Oh, What a Night!!—The Debut Show of John Kay & Who’s To Say

Oh, What a Night!!—The Debut Show of John Kay & Who’s To Say

Now that the dust has settled from this past Wednesday night and I’ve had a day to relax and recuperate, I want to publicly recognize and thank everyone for making the debut of John Kay & Who’s To Say a smashing success! ✨

First, the biggest thank you goes to the Bullfighters and their guests! You guys and gals are the lifeblood of our band, and we are incredibly grateful for your support and enthusiasm! Remember, *you and someone you love will get in for free at our next Detroit show*, which we are planning for June. 😍

Second, much love to those of you who spent your hard-earned money on a new JK&WTS shirt! And thanks to our friends over at InkAddict, who did a great job making them. We have a surprise for you folks who added one of our V-Necks or Racerback Tanks to your wardrobe; pretend I’m shouting this from a mountaintop—if you wear a JK&WTS shirt to our shows, you get 50% off at the door! (Bullfighters get 2 tickets per year already, but feel free to wear your shirt, too!) ❤️

Third, we are immensely appreciative of PJ’s Lager House for not only opening their doors to our band, our fans, and our friends and family who were in attendance, but for taking a risk with us, and allowing us to do something unexpected and remarkable. They were concerned at first about reserving a Wednesday night for only one band, a band who no one has heard of and has never played a show before, who wanted to load in an hour earlier than normal, who wanted to use their own sound guy, who wanted to be off the stage well before 11pm…and they weren’t going to tell people where the show was until the day of the show??? Most venues would hang up the phone, but PJ and his team gave us the green light. Was PJ happy? Here’s what he said to our sound guy: “I don’t get it. It’s a Wednesday night, and my bar is TOO BUSY. Your sound check was really tight, and the band sounds great. I normally don’t stick around on Wednesdays, but I will tonight. I’m interested. Who IS this ‘John Kay’ guy, anyway?” 😉

Fourth, speaking of our “sound guy,” he’s not a sound guy; he’s 24-year-old Josh Sobeck, a highly-certified audio engineer with a degree from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. Josh tours the world as the front-of-house engineer for I Prevail, and as the monitor engineer for Live (yes, the “Lightning Crashes” band from the 1990s; they are still out there killing it), and he is extremely busy. Josh and I have a very special relationship—he is, in fact, my protege—and one of the reasons we waited as long as we did to make our public debut is because Josh HAD to mix our band. His talent, skill set, and understanding of my mindset (most important!) are invaluable, and whenever he is available to run our sound, he will. When people came up to us and told us how great we sounded, we pointed at Josh and gave him his due and proper. Thanks for doing exactly what I knew you would, Josh! 💯

Fifth, I thanked them privately already, but I’m going to thank them again here…my band mates—Brandon, Sami, Jason, Steve, and Angelo. The debut show was the light at the end of a one-year tunnel of rehearsals, playing and honing the same songs, in the same order, every single Thursday night (with few exceptions). I know a lot of musicians—a LOT—and most would likely not endure rehearsing for a year without playing a single show. I am so thankful to have partners in this effort who are willing to suffer the boredom of repetition, doing the hard work in the dark, being excited about our happenings and our growth but keeping their lips sealed to the rest of the world, especially in the pay-attention-to-me! culture in which we currently live. Together, we six human beings are building something that is bigger than all of us, and I’m proud to be doing so with individuals who all share the same core values; sacrifice, measurable growth, accountability, reputation for excellence, time, energy, and respect. 💪🏻

Finally, thank you to our friends and family who attended (including my Ambrose Academy of Wing Chun Do family!), not only for showing your support for each of us, but for being so excited and bringing others whom you love with you into the fold. Based on the feedback we’ve all received, it appears we did you proud, which is what every kid wants to do. (Note: My apologies again for mispronouncing “Coppola”!!) 😘

While I would love to recount each conversation, compliment, and experience from the evening, I’ve instead listed below some highlights from the night. Check them out, and if you didn’t attend the show on Wednesday, maybe you’ll want to attend the next one; become a Bullfighter, and you and a guest will get in for free! And feel free to share this information with someone who you think would enjoy coming to a JK&WTS show! 😊

