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John P

New Rolling Stone issue with KISS

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John P   

In the new issue of Roling Stone with the long over due Kiss cover story Paul Stanley mentions Raspberries along with Small Faces, and Big Star as one of his top favorite bands.

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I thought it was a very interesting article, especially how Gene and Paul have no problems with even replacing themselves to keep the KISS brand living on forever. 

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marvin   
On 4/2/2014 at 6:11 PM, blackhawkpat said:

I thought it was a very interesting article, especially how Gene and Paul have no problems with even replacing themselves to keep the KISS brand living on forever. 

As long as they're wearing the same makeup, and have a similar build, who'd know the difference?

Other than a couple of songs here and there, I've never been a fan of KISS. I've always considered them to be a lot of style and very little substance, and as musicians, I think Gene & Paul make good businessmen. They REALLY remind me a lot of Frey and Henley.

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Good Lord, Marvin!!!! Don Henley and Glenn Frey are one of the greatest writing partnerships in history! Paul and Gene understood how to take advantage of the enormously successful "concept" that was Kiss, and, along the way, they wrote and recorded some TERRIFIC rock 'n roll anthems. They are two of the smartest guys I've ever met in the music biz.

One thing I've learned, during my forty-five years as a recording artist, is that, whether I happen to like a particular act or not, you don't get to the top if you're stupid. Guys like Springsteen and Billy Joel made it, not only because they were brilliant writers and performers, but because, at some point, early on, they understood the music business, which is about as "cut-throat" a business as there has ever been, and learned how to navigate the landscape. I've never been a huge Michael Jackson fan, but I can guarantee you, he was nobody's fool. You don't get to be successful, and STAY successful , unless you understand the game, and learn how to play it. 

Paul and Gene have done that brilliantly for forty years, and, along the way, they just happened to become, arguably, the most successful band of the late seventies and eighties. That's not an accident. It requires brains, savvy, the ability to withstand the harshest criticism by people who don't know what they're talking about, dedication to what you believe in, and TALENT!!!

And Don Henley and Glenn Frey wrote some of the best songs EVER!!!

Like "Desperado." No matter what you think of Don or Glenn, that song is a freakin' masterpiece, and if they had never written anything else, that song would have been enough to put them in The Songwriter's Hall Of Fame.

It's one of the few songs ( actually, Henley has written a number of them ) that I heard and thought, "Damn, I wish I had written that!"

"Out on the road today, I saw a 'Deadhead' sticker on a Cadillac....."  Pure brilliance.

As a guy who played in a band that was disparaged for years, I can tell you that continuing to "soldier on", in the face of that lack of acceptance is an ENORMOUS undertaking. One of the funniest comments Wally ever made about me happened during the initial rehearsals for the "Reunion Tour." I can't remember what the context was, exactly, but at some point he said "One thing I've learned about you, is you're TENACIOUS AS A MOTHERFUCKER!!!" ( Excuse my language. That's an exact quote ). And, ya' know, I had never really thought of myself that way before, but he was right. I had been dealt some of the most difficult cards in the deck, and, somehow managed to keep going, when a lot of other people might have quit. The stars and planets didn't line up for me like they did for some other artists, but I played the hand I was dealt and tried to keep moving forward. Failure was not an option.                                                      

I have never met a single successful artist that didn't have the same drive to succeed. Not once. If you know their name, not only were they good, they were quick studies, learned the "business" and determined not to get screwed ever again.

I began my career with the thinnest skin an artist could have. I was insecure to the point that I let myself be manipulated by people, simply because I "perceived" that they had more power than I did. That was always the biggest mistake I could have ever made. Eventually, I learned that you have to fight for what you want, and that has served me very well over the past 20 years.

If you give them the chance, they will eat you alive. You have to be willing to stand your ground and say "No." That's the best advice I could ever give to any new artist. Stand your ground, and say "NO," when you know it's not right.

See "Madonna" and "Bruce Springsteen." No compromise. Ever.

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birdy   

An artist should always be true to himself, first and foremost, even before his fans. Take care of yourself. Do what is right for you physically and mentally to stay healthy. I wish Kurt Cobain had the strength to drop out of the business, the way Eric did to focus on his family, the way Lennon did. It's cool enough that he appreciates his fans, he doesn't owe us a tour or anything for that matter. If an artist has to break a contract for self-survival than so be it. It's only money.

