The News Release 1.7.03

Song of the week update: After four weeks on top, Grey Street has finally been superceded by When I’m Gone. Don’t know why it took me so long to pick up on this one… probably because since I got XM Radio, I don’t hear Top 40 songs constantly.

Note to James Marshall: If you hadn’t noticed, I comment on what I feel like commenting on or what looks interesting… regardless of whether you, Cody, or Modzelewski mentioned it or not… because, well… it’s my column. You talk about your New Year’s drinking binges. No one really cares, but hey… it’s YOUR column. See how that works?

Top Tours of 2002

Proving once again that the present day music industry is sicker than 53-year old New York City Alcoholic on New Year’s Day, the top grossing concerts of 2002 were both from groups or musicians who gained their popularity roughly 236 years ago.

Paul McCartney had the top grossing tour of the year with a $103.3 million on an average ticket price of $129.92 and a top price of $250 and bringing himself to the Number 4 all time North American gross charts behind the Rolling Stones($121 million in 1994), U2 ($109.7 million in 2001), and Pink Floyd ($103.5 million in 1994). Personally, I’m more impressed by the Stones and Floyd from 1994, considering it was 10 years ago.

Speaking of the Stones, they were the Number 2 earners of the year with $87.9 million on an average ticket price of $119.20 and a top price of $350.

These prices also do not include money made by T-shirts, most of which can run upward of $30.

Rounding out the top five:

3. Cher: total sales of $73.6 million on an average price of $71.89 with a maximum of $80… which really doesn’t make sense, but I’m going from the sheet.

4. Billy Joel and Elton John: $65.5 million on an average price of $107.88 and a max of $175.

5. The Dave Matthews Band: $60.1 million on an average price of $39.84. However, Dave and the Gang was the most popular in terms of tickets sold, with more than 1.5 million paying fans to see their 77 shows.

Personally, I find the Dave Matthews statistic the best. He made damn near as much as the rest of them charging a price I would actually pay. This doesn’t even factor in the fact that he sells out ampitheaters where another few THOUSAND people sneak in or listen from outside the gates. Of course, I’m assuming most other Outside venues are like Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where there’s a giant park surrounding the venue.

You know, I personally can’t stand the Dave Matthews Band and much of their music… primarily because their fans piss me off to know end. But, I do have the utmost respect for the guy’s talent and the way he approaches the music industry. And, every once in a while, he sneaks a song past my defense that I absolutely love, like Crush, Grey Street, and The Stone.

If the Led Zepplin reunion tour comes to fruition, though… you can expect most of these top grosses to be blown out of the friggin water.

Credit: Yahoo! Music

Top Albums of 2002

A year that saw overall CD sales fall 9% (obviously the fault of Internet filesharing systems), turned out to be a huge year for Rap and Country artists. Eminem had two of the year’s top five albums with The Eminem Show coming on top with 7.6 million copies sold, while Music From 8 Mile came in at number 5 with 3.5 million.

Three-fifths of the year’s Number 1 rankings on the pop album charts fell into either the rap or the country genre, with the country music genre actually posting a 12% increase (the only genre to increase) in sales. This is not surprising, seeing as country is slowly becoming cool to like. Country is no longer dominated by guys with huge beards and cowboy hats, but instead is starting to become dominated by super hot women. They also have a television outlet or three in CMT and the like.

Throughout the whole industry, total album sales fell 8.7% to 650 million units sold. The major labels have blamed (say it with me now) online piracy, but did concede that the sluggish economy MIGHT have a LITTLE something to do with it. You know, considering people are out of work and don’t want to drop $20 friggin dollars on a CD with maybe three good songs. Personally, I bought 1 CD in the last six months… that being Three Doors Down’s Away From The Sun. You know why? Because it actually is about 80% good songs.

