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#691205 - 02/10/09 11:07 PM To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB  
Joined: Jan 2009
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
"To Gherm or not to Gherm"

This thread is dedicated to one of the trickiest subjects yet one that has to be addressed in any songwriter's forum. The act of "GHERMING!. (Pronounced Gurming)
Many people have talked about it and I wanted to point out what it is, how it takes place and how to avoid it. It stands out as one of the biggest problems professional songwriters, publishers, pluggers, record people, producers, etc. have and why most are so hesitant to involve themselves with people they don't know.
Gherming has been around for a long time. It is the act of trying to give out CD's (business cards can qualify but this is mostly CD's) to an inside industry person without developing relationships or setting up a senario that makes it okay. It happens like this:
Nashville is a town you can meet almost anyone. Particular writers. There are constant parties, seminars, networking events. Everybody pretty much knows everybody but there are new people that come in all the time. For this we will imagine that it is a songwriter's schmooze and move with food, drinks and a LOT of record people, publishers and writers. Jeffery Steele is there talking to people and has his hands full of food and a bottled water.
Duke Idiot, from Casper Wyoming, comes wandering over in all his cowboy finery, ten gallon hat, shiny boots, pressed Wranglers, the whole deal. He walks over to Jeff, and while Jeff is talking to some publisher he is dealing with, ole' Duke cuts right in, tries to shake his hand, spilling a few carrots, then says "Hey, you know I really think you have some good songs, man! And I KNOW you know what is good. (handing CD) Here are your next number one songs. I've got 19 here, just go through and let me know which ones you want to cut. And I have ten more CD's where that came from!"
Then he goes off and brags to everybody how he just got his songs to Jeffery and should be headed on down to the Caddilac Dealership because there is a little Red number he has had his eye on.
Of course what happens is Jeff kind of laughs, walks over to the appropriate recepticle, the trash can, and moves on to his food, remembering that ol'; Duke Idiot is now "Duke Never Was.

Some people will always say "Well how are you supposed to get songs to them if they never let you through the door.? Well, I can assure you, NOT LIKE THAT! That is rude number one. What you are saying by your actions is:

"I know you have worked your ass off, moved to one of the most competitive fields in the world, have taken years to work your way up the ladder, been rejected over and over and over again, and finally broke through, and I have never done that, don't want to leave my comfortable life, and would like to step in front of you in line, because I really don't care about what you have done and I want your money and contacts. You don't mind do you?"

What business do you do that in? What business of any kind do you just cut to the front of the line. It shows two things, that you have no clue how things work and that you really don't care. Well, we care. And it is the DEATH nail for outsiders. They will never become insiders.

There is also a legal issue. We have had a rash of lawsuits over the years over song theft. Look, I know everyone has their big story of how they played their song for Kenny Chesney's gardener's friend's cousin's plumber, and the gave them a CD and then that SAME song "I Love you Baby" ended up on a Kenny Chesney CD. No it didn't. It ended up in the plumbers garbage, with the CD going in the trash and your box now holds his DVD game of Guitar Hero. NOBODY STEALS SONGS! Period. And if you say they do, PROVE it! It will take you hundreds of thousands of dollars and about ten years in the courts. Go ahead.
People who write for a living work all day on their own songs. They are in writers appointments. They rarely listen to anything. When you start with music around 8:00 in the morning, and go all day until 10:00 or 11:00 a night, the last thing you do is listen to music. It just doesn't work that way.
Now we all pick up stuff subconciously. We are all writing the same stuff. There are 12 notes. Every thing has been done over and over and over. So don't pull that stuff. But there are tons of lawsuits and I just have a little problem with some guy who sits in his living room, lives with his mother in New Jersey, has never been to Nashville and writes three songs every two years, is going to have an idea worth stealing to a guy who has has three number ones, forty cuts, and is inside the music business for fifteen years. GEt a grip. Just don't happen and all the stories you want to give me, I guarentee you I can stump any one you got.
I have been on the inside for 20 years, write with some of the best writers on earth, have been onstage with many of them, and have had 13 titles, hooks, ideas of mine end up as big hits in 6 years. But that doesn't mean anybody steals anything. That means we are all writing the same stuff and trying to come up with the magic take on the idea.
I've got to go, I am performing tonight, probably will go steal something. In the meantime, if you have a question or comment regarding gherming, funny stories or else, post it. I'll be back later.

