Minimum Wage at Rush Hour

Finding Reliable Band Members

“Reliable” and “band member” typically should not be used in the same sentence. If, however, you’re really serious about getting your music out there to be heard, here are a few suggestions.

SERIOUS MUSICIANS ATTRACT OTHER SERIOUS MUSICIANS

The best way to attract serious musicians who show up for rehearsal, gigs, and recording sessions on time is to be one yourself. The better player you are (i.e., the more practice time you put in), the better the musicians you attract into your band will be. Also, if you set a good example by always being on time to rehearsals, still have all of your gear with you, making sure your equipment is working before rehearsal and putting off the drinking and other substances until after rehearsal, you will ensure that your band takes you and your time seriously.

Behind a successful bandSEEK OUT MUSICIANS BY LISTENING

One of the worst ways to find new band members is by advertising in your local “Get Out On the Weekend” type of paper. These papers are hideouts for the screwballs of the world. Instead, get out and go to some shows. The best way to find musicians that play your style of music is to go and listen to other bands that play that style. Then on the breaks, you can talk to the band members, see if they’re interested in your project. Maybe they’re looking for a side project or studio work. Who knows? How many times have you had or seen a really great band that fell apart because someone moved or for other reasons? It happens all the time. Knowing those musicians who play your style means they’ll call you first the next time they’re looking for work. And when you find your musicians by talking to actual gigging players, you can be sure they know how to make it to rehearsal, how to make gigs on time, and how to tie their shoes.

MONEY TALKS

The more songs, gigs, recording sessions, and festivals you have lined up, the more likely you are to attract musicians. Money talks, which means that you’ll attract a lot of serious musicians only if you have already booked some paying jobs. This means that you’re not at a stage where you’re desperately trying to come up with enough songs to fill an hour. Instead, you should have and be familiar with at least 4-5 hours of the material before you start looking for gigs or other musicians. The best way to build up your repertoire is to go out to open mics and play. Here you can try out your material, meet other musicians, and practice.

Minimum Wage at Rush Hour

Nickelback – From Small Town Boys to Rockstars

Hanna, Alberta in Canada boasts “pride in offering urban amenities with country flair” can now lay claim to being the home to one of Canada’s top rockers.

Grunge rockers, Nickelback, in the face of harsh criticisms from their peers and critics alike have sold 30 million albums worldwide since 2001, with over 13 singles making it into the top 40 of music charts around the world. They have been ranked the 11th best musical act of the century to date and the second best selling foreign act in the US, just behind The Beatles. This is their story.

Nickelback from Alberta CanadaSmall Town Beginnings

The group was formed by singer and songwriter Chad Kroeger and his bassist brother Mike in 1995. The name was inspired by Mike’s days working in Starbucks when he would return customers’ change hence giving their “nickel back”. With their cousin Brandon Kroeger on drums and childhood friend, guitarist Ryan Peake, the quartet began penning their music, a blend of post-grunge rock and heavy metal. Their first release was a seven-track EP called Hesher.

Public attention and admiration followed a series of live performances and numerous air plays on Canadian radio, and so a full-length album went into production. Curb also enjoyed moderate success within their home nation and was followed by the band’s second album, the independently produced The State, released in 1998. Before its release, however, Brandon Kroeger and the band amicably parted company, and new drummer Ryan “Nik” Vikedal joined the fold.

The second album was such a success that it attracted the attention of Canadian EMI and the US-based Roadrunner records who approached the band with an offer. Nickelback signed a record deal, and The State was re-released in the US in 2000. The album was certificated gold in Canada, with two singles from the album, Leader of Men and Breathe achieving noteworthy sales and entering the top ten of mainstream rock music charts on the American continent. This marked the beginnings of that classic meteoric rise to fame and fortune for these four boys from Hanna, Alberta.

Silver Side Up

With their third album, the band worked with producer Rick Parashar, famous for his work with grunge bands Alice in Chains and later with Pearl Jam on their Ten album. The album was released in September 2001 and went straight in at number one in many of the album charts, catapulting the group into the limelight. The single from the album How You Remind Me – a moving ballad about the pitfall of bitter breakups and the hurtful words ex-lovers spit at one another – enjoyed equal success. It reached number one in both rock and mainstream charts in the US and Canada while making it to number four in the UK top 40 and number one in the rock charts.

The album’s predominantly grunge rock/heavy metal sound and hard-hitting storytelling won the hearts and ears of rockers the world over with tracks such as Too Bad chronicling the toils of financial hardship on a small town family which may or may not be autobiographical. The song hit the number one spot yet again in the US and Canada and number one in the UK rock charts, although disappointingly only number nine in the UK Top 40 charts. Not ones to shy away from any subject matter regardless of controversy Never Again is a brutal story of spousal abuse. While it pulled no punches on its subject matter with lyrics such as “I hear her scream, from down the hall. Amazing she can even talk at all” it proved too blunt even for fans barely registering a blip on the music chart radar.

Much of the themes recurrent in the album range from relationship breakdowns or violent acts, and while may not have universal appeal, it does showcase the band’s musical talent as well as a penchant for straightforward storytelling, a combination that helped Silver Side Up become a multi-platinum selling album.

Kroeger Solo Projects

The success of the album not only brought the inevitable fame and fortune that follows such rapid success but also opened up unique opportunities for Chad Kroeger to undergo solo projects. In 2002, Kroger worked with Josey Scott, lead singer of the Memphis rock band Saliva, on a theme song for the first Spiderman movie. Hero became an instant worldwide hit, equaling Nickelback’s releases, and to date is the most successful and recognizable track from the web-slinging movie franchise.