  • Words that we heard about our performance included “undeniable,” “synergy,” and “inspiring.” ⭐️
  • People were dancing to basically every song. 💃🏾
  • “You made a Wednesday night feel like a Saturday night!” 🔥
  • We received several text messages the next morning from people saying they woke up with the songs still in their heads. 🎉
  • Because of an issue during sound check, we had to skip our scheduled dinner, and my queen came through in the clutch with Bucharest Grill chicken shwarmas. 🍢
  • We had a random technical problem for a couple of minutes during a song, and Josh said we navigated it better than any technical issue he’s experienced in his career. 👍🏻
  • I was told second-hand that someone flashed their boobs. I didn’t see it. 👎🏻

#JKWTS #JohnKay

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter.

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

 

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

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Mailbag

Subject: Re: Hate U Back

Amen brother! Love everything you had to say.my family voted for Trump and it baffles my mind as to why. It actually just makes me feel very sad. I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t want to bring children into this world. I really hope that he is elected out of office sooner than later and we can attempt to love one another. I live in California in the capital and I sometimes wish to move to a small town where I can focus on the Earth instead of all the fast paced rude mean spirited people around me.

Anywhoot, on a happier note, can’t wait to listen to both songs.

Thanks! Have a wonderful day and thanks for having the guts to speak your mind. ❤

Peace and love,

Martina Turgeon

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Subject: Re: Dear Boomers: I’m Not the Guy from Steppenwolf

I remember when you first got on Spotify you were linked to his. I am under 35 and (kinda) know who Steppenwolf is. I didn’t know that was his name until then though. I hope they fix this for you though. I’ve been listening to “Hate U Back” a bunch since you put it up. I stand by what I said in my initial listening that it may be my favorite song you’ve done. I’m currently playing that playlist. Hope all is well!

Mackenzie Murray

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Subject: Re: My Tombstone Trip

John,

As a historian I’m overjoyed to hear that you were not the least bit interested in the history of Tombstone when you arrived and were completely converted when you left. That sounds like an amazing experience and I enjoyed following along on Facebook. I have a deep respect for your parents marital longevity and their dream of a family compound. Please pass my congratulations to them for what it’s worth.

Regards

Chris Ragen

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Subject: Re: My Tombstone Trip

Isn’t it funny how you think something is going to be boring,  but when you actually see it for yourself or go there yourself. It amazing. I bet it was pretty quite then the city noise. I love the silence. To step back and enjoy the beauty of mother earth. To see the stars at night without all the city lights. I always enjoyed visiting my grandma’s ranch. To top it off going nuts because I have no signal on my phone! I’m glad to hear you had a good time. It’s always nice to get away for awhile and to be with family. Now back to the hustle of city life. Take care and always enjoy reading from you. Keep it up🤘

Anita Gray

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Subject: Re: A Gun is a Guarantee

Perfection.  I’m anti-firearms (well, except bbs), but I tend to stay off the soapbox about it.  In reality, the criminals – or anyone, really, if they hit up a gun show, or know someone – will still get their hands on them.  But this guy, with a fairly recent record of VIOLENT instability, was somehow able to pass the checks and buy it at a store.  Someone said that the Air Force failed to log him into their database accordingly, but I don’t know the source of that statement.  But FER FUCK’S SAKE – just how batshit does one need to be at this point, to keep them from legally acquiring firearms???  I feel like a goddamn criminal on the rare occasion I have to purchase a product with actual pseudoephedrine at this point.  A high school, movie theater, A FUCKING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, and now a church, and this is only a small representation.  We are a seriously fucked up society when it comes to guns, and a gun in the home is by no means a “guarantee.”  Jim Jeffries, a crass comedian of all people, has put it plainly and simply.  Check him out sometime, just for that bit.  Common sense in this country is far from common, it seems, and it makes me sad.

Heather Sheive

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Subject: Re: A Gun is a Guarantee

Good article/essay! Can’t argue with that.

Jim Wood

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Subject: Re: Art is Going to Save Us: My First House Show Tour Recap

Good afternoon ,
Just wanted to let you know that i enjoyed this “blog” , if that is what people still call them. Hope all is well, good to read that you are always pushing forward. I wish you all the best,  always.
Until next time
Jay Neely

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Subject: Re: Don’t Mess With My Routine—What’s Yours?

