No Band For You… Six Months!

28 01 2009
Top o' the mornin' to ya, Gov'na!

Top o' the mornin' to ya, Gov'na!

Browsing around CNN.com this morning, I found a particular story that further proved how ridiculous we’ve become in America. John Coleman, the drum major for Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes & Drums, quit after some hard to handle and (what I call) unnecessary publicity.

At the Inauguration of President Obama, the CFMP&D (try pronouncing that 10 times fast) marched in the parade. Obama reportedly smiled directly at John, and then waved at the band. Doing what any polite person would do, John nodded in acknowledgement and gave the President-to-be a slight wave in return. Sounds like a non-issue, right? Think again… According to Ken Rybka, the band’s Manager and Web Page Editor, the band rehearsed over and over, and knew it was a military parade. “Protocol and proper decorum had to be followed”, he said, according to CNN.com. For breaking “protocol”, John Coleman was suspended for… count it… six months. What I can’t grasp is the idea that a nod of the head, a smile, or a wave would be gestures that warrant any kind of suspension, regardless of the “protocol”. Sure, the band has rules, I get that. It’s definitely not my place to say someone was wrong here, but I can only imagine the amount of excitement, pride, and joy that Mr. Coleman felt when Obama looked right at him. What’s even better, is that Rybka is quoted to say that Coleman’s resignation “comes as a shock and surprise.”

Seriously?… Shock?… Surprise?… Would you like your name to be thrown all over national airwaves for something as minor as a wave, smile, and a nod of the head? Give me a break! Nobody needs this kind of attention for something so unimportant. To Mr. Coleman (and this is just my opinion here), he had a chance to connect with the oncoming President of the United States for just a moment, and that’s excitement that many would be foolish to pass up. It’s unfortunate that this country’s media, yet again, doesn’t fail to impress with the amount of non-stories out there, making Mr. Coleman an “innocent victim” (I put that in quotations because George Carlin, RIP, had a lot to say about the term ‘Innocent Victim’).

In review: Obama looked at Coleman. Coleman was excited. Coleman nodded, smiled, and waved at Obama. Coleman was suspended for breaking “protocol”. Coleman’s suspension became a national story. Coleman quits due to the publicity becoming a bit much to handle.

What have we accomplished?: Nothing positive. My thanks go out to the national media, who never fail to impress me with their lack of important stories, making me blog about this when I could be blogging about the Mets!… wait… nevermind… as long as Citibank has their name plastered all over the Mets franchise, I’ll pass.

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Matt Has an Epiphany!

16 04 2008

My dear friend and musical partner in crime, Matt, has been locking himself in his room for days. I couldn’t find any way to get him to come out! Finally, I had a friend of ours plant a webcam in his room to find out what in the world he’s been doing with himself. Our findings were shocking… take a look.

Red Alert! Mayday!





Damn Thijs, You Scary!

3 04 2008

Not really… just the singer. See, when I saw this video of Focus performing ‘Hocus Pocus’, I was way more taken in by the drummer’s ridiculous skills. But when Thijs van Leer opened his mouth, my jaw dropped. At first, I wanted to shut the video off as quickly as possible. I felt a little concerned about the well-being of his vocal chords. But after a while, I finally opened up to all of the cool improvising he was getting into (especially the whistling and the flute playing). So, in retrospect, I’m not scared of Focus at all. They were and still are a kickass progressive rock band. So please, enjoy some Focus!

Absolutely kickass!





Major League Greedball – Cabreraball

24 03 2008

This morning, I read an article on ESPN.com about another “big” signing in Major League Baseball. The Detroit Tigers are all set to sign newly acquired 3rd Baseman, Miguel Cabrera, to an 8-year contract worth $153.3 Million! If I wasn’t annoyed about salaries in professional sports, I am now. I’m not going to make any “Statistical” arguments about why nobody in baseball should make nearly that much. I’m going to make a more practical argument.

Everyday in this country, teachers are getting short-changed. Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world. I’m not a teacher, but I have a lot of friends who are, and who are struggling to make a living for themselves because they don’t make nearly as much as they deserve. What can a teacher do for you? A teacher can give you building blocks and motivate you to be whoever and do whatever you want to be successful. A teacher can show you that you should always reach for your dreams and goals. Education is so important in the growth of our children in this country, and all over the world. As a matter of fact, teachers are so important, that they could teach people like Rosanne Barr how NOT to sing the National Anthem like this…

I remember this… and I remember throwing up afterwards…

They could also give Ashlee Simpson’s sound guy come sound career advice when he screws things up for poor Miss Simpson…

“Saving her voice” my @ss. If she can’t hold her own on stage and resorts to ‘over-dubbing’, then she shouldn’t be performing live…

What kind of message does this Cabrera contract signing send towards the children of this country who need education and teachers? In my own opinion, it doesn’t send any positive messages towards the kids of America, except for a message of greed. Basically, if you can play baseball well, you’ll be rewarded with all the money you could dream of. So, play the game to get rich… because if you play the game unselfishly and because you love the game, you’ll end up making as much as a Tampa Bay Ray. (I still think of them as the Devil Rays)

When I see my elementary school, middle school, and high school teacher friends making as much as professional athletes, I’ll be more interested in the sport of baseball, and other professional sports, like I was when I was growing up. It’s one thing to earn a living, being a professional athlete. But to play the game for greed is a whole other story.

