Written By Tony Housh (Seasons After)
I remember once (when I was a kid) spending the day at my grandmother’s house doing the things that grandkids do. I was sitting on the floor watching television, when somehow I stumbled upon my first music video. I was mesmerized by this guy, this superhero-ish person that was singing his ass off and playing guitar to a storyline that seemed to fit quite well. That was my first time really looking at someone as a “rock star.”
There is a strange fascination that we develop with artists as we connect to their craft. The artist on my grandmother’s television that day was Prince; the song was…“Purple Rain.” I had no idea what kind of impact that moment would have on me in the future.
My daily activities instantly went from playing with Lincoln Logs to walking around my front yard pretending that I was “that guy,” performing and singing my latest hit (with a carefully orchestrated storyline) for my fans. It was the only thing that I could get lost in for hours upon hours in my youth.
Writing and making music, dreaming of success, thinking of all the places that I would travel to…the possibilities were endless. My heart was set…I wanted to be a ROCK STAR!
Truth be told, I never really understood what being a rock star meant. In my early years, it meant the fast life…traveling the world, large tour buses, screaming fans, interviews, security, live performances, fast cars, lots of money, and of course, tons of girls! The only worry that I would ever have as a bona fide rock star would be to find the next wild moment around the corner. Yep, I was “that guy” in my early days.
I spent countless hours on the street handing out fliers and demos for my latest project. I was sure that once I had my music in the right hands, my future would be secured and my life as a rock star would be underway. The only problem was that I was completely wrong, and miseducated about the very business that I was basing my future on.
Like many others, I had allowed myself to be influenced by the glitz and glam of the rock star image. However, the days of the “right” person hearing your music, and deciding to invest large sums of money to make rock star dreams come true had come and gone. The industry had been forever changed by the digital revolution, but we didn’t realize just how drastically the change was at the time.
As local artists, we couldn’t feel the affects of free music downloads because we weren’t depending on album sales to keep us afloat. We just weren’t at that level, so it made no difference to us. Quite honestly, we were dying for someone to “steal” our music.
No longer were the labels waiting for the next golden voice or group to show itself. Due to the digital recording revolution, internet artists were beginning to develop on their own, and labels knew it.
The big money that labels were spending in the rock genre had become a thing of the past. The new “honey hole” was in hip-hop, watered down pop and country music. Sadly, the rock and metal genres have suffered tremendously, but that doesn’t mean that they are dead (as some like to say). It’s more accurate to say that they are in a period of revitalization and transition.
Nowadays, rock bands are becoming more than just performers. They are becoming producers of their own music. They are becoming their own promotional teams. They are running their own businesses and creating their own product. They are cutting loose from the chains that had bound them for so long. While this is a difficult process for artists, I believe that we are beginning to see a new (and more truthful) musical product as a result of this shift.
Gone are the days of millions of dollars being spent on rock artists, but it may be a blessing in disguise. Independent artists aren’t bound by chains of debt, with no chance to truly convey their intended message with their music. The watered down industry bullshit of the past is being washed away. It is being replaced by independent, hard-working, savvy people who are taking their art back from the greedy hands of persuasive money. A new revolution of independence and fire is burning from the embers of the digital melt down.
I am proud to be a part of Seasons After, a DIY band in the process of recording our second independent album. Like our previous release, Calamity, Scars & Memoirs, our forthcoming album is being recorded and produced in-house. Would we like someone to spend a ton of cash on us? Of course! But for now, we travel the road of independence (which seems to be the road that many artists are choosing these days).
We don’t spend our “downtime” in an undisclosed studio location brewing up our next creation. When we’re not writing, recording or touring, we work full-time jobs (albeit with some flexibility). We save the money that we earn at these jobs and invest it in ourselves so that we can release the next album. It takes months and months of work to save enough money to power the business (which is what the band is), so that we can make ends meet when we are on tour. We willingly take this risk because we believe in ourselves and our product.
There are many other bands like us that refuse to be swept up in the “rock is dead” rhetoric that is spewed by many. NO! Rock is not dead! In fact, today’s rock musicians are more passionate (and driven to succeed) than ever before. It shows in the absolute dedication they have to continue creating and distributing their music online thanks to the digital revolution.
Ironically, the digital revolution that began rewriting the rules of the music business (sending many artists packing up and calling it quits), is also responsible for creating a path for independent artists to successfully manage themselves. Imagine that!
During the next several months, I will be sharing “my rock and roll journey” alongside some of my fellow rock and roll brethren. We will all be telling our own stories about how we got to where we are today, why we do what we do, who we are as people and where each of us hopes to be at the end of the music-driven life that we’ve chosen.
The goal of “My Rock And Roll Journey” is to provide a backstage pass into each of our lives, and develop a true understanding of the relationship that exists between us (the artists) and you (the fans). As each rock and roll journey begins to unfold, fans will get to know each artist in a much different way than ever before. Stay tuned for chapter 2 of “My Rock And Roll Journey” in the near future!