Nine Things Playing In Rock and Roll Bands Taught Me

Photo by Badulake/Wikimedia Commons
You have a long way to climb if you want to reach the "Dio" level of rock stardom.
Most people have entertained the fantasy of becoming a wealthy rock star, and a lot of them buy an instrument to fiddle around with. The majority of them eventually just throw that instrument into a closet after they move to another hobby, while a few become proficient players but never leave their bedrooms. This leaves a small number that actually form bands and take a stab at playing live to real audiences.

So what are some of the lessons that these aspiring rock stars are likely to learn or encounter on their way up (or down) the ladder of live music success? It's not all mountains of cocaine and groupie gang-bangs on the tour bus waterbed, is it?

Let's explore this further.

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On the Run Is Beyonce & Jay Z's Epic Moment

Photo courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment
Talking about the On the Run tour without breaking into cliché is difficult.

It goes without saying that any Beyoncé concert in Houston is special. It's, at the very least, a homecoming. When you add in her mega popular husband and set the whole thing in Minute Maid Park, it becomes even more than that: it becomes an event.

And even still, it's more than that.

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The Five Best Reasons to Use SoundCloud

As streaming services grow to be the norm and more and more people turn to YouTube, Spotify, Bandcamp and SoundCloud for their music listening experiences, it might seem overwhelming to bands trying to maintain an online presence. Do you have to use them all? Should you focus more attention on one over another? Which one is even best for your particular brand?

We here at Rocks Off don't particularly have a preference; we'll seek out music wherever we can find it. However, we've been thinking lately that for some bands, SoundCloud might be the best service of any for a variety of reasons.

It's not that we're in SoundCloud's pocket for any reason, but that site offers a few key advantages that might make it more ideal for your band, depending on what you do and what you're looking for.

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Diverse Bands Sound a Grace Note for Homeless Youth

Photo courtesy of Doomstress Alexis
L-R: Grace Note organizers Rally Terrill, Chase Hamblin and Doomstress Alexis
Mayor Annise Parker declared July 5, 2013 "Doomstress Alexis Day," in honor of the Project Armageddon front woman's dedication to Houston's LGBT community.

"Immediately after, fans, friends and both music and LGBT community supporters were asking what I was planning for 2014," she says. "I truly felt that Doomstress Alexis Day stood for the whole transgender community and the hope of things we could achieve, and not just me."

So, a year to the date, the Doomstress, her band and some of the city's best-known acts from a variety of genres are coming together for Grace Note, a festival-styled concert benefiting the Montrose Grace Place homeless shelter.

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Judas Priest, Nas, Death Cab for Cutie and Girl Talk Top Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 Lineup

Photo by Marco Torres
Fun Fun Fun Fest is not the biggest festival in the world. It doesn't draw the biggest names. It's not a hub for celebrity activity, although Val Kilmer did show up once.

But true to its name it is fun, and if you ask me (let's pretend that you did) it's the best festival of the year, the shining light at the end of a long festival season.

But hey, enough of the romanticizing- tickets for the 2014 installment of Fun Fun Fun Fest, taking place November 7th to the 9th, go on sale tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10 a.m. Check out this years lineup.

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10 Great Lost '80s Punk Bands

Photo by Jay Francis
Legionaire's Disease Band
Ah, punk rock. No matter how many times declare its demise, it just keeps coming back upon us. Right now, Houston's underground scene is bubbling over with talent and the influence of the '80s scene is going strong. Underground bands are getting resurrected by 7-inch collectors, and the look going forward seems to be looking back.

In the midst of all that, it might be time to explore some of the more underrated bands of the time. Some were influential, some just outright forgotten, but there were so many people kicking ass in this genre at the time that it was hard to keep up. These aren't your Black Flags or your Misfits, but are worth remembering all the same.

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Answering the Questions: A Handy Guide to the Band Tool in 2014

Photos by Jim Bricker

You've probably read online that Tool is touring again (and was in fact in Houston Tuesday night), and if you're like most music fans you probably have a lot of questions. According to the rules of rock, bands only tour for a handful of reasons, and since you haven't heard any news about Tool recently, you're probably thinking you missed something big.

REWIND: Tool at Toyota Center, 3/25/2014

Fear not, casual to semi-casual Tool fan; we just saw them live and we can answer any question you might have.

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Music's Got 99 Problems, and Jay Z Ain't One

According to a recent report, Justin Bieber's mom -- who we'll just call Mama Bieber -- is planning to launch her music career.

Yes, that means exactly what you think it does. Two Biebers will be working the fame-whore stroll -- probably together, since rumor has it that they're recording a duet. We know what you're thinking: The world doesn't need a Bieber duet, and we'd have to agree with you. The last thing we want to see is more Bieber headlines, about mother or son. They've done enough already.

And the idea of a Bieber duet may be a travesty, but so are a lot of things happening in music at the moment. Miley's tongue shoved down Katy Perry's throat is a prime example. So much wrong; so little right.

So you may be having girl problems, and we do indeed feel bad for you, son. But the real issue here is that music's got 99 problems, and a bitch still ain't one.

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Five Reasons to Be Excited About Kimbra's New Album (Remember Her?)

You may know her from pop star Gotye's 2011 hit single "Somebody That I Used to Know," but Australian export Kimbra is anything but your typical pop singer. While her work as of yet has definitely held a large mainstream appeal, it's clear she has every ambition to break the mold and tread experimental ground for someone in her position.

Taking the road less traveled seems to be the motto for her as-yet-untitled upcoming record, her second after 2012's Vows, and Kimbra is definitely planning something big for those interested in any kind of experimental music. Let's take a look at what she's cooking up and why this should be one of your most anticipated new-album releases right now.

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The Five Most Important Ways Emo Changed Popular Music

Some things never change. For a few years when I was younger, "fuck emos" was a battle cry among fans of "real punk" or "real music," who hated the wave of emo in popular music and as a lifestyle of teenagers across America. Now, in some ways, that sentiment seems to be back again.

Not only was I a self-described emo kid, but I still wave the flag proudly while the revival currently takes place in the underground led by bands like Touche Amore (playing Fitz tonight) and La Dispute. The funny thing is though, even if people did hate emos, even if they still do with the current revival, they lost the war a long time ago.

Emo has infiltrated our modern lifestyles in so many ways, whether some people like it or not. Here are five of the most important ways that emo changed popular music and the world at large.

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