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  THE DEATH OF LIVE MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT; AND THE REST DOESN'T LOOK TOO ROSY

Roger Berzerk Fauske: Cartoons by Tom Johnston

Roger Berzerk Fauske

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tom johnston

As dramatic as it seems, there is a frightening and very real possibility that the era of live music is coming to a premature end. Yes you did read that correctly.

We have witnessed its decline over the last two decades and time is fast running out to put the brakes on the destructive corporate juggernaut that seems hell bent on destroying the very essence of music, especially the world of rock.

The difference between now and 25 years ago is like black and white and paints a bleak picture of the current situation.

Back in my youth, in the early 80s (1980s that is), finding a gig to go to was hardly rocket science, even when you weren't in a big town. And more to the point, there were a lot of like-minded individuals – it was what you did if you loved, even liked, music.

Fast forward to 2013 and things aren't quite as rosy. More venues closed than you can shake a stick at, more apathy than depression at a Radiohead gig and that is just the tip of the iceberg. So what exactly happened?

Article continues below...

  LBinary  


As much as such abhorrences as pop idol, X-factor, the voice and all their demonic offshoots are detrimental to authentic musicians and the trade they ply, all the blame cannot be laid at their door. Hell, we had the likes of Rick Astley and Bros around and we didn't suffer because of it.

How it was

Wind back a little and if you are too young, ask your dad. Bands recorded an album (often once a year, except for Boston), the album was released and they toured. Simple. When the album came out, we went and bought it, listened to it countless times, waxed lyrical about it and came over all unnecessary when they announced tour dates. There was no internet, no mobiles (yes there was electricity and the wheel had been invented), but we all knew what was going on – Kerrang, Sounds, or whatever flavour you liked, the Friday Rock Show, various things on TV, and the old system of conversation.

The chances were also quite high that wherever you lived you were never too far away from a venue. In the days when Wembley, the NEC and other arenas were in their infancy, they were full nationwide tours, 20 plus dates not unusual. And if it was a huge band, they just did a bunch of nights at the likes of Hammersmith Odeon.

Below the A-circuit there were of course the likes of the Marquee, Fleece and Firkins all over the place, Bierkellers and countless other smaller venues.

Those of us of a certain age remember piling up the motorway to whatever gig it was, the band's latest release blaring out of the car. That is just how it was. And failing a major gig to go to, there were countless small venues with bands playing – we just went and if it was good we stayed and if not we went elsewhere.

Then of course there were the festivals – Reading and the Monsters of Rock mainly but also others dotted around the country. I won't even go there as far as festivals are concerned – suffice it to say what passes for festivals now is not much more than a girl guide's camping weekend.

Venues

A bit hard to have a gig without one of these – that would be busking. It is hardly news that venues have been closing at a disturbing rate, prime venues included, but why?

Without going into it too deeply, sociological and financial issues have played a part – think about even the good old pub, a UK tradition for many generations. Now the amount of those that exist without having been turned into a restaurant in disguise is very small (on another note, I want a big plate of steak and chips, not a plate scattered with morsels colourfully designed by an interior designer that wouldn't fill up an anorexic).

As much as it may seem I have wandered off on a culinary cul de sac, the connection should be obvious. How many bands did you used to see in pubs? Simple answer is a lot, they acted as the next tier down in the venue hierarchy. Pubs, working clubs, social clubs, etc are where bands started out on the long road.

Smoking, or rather the banning of it and legislation regarding licensing for public performance, were two huge factors in the decline of some venues. Most of us know about the 2003 Licensing Act, where basically the government put the blame for teenage trouble and violence firmly on music events.

There was also form 696 in London which forced pubs and venues to list everyone playing, their personal details, even ethnicity. That form was the brainchild of Scotland Yard! All of a sudden it got very complicated to even think of having regular music.

Then of course the behemoth that is health and safety has reared its often ugly head in recent years causing problems regarding supposed noise pollution and safety. Noise pollution has always been an issue but in recent years that issue has become very thorny – more venues having to install noise limiting devices, even cut out devices, etc. This can then have a knock-on effect with bands less willing to play at such venues.

I freely accept that everyone has the right not to suffer from noise pollution in their home, but if you want peace and quiet, don't buy a house opposite a music venue then complain about it!

The direct implication is of course the cost of the extra administration, security and all the other aspects involved in adhering to H & S legislation.

As with most legislation, the end result to a business is cost, whether direct or indirect and the margin of a small venue especially is very tight – tight is an understatement.

The passing of the Live Music bill last year, ending the need for licensing for venues smaller than 200 will hopefully help encourage more places to host music, but has too much damage already been done? The almost total lack of publicity surrounding that and the original 2003 bill in the music press points as well to an industry that has lost its way, at the very least.

If large parts of the music industry are not concerned about the precarious state of affairs, then what chance the music fan?

The irony is that in the past a lot of live shows and tours could almost be classed as loss leaders. The tour happened to promote an album, that was the purpose of touring at that time and that is where the financial rewards were for the record labels and in theory the musicians. Nowadays, live music cannot afford to work like that and yet the very people who would benefit from a more active live scene seem apathetic to put it mildly.

tom johnston

Social changes

As much as bureaucracy and government has undoubtedly affected live music, a lot of the blame lies with the social climate and changes. Blame may not be the right word but I will come to that later – for now blame is as good a word as any.

It's a different world now to 20, even 10, years ago and the music business has probably gone through as much change as anything else. Technology and how we communicate have gone hand in hand to totally change the way things are done. Cast your minds back again to the 80s (and 90s to an extent) – I am quite sure people remember waiting outside a Holiday Inn to meet the band you were going to see or had just seen. Nowadays, you send them a message on Facebook.

Music has drastically altered how it does business, so is it possible some of the problem is that we still think of the correct modus operandi to be the template we grew up with? There is a lot of talk, and has been for years, about all the file sharing sites and how they affect the business. Sites such as YouTube facilitate listening to whole albums without ever buying the product, the same with recorded live shows.

Streaming, Spotify mainly, is taking over as the music consumer's weapon of choice.

These of course are legal streaming channels – there is, and always has been, a lot of talk about illegal downloads. But has this not always been the case, just in a different way? Before downloads, there was taping of vinyl and copying CDs, so it is not a new concept.

The music industry is proactive in trying to change things, for example getting Google and other search engines to not list, or at least not list near the top of search results, sites with illegal downloads.

File sharing sites (Napster was the most high profile due to the legal ramifications) continue to provide downloads of music, software and just about everything else that is downloadable.

But latest figures show that over 80% of 18 – 25 year olds (the demographic thought to be mainly responsible for illegal downloads) pay, or are happy to pay, subscriptions for streaming services such as Spotify. The fact that the artistes and songwriters are getting a pittance from the streaming services is not down to illegal downloads.

The days of the bulk of income coming from the sale of CDs are over. The marketing now has to concentrate on service as well, not just the product. That is why so many bands and musicians make themselves so accessible to the music loving public – they are selling themselves - not solely their product.

Not only that, music is wanted on so many more platforms than just CD and that has to be catered for by recording artistes and the industry. The old adage of giving them what they want has never been truer.

Businesses in many sectors now use the free business model, contradiction in terms though it may be – and music is no exception. In fact music has to be at the forefront of it due to the nature of the product. As much as it may pain some people, the way to look at things is something along the lines of "as much as I try to fight it, the songs are going to be available somewhere for free online so it is better to embrace it and have them download the songs from me and that way I can give them a reason to buy something else of mine".

This, together with the availability and connecting to fans is a perfectly good business model.

I have seen, more than a few times, a picture of someone drinking coffee with the tag line – Why do people pay £3.50 for a cup of coffee but they won't pay 99p for a song? If there was a shop next door dishing out free cups of coffee then they wouldn't. But if the original expensive shop added some value and gave you a free coffee with the purchase of some of their other products, then all of a sudden people would be drinking coffee there again like it was going out of fashion.

The music buying public these days is a clever thing. Years ago it was quite easy to fool them, produce a few good songs and fill the rest of the album with, well, fillers... but not now. And that should mean the cream rises to the top, in theory at least.

tom johnston

On the live front, things have changed a lot as well. Whether we like to admit it or not, going to a gig is a lot lower down the priority list for 18-30's than it was. There are several social activities that are preferential – mainly involving electronic gadgetry!