MAB

#691210 - 02/10/09 11:32 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Johnny Daubert Offline
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I've "Gifted" to many, (handing CD's to outsiders, not insiders).

Only Ghermed once, but was indirectly, as it was to the bus driver for Conway Twitty, while being able to step in his bus in NJ at the Garden State Fair when the park was still there in Cherry Hill. Probably did just end in the trash anyway, (cassette then).

Met a lot of celeb while tuning their pianos, (players of piano, or for the singers that happened to have a piano player). Never Ghermed any of them. If we talked about music, it was mostly just normal music talk. If the business came up, I would just ask about it, then listen to the very interesting stories. I could sense that any meeting between the celeb and me was NOT going to be about me. (Except one). For he asked me to play one of my songs after the tuning, and he would "play along". But just giving a CD or cassette at that or anytime did seem to be not a good idea, unless the conversation drifted that way, and was asked. But like I said, the talks weren't about me anyway. I wanted them to be at some point. But, mostly, it was just about them doing their soundcheck and getting ready for another show.

The guy who asked me to play something and he would play along? Issac Stern. I still can hear the whole duet! The song was one of my instrumentals. And he just took it and "played along" as "he" wrote it! That was enough for me!

John


Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
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#691213 - 02/10/09 11:46 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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MAB: Interesting subject. On the other end are the folks that have never heard of gherming, don't know what the "rules" are and haven't had exposure to know what is wrong and what is right. Of course, back home they are the big fish in a little pond and everyone is telling that person (Mom's included), that you have to get your CD into the hands of everybody you can -- you've got to get heard.

I believe that most of us here have heard of gherming and know that it is the kiss of death, but the vast majority of songwriters/artists probably think that the reason to visit Nashville, NY, LA is to get your music heard. I can imagine Duke going back to his Mom and his mom asking "Who did you get your music to?". Duke says no one -- she flips out!

I know you are right, but countless other do not. I am glad you are out there trying to educate us the best you can.

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#691222 - 02/11/09 12:12 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Joe Wrabek Online content
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Joe Wrabek  Online Content
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I understand and sympathize, Marc. As an outsider interested (marginally) in being noticed by Nashville, I still have a problem.

I don’t live in Nashville, and since I don’t make my living off music, I don’t get the chance to visit very often. My last vacation—a whole week’s worth—I went to Nashville for Pineyfest. Got to cut a few demos with Mike and his guys, and perform on stage at Lyrix a couple of times. I did get to meet a couple of publishers, and I did give them CDs. (Most of the 50 CDs I brought with me I traded with other songwriters who were at Pineyfest.)

I don’t know as I interrupted anybody’s conversations, or spoiled anybody’s good time. And I certainly didn’t tell them my songs were anybody’s next big hit, or that I wanted ahead in line of anybody who was writing for a living, or that I was headin’ down to the Cadillac dealership to stake me out a new Fleetwood while they were figuring out they needed to agree with me. I mostly just wanted to tell said folks I was there, and I was interested. And I really didn’t—and don’t—know how else to do it.

I did buy—and read--one of those “How to Make It in Nashville as a Writer” books; after reading it, I left it on a bench at the airport for the next dreamer. It went through a lot of the you-can’t-talk-to-people/you-can’t-give-them-records/you-can’t-play-songs-for-them/you-just-have-to-be-friendly-and-wait-for-them-to-notice-you stuff (as well as saying, of course, that you have no hope of making it in Nashville unless you move there). That does strike me as the hallmark of an exclusive-minded club that really doesn’t want new people trying to get in. (And that’s not meant to sound unfriendly. Just blunt.)

I have been in business for myself—I ran a profitable little graphic-design shop for a number of years—and one of the things you have to do when you’re in business is promote yourself. You try to not be annoying about it, because that’s counter-productive, but you have to somehow let people know you’re out there, and what you do, or you’re not going to get any business. I have to approach writing the same way.

