Sunday, March 30, 2014

Caroilna Still, The Garage Jam Sessions - Darling Corey

Carolina Still - Jam session in Rascal's Garage

Every now and then you have to shift on the fly and change plans accordingly. We were quite bummed that we didn't get to shoot the brand new video for Carolina Still, so we all decided to rally for a garage jam session. Not only did this turn out great, but we were able to film four live tracks. This is the first track, "Darling Corey" and we will be posting one a week for the next month to showcase what Carolina Still has been up to.

Next time it rains in your neck of the woods, call up the folks and hit a garage for a jam session!

Check out that is Carolina Still 

Find them on Facebook

The Go Devils Make Plans For New Album Release In June

The Go Devils create True American Roots Rock N' Roll
The Go Devils create a unique and original infusion of roots, rockabilly, punk, country, swing, and psychobilly." Heartfelt and profound lyrics and top notch song writing are showcased along side music that is melodic and driving, high energy and catchy as hell." Running strong for 4 years and blazing a trail throughout the southeast, This power trio are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the developing underground roots music scene, and offer a spectacle of a live show that you would be sorry you missed. Coming to a town near you... If not, ask and ye shall receive!

Be on the lookout for more posts detailing their new album that will be dropping shortly.

Follow the Go Devils on Facebook

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Carolina Still - Original House From Album Cover Illustration

Carolina Still's album cover location shot for their album cover - The Color Of Rust
This is the original old farm house from the Carolina Still album, The Color Of Rust, which was painted for a process video. We released this album last spring and it continues to kick in new doors and the band is growing their reputation as one of the best live bands around.

Find out about all that is Carolina Still

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Music Business Has Sucked The Life Out Of Creativity

Robb Flynn of Machine Head speaks the truth
Follow more posts on

"Robb Flynn of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD has posted the latest installment of his online blog, "The General Journals: Diary Of A Frontman... And Other Ramblings". It follows below in its entirety.

"I'm in a shitty mood.

"Not for the story I'm about to tell, but because of my thoughts afterward.

"I went out to San Francisco for my buddy Joe's birthday shenanigans. We went out for Moroccan food at a joint called El Mansour. The place had a great vibe, belly dancing, sword balancing, and amazing food! The lamb in particular was to-freakin'-die-for, slow roasted and covered in honey and cinnamon.

"On the way out there, Joe's buddy Tony picked me up from JingleTown [studio], since I didn't want to drive as I knew I'd be drinking. On the hour-long trip out (Saturday traffic to San Francisco), he was telling me some pretty awesome stories about growing up in the ''70s. You see, Tony was a teenager in 1975, and used to go the famous San Francisco venue Winterland. Winterland was before my time, but being part of the scene you heard the legend, the stories and the history.

"Tony is a big BLACK SABBATH fan, saw them back in '75 on the 'Sabotage' tour and said it was a life-changing experience. Him and his buddies used to go to Winterland, load up on LSD, cigarettes, and weed, and go watch pretty much the cream of the crop of classic rock bands. TED NUGENT, SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, JOURNEY, MONTROSE, you name it, he went and saw it. The shows would start and if people loved the opening band (essentially cheering non-stop) they'd get to do encores. He was telling me about a show JOURNEY (the opener!), killed it, and they got 4 encores, the support band got 4 encores! Then the headliner, MONTROSE, got 5 ENCORES! MONTROSE didn't stop playing until 2:30 in the morning, everyone stayed, no one would even dare consider leaving and people experienced some of the best music of their lives.

"An opener getting encores, crazy…

"And the venue allowed things like this to happen. The venue just kept the bands rolling.

"Not only that, but all of the shows at Winterland were $4.50.

"4 dollars and 50 cents…..18 freakin' quarters!


"All I could think of was 'what an amazing time for music.'

"People wonder why the 'classic rock' bands were so good. They were playing by their own rules, and they had a culture of venues and people around that were as crazy and fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants as the bands themselves. The promoters around that time did anything to make the bands happy and if it meant playing all goddamn night? Let 'em!

