DragonForce guitarist Herman Li and his speed metal bandmates used to play the video game Guitar Hero. Now, fans are flocking to the band after finding their song Through the Fire and Flames in the latest installment of the game, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
“Our CD sales have gone up, and we are high up the charts on digital downloads,” Li says. “It’s great. We don’t play commercial music. It took everyone by surprise.”
More fans were converted last month when Ellen DeGeneres invited a young Guitar Hero expert onto her talk show to play DragonForce’s song, considered to be the toughest of all songs to play. (Go to YouTube and search for “Ellen” and “guitar hero”; you can also find her playing the game herself.)
“Somehow it seems our music really connects with the younger generation, gamers and non-gamers,” says Li, 29. “This is a game that is driving music sales when everybody is complaining about the video game industry taking money from movies and music.”
The Guitar Hero effect is real. DragonForce saw digital sales of Through the Fire rise from fewer than 2,000 weekly to a high of 37,825 the week ending Dec. 30, a week when many who got the game as a holiday gift were playing it. (Only one GH III song sold more, Guns N’ Roses‘ Welcome to the Jungle at 38,330.)
Also since the game came out in late October, DragonForce’s album Inhuman Rampage has been atop Billboard magazine’s Top Heatseekers chart four times (it dropped to No. 4 this week). Overall sales of the album have reached 230,000, much more than the 75,000 sold in the band’s adopted home, the United Kingdom.
“There has been a steady buzz on the band, and you could just feel their star rising. Then (Guitar Hero III) hit, and it catapulted it to an entirely new level,” says Jonas Nachsin, president of DragonForce’s label, Roadrunner Records.
Two other Roadrunner artists, Slipknot and Kill Switch Engage, have seen increased sales from inclusion in the game. “You might be surprised. It’s not only digital sales but significant full-length sales of CDs,” Nachsin says. “Competition (to be in future games) will probably be more fierce because everyone can see what it does for a band.”
Even though previous Guitar Hero games relied almost exclusively on cover versions of most songs, original artists still saw increased song sales from inclusion in Guitar Hero II, released in October 2006 for the Sony PlayStation 2 and in April 2007 for the Microsoft Xbox 360.
A look at Nielsen SoundScan data for a dozen Guitar Hero II songs found that 11 out of 12 had increased sales in 2007, including:
• Cheap Trick’s Surrender nearly tripled from 58,000 digital sales in 2006 to 161,000 in 2007.
• Kiss’ Strutter went from 11,000 to 63,000 sold.
• The Pretenders’ Tattooed Love Boys rose from 5,000 to 16,000.
• Only Danzig’s Mother showed a drop, from 28,000 to 16,000.
“A lot of it is the classic guitar-type rock stuff form the Skynyrds to the new big monster bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Wolfmother,” says Mike Davis of Universal Music (Bon Jovi, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who). “Old and new with the classic rock sound seems to be the stuff that is doing super well. … It’s a pretty hot subject these days.”
Rich Williams, guitarist for the classic rock band Kansas, says that after the release of Guitar Hero II, which included the band’s song Carry On Wayward Son, “the front row of almost every show we did was filled with young teenagers. It’s all due to that. It’s brought us a whole new fan base.”
Digital sales of the song rose from 119,000 in 2006 to 297,000 in 2007. “It’s been a positive influence for us,” he says. “It brought a younger crowd to us that otherwise might not have come in.”
The Guitar Hero effect has been sharpened in Guitar Hero III, which features original artist recordings for more than three-fourths of the songs. Every GH III song tracked by Nielsen SoundScan (62 of the 70) saw an increase in digital sales during the post-holiday week, and nearly all saw boosts immediately after the game’s October release.
“It’s such a dark time for the record business. This is one of the bits of truly great news we’ve seen in a long time,” says Marc Reiter of Q Prime management, whose clients Metallica, Muse and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have songs in the game.
Sales of Metallica’s One increased from just more than 2,000 weekly before GH III’s release to more than 6,000 in the weeks afterward and spiked at 27,605 in the post-holiday week. Muse and the Chili Peppers saw similar but more modest hikes in sales of Knights of Cydonia and Suck My Kiss.
