Rock Blog;  Interview with- Spider Fingers of 71Spiders

 

Question:  How's everything going so far for 71Spiders?

Spider:  It's been allot of learning

Question: Tell us about the first album

Spider:  It was allot of work!  I had recorded about 10 songs when my computer totally crashed.  I have the songs saved but decided since I needed  a new computer I should get a new recording program and switched to Pro Tools.  So I was  learning Pro tools while making the album!  I decided to write all new songs as well.  I thought when I get 10 good songs recorded I'll stop and put the album out but every time I tried to stop writing a new song would come pouring out of me!  Very quickly I had 20 songs recorded and decided enough.  So then I picked the songs that flowed well together and picked 11 songs and that's it!

Question:  Will the left over songs be on the next album?

Spider-  Well, I've written and recorded some new songs that I feel are stronger songs but I may use a couple that I still like but I might re- record them because I've learned how to use Pro Tools better I think I can do them better!

Question:  Is the new album ready?

Spider-  Most of the basic tracks are done but I'm thinking about calling a few friends and see if they might want to play on a song or two.  I want the songs to be as strong as possible!  Also because I'm my own record company I follow what's going on in the music business and its changing very quickly!  People are not buying music any more,  allot of store's are getting rid of CD's,  even some big name online music distributers have said they won't be selling downloads any more so it's all about music streaming now.  So I'm considering just releasing singles for a while instead of albums.  Personally I love albums but very few people are buying so it's not a smart way of doing business right now. 

Question:  As a independent musician and not having a record company behind you it must be hard keeping up with the business and finding time for everything else?

Spider:  I don't have a company demanding things from me but I do try to set my own deadlines and I try to stick to them.  The first album a few of the songs I would have like to have re-recorded some of the tracks but I set deadlines and stuck to them...at some point you just have to say good enough.

Question:  So we should be looking for a new single from 71Spiders in the near future?

Spider:  Yes!  It should make things easier for me,  allot less time thinking about all that goes into putting a album together.  It's very much the way music was in the 1950's when bands and singers just put out singles.  It was the 1960's when bands like the Beatles made albums important.  History tends to repeat itself so I think this is just phase and I believe albums will come back again but the internet has really changed the music business.

Question:  What are your views on the music business?

Spider:  I've been trying to figure it out most of my life,  I've read books by music lawyers,  I've asked questions to every professional musician that I've met and read as much as I can.   All I can say is it's the most corrupt profession that I know of!   Even when you see a band that has made it big and made big money you'll find they were ripped off!

Question:  Can you give us some examples?

Spider:  I could write a book on this!  OK just at the level I was at playing in "the Flying 69" and "Electric Monster" we were a Club level band.  Many times we would ask the club owners to put in writing on a contract how much we were to be paid.  Not one club or promoter would ever do it!  Every time we ever played it was always a verbal contract and we were always paid cash, when we were paid.  There were times the promoter ran off with the money never to be seen again!  Sometimes club owners cried poverty and they couldn't afford to pay us but nights when there was a full house and they were making good money did they ever throw us a bonus, not even once!  Also because everything is verbal and paid in cash no taxes were ever paid!  Think about the millions of clubs throughout the country and the billions of dollars that are made and no taxes are paid,  that's billions every year!  I'm surprised in all the years I've been involved in music that the Federal Government or the IRS hasn't taken a closer look at the music business it's a joke!  I could go on for hours about ASCAP and BMI how they collect royalties for artist then distribute the money,  does anyone believe or completely understand it?  I've read two books by music lawyers and read many articles and they all seem to agree, they don't completely understand it and they think allot of artist are being cheated.  That's a couple of examples I could go on for hours but I don't want to bore you.  (Laughter)...

Question:  Wow I'm sure most people never even think about the business of music like you do!

Spider:  When I was playing in the 1980's and 90's there was no internet and as a band it was all about trying to get a record deal but now with the internet it's really changed everything.  In some ways it's great, such as my music is being played all over the world without the aid of a record company, but now because of the internet music is free so very few people are buying any more.  So now I have to hope the company's I'm dealing with will collect royalties for me like they claimed they would.. I won't be holding my breath!

Question:  So what keeps you going its obviously not the money?

