end, with Roadrunner and with the band. But after Roadrunner, we went out to test the waters with other people that had always been there for the band in the past, ‘you know, anytime you need anything, we’re here for you.’ Well we needed something, and nobody was there for us. They all disappeared. ‘Well we’re here now, you know?’ ‘Oh, yeah, well… ya know? Um…. ‘
Away-Team: ‘Had you come to us six months ago…’
Dave McClain: Right! ‘Who’s this? Prank call! Prank call!’ (laughs) I told our guitarist at the time, to basically leave the band. He was wanting to do a side project, and having us stick around funding his side project so I was like, run, go, do it, get out. It was bleak man. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to do it anymore; it was that we had no avenues TO do it anymore. So we started writing a couple of songs. Just trying to do something. And it was pure shit. It was bad. And it WAS fucking shit, and it felt horrible. We had a band meeting and I told the guys, ‘You know this fucking sucks. This is shit; this isn’t why I play music. And if we’re a heavy metal band, and we’re going to write an album. Let’s write the heaviest shit man. Let’s just write for ourselves. Let’s just take all this and put it into writing.‘ And that became Through The Ashes…
Away-Team: Which explains all the piss and venom in it…
Dave McClain: Yeah! It was definitely an angry and a dark record but Roadrunner UK never wanted to let us go, and they were still there quietly supporting us, and it turned out to be a great thing, it turned out to be more of a licensing thing for us which at the time was great. We were about to sign a deal with an American label for the US and Roadrunner US came up and came to us and said, ‘We want to be a part of this again!’ It made us all real happy, because it was a clean slate at that point.
Away-Team: Well at that point, with that album in the can ready to go, you kind of have them over a barrel, and you can say, ‘Well you want us? Here’s what it is going to take to get us back!’
Dave McClain: Yeah, but more than that, there were people there genuinely behind us again. There were people that cared about us and about the band. For us we never wanted to leave in the first place, we just wanted things to be right you know? And since then everything has been great. Not that we don’t go back and forth with Roadrunner on some things, but its constructive, it’s a good thing.
Away-Team: Great! So once Mayhem is done, what does Machine Head have on its plate? You’ve got Unto The Locust coming out in September, what are the current tour plans for that?
Dave McClain: We’ve got a month off after Mayhem. We headline the Soundwave Revolution metal stage.
Dave McClain: Yeah, it is. It’ll be awesome, and we’ll get to see Van Halen! (laughs) We’re just as excited about seeing them play every day as we are to headline the metal stage! Then we’re doing our first headline run of South America since I’ve been in the band. We’ve got Sepultura there for the shows which is awesome. And then a headlining run of Europe with Bring Me The Horizon, DevilDriver, and Darkest Hour. First quarter of next year our main priority is doing a headline run here in the states.
Away-Team: You guys are definitely due.
Dave McClain: Yes, it’s been over four years we are so ready for it.
Away-Team: Well congratulations, and good luck on the new album, I can’t wait to hear it! And hopefully we’ll get to see you in 2012 in a theater or large venue around here soon! Thanks again Dave!
Dave McClain: Thanks! See you soon!
There is a long list of people to thank for making this and all of our Mayhem Fest interviews happen, so, forgive me if I forgot anyone, but thanks to Lilly at Roadrunner, Bill at eOne Music, Rikki, Natalie, and Jessica at Adrenaline, and Laura Jean with Mayhem.
LADY GAGA, COLDPLAY, STEVEN TYLER, BLACK EYED PEAS, KENNY CHESNEY, ALICIA KEYS, JENNIFER LOPEZ, CARRIE UNDERWOOD, JANE’S ADDICTION, NICKI MINAJ, JOHN MAYER. DAVID GUETTA, RASCAL FLATTS, BRUNO MARS, KELLY CLARKSON, SUBLIME WITH ROME, USHER, STING, these are the artists set to perform in Las Vegas September 23,24 and 25th.
Clear Channel is calling the festival “the largest concert event in radio history,” and will stream audio and video via its iHeartRadio service and through the company’s radio stations’ websites.