"I tell you right now, though, there isn't a band out there who would play til 2:30 a.m. nowadays, let alone find a major venue that would even ALLOW such a thing.

"I remember when I first started going to /playing thrash shows, it was a very similar thing. It was no rules, no security, no safety, no curfews, and for the most part anything went!

Venues these days are mostly run with union workers. In most major cities, you have to take breaks during the day, where a band can't even sound check for an hour because the union workers need a 'break.' Nowadays if you play 1 minute past 11 p.m. at any of the large union venues, it costs the band $1,000 dollars a minute. When we were out with METALLICA playing arenas they regularly play 20 minutes past 11:00 p.m., and they regularly paid $20,000 to do so.

"I went and saw PEARL JAM about a month ago, and they played one of the best, most truly rock 'n' roll shows I've seen in eons. It was fucking magical, Eddie Vedder drank 3 bottles of wine, and about 2 hours into the set, he started getting a little sloppy, forgetting lyrics, missing cues, it looked like it was about to fall off the rails. The band then they took a quick break and he came back and played 'Black'.

"Let me tell you, it was magic! I'm getting goose bumps writing this, just remembering it. It was such a turn-around; it totally took the night to an even higher level. At this point they were already 45 minutes past 11. They played several more songs and eventually the Oakland Arena (currently called the Oracle Arena, until some different stupid corporate sponsor buys it and changes it to something ridiculous like Florida's 1-800-Ask Gary Amphitheater) turned on the house lights, signaling them to stop. PEARL JAM said 'fuck you!' and played 2 more songs with the house lights on! Eddie Vedder then brought the band back out onstage to do an extra-long goodbye to the crowd. I love their fucking attitude.

"In the end, they played 70 minutes over 'curfew' and I'd imagine left Oakland about $70,000 dollars lighter to do so. Of course PEARL JAM can afford it, and frankly it gave every single person there one of the best shows of their life. But this gesture to keep the 'room' in a good mood in conjunction with the Winterland conversation, it got me thinking.

"Shit has changed.

"On the one hand, I love PEARL JAM's 'fuck you, were doing it our way' attitude, and on the other hand, it angered and depressed me.

"Only the METALLICAs and PEARL JAMs can pull things like this. Bands that have sold millions of records, and they can afford it.

"If MACHINE HEAD tried playing an hour over curfew at say, the House Of Blues in Dallas, Texas, we'd be walking out of there with our entire guarantee eaten up. Even if the fans wanted it, some venue would do their best to shut it down, cut power, close curtain, whatever.

"The music business has sucked the life out of creativity. No one is encouraged to take risks, no one is encouraged to push the envelope, because it's all about first-week sales! It's about pointless radio play and how good your last tour went. How venues and promoters are squeezing the last drop of spontaneity out of your soul by not 'allowing' you to playing past curfew and not drawing outside the line.

"When we play that game, we essentially applaud mediocrity.

"There's nothing dangerous about music these days, there's nothing surprising about it either. There can't be. Other than PEARL JAM, the only 'band' that doesn't seem to really give a flying fuck and plays by their own rules isn't really a band at all, are they? Axl and the ROSES are known for bending the rules and telling the powers that be to 'fuck off,' but because their band is so confusing they come across as a joke. But people don't see this. People don't see any of this!

"And the reason you don't care is because it's too easy to get sucked into your phone, or your Facebook, or your Twitter, or your Tumblr, or your Instagram, or your games, or your TV shows.

"Music isn't important anymore. Say it is all you want, but the fact is, the 2 biggest rock records of last year only sold 400,000 copies, neither even went gold.

"Music is in the background of a game. Why go to a show when you can watch clips of it on YouTube and bitch about how it stinks live?

"And you know what, I miss music being important! I miss live shows being important. I miss feeling a part of something that was so high on my list I'd crawl through broken glass to get it.

"All this technology we have now that's supposed to make us 'connected?' It's making me feel more fucking disconnected than ever. I mean watching all the things that other people are doing that I'm not invited to or even a apart of? And yet at the same time completely disgusted by faux-self-importance it has given everyone, (here's my dog or cat for the millionth time, here's a selfie for the millionth time, here's my kids for the millionth time, here' the food I'm eating for the millionth time, here's what I'm doing and you're not). Don't you wish you were eating what I'm eating?
"Fuck you!