My niche in the music business, if I have one, is as a writer (it’s certainly not as a musician, and definitely not as a singer). I want to write stuff that other people will perform and/or record and make famous. They’re not going to be able to do that if they don’t know the stuff exists. I can prove my songs sell records (because I’ve sold them), and that people will come in kinda large numbers to hear them even if I’m performing them, but how are the guys and gals in The Biz supposed to know that unless somebody tells them? The low-profile approach I keep seeing recommended strikes me as not really doing anything productive.

So what am I supposed to do?

Joe

#691305 - 02/11/09 06:00 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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niteshift Offline
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Hey Marc,

Interesting points, but I think it just comes down to basic civility. It's similar to the bloke who meets a doctor at a party, and begins reeling off stories of his ingrown toenail.

If it's an industry event for the process of networking, the whole point is to swap information, at an appropriate and meaningful point in time.

If it's not a specific industry event, lets say a film premiere, then it's a no go area. Likewise backstage, or hanging in a green room, at a private party, or in someones private space, it's way off limits.

If in doubt, I reckon it's real easy. Shut up. And if the subject arises, arrange to talk business at a later date, in a more appropriate setting.

cheers, niteshift

#691306 - 02/11/09 06:14 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Joe,

You work your way up. I have been asked the one thing that I would suggest to anyone trying to do this. In one word. Listen.
You have to find out what other people are doing, what other people are into. This is NOT about YOU! Your songs are not about YOU! Your songs are about the relationships and personal emotional bridges you build between your listeners and you. You are not the guide here. You are the guest. You are a guest in other people's living room, on other people's job site.
Can anyone make contacts and not live here? Of course so. Goes like this. For one eighteenth of a second you stop thinking about your own songs, your own journey, and start thinking about someone except yourself. You stop to think about how you might write something that someone else might like to sing and it is about them, not you. You think for another millisecond about what someone else might be going through in their business and how their business relates to you. You get out of your own way long enough to be interested in what other people are going through. Because you are asking them if they will include you in their lives. What can you do for them? That is what this is about.
So you spend that week making contacts, doing guitar pulls, finding out what they are like. What kind of music makes someone else move. Then you collect business cards. You start e-mail dialogues. You talk on the phone. You get songs going with five people. Three drop out because of no time or no interst. Welcome to the music business, most things don't work out. That is why you have to have bigger numbers, to increase your odds.
You start writing with people and some of those make trips to Nashville. Some of them start making inroads with publishers. You make repeat trips. Your previous connections lead you to other songwriters, people they have written with, people they know. now you are writing with inside the town people. You are in the back door to publishers.
But at every step, you better have a lot of ammunition. Because that is what you are going to have to bring to the table.
That is where the rubber meets the road.

MAB

#691313 - 02/11/09 07:13 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Joe Wrabek Online content
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Thanks, Marc. That helps a lot. I am doing some of that, and I will do more.

Joe

#691416 - 02/11/09 03:45 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Joe,

You ever throw a rock into a pond? Watch the ripples go outward? That is the music industry especially as it relates to Nashville. There are tons of people both who live here and don't live here, that make inroads in their career. It is as has been said here, about Civility, and common sense. You want people to do something for you? Do something for them. It all comes back.I promise.

MAB

#691615 - 02/12/09 02:15 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Kathy Bampfield Offline
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Kathy Bampfield  Offline
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Norristown, PA, USA
Marc,

I have listened alot...but I don't believe I have ever heard this as bluntly and as eloquent as you have put it....wow....
I'm printing off the above entry to tac on my board n keep reminding myself where I am going...

"Your songs are about the relationships and personal emotional bridges you build between your listeners and you. You are not the guide here. You are the guest. You are a guest in other people's living room, on other people's job site."

I know the industry is small...The average writer doesn't realize that. What is said today at noon is heard by 12:02 all around the row....

What you are talking about also is the writing up theory, people help you and you in turn help someone else with what you have learned. or you say passin it forward

#695407 - 02/24/09 12:52 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Kathy Bampfield]  
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Tom Shea Offline
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Tom Shea  Offline
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Nebraska
Very good and useful points Marc.