For more iHeartRadio Festival click here.
Rawkhead Rekords/ Warner Music
Rating: 7 out of 10
Reviewed by: Jay Rybak
Burn Halo first invaded our eardrums with their debut album Outburn back in 2009, and immediately took the radio waves by storm with their single “Dirty Little Girl”. The aforementioned featured a guest appearance by Avenged Sevenfold’s Synyster Gates; something that, beginning June 28th will be hard to forget….
Up From the Ashes, the band’s sophomore effort, kicks things off with the first single “Tear It Down” before diving head first into the title track; all the while one can’t help but notice the eery compositional similarity to that of A7X. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it does leave you hoping for a little variety. Enter “Stranded”, where we are greeted with a welcome change in the form of an ever so slight 80′s sounding chorus. The retro rewind doesn’t stop there, the next track “Threw It All Away” opens with some killer guitar work by Joey Roxx that had me checking to see if I was listening to a cassette on my Walkman. Even with the change in style on what is perhaps one of the better songs on the album, I still can’t help but think I’m listening to the new A7X.
The theme continues over the next couple of tracks, until suddenly I’m awakened to a Metallica-esque symphony of sorrowful guitar, followed by heavy riffs and double bass drum bringing us to “Dakota”; a track destined to become a fan favorite. One of the more radio friendly songs on the album follows, “Rest My Soul” is a Nickelback style redemption anthem that is sure to see a few spins on your local radio dial. The sounds of Gates and Co. fill out the final tracks on the album, ending with “Shine”, in which singer James Hart at times sounds like the love child of Josh Todd (Buckcherry) and David Lee Roth.
Musically, this album is heavier than Lady Gaga’s jockstrap, my only qualm is that Burn Halo seem to be turning influence into identity on this one. While Up From the Ashes isn’t quite the phoenix that it’s monacre suggests, it still makes a decent addition to your playlist, and if you’re a fan of Avenged Sevenfold this album is a must have.
Up From the Ashes hits stores June 28th, for more info on Burn Halo visit here
Reanimate: The Covers EP
8 out of 10
Ok, so you put an even remotely attractive woman on a stage, and I’m pretty much hooked from the get go. Sexist? Probably… But I’ve got a thing for women on stage. Sue me.
But when a woman has talent on top and exceeding her looks? Well then you’ve got something for your ears and eyes. Heart, Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Tori Amos, Doro Pesch, the list goes on and on, all have amazing talent vocally as well as musically.
So there’s a new breed of women rockers out there doing their own thing… Maria Brink (In This Moment), Otep (Otep), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Alexis Brown (Straight Line Stitch), again the list goes on and on. And hot on their heels is the newest female fronted band… Halestorm.
Fronted by Lzzy Hale the band features her brother Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger, and Josh Smith. They have released a solid self titled debut which charted well for them as well as got them enough notice to put them on the main stage of last year’s Uproar tour with Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour.
The Band has released a new EP of covers to tie their fans over until they can finish their follow up full length album.
An EP of covers from a band with only one album out seems to be a risky move to me. If you’re trying to keep your name in the forefront of your fan’s minds then maybe a live DVD (the label already put out a live album of theirs a year after their self titled album came out as their singles finally began to chart and hit with the public), or an EP of acoustic reworkings… something that is yours, not copies of other songs seems to be in the band’s best interest to me. But then I’m not some big label head honcho either. Whatever.
That being said, let’s look at the songs chosen for the EP:
All I Want to do (is make love to you) by Heart, Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, Hunger Strike by Temple Of The Dog, I Want You (she’s so heavy) by The Beatles, Out Ta Get Me by Guns & Roses, Slave To The Grind by Skid Row. So this young upstart band definitely has some balls to it. From pop dance to classic rock, and grunge to sleaze rock. The song selection alone intrigued me. How would they do actually covering the songs?