But apart from that, changes in social behaviour when it comes to people's entertainment habits has been happening gradually over the years. As I mentioned, the pub culture has all but disappeared and the good old pub crawl has been replaced by more of a desire to stay in one place and be entertained there. Then there were such atrocities as Karaoke, where rather than watching and listening to those that could, those that really shouldn't be allowed to got up and sang.

Away from music and entertainment, there was a social move towards the "new man" syndrome (something that no female I have ever met seemed to approve of wholeheartedly). That coincided with the new spirit of unbridled capitalism, constant health warnings about drinking, the move towards "family ideals" from government.

All this led to more restrained nights out for a lot of people, pubs moving towards catering for the "family unit" and , in some cases, purely white collar clientele, hence the rise of the gastro pub and coupled with the way the pub trade was run, most landlords had no choice but to go in that direction unless they were fortunate enough to have a free house.

Added to that economic hardship that came from the push towards a materialistic society and the good old pub really didn't stand a chance. It may only be pubs, but they were the life force of up and coming bands, a place for them to hone their skills and for people to see them. Take away the grass roots and you take away the life and soul of it.

After that happened, other entertainment venues suffered as culturally things were changing and the music industry itself, whilst always a business, began its transformation into the corporation.

Because of the access the public has to music and the bands nowadays, there is not the same feelings of need to see them live for most people. As the industry pushes the corporate side, all the attention is on the bigger festivals and arena concerts – the only thing that matters is profit and the marketing is aimed at that. The music takes a back seat, sponsors, advertisers, TV deals and franchising are the controlling factors at gigs and people buy into it so the gigs that people do go to tend to be the bigger venues and festivals. There are no longer many big nationwide tours, but multiple dates at one or two arenas.

The smaller venues (by smaller I mean even ones with 1000+ capacities) are struggling to survive as very few named bands are playing there. A lot of them now are having to turn themselves into clubs after 11pm – it is literally the only way they can survive financially.

The knock on effect of that is the costs to hire venues increases as overheads increase and fewer and fewer people are willing to take the risk of putting an event on. Very small venues can in some cases only survive if the owner is more interested in the music than in financial reward and unfortunately they are few and far between.

But the main problem is so many people now are happy with listening, watching music videos and live performances. They may well have been 30 years ago if such technology existed, we will never know. The "I want it now" generation, as some describe it, likes to choose what it listens to – not whole albums any more but only certain tracks from it and the same goes for live, or what is perceived as such. They don't want to go to a gig and sit through 90 minutes when they see the ten minutes they want to on YouTube.

Speaker manufacturers are often using that concept – marketing their products with the promise that it will make you think you are actually there.

Additionally the arenas provide such a lack of atmosphere compared to smaller venues that there is a valid argument for thinking people are not missing out on as much as was once the case.

It is true a lot less people go to gigs now, but think of this as well – a lot of those that don't and prefer other forms of entertainment would have gone to gigs in days gone by as there was not a lot of choice of other entertainment then.

The Media

And what of the media? Where to start! The irony is that in a world fuelled by online interaction and communication, the spectrum of choice in regard to the popular media is narrower than ever. Whilst it is true that anyone can find any sort of music from Mongolian throat singing to the blackest of metal online, the mainstream media specialises in a bombardment of the same corporate identities on a never ending rotation.

One of the primary weapons of dictatorships is only letting people hear what you want them to hear and the media is following the same principles. Their argument is always that people can listen to what they want, but you can only know what you want if you are informed about the options available.

As much as it makes me nauseous, when you talk of media's involvement and attempted control of aural gratification, the rise in reality entertainment, specifically the x-factor, Pop Idol type programming is high on the agenda.

Now of course talent shows are hardly a new concept and manufactured bands are not new either. But the digital age has seen a massive rise in not only talent shows, but reality TV of all shapes and sizes and whilst that isn't relevant as such to music, what is relevant is the move to that genre of programming.

Andy Warhol famously said "everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes" and that is what reality TV is about, plus the inquisitive nature of the human race wanting to see behind closed doors and the revelling in other people's misfortunes.

And from the side of those appearing on these shows, the fifteen minutes of fame can turn into a lot more and that gives rise to the concept of being famous without having actually achieved anything. With the huge advances in communications, where the public at large gets involved is in the voting processes and that is where the programming has an impact, people feel less like couch potatoes and more like part of the production who have a say on what happens next.

The public loves a freak show. And it is no different for the music (I use that term very loosely) genre reality shows. Even better for the music industry is there is absolutely no risk involved as the music buying public is telling them what they will buy before it is even released.

This type of programming is of course marketed very well and aimed at specific demographics, 14-24, even though, and perhaps surprisingly, it is the 45+ demographic that actually buys more music than anyone else. But the 14-24 group is where new music is aimed at and they are also the ones who will vote in such shows.

As the industry knows, whilst it may be the 45+ that buys the most, their taste is less likely to be affected and as well as that, they have children and grandchildren who will of course want what they are told to want by the industry (did I say that, oh well...).

The problem with these shows is not so much what they are doing, but the fact that the line between music and entertainment is getting less and less visible. It is entertainment, hence the mix of car crash performances and the better ones but musically, but it is nothing more than directed karaoke - there is neither songwriting nor the playing of instruments involved. Entertainment is masquerading in the guise of music like a crazed bodysnatcher.

It takes a long time to even become competent playing an instrument and year upon year of practice to get good at it, a long time to develop into a top notch songwriter – yet we have a whole generation of people who think that all that can be bypassed to achieve fame and fortune.

And those three words are the problem - Fame and Fortune. Musicians play music as an expression, they love the music, its language, its emotion and if fame and fortune arrive then all the better, but if it doesn't as is normally the case, then do they stop? Of course not! How often do you hear a contestant on one of these shows say "It's all I ever wanted"? Yet they are 24 years old and have never considered joining or starting a band. If they want the fame and fortune that is fine, but don't try to fool anyone that it is anything to do with the music.

Rather than getting better, things will get worse. Think about it, 18 year olds now have been brought up with this programming so to them it is as normal as going out to gigs once was.

Another problem is the huge marketing platform that exists with such programming and because of this, musicians and bands who have no connection with the shows are falling over themselves to appear when they have new material to promote. For the program makers, as well as it being a good earner, there is almost a subconscious association made by the public between the band performing on the show and the show itself, which all adds to their public perception of it being the only source of music that matters.

Because successful prgramming relies on change and things not staying the same for too long, the short lived band is perfect for them – finish with them and move on to the next one. The audience knows that even if they do not like the current flavour of the month, it won't be long before a new one comes along. In any case, where the package being marketed is devoid of content it makes little or no difference what name is given to the empty package.

Elsewhere, because of the perceived huge influence and fiscal power wielded by such entities as X-Factor, other media sources are quick to side with them for fear of being left out in the cold and run over by the juggernaut of mediocrity. There are fewer areas of programming aimed at the variety of genre specific music if that genre appears to be one the powers that be don't endorse.

And the result is a whole generation growing up without exposure to different types of music. It is all very well saying people have made their choice, but how is it even conceivable to make a choice without being presented with the options?

Going back in time again, when I was youthful and depraved (rather than just middle aged and depraved) there was rock in all its forms, punk, electronic, new romantic, dance, glam, new wave, R&B, hip-hop, country and pop to name a few. There was huge variety and at the time we didn't realise how lucky we were to have the weapons of choice at our disposal.

It can be argued there are countless internet radio stations and, with the advent of digital radio, more access than before to music. But it is still in the realms of mainstream media where we discover new and different music and with that being run as a closed shop, the irony is the choice is less than ever before. The protagonists know that and will fight tooth and nail to keep the masses ill informed as long as it serves their purpose.

Take the mainstream media and its stations that advertise themselves as playing Rock music – that part is true but the content is what you would expect from a compilation album featuring nothing but the most well known songs. Sure, they are good songs but songs we have all heard more times than we have had hot dinners. Even if they insist on nothing but music by the most well known bands, at least play some that aren't heard often.

The whole point is though to let people hear a variety of different bands and songs, some of which they have probably never heard of and people can choose which they like and who they want to hear more of. So why don't they? One reason is that playing the standard regurgitated songs makes for much less work. Secondly, the total lack of musical knowledge and totally blinkered view displayed by DJs and those who, by the very nature of their public role, you would expect to have at least a grasp of even some music that isn't entirely mainstream and bands who are not household names.