..sounds like a good routine.. wish mine was as organized and personally fulfilling.. i’m a 9 to 6.. five days a week.. couple hobbies.. minimal socializing.. personal maintenance, kind of guy.. i enjoy the updates.. thanks.. good to hear what’s happening..

Darwin Morris

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Subject: Re: I’m Breaking Up with You

Omg! Hahaha you had me going! I was about to say “wow I could just copy and paste and send to my ex!” 😂

Sonia Reyes

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Subject: Re: Thank you/Happy new year

John,

Thank you for the email. I’ve been working/traveling a lot in these past few months, and now that I’ve got a minute to actually reply to an email of yours, it feels good to be kept in the loop about your future plans.

I’m planning on taking the same course as you in the coming year: I’ve taken enough time away from Music, and it’s made me stir crazy. I’m going to knuckle down, write, and start putting out my own music. I’ve sat in the background long enough; it’s time to take the spotlight, I think.

I’ll keep in touch with you, and send you song demos if you’re curious as to what I’m doing. I say this because I value your opinion as much, if not more, than you value mine. You’ve been at this way longer than I have, and you have a good ear.

Thank you again for the email. Look forward to seeing you soon, and I hope the new year brings you success.

Best wishes,
Brett Caton

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Subject: Re: Thank you/Happy new year

Hey John, the holidays were great except for getting sick. Hope they were good to you and yours. I’m excited for the year to come, learning new music and hopefully get better at recording it. I’m also looking forward to seeing you play some music live. Take care

Jeff Walker

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Subject: Re: Thank you/Happy new year

Hey John!

So sorry for the late reply. Our holidays were great, but I’m glad it’s over with! It’s kicked my ass with all this hustle and bustle that I’m just now getting a weekend for some ME time! Hope you all had a great one too. 🙂

Sounds like you and the band are going well and I’m looking forward to see what you all have in store. I’ve also gone ahead and signed up with your Patreon. Definitely, let us know what your tour plans are if you get a chance to head this way and we’ll get you set up somewhere.

Thanks for the well wishes for Chris’s new band too. He’s been a nervous wreck from not playing in almost 10 years, but he’s been great and is excited. I’ll be on the lookout for some new music from you guys and any other news.

Wishing you well and hope you reach your 2018 goals! Talk to you again soon,

Lucy Eckels McCord

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Subject: Re: Welcome/Thank you

Hey John,

Thanks! I’ve had the privilege of knowing Steve for decades. The way he explains how you guys are working on this project with quarterly meetings and such, it gives a perception of professionalism beyond almost every band I have met. You have plans and goals, not just dreams. That is wise!

I can go on and on with the platitudes, but the real world beckons…

I hope the best for you all! I look forward to the future of the real John Kay!

Jason Cloutier

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Subject: Re: Say Goodbye to Rock and Roll

Check out Harry Styles new solo album.  There’s some surprisingly good rock tunes on it.  Who knew the kid from One Direction may bring rock back to the millennial gen?

Lori Hildebrandt

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Subject: High and Alone Feedback

LOVE IT! It gave me November Rain vibes. My fiancée said he could see some of our friends at the comic shop listening to it, so I think I’ll play it for them and see what they think, too – hopefully get some interest generated.

Unrelated, I sent you a text last week but don’t know if you ever received it; if you didn’t, basically it was just me saying that Aaron and I would like to offer you all our home to sleep in when you all come to Huntington. I can cook for everyone. We have a nice hot shower, a couch, loveseat, and Queen air mattress that’s as tall as a bed. Saves you all money and gives you all some good home cookin’ out on the road. Understandable if you all have other plans.

Hope you all are keeping warm out there!

Brittany Feury

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Tencent

Tencent

Do you know what Tencent is?? If you don’t yet, you’re gonna. They’re coming to town.

Let me explain…

I’m not going to go down the politics rabbit hole here, but let’s just agree that thanks to our country’s current administration, foreign powers are relishing the opportunity to replace the United States as the leader of the world.

China is ecstatic.

China, like most of the eastern world, doesn’t think of time in the same sense as Americans: we focus on days, weeks, and months—China focuses on years, decades, and centuries; they play the long game, willing to sacrifice short-term losses in order to achieve long-term gains.

Tencent is no exception.

What exactly is Tencent?? It’s the world’s biggest investment corporation. It’s one of the largest internet and tech companies in the world. It is the largest and most valuable social media and gaming company in the world.

