PEARL JAM "TWENTY"
Just rented the Pearl Jam ‘20’ documentary on iTunes via Apple TV. Directed by Cameron Crowe it chronicles, first 20 years of the Pearl Jam story and even goes back quite a ways to document the pre-PJ line up of Mother Love Bone. As a long time Pearl Jam fan, I was surprised how little I really knew about this era and found it all quite informative. It is an amazing documentary, and even if you are not a PJ fan, you would be well worth it to watch this exhaustively detailed story of one the last truly great American rock bands.
Actually, truth be told, "long time Pearl Jam fan" isn't exactly correct. Big fan of "Ten" and "VS.", loved these albums, liked “Vitalogy”, but I really only know a handful of songs past these albums. I enjoyed the newer songs when I heard them, but I haven't checked out all the huge discography they’ve amassed. I was kinda Pearl Jam-ed out for a few years there but I've made an effort to catch them if they came thru, or in the rare chance we shared the same Euro Festival bill I always tried to catch their set. Simply put they are rockin' live!
And let me say that again, THEY ARE ROCKIN' LIVE! In fact, watching this documentary reminded (and I needed reminding) me of just how god damn rockin’ they were when they hit the scene back in the 90's. Watching some of the old footage from the “Ten”-era was thoroughly invigorating; they were spell-binding, goin' OFF onstage. I forgot how nutzo, and daring and exciting they truly were. Vedder hanging from balconies, the light truss, the ceiling, the water pipes, we’re talking 30, 40, 50 feet above the stage, then dropping into the crowd! That’s some serious daredevil shit back then and still now! The rest of the band seemed unaffected by this and just continued rockin, bashin' and headbangin', runnin' around doing what a “band” does, PLAY!
Anybody who lived through this era, can remember how Grunge just took over the WORLD for a minute, but watching (or re-watching) this live footage makes you remember why. The MTV Unplugged sesssion they did is fucking jaw-dropping. I was stoked to see the Unplugged DVD in the “Ten” re-issue a few years back. How they managed that much intensity acoustically?... so good.
I'll tell you my Pearl Jam story. I got into the Grunge scene early, I was drawn to punk rock vibe of it (and believe it or not, there was a lot of punk spirit in early Grunge) bands like Skin Yard (pre-Gruntruck who featured Tommy Niemeyer from The Accussed), Melvins, Tad, early Nirvana (though I never got into Green River or Mudhoney), I even kinda lump in Souls At Zero-era Neurosis probably just cause I saw Melvins and them together a lot. Anyway, Alice In Chains is opening for The Screaming Trees at The I-Beam in San Francisco. I was really digging AIC and in fact we caught them the night before to 30 people (!!) at The Omni in Oakland.
I walk into the above mentioned I-Beam and there is this band called Mookie Blaylock on stage. I think they suck! But as they finish, Rob Cavestany from Death Angel proceeds to roar to me how fucking amazing they were, and that they're the future of music! I tell him he's trippin', and that he’s he's on crack (Note to self, tell Rob he was right). A few months later I hear they're now called Pearl Jam and their debut album just came out and I check it out, because EVERYONE is talking about them. “Ten” is awesome and I flip out on it! I catch them when they headline the Warfield and it's electrifying! Later I catch them at the 1992 Lollapalooza… and the rest is well, history.
So the last time that I saw them was, man… horrible. Not the band, but the day itself. It was the tragic Roskilde Festival of 2000. We were playing the tent stage and it was Machine Head and Willie Nelson (I shit you not!), Machine Head was direct support to Willie fucking Nelson! It was awesome! Willie was cool as shit, let Dave and I hang out on his bus for about 15 minutes while he rolled / smoked joint after joint. After that I made my way over to the main stage to catch Pearl Jam who was supporting headliners The Cure. Who, coincidentally I got WAY into during ‘The Burning Red’-era despite the best efforts of my friend Gary to turn me on to them during the ‘Burn My Eyes’-era. But that’s another story.
As Pearl Jam started, the rain, which had been coming down all day, turned brutal and it was now fucking pouring down. I remember them starting and the excitement of the crowd, and then a few songs in, it just stopped, the promoter came out and began pleading with people. Eddie Vedder was up onstage begging the massive ocean of people to take three steps back, and then at one point the camera for the Jumbo-tron side-screens zoomed in on Eddie's face, tears were streaming down, and the camera just held on his face for what seemed like an eternity, a scene in a Quentin Tarantino movie... literally they were the longest two minutes ever. I'll never forget the look on his face as long as I live... it was horror.
I kept thinking to myself "fuck, just show something /ANYTHING else", it was all so public and impersonal.
People were dead, trampled to death after slipping underneath each other in the rain and mud.
It wasn't their fault.
That they held together after a tragedy like that is admirable, honorable, and deserved of a lifetime of respect.
When you’ve done this as long as I have, even if you don’t like a band, you respect the shit out of bands for the grace with which they handle their valleys, and every band has valleys. It’s a hard life, harder than most people know. Dimebag once said to me, “it’s not how you roll through the highs, it’s how you roll through the valley’s, and come back out outta them with class”.
That’s some solid advice.
I want to see Pearl Jam again. I don't want that to be the last time I see Pearl Jam. I don't want it to end on that note.
Just, like when I saw Muse the other night, I have now gone back and Spotify-ed a bunch of older and new albums, re-dug into the catalog. FUCK they're awesome! For anyone too young to remember or not up to speed on Pearl Jam check out this Spotify Playlist, or just watch the YouTube clips below.