“Those tracks didn’t have any (other) activity surrounding them at the time,” Reiter says. ” I really do believe we have only begun to scratch the surface of the impact (video games) can have on artists and instrument sales.”
Courtesy of USA Today.
Matthias Mineur recently interviewed WHITESNAKE vocalist David Coverdale about the band’s forthcoming album, “Good To Be Bad”. The question-and-answer session follows:
Q: Ten years between “Restless Heart” and “Good To Be Bad”: What has changed in WHITESNAKE and what is still the same?
Coverdale: I feel “Restless Heart” was more like a Coverdale solo album, which is how it started, ’til EMI told me they wanted it to be a WHITESNAKE record… so, we had to juggle it around to try and ‘SNAKE it up… whereas “Good To Be Bad” is most definately a WHITESNAKE record from beginning to end. For me, the heart and soul of WHITESNAKE remains the same. How could it not? It is, and has always been, very precious to me. It helps provide my family and I with an incredibly good life… I respect and treasure it, and I will protect it as much as I can from harm. I embrace and relish the rewards it brings. As a musical vehicle it helps me express myself, and hopefully, it’s the same for the musicians who work under its creative umbrella. It’s also an anti-aging youth serum for me!
Q: How important were the incredibly successful tours during the last three years for your motivation to write a new album?
Coverdale: Very, very important… The musicians I’m working with and the positive response from the people who come to see us and support us, has inspired and motivated me to get back in the saddle and to write and record new songs for the first time in many years. I’ve also found a new, inspiring writing partner in Mr. Aldrich. I’d allowed myself to be brought down, but, fortunately only for a short time, by the negative climate in the music business, but now I feel it’s more the major record companies’ energy, rather than the music business, that is creating a great deal of the damage. Their reluctance to move forward and embrace new approaches to business is definately creating a lot of their own problems. They just seem unable to see it. I thought, perhaps, all the magic had gone, but, I was wrong, and I’m very happy to discover live music is still very much supported by the hardcore fans… and yes… people are still buying records. Perhaps not in the millions that we became familiar with… but, nevertheless, the hardcore rock fan still wants to hold the substance of an album in his, or her hands, as opposed to simply downloading it. You have to rethink how you structure your career today and not take things for granted. You have to roll with the punches and keep an eye on everything. Not over-indulge… It is not how it used to be. But, still…it’s amazing, when I think about it. WHITESNAKE celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and is still going strong. It still has juice. I am so grateful that I can still actively work as a musician, create new music and then go on tour with a great band and play to appreciative crowds. As long as people accept that we don’t look the same as we did 20 years ago… but, we can still play our music with fire and passion, then I think we can stick around for another few years! I’m also very grateful to be involved with the record company, SPV. I work with a great, positive, supportive team there… Good, solid people.
Q: How did you write the material? How important was Doug Aldrich for you as a songwriter, musician and friend?
Coverdale: Personally, I’m always writing bits and pieces here and there, for future reference… making cassettes of ideas. It’s very natural for me to compose… I meditate before I start working and I find that helps me immensely. It helps bring out the creative spirit, I think… It helps me focus. Doug and I found it very natural to write together from the beginning. Relatively effortless and fun… It’s a 50/50 collaboration. He is a very gifted individual and very enthusiastic… he also helped engineer and mix the record, so he was involved from the very beginning of the project to the end. That is something that has never happened before. Doug‘s a welcome breath of fresh air for me. He doesn’t bring any excess baggage… No questionable agenda and no unnecessary ego to stroke… he just gets on with it. He’s very caring and passionate about what he does, and thank goodness, the passion includes WHITESNAKE. He was exposed to WHITESNAKE before we met, or worked together, so, he was familiar with the approach and the creative identities I’d established, but, he brings such an incredible energy and urgency to WHITESNAKE that it helps stretch the boundaries much further, without compromising the original attitude. He’s an electrifying guitarist, as anyone who has seen him can testify… Very inspiring to me. The other bonus, of course, is that we’ve developed a strong, supportive personal friendship.
Q: Would you say that “Good To Be Bad” is a mixture between your blues roots and a modern attitude? Any other influences?