You see, there’s Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, and Amazon. And then there’s Tencent, which performs services and provides experiences akin to those four companies.

Instant messaging? Tencent QQ. Web portal? QQ.com. Mobile chat service? WeChat, credited as one of the world’s most powerful apps.

Tencent also owns the majority of China’s music services through its Tencent Music Entertainment division, with 700 million active users. That’s over double the number of people who live in the U.S. With 120 million paying subscribers, it’s also the world’s most profitable music service. (Tencent’s main music app, QQ Music, costs under two dollars a month compared to Spotify premium at ten bucks.)

If that wasn’t enough, Tencent recently performed a stock-swap with Spotify, wherein the companies each invested in the other for an undisclosed amount. Snap, the company behind Snapchat, also received an investment from Tencent to the tune of 12% of the company; Tencent believes Snapchat’s next move should be video game-related.

And I just read this morning that Tencent has now partnered with Lego, the second largest toy manufacturer in the world, to develop online games.

So, here we have an eastern company which is essentially a combination of Facebook, Google, Spotify, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, making moves that invest the company heavily in products and services being used in the western world, from music to video games to toys.

This is all to say that I’m a bit concerned.

Here in the U.S. there’s a debate raging over social media’s impact on our brains, moods, lifestyles, etc. No technology in history has been so broadly distributed while being so thoroughly dominated by a single company (Facebook), and we’re starting to learn about the detrimental effects.

So what happens when the largest tech company in China, a company that’s almost bigger than Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple COMBINED, decides to move in??

I don’t know. But I’m keeping my eye on it.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

 

A Kick in the Ass

A Kick in the Ass

Question…

Do you ever have to arrive an hour early at your place of work to clean up and rearrange your workspace because the person who worked the shift before you not only didn’t leave it the way they found it, but made and left a mess as well??

The band has been having problems at our rehearsal spot.

Don’t get me wrong, these are first-world problems, things that in the grand scheme of life are simply a small blip on the radar screen. But they are getting in the way of our ability to rehearse an actual, public-ready performance, and it’s frustrating.

Normally, we would just roll up our sleeves and take care of these things ourselves.

However, we are sharing the spot with three other bands, all of whom keep equipment, merch, and god-knows-what other miscellaneous items stored there. One of our core values is respect, and because there’s a disorganized hodgepodge of gear, we don’t want to throw out or misplace anything that’s not ours.

The thing is, we don’t just get together every week and “jam”; we have very structured rehearsals which are set up to maximize our time together, maintain our energy levels, and result in measurable growth, week to week. After nine months of learning, honing, and rehearsing the current songs in our set, we are finally ready to begin dress rehearsals.

But we can’t do that when the bands with whom we share the rehearsal spot leave the place a mess with cables strewn about, empty beer bottles or cans all over, and gear left out instead of being stored away neatly or taken home. There’s no room to move!

I know, I’m a pussy, and “That’s rock and roll, man. If you can’t deal with it, maybe you’re in the wrong business. Stop taking music so seriously.” I’ve heard it all before.

That’s amateur talk.

We are professionals; we always leave the room as if we were never in it, and we’re tired of cleaning up after other people.

So we set up a meeting with the owner of the room.

I had never met the owner beyond a brief handshake and nice-to-meet-you; our bassist handles the arrangements with rent and scheduling and whatnot, which means I can be uninvolved (it’s wonderful).

So I had no idea what to expect when we sat down with the owner to discuss the problems we were having.

He was thrilled that we asked him to meet!

He said it was the “kick in the ass” he needed, and that he has been meaning to tie up a bunch of loose ends with the place.

First off, there’s a Google calendar each band should be using to schedule their time(s) at the spot, and it isn’t being utilized correctly. We are addressing that immediately.

Second, within the next two weeks the owner is going to get in there and remove anything and everything which either he owns, or which he knows to whom it belongs, to create more room.

Third, it turns out the band that uses the room the night before us is not only six months behind on paying rent, but uses the space more to get drunk and jam than to actually conduct a professional rehearsal. So, we agreed with the owner to talk with the other two bands about paying a little more money each month to offset the loss of kicking out these deadbeats. (This shouldn’t be a problem, since the difference is negligible when spread across three groups.)

