Awaken your minds to more worlds than one!
My thoughts on the music Industry

As far back as I can remember in my youth all, I wanted to be in life was a professional soccer player. Yeah thats right, a footballer! There I was with my little short shorts and all that good stuff. I trained day in and day out playing in every team and league I could get into. I studied the sport like it was a religion.

But one day, my life changed completely. I listened to Ride the Lightning by Metallica and I was never the same person again. 

Something sparked inside of me, something that cannot be explained. Something that brings joy to the masses rather than my own persona. It was a passion for something greater than myself. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to do music! I dreamed… Hell, I fantasized, like any young 17-year-old teenager does. But not about killing zombies or banging some chicks (although those dreams were high on my list); I dreamt about becoming a professional musician just like the guys who wrote this amazing album. At the time I had absolutely no idea what metal was or what the guys who played it looked like, all I knew was that I liked it and nothing else in the world could ever compare to it.

I am now 22 years old, and have probably accomplished more in this business than anyone would have bet I could. In a short amount of time, I went from practicing day in and day out on my bass to playing small backyard shows with a few local bands and selling hundreds of pre-sale tickets to play at venues to, out of nowhere, being summoned to play bass for one of, if not the best new wave of thrash metal band in the world — Bonded By Blood!

I quickly went from waiting for the next week’s backyard show in hopes it wasn’t shut down by the cops to having the opportunity to write and be part of an album for my favorite signed band, tour all over the world with exceptionally great bands, and meet some of the most amazing people in the world! I was absolutely thrilled about the opportunity that fell on my shoulders. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for anyone in the position I was in to see past the smoke and mirrors and smell the right down arsehole that is “the music industry.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone at the label, management, or booking agencies let alone any promoter that I ever worked with while I was in Bonded By Blood. I fully understand that, at the end of the day, they are running a business — and money talks (if not screams!) when the budgets are tight. Nevertheless, the thrill of being in that band went from an all-time high to an all-time “What the fuck?!?”

There we were on tour, literally generating hundreds of thousands of dollars over extended periods of time on many levels all split to the promoters, booking agents, managers, and labels while we slept in a van. The only money we made came directly from the merch we sold at shows, and whatever was left after we split the money went straight to our gas tank. We even had to pay for our own food from the money we had to save up for weeks before the tours started. I didn’t understand how this was possible. How was it possible for us and many of the same bands we were on tour with to generate such large amounts of cash and not see a single penny of it go towards our pockets or even our stomachs at the very least? But like I said before, it didn’t take much time to see through the crap.

Believe me when I say that bands get RAPED in every single sector for their work. Every single signed band is doomed from the very start, and they do not even know it until it is too late. Statistics prove that no matter who you are or what genre you play, your sales will never ever compare to those possible back in the days before the internet and file-sharing really took hold. Many artists claim to be doing okay, but they are not. They have an image to uphold and won’t say they’re broke and downright homeless in fear that it will harm their reputation. The internet has brought about the discovery of some of the most amazing bands and musicians the world has ever seen, but at the same time it has opened up the door to massive monetary exploitation by those running the industry. The very moment that file-sharing and illegal downloading caught momentum marked the beginning of the end for the music industry as we used to know it. The game has changed, my friends, and it’s time to wake up and see it for what it is. The way it works is like this (all hilarity intended).

  1. Artist makes music and gets noticed by a major label. 

    Most bands getting signed now are very young and very talented for the simple fact that they make great music that will sell and they are also very naive about the industry. They are sold a dream that they will probably never reach by the current “make music, get signed, go big” mentality that is so prominent in our current pop culture.  
  2. Major label offers them a deal based on their music, dedication to taking on the “touring life,” and marketability

    Yes, they promise that the sky is the limit. After all, they are marketing your music as well as your image, this includes how you look — yes, people, looks do count even in metal. Just look at some of the guys, from what’s their name, Bring Me the Horizon.  
  3. Deal includes, but is not limited to, full if not most merchandising rights as well as full copyrights to music and anything and everything related to your band. 

    “Wait WTF?!?! So they basically are going to own our souls?” “Nah man, we will be fine once our album comes out and sells like hot sexy waffle cakes on a strip pole, with a stripper on it!”  
  4. Label then loans you a set amount of cash for your first album as well as all the merchandise 

    Except that you must then pay back all of the cash via album and or merchandise sells that you acquire on the road. And this is where bands are fucked from the get go!