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marvin   

Eric, I'm probably one of the biggest if not the biggest Eagles fan on this message board. What I meant was that when it comes to business, Paul and Gene remind of Henley & Frey. As songwriters, they don't even come close to Henley & Frey. Just my opinion.

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Yeah, well Marvin, you're right about THAT! They are ALL businessmen. ( What was it Jay-Z said....? "I'm not a businessman, I'm a BUSINESS man! ). In truth, we all start out just wanting to write songs and make records, but you learn very quickly, that the managers, agents, lawyers, record company execs and publishers will EAT YOU ALIVE unless you come to understand that the music business IS a BUSINESS. And most of the time, it's the business of separating you from as much of your cash as they can get.

Managers take 15% of your gross income. Agents take 10% of the gross for every show you play. That means that if you play a 20,000 seat hockey arena and walk away with $1,000,000, $250,000 is gone before you're out the door. Add to that the fact that the artist pays all the expenses ( band, singers, road manager, crew, tour bus, equipment truck(s), plane tickets, hotel accommodations, per diem for band and crew, FOH sound man, monitor mixer, lighting tech etc. ) and you can easily knock another $100,000 to $150,000 off the top. Now you've gone from a million to six hundred thousand, and the promoter takes a cut as well. And, after all that, you're going to owe 50% of whatever you take home in federal, state and county taxes.

Your million dollar gross has now become $250,000 net. And this scenario only applies to groups like Kiss and The Eagles and artists like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry who can sell out that hockey arena in the first place. Most artists are playing much smaller venues, so their gross is nowhere near a million dollars. It might be more like $30,000 or $40,000, in which case they still have all the same expenses, but might end up with $5000 net.

The more money you make, the bigger a business it becomes, which is precisely why Henley and Frey, and Paul and Gene ARE businessmen! They have to be. 

I read an article recently about how Sting gets all the royalties from that hip-hop remake of "Every Breath You Take." At the end of the article, there were all kinds of comments from the readers, most of them admonishing Sting for not "sharing" all that money with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. The funniest commenter said Sting had "ridden Andy and Stewarts coattails to success." The public seems to always side with the underdog(s), and disparage the guy who "made it."

That's just the way it is sometimes, but the truth is WE'RE ALL BUSINESS MEN! We have to be, or all of the parasites would have stolen us blind. Managers can have a hundred acts. Agents can have fifty clients. Record companies can have hundreds of artists. All any artist has is his own career. When that comes to an end, the managers, agents, labels and everyone else simply move on. That's why you have to protect your career, and understand the business, because, in the end, nobody cares about you but yourself. The minute you can't make money for the managers, agents, lawyers and record labels, they will drop you like a hot potato and move on to another artist. That's why so many artists end up broke, after having generated millions of dollars during their careers.

Is it a business? You bet'cha!

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Eric, 

Mick Jagger is another great example of "I'm a business, man"  and of course a great entertainer.  Mick has the goods and he's used the goods to his extreme advantage. 

p.s.  You're teaching us a lot about the music business...& "Desperado" is sublime. 

 xoxo M.E.

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marvin   

Fully appreciate that music is a 'business', and as bad as it may sound, sometimes you have to have a bit of ruthlessness in you in order to survive.

I don't know Paul, Gene, Don or Glenn from a hole in the wall. All I know about them is what I've read and seen in interviews over the last 40 years. Maybe that's not a true reflection of their personalities but with all due respect, they can all come across as pretty nasty people - especially when it comes to talking about former bandmates or the dollars and cents of the music business. In Gene & Paul's case, their dissatisfaction with Ace & Peter seems to be more about the substance abuse factor than about the music. Some of their comments and especially this latest rift over who will and will not play at the Rock Hall inductions must be tough for KISS fans to bear.