Finally, we and the two other bands will carve out a half day to clean and reorganize the space once the deadbeats are gone, and agree to maintain it thereafter.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say!

We’re still riding the positive vibes from our quarterly meeting last Saturday, getting after the things that need to be taken care of, and the rehearsal spot was a big issue on our list. It feels good to know we’ll be crossing it off soon.

Now…who’s next for a kick in the ass??

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Rock Fans, Say Goodbye to Rock and Roll (As You Know It)

Rock Fans, Say Goodbye to Rock and Roll (As You Know It)

Sorry to break it to you…

In July 2017, Nielsen Music reported that rock relinquished its place atop the music consumption pyramid for the first time since the company began tracking data in 1991.

Of course, rock was the far and away winner in physical album sales (42.7% of the industry’s total), but that’s the same as owning a mansion built on quicksand.

The truth is, listeners are flocking to playlists, where rock has lagged behind.

Streaming is saving the music industry, and rock’s share of audio on-demand streams (18.1%) was dwarfed by hip-hop and R&B (30.3%), allowing the latter genre to take a 2.1% lead in overall consumption.

I know. YOU love rock and roll, go to the shows, support the bands, buy the CDs and vinyl and merch, etc. You’ve always been a rock fan, and that will never change. I totally understand. All good.

But…

Just because Guns ‘N Roses, Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2 ranked among 2017’s top global touring acts doesn’t mean that rock is still king…those bands are icons!

Plus, two of those acts are doing their version of greatest hits tours: G’N’R sold tons of tickets because Axl finally buried the hatchet with Slash and Duff, and U2 was a top-grossing act due to performing The Joshua Tree in full. That album is 30 years old! Granted, it’s an undeniable piece of work, but this was the first time ever that U2 toured in support of a back-catalogue release in their 40-year career.

“It’s not that rock’s popularity has necessarily waned, but it’s had growing pains as consumption shifted from an owned, album-based economy to an access- or tracks-based economy,” says Dylan Lewis, head of digital sales for Glassnote Records. “If [rock] mirrors the trajectory that hip-hop has had, we see this major growth opportunity. If hip-hop can do it, other genres can.”

…growing pains…

That reminds me of a transcript I read of an interview with Wes Borland, the face-painting breakout talent and guitarist of the ubiquitous late-1990s alternative band Limp Bizkit, who shared his take on the state of music industry and the dominance of streaming, telling Metal Sucks:

“I’m not a big supporter of Spotify. …I’m having a really hard time accepting just songs by themselves. …Of course, I’m a dinosaur and I’m 42…I’m gonna like records. …The record was made to be listened to as…one cohesive thought. Maybe not so much in the ’80s, but I kinda feel like we’re back in the ’80s in some way. People are just like ‘Single, single, single…’ My records are made with songs butt up against each other and have no change. …But on Spotify that doesn’t work…on Spotify you listen to one of my songs and it ends in a weird way because I refuse to write singles, I refuse to write in that format. I’m having trouble accepting Spotify and that way of listening. I’m set for extinction in the next however long. And teenagers don’t think that way, and neither do 20-somethings. They’re into streaming. Like any generation being overtaken by another generation, it’s hard to accept the way that they do things. And music for them has always been free. It’s just a devaluing of music.”

I’m having a really hard time accepting…I’m a dinosaur and I’m 42…I refuse to…I refuse to…I’m having trouble accepting…I’m set for extinction in the next however long…it’s hard to accept…’

First of all, a dinosaur at 42?? Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” is Grammy-nominated for Best Rock Performance this year, and it was released when he was 82!

Furthermore, Wes must only be considering the heyday of The Album in the 1960s and 1970s, because it’s always been a singles world, even since long before recorded music, when humans would sing around the piano in the parlor, or beat logs and grunt to the rhythm.

Great songs spread organically, and most great songs can be performed with one individual and an instrument (sometimes, the instrument isn’t even necessary)—songs are what people sing, not albums; the guy who plays an entire album on the jukebox is a jerk.

One thing you can count on, the younger generation will always defy the conventions of the older generation—Wes Borland, like many artists who experienced a high level of success early in their career, is complaining that his cheese has been moved.

Understand: the public is never wrong.