You now have your first album, and are in debt a couple thousand dollars. This, in turn, sets you up for a massive downward spiral of debt and servitude towards to music business. You might as well play on stage with a big fat dick half way up your ass and the aftermath all over your band shirt with the words “spunk muffin” written across the front, because that is literally what you will be to the music business, a big fat spunk muffin with a warm greasy hole down the middle ready for penetration!

Bands need to tour to pay off their debt and in order to get shit done they need a proper manager who has the know how to pull off such tasks as well as a very good promoter that will ensure they are on tour with the right audience long enough to pay off the debt. The manager and promoter don’t work for free of course so they charge you a certain percent for daily gig guarantees and/or merch sales — another stone on top of the already heavily dirted grave you have dug for yourself and your band.

After a few tours you realize that, in order to be on tour and do what you love, you will always be in debt and make little to absolutely no money thanks to the deal you agreed to in the first place in hopes of “making it big.” It is the ugly truth that goes on behind the curtains of most of the music industry — especially in metal. Everyone will make a cent off your hard work before you, the artist, see any money from it.

I didn’t go into this business with the hopes of getting rich. Hell, people that know me know that the monetary system is something that I openly despise and root for it’s demise. However, I hate to see my artwork be claimed by someone else who had absolutely no creative input towards. I believe there is another way to do it yourself and still be somewhat self-sufficient to keep releasing your music and, at the same time, put some food on the table.

Also, I have absolute confidence that if you make good music and it reaches a decent audience, there is no excuse for you not to be crafty and use the internet to your marketing advantage. I have nothing against the downloading of music — as a matter of fact, I believe it is inevitable. I see it as a tool to reach a broader audience that would have never been reached before.

Just look at Facebook for a quick example: They offer a service to billions of people for free but the money they generate comes from the targeted advertisement deals they sign. It is absolutely clever to use methods such as this to your advantage and if they can do it we can do it as well.

Another clever manipulation of the internet is the Re-Captchathings we have to figure out when signing into our favorite social networks or e-mail accounts. Yeah, that’s right prepare to get mind fucked twice, in the ass! What Re-Captcha does is it prevents computers from making accounts for the sole purpose of spamming and hacking other accounts with nasty viruses and all that porn everyone despises so much (cuz porn sucks!). Computers cannot understand symbols or squiggly letters like we humans can do.

Now, where the money lies in Re-Captcha is in the fact that every single time we figure out what those annoying little squiggly bastard lines mean, we are unknowingly transcribing text from old books and scriptures that is unreadable by modern computers. In other words we are unknowingly the single largest unpaid workforce this planet has ever seen, and I bet 90% of you did not even know it.

If businesses can use the internet to their advantage in such ways, I am sure musicians can do the same. I do not root for the demise of music labels, as I believe they are still a very valuable and viable stream towards musical success. What I do root for is a change in the mindset of musicians, fans, and labels alike to work towards a successful alternative to the outdated ways the music business is currently run in.

And the only way to do this is by musicians to gather and say “Enough is enough!”

Stop signing label contracts that do not benefit you or your future. Fans, go out to see your favorite bands and buy their merchandise and drop a buck or two into their tip jars — they aren’t there for nothing! We have to move together towards a solution if we want to ensure the future of this beautiful artform we call music. I want future generation musicians to be able to see the fruits of their labor and be encouraged rather than discouraged to succeed, and learn from the mistakes many artists have done for years now. Trust me when I say that there is more than one way to milk a cow because when the cow runs out of milk, you use the bull!

The only constant in life is change… The music business seems to not have gotten the memo yet.

its about that time..

…about that time when I update all you guys, girls that for some god forsaken reason have nothing better to do than read about my random tour exploits with Bonded by Blood. Since I’m feeling a bit on the down side I am going to make this as entertaining as possible for my own sake and in turn yours as well. Tonight we play in Porto, Portugal. From what I could tell by looking out of the Vans window it looks like a rad city, much like Madrid in Spain. And talking about Spain… what an amazing string of dates we did through that beautiful country! I like most of Europe but Spain is by far my Favorite country on this tour. If I ever decided to live somewhere else I think Barcelona would be very very high on my list of options. Every show we played in Spain was very good and I had a good time. the turn outs were rad and we had plenty of fans out here.

