Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Neil Peart: Rush Makes Money From Touring, Not Records

Hey did'ja all read my post on the Grammys? No? That's because I didn't watch them and don't give a shit. I read later that Jeff Beck, AC/DC, Neil Young and Judas Priest all took something home but of course none of that was shown on camera. Fuck The Grammys. Besides the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame, the Grammys are the most irrelevant music organization and became so the second Jethro Dull (instead of Metallica) won a Grammy for best heavy metal album. Doooouuuh!


RushIsABand.com posted some scans of a Guitar Center circular that had an interview with Neil Peart. It's a great read, and Neil has all sorts of interesting stuff to say as usual.

The part RushIsABand highlighted was one of the more interesting tidbits to me too. It's about how the music biz has changed over the last 35 years. Neil said:

I know that the mechanism that brought us up doesn't exist anymore," he says. "For instance, a perfect example of how reversed it is, in those days we made no money touring for a long time, even into the successful years. You counted on record sales and songwriting to make your living. And touring was a way to publicize that. Suddenly, in the last 10, 15 years all that turned around and our income is entirely from touring, and recording is an indulgence. In a band like Rush, no one's going to pay us to make a record. It's going to be an indulgence. Even Snakes & Arrows basically paid for itself and that's it, and if we want to make a living beyond that we have to go on the road and tour.

Touring is also the best way to establish relationships with your fans (not what you are thinking, but yeah that happens too). You can Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and email me all you want but experiencing the band melting my face off live is the best way to keep me loyal.

I remember I toured with a band called The Samples and they were signed to a big label and then were dropped. Usually that would have been the end and it would have been coffeehouses and tier three church basement gigs from there on out but they had toured so much, it didn't matter. They had grown a huge, loyal fan base. They stayed popular and actually wound up signing with another label even!

Of course they sucked so the inevitable happened and now you can see them in your local church coffeehouse. But you get the point - touring is the way to go.

Unless you have four kids and are 41, which is my excuse. Those days are over for me!

By the way, MY copy of Guitar Center's marketing rag had Tom and Chris Lord-Alge on the cover, whoever the hell they are.


VoxMoose said...

On the Grammy's: I basically agree with you. The Grammy's are an industry award ceremony designed to draw advertising, and have nothing to do with anything other than insider politics (which sometimes overlap with popularity and sometimes overlap with talent, but always overlap with money).

However, I think the Jethro Tull win was one of the 5 things in the ceremony's history they actually did right. It showed backbone -- and it was the right choice. Metallica, although I love those guys and love their music, are basically a pop band. They have won so many Grammy's at this point, all by selling out in a way that makes them look like they didn't sell out (i.e. the most dishonest means of selling out). Just looking at the footage of that first Metallica win was a joke. Metallica showed up expecting and wanting to win (all part of that insider politics) because they crave attention and acceptance. When they lost, rather than be graceful and dignified about it, they complained about it publicly, taking easy pot shots at Tull (like it was Tull's choice). Tull didn't even show up because they don't give a crap about Grammy's and have always done what was artistically in their interests, rather than trying to fit in.

All that said,I think I'm the only person on the planet who holds the above opinion (perhaps including Tull). Also, in fairness, Tull should have been in a hard rock category. But it was the first "metal" category year, so things were bound to be a little unconventional.

end rant.

Isorski said...

VoxMoose, I hear you. I agree that the main issue is that they should have been in another category. Not that they took the award from Metallica or anyone else. The point is, Tull is not heavy metal, and by calling them that, the Grammy org looked like the idiots that they are. Crest of a Nave is a kick ass album and deserved accolades.

Per Wikipedia:
The album was a critical and commercial success. Jethro Tull went on to win the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental. It was highly controversial as many did not consider the album or even the band to be hard rock or heavy metal. Furthermore, they beat heavily favoured Metallica (…And Justice for All) and critics' choice Jane's Addiction (Nothing's Shocking). Under advisement from their manager, no one from the band turned up to the award ceremony, as they were told that they had no chance of winning. In response to the controversy, the band's record label Chrysalis took out an advert in a British music periodical with the line, "The flute is a (heavy) metal instrument!" In 2007, the win was named one of the 10 biggest upsets in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly.

Personally I would not call Janes Addiction heavy metal or hard rock either. Dumbshits!

Thanks for the comments, Tom. I can always count on you to defend Tull!

Dan said...

I totally agree with you about the Grammys. A load of sh*t. I often wonder who comes up with the classifications of the music genres. They obviously have no musical sense.