Thirdly, there is the "control freak" persona that is a frighteningly major part of the makeup of much of the media and it would never do to give the people a choice. Not only that, the incumbents are hanging on to power by their fingernails. Without mentioning any names, many of these people are those whose opinions my generation of rockers grew up respecting, and unfortunately now many of them have become irrelevant but they like the standing they have, or more to the point, think they have – in short it is an ego trip of epic proportions.

Music has become too easy

It may sound positively puritanical and bringing out the musical snob in me that I can even suggest that so let me just qualify the statement. Music itself is not too easy, music is something that should be experienced by all, experimented with and played by everyone, used to communicate as the language it is.

That is just what it is, a language, and the most powerful of languages, reaching across cultural and geographical barriers. Whilst we all have a command of the idiomatic language our location and upbringing bestows upon us, we are not all public orators – why should music be any different?

It has, in a way, become too easy to record and publicise music and culturally the advent of all the aforementioned reality entertainment programming has provided justification. People wouldn't stand on a street corner or a town hall sharing their wisdom with the masses if they had neither the linguistic ability to get their message across nor something meaningful to say and yet they do so time and again with music.

Even releasing an album was an achievement in itself in the pre digital age – it took a lot of studio time and money and normally meant that a label or management company had great faith in the band and for that reason it was not something everyone could do.

The avenues available for generating interest in a band were a lot more limited in the days when Google was just a badly spelt word. This generally (though definitely not always!) led to a better overall musical standard as word of mouth played a very big role in a band becoming a fixture in the public consciousness. From the bands' point of view, there was a massive amount of commitment needed to even get to the stage of releasing a vinyl product and countless weeks living in vans between gigs. Yes we all had access to music as we do now but as it was so difficult to get a product out, it was more often than not a case of the cream risig to the top.

There was also a proliferation of differing sounds that sprung up regularly. The music was less media driven and more down to music as well as other cultural influences as is always the case. Of course the media picked up on the genres but a genre was very rarely built because of the media, a far cry from the situation today.

And nowadays? In a nutshell, getting music out there can literally be dependant on someone's IT knowledge as much as their musical ability. Of course computer generated music isn't a new thing and as an entity is a valid musical genre but when the technology becomes more important than technical music ability in forms of musical expression that traditionally rely upon musical talent, then a big part of the music is being lost.

Technology is something that exists in the modern world and its main advantage is making tasks easier to perform through software for example than if we didn't have access to the technology. But that is also to the detriment of music – you can use all the software you want but it doesn't give you musical ability or the technique that comes from hour upon hour of practice and experimentation.

It is a short cut to producing a song, but one that relies extensively on the previous output of others, via samples, effects, etc. They may be put together in a different form to the original sounds but in essence it is someone else's creativity, making the new song almost devoid of expression. We would all love to be able to play a guitar like Eddie Van Halen and a bass like Geddy Lee, but using a collection of samples and creating a song from them isn't a solution.

And yes I know not everyone does it that way. But even in a lot of the cases where the instruments are being played and there is true musical expression, the development process of the band and individual musicians has not reached its fruition and the technical standard can leave a lot to be desired. Original and innovative material then has nowhere to go other than into the background. And even worse, once the musical product is finished, there are countless easy, quick and free ways of flooding the public with the songs.

There is more than a little paradox about the whole situation. Whilst only the most ardent musical fascist could argue that music should be the preserve of the few, the very fact that it is there for everyone, coupled with the digital age, has resulted in an abundance of what can be called at best mediocre music (I am being polite). Because of the ease with which it is now possible to record and release music there has been almost a standardisation, a template, which is as opposed to the true purpose of music that it is possible to get.

And the effect on the listener is that expectations are lowered, acceptance of the templated sound as the norm is the natural progression.

Safety first

Safety is to be encouraged when absailing down a cliff face but when it comes to the arts, a blinkered approach without any risk is not benefcial. Taking risks and experimenting is how new ideas develop, new music genres begin and music is kept alive and fresh. There was always "safe" music where a successful formula was followed until it become too stale to attract a market any longer but alongside that, new music and original innovative sounds and ideas were free to flourish.

That freedom was facilitated by people and organisations who would take a risk with a new sound or concept – sometimes it worked and the sound became popular, sometimes it was shorter lived than English optimism at the World Cup. But even on those occasions, it could morph into another sound that did garner more popularity.

Rock music particularly, especially since the late 1980s, has suffered greatly from this lack of adventure. When grunge took over, the rock industry was only interested in pushing that type of music even going as far as to try to "grunge up" existing and new bands so they would fit in with the perceived new direction.

When grunge died its death thanks to a shotgun, instead of filling the void with the new and adventurous together with the established bands who retained a large fan base, there became a new musical order whereby the type of sound was decided by the business people not the musicians and if they wanted to gain commercial success they had to fit in with those ideals.

Of course there were exceptions to the rule but the mass market was dictated by the men in suits and their cohorts in the media – the musicians and bands became a tool for the greedmongers to achieve fame and wealth and it has stayed like that ever since.

There are other avenues open to the musician rather than those traditionally associated with the industry and that is where the advancements in technology have been beneficial. As well as the obvious enhanced recording capabilities for relatively low outlay, technology has also resulted in the opening of huge amounts of information channels so people are no longer at the mercy of the business in relation to the legal aspects of music and distribution.

As I mentioned, technology is a double edged sword.

In much the same way that the paradox exists with the seemingly ever increasing abundance of mediocre music, it is also prevalent here. The more access people have to music, the more they lack invention and follow blindly the perceived norm, a norm created by those who seek to control and profit from the music.

As risk is reduced, venues and promoters book only the "safe" bands and as a consequence, monotony takes over. Rather than an exciting journey, the live experience is getting reduced to a 20mph crawl in the slow lane so the audience, the ones who pay to go, desert the venues in large numbers. It also works inversely – as venues book more and more of these bands, others find themselves going in that direction as well as they see it as the only way to get more gigs.

Musicians; Demand and supply

The oldest and most relevant economic principle, demand and supply, is as relevant in music as in everything else. In a nutshell, if there is a sparse supply of a sought after commodity its stock rises and when the market is flooded with it so the supply outnumbers the demand, its value falls.

As far as live music is concerned the demand is the venues and the supply is naturally enough the bands. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that supply outweighs demand, which has a knock on effect in music more than in other sectors. The problem with music is when the supply is so great, there are always some who will provide their service for very low cost or even no cost.

A venue is a business and like any other business its aim is maximising profits and minimising risks. Obtaining a service with no outlay is a very good way to maximise profits – this especially is the case with the pub type venue. There is a guaranteed clientele whoever the band is and whilst paying a band even a relatively small amount of £200 should guarantee a few extra customers, the profit needs to increase by at least that amount to make it worthwhile, so an element of risk is introduced. To attract more customers there is additional outlay in advertising, again increasing the risk.

That is the reason venues come up with all sorts of inglorious ways to pay bands on percentages of door and bar – no risk is involved. That is an acceptable practice but where it turns all sinister is the different arrangements venues make to pay bands after the first x number of punters that come to see each band, etc – it is normally worked out very carefully so that rarely, if ever, will a band be paid at all. The problem is there are always bands willing to perform with such arrangements in place – if there weren't, then venues would have to rethink.

There is a market value for everything; as wrong as it may seem, Premier League footballers get paid huge wages because that is what that particular market can stand, netball players get a lot less for the same reason. Unfortunately in the case of live music, there are too many willing to sell their services for very little compensation and that brings down the perceived market value.

Whilst the majority of bands and musicians performing for free are doing so because, to put it bluntly, it is the only way they can get bookings, the impact on those who have a good value is that the entertainment industry becomes climatised to this concept and it almost gets treated as the industry standard.

A good example is a friend of mine from Manchester, Tony Dowler, who happens to be a quite astonishing guitarist, played a gig in Bristol. The venue had no interest in even listening to their music before booking them and when they played there, one of the audience said to the band: "We are shocked, we normally have shit here, we're not used to good music." And that is a true story.

The other major drawback is that the public at large is generally not overladen with musical ethics or musical awareness due in no small part to the media and its lack of diversity.

People like to hear songs they know, songs they grew up with, bands they grew up with whilst downing pints in their local watering hole. It is fairly unlikely that Aerosmith will pop in and play an impromptu set but a band playing nothing but Aerosmith songs may well do.