We had a day off in Madrid since our gig in Paris got cancelled due to the venue literally burning down hours before the event kicked off. We spent all day walking around downtown. I ate at the coolest Japanese/ Chinese buffet I have ever been to! The place literally had a conveyor belt running through the inside with plates of food on it. Anything from sushi and egg rolls to fried rice and chicken. I am not going to lie, I was a happy man! Afterwards we walked about and basically went sight seeing. We went to a cool little tattoo shop that sold the randomest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I also met a fat spanish spider-man, a cracked out sponge-bob and saw about 50 hookers kicking it on every corner. After spending nearly 9 hours in downtown Madrid some of us were ready to crash and others were ready to party. We got invited to stay at a good friend of ours place. He and his friend were the coolest dudes! They took us out to the local metal bars in Madrid. I wish we had plenty of bars like these all around the states but that is a bit too much to ask for. We went to a bar called The Lemmy Bar, It was great. Total metal bar that blasted nothing but classics! It’s nicely odd to go to a bar and see people head-banging and moshing but at the same time its fucking cool! We went to a few more bars that I can remember. I know we went to another bar called the Tyrant bar and another 2 but I forgot their names. 

People in Spain do not know what a Jager Bomb is….. kind of interesting is it not? So I decided to show them whats up. It was funny because they had no clue what it was but they loved it! I think I should be credited by someone at Jager for introducing them to the spanish people haha. Well I won’t lie but i got bored writing this about 40 minutes ago and forgot all about it haha. Thanks for reading this, if you do. Ill keep you guys updated on the next edition of my boring blogs. :)

Another quick update from Europe!

Hey what’s up guys! Just checking in here from Vienna in Austria. As much as I love the UK, the shows didn’t really pick up until we hit the further European countries! We had some incredibly epic nights recently and the highlights without a doubt are Zurich, Switzerland and Prague, Czech Republic! The fans out there absolutely kick ass. We had fans hanging from the ceiling, singing our songs, jumping on stage, buying us all sorts of alcoholic beverages, buying us pizza! Great times in both of these countries. It is such an honor to be able to come halfway across the globe and meet people that want nothing more than to spend some time with you and have a beer or two. It is an incredibly humbling experience and one I will never forget. These people treat us like we are gods when in reality were just a bunch of kids from Southern California who somehow ended up playing music in the same band, at least that’s how I see it. 

It’s cool to meet people that have absolutely no idea what you’re saying to them because they don’t know english! There isn’t much to talk about but for the most part there is a few things we can agree on. We like beer, we like to party, and we like metal. That about does it for me so its easy to go from there! The scenery out here is Rad! Everything looks so epic that it is hard to explain. After touring nothing but North America I am happy to see a forest where different kinds of trees grow and animals live, or buildings that were built hundreds of years ago compared to the sky scrapers of New York.

The other night in Slovenia was fun after the show. Me and some of the Lazarus guys started pounding beers and they had a bottle of rum. One thing led to another and before we knew it we were tossing bottles of beer, full bottles of coke, and a computer screen out of our second floor sleeping compartments. We had a little competition going to see who could hit the building across the street, I came close… Unfortunately it all came to a halt when the Slovenian police force showed up and started flashing lights into our windows. They did not look happy and I believe the only reason they didn’t get into our building was because of the double locks on both doors before the stairs. They stuck around for a good hour before I fell asleep. Even though some of the guys were a bit weary of the situation I could not help but laugh and think it was all hilarious. Slovenia is, according to our TM, one of those countries you do not want to fuck around in or get busted by the cops. They were a communist country not that long ago and apparently will beat you if they catch you. I don’t know if this is true or not but I was too buzzed to care hahaha

Lately we all came down with a bit of a cold and cough. We’re doing better now and the great catering we get every night is helping us get back to %100 way faster than any of the times we’ve been sick on tour in the states when all we have to eat sometimes is a Mc Double and tap water.

Until next time, Cheers!

- Jerry G. (I think the G might stand for Ganja)

A quick update from Europe..

Well its been 10 days now since we landed in Europe. I was excited to return here and do an actual tour this time around! The tour has been great thus far… minus a few bumps on the road here and there. Luckily everything has been sorted out and we seem to be back in full throttle for the next few weeks. not to mention we have a brand new never before used 2011 Mercedes Benz RV last night! We are riding in style now! Apparently there has been many things going on across the globe in the past week or so, watching footage of the tsunami in Japan was something that I will never ever forget. As if the tsunami and quake weren’t bad enough a nuclear power plant basically cracked due to the earthquake and now there is evidence that part of the population has been affected by radiation. My thoughts go out to the Japanese that were affected by these events. I really want to go to Japan one day and perhaps even play a gig there. I can only hope Japan doesn’t become the next Chernobyl.