Well, the Heart cover was pretty much straight forward, and done very well. Bad Romance seems to be the hardest one to cover. How do you take a rock band and throw in a dance song and make it sound good? I don’t know. Really… this should be a recipe for certain disaster, but Lzzy and the boys actually pulled it off and very well. This may actually be the highlight of the EP. Being able to turn a Lady Gaga song into a rock n roll monster? Hats off to Halestorm for doing it, and doing it well.
Oddly the Lady Gaga cover has caused less controversy and dissent from the internet trolls than their decision to cover Temple Of The Dog. I’m sorry, but when did Grunge become gospel? And if a band can run the gamut between classic Beatles, to Modern day dance pop, and everywhere in between why can’t they take on grunge too? I mean who made TotD the sacred cow anyway?
It’d be one thing if the band didn’t pull off the song. Or heaven forbid took a dance song and made a rock song out of it, only to take a grunge song and make a dance hit out of it!!!! But Halestorm sticks to the basics and pulls off a decent remake of a very good song. I will say that it does lose a little passion when Lzzy sings it over Eddie Vedder, but it isn’t a bad version by any means.
The Beatles song may be the only song I take umbrage with and that is only because it runs on too long and gets a bit monotonous at the end. But the first 4 minutes of the song are… the ballsiest the band has every sounded to me.
Out Ta Get Me is sleazy and dirty, but a little unremarkable compared to the rest of the songs on the EP.
And I may have to go back and listen to their debut, but I think Slave To The Grind may well be the heaviest thing the band has done. And heavy they do well. Would love to see this one live. I can totally see Lzzy standing their snarling out the lyrics to this, and I’m sure this summer that’s exactly what we’ll see.
So other than the odd choice of putting out a covers EP, the project works. A solid 8 from me for this, and that is only because Hunger Strike and Out Ta Get Me left me a little flat.
You can pick up Reanimate The Covers EP here.
For more HALESTORM click here.
In what stands as a major global music relief effort to benefit those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, over 30 of the biggest names in contemporary music have joined together for the worldwide release of “Songs for Japan,” an unprecedented compilation of 38 chart-topping hits and classic tracks, available worldwide on the iTunes Store for $9.99 ON SALE NOW. Proceeds from the album’s sale will benefit the disaster relief efforts of the Japanese Red Cross Society.
The “Songs for Japan” track listing features an all-star lineup:
1. John Lennon “Imagine” (Remastered)
2. U2 “Walk On” (Radio Edit)
3. Bob Dylan “Shelter From The Storm”
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Around The World” (Live)
5. Lady Gaga “Born This Way” (Starsmith Remix)
6. Beyonce “Irreplaceable”
7. Bruno Mars “Talking To The Moon” (Acoustic Piano Version)
8. Katy Perry “Firework”
9. Rihanna “Only Girl (In The World)”
10. Justin Timberlake “Like I Love You”
11. Madonna “Miles Away” (Live)
12. David Guetta “When Love Takes Over” (feat. Kelly Rowland)
13. Eminem “Love The Way You Lie” (feat. Rihanna) [Clean Version]
14. Bruce Springsteen “Human Touch”
15. Josh Groban “Awake” (Live)
16. Keith Urban “Better Life”
17. Black Eyed Peas “One Tribe”
18. Pink “Sober”
19. Cee Lo Green “It’s Ok”
20. Lady Antebellum “I Run To You”
21. Bon Jovi “What Do You Got?”
22. Foo Fighters “My Hero”
23. R.E.M. “Man On The Moon”
24. Nicki Minaj “Save Me” (Clean Version)
25. Sade “By Your Side”
26. Michael Buble “Hold On” (Radio Mix)
27. Justin Bieber “Pray” (Acoustic)
28. Adele “Make You Feel My Love”
29. Enya “If I Could Be Where You Are”
30. Elton John “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”
31. John Mayer “Waiting On The World To Change”
32. Queen “Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)” [Remastered]
33. Kings Of Leon “Use Somebody”
34. Sting “Fragile” (Live In Berlin)
35. Leona Lewis “Better In Time”
36. Ne-Yo “One In A Million”
37. Shakira “Whenever, Wherever”
38. Norah Jones “Sunrise”
For more SONGS FOR JAPAN click here.