Coverdale: For me it has all the elements, all the ingredients that I enjoy about WHITESNAKE. It’s a very solid, muscular, melodic rock record with a couple of fine ballads, so, there’s a little tenderness when the moment calls for it… and of course the ballads help balance out the chest beaters! I find it a very complete piece of work, actually. It covers a lot of musical ground… A positive chapter in the Book Of WHITESNAKE. I’m able to sing from a whisper to a scream, with all points in between, very comfortably with the new material. We also tried some new musical keys for me to sing in… which made it very fresh, interesting and fun. When Doug and I sat down to jam on each other’s song ideas the structure of the album was evident pretty much immediately… it came together very naturally. There was never a danger of compromising the acknowledged identity of WHITESNAKE for the sake of trying to be modern… or fashionable. I’d say if there was any influence it would be all the previous elements that have come together to make what is WHITESNAKE, coupled with the very welcome fresh injection from Doug, Chris, Timothy, Uriah and Reb. Chris Frazier has brought a very Paicey feel back to the band. He swings, grooves, rocks and rolls… A very pleasing foundation to build from. WHITESNAKE‘s got it’s groove back! As a band, these guys know how to tell the WHITESNAKE story very well indeed.
Q: Please comment on producer Michael McIntyre. What was his role, and in which way did he help the album?
Coverdale: Michael has been with me since 1987. He was originally a member of the WHITESNAKE crew. Then when I moved to Lake Tahoe, I found out he lived close by in Reno, so, I asked him to come and work with me as a personal assistant. He has proved so indescribably valuable to me that he has been actively involved in WHITESNAKE‘s management for many years. He oversees all aspects of my personal and business life. Not only that, but, he’s a fantastic recording engineer and has been involved in the recording of all of my albums since “Slip Of The Tongue”. We are great friends… More like brothers. I trust him with my life, so, when he’s recording my voice I have total confidence in his judgement.
Q: The album was originally announced for autumn 2007. Any reasons for the delay?
Coverdale: The recording of this album was constantly compromised by interruptions. However, it’s a testament to Doug, Mikey and I, also known as The Brutal Brothers, that we kept moving forward… “Onwards and forwards” was the motto for this project. Also, to be honest, there was no real rush for us to finish the project quickly. I’d planned to take the year off from touring to avoid too much pressure in making the record, so, whenever there were problems, we’d take a break… a little breathing space. It works wonders for fresh perspective. Also, for me, personally, it is most important I balance my working time with my family time. It isn’t always easy… even when you’re recording at home! The most important thing is… was it all worth it? And I can sincerely answer, yes! It most certainly was worth all the trials and tribulations to get to this place and simply enjoy the fruits of our labours. It’s a fun album… Great to drive to!
Q: What kind of audience do you expect for “Good To Be Bad”? Metal kids? Rock fans? Blues maniacs? Or perhaps younger people?
Coverdale: Everybody’s welcome to try a bite of this pie. There’s something here for everyone…
Q: Please comment on the tour with DEF LEPPARD. The perfect choice for a co-headlining tour…
Coverdale: Three hours of good, strong, melodic songs! What more could you want? Joe Elliott, the Lepps and I have been friends and supporters for many years. It was only logical we’d end up touring together someday. I’d like to be in the audience for the shows we’re doing together. I feel it will definitely be an event to experience… Let’s Get Rocked In The Still Of The Night… yeah baby!
Q: What can we expect of WHITESNAKE live in 2008?
Coverdale: We will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Whitesnake with kick arse live shows… a new show, featuring songs from a new studio album. By the way, this is the 10th studio album from WHITESNAKE. There will be much fun to be had by all. Don’t miss out on the party!
Courtesy of Blabbermouth.net
Frontiers Records is pleased to announce all details surrounding the release of the forthcoming DOKKEN album “Lightning Strikes Again” to be released in Europe on April 11th 2008.
DOKKEN is one of the bands that define the HARD ROCK and METAL genre in the 80’s. On the heels of such masterpiece records as “Tooth And Nail”, “Under Lock & Key” and “Back For The Attack” the band has created an unique style made of heavy riffing and memorable vocal lines and melodies. After the band’s split in 1989, DOKKEN reunited with the release of “Dysfunctional” in 1995 and since then have been a stable presence in the Hard Rock and Metal world.