Pearl Jam “20” Trailer
"Indifference" fan video
"Animal" (live at the '93 VMA's)
Spotify Pearl Jam Playlist
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MASTER CLEANSE AND ACOUSTIC SHOWS
I did the full 10 days on the Master Cleanse and ended up going 12 days just to make sure that I stayed sober and didn't fall off the wagon while still doing these shows. The shows were awesome, really, really, REALLY awesome! I needed this so bad. To everyone who came out to these shows and made them such a special and intense event, thank you. They got heavy, really heavy and I had no idea how heavy these would get. Therapeutic. I didn't know what to expect or what they would be like. I made no setlist except the opening and closing song. Chose songs we probably won't play live again or at least haven't played live in a reeeeeeeally long time, and cover songs we would never cover. To my surprise I ended up telling a lot of stories before each song. Every time I thought I'd been going-on too long with a story, ("am I talking too much?") people would ask for more. In Fullerton I got a "sto-ry, sto-ry, sto-ry" chant, it was hilarious.
It was surprising how fun these shows were. Hell, I'm playing a bunch of acoustic songs, not party metal! But it was a party here and there, and more than anything for our small group of 100 to 200 each night, it was a release. A massive communal release. I was choked up more than a few times, sing-a-longs were life-affirming and in San Diego I got an encore!! San Diego was amazing.
Lots of videos up on YouTube, some posted on the MH FB page and lots posted at the MH fansite TakeMyScars.com. Here are some I quickly found:
"Sunshine" (Alice In Chains cover, live in Riverside)
"The Burning Red" (live in Hollywood)
"Darkness Within" (live in San Diego)
GOJIRA LIVE AT THE FONDA CENTER
Man, just when you thought music couldn't get any heavier, somebody comes along and blows that theory out of the water! As the British would say, "fucking HELL?!". So tight, heavy, monstrously creative, great sound, great lights, heartfelt, and the occasionally bizarre between song banter, LOL. If I had one minor complaint it would be the second half of the set didn't flow very well. Song, break, song, break, nothing horrible but the momentum dropped.
Regardless, do not miss.
Going to shows was definitely a challenge on the Master Cleanse, having to bring that damn drink with you EVERYWHERE takes a lot of discipline. Most venues were very accommodating, in particular the Fonda Center where I also saw a really great performance by Quicksand.
CD'S VS STREAMING
Well you guys have spoken, and actually continue to speak as I still get emails pouring into my inbox. Quite a passionate response about this subject and deservedly so. Apparently my comments caused quite a stir.
Just to expand on my thoughts a bit:
Look, I'm in a band, I've lived on a bus/van/plane for well over 25 years of my life now. I live out of a suitcase, that resides on a tour bus, with 10 people (imagine a studio apartment on wheels, with 9 roommates) for 10 months out of a year at times. My life needs to be efficient, it needs to be compact, it needs to be portable. Sure, I used to carry a big-ass CD wallet everywhere with beer-soaked, scratched up CD's and it was a pain, so yeah, the Spotify / iTunes world fits me perfect.
But, I also realize this isn't most people's life.
Most people don't need the portability I do. Lot's of people said they love iTunes and streaming. Lot's of people said they would like a CD, and of course, for the time being we will continue to sell CD's. That's never been a question, as long as there are stores to stock CD's, we will sell CD's. And with Bandcamp.com and HDfiles.com offering CD quality and higher files, that's a cool thing the future is bringing to files. But also, as I'm sure as most of you know, stores to purchase CD's are getting harder and harder to find. HMV (the last UK based CD chain) just closed shop, FNAC and Virgin France just closed. Here in the US Best Buy has cut CD rack space down from 24 racks to 4 racks!
I have a ritual I've done for every release since Burn My Eyes in 1994, where first day I go in and buy our album. Call it good luck or whatever, I love my rituals. But believe you me, I was stunned, STUNNED, when I went into Ameoba Records in Hollywood (I was in LA on the Jason Ellis show day of release) and saw our regular album NOT on sale, but full price for $16.99. I spent $40 bucks buying the 2 editions. It was wrong, it's supposed to be on sale the first week / first month. You reward the die-hards, reward the Head Cases for going out there and supporting you first day/week/month. It's a thank you. We were pissed and fans weren't stoked. Shit like this has to change, it has to, and we as a band (with your help) have to figure out a way around it.
So many great shows this month, at Gojira I ran into Robert Trujillo who was rad enough to get the wife and I into Muse at the Oakland Arena (Muse and Met have the same management). All I can say is, WOW, fuckin' WOOOOOOOOOW!! Sure, their new record blows (a serious lack of rocking) but man, still one of my faves and they put on one of the best shows out there. "Newborn" (dedicated to James and Lars) and "Knights Of Cydonia" were earth-shattering. Mind-boggling light show, fantastic setlist, showmanship, Bellamy is ridiculously-annoyingly talented, all of 'em are, such a great band. They started really early (were done by 10PM) so Genevra and I missed the first 5 or 6 songs, bummer, and parking at the Oakland Arena was $35 FUCKING DOLLARS!?!? Really?! $35 bucks to park for what, 3 hours? I hope Muse is getting a cut, or maybe I don't if that's the way things are going. Never the less, RAD show.