I've thought of tweeting or Facebooking something so many time and just went, 'who cares', why should anyone care about this, and you SHOULDN'T care.

"You're all my 'friends,' you've all 'liked' me, but really, you're not my friends, because we don't know each other. You took a photo of me, or you interviewed me, or we talked after a show. And after you get past the initial coolness, of re-connecting with someone from high school on Facebook or Twitter, you realize you truly have drifted apart.

"And fuckin' A, I'm glad we did.

"I don't want to be 'friends' with everyone; I don't want to be 'liked' by everyone. I want to feel connected to something. And nothing I look at in the music business does that. I don't get radio bands; I don't get any of these fucking 'scene bands.' I don't get bands singing about how great being American is, as if the geographic location you were born, (and had zero control over in any way shape or form), somehow makes us better than any other geographical place of birth!?

"I don't get why people don't want to see live music anymore, I don't get it. Did you see the clip of Hetfield talking about how America needs to start 'wanting' music again? This is James 'Fucking' Hetfield talking, people! Didn't those words do anything to anyone? Didn't what he said make you feel a bit disgusted? I'm a METALLICA fan and those words being spoken kind of stung a bit.

"You can bitch all you want that MACHINE HEAD only does festival tours and only plays for 30 minutes, but all those bands (including us) that play festival tours, can't draw squat when were not on festival tours. And even the big metal festivals are having troubles. Maybe the days of bands touring is coming to an end? Bands didn't always tour, you know, Mozart didn't hit the road for a year or 2 back in the day. Touring is really a phenomenon of the last 60 years or so. People didn't always buy records, or CDs, or files, or streams, that's also a phenomenon of the last 60 or 70 years.

"I don't get the political fucking correctness of music anymore.

"I don't get the narrow-mindedness of the world anymore.

"I don't get people asking me every week to try and write 'more like 'Burn My Eyes', please.'
"I don't get religious nutjobs who think that when they die they're going to 72 virgins when they get to heaven. ('You're guaranteed to get some pussy in the afterlife, boys,' so obviously written by a man!)

"I don't get religious fucking nutjobs who think that Jesus is coming back soon, wearing a white, blood-stained robe (stained with the blood of his enemies…whoever those are) and will be carrying a sword, and by 'sword,' the bible meant an AR-15!

"What did Napoleon say? 'Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.'

"I don't get why we need to hear 'America The Beautiful' and 'thank a soldier' in a TV commercial, 22 and 14 times respectively during the Superbowl.

"I don't fucking get it.

"You don't care about music, and I don't care about music, and I sit here wondering if this feeling is a result of the business itself, or is the business a result of our own apathy towards music.

I feel lost.

"I feel alone.

"Something has to change.

"Someone has to stir the pot.

"Something needs to come along and wake us up out of the slumber."

Rusty Knuckles Customs - Banjo Straps - Handmade In USA

Rusty Knuckles Customs - Banjo Straps in Chestnut Brown and Sienna Brown Ends

Our banjo strap is made out of 8 oz. leather that is tanned and softened to be an easily worn for hours upon end. The strap has screw holes cut out for a variety of mounting options and adjusts from 42" inches to 60" inches.

A slit is cut into the leather to accommodate for acoustic guitars and larger grommets or for electric with a single screw for the heavier guitar body. The banjo strap is 3" inches wide over the shoulder and tapers at the edges for true comfort.