Attack of the clones

Tribute bands – we all have our opinions on them – but the fact is they have been gaining in popularity over recent years and the better ones can command a good fee. The market value mentioned above goes straight out the window with tribute bands. It is not much of a risk for promoters or venues to put them on – they know people will come to see them. For the punter it is a no risk night as well – they know exactly what they are getting, as far as the songs are concerned (whether they sound anything like they should is another thing entirely).

They are a far cheaper option than the band they are copying so economics plays a major role in their rise as well. A big part of the audience for tributes is the so called Generation X – they grew up with the music, they don't see the real band any more so the tribute is the next best thing and financially that demographic tends to have disposable income.

Ideas anyone?

It is all a bit tricky when you look at it. Take the named bands out of the equation (after all that is only a very small percentage of bands) and what you have is very little at best income from the traditional source, the good old CD. Income from downloads is also declining as streaming gains in popularity. There are sales that will always exist from the most ardent fan who will want everything the band has ever done, merchandising, etc, but the traditional market has collapsed almost totally.

In theory because people have more access to music for very little outlay, the bands who create demand should at least generate an income stream from royalties – but given the way the PMRC calculates radio play royalties for example is anything but beneficial to the smaller bands, so even that is in many cases almost negligible – it may pay for a few strings and the odd drumstick but certainly not a tour.

More creative product selection and marketing is about the only way of trying to get a sustainable level of income from recordings – things got that bad that even labels had to diversify in sometimes totally unrelated areas to keep themselves in business.

So if the recording side of things is this bad, then the only other route is touring. Well not exactly. There are other avenues that can be explored; corporate gigs, online events, computer game music, soundtracks, etc and to cover costs of recording, fan funding of several different flavours is growing in popularity – after all, the basis behind that is no different to patronage that has been around for hundreds of years.

Most bands have a business model that primarily relies on studio and live and many simply do not have time to delve into the other areas (they work, have families and importantly have to devote time to drinking). Whilst there may be little income in the studio side, it has to be done as a way to be able to book gigs and generate interest. Everything has totally shifted from the old paradigm where tours existed to sell albums... arse about face is a good description. If live music is decreasing at an alarming rate, which unfortunately it is, that doesn't sound too promising.

If it was simply a case of different marketing being needed, different venues or price adjustments then it is easily remedied, but when swimming against the tide of social change things are a lot more difficult.

Similar to the way the recorded product needs to be more creative, the same can be said to be true in the case of live music. But there comes a point when the question arises of whether people are coming to see the music or are mainly interested in the extra value attached to the gig to sell tickets. While it is good that at least they are coming out and the musician gets to perform, there is a danger of the music becoming incidental.

Sad though it is to say, the fact that music has been dumbed down resulted in a mass exodus from the live arena by audiences – when other forms of entertainment arrived and became popular, music did very little to compete leaving the genuine music contributors out in the cold. Those bands that had already built a strong fanbase survived, but it became increasingly difficult for new original music to break through.

Ever wondered why there is a plethora of Rock bands especially who have been together for 30 plus years and are still pulling in huge crowds and making standout studio albums? Because they came from an era where the song was the important product and to succeed you needed to be a good songwriter.

This is far removed from the media induced modern throw away artist where, as has been seen, the businessmen rule and the musician is just a commodity.

We, and by we I mean those who have music's best interests at heart not our wallets, are playing with loaded dice, heavily loaded against music. If we change the game we will just be playing with a stacked deck and the result will be the same. There are direct comparisons with the political climate in some countries – replace what you have with someone from the same mould and as much as they promise change, in the end it is no different. To put it in an organic way, it is like a bad onion – take away one layer and there is another bad one underneath to take its place.

Revolution in all its forms is sometimes the only viable catalyst to long lasting change. I am not suggesting that we should go out and assassinate those at the top who ultimately have to take a lot of responsibility for the current state of affairs, as much as it would be positively enriching and self healing to do so. And I can't deny that Simon Cowell's head on a spike, along with those of his cohorts, would be the embodiment of karma, but it really wouldn't solve anything and the last thing the world needs is martyrs like that.

Revolution in this case needs to be in the form of music, music that can grab the attention of the country's youth in much the same way that punk did in the 1970s, music that will cause eruptions within the establishment. Personally I was never musically a fan of punk but the effect it had was so huge, it impacted everybody across many genres. As much a part of it as anything was the attitude, something brought about then by social factors as well as music and it is that attitude that music needs more than anything else at the moment. Attitude spreads much further than simple music taste and it has mass appeal in youth culture – we all at one time or another had the rebel in us, some still do and with some it never goes!

The rebellious youth has morphed into the apathetic corporate servant in recent years so a vehicle is needed to get people back out to gigs, a reason for them to put that ahead of all the other forms of entertainment available to them and until that happens, I for one don't foresee things returning to the correct order - the spirit needs to be reawakened. Let us all just hope it is only sleeping and not in a coma.

Once we get back to a semblance of order, the trick is to keep that order intact and I know this is a sensitive subject but the other side of the equation that is just as important is to put an end to the musical mediocrity that is an insult to genuinely talented musicians. For this to happen, it almost needs a civil war within the music community.

The public need to be able to see more skilled musicians in venues where they frequent and the only way this can happen is to put a halt to the purveyors of all that is second rate and technical and artistic music will then be seen as the norm rather than exceptional, they will become aware of a melting pot of different music and interested in music... from tiny acorns as they say.

As harsh as it may sound, these purveryors of mediocrity need to be stopped from playing in many venues so the venues can return to the realms of music. As we know, the vast majority of those who will play consistently for free make up this category so that is at the heart of the matter. Venues and promoters are far from blameless, but the fault is not entirely theirs – for music to become a valued commodity again musicians have to stand up against other musicians, people need to know which venues pay bands and consequently which venues will have the better and more entertaining music.

It is alarming that we are in a situation where this has to be done but for music to get back to the people, there has to be proactivity to change people's mindsets, so they know there are other choices.

We need musical heroes, the kind of person that you hear when you are 10 years old and it makes you want to do that, to play that instrument, to talk to people with music and that is all a long way removed from just wanting to be famous.

If we are not prepared to fight for it, then change will never happen and so much will be lost.


12.8.13





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hrh HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES THE RETURN OF WASP, MSG & Y&T
WASP return to HRH by overwhelming demand to headline the Friday Night at this year's festival....

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'WE ARE THE ONES TO FALL'
Catch Santa Cruz at their run of UK Shows as support for Voodoo Six...

rizzo SOULFLY/CAVALERA CONSPIRACY GUITARIST MARC RIZZO ANNOUNCES US SOLO TOUR
Marc Rizzo will be on a road trip across the US in April and May ...

tcp THE INTREPID FOX GIVES MAJOR CLUE AS TO IT'S NEW VENUE
...take my hand and walk with me through history... but always remember to tread carefully...

tcp THE CRIMSON PROJEKCT TO PERFORM AT SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE IN LONDON ON 12TH MARCH 2014
The exclusive one-off show is a unique opportunity for any European King Crimson fan after 10 years of live abstinence...

delain DELAIN RELEASE LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'YOUR BODY IS A BATTLEGROUND'
Previews from the album 'The Human Contradiction' are also available to watch ...

darkest era DARKEST ERA TO RELEASE 'SEVERANCE' ALBUM ON CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC
The album from the Irish Celtic Metallers is due to be released in June ...

thunder THUNDER RELEASE TWO LIVE CDS FROM XMAS SHOWS
One free download from each CD is available. Thunder have also been added to the bill for the Calling Festival in June...

blaze absolva BLAZE BAYLEY AND ABSOLVA FILM Q&A FROM FANS
As the 'Soundtracks Of My Life' tour starts catch up with the conversations and rehearsal footage ...

sonisphere SONISPHERE 2014 ANNOUNCE DREAM THEATER, DEVIL YOU KNOW, YASHIN AND MORE
Further big names announced today for the essential festival at Knebworth in July...

collapse COLLAPSE ANNOUNCE A NEW FRONTMAN AND A FREE DOWNLOAD
Former InComa member Harry Watson is the new vocalist. "I can say with confidence that the new Collapse album will be disgustingly heavy!"...

reuben archer REUBEN ARCHER'S PERSONAL SIN TO PLAY THE BORDERLINE ON 12 MARCH
The Borderline gig is part of a small run of UK dates in support of the debut album ...

arch enemy ARCH ENEMY REVEAL DETAILS FOR NEW ALBUM 'WAR ETERNAL'
"Musically, this album is going a few places we haven't visited before. All the trademarks of Arch Enemy are present, just more in your face and turned up to 11"...

