Tag Archives: Melodic Metal

What Musicians Can Learn From UFC Fighter Chael Sonnen


Sometimes it amazes me some of the stuff I read on social media. Musicians complaining about other musicians “being posers” on Facebook or wherever trying to act bigger than they are or cooler than other bands. Well #1 that is their job and #2 just because someone takes it that way doesn’t mean that is what they are doing. They are simply trying to build excitement with their fans and followers.

 

Musicians are many times so eager to tear each other down, especially other musicians that seem to be having more success then they are and they don’t understand why or think their band is better and the world just isn’t fair. Of course the music business has very little to do with talent and everything to do with a budget, work ethic and marketability. If talent was the key than most bands have no shot at ever making it and jazz, fusion, classical and opera would reign supreme as that is where most of the worlds best talent truly lies.

 

What musicians have to learn is the art of promoting themselves and some people really struggle with this. They might feel funny about tooting their own horn but unless you have a major PR budget no one is going to do it with out getting paid. Musicians need to quit expecting someone to just help them out on a spec deal as there is no real money in this business anymore for people to work on the “hopes” of a band making it. Learning the art of self-promotion is extremely vital to making it and developing a new audience, gaining advantageous spots on tours etc. This is where they could learn from the UFC fighters.

 

Chael Sonnen was a middle of the road UFC fighter. He was always a very good wrestler but he wasn’t winning the big ones and certainly not all his fights. He was a quite, respectful fighter and never caused any controversy then suddenly there was a transformation. Chael came back after some time off and was a completely different media presence. All the sudden he was a smack talker. He learned the art of self-promotion and has talked himself into title fights he didn’t deserve necessarily. Now I am not taking anything away from his talent, but looking at rankings and records, he probably normally wouldn’t have been the one picked for these fights.

 

However, Chael learned to promote himself in the media to such an extent he became a major Pay-Per-View sell. Chael also never backs down from a fight; he doesn’t care what anyone else says about him, what the other fighter’s think of him or anything except for accomplishing his career goals. Now some people have said that behind the scene Chael is nothing like his smack-talking persona, he is a nice guy and an extremely hard worker, not the hard worker part. Chael has proven himself to be ready to go to his promoter the UFC by always being prepared not only being in shape to fight at a moments notice but that he will kick the shit out of the media schedule. He is a marketing machine and that is exactly what promoters want and look for. Their job is to sell tickets and the talent needs to understand that and me a major presence in making that happen. It keeps Chael employed and bumps up his paycheck quite dramatically.

 

You see, musicians need to quit worrying about what their local musicians buddies say and think. It’s not their goal or dream, it’s yours. It’s not their image; it’s yours to worry about. Who the hell cares what band ABC says about you online or behind your back. This business is nothing but shit talkers talking behind your back. It is your job to put out the very best show, product every night and to somehow get people to notice you, talk about you and most important bring more people to your next gig.

 

Whether or not you chose to be as controversial as Chael Sonnen is not my point, my point is Chael learned what he needed to do to separate himself from all the other UFC fighters looking for their shot beyond his fight skill which was already considerable. Chael talked himself into positions he probably shouldn’t have been able to be in because he created those spots by his selfless self-promotion. Chael has now secured himself a very good future outside of fighting as he now also a very popular TV host due to his self-promotion efforts. This is every band or musicians job period, to separate your band from the mass of white noise from the millions of others bands vying for a spot in the limelight.

 

Let me warn you though, do not do this if you can’t back up your talk. If your band isn’t as good as you say or your live show is just average, don’t even bother. Work your product to be the best, most creative and original thing your fan base will experience and then go out and self-promote the hell out of yourself. Don’t worry about anyone else but you and your goals.

 

Pull up your bootstraps, dig deep in the trenches and become a self-promotion powerhouse. You owe yourself that much in order to achieve your dream. Anything else is a waste of time.

 

Good Luck!

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“Rubicon Cross” EP Review


R U Angry

I get the opportunity to listen to all kinds of new music, and to be honest when it comes to rock/metal over the last few years I am usually very disappointed. It seems that the art of good songwriting and melodic lines have completely gone out the window. I rarely even get to hear good playing, let alone amazing guitar solos or great vocal harmonies. So when CJ Snare, the lead singer of the Grammy award-winning rock band “Firehouse” asked me to listen to his new four song self-titled EP “Rubicon Cross” that he cowrote with “Furyon” guitarist Chris Green, I was very excited. CJ has proven in the past he knows how to write a hit song and has always excelled in the vocal department, so I had fairly high expectations when I first decided to listen to and review this EP.