Kroeger also provided lyrics for Santana’s Why Don’t You and I which featured on Santana’s Shaman album in October of the same year. It also marked a departure in theme for Kroeger as it was a surprisingly upbeat track all about the dizzying effect s of falling in love. The two artists would work together again on the single Into The Night in 2007.

Another opportunity for Kroeger arose to serve as mentor and producer for another fledgling Canadian rock band. Kroger put his co-producing weight behind the underrated Vancouver based grunge rockers, Default. Thanks to Kroeger, the band’s debut album The Fallout became a platinum seller with the singles Wasting my Time and Deny reaching the number one spot on the US and Canadian rock charts as well as the top 20 Canadian mainstream charts. Naturally, speculation about Kroeger’s departure from the band was bounded around, however as their second album proved to fans and critics, Nickelback’s journey was far from over with Kroeger at the helm.

Minimum Wage at Rush Hour

Country Star Lee Brice Scores Commercial Success

Three-time Academy of Country Music nominee Lee Brice is now being featured on televisions in McDonald’s restaurants around the United States.

Specifically, customers visiting the popular fast-food chain will be treated to a series of segments including music videos, acoustic performances, and interviews from some of today’s most famous artists, including Brice, whose Love Like Crazy feature is now playing at participating restaurants.

Lee Brice at McDonaldsBrice also has been selected as the featured artist for the in-flight audio entertainment for all Continental Airlines flights. Consequently, passengers aboard any Continental Airlines flight between March 1 and April 30 can tune in to hear several songs from Brice’s debut album, including his record-breaking, ACM nominated hit, Love Like Crazy, and his new single, Beautiful Every Time.

Country-newcomer Brice released his debut album on Curb Records, also titled Love Like Crazy, in June 2010. The title track of the album reached the top five on the charts and was named Billboard’s No. 1 country song of 2010. It currently holds the record for the longest charting song in the history of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

Brice is also known for his songwriting, penning hits for many great artists including Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. His current Beautiful Every Time single was recently released to country radio and is quickly making its way up the charts.

Minimum Wage at Rush Hour

John Denver – The Country Legend Lives On

His gentle voice and easy-listening lyrics became equally popular as background music and as a genuine expression of love. His music spanned three decades, and he won numerous recording awards and Platinum albums for one million sales. In 1993 he was chosen to be the recipient of the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Music Award, and in 1996 he was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., this son of an American RAF Officer he moved around a lot in his early life. His passion for music was inspired when he was given his grandmother’s Gibson guitar and he started to have guitar lessons and joined a boy’s choir. But it was not until he was 20 years-old he was able to follow his dream and pursue a career in music.

When he was 23, John moved to Los Angeles and friends persuaded him to change his name to one more suitable for a recording artist. They suggested John Somerville but he decided to take his surname from the capital city of his home state of Colorado and the legendary John Denver was born.

He started to break into the music industry when he was selected to be the lead singer in the Mitchell Trio but when he started to make an impact as a singer/songwriter the trio disbanded and he went solo and steadily climbed up the charts with some of his best-known songs

  • Take Me Home Country Roads
  • Rocky Mountain High
  • Sunshine on my Shoulders
  • Annie’s Song
  • Back Home Again
  • Thank God I’m a Country Boy
  • Calypso

Annie’s Song

It is this song that is Denver’s legacy; it was his second song to reach the top of the American Charts and the one which reached Number One in Great Britain. In the UK it was the only one of Denver’s singles to make any real impact.

Annie’s Song was written in 1974 in ten-and-a-half minutes on a ski lift to the top of Bell Mountain. Denver wrote it as a tribute to his then-wife Annie (nee Martell). He had just completed an exhilarating run and the beauty of his surroundings made him think of his first wife and the love he had for her.

It became a standard wedding song and a romantic expression of love for many couples as Annie’s name is never actually mentioned in the lyrics. It is as popular today as it was when it was written more than 40 years ago.

Away from his music Denver was a humanitarian and passionately interested in space travel. He witnessed the first manned space flight on Apollo/Soyuz first hand and he took and passed NASA’s physical examination to see if he was mentally and physically fit for space travel.

He was one of the leading candidates to be the first civilian to go on a space flight and he planned to write a song whilst he was traveling in space. But fate intervened and he was unable to go on the ill-fated flight that tragically exploded on take-off in 1986.

The Fatal Flight

Denver was an experienced pilot and at the time of his crash, he was renting a house in Monterey. He only bought the Long-Eze two-seater fiberglass plane the day before the flight. The plane had been built from a kit some years before and he had already flown it from Santa Maria to Monterey. He got permission from Monterey Airport to take the plane on a test flight along the coast and he was practicing touch and go landings, swooping down to the runway and pulling the plane back up.

The 53-year-old singer was flying approximately 150 feet from the land and 500 feet above the sea when the plane dropped like a stone into the water and broke upon impact. Denver’s body was so badly mutilated all the rescuers could identify from the body was that it was male. The cause of the crash was allegedly lack of fuel, for some reason Denver had not filled up the plane before the flight.

The remains of his body were cremated and his ashes were taken to the place he sang about in so many of his songs, Aspen in Colorado, his grandmother’s Gibson guitar was cremated with him. There is now a Memorial Park at the site and a gravestone where fans can visit and pay tribute to the star.

When his death was announced Roy Romer, the Governor of Colorado ordered all state flags should be lowered to half-mast in his honor.