“Lightning Strikes Again” is Dokken’s 10th studio album and, from the title already, which echoes one of the band’s classic song off “Under Lock & Key”, marks a true and definite return to the classic sound of the heydays. “We have been more focused on this project than any we’ve done in years” says singer Don Dokken. “Yes, it has taken a long time but in the end the fans will have a Dokken cd that is as good as any we did in the 80′s. Our goal is to deliver a CD that will shake up the rock world… and so far everyone says it is the best Dokken cds since ‘86. It’s time that a band from our era did something special and prove that our brand of music is still valid. And I think we’re close, if it does not have success it won’t be because we didn’t give it a thousand percent effort”.
From the first time since the reunion, Dokken is going back to the roots of its sound and exposes with the power and the might of the new Millennium the hot riffs and incredible melodies that built the band’s success.
Dokken’s lineup is now Don DokkenMick Brown (drums), Jon Levin (guitar) and Barry Sparks (bass). The album was mixed by Wyn Davis (vocals), (DIO, GREAT WHITE).
Final tracklisting of the album is:
You can preview the highlighted tracks above!
“Lightning Strikes Again” rocks hard, but still caresses with velvet melodies, this is exactly what the fans have been asking for more than a decade. Don’t miss it when it is time of release in Europe on April 11th 2008 !
Does the name Stick It seem unfamiliar to you? This isn’t a new Great White Album. Stick It is a reissue of the band’s debut album from 1984, with 5 additional Bonus Tracks, by Axe Killer Records in 1999.
Great White’s debut CD is just about impossible to find, so this is the one to grab if you want to at least hear the original tracks from the first release.
This CD showcases a heavier sounding Great White. Long time members, Michael Lardie, Audie Desbrow, and Tony Montana had not yet joined the band. Great White was a four piece unit, and leaned more to the heavy metal side, than the pop metal of their later releases.
Out of the Night and Stick It are two of the heavier songs on the disc. They open the disc up in a big way.
Great White’s cover of the Who song, Substitute has been on a few compilations, and is an old favorite of mine. It is a solid, but heavier version of the original song.
Bad Boys, On Your Knees, and Streetkiller are all above average heavy numbers.
No Better Than Hell kind of reminds me of pre-Pyromania Def Leppard. It is o.k. track, but nothing that will set your world ablaze. Nightmares is a semi-average song.
Dead End is a a very solid tune. Mark Kendall really rips it up on this song. This would have been a very good closer for the original album.
The Bonus Tracks on Stick It Are: Down At The Doctor, Train To Nowhere, The Hunter, Red House, and Rock’N’Roll.
Down at The Doctor is an old Mickey Jupp cover that sounds nothing like the other songs on Stick It. This song is more hard rock than metal. It is a very upbeat tune, with some killer saxaphone by Clarence Clemons.
Train To Nowhere is an old Savoy Brown Blues cover. This is mostly an acoustic guitar piece with some blues harp, and saxaphone. Once again….it sounds nothing like the other songs on Stick It.
Rock ‘N’ Roll is a pretty solid cover of the Led Zeppelin tune. This song feels more at place on this record than the other covers present here.
The Hunter is an old Blues song originally recorded by Albert King. I don’t the original tune, but Great White’s version is pretty cool.
Red House is a seriously long tune. Clocking in at almost 9 minutes in length. This tune is a cover of an old Jimi Hendrix tune. Great White does a pretty good job with it.
If you are a Great White fan, this is a must own disc in the bands’s discography. Even though the bonus tracks don’t really line up well with the rest of the songs on Stick It, I am happy that I have them in my collection. This disc has only been available as an import, but I found mine through Amazon.com. Don’t miss this!
Rating:Out of 10
1. Out Of The Night
2. Stick It
4. Bad Boys
5. On Your Knees
7. No Better Than Hell
8. Hold On
10. Dead End
11. Down At The Doctor
12. Train To Nowhere
13. The Hunter
14. Red House
Great White is:
Jack Russell: Lead Vocals
Mark Kendall: Guitar
Lorne Black: Bass
Gary Holland: Drums
Have you heard of Grady, The southern rock band from Austin, Texas?
Check out their video from 2006, Woman Got My Devil.