I have had CJ on my radio show “Live From Music City” a number of times, he even guest hosted with me for its one year anniversary, so I wanted to make sure I was giving this a fair listen and review and not letting my personal feelings cloud my judgment. Therefore, I have taken my time and listened to this EP many, many times. With that being said, please know, I have written this review from as honest and straightforward a point of view as I can with no bias whatsoever.

The first song, “Moving On” starts with an acoustic guitar instrumental and CJ’s vocal lines setting the tone or so we think until about 50 seconds into the song when it picks up into an energetic rock song with a great guitar riff. This song does what so many of them don’t anymore; it uses dynamics very successfully and adds so much more depth and dimension to the feel and mood of the song. Chris Green’s use of space, acoustic playing remind you that there is so much more you can do with a guitar than is being done with most rock music today. The guitar tone here is perfect. It is heavy with plenty of “aunch” but also crystal clear. You can hear everything perfectly which speaks highly of Chris’s ear and the production of this song. CJ has written another lyrically solid song with a good hook and his ability to create great vocal melodies to keep the listener tuned in doesn’t fail here. The guitar solo never strays from its purpose of telling a story within a story. Chris uses octaves and melodic runs very effectively without taking away from the song or feel. Nothing about this song feels out-of-place and the overall arrangement is very strong. “Moving On” sets the tone for the rest of the EP very effectively and is a very strong effort for CJ and Chris.

Song number two, “Next Worst Enemy” starts off strong right out the gate. A heavy, fun guitar riff with a different guitar tone, and to be honest Chris’ use of varying the use of rhythmic patterns and riffs keeps the song fresh at all times. This song has “hit” written all over it, as the hook is strong! CJ brings a great growl to the song but yet keeps the vocal melodies in place and has really excelled here at bringing back the something that is missing in rock music today, fun, while not messing with the integrity of the song. It still rocks your face off and makes you want to pump your fist in the air along with it. Again Chris Green proves he belongs in the big leagues with his guitar solo. Another very melodic song within a song. He never overplays and yet shows that he has the chops to hang with anybody. That is a sign of a mature songwriter and guitar player. There is a lot to be said in that and kudos to Chris for doing exactly what the song needs and nothing else. “Next Worst Enemy” provides a great example in rhythmic syncopation, which just keeps the song punching through without ever plodding or getting lost or boring.

“R U Angry” is the third song on the EP. Starting off mellow but immediately bursting into a great rock riff then settling into a chord arpeggiation for the verse. Chris then picks it up in the pre-chorus with a faster arpeggiation before big chords, single lines and variations in the chorus. Another huge hook for the chorus with a big CJ scream sets the stage for another “I told you so” it’s all in the songwriting moment from CJ. Chris lets it all hang out in this solo. I truly wish that more guitar players would listen to Chris and learn what it means to write a great solo. Chris has brought back something sorely lacking in today’s rock music. Solos with a purpose, statement, melody and just enough flash to make you go wow! The songs are so good that sometimes you forget that they were written out of their experiences and the message shouldn’t be lost on prowess of the individuals and that is another area where CJ tops most vocalists. He keeps you engaged and emotionally tied to the songs so that you experience the meaning behind the lyrics.

“Shine” is the fourth and last song on the EP. It starts off as an acoustic ballad and harkens back to a time when songwriting was about saying something not how outrageous you can be to get attention. As good as CJ is at writing a hook, he never lets the message get lost for the sake of a hit. The song builds a bit in the second verse with addition of clean electric guitars, bass and drums. Chris plays a sweet melodic solo with the use of wah-wah pedal that thankfully sounds like someone who knows how to use it correctly. “Shine” is another solid effort from CJ and Chris that sits perfectly in their wheelhouse of good contemporary songwriting.

In summary, “Rubicon Cross” is a very good EP that should remind people of what good songwriting, talent, production and creativity should bring to the table. Every song works here, there are no filler songs taking up space. CJ and Chris have shown that they have what it takes to make great music that never goes out of style and also the chops to take their songwriting to a different level then most. That is what good song writing is, songs that paint a musical picture in one’s mind and that is exactly what “Rubicon Cross” pulls off.

You can purchase the EP here: http://ht.ly/5JTa9 

Note: At the time of this writing, The Lowry Agency has no affiliation with “Rubicon Cross”, CJ Snare, Chris Green or “Furyon.”