NAMM is a nightmare. If you're not in band, it's probably amazing but if you're in a band, it's the worlds biggest Guitar Center, except with celebrity gawkers who want to take pictures with famous people and most of the time have no idea who you are, which is... well... weird! Plus everyone with an iPhone, thinks they're a fucking journalist and wants to interview you for their stupid YouTube page / website, so that THEY can get something from it. I fucking hate journalists, and I hate smarmy, clueless, American journalists even more. There's probably 6 good ones in the whole country. The rest are lazy hacks, who don't do their research, don't care about the music, they don't believe, they're repeaters, repeating the same tired-ass BS about the "U.S. version" of the Machine Head "story". Thankfully the U.S. Head Cases know better.
It is fun to hang out with my band bros though and I love geeking out on the gear too, as I'm an analog pedal junkie. Love to keep up with the new digital stuff, LOVE my Axe FX, and it was cool to see "some" of our friends at the companies who do back us. But if I could sum up the feeling I had walking through there... I felt like a prostitute showing off my wares ("22 Acacia Avenue" was going through my head the whole time). "Like what you see?" "Am I cool enough for you to give me free shit, or, keep giving me free shit?" "Or get the Artist Discount?" (which is the new buzzword, meaning it's cheaper, but I can actually get it for way cheaper buying with our Guitar Center discount). I walked away feeling empty. Empty inside, empty outside. Maybe everything I'm going through exaggerated that feeling, but...
Dave, Phil and I practiced the other day and it was a really productive first jam session. McClain had about 5 rockin riffs, Demmel brought in the skeleton of what feels like a great song and I had a few riffs that we rocked on, no full songs, but solid riffs. It felt good, good to be moving on from Locust. Super proud of that record, but it's time to move on, and we're ready to move on.
Bring on the future with an open embrace.
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MASTER CLEANSE AND THE WAGON
I'm on day 8 of my fifth Master Cleanse, and just like when I started doing these Master Cleanses back in Jan. of 2010, I'm "back on The Wagon... again"... (sung to the tune of "I'm baaaaack in the saddle aga-a-ain"). Meaning, I'm off booze, cigarettes, post-surgery pain pills and other bad habits... again. While I'm not sure how long my stint of sobriety will last, it will at least until I have my head back in check.
I did the full 10 day Master Cleanse back in May 2011 during the recording of Unto The Locust, I sang most of the vocal tracks and played a lot of the guitar tracks while on The Cleanse. It was great, put me in a good headspace. I only managed a disappointing 3 day last year, but I wasn't sober. As part of my rehab, I've booked some small acoustic shows at clubs and bars along the way down to LA for NAMM. Just me and my tech Scott driving all over California in my 4-Runner, trying to... I dunno... trying to get lost, I guess. Half cover songs, half MH tunes, all done acoustic, no setlist, making it up as I go. I played last night in Hollywood and it was really, really cool. Had a blast, told stories, laughed, it got pretty heavy at times, hung with some great people, it was therapeutic as fuck.
I need to do this. I need to challenge myself, I need to go out there and play some shows, get out of my comfort zone and shake myself up, be alone, on my own. I'm not happy right now, I need to figure this shit out, I need it find that fire again, inspiration, or, I don't know even what I'm searching for, something, and I feel like this might help me find a part of it. It's the most excited I've been about something in a long while.
HE IS LEGEND
Been geeking out on these guys, got a little more info. I guess they started out pretty hot with their first album, AP covers, karate-chopping hardcore kids at their shows, and then, they tried to change on their 2nd album, went with a name producer, apparently it didn't work for whatever reason, and there was a big backlash from the notoriously-un-loyal-Christian-hardcore/metal-scene (the irony), which they humorously chronicle in the video for Attack of the Dungeon Witch
Then, like so many bands before them, faced with the possibility of not having a fan base, they wrote an album that was only for themselves and nobody else, they went inward, they didn't give a fuck if the "scene" didn't like them. And they made "It Hates You", masterpiece.
Now, I'm probably romanticizing parts of their story, because well, I cant tell you how much I am loving this band. My sons Zander and Wyatt are loving this band, hell, even Genevra likes a few songs and she rarely likes anything rockin' these days. But even after all that, unfortunately, it didn't click, old fans abandoned them, new fans didn't get it, and in 2011, they went on hiatus. Maddeningly, there is so little documentation of the "It Hates You" tunes live on YouTube that it's a crime, A CRIME I SAY! I've heard that they recently got back together and are doing local shows on weekends and holidays, let's hope they can keep it going, I'd LOVE to see them.
To me though, their story, is every thing that's right with music, it is the power of music, it lives forever, through word of mouth, through people spreading the album around, through this modern day world online, (thank fuck they're on Spotify). Maybe the time wasn't right for them, maybe the moment wasn't right, but this bands music lived on to move, thrill, and blow away. It did for me.
I'd like to thank MetalSucks.net for filling me in on some backstory with these two great articles:
"What's up with HiL"
PROTEST THE HERO
Congrats to one my favorite bands Protest The Hero for raising $227,000 in 6 days to fund their upcoming album (over $100,000 dollars on the first day alone!) with a Kickstarter-style fundraiser platform called Indigogo. Amazing!! Anyone interested donating, go here: http://www.indiegogo.com/protestthehero
Speaking of NAMM Phil and I will be there this year. Phil is doing a signing at the Jackson booth Sat. at 2PM, Phil and I will be at the EMG booth Sat. at 11AM, and I will be doing a short acoustic set at the upstairs Epiphone booth on Fri. at 4PM
Hope to see some of you there!
