How Lessons from Van Halen can save you thousands.

So there I am getting my work done, looking for something to write about and BAM! There it is, the perfect video sharing a little about contracts and the importance of them by none other than one of Rock and Roll’s greatest showman and musical talent.

First, let me share a few thoughts about CONTRACTS. There you are a musician,composer, songwriter or an artist and you got some great things going on. You have been working your tail off pitching your music to all the right folks and been offered a contract! What to do? Most people that I have come across are so thrilled they do not take the time  to read completely thru the contract that was presented. They don’t even contemplate having a music attorney or any professional that has studied the legalese of written contracts to look at them.

I have been around a lot of contracts over the years both in sub contracting as a plumbing contractor and also as a composer and musician. Unfortunately, in this business as with any business you need to read the fine print. People may say one thing yet do another thing altogether different. So when offered a contract the best thing to do is read it thru and and understand it.

If you need to read it a bunch of times you need to read it a bunch of times. If you have access to a person who works in the legal profession or some one who has had dealings in the past with contracts that is someone with whom you should be speaking to about this and any other contract. Do not be afraid to admit to certain folks that you need help in understanding things. The first step in wisdom is the admittance that you do NOT know all things you are not omnipotent or omniscience.

I will share a bit more about this on my other blog or in another entry into this BLOG but I wanted to share with you as well this little tidbit of info from David Lee Roth of Van Halen. He tells a story about a certain incident concerning the candy  M&Ms and their Rider. For those of you who do not know what a “RIDER” is, it is basically a part of the contract stipulating what some request that the artist or band have as a pre requisite before performing and conditions for them to , with out the fulfillment of such a rider the contract CAN become useless and void. That is a discussion best suited for another time altogether.

Anyone familiar with rock and roll lore has undoubtedly heard the story of Van Halen’s classic tour rider. The rider stated that there could be no brown M&Ms in the backstage area, or the venue’s manager would forfeit all of the money from the show to the band.

Watch this little short, slightly humorous video and learn who sometimes these little RIDERS or sentences can mean the difference of a SMALL paycheck to a very LARGE BILL YOU OWE. They had the rider placed with in and it saved them from having to pay a lot of cash for something beyond their control.

Brown M&Ms from Van Halen on Vimeo.

I found this article at GUITAR WORLD from a blog posting written by Josh Hart . I thank him for this wonderful posting of the video clip. For it inspired me to share a little of the importance of reading your contracts. Guitar World .com is a great resource for musicians of all types and a source of learning about the music business.


TIPS and IDEAS on music submission

Tips on Music Submission

When sending your material out to a Publishing company, record label or any number of professionals who might help you in your promotion and exploitation of your music, you need to do it right. You need to take a few extra steps in making sure your music has a fighting chance. It sometimes does not mean a hill of f you or your friends think it is the next greatest hit, if it never gets listened to the CD becomes a coaster.

If you take these few steps with your delivery you may find you have an edge on your competition. Believe me there are millions of other folks who are out there who believe in there music the same way you do. Many will think all they need to do is to take a cd record an mp3 on it and send it with no letter or anything on it.

Make sure your songs are all mastered and are at the right volume, no pops,distortion or clicks. Try to select only the best tracks that give the best example of who you are and your sound.

When you place your music on a disc to mail out, be sure to write CLEARLY or to print out a sticker with all your contact info on it. I would make a suggestion to you. You spent all this time in creating the music and all this effort to trying to market it, why not spend a few more bucks and purchase the disc stickers for your printer? I was told once that if you just write on the disc with some scribbled letters, it gives the impression that you do not care that much about your music? I can see why. Remember you are trying to get people to listen to your music.

You want people to open there mail and be like “WOW these folks took a lot of time and effort into creating this package, they must ROCK!” By a fancy folder and nice printing pap cause remember you only have one time to make a first impression.Chilling out by a water fall Northern GA

When you send your email or EPK if you do not know what that is ( Electronic Press Kit) you need to make sure you re read everything. Do not make long statements about this and that, introduce yourself and give all your connection info and/or ask if you can submit material. Understand that many A&R,Music Mangers, Music Supervisors receive hundreds of tracks a day if not weekly. They need time to go thru the stuff they get and if your successful to have them open up your email or CD package, you do not want to waste their time.


When giving your links to sample your music it should take the person directly to the song or title to a music player. You should never assume that the folks are going to go surfing thru your website or have to jump thru hoops to sample your music. If they cannot find it with in a few seconds most times they will move on and your done.

So, please do not get angry with me and email me then tell me how mean or stupid I am. All of these ideas come from trial and error. I have experienced these first hand and have found out what works. Maybe not all the time but with trial and error you learn a little here and there.

At the end of the day it is always up to the music supervisor or the director on which song (s) will be chosen. No matter who makes it, how long you worked on it, if you dig it or not, if they do not dig it you are not going to change their minds. If it works with the picture in their eyes then there is no stopping the deal. So create your best, try hard, put your best foot forwards and keep on knocking until the door opens. It might take years but if you got the jams then eventually someone will listen if your humble, talented and have a teachable spirit.

For more info stop on thru again or visit or for more. You are always free to visit and also visit the other companies out around the webs nd be sure to share what you have learned with others.

Studio pictures from earlier years

Wolfes Den studio in the early stages