Signals From Mars – Your Group Is Not That Super

This week we have been featuring tracks by super groups. The inspiration came from Decibel Geek Podcast number 187, where they featured a bunch of super groups during the show, and as they mentioned, there are tons more that were not able to be featured during their episode. So I figured I would help the cause by tagging them, and making the video selection during the week on the site super groups centric. This was a case of being a supplement to their show and in no way being a know it all saying “hey you missed this one”. It is impossible to cover every angle of a topic with a podcast, and in the end, it gives you fuel for multiple episodes. Even the selections that I made did not cover everything, I have a handwritten list that will ensure that we can do a full super group week in the future without revisiting what we have already used. So just to reinforce things, yes, the videos, bootlegs, etc. have for the most part been all super groups.

How many of the super groups pan out? How many fall flat, or the material just does not live up to the potential of the sum of the parts? There are plenty of albums by bands that don’t live up to the expectations, and there are plenty of super groups that release a one and done because the music was just bland and fans really didn’t care for the material. On paper some of these combinations look great, but once you actually hear what the band is trying to get across, it just does nothing for you. The Damned Things anyone?

Of course there can also be a case of growing out of something, or the economics behind following a band. You get older, and your priorities shift, how you spend your money is very different from your teen years. Yet, it amazes me that bands complain about their albums not being purchased like they were twenty years ago. I have touched upon this I don’t know how many times, but how much are Motown acts sell nowadays? I think it is very ego-centric and almost selfish to think that a band that peaked twenty years ago is still going to have the same type of sales. But this also works both ways, if you go see a headline act and they’re only playing 45 minutes to an hour when they used to play close to two hours something isn’t right. It is almost laughable when I read “we can’t play new songs, what songs are we supposed to drop?” So you can’t play fifteen to twenty minutes longer? “Our albums don’t sell”, well you also don’t promote them, you play one new track live, yet record thirteen new tracks, tell me how that makes sense. Why not record an EP, or put your nuts on the table and rotate your set-list or expand it to ensure people hear your new material. The game has changed, the paradigm has shifted, change with the times or fade away. Bands have a lot more to do with the problem than they lead on, or want to realize.

You also have bands coming out and saying they would never make it if they were a new band. What have these bands done to break a newer band? Kiss prides themselves in saying they were the first to take a ton of well-known bands out, but yet they are asking younger bands to pay to open for them. Where is the effort to help break bands in 2015? The situation sucks right now all across the board, but the rhetoric put forward by a lot of those that make it out there into major publications actually do not equal their actions.

Speaking of major publications, similar to what Garrett Morris used to say on SNL’s weekend update “Rolling Stone Magazine still sucks”. I read their article on Megadeth working with Lamb Of God’s Chris Adler and Angra’s Kiko Loureiro, and labeling the latter as an unknown. How much more ignorant does the magazine and its staff need to be? Is Kiko Eddie Van Halen? No, but he’s been releasing music, and instructional videos for close to twenty five years. Just because someone is new to you, doesn’t mean they’re an unknown, you not knowing a band doesn’t make them an unknown. To the Kayne West, Jay-Z or Boston Bomber fans out there, I wouldn’t expect them to know who Kiko is, but an educated fan of metal, hard rock, someone into shredders, or guitar oriented magazines, you’ve heard the name. Hell, he’s had his own Ibanez signature model for years, they don’t just slap anyone’s name on a guitar.

Something that both Megadeth and Lamb Of God have been involved with in the past is Guitar Hero. How often does a big corporation get to spin its wheels and miss the mark? EA (Rock Band) and Activision (Guitar Hero) are two of the largest videogame company in the world, and like a lot of huge companies miss the mark with a good percentage of their releases. They’re lucky to own some block buster franchises that make up for the duds. Metal probably makes up 1% of all of the music buyers out there, but it can also boast the most loyal fan following of any style of music. Why did the early releases of Guitar Hero work? Because they catered to markets that are accustomed to buying expanded editions of albums, DVDs, t-shirts, and almost any sort of trinket their favorite band is selling. Why have the last few editions failed to connect? They were chalked full of pop rock which is driven by the casual fan, not die-hards. The casual fan has shown time and time again that they are sheep that will only follow the trends on the radio. They buy the big singles, the greatest hits album, and the one big album by a band. As much as I enjoy My Chemical Romance, I have a very hard time believing that their fan base is going to run out and purchase the new Guitar Hero. Also, why regurgitate some of these tracks edition after edition? Why not offer them as a free download? I release new consoles, new opportunities to sell a track, but hell, how many times can you include Breaking The Law?

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