In Part 7, the final chapter ,Rat discusses Ticketmaster and Live Nation and what their actions have done to the concert market in North America and beyond. There is advice given for DIY musicians pondering the idea of founding their own record labels. Final thoughts are given to aspiring journalists and writers on how to handle their business practices.
How do you feel that the North American concert market has changed with Ticketmaster and Live Nation being merged into one company and pretty much being managed by the same person?
The concert market has changed. It really has morphed in the same direction as the federal government, meaning it is expanding and the bigger these monopolies get, the smaller the individuals get. Bigger in that sense does not mean better. When you have something like Ticketmaster and Live Nation and you have (Irving) Azoff and (Michael) Rupino that are completely controlling everything. Of course it’s just like in politics. They’ll say we got your back and we will give you healthcare and make sure everything is free and fair to everyone but that’s not how it is. When they are calling all the shots their agenda is profit. There is nothing else. That is not good to have an entity that powerful at all.
For the majority of musicians you interviewed for this film did you choose them based on your personal taste on how much you enjoyed their music, or whether you thought they had interesting stories to share?
No, nothing to do with the music at all, the musicians happened to be guys that I know and are somewhat local to me and things like that. They were chosen in order to get things situated so people can ultimately see what this is about. The final movie is still being worked on. It all has to do with who they are, the integrity of their career, what they know, how well spoken they are, how well they understand things, nothing to do with music.
You know who I was with last night, was sensational. Are you familiar with Brian “Head” Welch, from Korn, the guitar player?
He wrote a book called Save Me From Myself, and Brian fell into the big hole, that so many have fallen into. He is lucky he got out of it and he is alive, because of the drugs and everything that got him. We were hanging out last night and now he is a part of this film in a big way. He is going to bring a lot to the table. He has got A LOT of insight because he has seen the guys with the heroin problems. An example is that guy from Slipknot, taking all the pills and stuff and he’s dead now. Their bass player died a couple of years ago already. Anyways it is all based on who they are and what they could bring to the table.
For the bands that are fortunate enough to found their own record labels, what is some advice you would give to people in that kind of situation?
You mean bands that are actually running their own label, and then signing other bands to their label? I really don’t know, I think that’s interesting. I would like to find out more about that myself. All I can say is that if you are doing that, and you launched a small label that is successful and you are bringing other bands on board – don’t become part of what has been the problem which is greed. You start seeing you can make money. You have a band that is not paying attention, and they are willing to do just about anything. Don’t go on the other side of the fence because the nature is hey we are making money, we could make more. They are not asking any questions. Don’t turn a good thing into a bad thing by becoming a part of the industry mindset and the profit mindset. Put yourself in the shoes of a musician. That is what is needed right now.
Finishing things up what kind of advice would you have for today’s aspiring music journalists?
I think that any freelance journalist, or writer, or creative person should basically follow the same kind of guidelines from what I have been telling you about musicians. I mean that if you have a gift, if you have a talent, it’s valuable, you should not give it away, you should be compensated for your talent, and the gift that you have. The way things have turned out, and the way things have situated themselves now, everyone is giving away everything for free, and it is getting worse and worse. Fans expect things for free. Companies expect writers to do things for free. That’s not the way it works. There probably is going to be a big shakeout before all this settles in, but everyone has to be on the same page. Don’t give your stuff away. Don’t be afraid to say no that’s not fair. You have got to give me some better terms than that. Hold the ball, be fearless, do what you have to do, because no one is going to look out for you like yourself.
Now let me just plug my website, to find out more about Welcome to the Dream and other projects that I am doing. You can go to RatSkates.com and specifically for Welcome to the Dream, the full title of that is Welcome to the Dream, the Rude Awakening of Rock Stardom, and that website is Welcome-to-the-dream.com and you just have to put in dashes, if you don’t you end up at some real estate website or something like that. I am a little slow on posting news to that thing since I have been working so hard in getting it in full production. That is where you can go to find out about everything that is going on. Any musician, no matter what style of music you play, you need to see what this movie is about, since it affects everyone.
Rat is helping musicians to survive the collision of art, money, ego, success and fear.
To find out more about Rat Skates and his film Welcome to the Dream go to http://ratskates.com