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**UPDATE** Dates Finalized For Robb Flynn Acoustic Performances:
In anticipation of his upcoming acoustic performance Friday, January 25th at NAMM, Robb has decided to book 4 acoustic shows at various bars and intimate clubs in the greater Orange County/Los Angeles area. He will be performing a mix of cover songs and re-interpreted Machine Head songs, so if you're around, come on down!
Mon Jan 21st: On The Rox, Hollywood, CA
Wed Jan 23rd: Mission Tobacco Lounge, Riverside, CA
Thu Jan 24th: Brick By Brick, San Diego, CA
Sat Jan 26th: The Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen, Fullerton, CA
Robb will be performing at 9:30PM on all nights, check venue websites for support and other info.
As these shows are very last minute please "share" this as much as possible, re-post, re-tweet, and spread the word in whatever way you can.
THE JOURNAL "SACK"
A massive, incredibly passionate response about this subject, many are printed below for all to see. Thanks for taking the time to answer me, it's appreciated.
To clarify a couple questions:
1) Machine Head made 180 gram premium double vinyl for both The Blackening and Unto The Locust, check Amazon or eBay.
2) UTL came with a digital booklet on both the special edition and the regular iTunes versions, which apparently no one looked at : )
THE GENERAL JOURNALS "NUT SACK":
Amazon just started selling cd's with "autorip". This is pretty much the best of both worlds. You order a CD and it immediately appears in your cloud fully digital, ready to be streamed to your phone, pc, tablet etc. No need to wait to for the CD to arrive in the mail to hear it, you can start listening as soon as you buy it. Than a few days later your physical copy shows up at your door MEGA! Perfect for
someone like me who loves the convenience of digital but still loves an old-school backup copy. I also dig vinyl with a download code.
Tod aka Ratchetjaw
Ben from MetalSucks here. Big fan, as you know. I read your recent journal entry about the record biz and just wanted to let you know that I completely agree: streaming is the future and physical formats are all but dead (except for vinyl, which at this point is basically sold as a "souvenir"… people just like having it but never listen to the actual disc).
Four years ago I was praising Spotify, way before it launched in the U.S. (but it was available in Europe) and everyone said I was crazy. Last year when Spotify U.S. finally launched I wrote about it extensively on MetalSucks, and people said I was crazy once again: "Why would anyone want to STREAM music without even OWNING it???" I even got into a very public war or words with Century Media's president about it. Some people are finally coming around; it's fucking awesome! I'm glad to see someone with as high a profile as you supporting it. It takes time, though; metal heads are a very conservative bunch, despite what they claim about being counter-culture and all that, and many still steadfastly cling to their precious CDs.
Where I do disagree with you is on the viability of the album format in general (whether it's physical or digital); I do think metal fans still really appreciate hearing a full album, front to back. Metal is not a singles-driven market, even if singles do exist and help bring bands visibility. Metal fans, including myself, still really enjoy listening to an album. But I see your point, that our attention spans are much shorter these days, and sometimes less is more.
Cheers, and keep on writing.
First, let me just say a huge thank you for writing these journals. Please keep them coming! Special thanks for the PHPList option - very convenient indeed.
Now, to the point - just wanted to share my opinion on music formats these days. I'm probably the last generation to grow up on CDs (and cassettes - glad those are gone!) and I will miss them when they're gone completely (which will inevitably happen, just like it happened to everything but vinyl). However, I still think that for now they should be offered as an option, for a number of reasons:
- tangibles. People love things they can touch (may not be true for today's teenagers, but there're thousands MH fans older than that). We love the booklets and the artwork. CD is a piece of music memorabilia, just like a shirt from a show or that preciousssss guitar pick. And, if they're gone, what the hell do we give you to sign at a meet&greet? :)
- money. Having and loving Spotify Premium, I'd still buy a CD if I really love the band and want to offer my X dollars as a sign of support. I know plenty of people who buy a physical copy of an album AND buy it on iTunes (illegal downloading is so 2001). That being said, I admit I have no idea how much money goes into making CDs, and if us buying them gives you any real profit anymore, so please disregard if it doesn't.
- special features. Making-of DVDs, extra tracks...stickers. Anything that goes into a "collectable" category. I think this is probably the only CD format (versus just the "regular edition") that can be sold out nowadays.
All of the above is also true for vinyl, but arguably many more people are able to play a CD at home than a vinyl.
For all the other formats...iTunes? Yes. Spotify? Absolutely (best thing that has happened to digital music, period). Unorthodox things like "booklet with download code"? Sounds cool, and stays true to my "tangible" argument. I'd try this out.
Maybe you should do a survey on a site? Curious to see what the majority of us Head Cases/Undesirables think...
Anyway, hope this wasn't too long/boring, and sorry if my grammar is occasionally weird (English is obviously my second language).
Good luck with the new album! (lack of long songs might cause a riot though :))
All the best,
In answer to your question about formats...
I will be happy with whatever you decide to do as far as a release, though I am still a CD collector. I'm one of the old school idiots who NEED to have all of the special edition releases, the overseas versions, with the one extra track, etc.
I have plenty of downloads, and I too, have discovered many bands via youtube, and other streaming sites, but when I am passionate about a band, I want the whole collection, physical CD, artwork and all. In the case of Machine Head, ultimately I want whatever comes out on CD, in as many versions as there are. I have the regular and deluxe versions of the last 3 CDs (including the European and US release of TTAOE.) I also got the Metal Hammer release of Locust, and my posters from the magazine are framed and proudly displayed in my office/man cave/music room. I am looking at a Machine Head poster on the wall above my monitor as I type....