Tastes and preferences change with the times, always have, always will. So do great artists. If what you create isn’t resonating, there are reasons, and more often than not, most of the reasons have to do with the work itself. The aware artist seeks to root out those reasons and adapt accordingly, not place the blame on external circumstances or fluidity in taste or preferences.

And to that point, Austin Daboh, senior editor at Spotify UK, believes the current generation of artists are completely aware of what Spotify can do for them.

Daboh says, “Historically, artists…couldn’t just say, ‘Here’s a great song…can you play it please?’ More often than not the answer was no. So artists had to hustle.”

Hustle!

Hustle is not simply working hard and keeping your nose to the grindstone. More than that, it’s being aware of what’s happening on the streets, how it relates to and informs the collective cultural consciousness at large, and adapting and innovating within your chosen vocation’s industry based on your findings, changing the game from the inside out, all while retaining your authenticity.

So…if Wes Borland records an album and no one is around to stream it, does it make a sound?

He doesn’t seem to think so.

“I feel like the musician is gonna become like a trade of the past, like court jesters and coal miners, something that’s just not necessary anymore. I think people will do it as a hobby,” Borland concludes. “The whole musical middle class will be completely obliterated to where you’re either Rhianna or you’re one of the multitudes of any band trying to get time off your jobs so you can go play [big festivals]. And there’s gonna be no one to replace any of the headliners. Once Metallica is done, who’s gonna replace Metallica at European festivals? There’s no one. No band is big enough. …Bands nowadays into the past decade have not been able to have the opportunity to become legends. Because they don’t have the support, because music has been devalued.”

Is that the way it really is, though??

“…In the last year, I’ve noticed a change in artists gravitating towards Spotify, understanding their numbers,” Daboh continued. He believes Spotify gives, “a level of data that no other service gives, to let [artists] know how to better themselves on the service…[our] artist relations [department has] done an amazing outreach job…showing [artists] how this thing works.”

Amen! I’ve been in contact with artist relations at Spotify, and not only do they respond quickly, they are eager to help.

However, Daboh admits that Spotify still has work to do in this area. “There are [artists] we haven’t felt love from because they haven’t quite been educated about what Spotify can bring to their ecosystem. [But]…to the emerging ones making music in their bedrooms and garages…the message is coming across loud and clear that Spotify is here to support you and give you global levels of exposure. What we’re bringing to the game is a level of democracy, if your music is good and we believe there’s an audience for your record, we’re not scared to add you to our biggest playlist.”

The thing is, the future doesn’t care about old dead rock and roll legends. The great ones still get propped up out of respect because they once created something that spoke to the zeitgeist of the times and penetrated the mass consciousness.

But when their new stuff doesn’t cut the mustard, they either attempt to channel the vibrations of their past and make new music in the vein of their old catalogue, or they simply perform the old catalogue…

Because they are afraid of alienating or losing their old fans—their base—and they refuse to believe they can somehow adapt to the times and garner a newer or younger audience without sacrificing their authenticity.

Bottom line: They’re afraid of becoming irrelevant.

Kind of like that old-time rock and roll.

“We’re back to the ‘50s now, where the focus is on songs rather than albums,” Bono said in a recent Rolling Stone interview. “U2 make albums, so how do we survive? By making the songs better. And having, I hope, the humility to accept that we need to rediscover songwriting.”

Let’s face it, the rock and roll you have come to know, love, and live with for the past half century is dead—your music, and the way you prefer it to be distributed and consumed, is not at the top of the food chain any longer, and it’s time to accept it.

But somebody’s gonna bring rock into the future, by adapting, innovating, challenging norms.

And it’s gonna happen sooner than you think.

Hide and watch, kids.

P.S. Because it seems appropriate, click here to listen to my song “Say Goodbye 2 Rock and Roll”: https://open.spotify.com/track/485qXOrmjCejqoifQs1qTr

P.P.S. Guess what?? Wes Borland released a new album with his Big Dumb Face project on October 31. …You can stream it via Spotify.

