Tag Archives: Rock

Originality… What Does Elvira Have To Do With It.


Elvira

When you look back at people who have made a very successful career at entertainment and are still going strong decades after launching it’s hard to think of many still around especially one that is still a marketing dream come true. This is where Elvira (aka) Cassandra Peterson excels. Elvira was launched in 1981 by Cassandra and to this day is one of the most iconic characters in entertainment. She has created a brand that encompasses 400+ product licenses, the most sold Halloween costume ever, music CD’s, books, pinball machines, guitars and the list goes on. Finding truly iconic characters these days is hard work. Most are known for their personal problems not their originality. Tell me the last time you heard anything negative about Elvira? Her success is due to her originality, extremely well defined character and marketing.

Why do I bring this up? Because it could be you. You could be the next Elvira, Kiss, Alice Cooper, or whomever you can think of that are still around 30+ years later even after their hay day. Sometimes these things happen by accident. Cassandra probably wasn’t thinking that Elvira would turn into this iconic character, but she did and Cassandra took full advantage of it. Now I have never interviewed Cassandra. I did know her sister back in Colorado Springs however. She hung out a bar called “The Gardens” that I worked back in the early 90’s. I remember talking with her. How proud she was of Cassandra and all she had accomplished. Cassandra hit a gold mine with her character, probably had a decent team behind her to capitalize on her character and today Elvira is as big as ever and her cult legacy lives on. She is all over Facebook, Pinterest and anything Halloween.

Sometimes as entertainers we take ourselves to seriously. I read on Facebook the other day a band posting about how they were “real” and they didn’t care about image etc… So just shoot yourself in the foot why don’t you. This is a lame excuse for people to not put in the work for thinking outside the box, finding something original and running with it. You can do this and still maintain your sense of you or who you are without sacrficing your “realness,” whatever the hell that means.

Everyday people say, “if people would just get behind me, invest in me then I would prove that I am worth it.” So what exactly are they getting behind? What are they selling? Are you sellable the way you are now? Why would anyone want to invest in your brand if you don’t really have one? What is going to make you stand out from the millions of other entertainers looking to get noticed? We are looking for stars, not our next door neighbors.

Now I am not saying you have to go get “gothed” up to be noticed. I am saying that you need to be original, marketable and dedicated to working you butt off. If you want longevity in this industry, which from what you all say about how you wish you could do it full time and that it’s all you want to do, then you need to be willing to put in some development, take some risks and forget what every other lame ass next to you is saying because they will only tear you down especially once you start having success.

Be bold, be brave, be energetic and works twice as hard as you think you need to. You see, you need to be ready to move on to the big time like Cassandra was. Elvira was born out of a need for a character for a classic horror “B” movie TV show that was being brought back to life. Cassandra had one character already and merged it with the “Elvira” concept to fill the TV show need. Once the opportunity knocks, you need to able to act on it. Cassandra did and look what happened. This couldn’t have happened without Cassandra’s creativity to come up with the original character. Once you get there, it only get’s harder and busier. You think you are busy now? Just wait…. Take the time to “develop” yourself into something the public will purchase. Don’t you think Cassandra thought it was worth it?

Good luck!

Find out more about Elvira here: www.elvira.com

Elvira (@TheRealElvira)
@lowryagency Great post! XX

 

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Work Ethic…. An Example


SammyCortino

 

Every once in a while I like to recognize at least what I consider someone who is doing everything they can to achieve their dream. Someone who I see constantly striving to be the best they can be and pushing new limits for themselves. This time I am recognizing illusionist Sammy Cortino. Now to be fair, this is only about work ethic. I am not talking about his show as I haven’t seen it other than a few video clips and the one illusion Sammy did for a show of mine last year. This is purely based on how hard I have watched Sammy work over the last four years.

I found out about Sammy Cortino on twitter four years ago and we became social media friends. Since then, Sammy has moved to Nashville, TN and is carving out his niche as a master illusionist around the country. Rarely have I seen someone give so much of themselves to their dream and try so many things to see what worked and what didn’t. Most just stay the same, never trying anything new, not listening to advice and wonder why over the last few years nothing gets any better. It becomes everyone’s fault but their own and the reality it is simply the world didn’t want to buy what you had to offer, at least not in the way it was presented by you. Sammy is becoming so good at learning to change things up and re-branding his image when necessary. He sinks his money back into his career, most importantly in the things he actually needs, not necessarily wants. For those entertainers that complain about travel and how much they have to take, try being an illusionist. Set up and tear down time is much longer and usually 1 – 3 people doing it not 4 – 5 like in a band.