All leather edges are smooth and finished with a beveled cut and handmade In USA

Check out our straps on Etsy

Rusty Knuckles Customs - Banjo Straps in Ox Blood Red and Black Ends
Rusty Knuckles Customs - Banjo Straps in Sienna Brown and Black Ends
Rusty Knuckles Customs - Banjo Straps in Chestnut Brown and Sienna Brown Ends
Rusty Knuckles Customs - Banjo Straps in Black and Chestnut Brown Ends

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

That Time When Billy Don Burns and Billy Joe Shaver Sat Down For A Conversation

Billy Don Burns and Billy Joe Shaver talking for the BDB documentary currently being filmed

A few weeks back we were able to sit down with Billy Don Burns and Billy Joe Shaver for a quick chat for the BDB documentary. Can't tell yall how thrilled we are with the amount of folks asking to go on record and sing praises about Billy Don Burns. True character will always shine through and watching these two chat was akin to watching a great novel unfold. 

Billy Don Burns on Facebook

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ride on Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus...

Dave Brockie at Gwar's Slave Pit workshop

Ride on Dave Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rory Kelly, Album Process Cover Movie and Hidden Album Symbolism

In the paragraphs below I get deeper into the meaning and symbolism behind Rory Kelly's new album design. The symbols were drawn together as a way to spell out what exactly Kings Never Sleep can be interpreted as metaphorically. In this case, it's hidden knowledge and the ability to rise up. It is the equivalent of the viewer and or listener to stand on the edge of a high platform and jump into water below for a soothing swim. For many, the symbols are just art placed in an eloquent manner but then again, if you are reflecting on the music of Rory Kelly and his career path paired with his musical prowess, these symbols take on far more of a significant meaning.

Dive in and enjoy as the journey is the true destination.

Follow Rory Kelly on Facebook

Pre-order the new Rory Kelly album shipping May 13th 2014

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Anything that is worth having is worth working for. Whether it be saving up for your first new car, buying a home or wanting the sexy new Gretsch down at Guitar Center. Hard work and effort are the only way to achieve these goals along with one other element. That other element is the one for which it is free to obtain and is limitless in scope and can never be taken from you. Knowledge is the great conqueror, the great divider and ultimately the great saviour for anything you set out to achieve.

Conspiracy theorists thoroughly enjoy speaking on the illuminati and clandestine groups with the supposed aim to take over the world. Granted there are individuals that seek ultimate power, but human nature at it's core is forever seeking to be on top of the food chain and remain there. In my rationale this helps to make the struggle for power sensible while looking at it from a the viewpoint of trying to understand what is at the root of the issue, whether good or bad. Does it make it right or just, no so way in hell. But then again, we are just surveying the facts presented and its up to us to create our own judgement.

Rory Kelly album cover coming together

Hidden knowledge is where conversations get interesting and you can learn to decipher an individuals philosophy by the symbols around them. Everything we see and read daily is part of a larger scope of symbolism. Some of the iconography that was present hundreds of years ago, doesn't resonate today. Some of the images are persistent though, as the meaning has shifted within the lenses of how culture gazes upon it. When you see the fish on the back of a car as a bumper sticker or emblem, that individual is representing their Christian beliefs. So have you ever heard of a caduceus?

The hidden meaning within the intertwined snakes reflects a spiritual awakening, while also representing safe passage. In this rationale, thinking on the biblical story, was the snake tempting Eve with the apple of knowledge really malevolent? Remember that history is written by the conquerors so it is always in their favor to shine the best light on their cause. Snakes have been forever painted in a darker shade since then, but they remain a full time tenant in the realm of symbology. The way the story spells out to me is that life is simply about choice and you need to stand on your own two feet and be responsible for your actions. To think that women have been scorned for centuries due to this biblical story is to understand the power of symbolism. The same could be said for the swastika as it was around for thousands of years as a symbol of fertility. Read and interpret the full story as there are two sides to every coin.

Rory Kelly album cover art

The all seeing eye or the Eye of Providence is consistently seen as a symbol of the illuminati but actually represents the sun. The symbol is based upon Egyptian beliefs of viewing the sun for illumination and thusly where the the Illuminati's name is derived. The all seeing eye didn't get a triangular shape around it until the Renaissance period and was used as a Christian symbol representing the triune godhead. As time went on it was then adopted by the Masons as a symbol for the Great Architect. So if you want to really interpret Masonic lore, just ask. The hidden knowledge of all Masonic Rites is that you just have to ask and the gates will opened for those that seek out the knowledge. Thusly, the first step in becoming a Mason is you ask a member to join and you are invited to join as an Entered Apprentice.