Anyway, I think I have made my point. If you put it out, I'm in!
The Kickstarter route is interesting. I have supported a few bands through that and Pledge Music as well. It is pretty sweet getting your name in a CD booklet under the thanks column! (It took me about an hour to find my name on the Machine Head poster, but when I did, man was I stoked!).
I gotta say.... I fucking LOVE your band. Machine Head has gotten me through some serious shit. The last 2 albums are just amazing. Some of the most beautiful guitar work in metal to date. The solos in Halo, Locust, Be Still And Know, and This Is The End, are just sublime.
I had the good fortune to catch you in Worcester this past year and was even luckier to meet you (see attached pic). Damn it was cold out by the bus that night!! I missed meeting Dave, but got to meet Phil and Adam as well.
That was my 3rd Machine Head show and I hope to see you again next time you roll through the east coast. (I drove about 3 hours from Albany to see you guys, and would happily do it again).
So glad I got to see Locust album done live.
Thanks for doing these journals Robb. It means alot to us fans to be able to have a connection with you and the band.
Looking forward to the new material.
Dude, I would like to see the new album put on a custom made flash drive. Either as a guitar, band logo or something that's unique and out there. You could also include a t-shirt and poster with it. In other words, a package deal.
Glad to see your putting your thoughts out there again for us to read and reply to.
Staying on subject, other then you guys (MH) I really dont buy CDs anymore unless
its in the value bin at some 7-11/WalMart/etc for 4.99 ( think we recently got Vanilla Ice
and the Spice Girls... hahahhaa ! so thats what Fucking Head Live and the original
versions of my open mic songs [MH, BLS, StoneSour, Slipknot, DKL, Prong] are
currently competing with). Everything else i buy is all digitally downloaded.
Though, I will say as there are so many die hard Head Cases...
something tangible like the pre release of UTL/baller pack of goodies I think
is very much wanted by us fans. What ever you release include another bottle opener
cuz i lost mine the first day it was on my keychain. I was fucking pissed !! You prob
have a fuck ton of other emails to read so Ill close this shit out. So stoked for the new
material soon to come !! Cant wait to fuck shit up down in Denver the next time you
guys roll through !
Fuckin A !!!
Andrew, Winter Park, Colorado
I totally understand your "ramblings" about what format to release Machine Head music in the future. Let me tell you - I like CD's. Sure I'll rip them to mp3's right away so I can have them in my player on the road, at work, in the gym. Sure I only listen to three of four songs in the beginning because they're the ones I instantly like.
But after a couple of months I have been thinking about the lyrics for this song or that song. I've been giving a couple of the other songs on the album a go and they kinda grew on me. So after some time, sometimes a looong time, I pull the CD from the shelf, put it on the stereo and enjoy the production for the first time because the songs are played on a HI-Fi stereo. And I start reading and re-reading the lyrics, enjoying the artwork and I start to dig the rest of the songs on the album.
Why??? Machine Head music grows on you. Some tunes turn you on instantly, but most need time to plant the seed and grow. And for that I need the full package. Sit with the CD in my hand and actually read the lyrics on paper, listen to the music while stepping deeper and deeper into the universe of your songs...
Just my ramblings :-)
P.S. Enjoyed your Wacken show immensly!!!
Steen Knudsen - Denmark
You wanted response from the fans about music formats so here's mine...
I appreciate what you're saying about digital downloads being the future and I know A LOT of people will agree with you. But for me there's something special about having a CD. I like that excitement you get as you rip off the plastic wrapper to get to the goodies inside. I love looking through the inlay and appreciating the work that someone has put into it. There's some awesome artwork in CD inserts and it would be a shame if those artists no longer had that platform. I like to be able to look at my CD shelves and think about what I want to listen to with it all laid out in front of me. Sure, I rip all my CDs. I listen to my music on my computer and my phone. I even have some music only in digital copy (usually albums my husband has bought). But CDs still hold a certain magic for me and I'll be sad to see the day when they are no more.
As a sure note - I've just supported two different projects through kickstarter, both of which smashed their goal. I think it's a great way to do things as if you're going to buy the product anyway why not pay in advance so you're helping it get made?
I'm enjoying your journals, keep up the good work and thanks for reading my reply!
Loving the journals, sir - keep 'em up!
Have you considered Pledge Music as a medium for releasing the new album (check out the site)? No label to concern yourself with, or stick their noses in, just a way of controlling how and when you release to the people that matter (us!) The fans decide what/how they want the music. Ginger Wildheart is showing the industry how to do it; I think that would be a very cool way forward.
Just a thought - thanks for listening, and a big HELLA thanks for the music, dude (the reason we're all in this together...)
Anyway, on this CD/Streaming/8-track conversation.... I'm probably not the typical customer, in that I love to buy albums. I look forward to them, as a kind of anticipated musical event, usually by artists I trust. I'd rather a band do as Tool or Metallica or any number of artists have done, and take time to create a GREAT record in 5 years, rather than an "okay" record in 3 years. Or, take the approach Newsted and Down have taken, and release 3-4 song EPs every 6 months...