Wes Borland: Professional Musician is Becoming a Trade of the Past, Soon People Will Only Do It as Hobby: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/wes_borland_professional_musician_is_becoming_a_trade_of_the_past_soon_people_will_only_do_it_as_hobby.html

For the first time ever, hip-hop is officially bigger than rock: http://www.nme.com/news/music/hip-hop-most-consumed-music-genre-bigger-than-rock-nielsen-2017-year-end-report-2205720

Austin Daboh on Spotify’s role in the UK rap scene: http://www.musicweek.com/digital/read/we-re-not-scared-to-add-artists-to-our-biggest-playlists-austin-daboh-on-spotify-s-role-in-the-uk-rap-scene/070839

After Losing Ground In the Streaming Era, Rock Charts Its Comeback: https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8070586/rock-roll-streaming-music-business-comeback

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

The Right Stuff: First Who, Then What

The Right Stuff: First Who, Then What

I’m very excited and I want to share it with everyone! 🙂

This past Saturday was our band’s fourth quarterly meeting, and we all agree it was the best one we’ve had yet.

Every 90 days, the band meets for a full day to make sure we’re all still on the same page in regard to our vision, review the progress we made (or didn’t make) toward our goals in the previous quarter, discuss and solve our key issues, decide and assign what needs to be done in the upcoming quarter to move us closer to reaching our goals, and reward and recognize each other for adhering to our core values as a group.

When we conclude, everyone rates the meeting on a scale from 1-10. The goal is to have every meeting be a “level 10” meeting, and no meeting below an 8 (Saturday’s average was a 9).

Prior to the meeting, we had a short rehearsal to run through our entire set of songs. We’ve been working hard on the tunes, getting them dialed in, everyone practicing on their own time, rehearsing and honing for almost a year now, and Saturday we had our first guest attendee, one of the Bullfighters.

After we finished the last song, I asked him, “So, if we did what we just did in front of a room full of strangers who paid money to experience it, do you believe they would feel that they got their money’s worth?”

“And more. Definitely.” He continued, “I’m kind of blown away right now, actually. I didn’t know what to expect, and you guys really have something. There’s a magic. It’s obvious you’ve got the right people on board.”

The right people!

Our guitarist, Brandon, echoed that sentiment in our meeting when we went around the room asking each person what they believe is working in the band: “I think our relationship as a band and with each other is obviously working.”

Until this group, in every band I’ve been in or a part of, the members were chosen based on talent, proximity, and availability (and not always in that order).

This time around, I looked at myself first, examining my own strengths and weaknesses, paring them down to the seven core values I hold as a human being which subconsciously—now, consciously—guide my decision-making and performance in all areas of my life.

Experience has taught me the hard way that no matter how talented someone may be, how close they live to where we rehearse, or how open their schedule is…if they don’t share my band’s core values, they can’t be in my band, and I shouldn’t join theirs. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Understand: first who, then what—I originally read this principle in Good to Great by Jim Collins, and it is echoed in Traction by Gino Wickman.

“First who, then what” is about getting the right people on the bus based on shared values, and put in the right seats based on their unique abilities—the ideal is to have 100% of people who want to get on the bus say “I don’t know where this bus is going, but I trust the driver and the other people on this bus enough to get on and help get us where we all want to go, together.”

But you’ve gotta have the right stuff to get on the bus.

The people with the right stuff share our band’s core values. They fit and thrive in our band’s culture. They are people we enjoy being around and who make our band a better one to be in.

And each of our members is operating within his or her area of greatest skill and passion inside our band, and the roles and responsibilities expected of each team member fit with his or her unique ability. (Everyone has a unique ability. The trick is to discover yours.)

Because we all share values and operate within our strengths, we experience never-ending improvement, feel energized rather than drained, and, most of all, we have a passion for what we’re doing that presses us to go further than others would in our areas.

Our job is to hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize all of our people around core values and unique abilities. That’s the way to build a band with all of the right people in the right seats.

By creating an awareness of our core values through our quarterly state-of-the-band meetings, performance reviews, and a three-strike rule, the people that don’t fit won’t last until the third strike. Some don’t even last until the first. Instead, they leave on their own, because they know they don’t fit. What this process does is smoke them out—there is simply no place for them to hide (in fact, we’ve already had a few casualties).

No matter what line of work we’re in, life is much easier for everyone when we have people around us who genuinely get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it.

I can’t wait for everyone to experience the incredible results that come from harnessing all of our band’s combined talents.

Shows will be announced soon.