Proceeds from “Songs for Japan” will be directed to the Japanese Red Cross Society (JRCS) to support its disaster relief efforts. The society will use the funds for the ongoing provision of immediate relief and for eventual recovery support to the affected population. The artists participating on “Songs for Japan,” the music labels and music publishers have waived their royalties and proceeds from the worldwide sales of the album to ensure that the JRCS receives as much support as possible from this global initiative. iTunes will also donate its proceeds from the album’s worldwide sales to the benefit of the JRCS, and has prominently featured the project throughout its stores worldwide.
When certain bands come to town I am forced not to photograph them because of something in the industry known as a rights grabber. A rights grabber is a contract that is normally handed to you right before you obtain your photopass at a show that you are forced to sign in order to get your photopass and be able to photograph the event.
Sometimes these contracts are harmless and state things like you will only use the photos for editorial uses and not for anything commercial. Which I am totally fine with like most concert photographers are, because we are in the business of licensing photos for editorial uses to music mags, websites, papers, etc. We are here to help promote that artist and get their name out as many places and outlets that we can. Publicity is the name of the game for concert photographers.
Publicity is the main reason why we are allowed to receive photo passes to get the access that we do to photograph all the amazing artists that we do. We rub their backs by having photos and stories published of them to promote their bands and tours and they rub ours back by allowing us to photograph them in exchange. In the world of concert photography we are very limited to access as it is, the norm is that we only get the first three songs of the show to photograph without use of any flash. With some bigger acts sometimes we have to stand all the way back at the soundboard to photograph the artist and we are not allowed close access up front in the pit. All of the limitations should be no problems for a professional. Sometimes we get crazy restrictions (first 30 seconds, only shoot from one
side, etc) but I wont bother to get into that as that is a totally different topic for discussion.
The main point that you need to know is that we get access to photograph artists in exchange for getting their bands publicity.
Then comes acts like Lady Gaga that recently appeared with a “rights grabber” contract in order to photograph her. In the past there was no contract for her and there were no problems. However Lady Gaga is not the first act to have such terrible contracts, she just got a lot of news lately mainly because she is a higher profile artist.
Artists such as Janet Jackson, Beastie Boys, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Stone Temple Pilots, KISS, Janes Addiction, Gogol Bordello, Steven Seagall, MGMT, Queens of the Stone Age, Cheap Trick,The Mars Volta, Matchbox 20, AFI, Sonic Youth, and many more have all felt the need to have rights grabbers. Some of these acts still have them while some have decided to change for the better on their policies.
There are two main types of rights grabbers out there at the moment, there are the full blown rights grabbers where artist owns all rights to your photos and then there are ones that state artists are allowed to you any of your photos for whatever they want without payment. Both types are totally unacceptable and a slap in the face to any photographer. I mean how would the artist feel if just by playing a venue they had to give up rights to their songs to that venue?
Why are rights grabbers bad in general?
When there are rights grabbers it basically means that any photo that the
photographer takes at a show, they no longer own them anymore and have no rights to use them in the future in any way. They are no longer the photographers photos. Which means it takes away their rights to license the photo editorially for any publications that
wish to use a photo of a artist for a story in the future preventing extra publicity for that artist. Not only do you not own your photos anymore, it also gives the artist or the management the rights to use the photographers photos for whatever they wish, whether it be to promote the band or for commercial uses such as t-shirts, cd covers, box sets, posters, etc. To add insult to injury most of these rights grabbers make you waive your moral rights also, which means when they use your photos that you no longer own, they do not even have to give you credit for using them. So in the future when you see the photo that you taken on posters, the bands websites or cd covers, it most likely
will not have your name on it. So you have nothing to show for your work because legally they do not even have to credit you not to mention they dont have to pay you for using them also.
Most concert photographers make peanuts to cover a show, they depend on owning rights for licensing their photos to editorials and publications in the future to make ends meat. With rights grabbers this is not possible for them to to license their photos anymore for editorial uses.