I admit, I like to buy "deluxe" anything. I bought the delux Locust package, and I really enjoy the Priest and Rush covers! Having said that, artistically, I understand why the album proper ended after "Who We Are." In fact, I've noticed lately many of my favorite records have running times between 40-60 minutes long. In music school, I had a composition professor who observed that his student's melodies would typically be as long as their computer monitor was wide. The point being, obviously, that the medium can dictate the music, if it is allowed to. There are rare occasions where this works to the benefit of the music. Usually, it doesn't. And again, to your point about Reign in Blood, the magic of that album is that it's a god-damned blur. Gone before you know it.
Technologically, I still don't mind ripping my CD to mp3s. I use the CD player in my car to listen to most of my music, because between work and family, it's the only alone time I get to really listen and digest music. My CD player doesn't have the ability to integrate into with my smart-phone (aux input, blue tooth, etc), so I have to use CDs. If I buy something on iTunes, the only way I can listen to it in my car is to burn it to a CD. So, I buy the CD instead. I do like to stream to my smartphone when I'm at the gym, or otherwise able to listen through it. But even then, I'm streaming my own music collection, not through a service like Spotify or Pandora. If I want Sabbath, I want to be able to immediately choose it. I'm impatient that way, I guess, but I can see the value in having your catalog on a service like that.
For me, being the luddite, I still like CDs. They look nice on the shelf, they smell nice when you flip through the inserts, and I get to see production credits. I've bought tons of records based on production/mixing/mastering credits... Maybe that's the key, producing a CD package as an "extra," such that the album or EP is released through digital medium, but the only way to get the CD is to also buy the extra stuff, at a premium price. I've long been amazed that CD prices haven't gone up in the 20 years I've been buying them. Make a deluxe Machine Head album available online, for $25, but with the packaging and bonus tracks, etc. I'd buy that... And I'm going to digitize my shit anyway, so it's not like I'm ignoring the trends of the day.
I appreciate you reading my comments, I know they were lengthy. As a life-long musician and metal-head, I have given lots of thought to the kind of issues we face, both as musicians and as fans. My own attempts at self-production have enlightened me to the difficulties in writing, producing, distributing, and SELLING one's music. For my part, I will chase the music, where ever it goes, however it's distributed. I like CDs, but the writing is on the wall. And like my comp professor said, your melody doesn't have to be the size of the computer screen. As long as you guys think past the single, as you do and always have done, you'll be fine.
God bless, and thanks for all the hard work. I'll buy your shit, however it lands, because I know it's going to rule.
I haven't jumped on the spotify train yet but you're making me wanna check it out! I always download MH's stuff on iTunes and it's still just as exciting waiting for that release date to finally come and get it that day! It would be tight to get a calendar size booklet or poster with it! I'd love to try vinyl too, don't have a record player but I'd love to get one. You're a fucking mastermind and a very positive inspiration in my life I truly look up to you and I'm so grateful you're writing more music because I can't get enough. EVER! I saw you guys twice last year and you ARE bad fucking ass I'll never forget those shows. I love you guys.
Personally, I love CDs. There's just something that I can't explain about them, it feels so much better than a download. Just being able to hold it in your hands makes it feel more real somehow.
iTunes is fine. CDs are soooo 2000.
Eilish Kerry Ross:
You know what I want? Just more Machine Head. Got me through a bad patch in my life, inspired me to get out and go my own way in music. Your music is amazing, and I like that your venting. Feels more like you want to know my opinion, even if I am just one tiny voice in amongst the collective.
I hope someday I get somewhere in music, and for sure Machine Head will be the first band I'll want to play with.
Straight to the point, please make sure you include lossless audio formats (eg. FLAC). It's a shame when some digital releases are only available as a compressed MP3 and you want to play through a good hifi setup. You really don't want Dave's drums to sound washy do you? Thanks for the openness and a great read,
I don't even use cd's anymore except to make mix cds in the random cars that don't have an audio jack for my phone. I just set my phone on shuffle and let it do it's thing. I'm not interested in the least bit in paying 20 bucks for a cd when I don't know what I'm going to get. itunes and spotify are definitely the way to go.
Nano Marley Selassie:
I want the next machine head´s album in a download code in the front of a fridge. And a penguin. Everybody loves penguins. Think about it.
Morten Bønding Koch:
Great read and nice to see you picking up the old dairies again, it gives a much closer and clearer vision of what you guys deal with as band members. But sadly i would have to agree with you, CDs have been a trophy just sitting on a shelf while the music will be streamed or downloaded, personally i buy albums as a dedication to your hard work, well knowing that i might use this physical album only once or twice a year yet still streaming the songs from the exact somewhere else. It is a mind twister knowing what people want, but as a guy born in the digital world, a download code would be put to most use
just my 2 cents, Keep up the good work m/
I love having iTunes, spotify is great to but if I hear an album on spotify that I end up loving ill go buy it on iTunes. I never buy CDs anymore
+1 for the Vinyl with digital download idea - although I'm very taken by the "A guitar that plays the whole record through a USB plug"!!!
A download code on vinyl with a beard comb.
CDs fucker ! Call me old school !
I don't care if I buy a physical CD or electronic - but I do like the idea of music arranged in a project. We call them albums today - but it could be anything that groups songs together in a way that makes sense. I've often found as I listen to an album that the song that was my favorite to start with, the one with the catchie tune or the cool words, you know the obvious one - slowly is eclipsed by a more subtle one that has really interesting words or beat or guitiar or cowbell.... whatever. I love that process of discovery especially with your music.