Regarding the Eagles, I adore Henley & Frey and their body of work with the band, as well as Henley's solo music. Some of the stuff they've said about former members is pretty harsh and tough to handle, for those of us who love the band. The recent "History Of the Eagles" documentary pulled no punches but very few of the comments were about the art, most were about money (Frey: "I told management that the only way we'd get back together is if Henley and I got paid more than the other members"). It's the art that I love and I try my best to separate the art from the artist. Sometimes that's a challenge.

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MikeC   

Paul and Gene, of The KISS Band are very savy. they are playing an acoustic concert, tonight At The San Manuel Casino. They learned the game as entertainment and business. I had read that they have the most patents of any rock band in history. I thought I read over 3,000 patents. I'm really thinking 300, to my self, if that was a type-o errror.

I was hearing two RRHOF stories. One, that the original members were to be inducted. Second, that everyone deserved to be inducted. With the last two being the ones. It seemed like the hall asked for the first two, then it was decided by the band that the next two should get in, too.

My friend, who is a promoter, says he can make 50 to 75,000 dollars from 100 to 250 dollar seats, in one night!!

And, another friend tells me to tell the place where he will entertain, to pay for airfaire, or busfare. Also for The room, and $100 per day dining fee, for each person in the music band. After that, the entertainment fee, for performing and singing. That's how he does business, each event.

And what he told me to do, when he's signing on for a concert.

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James   

It's absurd that Frey and Henley would NOT be paid more than the others....a lot more. 

So it's not ruthless of them to require only what was theirs'. ....and a higher percentage of the band's earning IS rightfully theirs. 

In fact I'd consider it almost irresponsible if they did not require their fair take.  Once they get their money, then they can decide how it will be used - keep it for themselves, give it away to other band members, charities etc.

But the money is their's, they should get it, they should have hegemony over it and they should decide how it will be used. 

IMHO..

James

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marvin   
On 4/3/2014 at 9:45 PM, James said:

It's absurd that Frey and Henley would NOT be paid more than the others....a lot more. 

So it's not ruthless of them to require only what was theirs'. ....and a higher percentage of the band's earning IS rightfully theirs. 

In fact I'd consider it almost irresponsible if they did not require their fair take.  Once they get their money, then they can decide how it will be used - keep it for themselves, give it away to other band members, charities etc.

But the money is their's, they should get it, they should have hegemony over it and they should decide how it will be used. 

I don't necessarily disagree that Henley and Frey shouldn't get paid more than the rest, but when you say it on a documentary (with a smirk, I should add) viewed by fans, critics and a zillion others, it doesn't do much for a perception that already exists that you (Henley and Frey) are egotists and always put yourselves above other band members. 

No idea what hegemony means, and I don't feel like looking it up ;)

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Total and complete dominance over every thought and action?   (Too bourgeois a concept for a bohemian girl like me.)  ^_^

So Frey and Henley are the moral and intellectual leaders of the band?  Focus on "leaders" with best interests of the other members rather than "bosses."

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marvin   

The Eagles have always been Frey's band. He formed it, and he's the one that has always been looked at as the 'leader.' That doesn't necessarily make either him or Henley the "moral leaders" but they are DEFINITELY the decision makers. I'd even go so far as to say that Irving Azoff (their manager) gets more of a vote in the decisions than Walsh or Schmitt. If either Walsh or Schmitt had chosen to not toe the Frey-Henley line, they also would have been kicked out years ago. 

I've had many discussions with other Eagles fans on other Message Boards about how pointless in my opinion, this current tour is. Other than thankfully bringing the under-appreciated Bernie Leadon back into the fold, this tour is bringing them into the same cities and venues repeatedly. The tour will stretch well into 2015, making it almost three years old. Why not spend this time working on new music? Their last album,"The Long Road Out Of Eden" is already seven years old. Interestingly, both Schmitt and Walsh have released albums of new music over the last year, while Frey's release from last year was a covers album, and Henley's upcoming release later this year will also be covers. Maybe the Frey-Henley well has run dry.

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There was a guy on a recent "Pawn Stars" who had the Beatles first management contract with Brian Epstein. The most interesting part of the segment was that they revealed the financial deal that the Beatles signed with Brian. As manager,. Epstein would get 25% or all monies paid to the Beatles for recordings, merchandise, concerts, etc. That means, he got MORE than each of the Beatles who had to split the remaining 75% four ways. Incredible! No doubt, Brian did a fine job with the Fab Four, but should he have made more than John, Paul, George and Ringo?!?