Why are there rights grabbers in the first place?
A lot of concert photgraphers notice that a lot of the above listed artists are represented by the New York publicity firm Nasty Little Man. When Steve Martin who owns the firm, was asked about the contracts, he said that those stipulations are up to the bands and their managers. and stated “In my experience it often comes from artists who’ve been stuck having to pay a ton for a shot they want for a box set, merch, etc. and that having the parameters set for such transactions in a legal document can keep that from happening in the future.”
Another reason that I was told by various managements was that it was there to protect the artists image so that the photos are not used for unethical uses such as tabloids, etc. They also mention that it was no big deal and if the bands ever wanted your photos they would still pay you to license them, even though legally they don’t have to and they already own them.
So basically, Steve is saying because one, two, or many bands had to pay a premium for good photography in the past for merch that they are forced to enforce the rights grabbers. I dont know specifics about these bands paying a ton for a photo for box sets, etc., or if it ever really happened at all or if its just a cop out that the management tells the band to scare them into using a rights grabber so that management can get free photos in the future. I do know however that if I asked all the bands they probably would not have a clue what I was talking about when I tell them about the rights grabber and why I was told that it was being used. Im not saying that it never happened, maybe the “ton” that was paid for that photo on a box set was really just a manager getting mad because the photographer refused to let the band use a free photo. Or maybe he was really asking for a million. Like I said, I never heard any specifics on the story to prove that it ever really happened and no one will ever fess up details about it. All in all this is no reason to go overboard and punish all the working professionals over one photographers actions.
Some photographers personally think that this excuse is a cop out used by managements in order to get free photos. Then again I personally know some photographers that have been paid for a photo usage of photos that they did not own because they signed the rights grabber. As stated above that some bands will still pay you for the usage even with the rights grabbers, which really just defies the point of the grabber in first place.
I have personally asked bands about these contracts when they had one, half the time the band has no idea about them and are oblivious to the fact that they exsist. As for the bands that are aware of them, they normally tell me what management has told them, that its there to protect their images from being used unethically, wheter the managment
does not want their photos on the wire, or tabloids, etc. But when you tell them what the contract is really saying and how it takes photographers rights they normally are shocked and or appalled about the issue. The sad part is that even when they are made aware of it, it never changes most likely due to managment decisions are final.
As for the excuse that these contracts are around just to protect the artists image from the photos being used the wrong way. Which seems to be the main reason that these contracts really exist. This is the most ass backwards thinking that could ever exsist.
Their reasoning is that if they own all rights to the photos, then they will not get used in anyway without their permission. Well they are right on that, but that only applies to professional photographers that play by the rules. But what they fail to realize is that the problem with photos ending up in the wrong places will always exist, with rights grabbers or no rights grabbers.
The rights grabbers are not really doing any thing to prevent the problem. Why is that you ask? Well the problem does not lie in the professional photographers, it lies in the unprofessional ones, and the fans that bring cameras into shows. Most of the photos of artists that are put into bad light, sent to tabloids, and used in unethical ways are from fan
photos from the crowd or the non professional photographers that will sign any contract handed to them because they plan on selling and using the photos unethically in the first place. With these people contracts do not stop them from doing what they are going to do in the first place. The only thing that will is better control on who gets passes or letting cameras into venues.
There is a big problem in the process of getting credentialed for photo passes. You will see anything in the pit these days from professional shooters, point and shoot cameras, to people with cell phone cameras. It is sad but true I must say when you are a professional trying to work when you see someone standing next to you with a photo pass and a camera phone taking photos.
But the major problem is the unprofessional photographers. When they are given a rights grabbing contract, they will take the contract and sign it and shoot. After the shoot, they will sell the photos to whoever is paying, unethical or not. They do not care about that rights grabber that they signed, they are going to do what they want to do.