I really don't like the idea of having all my music as digital downloads. Or even worse (for me), streaming them from the web. Don't misunderstand me, I use YouTube to discover music, hell, it's probably my main tool for finding new bands. But when I like a band, I buy their CD. If I like them a lot, I buy multiple CDs. Do I know if the rest of the album is any good? No, it might be complete shite. But that's not really important to me. I don't know why, but I just like listening to whole albums, to a collection of songs, instead of just a one-off piece of music.
Best of both worlds would be being able to get a physical copy of just the artwork for the CD that has a download code for the music. Personally I love having the artwork of a bands CD. I have bought both d/l versions and the physical CD just to have the artwork .
posted by : DevinTownsendsFunnyShapedHead
CD, CD, CD....
Streaming and MP3's are soulless. Yes, Spotify and iTunes are a great convenience, but music is much better when you feel you've invested in it and you can take the time to listen to it.
Writing a good song is a talent, but writing a good album is an artform, and the iPod generation have made music so disposable that good art is getting harder to find.
The day physical CDs become obsolete is the day I stop purchasing music.
posted by : astroboy
Having a musician actually saying that downloading is a great thing is the most idiot, dumb, stupid thing i've ever read. Seems to me that Robb Flynn grew up in an era where LPs where the dominant thing. So he damn well knows how cool it was to hang to a product that meant something. Robb Flynn sure knows as well how cool record stores were and how important they were for the whole scene. And i don't get how a pro musician can listen to digital download. Computers ARE NOT made to listen to music. Robb Flynn should go out and listen to his favourite records on a decent stereo system before opening his stupid mouth. The death of the album as a format is a tragedy. Robb Flynn is a ignorant moron.
COMMENT | People, get off your soapboxes.
posted by : labora
Robb is right, folks. Cd stores are disappearing, physical cds are getting harder and harder to find. Soon, they won't exist. It's inevitable. EVERYTHING is going digital these days. It's the way of the world. Like it or not, that's the way it is. I'd rather have physical cds myself, but 3/4 of the time, I can't find them ANYWHERE, so I HAVE to download them. Just the way it is. Get used to it....Cds won't be around much longer, just like the 8-track and cassette.
Posted by: Dragonflame:
To Robb Flynn: I still order CDs from my favorite bands...because I want everything I can get from that band. I want the artwork and lyrics, and reading the thank yous, not to mention the CD quality is better most of the time compared to streaming music. Sure, I get digital music too, but I like the option of getting the cd and artwork from the band as well. I actually have my favorite album covers on the wall in my bands rehearsal room. Taped those cd booklets right up there.
When you came out with that everything MH magazine awhile back...we all ordered it. We didnt want a digital order and read it on an Kindle or E-Reader. When we meet bands, we wanna buy their cd and ask them to sign it. We dont want the bands to sign a usb flash drive. Or have a band say they will email us a digital signature.
My cousin has like a crapload of cds all in his living room in a giant bookcase. I like going through them, and when I grab a cd to put on, I like being able to read the booklet and look at the artwork. What if it was all digital and he said,"Sorry, internet is down if you wanna look up lyrics and stuff about the band." It's not the same.
Subscribe to The General Journals: Diary of a Frontman... and Other Ramblings
Machine Head will be appearing at NAMM this coming January 24th thru the 27th. Phil Demmel will be doing an autograph signing at the Jackson Guitars booth on Saturday at 2PM, Robb Flynn will be doing an acoustic performance at the upstairs Epiphone booth on Friday at 4PM, and both Phil and Robb will be signing at the EMG booth on Saturday at 11AM.
Just to refresh everyone who may not have read the first Journal I wrote, I have started up my diary/journals again after taking a much needed break from it. They're now called "The General Journals: Diary of a Frontman... and Other Ramblings™". For a little background, I started doing these journals/diaries 11 years ago in 2002, between "Supercharger" and "Through The Ashes". It was the first wave of the internet, and we jumped on board, were one of the first (if not the first) to start the text/video diaries, and we fully embraced it. It was awesome, and enabled our band (that had been completely written off by the major U.S. metal press, and continues to be) to connect with our fans in a really unique way. And that's what these are for/about: the connection. I need this connection, and from what you've told me over the years, you need it too. I find myself looking back on my life and so much of it is about searching for a connection, any connection, through music, through shows, through jamming, through partying, through girls/sex, through friends, and oftentimes, down all the wrong paths. Maybe we all are. And maybe some of us don't need to be. Some of us had great normal lives, lives that kept the need for this fucking endless search at bay. I'm certain that part of it with me is, being adopted at 6 months and never feeling truly "connected" to anyone (3 foster families in the first 6 months of life), but hey, that's a whole other story.
Side Note: If you're reading this on a website other than MH1 or our Facebook page, please know that this is not a "press release". These are my "journals", "ramblings", "brain dumps", etc. There seems to be some confusion about that. If you're not a fan of the band, feel free to ignore these, I'll be doing them often, sometimes twice a week. I'm not trying to win anyone over here, I'm not trying to change anyone's opinion of Machine Head or me, I don't expect, or even need, everyone to like me or the music we make. This is for the diehard Machine Head fans (the Head Cases, The Undesirables) who follow the band closely. It's for our main site MachineHead1.com, our Facebook, and the PHPList that I've started. Its purpose is to give said fans updates, thoughts on life, and life in a band.