Now lets get back to why the there is a triangle in the background. First of all, its not just a triangle but an Alchemical Fire or "Blade". This hidden symbol is based upon the fire within. For the album cover it is a reflection on Rory Kelly and the music he, Pops and Billy invoke. The upward lift of the Alchemical Fire symbolizes the rising energy that helps to bring us to the divine. Can music do this? Damn right it can. Just watch listeners get lost in a trance at shows. This is how powerful of a potion that a musical trance can have on its listeners.

So how does all this relate to the title "Kings Never Sleep"? That is the ultimate hidden symbol and within any individual to seek out. Anyone can be a king as its just a metaphor. As an individual walking the path of enlightenment and continually seeking out wisdom, you are becoming wiser and bolder in your approach. The light of knowledge never goes out or falls asleep as it is omnipresent. It may dim from time to time, but it is and will forever be at your fingertips.

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." - Marcus Garvey

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory Is A Pawn Star

Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory on the set of Pawn Stars

Turns out Corey from Pawn Stars is a big Hellbound Glory fan so Leroy and the fellas rolled over to the shop to talk to them on all things Real Country Music.

Rival Sons - Electric Man - Cartoon Video Song Premiere

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rory Kelly - Kings Never Sleep - Album Art Teaser

Video capture from the process video on Rory Kelly's new album cover for Kings Never Sleep

Rory Kelly will be launching his brand new album on May 13th 2014 with his signature brand of electrified southern boogie rock n' roll. The new album is 10 sweltering tracks of pure southern rock conceived in the bar rooms and clubs where the atmosphere is thick with smoke and cheap beer. The perfect breeding ground for a guitar shredder such as Rory Kelly to make all his own.

Rusty Knuckles Music © 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Antiseen Is Here To Put The Voodoo On You

Antiseen Is Here To Put The Voodoo On You

Here they are kids, Jeff Clayton here and I have a few words just for you!!! The ANTiSEEN VOODOO DOLLS!!!! This is the top secret project I've had brewing for awhile. I was not alone in this project. The art work is by none other than the great Jamie Vayda, they were screen printed by my brother Greg Clayton Aardvark Screen printing In Raleigh, my vision for the packaging was brought to life by Phil Keller at Phil Keller Designs and they were painstakingly stuffed and sewn together by my beautiful gal Rebecca Coleman.
The ANTiSEEN VOODOO DOLLS come with complete packaging and the first batch have an "Official Prototype" numbered card. Each doll is around 9" tall. Right now we have around a dozen full sets. Be one of the first to own them! They will be on sale on the website in a week or so but you can order them now through PAY PAL via They are $25 each (price includes shipping in the USA. Add $10 shipping outside the USA) If you buy all four you can get them for $90 and that will include shipping in the USA. Overseas will determine shipping per order. If you order them individually please indicate which one you want in the PAY PAL message until we can get them up on the site. OI! Don't forget to include your address with the PAY PAL message!!!!

Dive into all things ANTiSEEN

BTW we are not responsible for all your hexes and misfortune!!!!

Antiseen is ready to do your voodoo bidding

Barry Hannibal Voodoo Doll

Joe Young Voodoo Doll

The Gooch Voodoo Doll

Voodoo Doll in packaging and ready for action

Barry Hannibal is ready for your magic
Baron Samedi is keeping a watchful eye out, shouldn't you?

Robert Rodriguez And The El Rey Network

Finally, could there be the perfect tv channel aimed to my viewing pleasure? Thank you El Rey Network for arriving and thus allowing for my blood lust with kung fu cinema and gritty action movies to finally have a place on our home screen, 24/7.