Then you have a professional photographer, who is actually there working for a publication that is going to get the band some major publicity. They get the rights grabber, but have to refuse to sign it, and in return they do not get to photograph the show because of it. Why did they refuse to sign it? Because professionals actually play by the rules, and with those set of rules, it does not allow them to use the photos ever again. Not to mention that sometimes the company they are shooting for wont allow them to sign it because the company owns all rights to photos that they shoot because they are work for hire, the photographer actually has no legal ability to sign the contract cause they give their rights to the company they are shooting for and that company wont allow them to give up their rights thus killing any publicity. This is the case for most photographers that work for newspapers, they do not own their rights in the first place the paper does, so when they get these agreements, it just means that story that was going to run in the paper wont happen. Then there are the normal freelancers that will refuse to sign it out of ethics. Which again kills any publicity.
If by chance a professional is allowed to sign it, they sign, and they forfeit their rights to the photos and only get to use them for what they are shooting for and get paid from that company for the one time use of the photos. Then they can never use the photos again because they sign their rights away and no longer own them. They just photographed the show because they needed money to pay bills.
So if rights grabbers are around because of photos being used unethically, then they have to realize that they are not solving the problem by enforcing them and all it is doing is creating more problems because of it.
So here is where I am going to list the pros and cons of rights grabbers on the music industry side.
Pros : Bands / Management get free use of photos for whatever they want without having to credit or pay photographers.
Cons: No newspapers will cover bands with grabbers.
Most professional photographers will not sign them thus leaving amateur shooters taking less quality photos.
Unprofessional photographers will still use photos for the wrong reasons because they sign and shoot without reading contracts.
Less Professional Publicity is received.
Now you have to ask, do the pros out weigh the cons? In these days free photos are worth their weight in gold I assume.
Solutions to the problem?
There are alternative ways to make both parties happy but the voice of photographers is too small to make a difference in the big music industry as this has been the case for years as these contracts have gotten more and more out of control. The ideal contract
would be none at all and many big artists have realized this, and they normally play by the rule that any publicity is good. Some artists that do not have any contracts at all include acts such as Madonna, Elton John, U2, etc. etc. etc. Now if these big artists do not need rights grabbers, then why does any artist. It really makes you think about other motives for them.
So it comes down to managements saying that rights grabbers exist for these reasons but the wording in the contracts say noting about the reasons they say they are for in the first place. If these contracts were truly being used for these for the reasons that were stated the wording would read different. For example, if they were worried about paying too much to license a photo, the contract could say that you agree to license photos to the band at a fair market value if they want them. Or it would say you agree to only use the photos editorially. But managements refuse to change the wording because they know that the way they have it worded means free photos.
But if there has to be a contract, it should only state that the photographer will only use the photos editorially and not commercially without artist prior consent. Although this still will not prevent the non professionals from doing bad things with the photos. You have to realize that it is going to happen despite any precautions one takes rights grabbers or not.
If one wanted to take precautions for such they should be looking into a better process on screening photographers that apply for credentials and have better security measures at shows and fans bringing cameras in. By doing this it would probably stop a lot of the misuse from happening in the first place.
If the bands are worried about getting ripped off for licensing photos down the line, why not find a photo from the 1000 of other photographers out there that are willing to be fair with licensing, or if they really wanted that particular photo they could get it by other means. I can not say that I do not know one photographer that would pass up on licensing a photo to a band for a lower rate if not free, if that band gave the photographer unlimited photo access to their next event. Money is not the only thing we accept, we are able to barter. Then again, there will always be that one photographer who has a stick up their butt and trys to rip a band off. But that is life, there are always going to be bad apples out there.
If you are management, the real question you should be asking before deciding on having a rights grabber is should you be punishing all professional photographers for the actions of one or a few bad ones? Concert photographers are hard working artists that do this out of the love of the art and not in it for the money as most of us have multiple jobs on the side just to support us being able to pay for camera gear, gas, time, to get to the shows to support you, the artist, by giving you free publicity. The thinking that putting these rights grabbers out will prevent anything mention above is ridiculous thinking.
Why did I write this in depth article on rights grabbers when it comes to concert photography?