blackwolf BLACKWOLF RELEASE 'KEEP MOVING ON' VIDEO
Watch the video taken from debut album 'The Hunt', released after the success of the Pledge Music campaign...

suicide silence SUICIDE SILENCE RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE' FEATURING RANDY BLYTH FROM LAMB OF GOD
Get a ssneak peek at the upcoming DVD with this taster track from the Mitch Lucker Memorial Show ...

california breed GLENN HUGHES REVEALS ARTWORK & TRACKLISTING FOR 'CALIFORNIA BREED'
New album to be released on May 19th. "California Breed is exactly where I live, breathe and where my freak flag flies" ...

wakeman giltrap LEGENDARY GUITARIST ROCKS UP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 30 YEARS THIS APRIL
Gordon Giltrap teams up with Oliver Wakeman and an all-star backing band including the rhythym section of Threshold ...

intrepid fox THE INTREPID FOX INTRODUCES NEW STRICT DRESS POLICY IN LATEST STATEMENT REGARDING IT'S CLOSURE
"See, that's what life is all about: you always gotta have choices and some form of entertainment..."

aerosmith BREAKING NEWS: AEROSMITH AND THUNDER CONFIRMED FOR LONDON CALLING FESTIVAL AT CLAPHAM COMMON
It's all official now - as revealed by MetalTalk yesterday, Aerosmith are playing the London Calling festival...

metallica FREE DOWNLOAD OF METALLICA'S EPIC 1986 HAMMERSMITH 'MASTER OF PUPPETS' GIG AVAILABLE NOW
A free download of Metallica's epic 1986 concert at Hammersmith Odeon is available now...

cat scratch fever CAT SCRATCH FEVER RETURNS TO THE WHITE LION
Cult hard rockers Stampede have been added to the 29th March event ...

doro DORO RELEASES COVERS OF METALLICA, TINA TURNER AND LED ZEPPELIN FOR ANNIVERSARY 2CD OUT IN MAY
A special edition of 'Raise Your Fist' contains some extra jewels for the Metal queen's crown...

richie sambora RICHIE SAMBORA EXPANDS ON REASONS FOR STOPPING TOURING WITH BON JOVI
Ahead of his solo shows, Richie Sambora speaks to Australian media. "The currency of love and happiness is worth a lot more than the currency of money"...

aerosmith EXCLUSIVE: AEROSMITH TO PLAY LONDON CALLING FESTIVAL IN JUNE?
MetalTalk believe that Aerosmith will play London Calling on Friday 27th June...

airlander BRUCE DICKINSON INVOLVED IN THE LAUNCH OF THE WORLD'S LONGEST AIRCRAFT
The Airlander Hybrid Airship is a 'game-changer' in the history of aviation...

bigelf BIGELF OFFER FREE DOWNLOAD OF 'ALIEN FREQUENCY'
Get the latest from the progressive Metallers with this track from 'Into The Maelstrom'...

dave davies DAVE DAVIES OF THE KINKS ANNOUNCES FIRST UK CONCERT IN 13 YEARS
The evening at Barbican Hall will celebrate his revolutionary guitar sound...

winger WINGER TO RELEASE 'BETTER DAYS COMIN' ON 21 APRIL FOLLOWED BY A UK TOUR
After the main stage appearance at Download in June Winger will play some headline UK dates ...

corey taylor SLIPKNOT WILL RECORD MAJOR NEW ALBUM IN 2014
Corey Taylor confirms that work will begin in March...

devildriver DEVILDRIVER REVEAL NEW VIDEO FOR 'SAIL'
Catch DevilDriver in Europe this spring in support of sixth studio album 'Winter Kills'...

crowbar CROWBAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'SYMMETRY IN BLACK'
The riff lords are in the UK at the moment on a run of headline dates...

les fest BREAKING NEWS: LES-FEST ANNOUNCE MORE BANDS FOR 2014
Savage Messiah will be Saturday night headliners. "This continues our something for everyone policy with a broad range of rock and Metal bands now confirmed from Death Metal right through to Classic Rock"...

wiston lodge BREAKING NEWS: LES-FEST ANNOUNCE THE NEW LOCATION
Following the administration of the previous venue, Scotland's award winning festival finds a new home at Wiston Lodge...

winger WINGER TO RELEASE 'BETTER DAYS COMIN' ON 21 APRIL
Along with the first new album for five years, the band are confirmed to appear at Download festival in June...

whitechapel WHITECHAPEL ANNOUNCE BRAND NEW ALBUM
The track listing and album artwork for the fifth Whitechapel album is revealed...

jon lord book LAVISH JON LORD BOOK 'ALL THOSE YEARS AGO' TO BE RELEASED IN APRIL
The limited edition of just 500 copies contains many unpublished images and contributions plus a purple 10" vinyl...

lambesis TIM LAMBESIS PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO MURDER HIS WIFE
The As I Lay Dying frontman changes his plea and admits soliciting an undercover detective to kill his spouse...

uriah heep VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH MICK BOX: URIAH HEEP ARE READY TO TAKE THE STAGE FOR ONE-OFF KOKO SHOW TO BE FILMED FOR DVD RELEASE
Uriah Heep will finish recording their 24th studio album in time for the extremely special set on March 4th ...

stream of passion STREAM OF PASSION JOIN FORCES WITH THEIR FANS TO CREATE 'A WAR OF OUR OWN'
The Dutch Metallers forge their own path with this crowd-funding triumph...

autopsy AUTOPSY ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE ON 21st APRIL
This will be the seventh studio album from the acclaimed US Death Metallers...

sonisphere SONISPHERE 2014 ANNOUNCE WILKO JOHNSON, ELECTRIC WIZARD, ANTI-FLAG AND MORE
The latest stellar additions mean that Sonisphere will have over 100 bands across the weekend...

desecrator ep DESECRATOR RELEASES 2 TRACK EP
The SAMA nominee issues a free download of 'MMXIV' with a pay what you want option...

sebastian bach SEBASTIAN BACH'S NEW ALBUM 'GIVE 'EM HELL' SET FOR APRIL 22ND RELEASE VIA FRONTIERS RECORDS
"I can honestly say that Give 'Em Hell meets or even exceeds the standards set by some of the records I have put out in the past"...

global rock summit GLOBAL ROCK SUMMIT IN LOS ANGELES ANNOUNCES MORE SPEAKERS INCLUDING MOTLEY CRUE MANAGER CHRIS NILSSON AND WARPED TOUR FOUNDER KEVIN LYMAN
The event will discuss the future of the industry and look at solutions to further bolster and expand business opportunities...

edguy EDGUY REVEAL FURTHER ALBUM DETAILS
See the tracklist and artwork for the limited edition release right here...

intrepid fox THE INTREPID FOX ISSUES FURTHER STATEMENT CONCERNING ITS CLOSURE
Check out this unique view from the bar: past, present and future...

zak wylde ZAKK WYLDE'S BLACK LABEL SOCIETY STREAM NEW SINGLE 'MY DYING TIME'
The single is the first release from the new studio album 'Catacombs Of The Black Vatican' coming in April ...

intrepid fox THE INTREPID FOX ISSUES STATEMENT ABOUT IMMINENT CLOSURE
The Metal institution has a farewell line-up to ensure it goes out with a bang...

loud noises OUERGH RECORDS LAUNCHED
Newly established label Ouergh have an impressive Rock and Metal division & celebrate their launch with a free download...

absolva ABSOLVA ADD EUROPEAN DATES TO THE 'ANTHEMS TO THE DEAD' TOUR 2014
The European jaunt starts in France in September and runs until the end of October with more dates to be added...

manowar MANOWAR'S 'KINGS OF METAL MMXIV' SILVER EDITION CD WILL NOW BE RELEASED ON MARCH 21 2014
"Due to strong pre-orders we have increased our initial order and we decided to change the release date, so that all stores get the music at the same time, and every fan has a fair chance to get one of these limited edition CDs"...

kiss KISS WILL NOT PERFORM AT 2014 ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME CEREMONY
The inductees have confirmed that there will be no performance on April 10 due to an impossible situation with the line-up...

sabaton SABATON REVEAL FINAL ARTWORK AND TRACKLIST FOR 'HEROES'
The latest from the Metal veterans is released on May 19th and will be available in five formats...