I love the UK, it reminds me a lot of the states but with a different atmosphere. The shows have been pretty great especially in Leeds and in Glasgow! The Newcastles here taste way better than the ones back home and this is a football coutry! I’ve caught a few games at the pubs every other night. Thank you for the good times UK! Also the people here are nicer and more welcoming. I like how old school everything looks and the scenery is just amazing. It’s just like in the films except it looks cooler once you are actually here. It’s also funny how everyone here seems to care about what they wear and how they look. I’m not going to lie but everyone seems to dress nice and wear nice clothes, especially the girls. Even though everyone dresses EXACTLY the same they look classy compared to what I’m wearing hahahaha.. fuck it I am from AMERIKUH! The only downside is that everything is too expensive. Just to give you an idea… if you think gas is expensive back home, the avg price for a gallon in the UK is about 8 or 9 American Dollars. To be honest, we are all fat asses back home. The food here is also extremely bland compared to what I am used to eat back home, but that is something I could get used to. If you are every here you have to get yourself a proper english breakfast, tea, and Fish and Chips!

Tonight is our first night here in Germany. So far the hospitality has been great and I’m glad to be out of the UK and explore new countries! Thank you to everyone that has come out to see us over the past 9 days, you guys kick ass!

- Beer is good

- Herb is horrible

- Food is bland

- Fans are mental for Metal

- Football is a passion here

- We have a unique talent of attracting the weirdest people a society has to offer to our gigs

A special thanks goes out to Martin Lamb for basically getting everything for us set on the right track! He is the coolest guy ever. 

Until next time, Cheers!

earache:

Bonded by blood arrive in London after long flight from LA ready for show tomorrow!

earache:

Bonded by blood arrive in London after long flight from LA ready for show tomorrow!

pre show jitters?

I’m either experiencing that …….or I’m unable to sleep due to this damn mosquito not leaving me alone! Time to bring out the fly swater!

Gorgeous view out here in Arizona 
..too bad I hear its raining back home

Gorgeous view out here in Arizona
..too bad I hear its raining back home

Tour Blog # 4 ( Don’t Mess With Texas )

On our way to Dallas

What up, im on my way to Dallas Texas tonight. We play at this venue called Tree’s out there. The last couple of nights have been intense! We had great turnouts in places we never expected. Cleveland was one of those night. There was a full house and the place was alive! Everytime we play Cleveland it’s a bit weak but this time everyone decided to come out and rage. Another 2 nights that were better than expected were Detroit and Kentucky. We had a great turnout for both of those nights and had some good times. The best out of those nights had to be Chicago. We have a good following there and to me its like our home away from home. The weather outside was ridiculously cold ( -4 degrees ). Luckily I had purchased an awesome jacket that kept me warm through the cold. For this night Lazarus A.D. were unable to make the gig and as a result we got to co-headline the night. We played a longer set than usual, it was great. We had lots of fun playing for our fans in Chicago, we cant wait to return in a few months. The best part of the night besides the gig was for sure the food! We get awesome burgers from the place next door everytime we play there. I got the mushroom swiss, next time im going for the texan burger!

So after a few sling of dates we came to Houston, TX. I completely forgot that we were playing with D.R.I the next three nights. The stage was huge! We like big stages, they give us room to run round and what not. The place got sold out and we played one of the best gigs of this tour. The massive floor turned into a giant circle pit the moment we started to play and it only got bigger as we played on….. good times in Houston. The same could be said for the rest of the D.R.I gigs, they were packed every night and the crowd was nuts. I didn’t get to meet the guys from D.R.I until last night. They seem like cool dudes, they really like us a lot and told us we were talented. Its nice to hear that from old school vets, always. I’m kind of tired right now as I am writing this, I think I might be getting sick…. I hope I don’t. I’m going to take a nap and hopefully wake up @ trees in Dallas, TX.

Special thanks to Bob for helping us out in OKC! Thanks dude, that was rad of you.

If you guys are reading this feel free to ask me any questions about anything. I’ll be happy to reply =)

I’ll keep you guys posted next time!

I’m still digesting some of this!

I’m still digesting some of this!