Music

If You Don't Like Our New Song Well Then Fuck You

*Before you read this, please go to www.ascitiesburn.net and buy tickets to our show.  We have expensive as shit tickets that get you a t-shirt and poster and all that jazz.  Or you can just wait until tomorrow morning (June 5th) and buy normal tickets.  Links on the site. 

Come on guys, it's a play on a Ricky Bobby quote.  Remember in 'Talladega Nights' when Will Ferrell is doing the Big Red chewing gum commercials??

Seriously though, I don't care if people like the new As Cities Burn song.  Really.  I definitely don't name search our band to seek out negative tweets such as "Is As Cities Burn joking with this new song?" or "The new As Cities burn is making my ears hurt".  Definitely haven't spent the past 4 nights drinking Budweiser till I pass out while I question everything I have ever believed about my abilities as a drummer (which is pretty much nothing to begin with). 

I admit it, I'm pathetic when it comes to staying off the internet.  I LOVE twitter.  I think it's like the most fun place to hang out.  I can't NOT search what people are saying about my band.  Because I genuinely care.  Everyone wants to be liked.  I'm not different.*

*Based on the way I write and how rude I can be to people on social media, one might question the whole "I just wanna be liked" thing.  Seems that I am working towards the opposite.  Just my #BRAND dude. 

Let's talk about the new As Cities Burn song, "Prince of Planet Earth". 

First, no we aren't joking.  I know people are being sarcastic when they say this (I think), but we actually did spend A LOT of time working on this song.  Me and Cody holed up in a practice space in North Nashville a few months ago with the intention of creating new material for our tour announcement.  We felt it was lame to continue to just play old shit and re hash the past.  How fun would it be to release new tunes?! It's fun to release them, but I should be honest that I kind of hate the process. 

For ACB the songwriting process can be excruciating.  I don't even remember this first version of "P.O.P.E" or what it sounded like.  I can assure you it was different.  Just when we would think we were on to something, a new idea would come and change the entire direction of the song.  What you end up with is something that only vaguely resembles what you started with. 

We recorded this song with an awesome producer in Nashville, J Hall.  We had never met him or even heard of him until our old buddy Ryan Rado recommended him.  He had a hunch that he would good for our creative process.  Ryan was right.  J is a pretty hands on producer.  He came to our practices to help with the vision of the song, encouraging us in the directions we were heading.  Getting somebody to start making decisions on where a song is going is so crucial.  It's never been Cody's strength to settle on what a song is gonna be.  That's not a criticism.  That dude just always wants to try and make something better.  He is always hearing more ways for a song to work or different directions it could go.  But eventually somebody has to tell him, "This is the song."  Otherwise his body of work would just be one eternal song, every evolving. 

We wanted to write something for the fans of the heavier version of As Cities Burn.  There was always a feeling that fans of SILYAYD wanted something else with TJ.  We put out this record that kind of blew up and became influential in our scene, and then we said "Fuck that, we are going to be an indie rock band."  As Cities Burn literally lost HALF of our fan base (judging by record sales and show attendance.)  The 'SILYAYD' version of As Cities Burn has ALWAYS been the most "valuable" version of As Cities Burn.  Even though I am most proud of our work on 'Come Now Sleep' and 'Hell or High Water', I understand that there was something really special about 'SILYAYD'. 

The irony is that it now seems we have disappointed CNS/HOHW fans with the new song.  The criticism has been harsh.  My wife tells me to stay out of the forums and to ignore mean comments, but I can't.  She sends me texts with screen shots of the enthusiastic praise that our new music is receiving from the MAJORITY of our fans.  Yes, I realize that for the most part people are stoked on the new song.  But as always, in the age of social media and every person on earth having a platform to speak their mind, the negative comments are the loudest.  In my ears anyway. 

The most reasonable response I can come up with is kind of a "WTF did you expect?".  Has As Cities Burn ever put out music that wasn't drastically different than a previous release?  We change our band every time we get together.  It's incredibly freeing.  CNS was a product of wanting to break the chains of the HXC world and write music that could get us on tour with Jimmy Eat World.  Going into HOHW, we pretty much knew we weren't going to be a band anymore so we said fuck it and LITERALLY wrote whatever we wanted.  This included writing a song that we thought sounded like Tom Petty and then naming it "Petty", writing a song completely shit faced and hardly changing it at all when we went to record it (Pirate Blues).  Or the last song on that record, "Capo", which literally said I'VE GOT NOTHING TO SAY TO YOU for most of the song.  I set up the shittiest drums and made them sound as shitty as possible.  It was almost a big middle finger to the fans/music industry in general.  That sucks, but that's kind of where we were at the time.  If anything, it was honest.  But we liked the song a lot. 

If you had expectations for what a new ACB song would be, I can't help you.  We have proven that nothing is to be expected from us artistically.  We are in a much better place this time around, and genuinely wanted to write something to reconnect with fans.  We didn't like the way we left things 6 years ago.  "P.O.P.E." was what we came up with.  It's the best we can do. The other song we are going to release soon, in my opinion, is the best song we have every recorded.  We are trying. 

It's ok if you don't like the new song.  I don't really mean fuck you.  Sometimes I do have this fleeting emotion of "YOU CREATE SOMETHING ASSHOLE!!" (jack black anybody?).  But everyone is entitled to like what they like.  I just wanted to clear up any confusion over whether this rebirth of ACB is in anyway a massive troll on our fans.  It's not.  This is our art. 

A GENUINE thanks to all of you who have supported by saying something nice about the new song, buying a pre sale package or just keeping your damn mouth shut if you think we are now the shittiest band on earth. 