toseland TOSELAND ANNOUNCE UK TOUR AND DEBUT ALBUM
'Renegade' is released on 24th March and access to exclusive content, tour blogs and streams of other tracks from the album is available with orders...

techfest UK TECH-FEST ANNOUNCES ALL-DAYER WARM-UP SHOWS
Venues in Manchester, Bristol and London will host the mini-festivals in advance of the progressive and technical main event...

keith wilfort ATTENTION IRON MAIDEN FANS: KEITH WILFORT TO UNDERGO OPEN HEART SURGERY IN CALIFORNIA
Keith Wilfort is a big name in the early history of Iron Maiden...

iron knights IRON KNIGHTS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM ON 5 MAY
The self-titled new album marks the next chapter in the evolution of Iron Knights...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ADD AN EXTRA DATE FOR THEIR 30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW
Following a rapid sell-out, and additional date at The Half Moon Putney will take place on 22nd April...

newsted NEWSTED REVEAL BRAND NEW VIDEO FOR 'AS THE CROW FLIES'
The only chance to see Newsted in the immediate future is via this video as all Feb and March tour dates are cancelled...

beth joe BETH HART & JOE BONAMASSA ANNOUNCE DEBUT LIVE RECORDING 'LIVE IN AMSTERDAM'
The Grammy-nominated duo showcase a truly live set featuring 22 songs and over two hours of bonus and behind-the-scenes footage...

desecrator DESECRATOR NOMINATED IN THE SAMA AWARDS 2014
The one-man death machine is nominated in the Best Metal category at this year's Scottish Alternative Music Awards ...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR WITH HELLYEAH
2014 is a mammoth year of touring for the giants of rock with dates all the way up to August ...

hairy balls THE HAIRY BALLS CHALLENGE IS LAUNCHED!
Do you have the balls to put your balls on the line? A hair-raising challenge in aid of Headbangers Balls has been set ...

rovo system 7 STEVE HILLAGE JOINS JAPANESE BAND ROVO FOR MARCH UK TOUR
The iconic prog guitarist will play four UK dates with this unique collaboration ...

deborah bonham DEBORAH BONHAM & BAND HEAD OUT ON THE ROAD
The 'Spirit' UK tour celebrate's the worldwide album release ...

camden rocks CAMDEN ROCKS FESTIVAL CONFIRMED FOR SATURDAY 31st MAY
First fifty bands announced of the 200 that will take over Camden ...

tryptikon TRIPTYKON REVEAL'BREATHING' SINGLE RELEASE AND PRE-ORDER DETAILS
Collector's gatefold 7" vinyl released to herald the new album ...

epica EPICA REVEAL DETAILS OF 'THE QUANTUM ENIGMA'
"Every detail finds its way into a perfectly balanced mix, and makes Epica sound raw and overwhelming."...

ex deo EX DEO LAYS DOWN ITS ARMS AND ANNOUNCES INDEFINITE LEAVE OF ABSENCE
"I feel we've done two great albums, full of passion and Epic passages, no regrets, just proud moments"...

marc ford EX BLACK CROWES MEMBER MARC FORD RELEASES NEW ALBUM ON APRIL 14TH
Marc Ford will play the Jazz Café on April 22nd in support of 'Holy Ghost'...

Quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE 30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW, NEW ALBUM AND WORLD TOUR
A special one-off show at The Half Moon, Putney will kick off the year of celebrations...

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT OF CRIS "PIZZA" MIGLIORE AND CRISTIANO "CRIZ" MOZZATI
'Broken Crown Halo' is out March 31 in Europe but a new journey awaits for the drummer and guitarist...

witchfynde WITCHFYNDE'S 'THE LOST TAPES' TO BE RELEASED ON 10TH MARCH
A fortuitous discovery during a spring clean gives an insight into the birth of NWOBHM...

mount salem MOUNT SALEM PREMIERE NEW TRACK 'MESCALINE II'
The intensely brooding track is the latest to be heard from the new album 'Endless' released 3rd March...

ac/dc BREAKING NEWS: AC/DC TO RECORD NEW ALBUM AND TOUR AGAIN
"It's been 40 years of the band's existence. So I think we're gonna try to do 40 gigs, 40 shows, to thank the fans for their undying loyalty..."

cat scratch fever CAT SCRATCH FEVER RETURNS TO THE WHITE LION
Get down to Streatham on Saturday 29th March for a purr-fect rocking evening and support some great causes...

wattie BREAKING NEWS: THE EXPLOITED'S WATTIE BUCHAN IN HOSPITAL AFTER HEART ATTACK
Tour cancelled and all band activities have ceased until May 2014...

civil war CIVIL WAR SIGN WITH NAPALM RECORDS
Former Sabaton members move onwards and upwards after debut album is certified gold...

volume iv VOLUME IV SET TO RELEASE DEBUT ON RIPPLE MUSIC
The impressive album 'Long In The Tooth' will be out on March 14th ...

behemoth BEHEMOTH'S 'THE SATANIST' DEBUTS AT #34 ON THE BILLBOARD TOP 200
A double celebration as Behemoth's frontmant Nergal was found not guilty on blasphemy charges yesterday ...

hellyeah HELLYEAH PART WAYS WITH GREG TRIBBETT AND BOB ZILLA
New album 'Blood For Blood' marks a return to form for the US groove Metal band...

anette olzon EX-NIGHTWISH SINGER ANETTE OLZON TO RELEASE DEBUT SOLO ALBUM 'SHINE'
Anette's striking new album will be released on March 31st to mark the next phase of her career...

the answer THE ANSWER RELEASE NEW SINGLE BUNDLE & LAUNCH 32 DATE UK, EIRE & GERMAN TOUR
The Answer also launched their video premiere for 'New Horizon' today...

toseland TOSELAND TO SUPPORT ON FINAL STATUS QUO TOUR?
Tickets on sale with the ex-Superbike Champion's band named as support for three dates...

rival sons RIVAL SONS ARE RECORDING A NEW ALBUM
The band have released a video taking a look around the Nashville studio where work is in progress...

stiff little fingers STIFF LITTLE FINGERS HAVE A NEW STUDIO ALBUM, 'NO GOING BACK' SET FOR APRIL 2014 RELEASE
UK tour dates have also been announced for March/April 2014 ...

btbam BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME RELEASE VIDEO AHEAD OF UPCOMING US TOUR
"The process. The preparation. A small glimpse into the beginnings of a Between The Buried And Me show. Let's switch off together" ...

sonisphere SONISPHERE 2014 ANNOUNCE DEFTONES, FRANK TURNER, ALESTORM, REEL BIG FISH AND MORE
The exemplary bill swells to over 100 acts with the addition of twelve more quality names today...

magnum MAGNUM RELEASE NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'ESCAPE FROM THE SHADOW GARDEN'
Legendary British Melodic Hard rockers unleash their nineteenth studio album on March 24th followed by a tour...

liza david SAMMY HAGAR PLEADS WITH FDA TO ALLOW EXPERIMENTAL DRUG TO SAVE DRUMMER'S WIFE
Give Liza A Chance by signing the petition to save her life...

edens curse EDEN'S CURSE HAVE A NEW DRUMMER
Pete Newdeck leaves for personal commitments and is replaced by John Clelland...

amon amarth AMON AMARTH ANNOUNCE BELFAST AND DUBLIN SHOWS AFTER BLOODSTOCK
The Swedish Death Metallers Amon Amarth pay a visit to Ireland before returning home after their worldwide trek...

buffalo summer BUFFALO SUMMER ANNOUNCE EXTENSIVE TOUR SUPPORTING BANDS INCLUDING SKID ROW AND BUCKCHERRY
The tour starts on 22nd Feb and runs until June 2014...

dio tribute RONNIE JAMES DIO TRIBUTE ALBUM 'THIS IS YOUR LIFE' ANNOUNCED
Some of the greatest names in Rock and Metal pay tribute to the greatest of them all...

chris cornell SOUNDGARDEN'S CHRIS CORNELL RECEIVED DEATH THREAT TWEETS FROM SEATTLE WOMAN
The woman has been charged with cyber-stalking following the vile abuse received by the singer...

decade DECADE HEAD OUT FOR UK HEADLINE TOUR IN MAY 2014
The Bath-based quintet promote their debut album with a six date run...

gus tour GUS G. - EUROPEAN TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED
Gus teams up with Uli Jon Roth and Jorn Lande, and also co-headlines with Marty Friedman ...

the ocean DOWNFALL OF GAIA ANNOUNCE NEW DRUMMER
New York native Michael Kadnar will join the German-based band on a full time basis ...

the ocean THE OCEAN DEBUT 'PELAGIAL WORLD TOUR' VIDEO BLOG PART 1
The Ocean take an in-depth look at touring as an underground Metal band ...