Down Are Poised To Release Their New EP - Down IV - Part 2, On May 13th

Down IV - Part Two

"Down is the New Orleans sludge-metal supergroup led by Pantera’s Phil Anselmo and Corrosion Of Conformity’s Pepper Kennan, and later this spring, they’ll release their new EP Down IV – Part Two. The first track we’ve heard from it is a titanic, bludgeoning deep-head-nod groove called “We Knew Him Well,” and it’s gloriously messy but locked-in in the way that only New Orleans metal bands can pull off. Listen to it below."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Norh Korean Motorcycle Diaries, From Vice

Norh Korean Motorcycle Diaries
"For the past decade, New Zealanders Joanne and Gareth Morgan have been living the semiretired lifestyle of their dreams, traveling around the world on motorcycles alongside a few of their closest friends. They've traversed all seven continents on their bikes, with routes as varied as Venice to Beijing, Florida to northern Alaska, and South Africa to London, just to name a few. Gareth funds his own trips, many of which he uses to pursue philanthropic endeavors, particularly in the social-investment space. He is able to do so with money he's made as an economist and investment manager—one who has earned the reputation for criticizing unethical practices in New Zealand's financial-services industry.

In late August, the Morgans embarked on their most ambitious journey yet, at least physically. The real journey began years ago, when they decided they wanted to ride the Baekdudaegan, a mountain range that stretches the length of North and South Korea's shared peninsula. After countless hours of negotiation and coordination with both governments, they were granted permission. It was, the Morgans believe, the first time anyone's ever traveled through both countries like that since the partitioning of Korea in 1945. By making the trip they hoped to demonstrate how Koreans can come together over what they have in common. To symbolize this, the Morgans took some stones from Paektu, a holy mountain in the North, and brought them to Hallasan, a similarly sacred peak in the South.

Joanne and Gareth shot the entirety of their trip, the footage from which they have graciously allowed us to cut into a short film that will premiere on this month. In some ways, the footage makes the Korean coast look alternately like California, China, and Cuba. It's a beautiful view few foreigners have seen, and even if planning the road trip straight through the Demilitarized Zone required working within parameters set by the highly choreographed and restricted confines of North-South Korean diplomacy, this was a journey worth documenting from start to finish."

Check out the Best of VICE here:

A New Model For Music - Have Brands Promote Your Band, From The New York Times

Lady Gaga performing in Austin, Tex., during the South by Southwest festival, in a show presented by Doritos. The music festival’s venues were decked out in a riot of corporate logos. Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press
The hype surrounding this years SXSW from varying accounts was either an awesome party to see friends and get loose or you felt violated from the amount of corporate brands being stuffed in your face. Let's face it, making money in the music industry is a tough row to hoe. Any true profit is being made from playing to a live audience and for those that just want to sit on a couch and lament as to why they are not selling a ton of albums, get off your lazy asses and get to work. The equation is damn simple.

Tomorrow will be a new app created with a flying bird or a tetris style game play that you will be competing against, along with every news source speaking on potential cold war relations, so where does your music come into play? 

This couldn't be a better time to be a musician. Here is why. Forget all the competition and bands that are already better on their gear or more skilled at networking. You are only a few clicks away from a billion people and never forget that. If you are in this to make a living from the start, well you best have a Plan B, as the wisest man I know has always told me. Anyone without a Plan B is an absolute idiot and is truly not playing this chess board called life with any real strategy.

Dive into this great article below about a reporter's view of SXSW. Yes, we know that large corporate brands are dominating the landscape, but true art will always break down walls and burn the landscape. If you are an artist that needs to be heard, what are you waiting for? Make life happen and get off the damn couch and Facebook espousing rhetoric about what is solid and real. In this time and place we need Chieftains as we already are overrun with replicants.

Read the article on the New York Times

"I like Doritos as much as the next guy. More, probably. And I admire Lady Gaga for her handcrafted rise to the top of pop culture. In Austin last week, the salty, cheesy wonder of Doritos was brought to you by the sweet, uplifting allure of Lady Gaga. Or was it the other way around? 

That blend of sweet and savory, corporate and personal, commerce and art at this year’s South by Southwest festival, also known as SXSW, was a reminder that music can no longer pay its own way. In a streamed world where music itself has very little value, selling out is far from looked down upon, it’s the goal. 