The main reason is that I want to make the world aware on this plague that our small community has to put up with on a daily basis and hopefully will make some higher ups in the industry realize what they are doing is not only evil, and wrong but it robs photographers of their art and lively hood. It also prevents the higher quality publicity that bands deserve and for what? To save a few dollars from that one mystery photographer ripping a mystery band off on a photo for their box set.
Also I am personally getting fed up lately of all the concerts that I have had to turn down because of these contracts, while I see unprofessional photographers still shooting them because they do not abide by these contracts, while the professionals sit out and miss the shows. Preventing professionals from using their own photos while the unprofessional photographers are using them in any way despite signing the contracts has to end.
The industry has this notion that concert photographers are making a ton of money off of their artists and are exploiting them, but what they dont realize is that 99.9% of professional concert photographers have to have multiple jobs just to keep doing what they
love. Its what we put all of our passion into, and that is making their artists look good while getting them the most publicity that they can receive at the same time.
who am I?
I vow to remain anonymous do to the nature of this industry because if someone disagrees with something that I said above then I would most likely be blacklisted from photographing certain concerts. I personally have been professionally been photographing artists for over ten years and supplying many photos to publications worldwide. I have been doing this out of the love for concert photography and I live off of my paycheck week to week from my part time job not photgraphy. I am well known in this industry and I can barely afford to keep my
camera gear running with the money I make from concerts. I will stay in the game as long as I can.
This Manifesto may be re-posted anywhere at no cost.
Taken from here.
From USA TODAY:
The concert business will end 2010 on a sour note, Live Nation Executive Chairman Irving Azoff told analysts today.
“We’re still not seeing a consumer recovery” in ticket sales, after a summer when revenues declined, Azoff said at a meeting organized by Liberty Media. Liberty owns 14% of Live Nation, the No. 1 owner of concert halls and, with Ticketmaster, an e-commerce powerhouse.
Next year may improve, he said, as hitmakers who sat on the sidelines in 2010 plan major tours. He’s especially optimistic that the cast of the TV show Glee, Van Halen, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, and Fleetwood Mac will fill arenas and ampitheaters.
Read the whole article here.
***EDITOR’S NOTE: Sure Glee and Van Halen MAY pack arenas in 2011. But Christina Aguilera already cancelled her tour this year because of poor ticket sales. Fleetwood Mac has always been steady ticket sellers but they’ve gone the way of the Eagles (who cancelled shows this year also) and the Rolling Stones as far as insanely escalating ticket prices. Is the general public going to shell out up to $200 each to see the Mac do a greatest hits package yet again? Sure they forked it over for Lady Gaga this summer, but she is the anomaly not the norm this concert year.
You want to pack arenas again? You want to sell tickets again? It’s a simple fix that everyone in the industry except Live Nation seem to understand. Lower the ticket price.
Do you know where your ticket price comes from? first and foremost it is the band’s guarantee. So if the smoking gun is to be believed, Aerosmith received $1,000,000 per gig for their last 18 show run. The production costs of the show equal the second part of the ticket price. Everything from the local crew (people that set up and tear down the show) to dressing room demands, to feeding up to 100 people backstage two or three meals per show (say $25,000 per show).
If your local venue holds 15,000 people then for the last Aerosmith tour $66.66 went to the artist Guarantee and $2 went to production cots. That’s $68.00 per 15,000 people, assuming the show sells out. Most promoters don’t bet on a sell out. They take HALF the house as a figure to base the ‘break even’ point for each show. Here the math gets fuzzy and harder to figure out. Now the promoters have come up with a sliding scale for tickets. You want to get sweat on by a band? Then they figure you’ll pay up to $200 or more for that privilege. You want to smoke a joint in the nosebleed sections then you are only paying $60 or so.
It all boils down to the promoters paying too much money for the rights to the artists’ tour. Most of the major promoters have seen this and are attempting to get the bands to lower their guarantees. Allowing them to lower their ticket price, thus getting more people through the door to sell merchandise and beer to. Live Nation wants to be the biggest, and the baddest, so they keep over bidding for artists and over paying them to ensure that LN has more tours, more shows, and more artists than anyone else.
