Friday - February 20, 2015
... can't say I got much sleep last night... sometimes I wonder if separate rooms for quiet and Snoretallica would be better. I'm not angry or anything though... I understand people gotta sleep and some people gonna snore.
... I left my laptop back at the hotel so I'm typing this on my iPhone... thought it might be smarter just in case... more on that later.
AJ woke me up around 7am. We were starving from the night before. The bar kitchen ("Kelsey's") closed at 10pm so most of us missed ordering dinner and hadn't eaten since the Bob Evan's yesterday before noon.
Buffet... $9... solid.
The oatmeal was awesome actually... sorta considered bringing a few packets with me this trip... oatmeal is my staple!
... so the plan today was to meet with my buddy Mark (singer/songwriter/fellow studio folk), head to Philadelphia to see Helmet (HELMET!!!), and then head to Baltimore to talk shop and check out his new studio.
I'd originally planned on going to Baltimore this weekend (before agreeing to the Sole Pursuit gigs) but looking at the map everything is close... 90 minute drives!.
... for the record though...
#DearBands - NEVER LEAVE THE GROUP. Don't be that guy. What I'm attempting is a high risk maneuver and should only be attempted by experienced professionals.
... funny enough after saying that, we split from the band around 12:30 today. The plan was to get picked up this aft and Kyle really wanted to check out the war museum in town. I stayed behind and checked out some of the panels... while the eta of my ride kept getting pushed back.
The first I stopped in at (just out of curiosity) was "How to record, mix, and master your own music."
These should be illegal.
I know what their intentions are but they get the angle wrong.
You typically get a bunch of panelists who are looking for work or trying to figure out where to even begin to start giving pointers to prohobbyists looking to save money by spending a small fortune going DIY and burning months if not years of their time before (maybe) getting a commercially viable product... in the hopes it'll get them some attention from managers, bookers, and labels.
... and that's what it was. I lasted 20 minutes. Got some good laughs out of some cringeworthy moments. The audience should really submit questions beforehand and the panelists pull them out of a hat to answer them.
I scooted over to the "Legal issues for independent artists". This was awesome. All the panelists were experienced professionals and had a lot of good advice over several topics. Good moderators are key!
The focus seemed to be dealing with band agreements.
If/When your band decides to step it up, get a band agreement in place asap!
Understand how responsibilities, expectations, and writing credit will be split up before money comes in and it will be 100X easier... it's usually a difficult and a touchy subject.
Next was the publishers panel.
There's money out there... most bands and artists don't understand how music pimps work, why they might need a good one, how they generate money, and how far down the pecking order a band is getting licensing deals (and more) without one.
I caught up with Nancy and Scott after... the managers panel was next and Nancy was taking part.
This was a great panel too! All the speakers gave out what I thought was solid advice and the moderator set the tone early holding back no punches from how bad some labels, managers, booking agents, and industry folk in general can operate.
I was really impressed with Nancy's public speaking abilities... highlight was how she responded to the moderator's "I'd have an easier time removing two ribs in an attempt to blow myself then try to get an independent band on large market mainstream radio" with "... well coming from someone who mainly deals with Christian music, it's a little different."
Laughs all around... but she made some good points... main one being niche markets have their own set of rules that can sometimes break all the "this is just how it works" rule.
Even though I was starving by this point, I'm glad I stuck around the panels all day. Lots of good people saying smart things. Good times.
My ride to Phily and Helmet (HELMET!!!) showed up around 6:30... not too far a drive, doors are at 7, first band on at 8, Helmet is probably on at 9.
The drive was smooth, we rolled in at 8:45 and managed to grab a spot on the street right in front of the club... awesome! We get inside, walk downstairs to the venue and can hear the opener finishing up... with Sam Hell... the last song on Helmet's "Betty" album... wtf?!
We get in, Helmet is on, venue is packed, and they're just finishing playing the album they're playing front to back... I knew they'd do more but... no opener... headliner on at 8pm... shows how old I am! Back in my day headliners went on at like 10:30!
I still felt like I got my monies worth though... as did the other guys. They played another 45 mins of tunes people wanted to hear... really happy they played "Broadcast Emotion" which was a tune I convinced my band to cover in grade 9.
... I mean... doing Quiet Riot and Bon Jovi is cool but Helmet has just as good of songs.
They also played "Just Another Victim" which was on the judgement Night soundtrack. An amazing soundtrack from a movie I was probably too young to be seeing when I watched it.
We hung out for a while after the show...
After the encore Page Hamilton walked up to the front of the stage, thanked the crowd again... started shaking hands... then sat down on the edge of the stage to take a picture with a fan... and then just stayed there... shaking hands, signing things, and taking pictures.
... how cool is that!
This isn't just a victory lap for Helmet/Page... this is a guy with a fan base who's still out working... probably in his 50's now.
It was still pretty early when we rolled out (that's what people call it here)... maybe 10pm. We stopped in at a Denny's where the waitress got all our orders wrong but just right enough that complaining was difficult, and back to Mark's (Baltimore) just after 1am.
The plan is to head out early since there's a snow storm warning for later in the afternoon... I'd like to catch more of the conference/panels so as much as I'd like to hang out here, it should work out better anyway.
... my thumbs are tired... I'll proof/post this once I get back to ol' Lappy. It's been a pretty awesome day.
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!