At some point, someone at Universal or Sony is going to have to realize that filesharing is never, EVER going away. They are NEVER going to be able to shut down all the sites, and eventually the only option they’re going to be left with is to sue individual consumers… which will be a PR nightmare. Metallica still hasn’t washed their hands of the Napster ordeal… and when a multi-BILLION dollar organization starts taking on colleges and college kids… it’s not going to be pretty. REGARDLESS of who may be right in the matter and what the law says.

The Sand Brothas

Hip Hop music is starting to become the music of the Israeli youth trying to confer a message. In a country beset by fear (hey, I’d never leave the house if I had to wonder if Akbar sitting next to me on the bus had 25 pounds of dynamite and an itchy button finger), the

Gad Gidor, artist and manager of Israel’s Helicon Records said: Hip hop used to be too out there, too extreme, too non-conformist for the Israeli public. Nowadays, it is like the rock and roll of Israel because (hip hop performers) dare to speak about things commercial artists don’t. They are not using it to raise the flag. Established artists are afraid of doing that because the country is too divided and they are bound to lose some audience if they are too clear about their opinions

Nothing wrong with using music to convey a message. Just ask John Lennon… well, Yoko anyway. Music can get a point across, whether it’s one people care to hear or not. How many hardcore Christians have been caught humming Imagine to themselves over the years? Well, I have no idea, but probably some. You get the idea and the word out… and people listen.

There is also a surge in popularity of older pop songs, from 10-20 years ago, which are reminding the people there of a better time. The top of these songs being Our Path is not Easy, which has become an unofficial anthem for the youth of the nation.

I’m not going to pretend I understand Israel or the problems facing their country, but it’s great that there’s someone over there trying to preach for peace. May God help them.

Those Angry Rockers

With the lack of fun Billy Milano and Serj Tankian soundbites, GWAR and Slipknot has stepped to the plate. Now, it’s time for the Clown Drummer to get in on the action. He had this to say about the success of Stone Sour and the Murderdolls (Side Projects featuring three of the nine members of Slipknot).

Joey and Corey and Jim have found another extension of themselves, okay, and I want to clear it up. Corey is a genius. He writes all the time, all day long.

Yeah… Wait and Bleed took a real poet. It also takes a writing mastermind to run around on stage and cut himself open.

I got notebooks that he’s just left laying around, full of conceptual pieces. Some belong to Slipknot, some belong to Corey Taylor.

Ummmm, if Corey Taylor wrote them, Corey Taylor owns them. These notebooks will be locked up in a legal battle in a few years.

There’s things he won’t even bring to Slipknot, because it’s not the ‘KNOT. And no one knows that better than Corey. Think about what he did, man. I mean he takes his mask off you know how hard that was?

Yeah, real tough considering it was likely the plan (or his plan) all along. I’m sure his big music dream was to jump around on stage in a mask until he was 60.

And he did it, and he’s succeeding. And I say, good for him, because that’s what Slipknot stands for. Recently, I said we’re the biggest punk band in the world. I didn’t mean like we’re a punk band, [but] I mean we live the punk feeling. We’re the biggest metal band in the world, and I got three dudes trouncing around the world without masks, succeeding, okay? That’s exactly what Slipknot is.

Now this was on the heels of Corey Taylor’s announcement that Slipknot only has one more album in them (ie: one more on their deal with Roadrunner before he ditches out on them for Stone Sour). He mentioned that he refuses to keep the band past their prime. They’ve already put out the two best albums ever, and they’ll do one more and then go down in history as the best metal band of all time. He “refuses to have them live past their relevance, like GWAR… because Taylor would not let that happen to a band he bled, almost went blind for, and nearly lost his voice for.” Of course GWAR had a response.

Every time I read anything you say it is some piss-assed sulky BULLSHIT about how somebody had a fake laminate or how hot your overalls are or how you almost went blind over your band, didn’t talk to each other for years or whatever. WAAAAAHHH! Grow up you big baby! We don’t care about your rock ‘n’ roll soap opera, and your self-indulgent hissy-fits dilute and distract from the alleged potency of ‘the ‘KNOT’.