Don’t blame Lady Gaga, SXSW or even Doritos. The consumer wants all the music that he or she desires — on demand, at a cost of zero or close to it — and we now live in that perfect world.
It doesn’t feel perfect, though. At this year’s festival, historically a place of artistic idiosyncrasy, music labels were an afterthought and big brands owned the joint. Venues were decked out with a riot of corporate logos, and the conference’s legacy as a place where baby bands played their little hearts out to be discovered seemed quaint in a week in which Jay Z and Kanye West kicked it for Samsung, Coldplay headlined for Apple’s iTunes and Tyler, the Creator played a showcase for Pandora.

This new order evolved because when music moved into the cloud, not much of the revenue came with it. CD sales are a fraction of what they once were, and the micropayments from streaming services have yet to amount to anything meaningful. It’s a grim state of affairs, but corporate America, in search of an elusive demographic, has been more than willing to fill the breach. 

Given that Bob Dylan, of all people, recently made a big-money commercial for Chrysler, none of this is surprising, but it still has implications. No one will miss the stranglehold the large music labels had on the industry, but having shoe and snack food companies decide what is worthy could strangle the new, unruly impulses that allow the music business to prosper. 

You hear a lot of the Ramones on commercials these days, but if the suits were in charge when the band was first playing, you never would have heard of them at all. (Anybody who wonders about the impact of big companies as cultural gatekeepers need only go see a studio blockbuster.)

For South by Southwest, Lady Gaga filmed something of an infomercial for Doritos, urging people to use the hashtag #boldstage and submit a video of themselves doing something “bold” to compete for access to her performance. (In fact, any journalist covering the event was required to do the same thing, which explains why I — and my colleague Jon Pareles — were not there. If we had done so, we would have consented to “give sponsor a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, nonexclusive license” to use our social media efforts to sell corn chips.)

We missed quite a spectacle, from what I can see in video clips and news reports. Lady Gaga was smeared in barbecue sauce and mock-roasted like a pig and then, with the ink on the check from Doritos barely dry — and with millions destined for her charity — she bit the tortilla chip that fed her. “I won’t play by your” — insert street-cred adjective — “rules,” she said. 

She then wagged a crooked finger at her fans who were shooting pictures on their phone and had tweeted their way in at her instruction: “When you leave this earth, no one is going to care what you tweeted. Don’t let the machine and don’t let technology take you from this earth.”

And in a move that might seem redundant given the irony that she had already coated herself with, Lady Gaga invited the performance artist Millie Brown on stage to drink a bottle of neon green liquid and vomit all over her. Her actions — to happily shill for Doritos, then deliver a lecture on the importance of independent thought — perfectly encapsulate the conflicted state of the industry. 

(You could say it was a new low, but last year, I saw Public Enemy, musical heroes of my youth, perform “Fight the Power” inside a mock Doritos vending machine.) 

At her keynote address on Friday, Lady Gaga thanked Doritos and said plainly, “Without sponsorships, without all these people supporting us, we won’t have any more festivals because record labels don’t have any” money. 

Carrie Brownstein, the star of “Portlandia” who played in the rock band Sleater-Kinney for years, was in town with her co-star Fred Armisen to speak on a panel. Like many, she marveled at the number of brands that wallpapered the festival. 

“I almost felt like I was in festival-land and the bands were there as part of the theme park,” she said. “Still, it’s good there is a physical place where people gather to watch music because so much of it seems to come from nowhere at a cost of nothing.” 

With record sales a thing of the past, she said, “everyone in music is trying to figure it out and there is no algorithm for that. It’s very treacherous.”

Peter Gannon, a former rocker in a band called Calla, is now a senior vice president at the advertising agency McCann Erickson and was searching for new talent at SXSW. He smiles at the turn of events, but says he is playing the game that is on the table. He wants collaborations to go beyond putting a brand logo on a performance, pointing to a recent campaign on behalf of the national parks by Nature Valley that included Andrew Bird and Tift Merritt. 

