Fred Gillen Jr.

Fuel for the Revolution

This is my blog. I started it back in 1998 when the term "blog" was new and I'd certainly never heard of it. At the time I didn't know I was blogging, I just wanted to post some non- edited pieces I'd written in my notebooks. I do not revise or censor this material in any way. Please feel free to email me through the "contact" page on this site if you have anything to say about what you read here.

Independence

People ask me all the time why someone as talented as I am, and seemingly as capable of team play, is still independent, without manager, booking agent, or label. There are a lot of explanations, some which involve my own choices and attitudes, and level of willingness to let go of control. But- there is also the reality of these relationships. To explain this I am defining the most common scenarios, based on what I've seen and experienced in the music business. There are exceptions to the definitions below, and these exceptions are people who artists dream of meeting, and rarely meet because there are very few of them. They are the "angels" of the music business. But like Hunter S. Thompson said, the music business is a shallow money trench, etc....

Manager- A manager is someone who signs a contract with an artist which states that they will attempt to do a few limited tasks in order to get the artist "to the next level." As part of this contract, the manager gets to continue to collect 20% for some period of time after the contract ends, regardless of whether the manager has really done anything successfully. Sometimes this period of time is forever. I had an "acting manager" once and when it came time to sign that contract I backed out because I realized that in the year I'd been working with him he'd been completely ineffective, and I didn't want to pay him 20% of my earnings for 5 years for getting no results.

Record Label- The record label loans you money to make a record and promote that record (or their staff promotes the record.) Sometimes they get the record distribution to the 6 or 7 remaining record stores in the country. They generally want you to have a "buzz" and already have a booking agent, because touring effectively is what sells the most records. And if you don't have a manager and a lawyer to watch the manager, this company might just screw you royally. But-there are a lot of independent labels with good intentions and a lot of people who do this who work hard. I'd love to have an independent label working for me but so far the labels I've talked to say "Do you have a booking agent? If not then we're not interested." The fact is there isn't much money or time at indie labels to "create a buzz." The artist has to do this themselves. I've never been able to do it. A buzz costs a lot of money, kind of like getting elected to political office, because you gotta buy up a bunch of media.

Booking Agent- Once you're already making a lot of money playing gigs, a booking agent steps in and, for a percentage, does the booking work for you. It is a lot of work. It is less work for them because they have bigger artists they use as leverage to get you booked, but they've done the leg-work to get those bigger artists on their roster. They can also stick you on a tour with their bigger artist, which can be great exposure. An agent won't generally take on an artist until they're already generating some money. So I'm out of luck for starters....

Promoter- My experience with promoters, overall, is that they book the show, take some of the money, and then the artist is really responsible for promoting the show. Why are they called "promoters?" I don't really know.

Fan- These are the folks who show up at the shows, buy the records, tell their friends, and without whom I'd be on the street, literally. If you get enough fans you either attract all of the people above to work with, or decide you don't need them.

Thursday, October 6th 2011

 01/28/2017     Prayer for America
 05/27/2014     "Free" music
 12/30/2013     Happy New Year
 09/26/2013     Ignorant Bliss
 11/29/2012     Gillen & Turk 2008 Opening for Todd Rungren
 08/27/2012     Shallow Money Trench
 06/22/2012     Crazy Horse
 05/9/2012     Talk
 01/19/2012     Freedom
 12/31/2011     Happy New Year
 12/13/2011     Men of Business
 11/19/2011     WAR
 11/18/2011     Earth And Spirit
 10/10/2011     Occupy Wall Street
==>10/6/2011     Independence
 09/20/2011     Anger and Love
 09/6/2011     You Can't Have Everything
 09/1/2011     The Instruments
 08/30/2011     Fathers
 08/2/2011     On Being An Artist
 05/11/2011     Speaking The Truth
 04/25/2011     Tuning the lead vocal
 03/17/2011     Instilling Values
 01/14/2011     The Current Music Business
 11/5/2010     Even The Air
 10/19/2010     Rednecks, Racism, This-ism, that-ism
 09/8/2010     9/11
 07/18/2010     Being Ecumenical
 07/6/2010     Dust
 06/30/2010     Gay Rights/ Marriage
 03/11/2010     The heart
 03/11/2010     Culture
 01/5/2010     Coats
 12/11/2009     Pete Seeger
 12/2/2009     Environmental Protest Songs
 10/5/2009     Adam & Eve
 06/18/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/11/2009     Clearwater
 06/10/2009     The World Rolls Along
 06/10/2009     War Machine
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 06/9/2009     alternative media
 05/14/2008     God
 02/24/2008     broke
 02/11/2008     HOPE MACHINE
 01/6/2008     Dennis Kucinich
 12/27/2007     NYPD
 10/4/2007     Mitakuye Oyasin
 05/21/2007     The Past
 04/15/2007     Kurt Vonnegut, Indian Point
 10/8/2006     God
 06/26/2006     From the Pe Sla -the heart of the heart of Lakota sacred land -the Black Hills of South Dakota
 06/5/2006     Mowing The Lawn
 03/24/2006     Gone Gone Gone
 02/25/2006     grace
 09/26/2005     Sky To Mountain
 09/22/2005     Love
 09/14/2005     Look Down
 04/19/2005     April 2005
 01/27/2005     Poverty
 01/11/2005     Grace
 12/3/2004     Standing Up 2
 12/1/2004     Tired
 11/29/2004     Standing Up
 11/29/2004     Mercy
 09/18/2004     Beaten
 08/7/2004     Half Full
 07/16/2004     Hallelujia!
 07/16/2004     Battered Feathers
 03/14/2004     gifts
 03/1/2004     Ancestors
 03/1/2004     A Prayer
 12/24/2003     "The Bomb"
 05/16/2003     Safe
 05/16/2003     Satan
 05/5/2003     Faith, Hope, Love
 03/10/2003     Tatoo
 02/11/2003     Folk Music is alive and well!
 01/13/2003     Revolution
 01/2/2003     January 2003
 11/17/2002     FEAR
 11/9/2002     Election Day
 10/30/2002     Election Day
 10/14/2002     Checkpoint Charlie
 06/17/2002     Revolution
 06/3/2002     Gold
 06/3/2002     WAGE LOVE!
 06/3/2002     Mercy
 06/3/2002     New World Order?
 04/4/2002     Real?
 04/4/2002     Billboards
 04/4/2002     Faith
 03/22/2002     Living into the 21st century
 03/22/2002     Comfort
 03/22/2002     Barren Ground
 03/22/2002     Dreams
 03/14/2002     March 11, 2002
 02/25/2002     Germany
 12/14/2001     NOW
 09/19/2001     September 11, 2001
 08/6/2001     #5 Taking Responsibility
 07/12/2001     Television
 06/11/2001     #3: Sprawl
 05/16/2001     #2
 05/16/2001     #1


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