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL UNLEASH FIRST TRACK FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM 'BROKEN CROWN HALO'
'Nothing Stands In Our Way' provides a taste of what is to come on March 31 ...

klogr ALTERNATIVE METAL BAND KLOGR RELEASE 'DRAW CLOSER' SINGLE
The band have also been confirmed as special guests on the UK/European tour by American Metal band Prong...

manowar EXCLUSIVE: MANOWAR OVERCOME MAJOR PROBLEMS AS WORLD TOUR KICKS OFF
Manowar found themselves fighting the world this weekend as they kicked off the first leg of the Kings Of Metal MMXIV World Tour...

death angel DEATH ANGEL'S 'LEFT FOR DEAD' MUSIC VIDEO RELEASED ON THE BAND'S WEBSITE
The Thrash veterans latest release from 'The Dream Calls for Blood' is directed by Tommy Jones ...

KXM KXM TO RELEASE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ON MARCH 11th VIA RAT PAK RECORDS
Pre-orders for the supergroup's debut are being taken now, with a choice of packages ...

house of x HOUSE OF X PREVIEW NEW TRACKS
The former members of UFO showcase two songs in advance of their next album ...

chris tsangarides LEGENDARY PRODUCER CHRIS TSANGARIDES DISCHARGED FROM INTENSIVE CARE
Good news today as Chris makes positive progress in his battle with Legionnaire's Disease...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA REVEAL THIRD ALBUM TRAILER FOR NEW ALBUM 'PARIAH'S CHILD'
It's guitarist Elias Viljanen's turn to talk about studio album number eight ...

alestorm ALESTORM BEGIN RECORDING NEW ALBUM 'SUNSET ON THE GOLDEN AGE'
Everyone's favourite Pirate Metallers are set for a new release in the summer of 2014 ...

singapore rock KORN & ALICE IN CHAINS TO HEADLINE FIRST EVER SINGAPORE ROCK FESTIVAL
Singapore Rock Festival also has a tasty competition where you can greet bands directly at the airport...

piledriver STATUS QUO PRODUCE 'PILEDRIVER' BEER
The Quo celebrate the deluxe edition of 1972 album with their very own ale, and will also head out on the road with Wilko Johnson...

above the fray JEHANGIR AZIZ HAYAT RELEASES NEW ALBUM 'ABOVE THE FRAY'
Check out the title track from the Peshawar based grunge rocker here...

switchblade ISRAELI METALLERS SWITCHBLADE SIGN WITH ROCK'N'GROWL
Catch a live performance alongside Iced Earth's first appearance in Israel...

les fest BREAKING NEWS: LES-FEST VENUE VALLEY INTERNATIONAL PARK CALL IN THE ADMINISTRATORS
A statement from Les-Fest organiser Dave Ritchie regarding the future of Les-Fest reads as follows...

giants of rock EXCLUSIVE: GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL RUNNING ORDER REVEALED
MetalTalk can exclusively reveal the running order and times for the Giants Of Rock Festival which takes place this weekend...

california breed BREAKING NEWS: GLENN HUGHES AND JASON BONHAM FORM A NEW COMMUNION WITH CALIFORNIA BREED
Former Black Country Communion members Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham have formed a new power trio act with a new young guitarist...

paul raymond UFO'S PAUL RAYMOND UNVEILS PIANO VERSION OF 'LOVE TO LOVE'
UFO keyboardist and guitarist Paul Raymond has made public a newly recorded piano version of the classic track...

endless chaos ENDLESS CHAOS OFFER A FREE DOWNLOAD TRACK FROM THEIR FORTHCOMING EP 'REJECTED ATROCITY'
"'Sacrificial Ritual' gives a further glimpse into the perverse mind of Endless Chaos and really showcases the band's true sound. Evil, vicious and unrelenting" ...

bolt thrower BOLT THROWER PLAY THEIR ONLY UK SHOW OF 2014 HEADLINING DAMNATION FESTIVAL
The most requested headliners will top the bill for the 10th anniversary ...

frontiers festival FRONTIERS ROCK FESTIVAL TO BE HELD MAY 1st-3rd 2014
The first festival from the record label will be held in Milan and promises an appetising line-up ...

black dahlia murder THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER ANNOUNCES EUROPEAN SUMMER TOUR
The Molten Melodic Metal onslaught will be here in June and July...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH CELEBRATE A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEVIANCE
There will be special events galore to mark this milestone from the experimental Swedes...

ginger wildheart THE WILDHEARTS TOUR THE UK IN APRIL - VON HERTZEN BROTHERS AND HEY! HELLO! ADDED TO THE BILL
"I absolutely cannot wait to get back onstage with the lads, and we're all excited to be playing with our brother Scott again."...

hrh ibiza HRH IBIZA ROAD TRIP ANNOUNCE 17 BANDS
Time to beat the UK weather and join HRH Ibiza for a once in a lifetime rock n roll adventure ...

out of the ashes OUT OF THE ASHES HAS AN EPIC INITIAL LINE UP OF BANDS
The UK festival scene is on the increase and heading the thunderous charge are the team over at Out Of The Ashes...

iron knights IRON KNIGHTS RELEASE 'DESTROYER' SINGLE AS FREE DOWNLOAD
Get a teaser from the vampire warmongers with an exclusive track which will not be on the new album ...

hardcore superstar HARDCORE SUPERSTAR UNVEIL THE NEW OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'LAST CALL FOR ALCOHOL'
The Swedish sleaze kings remind us what they are all about with this live version of the 2010 classic ...

voodoo six VOODOO SIX CONFIRMED AS SPECIAL GUESTS ON UFO EUROPEAN TOUR
The band will be special guests on ten dates following their own headlining UK tour...

absolva ABSOLVA REVEAL ALBUM COVER ART FOR 'ANTHEMS TO THE DEAD'
Progress on the third album is going well, and will be released on 5th May to co-incide with UK tour dates ...

ginger wildheart GINGER WILDHEART'S NEW ALBUM 'ALBION' TO BE RELEASED ON 31ST MARCH
Never one to rest on his laurels, the pioneer releases his 7th album in 2 years ...

devildriver DEVILDRIVER WILL RETURN TO EUROPE IN SPRING 2014
This tour will be the only chance to catch the band on a European stage in 2014, do not miss ...

ian anderson IAN ANDERSON ANNOUNCES 'HOMO ERRATICUS'
It's the return of Bostock! Album release and extensive UK tour from the eclectic and seminal Prog God ...

bring me the horizon BRING ME THE HORIZON ANNOUNCE WEMBLEY ARENA SHOW
After a triumphant 2013, the Sheffield Metallers will play their biggest show to date...

tyr TÝR DEBUT 'THE LAY OF OUR LOVE' VIDEO
Guest vocalist Liv Kristine also appears on the video, which forms part of the Viking warrior's story told in 'Valkyrja' ...

grand magus GRAND MAGUS FRONT MAN JB DISCUSSES WHAT THE NEW ALBUM MEANS TO HIM
"It's a Metal Triumph of Viking Power!" Watch the discussion and track by track trailers here ...

saxon live SAXON PLAY 3 CLUB DATES IN FEBRUARY
Saxon's return to their roots promises to be a special treat not to be missed, and footage will be used for an upcoming documentary ...

blues pills BLUES PILLS ANNOUNCE UK HEADLINE TOUR
The rising stars are heading off an another European trek with their intense and unique blend of rock ...

tankard TANKARD BEGIN RECORDING THEIR NEW ALBUM, 'R.I.B.'
The sixteenth studio album, to be known as Rest In Beer, is due for release in summer 2014 ...

american head charge AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE ANNOUNCE DOWNLOAD APPEARANCE
The Industrial Metallers will be at Donington Park in June 2014 ...

graveltones THE GRAVELTONES ANNOUNCE UK & EUROPEAN TOUR DATES INCLUDING DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL
The UK dates will be with Buffalo Summer and The Cadillac Three in Feb/March 2014...