“The willingness of artists to partner with brands happened because revenues dried up from physical discs,” he said. “The labels are not going to get a lot of sympathy because they were not very good to artists. At least when a brand is involved, there is an understanding that we are borrowing the cachet that the artist has built and we try to make high-quality projects that give value to both the client and the artist. ”

There is another way, albeit much tinier. While Lady Gaga was doing her thing for Doritos, I was down the street at a showcase for Merge Records. Founded in Durham, N.C., 25 years ago by Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, Merge persists by carefully picking the bands that it works with, keeping costs low and producing almost artisanal merchandise — CDs, vinyl records, T-shirts and posters — that fans want to buy. Every once in a while, a small success becomes a giant one, as it did with Arcade Fire, the label’s biggest seller by far. 

Mr. McCaughan, whose band Superchunk still records and tours, says he is still in the business of selling music, not chips. 

“You can’t guilt people into buying records or get them to stop just grabbing MP3s, you have to give them something they want to support,” he said over breakfast on Thursday. “We have to sell records to make money and to do that, we have to work within people’s short attention span for music. Doritos is trying to get you to look at one thing, and we are trying to get you to look at another thing.”

It is, he points out, a great time to be a music fan. Obscure reissues, B-sides, live performances are all there in friction-free and sometimes plain-old-free formats. But for bands, it is attention amid the clutter that has become expensive, especially at SXSW, where 2,000 acts are looking for love in all the same places. 

But for all the mania, South by Southwest can still amaze. One night, I went to see a very accomplished band on the back patio of a bar near Red River Street. As I made my way through the dark, sweaty room in front, I noticed an insistent sound and turned to see Team Spirit, a beery collection of punkish rockers having the musical time of their lives. I made a mental note and when I got back to my hotel, I downloaded some of its music. Given that bands survive partly from the sales of actual physical artifacts, I may even buy a T-shirt." - David Carr

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bad Blood Productions New Site

Picture Janet Archer began her work as a promoter and independent booking agent in 2010, at first using her business Bang Salon in Greenville, South Carolina to host both local bands and artists touring the region. A series of Monday night shows began as “Bang Salon Presents.” When Bang Salon closed in 2011, Janet rebranded as Bad Blood Productions, with inspiration from the work of local artist Tim Speaker.

The musicians that have worked with Bad Blood Productions, especially on the tour circuit, boast a unique connection to Janet unlike other booking agents. Though a Northwest native, in hospitable southern fashion, she looks after the bands not only as musicians but as friends, offering a place to stay or a meal to eat for those passing through a town that might otherwise have not been a touring option.

Janet has, according to We Are The Upstate, brought some “much needed diversity” to the Greenville music scene by drawing from not only regional musicians but bands that call Missouri, New York, or even Germany home. With genres ranging from rockabilly to punk to roots, many in the music scene have hailed Janet as using her passion to benefit musicians and local listeners alike. Bad Blood Productions has enriched the immediate Greenville music scene as well as the larger circuit of the southeast region, particularly North Carolina and Tennessee.

Services provided by Bad Blood Productions:
Tour Booking (US); Available to tour with bands (Merchandise Sales; Tour Manager)

Link over all that is Bad Blood Productions

Jay Berndt & The Orphans At The Met, Friday March 21st

Jay Berndt & The Orphans At The Met, Friday March 21st
"The limited edition "Mama, Why You Wanna Treat Me So Mean?" split 7" with JB Beverley & The Wayward Drifters is now available!!! Union Blue, Confederate Grey or Blood Red Vinyl!! AND... If you don't have a record player and just want the awesome art by Scott Bramble...
It does come with a digital download card for both songs. Buy it HERE"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lose Some Gear On The Road, Time To Improvise

Rory Kelly's new slide for his guitar riffing
What happens when a crucial part of your gear goes missing or stolen while on the road? Well, of course ya just have to improvise. This recently happened to ol' Rory Kelly while on tour with J.B. Beverley and instead of heading over to a Guitar Center or Sam Ash, a fan of the bands offered his expertise and got to grinding on a piece of steel pipe. The new slide was custom fit directly to Rory's pinky and now makes for one hell of a great road story. Huge thanks to Dennis Pardick for being a stand up dude and helping friends out on the road.