Bernie

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marvin   
On 4/4/2014 at 11:15 AM, Raspbernie said:

There was a guy on a recent "Pawn Stars" who had the Beatles first management contract with Brian Epstein. The most interesting part of the segment was that they revealed the financial deal that the Beatles signed with Brian. As manager,. Epstein would get 25% or all monies paid to the Beatles for recordings, merchandise, concerts, etc. That means, he got MORE than each of the Beatles who had to split the remaining 75% four ways. Incredible! No doubt, Brian did a fine job with the Fab Four, but should he have made more than John, Paul, George and Ringo?!?

Further to your post, Bernie, I am currently reading Mark Lewishohn's "The Beatles: All These Years Vol.1 TUNE IN", which by the way is the most authoritative and intensive work I've ever read on the band. This first volume focuses on the very early years and ends in 1963. In the days prior to Brian hooking up with the band, they had signed contracts with (among others) Allan Williams and Bruno Koschmider where they admittedly did not know what they were doing. Paul, George and Stu were still teenagers, and John and Pete were barely 20 years old. That first contract they signed with Brian was probably done under some duress about where their career was going. They were so desperate for proper management, someone to direct and guide them and also push them forward. Brian was the right guy at the right time, but he was also pretty management and business savy. 

I would bet that the terms in future contracts were much more fairer.

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On 4/4/2014 at 11:15 AM, Raspbernie said:

There was a guy on a recent "Pawn Stars" who had the Beatles first management contract with Brian Epstein. The most interesting part of the segment was that they revealed the financial deal that the Beatles signed with Brian. As manager,. Epstein would get 25% or all monies paid to the Beatles for recordings, merchandise, concerts, etc. That means, he got MORE than each of the Beatles who had to split the remaining 75% four ways. Incredible! No doubt, Brian did a fine job with the Fab Four, but should he have made more than John, Paul, George and Ringo?!?

Now that's an eye-opener!! So situations like that could possibly create acrimony among bandmates...perhaps even make one of them appear "ruthless" in personal efforts to manage creative input/business aspects and life more carefully?

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Marvin,

Check this out:

"The original agreement between Brian Epstein and The Beatles called for him to receive 25% of their income in exchange for management; this deal was due to expire on October 8th, 1967. This much was customary—but there was a wrinkle: according to (Albert) Goldman, when renegotiating the group's contract with EMI in 1966, Epstein had signed himself on to receive 25% of that income in perpetuity whether he managed them or not. "None of the Beatles had troubled to read the agreement," Goldman writes. "When [they] learned later what Brian had done, they were deeply shocked." In Goldman's world, Epstein had screwed The Beatles, and when they discovered that he had, Brian was toast. It was only his death (suicide?) that had spared him this final, tawdry rift."

Wow!

Bernie

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marvin   

As much as I abhor Albert Goldman and everything he did, that quote above is interesting. What is even more interesting is how this topic has gravitated from KISS to the Eagles to the Beatles :o

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The common denominator of this topic is "business." Raspberries signed something called a "Production Contract", with CAM. USA ( who immediately became our publisher, as well as making Jimmy Ienner our producer ) that essentiallsaid CAM would pay the costs of recording ( as opposed to the record label ) and we would then essentially be "partners", splitting all royalties from recording 50/50 with them. Then CAM got the money from Capitol, but we were not signed DIRECTLY to Capitol.

We were signed to CAM Productions, who would then supply "our services" to Capitol Records. That type of deal is known to be the most horrible, immoral deal, ever, in the history of the music business. We were young, and we just didn't know any better, and we didn't have a savvy entertainment lawyer to negotiate on our behalf. We paid dearly for our naivety. 

I've come to understand that business people sleep like babies at night, while knowing they are screwing artists. Their thinking is "If you were dumb enough to sign it, it's YOUR fault." Nice.

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So who created that type of deal- the corporate entertainment insiders/attorneys?  I can certainly see why people might shy away from the business if they had any idea...glad you stayed in but I guess anyone who stays in pays some kind of price. 

Sorry honey.

Cayenne

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