This is true. It’s kinda hard to have a band that are supposed to be “sick freaks” when the lead singer takes his mask off and whines at every opportunity. Not that I like GWAR, but they did kinda take the character metal band to a new level.

… I doubt someone who has created ‘two of the best albums of all time’. I guess you are also the guy who decides who makes the best cheesesteaks or serves the ‘greatest slice in town’. My point is that self-annointed praise is bullshit!

This is true… this is like me saying I have the best column on 411music. Even though it’s TRUE.

Cultural events have relevance far longer than their actual occurrence, which means that even your crummy band will have relevance long after you break up, which will hopefully be soon […] Long after ‘the KNOT’ has been reduced to a series of protracted legal battles, GWAR will remain an indelible blot on the fabric of our lives, and I will remain a dedicated, obscure, and in my own manner, relevant artist.

Also true. A band with 9 members, most of whom are, apparently, looking for the first ticket to “Get Me the Fuck Outs-ville” are bound to end-up in a lengthy court battle which will ensure their Slipknot royalties will all belong to lawyers. GWAR, on the other hand, know their place in the music industry and are very happy with it.

But, of course, it can’t end there. Since Slipknot’s and GWAR’s audience is about the same, fans started slamming Taylor for slamming GWAR. Taylor backpedalled on Slipknot’s message board telling his fans:

For your information, I LOVE GWAR,” Taylor wrote on an unofficial SLIPKNOT message board in response to several fans who were deriding him for disrespecting GWAR. “I don’t know how old you are, but I’ve been into GWAR since I was 16 years old. I was not talking shit on GWAR, I was pointing out the fact that they have not been prominent in the music scene for a long time. Sure, they tour, but when’s the last time you heard about one of their albums being released? You know why? Because for the most part, people stopped caring about their music and focused on the circus

Yes, because GWAR knows where their bread is buttered. I don’t even LIKE GWAR but I’ve heard about enough of their concerts that I want to go see them. A buddy of mine still has a white hat that was made yellow by GWAR Dinosaur Semen. THAT, my friends, is a show.

Speaking of past their relevance…

Iron Maiden and Whitesnake have gone into the studio for new albums. Stay tuned to 411 for AS MUCH INFO AS YOU CAN HANDLE ON THESE HOT STORIES.

Also, Gravity Kills has officially split up, according to the group’s website. The official statement from the band says:

Your assumptions are true. GRAVITY KILLS are no longer together and will not be producing music together under the name GRAVITY KILLS. Each of the band members has moved on to other endeavors. The reasons for this are various and, unfortunately for legal reasons cannot be mentioned here. The band as always, appreciates all the support throughout the years and considers their fans to be the best fans in the world. Those band members still associated with the music industry hope to see you soon with their new projects

I may have missed a couple of rules, but when did one-hit wonders start announcing their break-ups? Aren’t they just supposed fade away with no one noticing? In fact, I read the post and I probably still won’t notice.

In all fairness, I liked the first GK album, and about five of the songs on there. I didn’t know they did anything after that.

So High He couldn’t Sing

Scott Stapp was recently so high at a concert that he could barely sing or remember the words to his songs. I find this personally hilarious considering how high and mighty Stapp acts and comes across in his interviews.

I mean, I’m into drinking and partying as much as the next guy… but I saw the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls so drunk he could barely walk (and I’m not making this up, so no one can be sued, nyah)… and goddam it, once he was helped up to the stage, he played one hell of a show. And HE actually has to play guitar while singing. Of course, who can blame him… college full of willing girls and a bunch of college students feeding you drinks… I’d be f*cked up and in prison.

The Moral of the Story: You’re a rock star… get as f*cked up as you want… but dammit at least be able to play your songs.

Of course, Marshall said it best yesterday ‘HAHA, YOU PAID YOUR MONEY AND YOU’RE NOT GETTING IT BACK!!! WITH ASS CRACKS WIDE OPEN!!’