This results in you the music fan having to decide if you want to shell out your hard earned money in this cash strapped economy to see your favorite band or to sit at home and pay a bill, or get your car repaired. When concert tickets are as much as new car payments, your decision is pretty simple.
Based on the spring and summer concert ticket sales for 2010 it seems you the music fan and concert goer have spoken out by simply NOT buying high dollar tickets. Most promoters AND artists have heard you. And they are working to reduce ticket costs while still making money themselves (after all music IS a business… sadly).
Live Nation, based on many industry reports and articles I have read, haven’t figured that out yet. They want to be top dog. And they seem to be saying they’ll get there regardless of you, the fan, (read you the bottom line… you pay their bills, not the artists, not their employees, you the one buying the tickets) and how these ridiculously high ticket prices negatively impact you.
San Francisco Bay Area thrash legends, DEATH ANGEL, were recently used in a psychological study that shows liked and disliked music are equally disruptive to serial recall. The disliked music in the study… the song “Thrashers” by DEATH ANGEL. Dr. Nick Perham explained his reasoning by using DEATH ANGEL as the “disliked” music in the study:
“We needed a track that most participants would say they did not like. Having been a fan of metal music since my teens, I was pretty confident that a thrash metal song would do the trick as most people never seemed to like the music I liked. In choosing a thrash metal song, I needed a song that was heavy but also allowed the listener to hear many of the different components of the song – the acoustical variation between the successive sound items. We chose ‘Thrashers’. Participants were only allowed to participate in the study if they disliked thrash metal as a musical genre.
Personally, I have been a fan of DEATH ANGEL since The Ultra-Violence’and saw them at the Bristol Bierkeller around 1990 supporting the Act III album.”
For decades research has shown that listening to music can alleviate anxiety and depression, enhance mood, as well as increase cognitive functioning such as spatial awareness. However, until now, research has not addressed how we listen to music. For instance, is the cognitive benefit still the same if we listen to music whilst performing a task, rather than before it? Further, how does our preference for a particular type of music affect performance? A new study from Applied Cognitive Psychology shows that listening to music that one likes whilst performing a serial recall task does not help performance any more than listening to music one does not enjoy.
The researchers explored the ‘irrelevant sound effect’ by requiring participants to perform serial recall (recall a list of 8 consonants in presentation order) in the presence of five sound environments – quiet, liked music (e.g., RIHANNA, LADY GAGA, STRANGLERS and ARCADE FIRE), disliked music (the track ‘Thrashers’ by DEATH ANGEL), changing-state (a sequence of random digits such as ‘4, 7, 1, 6’) and steady-state (‘3, 3, 3’). Recall ability was approximately the same, and poorest, for the music and changing-state conditions and the most accurate recall occurred when participants performed the task in the quieter steady-state environments.
Lead researcher Nick Perham explains: “The poorer performance of the music and changing-state sounds are due to them containing lots of acoustical variation the order of which impairs the ability to recall the order of items, via rehearsal, within the presented list. Other tasks and processes that also require the ability to retain order information in the short-term via rehearsal, such as mental arithmetic, may be similarly affected by their performance in the presence of changing-state, background environments.”
Although music can have a very positive effect on our general mental health, music can, in the circumstances described, also have negative effects on cognitive performance. Perham remarks, “Most people listen to music at the same time as, rather than prior to, performing a task but to reduce the negative effects of background music when recalling information in order, one should either perform the task in quiet or only listen to music prior to performing the task.”
DEATH ANGEL‘s new album Relentless Retribution is set for release on September 3rd in Europe and the 14th in North America via Nuclear Blast Records.
Relentless Retribution Track Listing:
1. Relentless Revolution
2. Claws In So Deep
4. Into The Arms of Righteous Anger
5. River Of Rapture
6. Absence Of Light
7. This Hate
8. Death Of The Meek
9. Opponents At Sides
10. I Chose The Sky
12. Where They Lay
For more DEATH ANGEL click here.