Tom


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting
http://www.soundclick.com/thomasshea

Justice - Songs
http://www.soundclick.com/justice-nebraska

#701496 - 03/14/09 10:24 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Tom Shea]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Hey guys,

I had forgotten about this thread. i had a very funny gherming story that you guys might like. I call this one,

Getting Ghermed to Death.
A very good friend of mine is named Jerry Vandiver. Jerry is a thirty year Nashville veteran as a writer. Has had some nice hits, "Don't Blame it on the Blues" for Gene Watson, "For a Little While" for Tim McGraw and several cuts on Phil Vasser, among others. He has written a booklet, "Writing for your first cut" with his wife Gracie Hollambie, which is one of the better workshop books about the town. A really great guy.
Sometimes we won't see each other for years. That's just kind of the way it gets here sometimes. You lose contact. So when he calls me out of the blue sometimes, it is a pleasent surprise, but also he starts the converstaion just like we talked an hour before. It usually starts out with "You won't believe this!!!"
That is how this one started. About a year ago he calls me up with that greeting and begans to tell me this story. We are both enormous Gherm haters, so we are always on the same wavelength.
About two years ago, he had begun having pains in his side. They didn't go away and one day he had Gracie take him to the hospital. It turns out it was an absessed appendix and he needed emergency surgery. While the Doctors checked him out he had people in and out prepping him for the procedure. After a little while, a cute girl nurse came in to fill out his particulars. "So you are a songwriter huh?" She asked. Jerry, in enormous pain, struggled to answer. "I write some songs too," she said, "but I really want to be a singer." In so much pain but about to laugh, Jerry ignored her and she went away. A few minutes later, an orderly comes in to wheel him into surgery.
As they are going down the hall, the orderly a pretty big African American looks down and asks, "Hey man, you a songwriter huh? I write some songs too. Man who should I go see?"
I don't think Jerry listened to his stuff.

So sometimes gherming can be nearly fatal.

MAB

#701547 - 03/15/09 01:50 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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WriterTomYeager Offline
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WriterTomYeager  Offline
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Harrisonburg,Virtginia
let me be sure about this Marc

are you saying it wouldnt be a good idea to slip my next 3 song demo CD into the player at the funeral home when some big time Music Row executive dies? after all-his replacement will be there-as well as numerous potential singers who might prefer it to that boring funeral home stuff........but you are saying that would be in bad taste-right?

Tom

#701662 - 03/15/09 04:11 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: WriterTomYeager]  
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Tom,

I am sure you could do that and get away with it. Everyone would see your cherubic face and forgive immediately.
I did have a thing I did for a while. I had a greeting card made up that I inserted my CD, "My Wish." It was kind of an all purpose greeting card that I gave certain people. Worked for funerals, sickness, get well,birthdays, etc. Someone did give one to a songwriter friend and he did contact me for a co-write, but that is about as far as I go. They acutally have these musical cards now that have the little sound hickie in them.
But was a fun idea for a while.

MAB

#701666 - 03/15/09 04:28 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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This was one of the best threads ever, for me. I learned that even when your golden opportunity is standing right before your eyes, the right question is not "Hey, can I give you this?"...no, it's "What have I done for this person?" If I can't answer that second question, then the golden opportunity really isn't standing before my eyes...or at least not yet.

#701680 - 03/15/09 05:12 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mark,

That is not exactly right. Look at it a different way. imagine what you have done for a living. The years you have put in, learning your craft, let's say for this argument you are a plumber. You have done years of groveling in the dirt, have done years of making little or no money, have done every kind of bad job in the world.
Little by little you struggle, working three and four jobs just to make ends meet, then you start getting your foot in the door. You get smaller sub contracting jobs. Then you start your own little side business. After a while you have done that and you develop a nice business. People come to you all the the time for your work. Now at the same time the competition is incredible. Everybody is trying to get your client list, undercut you on prices, move in all around you. People are cutting back on home repairs. Work is tightening all over. Because of Home Depot and Lowes, people are doing their own home repairs. But all in all, you are still doing alright. But you have to fight for every thing you get.
Now, someone that you don't know, meets you at a party and says "Hey, I have never really done plumbing before, but I am really good with my hands, and I saw a television show last night called "flip this house" and they say I can make a fortune with no money down. You don't mind if I step in line in front of you, take your contacts and money do you?"
That is the deal. Everyone in any business has not only risen to the level craft wise, but done the benefits, hanging out all night on writers nights, open mics. Working three and four jobs just to be able to live here. Writing with crappy writers because a publisher needs you to to make him look good. Losing jobs to interns who do the same thing you do for free. Get dropped from publishing deals because they just signed a twenty year old the president of the company's wife has the hots for. You don't get the single at the last minute because the artist decides to put one of his own songs to round out the project, because his record company told him he is getting dropped if his next project stiffs. The money you loaned someone to pay their rent, ends up leaving town along with the friend and now you can't pay your rent. You find out in the morning e-mail or newspaper that your company has folded and no one even told you. And the one thing you were really hoping for, the new artist and CD, failed because it has been downloaded five times as much as it sold.
That is what it is like on the "other side of the desk." And why it is so hard to get anything through the gauntlet of filters. Again, that is why it takes the relationships to get anywhere.