Other Tours Announced

Nickleback announced an upcoming tour with Oleander. Isn’t it about time Oleander came out with a new song or went away?

Saliva is also going to be doing some dates through the US before heading over to Europe. It’s funny to see a bar you frequent listed as a venue for a “big tour.” Especially because Northern Lights is barely a venue. Regardless, you can see the dates for both upcoming tours here.

Puddle of Mudd

Puddle of Mudd is currently working on a new album with Creed’s producer John Kurzweg. They promise it to be “rawer” and “edgier.” I wonder if that means the lead singer will try to sound more or less like Kurt Cobain.

In Other Reading…

Matt R Jones has the first First Listen since November. He checks in with “Residual Presence” by The Watchers. The Watchers is the new project of Fear Factory Burton Bell. The song sounds like something I would like, so give it a read and a download. If you only like pop-crap, expand your goddam horizons. He also gives a review of Doro – Fight.

Aaron Cameron hates Busta’s New Album, while Jason Jako digs The New Mudvayne.

Claire finally checks in with a HUGE essay on why she hates Avril Levine. I’ll sum it up for you. Claire loves the skateboarding image, Avril is whoring the skater image to sell albums, and that doesn’t sit right with Miss Boyle. Even though, she admits herself that the image is controlled by the record industry… which I assume she knows because she’s a recording bigwig. In fairness, all the writing credits in Avril’s album are to her… so if someone else is writing her songs, they’re giving the writing credits away, which I assume is something that doesn’t ususally happen. However, I give full credit to the record companies for trying something new… even if it’s a small variation on a theme. I’ll also give them credit for putting a singer out there that young women’s parents might not cringe in horror to buy an album for.

James Marshall writes a very, VERY good essay on death at concerts. There’s one thing for all of you to remember, and I’ve done it myself. If you find yourself on the ground at a concert, do NOT expect help. Do WHATEVER you have to do to get up, even if it means tripping someone else, you can always help them once you’re safe. Get to your stomach and get up, because people don’t see you and won’t help you. If YOU see someone on the ground, get them up. The worst experience of my life was ending up on my back at an Ozzfest concert, and thinking, just for a second as four people landed on top of me that the last thing I was going to hear was Machinehead singing Davidian. Throw them, roll over, and get the f*ck up. If you’re not strong enough to throw people off you, think twice before getting in the thick of things.

Rhett Walker Eulogizes Layne Staley. It’d be nice if some other music outlets would concede he contributed more to music than Lisa f’n Lopes, who is famous for burning down a house. MTV decided Lopes was worth covering, Layne was not… and it’s online piracy that’s hurting album sales.

Cody’s got a list of his top favorite 100 cartoons… most of which I’ve never even heard about. Check out those and his Good, Bad, and Sad. Great Story in there about Benzino talking about Eminem trying to steal rap from the black community… check it out.

Iago has a breakdown of hip-hop vs rock. The reason hip-hop gets over and quoted “Quadumvirate” doesn’t is simple: MTV. MTV markets hip hop, MTV adverstises hip-hop, MTV shoves hip-hop down our throats. The White Stripes, pretty much, suck and they’re sold as “the next big thing.” Yet, you get a good Rock Band like 3 Door Down, Lifehouse, and yes even Dave Matthews and they barely form a blip on the radar. Dave Matthews had 1.5 MILLION people come see his concerts last year, but have you EVER seen him on TRL? MTV’s corporate board decides what music is going to be huge. Once they do, they market it as cool, and then it gets over with the high school kids. This is another reason I have tremendous respect for Dave Matthews and, even Phish to an extent, because they got over entirely on their own with good (well, good is arguable with Phish) music and hard work. For the same reason hair metal was big in the 80s and Grunge was big in the Early 90s… MTV sold it to kids and sold it in droves.

In Conclusion

Fuck MTV, Long Live Dave Matthews, and go out and buy Alice in Chains Unplugged for f*ck’s sake. Diversify.

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