No immediate tour plans, but we will officially begin writing this week or next. No one has really sat down and discussed where we'd like to go in depth, but we have talked about shorter songs (LOL). The last Ten Ton Hammer show we did in London really got us thinking about cool, short songs. In particular, "Postmortem" by Slayer seemed to really get our blood flowing. We all talked about it afterward, how they managed to squeeze so many AWESOME riffs into 3 minutes and 28 seconds is just freakin' mind-boggling (or as our drum tech Mudbilly says, "mind-bottling"). "Everlong" and "Sad Statue" were also cool nuggets of shortness (videos of us covering those songs are up on YouTube, check 'em out). Phil has told me he has some riffs, McClain e-mailed some cool riffs, I have some pretty awesome riffs tuned down to F that I'm stoked on... so, who knows where it's all going yet, but it's definitely starting to bubble. Can't really tell where it's all gonna end up, you can't really plan that out, but that's some of what we've been bouncing around.
In other news, we've successfully finished our recording contract with Roadrunner and are currently free agents. It's an exciting time for us right now, the world is our oyster and we can dictate a lot of fair terms in exchange for our art. There's been a lot of talk as to what we should and/or shouldn't do; the music business has changed dramatically since the last deal we signed for "Through The Ashes" back in 2003 (let alone our first deal in 1993), and what we're looking for in a deal here in 2013 is different.
I used to be a staunch believer that the world isn't waiting for a quickly-delivered Machine Head album, they're just waiting for a great Machine Head album. And while I still believe that, in the 10 years between TTAOE, TB, and UTL, the world stopped caring as much about great "albums". People want great songs, and while great albums are appreciated, they don't mean what they used to. People have been burned by too many lousy CD's / albums / downloads. I know I have (the new Muse record blows, I LOVE that band, but the last 2 have been pretty meh).
Plus, if you're making music these days, there's a hell of a lot of chatter to cut through between Facebook, Twitter, gaming, movies, Instagram, YouTube, social everything, mobile everything... listening to an album front to back ain't what it used to be. Songs resonate more, it's easier to get to the point. I don't even want to listen to most albums all the way through anymore, most have too many songs / are too damn long. Gimme "Paranoid" ANY DAY - 41 minutes, 8 songs (one of which is a drum solo!), a masterpiece. Gimme "Moving Pictures" - 39 minutes, 7 songs, PERFECT!! Remember when Slayer's "Reign In Blood" was so short you could squeeze the whole album on one side of a cassette?! The official Def Jam cassette had the whole album repeated on side 2 cause it's 29 minutes!! People were up in arms, they actually felt ripped off.
Today, it's regarded as a masterpiece.
Is anyone saying "man, I wish 'Reign In Blood' had 9 more songs"?
We don't need 19 songs and 72 minutes of music on a CD. And where would you even get most CD's nowadays? Between my iPhone, iTunes, and Spotify, I just download or stream it, it's too easy. I can say without a shred of doubt that I will never buy another physical CD again. Ever. I have found so many new bands on iTunes and Spotify (I use the $9-a-month Premium version) it is absolutely incredible. The entire history of recorded music is at your fingertips, at all times. Sure, there are a few holdouts, but they'll be on board within the year. Even Metallica just hopped on the Spotify train. The world has gone streaming. It's just too easy. Hell, I've found more new AND old bands on YouTube just surfing around than I ever have going to a record store.
And so we as a band ask ourselves a lot of unique questions about what we should do. I am absolutely not interested in selling CD's first week of release for $16, $17 or $18 dollars/euros/pounds. I'm not interested in selling CD's at all frankly, though I realize people still buy and appreciate them... but hey, change is inevitable, especially in this business. Just like cassettes became obsolete, just like CD longboxes became obsolete. I remember when people were pissed that we didn't offer vinyl for "The More Things Change...", and then really pissed when we didn't offer cassettes for "The Burning Red", and I mean PISSED about those cassettes! Does anyone miss cassettes now? Hell no.
And as I write this I'm thinking - as I'm sure many of you are - just how counterproductive the things I'm saying are. I mean, Machine Head are in the business of selling CD's right? But at the same time, we're in the business of making music, for people to listen to, however they want to. We find ways to generate money to pay back the people who loaned us the money to record, to re-invest in our band, to make better records, to put on better light shows, to bring better sound systems, to keep the lights on at Machine Head, to live our lives, so that we can make more music. We don't want to get in bed with a bunch of corporate sponsors, we've already dabbled in that and it's a nightmare, worse than the record companies. Who knows, maybe we'll end up signing with a traditional record company after all, because there is A LOT of stuff that we're just not interested in doing. Maybe we do something radical instead, I've heard a lot of great things about these Kickstarter projects, Amanda Palmer in particular has done amazing...
I don't know where I'm even going with this. It's part vent, part ramble, part trying-to-figure-it-out-as-I'm-typing. But in saying that, let me put it out to you: How do YOU want Machine Head’s music? Do YOU want a CD? Do YOU want a Spotify stream? Do YOU want the ease of an iTunes download? Do YOU want vinyl with that digital download? Do YOU want a new/different configuration no one has thought about/offered? A guitar that plays the whole record through a USB plug? A calendar-sized booklet with nothing but a download code?
Write me at [mail=TheGeneralJournals@gmail.com]TheGeneralJournals@gmail.com[/mail], post on our FB page, Tweet it to me, post a Blabbermouth comment, I'll read it all.
Because to me, it's all about making the best music we can, about striving to be better than the rest, not just good, but absolutely bad fucking ass. Making something so powerful, it can't help but be heard. And frankly, that's all that matters. The rest will sort itself out.
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