Spider:  No, not the money,  that's for sure!  When I was a young kid I would catch myself singing songs and to me they seemed very catchy like something you'd hear on the radio and I thought if I could play a instrument and get these songs out of my head and record them somehow that maybe one day I could write a hit song.  That's what keeps me going I still believe I have a hit song in me!  I wouldn't mind if someone else performed it I just want it to be my song.  I just love music, of all the arts I don't know anyone who doesn't like music, do you?

Question:  That's a good point!  What do you think of today's music?

Spider:  I'm disappointed when I watch shows like the Grammies or say the MTV music awards and all I see is choreographed dancers dancing around good looking singers.  I don't see Rock bands at all, if it wasn't for the Foo Fighter or Green day we'd never see rock being represented.  I know there out there, there's lots of good bands but it's up to radio to stop playing just old classic rock and start mixing in some new bands!

Question:  Gene Simmons (KISS) said Rock n Roll is dead, do you think he's right?

Spider:  Well..I gave the last Kiss album a quick listen and judging from what I heard he might be right!  (Laughter!)  To be fair I gave it a very quick listen it might be good but nothing jumped out at me.  I think Gene was referring to the business.  I still see Kiss playing and filling big arenas making good money and charging allot of money for tickets!  People should take a look at how Kid Rock is doing business and bringing the price of tickets down.  The average price of a sporting or concert ticket is now a hundred dollars or more!   I rarely go anymore to concerts or sporting events.  For the price you pay to see a big band or a pro sports team they should give fans something,  a free t-shirt or a slice of pizza, something!  The last concert I was at the bands were charging fifty dollars for a t-shirt that cost them because they're buying in bulk maybe 7 dollars.  As long as people keep paying they will keep raising the price, it's up to people to stop going and stop buying then the price would come down,  but people keep paying so.. oh well!

Question:   Why did you wait so long to put out a album after Electric Monster split up?

Spider:  Well.. there's allot of reasons.  Mark, Tony and I are great friends, I think of them as family. No one ever said I'm quitting the band it's just we had been together for so long and we never got the big break we worked hard for.  We sacrificed any kind of a normal life and  though we had some success we just never got the big break.  A few times over the years I thought we might get together and jam or record but it hasn't happened yet.  So I was writing songs and I'd play them for my girlfriend and she said I'm the only one who gets to hear your songs and I said your right.  So I decided to make an album and put it out.

Question:  So you believe you'll do something again with Electric Monster?

Spider:  I can't say for sure but I have put aside a couple of songs that have the classic Electric Monster sound.  Never say never!  (Laughs!)

Question:  Any plans to do any shows?

Spider:  If there becomes enough demand I would get a band together but I'm holding out until someone is willing to pay a fair wage.  In Electric Monster we played a shit load of gigs and usually didn't even make enough money to cover our truck rentals.  People would tell me you have to pay your dues and I'd say how many years does that take?  I feel I've paid enough dues so at some point you have to say no until the price is right.  I'd play for free but you have to pay me to travel and get me out of the comfort of my home!  (laughs!)   

Question:  Any advice for young musicians?

Spider:  No they can screw up their own lives without any of my help! (Laughs)  To be honest I could use advice from them, they know how to use social media to promote allot better than I do!  I probably need to hire someone young to help me so I can pay more attention to just making music.   But advice, hmmm?  I guess just remember the chances of making it big in music, well it's like winning the lottery it's a million to one,  slim to none,  but you got to play to win!  If you're looking for sex drugs and rock n roll...Then you've come to right place!  You have to network meet people and be in the right place at the right time, you have to make your own luck, work hard, like the old saying..How do you get to Broadway- Practice, practice, practice!!  Is this good advice?

Question:  Sounds good!  How did you come up with the name 71Spiders?

Spider:  I didn't want to call it the Spider Fingers project or experience or whatever.  I wanted people to think its a band so I Googled rock bands named Spider and I was able to find 70 bands who had been called Spider thru out the years.  So I thought I'll call myself  71Spiders!  I thought it had a nice ring to it.  I hoped if I had some success then I could put a band together and I'd already have the name in place.

Question:  So let's sum up this interview,  71Spiders band or solo project?

Spider:  I look at it this way, it's my music and if I start having some success and promoters,  managers, whomever started contacting me with offers then I'd put a band together.  Think of the Foo Fighters as an example, you know its Dave Grouls vision and his music but most people just think it's a band.