But on another note, as a Mets fan, I sure am glad to see Miguel in the American League. Happy Trails, Miguel!





FameCast: Traffic and Auditing

2 11 2007

Approaching the final leg of it’s Third Season, FameCast.com has been slowly becoming a player in online competitions for musicians, performers, dancers, filmmakers, and animation artists. It’s popularity has matched it’s rival-like site, MusicNation. The main difference between the two was the process of voting. MusicNation allowed artists and fans to vote for their favorite artists once per day during each competition’s season. FameCast, however, only allowed artists and fans to cast one vote per round for each contestant throughout a season.

This past October, FameCast changed its ways, and allowed its users to cast one vote per day for each artist they choose to vote for. Instantly, site traffic saw a major increase, and advertisers seemingly started to pop up all over the website. Once can only imagine the kind of Advertisment Revenue this has created for FameCast.

FameCast Site Stats
Daily Site Stats as of 11/2/07 for FameCast.com
Full stats can be found here

But just last night, the rankings had suddenly changed on one of FameCast’s ‘stages’, and a negative buzz is starting to fly around artists and fans on the site. Most of the buzz is coming from those who were directly affected by the loss of what FameCast calls “illegitimate votes”. Artists had dropped from a range of 10-17 ranks by around 6:00pm Eastern. Fans have start to bombard the forums looking for answers, and questioning FameCast’s own legitimacy. Part of FameCast’s current response states:

“…Please remember that if an Artist’s rank drops, this does not necessarily mean that the Artist has been falsifying votes, but that he or she may have received illegitimate votes from another source.”

In the end, is it completely fair for an artist to have no real control over their final ranking? Maybe not. But there are two questions I can think of that should be asked from both sides of the table. On the Fan/Artist side, will this issue be something that can be fixed in the future, thus eliminating the lack of trust this might create? On the side of FameCast, does the current “Audit Committee” method need to be changed, and is it going to directly affect the relationship between Site Traffic and Ad Revenue?

Personally, I’ve been involved in FameCast since its first Season. My band, Soundscape Soul performed in their Season 2 Finals. I’ve seen many positive results from our presence on the website. But we were one of the artists affected by the recent “Vote Audit” and therefore was taken out of the running on one stage, while having no options to fix the situation before it was done. We are still on another stage and planning on launching promotion campaigns for the next round, but I would rather see this current issue resolved and laid to rest.

What do you think about the recent “Vote Auditing” that just took place on FameCast? Do you think there’s a link between that and the need for Site Traffic? Will this affect that need? Sound off!





ExplainCast – Voice Your Opinion

1 11 2007

FameCast.com has thrown my band, Soundscape Soul, for a loop (and for the 3rd straight Season). Thanks to everybody’s support, we’ve kept up a #1 Ranking on the Pop Stage and have made it into the Top 10. On the Singer/Songwriter Stage, we had maintained a #3 Ranking. For some reason, we were knocked down to 20th while the voting was closed and therefore missed the cut into the Top 10 on that stage. FameCast has issued a response to the drop in rank by sending me this email:

“Hi Josh,
I apologize for the confusion regarding the drop; the Audit Committee had their work cut out for them.  As always, votes deemed illegitimate were removed and the ranks changed accordingly.  I assure you that your shift was the direct result of such action.
Thank you”

Please, if you have the time, visit this Forum on FameCast.com, login to or create your account, and post your feelings on what has happened and what you feel should be done to fix the “Vote Auditing” system. Your opinion matters, and can make a difference. You can also leave a comment here. If we can rack up enough comments here, I’ll go ahead and forward all of your suggestions and comments directly to FameCast.

What’s done is done, and our focus returns to the competition. Despite being knocked out of the Singer/Songwriter Stage, we’re still alive on the Pop Stage, and that’s where we’ll need your support the most! Our submission into the Pop Stage (since this new round must feature a new video) is a clip of us performing the first song we had ever written: “Her Song”. We performed this song at the Triad Theater in New York City back in March of 2006. I hope you all enjoy it, and can head over to FameCast.com to vote for the video. Voting will begin on Tuesday, November 6th at 9:00pm Eastern and last until Tuesday, November 20th at 12:00pm Eastern. Thanks again everyone, and enjoy this clip!