extreme EXTREME TO PERFORM PORNOGRAFFITTI IN ITS ENTIRETY ON EUROPEAN TOUR
The first visit from the band in six years includes UK dates in July...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE UK DATES
There will also be a Deluxe Edition of 'Skies Are Falling' out 12th May 2014...

sound of contact SOUND OF CONTACT ANNOUNCE BILL JENKINS AS KEYBOARD PLAYER FOR FORTHCOMING SHOWS
The renowned member of Enchant will play live dates in April and May...

ajenda AJENDA TO RELEASE 'HATRED AND GREED' SINGLE
Northern Ireland's rising stars showcase video from debut album ...

at the gates AT THE GATES ANNOUNCE NEW STUDIO ALBUM
Swedish Metallers make a comeback with their first new material since 1995 ...

black star riders BLACK STAR RIDERS ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR SECOND STUDIO ALBUM
The new, as yet untitled, album will be released in the spring of 2015 through Nuclear Blast ...

randy blythe BREAKING NEWS: LAMB OF GOD SINGER RANDY BLYTHE ANNOUNCES A LONG BREAK FROM MUSIC
"I will not be thinking about Lamb Of God, touring, playing Heavy Metal, writing new material for a good long while..."

motley crue BREAKING NEWS: MOTLEY CRUE ANNOUNCES THE FINAL TOUR... with video...
Band is first-ever to sign binding "Cessation of Touring" agreement to prevent future, unauthorized touring. Last Chance To See The Band Perform Live...

jake e lee BREAKING NEWS: JAKE E LEE'S RED DRAGON CARTEL ANNOUNCE JUNE 2014 UK TOUR DATES
The UK tour follows Red Dragon Cartel's eponymous debut album, released by Frontiers Records on January 27th...

chris dale EXCLUSIVE: BRUCE DICKINSON/TANK BASSIST CHRIS DALE JOINS MONUMENT FOR UPCOMING LIVE SHOWS
"...it's an honour for me to be asked to play for the next generation..."

nick menza EX-MEGADETH DRUMMER NICK MENZA FAILS TO RECONNECT WITH DAVE MUSTAINE AT NAMM SHOW
Former Megadeth sticksman Nick Menza claims that Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine ignored his attempts for a reconciliation...

transatlantic TRANSATLANTIC LAUNCH 'BLACK AS THE SKY' VIDEO
Second video from the supergroup's new album 'Kaleidoscope' is out now ...

kill ritual KILL RITUAL RELEASE 'THE EYES OF MEDUSA' ALBUM TEASER
New studio album to be released on 4th April ...

wacken canada WACKEN METAL BATTLE CANADA: SUBMISSIONS STILL OPEN UNTIL JAN 31ST FOR MONTREAL, TORONTO, EDMONTON, VANCOUVER
Krepitus win Calgary Battle One and will go on to the national final, for a chance to appear at the prestigious Wacken Open Air ...

corey taylor SEE SLIPKNOT WITHOUT THE MASKS IN COMPILATION VIDEO
Actual faces of the band members are revealed all in one place by Loudwire...

grammys THE GRAMMYS HAVE BEEN AWARDED AT THE 56TH ANNUAL CEREMONY
Black Sabbath took the award for Best Metal Performance for 'God Is Dead' ...

sonata arctica SONATA ARCTICA REVEAL SECOND ALBUM TRAILER FOR NEW ALBUM 'PARIAH'S CHILD'
Watch the band talk about studio album number eight ...

pig iron PIG IRON AND BLACK STATE HIGHWAY PLAY CHARITY GIG FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS OF JAPAN
Get down to The Intrepid Fox on 6th March to support this worthy cause ...

foreigner BREAKING NEWS: FOREIGNER ANNOUNCE SPECIAL ACOUSTIC PLUS Q&A GIG AT SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE
An intimate evening with a chances for fans to get their questions answered on stage ...

glenn hughes BREAKING NEWS: GLENN HUGHES TO APPEAR AT SUNFLOWER JAM 2014
The legendary bassist clears his schedule to pay tribute to Jon Lord ...

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL UNVEIL 'BROKEN CROWN HALO' ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LISTING
The new studio album from the Milanese Metallers is out on March 31 ...

lemmy motorhead MOTÖRHEAD CANCEL 2014 EUROPEAN TOUR
Lemmy and the band were advised by doctors that it was still too soon to resume full touring activities...

chris tsangarides LEGENDARY PRODUCER CHRIS TSANGARIDES CRITICALLY ILL IN HOSPITAL
Chris is critically ill in hospital with Legionnaire's Disease...

cambridge rock CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE FIRST 20 BANDS FOR 2014
Melodic Rock superstars FM top the bill with many more acts to be announced ...

krokus KROKUS'S 'METAL RENDEZ-VOUS' GAINS OFFICIAL HONOURS
1980 opus is officially the most successful Hard Rock album of Switzerland ...

oliver OLIVER WITHÖFT CO-OWNER OF CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS PASSED AWAY ON JANUARY 20TH 2014
The Metal world mourns the passing of a great man ...

twilight TWILIGHT SET TO RELEASE THE FINAL ALBUM IN THEIR TRILOGY - 'III: BENEATH TRIDENT'S TOMB'
Listen to the track 'Lungs' from the experimental Black Metal band in advance of release ...

pantera THE BREW UNVEIL 'REPEAT' VIDEO
The latest from the British Classic Rock band is the first from their upcoming studio album, produced by Toby Jepson ...

pantera PANTERA - 'FAR BEYOND DRIVEN' ALBUM CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
Special anniversary edition will be available on Monday 24th March and comes in physical CD format as well as a digital download ...

flotsam jetsam FLOTSAM AND JETSAM TO RELEASE 'NO PLACE FOR DISGRACE 2014' ON FEBRUARY 17TH THROUGH METAL BLADE RECORDS
Classic Album is enhanced with the promise of being "100% better and more refined!" ...

amon amarth AMON AMARTH PREMIERE EPIC PRODUCTION VIDEO FOR 'FATHER OF THE WOLF'
Watch the latest from the Swedish Heavy Metal icons right here...

saxon SAXON ARE READY TO GO ON THE ROAD ON THEIR RESCHEDULED UK TOUR DATES IN FEBRUARY 2014
Amazing makeover album 'Unplugged and Strung Up' is also out now...

chas n dave CHAS N' DAVE TO PLAY SONISPHERE 2014 ALONGSIDE IRON MAIDEN AND METALLICA
Amazing news from Sonisphere Festival this morning; the latest acts to play the UK's sterling festival this summer have been announced...

metallica METALLICA CONFIRM WORK BEGINS ON THE NEW ALBUM IN BILLBOARD INTERVIEW
The follow-up to 'Death Magnetic' will be their ninth studio album ...

camden rocks CAMDEN ROCKS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED FOR SATURDAY 31st MAY
Early Bird tickets available now for £15 and first bands to be announced soon ...

exploited THE EXPLOITED SIGN WITH NUCLEAR BLAST
The Scottish Punk legends promise a new album in 2014, and 3 classic albums are re-released in the meantime ...

carnifex CARNIFEX RELEASE A LYRIC VIDEO FOR THE BRAND NEW TRACK 'DRAGGED INTO THE GRAVE'
New album 'Die Without Hope' can be pre-ordered now ...

fergie FORMER TOTO AND LE ROUX SINGER DENNIS "FERGIE" FREDERIKSEN DIES AGED 62
The Prince of AOR has sadly left the building ...

space elevator SPACE ELEVATOR RELEASE DEBUT SINGLE 'ELEVATOR'
Promo video can be viewed now in advance of their first album ...

lemmy motorhead MOTORHEAD MANAGER GIVES WORRYING INTERVIEW REGARDING LEMMY'S HEALTH
A very worrying interview with Motorhead manager Todd Singerman regarding Lemmy's health problems has appeared in Decibel magazine...

dave evans DAVE EVANS REVEALS 'PUT UP OR SHUT UP', LYRIC VIDEO AND SONG FROM HIS FORTHCOMING 'NOTHING TO PROVE' EP
Original AC/DC vocalist and co-founder of the band releases new tracks co-written with Chris Appleton ...

jack bruce JACK BRUCE TO RELEASE NEW CD 'SILVER RAILS' ON 24 MARCH
New studio album from one of rock music's most respected innovators ...

gus g GUS G. REVEALS FIRST SONG/VIDEO FROM 'I AM THE FIRE'
The Ex-Firewind and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist gears up for release of long-overdue solo album ...

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