Question:  Singles or albums?

Spider:  Singles for now then maybe compile them into a album.

Question:  Rock music dead or alive?

Spider:  Well Jack Whites new album just debut at number one on the Billboard charts I just read so I'd say Rock is still alive!  I'd say this,  a good song will break through all genres of music.

Question:   Kiss or Aerosmith?

Spider:  I grew up loving both bands but at some point I felt Kiss was more interested in making money then making good music and the last time I saw Aerosmith was on TV  on American Idol playing the single from there album they had out and it didn't catch on.  Both bands need to write better music!

Question:  You said you were looking to hire someone young to help you, what age range are you thinking?

Spider:  I'm thinking somewhere around ten to fifteen!  (Laughing)  Seriously I'm not sure I could afford to hire someone so it would have to be someone who could use me as a stepping stone, meaning someone who could help me but also help themselves.  You know put on their resume I worked with 71Spiders.

Question:  Who are your Influences?

Spider:  I was a kid in the sixties and like everyone in those days we watched the Ed Sullivan Show and one of my earliest memories was seeing the Beatles and watching how excited my older brother and sister were, that always stuck with me.  We listened to the radio allot to, AM radio all the hits of the day and they were still playing the hits from the 50's too, Chuck Berry and Elvis were huge still when I was a kid.  I got to see all the greats in their prime on TV live, the British invasion bands,  all the great Motown acts, James Brown.. Sinatra, just to many to list.  It all had a great effect on me, the Who on the Smothers Brothers knocked me over as a kid!  The Sixties was amazing time in music!  Then the Seventies, American Bandstand and Soul Train, the Midnight Special, Don Kirshners Rock Concert,  Disco, the West Coast sound it's all in me.  I loved the Alice Cooper band the Image and the music,  great songs!  Elton John, some of the best music ever!   Punk rock had a big impact on me too,  I was a young teenager struggling to learn the guitar and Mark Monster, we were in a high school band at the time shows up at my house with their first album.  We loved them because they looked cool and had great songs and they were easy to learn so we learned a bunch of their songs and play them at house parties before we started playing clubs and writing our own songs.  I saw all the great comedians too!  I have so many influences that I can't just name a few.

Question:  Well which guitar players were your favorites?

Spider:  So many to choose from, all the English guys starting with the Beatles and the  Stones, Clapton, Page,  Pete Townsend, Alvin Lee, Jeff Beck.  I loved Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix, just to many to think of.  In the seventies Ace Freely and Joe Perry.  I remember having a having a southern rock phase where I was learning Lynard Skinnard and the Outlaws.  Thin Lizzy and Moterhead,  UFO, AC/DC,  Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, the Scorpions, Motly Crue.. To many to think of.  I remember when I first heard Van Halen and thinking I can never be that good so I better concentrate on song writing because a great song is more important than being a great guitarist.  

Question:  American Idol or the Voice?

Spider:  I'm not watching either show right now.  I've seen both shows and I hear some really good singers but most of them lack something  I call the it factor.  There's lots of really talented people out there but very few have the "it factor" and it's not something that can be taught.  You either have it or you don't!  

Question:  Do you have it?

Spider:  I don't know!  I wonder if people who have it know they have it?  I'll ask Madonna the next time I run into her!

Question:  Have you ever been asked to join another band?

Spider:  I've been asked a few times but I didn't want to play someone else's music I'd prefer to write my own songs.  I was flattered to be asked though!

Question:  Anything more you'd like to say about the music business?

Spider:  No,  I've said way too much and who really cares!  (Laughing!)  I'll say this, when I was having my album mastered the guy at the studio was telling me how many singers come to his studio that he said couldn't sing in key and he uses auto tune or something to fix it.  That bothers me, I guess I'm old school, I believe you should re do it and do it right not fix singers or instruments with the aid of some effect.  Maybe what bothers me the most is that I'm old school! (Laughing!)

Question:  Thanks for talking with us!  Look forward to new music from 71Spiders!

Spider:   Thanks!  Can't wait to get new music out, I'm really excited about  the new songs,  I think the songs are really strong and I the recordings will be better than the first album but still raw more under-produced then over produced if you know what I mean.

 

Interview by Dean Dixon of Indy Rock Musician- Americas online Rock Magazine.