The best is yet to come in 2018! 😀

P.S. Our band is looking to expand within the next 90 days! We are currently seeking two female members to perform backup vocals along with some simple percussion; tambourine, shaker, bells, etc. If you live in the southeast Michigan area (or know someone who does), have a quality voice, and share our seven core values—sacrifice, measurable growth, accountability, reputation for excellence, time, energy, and respect—please feel free to reach out to me at bgvox [at] therealjohnkay [dot] com to schedule an interview.

P.P.S. If you’re putting a band together—or any business, for that matter—keep two important points in mind (from Traction):

  1. Be careful what you wish for, because you’ll get it. If you want to grow, you have to understand that not everyone is going to be able to keep up and remain in the same seat forever.
  2. Keeping people around just because you like them is destructive. You do a disservice to your organization, to everyone in it, and to the person. People must add value. This may sound cold, but to the degree people are in the right seats, everyone is happier, especially them.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Feedback

Feedback

Two years ago today, I woke up sick as a dog to an email from someone with whom I had shared my unmastered-at-the-time album for feedback…

“I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t like your solo material and I believe it has nothing to do with me being narrow-minded…what I hear is a professionally recorded and produced material without soul. please don’t get me wrong…but I got the impression that you wanted to please everyone…the sound is right, the words are right, but the magic is just not happening…one expression comes to my mind: comfort zone

“hope you don’t get this wrong! (and who am I to judge anyway?) talk later, take care…”

Did I think they were wrong? Absolutely not. I tell people all the time, “Music is like wine—if you like it, it’s good.” Some people don’t prefer my variety of wine, and that’s cool.

I thanked that person for their constructive feedback, and my gratefulness was genuine—at that point, they were literally the only person who had told me that they didn’t like any of the songs on my album out of the nearly 300 people with whom I had been corresponding over the previous two months.

It was refreshing to get a negative response!

My debut solo album was a (selfish, I suppose) focused attempt to display a sense of my range; I have many different musical influences, and I don’t like to confine myself to any one style or genre.

Since releasing that album—recorded in late 2012 and early 2013—I have delved into different writing and recording and mixing and production approaches, and have “found” my voice, especially in the last nine months rehearsing with the new band.

Do I want to please everyone?? YES! But that’s idealistic, unrealistic. I accept that my work isn’t going to resonate with everyone, and I’m not afraid to take chances.

The simple truth about my music is…whatever it is to you, it is to YOU. Music is a deeply emotional art, and the listener-song connection is special (or not).

My music to me is personal expression, first and foremost. It’s the way I say the tough things that I believe need to be said, whether to or for myself and others. It’s also how I challenge myself—I’ve written many songs throughout my lifetime, and I never want to repeat an idea (unless it’s intentional).

And because my music is so personal, and I want it to resonate with as many people as possible, I have a tendency to overanalyze and second-guess myself.

But 2018 is to be a year of action.

I’ve realized that I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas and writing new songs, entering the beginning stages of production, and yet fail to bring them to completion because I’m trying to make them as close to perfect as possible before I share them with the Bullfighters for their feedback—I’m embarrassed of the apparent (to me or others) flaws in my work; the raw, unfinished sound of a song in progress. The emotional impact simply isn’t there in a demo, that’s why it’s a demo.

I know first impressions count for a lot, but my desire for near-perfection has become counter-productive.

To break this habit, I am banishing my fear of pushing my creative babies out of the nest before they’re fully ready to fly, delivering demos to Bullfighters earlier than usual. In demos, you hear more dry recordings instead of polished productions, perhaps some off-key singing here and there, lyrics or parts which may not end up making the final cut, etc.—bottom line: they’re not ready. (This is way more nerve-wracking for me than when I was concerned with releasing my unmastered album back in 2015, at least those songs were completely recorded and mixed.)

I have also defined separate processes which focus on delivering new songs, blogs, and podcasts on a regular basis—time will be set aside each week to write/record/mix songs, write and publish new blogs, and record and release new podcast episodes.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sending the Bullfighters demos of new songs for their personal feedback, which is important to me in helping decide which tunes to fully produce and rehearse and perform live. More blogs and podcast episodes will be coming soon, too (including a new weekly installment of mini episodes, about which I’m excited).

So, long story short…expect more from me than before, and if you dig what you’re hearing and reading, feel free to let me know.

If you don’t dig what I’m doing, feel free to let me know that, too. I can handle the truth.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.