Sammy tries to fusion things that have rarely been done before or are original, another trait lost on many. Keeping a show fresh and something you can sell over and over again to the appropriate talent buyers or promoters is incredibly important and Sammy seems to understand this. This isn’t to say Sammy has figured it all out or is always gigging. He hasn’t and he isn’t, but he is working harder than just about anyone I have ever worked with by far. Sammy is always coming up with new photography, videos, illusions and tons of other content to try and keep himself fresh in the worlds mind. Sammy also understand that image is everything. You can decry it all you like, but it’s the truth. It’s the first thing people see and it determines whether or not they will click anything to check you out.

Whatever you may think of Sammy Cortino’s show or talent is up to you, but what you should take away from this is no matter how talented you are, if you are not working as hard as someone like Sammy is, they will take your spot on the bill or the stage just based on their work ethic alone.

Well done Sammy Cortino. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and success in what ever way you deem it.

Note: The Lowry Agency is in no way affiliated with Sammy Cortino.


Finding the Courage…


For anyone trying to make it in the entertainment business or professional sports, you are constantly under barrage from people telling you that you can’t do it. You are aren’t good enough, you don’t have what it takes or there is no money in it so go get a real job (like there is any security in that anymore anyway). You deal people who let you down, who don’t do anything at all after the big long speech of how good they are, how hard they work or what they can do for you.

You have haters and trolls on the internet, other people in your genre constantly tearing you doing or taking jabs at you. It get’s lonely, harder and often times you feel like giving up. Well you can’t. No matter what anyone says or does to you, only you can keep pushing, proving them wrong and only you know who you really are. Anyone who would tear you down is the insecure one, the one who if full of it, the jealous one who really has no idea what they are doing. You can’t let them affect you or stop you.

No matter what life throws at you, you have to keep pushing on with your dream. In today’s entertainment scene you have more control than ever and more often than not, that means you are doing it on your own because now the money is gone. You can’t afford to pay for professional help and you are facing this wave of overwhelming obstacles and people who have no life so they try and tear you down.

So let me offer this to you for some inspiration. No matter what you are facing in life, business or if you are someone who is trying to help someone you care about get through something, do it with the strength and focus that Garrett shows in this video. If he can over come what he is going through, we can over come what we are going through.

 

I wish you all the best and the strength to get through it.

Good luck!

 


White Noise… How To Seperate Yourself From It.


The latest entry in my vBlog featuring my thoughts on separating yourself from the white noise we create on social media to our friends and family. Please share and comment!

 

 


Stepping Over the Process…. is it Realistic?


First let me just say this blog is in response to what keeps coming across my email or phone conversations. This isn’t an attempt to come down on artists but an attempt at maybe setting some realistic expectations. I have been receiving a lot of phone calls from artists either out of frustration with other band members or from artists that think they can just step over the process of touring and building/rebuilding a fan base. I guess anything is possible but it’s not likely to happen even if you have had success in the past. This is not the same industry many of us grew up with and we can’t keep assuming that because 20 years ago the artists had a hit or toured the world with so and so band that people have any interest in us or care about our music at all. Artists call with no budget, no new music, no website or one that has been “in development” for years expecting that they can just go on the road and make thousands per show because 20 or more years ago they had a minor hit or two. It’s not going to happen. Current artists with hits on the radio are making $2,000 guarantees a lot of times and yet artists that haven’t had a hit since 1992 that want $8,000 or more a show. You better be a legacy act with huge hits from the past that are still played on the radio to demand that kind of money or more. I know how expensive touring is, but the money isn’t there for touring with artists with no active history or fan base that will support the necessary tour numbers for there to actually be a profit. This is when a band or artist has to suck it up and either rebuild for little money, try something completely different or maybe decide this isn’t for them anymore and do something in music that doesn’t require touring for small dollars.

For example, the first thing I am asked by anyone in a position of helping is “What do they have going on?” Many times the answer is nothing (note that when artists come to us or anyone else for help they have this notion that 3 months is an expected amount of time to make things happen), they have no new music, no tour dates, outdated photos and websites. How do you expect anyone to help you if this is your state of business and you don’t take the time to get it right before approaching anyone? The second thing is “Do they have a budget?” The answer is almost always no and people understand if times have been rough on the career but it’s amazing how many artists are not willing to put money into their own career but expect others to. If the artist doesn’t  have a budget then almost no one is willing to help and people can’t giving away their services for free. Video EPK’s cost money, photography costs money, etc… but artists are always hoping people will help them for free and then expect that things happen in a short time period. For the person that is connected like Irving Azoff and has his resources this is possible, for the rest of the “real” music world it probably isn’t. Music is a very speculative business to begin with and no one is looking to lose money on an artist no matter how much success he or she may have had in the past. As much as people love some of these artists, he or she needs to get paid as well and they can’t work for free or spend time with unrealistic artists that can’t or won’t rebuild career realistically if there is no interest in them at all.

