Signals From Mars – The Anarchy Of Crowdfunding

Art Of Anarchy is a pretty appropriate name for the band that features Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal of GNR, John Moyer formerly of Union Underground, Disturbed, and Adrenaline Mob, the Votta Brothers and the enigmatic former singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, Scott Weiland. I still can’t get a grasp of what went on with this project, Weiland, who coincidentally has now worked with past Guns N Roses members Slash, Duff McKagen, Matt Sorum and now current GNR guitarist Bumblefoot. He and Axl Rose are the only singers to hold the distinction of doing so. But from day one Weiland has started sending out weird signals regarding his involvement in the band. In a recent interview with he mentioned things such as “It was a scam from the beginning.” “I was paid to do it. But they were an unsigned band and they’re still an unsigned band. Hey. They’re gonna put it out on the Internet, and as fate will have it, they don’t even have a lead singer. I’m not worried about it taking away any thunder from [my solo band] THE WILDABOUTS.” Mind you the band is signed to Century Media offshoot Another Century.

So after all of this, why would you shoot a video with the band? Was that part of the deal for him to sing on the album? It just does not make a whole heck of a lot of sense to me. The making of the video only features the other two big name members of the band Bumblefoot and John Moyer discussing each other for a bit, and setting the video up.

Here is the band’s video for the track Til The Dust Is Gone

Weiland has also been going back and forth with Richard Patrick of Filter regarding him being fired from STP, his drug use, etc. Richard once worked with the DeLeo brothers in the band Army Of Anyone with Ray Luzier now of Korn on drums. Great album by Army Of Anyone, and nothing new regarding Weiland clashing with the DeLeo brothers, and Eric Kretz. Remember they also had a band called Talk Show with David Coutts on vocals, essentially STP minus Weiland. What STP has done right this time is get a known singer in Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. Coutts although a great singer, and composer, didn’t have the same weight behind his name as Bennington, thus allowing the band to play on larger bills, and receive more publicity in the process. Weiland tried to play things down by saying the band isn’t playing the same types of venues as they did when he was in the band. I always find this comical, especially when coming from a solo artist, or band made up of former members (e.g. Velvet Revolver), who aren’t even playing at venues the size of their former band, like STP or GNR.

Richard Patrick and Filter have turned to crowdfunding for their latest album, as has Megadeth, which shows that bigger name bands are now going to start leveraging crowd funding. Due to economic reasons I will unfortunately not be able to back either bands’ project. I am also at a point that I have soured on crowdfunding because a lot is promised up front, and very few bands follow through. Now that isn’t to say that they will not do so, but I have found that campaigns are either great (few and far between) or are complete duds. There are projects where bands become very active, and provide you with updates every few days, provide you with updates that contain anything from videos to demos or rare remixes of popular tracks they have previously released. Making things, in my opinion, worth your wild. And then there is the flip side, the band that is looking to take advantage of their fans by having them pay for an album, and then disappear once they have grabbed the attention and picked up by a label to release the album. Flyleaf is the band that comes to mind with this, they instantly disappeared once they had a label sign on to release their latest album Between The Stars. I had also pledged on a project by the Canadian band The Birthday Massacre which was similar, but to a much different, displeasing degree. Their “special offerings” to fans that pledged were mostly old press pictures their singer Chibi that seemed as if they were basically vetoed at the time it was taken. Or a long winded discussion by their out of touch manager thinking he’s Brian Epstein. Watch any of the video clips of Rod Smallwood (for example) discuss Iron Maiden, and he’s always happy to discuss the band, things that took place, good or bad, but he has been successful managing the band since day one. The Birthday Massacre’s manager was always trying to provide you with a lesson of how things should be, how the band is going to do this or that, but in the end I felt sorry for the band. The bottom line was that he was preaching about things that are no longer valid. The market has shifted, for most bands their size, for the worse. Old business models are no longer pertinent. It is sad that the band is paying to have someone that is so out of touch with the times guide their careers. Unfortunately there are too many people out there that have been able to hang on due to past glories. But talk to the bands that fired them, and find out why they no longer require their former manager’s services. Hey, I could be wrong, as they obviously know the interworking of the band than I do, but it is how he came off. Unfortunately these are not even the worse crowdfunding experiences, I waited a few years for Burton C. Bell’s second City Of Fire album, and am still waiting five years later for the Quiet Riot documentary that Showtime recently aired. I will supposedly receive my copy next month, let’s cross our fingers.

My biggest issue with Filter and Megadeth’s campaigns are the cost of the items they are offering to backers. Up until recently the norm was a signed CD for $15 to $20, not $33 for Filter and WTF $54 for Megadeth! I would understand if this was the only way of getting a hold of either album, but one is signed to Wind-Up Records and the other has their own imprint which is distributed by Universal. Bands should really check eBay to see what their autographed CDs are going for, or compare it to what their old labels (Roadrunner) was asking for signed CDs in the past. I wish I could say everything else is reasonable in price, but $90 for a signed vinyl? I purchased a vinyl boxed set which included five vinyl albums and was exclusively offered to fans via a crowdfunding, and nowhere else for $100. The item in question will not be mass released by a label in a few months. The problem here is that fans will purchase a lot of these items, a lot of the lower priced ones anyway, can’t see how someone, unless they’re loaded, and have plenty of disposable income will purchase the $9,400 package to jam with Megadeth! Love both bands, both have been a very important part of my life, hell my wife and I used Take My Picture by Filter for the cake cutting part of our wedding, but man oh man, just seems like they’re asking a bit much. In any event, decide for yourself, check out the crowding projects by Megadeth and Filter by clicking on either one of the band names.