 

How To Build a Career In The Music Industry:

I feel really sorry for those of you who that clicked on this link thinking I would be divulging all the secrets on how to make your band famous.  The truth on that matter is this: 

YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH OF A CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING.
 

I’m serious.  Do yourself a favor and throw your hopes of being in a successful band in the garbage.  The chances are slim.  Even if your band gets some fans, like my band As Cities Burn did, there isn’t much long term security in that success.  You know that band Emery?  They were a HUGE band within our scene.  And bravo to them for continuing on as they have. They stuck around long enough to weather the storm of decline.  That may sound harsh, but it’s true.  Their shows used to be a lot bigger.  They once sold like 200K records.  Now they have had to figure out other ways to make a living to coincide with their impressive and unlikely success of their very awesome band.  But you know who will make more money in music than any one member of Emery?  Their fucking guitar tech from back in the day, Trevor.  

That’s right kids.  If you want a career in music, WORK FOR BANDS.  I have outlined the step by step process below.

1. ACCEPT THAT YOU HAVE NO CHANCE OF MAKING IT AS AN ARTIST

You probably aren’t good enough.  The market is flooded.  The internet has destroyed all hope of the most talented pushing through to the top.  It used to be that if you hit the road and worked your ass off, you could get a record deal from your favorite label.  Now you have to be YouTube famous.  Even if you are “good”…who cares?  There are lots of “good” musicians.  I live in Nashville.  My barista is better than you at guitar, I promise.  And karaoke at the shit hole dive down the street from my house is like a fucking episode of The Voice.  It’s amazing.  

2.  GO ON TOUR WITH YOUR DELUSIONAL FRIENDS THAT THINK THEY CAN MAKE IT

No, not to play with them.  Sell their merch.  And do it for tips.  Most bands can’t afford a merch seller at the beginning, so work for free.  Make yourself valuable to them.  Eventually this band will either start to climb the ladder, OR you will meet someone along the way that can offer you a better job.  This is the natural order of things.  Merch guys move up quicker than the bands they started with if they work hard.  

3.  DON’T WORRY ABOUT LOYALTY

You’ve got to get yours son.  As soon as a band can’t afford to pay you anymore they will drop you like a bad habit.  I’m not saying that you won’t find a longterm gig that can work out, but ALWAYS be on the lookout for the next gig.  And if you really care, be looking for the next promotion to another crew position.  Diversify.  Learn how to run sound.  Learn how to guitar tech.  Shadow other Tour Managers.  Then BECOME the Tour Manager.  Don’t think you are qualified???

4. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT

I got my TM job with Emery by being good at getting them free beer.  It’s the bullshit details that push you forward and even if you don’t know exactly what you are doing, usually the band doesn’t know either.  These are coddled, college drop out, dumb ass band dudes.  Have confidence. Throw in some cool tricks like knowing what kind of burrito they all like from Chipotle.  They will love this shit.  

5. IF YOU STARTED IN HARDCORE/PUNK/INDIE - GET THE FUCK OUT

You’ve got to go mainstream dude.  That’s where the money is.  Sure you can make $1500 a week TM’ing a band playing 1K - 2K cap rooms, but thats only when you are on tour.  And tours in this scene are really long.  You’ve been working your ass off for 3 years now, going all over the world babysitting some Christian Metal-Core band, when there are dudes only touring on the weekends, making just as much if not more than you.  So what do you do?

6.  MOVE TO NASHVILLE

Country music is the promised land.  I have a buddy here who tour manages a country star and they do about 70 shows a year.  He gets paid a salary of around $75K per year.  Between Novemeber and March, this dude is just straight chilling at the pub down the street everyday.  Getting paid every day.  You are a sucker if you stay in hardcore/punk/indie.  And don’t tell me you can’t transition.  This dude started out as a merch guy for Haste the Day.  Then he went to TM.  Then TM for Devil Wears Prada.  Then TM for Celtic fucking Woman.  Then Gavin DeGraw.  And so on and so on.  

 

7.  BE THANKFUL

It’s easy to complain about having to tour all the time. Even if it is just 70 days a year.  But know this, you have an opportunity for a career that very few musicians have.  It’s a cool job working as crew in the music industry. Whether you are teching, or slinging merch, or running the show as the Tour Manager, crew get paid VERY well at the top levels of the industry. And there is no reason that if you work hard and apply yourself, you won’t find these opportunities.  People I have toured with or been buddies with over the years have gone on to work for Rihanna, Death Cab for Cutie, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Iggy Azalea, Sia, Vampire Weekend, LIVE, The Civil Wars, Thrice, Anberlin and countless others that I can’t think of off the top of my head.  My friend that played keyboards for All American Rejects years and years ago, told me of a temporary guitar tech they had that worked for Pearl Jam.  His salary with Pearl Jam?  $5K a week…year round.  (Man, imagine what Eddie Vedder must be making.  Maybe crew is a bad career choice...)  It’s legit y’all.  

As a “roadie” you lack control of your schedule and sometimes you may be at the mercy of a crazy artist, but you can make a really good living.  Most of my friends that pursued this path are quite happy (except for the ones that aren’t) It’s blue collar for sure.  But it ain’t working in a factory.  If you can handle missing birthdays and weddings, riding in a luxury tour bus and eventually being well versed on the local ramen shops in Tokyo, this is the career you never thought you wanted but need to pursue.  

Quit your band.  Work for a band.  If you don’t?  Well maybe you will actually make it as an artist because only the stubborn and delusional to go that route.  I fall in the stubborn and delusional category.  Good luck.