Just because an artist may have had success in the past doesn’t mean they get a free pass of touring the bar circuit again and starting over. Yes that means rebuilding your fan base and getting paid very little most of the time. If you can’t do that then maybe playing isn’t for you anymore. I know we all have bills to pay but money is in short supply and investors want a return on investment. They don’t want to support an artist that hasn’t been on tour in 10 or more years and won’t draw 150+ people to a show. You as an artist are in the position you are in because you let yourself get there. You chose to not tour, you chose to not listen to your team or possibly choosing the wrong team. It could be a lot of different reasons for your situation and many of those may not be your fault, but it’s still your job to be realistic and make things happen with today’s current landscape, not what was possible 20 years ago when people were throwing money around like it was water.

Don’t pigeonhole yourself with unrealistic expectations. For example, if you think a major label is going to sign you, fund your tour and you’re a prog rock band, think again. No label is going to fund that tour unless you already have a huge fan base and more than likely you will just get shelved as prog rock probably isn’t there thing at this label. Most prog rock bands aren’t huge and most likely never will be. If you get a label interested in your music, at least entertain the idea and not shoot it down because you think a major is going to offer you something when you won’t even play shows because you don’t make any money on them. Do you know why you don’t make any money? Because you have absolutely NO FAN BASE at all. Who is going to fund a tour for a band with no fan base these days? Please tell me so I can call them up.

There are no shortcuts normally in this business. Take Mike Portnoy for example. One of the most popular and talented drummers in the world, who has a large fan base from his history as a musician and still he and his current project “Adrenaline Mob” are playing clubs to a couple hundred people a show. He knows he has to build this band no matter who he is and he is willing to put his money and time into it. Even someone as relevant as Mike has to work it the hard way sometimes.

If you are a musician reading this, please consider where you are at in your career. If you are in a band but won’t tour because your “cover gig” is paying more money, than back out of the band and let the band find someone hungry enough to make it happen. If you are an artist with a past but currently not where you were a long time ago, then ask yourself “how bad do I want this?” If you won’t play for smaller guarantees then you need to book yourself and stop making people’s lives difficult who are trying to help your career because you can’t be bothered with playing for smaller amounts of money. You are only as big as your last gig or chart success in the current times, not 20 years ago.

There is a process almost everyone has to go through. You are more than likely going to have to go through it as well. If you can’t or won’t, get out of the way for those that will and let your band move on with people who want it bad enough to put up with the crap of the road and bar tours.

Good luck!


CD Review – “Transitions” by Steve Lukather


CD Review – “Transition” by Steve Lukather

transition

For many of you, TOTO is a household name; for those of you born after 1985, maybe not. There is no denying TOTO is still a huge act internationally and world renown guitar player Steve Lukather is a huge part of their sound – from songwriting, singing, and, of course his legendary guitar playing. Steve is one of the most recorded guitar players in history – playing with the likes of Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Larry Carlton, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Eric Clapton and George Benson to name a few. A total of 602 album credits to date which by anyone’s standards is amazing.

“Transition” produced by Steve and CJ Vanston is Steve’s 6th solo record to date, not including a couple that are more Steve and friends releases. Having all these CD’s personally and being a huge fan, I was really looking forward to the release of “Transition” and let me tell you it doesn’t disappoint. Steve lets it all hang out on here and deals with some tough subjects such as all the criticism that artists (himself included) receive on a daily basis now that anyone can post anything on the internet.

The CD features an all-star cast of musicians such as Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chicken Foot), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Tal Wilkenfield, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Nathan East, Leland Sklar, Greg Bissonette and Lenny Castro. The CD’s hot spots for me are “Judgment Day” and “Creep Motel.”

The first track is “Judgment Day” and the bright point in my opinion. This song is a four on the floor rock song with a blistering solo. It has it’s laid back moments of Steve finger pickings a simple rhythm, but very melodic lines are inserted throughout with a nice bridge/pre-chorus build ups to add weight to the chorus. The song is a message to all the Internet haters out there so take head all you-who-love-to-comment-online about your opinions of other peoples work.

The second track “Creep Motel” deals with the same issues and to me has a slight hint of a Steely Dan vibe in spots. This is a solid rock song with another amazing solo by Luke. As the title would indicate, it has a slinky feel with huge background vocals.

Steve has an uncanny ability to really evoke different moods with his music and does so again here well. Luke’s voice and playing are in fine form and show no signs of slowing down. His sense of melody and playing are something all musicians can learn from. He is definitely someone that knows when to play and when not to which is more important.

The song “Transition” is a great instrumental song written in 7/4 time that adds vocals late into the song. “Right The Wrong” and “Last Man Standing” all have great hooks and are definitely radio capable. All in all, this is a solid CD with not one filler song in its ranks. Well written, well produced with a great energy, and a more organic sound from the Steve Lukather.  Songwriting is at the forefront of this CD, which as we all know, is something very lacking in today’s music scene.