Soundscape Soul – “Her Song”





The Music Industry – An Outsider Looking In

23 03 2007

***The Following is a combined opinion of certain Music Industry Reps, Execs, Pros, and Artists who I’ve run into along the way***

Remember those friends and family members that said “Your band can go anywhere!” or “You’re gonna make it!”? Did you ever believe they were right? Do you believe that your music is an artform that will soon be appreciated by the masses because they will realize that you are an “Artists” and not some “Drone of the Industry”? Were you ever stuck in a place where you thought that you could play one or two shows, and be instantly picked up by a Record Label? I’ve got some pretty bad news for you. You were *wrong* to ever believe any of the above.

The Music Industry is just like any other industry across the world. It stays alive.. how? Money! How does it make that money? By housing, shopping, and promoting bands and artists that produce music the middle/wealthy class citizens of the world will enjoy, and eventually buy. So, you wanna make it? Then let today’s lesson begin.

You’re probably wondering where I get off making such a bold statement about *Your* music. Well, let’s give you a little history lesson about my industry background. Am I in the Music Industry? No… But I do have a band (hold your applause. There are millions of us out there). I’ve played “Industry Showcases”. I’ve been involved in Promoting my own music as well as for other bands and artists. My College Professors at SUNY Oneonta were all Industry Pros in their fields, so I learned a whole lot from their experiences.

My band is in an online competition at FameCast.com with a chance to win $10,000 and Global Exposure. If you would just click HERE, it only takes two minutes to find *Soundscape Soul’s* video, create an account and vote for us to make it to a Live show in Austin, TX where we….. Did you click? Did you vote? How many of you had even an inkling of a desire to click on that *HERE* text and send us your vote?

Promotion

So, you either clicked and voted, or you click, or you did non of the above. Why did you do what you chose to do? The most common answer would be “I clicked, but didn’t vote”. Why? Let’s show you a quote from a response that I personally received from Promotions involving my band and this competition.

Quote: “Music is art, not for promotion and making money. Go to hell, I’m sure there you can make money off of a pure Art Form. You’re disgusting.”

Now, that might have been a little harsh, but it holds true to a lot of people. But here’s the catch… that quote came from a Band on the world’s so-called “Best Networking Website for Artists and Bands to make a name for themselves”. I’m talking, of course, about MySpace. Can you name 10 Artists that *Started* on MySpace with zero following, and scored themselves national or worldwide fame through their *Friends* list? Take your time. What makes Promoting an ugly side of the industry, is that it came sometimes come off as a little bit desperate. Some *Music Purists* believe that an Artist’s music is meant to be heard because it is destined to be heard.. and that if the music is from the heart, their music will be remembered forever. Are we in the 1960s? That era has come and gone, probably before most of you were even born (I could be wrong).

Here’s another friendly reminder: Not everyone will like your music, and more importantly, you! There will always be 1 person, 100 people, 1,000 people (you get my point) that will dislike or even hate your music, and you, no matter how popular or unpopular you or your music ever becomes.

“Don’t forget us little people”/”Never forget where you came from”

I know you want to be believe that… so bad! Don’t you? People tell you that all the time. How many times a day do you think some Top 40 Bands actually keep in touch with ever single person that’s ever said those phrases above? Is it because they’ve become so uptight and full of themselves that they forgot “where they came from” or “the little people”? If you just thought “Yes”, then you need a lot more help than I thought. Most of the time, when you’ve hit the status of many Top Artists and Bands, you have *Zero* time to do anything you want to do. Why? Because they don’t run their lives anymore. That’s what the Record Labels and Managers are for!

If you’ve read this far, then you’re a trooper!

Now, let’s reveal my real feelings on the above discussion.

– Yes.. I’m in that band above.
– Yes.. I do believe that Music is an Art Form. I’ve believed that ever since I first started to sing when I was 11 years old.
– Yes.. I do believe that some popular bands are butchering popular music and shouldn’t even be allowed to perform.
– Yes.. I believe Live Shows (of top mainstream bands) stink these days, because Artists and Bands are being studio engineered to sound better on CD than they are on stage.
– Do I hope that the Mainstream side of the industry changes? You bet!
– Do I expect you to actually vote for my band? Only if you feel like taking the time to watch our video and if you truly enjoyed it.
– Do I hope you leave this page with some knowledge of how harsh the industry can be, even on the most simplistic level? 100% Yes.

Now, go forth and promote your music. Do it proudly. There will always be those among you who will dislike what you do. It’s their own opinions… and having an opinion is another thing that makes us all great.








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