I give this 5 out 5 stars.

You can purchase “Transition” here – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/transition/id584478886

View the EPK Video for Transition here. Transition EPK

Social media sites for Steve Lukather:

www.stevelukather.net

www.twitter.com/stevelukather

https://www.facebook.com/SteveLukather

http://www.youtube.com/stevelukathertube


For the Fans… How You Can Best Help on Social Media


I know, I know… There are a million bands, authors, actors, small businesses asking for you to spread the word about them, “like” them, vote for them and so on and on. Sometimes we feel like we have to because we don’t want to create trouble because we are friends with so many local talents and if like one but not the other then the drama starts and some times we don’t support at all because we don’t want the drama or we don’t have the time or something similar. With this blog I am not asking you to do anything but support your favorites and only your favorites.  It is not your responsibility or obligation to support anyone except those you chose and no one should get mad at you if you don’t support things you chose not to for any reason at all.

In order for your favorite artist (insert entertainment medium here) to spread the word and create the “buzz,” they need people spreading the word about them as much as possible. Social media is the easiest and cheapest way to do that. So this blog is about that and how you as a fan, friend or family member can do this to maximize their efforts and actually yours as well.

It is very important to the success of any type of entertainer be it musicians, authors, bloggers, actors etc… that their content reach the masses. Since many of you already click like on so much of their stuff would it really take that much extra time to share it? Comment on it on the actual page and not just on Facebook although that does help. All these sites rates posts popularity by how much attention it gets and for it to reach the masses, it needs your attention. So please read this and if you are able to help these people out, please do the extra little bit for your favorite artists etc…

Facebook – With Facebook all these artists should be using a fan page to track their metrics and not a personal page although many haven’t figured this out yet. Facebook recently made it harder for the Fan Pages to get attention by limiting the amount of people seeing posts so they could attract revenue dollars by having people with pages pay to advertise their posts to the audience that had already requested to see the posts by “liking” they page. I know ludicrous but it is Facebooks right to generate revenue so let’s just leave it at that for now. As a fan you need to go to the artists page, hover your mouse over the “like” button and select “show in news feed” to make sure you are getting the info they put out. When you do see the info, please “like” each post, share each post and comment on each post if you can. Remember that statistically only 7% of your audience sees your posts so you are not going to be annoying anyone with these posts and even if you do, so what. It’s your wall and you can choose to support what you wish with out fear of reprisal from others saying you post to much about something or someone. It’s not their business nor is it their wall.

In respect to this, if someone shares a post from a blog or other source, please if you can take the time and do the same on the original post, not just the Facebook one. There are share buttons for Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and loads of others. Please share this on your accounts and also comment on this page. It will help drive up the rankings for Google and on what ever other social media site it is on to further increase their exposure.

Twitter – Retweeting is the key here, if you have a twitter account please RT and share any content you can. Learn how to use #hashtags if you are posting on your own about your favorite artist and RTing something.

Pinterest – The latest social media spot. You can keyword on Pinterest to have your pins pop for people looking for things to find or discover such as #music, #movies, #authors etc… You can use any word to describe your pins and hopefully help people discover that artist you think is amazing. You boards also are coded to post in certain categories to which you chose when you create them.

Youtube – Obviously probably the most influential for music and movies so please again “like” the video, share them from the available links and comment on them. Youtube videos go viral from you emailing them to your friends. This especially happens from the teenagers and young adults. Don’t forget to help out with that. Maybe you can help create a viral campaign for your favorite artist.

Blogs – With people who blog, it is important to realize that like with WordPress, the more views, comments and star ratings a blog gets the more likely it is to be featured on the home page. This is a big deal for bloggers or artists using blogging sites for their main web pages. Please take the time to make sure you comment, rate with the star system, like and share from here as well. You can cut and paste your comment from Facebook to here to make it easier. It’s not that hard or time consuming and is a huge help to the author of the blog. Please make sure you also follow the blog. This way you can get all the updates to better help you spread the word and keep on top of the latest news.

Because of all the social media coming at you, the requests, the endless number of bands, singers, authors, writers, radio shows etc… asking everyone to do these things, it is important for you as the fan to really chose whom you want to support and help them stand out from the rest of the white noise out there on social media.

Everyone is trying to get noticed and draw attention to themselves, their show, their blog or whatever. That is fine. That is what they are supposed to do and there are many great ones out there, but you individually can’t do it for all of them. Chose your favorites and help make a difference for that artist. They need your support now more than ever as there is so much out there now, it is very hard to get people to notice you.

From the bottom of all of our hearts as entertainment people, THANK YOU for all that you do. None of it is worth it without you and no one could do it without you either. So again thank you for all of your past, present and future support from all of us.

Regards,

The Entertainment World.

P.S. A special shout out to Michelle Holland for being the embodiment of this message in her support of Richie Kotzen.