MAB

#701692 - 03/15/09 05:51 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Yeah, I can understand the resentment.

But I figure asking for a cowrite is also a gherm. Or even just saying "what do you think of my music?" The out-of-the-loop ghermer wants anything from it...get it cut, maybe see this and decide to cowrite, even just validate it and say hey that's good man. I know, because I've felt that way, wishing I could just meet some industry person at a party. But it's all still just pestering. What a turnoff, and how constantly must that happen in a place like Nashville. Immediate dealbreaker, game over, see ya, bye, please go home now.

My point was that you don't just ask...the common thinking is that it never hurts to ask...but it does. It's just another form of taking, of me me me thinking. That's why I'd ask that question, "what have I done for this person" before I'd ever broach the topic of my own stuff, period. If there is nothing in it for the "ghermee", than it's rude to go there.

Hey Marc, on a different topic, I have a bunch of these flyers for my pizza place that I'm shipping to you, free of charge. Please pass them out to all the industry people you know. Thanks a ton. wink

#701724 - 03/15/09 07:40 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Okay, so the next time I go to Nashville, I won't wear the "SEEDEES TENBUX--INQUIRE WITHIN" T-shirt. I understand.

Marc et al., at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly (I am a thoroughgoing curmudgeon, but try not to sound like one), the scenario for Dealing With Nashville I see being described here is an impossible one. It's reminiscent of the entertainment industry in ancient Rome, where a successful performer in the provinces would go to Rome and be told, "Okay, first we have to castrate you, and then sacrifice you to the temple gods, and hey, if you make it through that, we might let you set up chairs in the Coliseum for a while." Most provincial performers with any sense went back to the provinces (and it's been argued the provinces had a more vibrant cultural life because of it).

Here at home, I think everybody knows I'm on the make, out for any and all business I can get. I am not intrusive about it, and I make sure I do people favors first before they do me because I think life is supposed to be lived like that--but I make sure people know what I do, and what I can do, because if I didn't, they wouldn't know, and I wouldn't get any business. What I see described in the Dealing With Nashville stuff here is you're not even supposed to do that, and I know from experience (and an advertising and marketing background stretching back quite a few years) that you don't and won't get any business if you do that. What I think I got told here is I won't get any business if I do. Ergo, the impossible.

Sounds like I should stay in the provinces.

Joe

#701770 - 03/15/09 09:49 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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So, exactly what is it we should be doing for the industry big wig that we don't dare disturb? I know that sounds sarcastic, and I apologize because I think Marc has provided some really interesting insight into the music business. And I know there are dues to pay; nothing's going to fall into your lap.

But I think Joe is right. It's seems nearly impossible to make any inroads, given some of the do's and don'ts. A lot of what I've read almost makes it sound like we shouldn't even bother knocking 'cause we ain't gettin' in.

And, for the record, I'm not complaining. I don't sing (very well), or play an instrument, and have no delusions about fame and fortune...at least, anymore. wink I am content to write a few lyrics and collaborate with some great musicians here at JPF. But for so many others, it really does seem to be an uphill battle to get any further than they already have.

Greg



If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding.
#705014 - 03/25/09 11:38 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Greg C. Brown]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Greg and Joe,

This is going to sound simplistic but you MAKE friends. You don't go hitting up on the bosses, you find out who work for them and if you like them. I am a little puzzeled at who told any of you that you start at the top. The people that I am talking about, hit writers, publishers, song pluggers, etc. have earned their way into situations by being there, sacrificing, and doing the grunt work. Anyone who has not done that, has not done the same thing they have done. They might have done it in their home town but they are not trying to negotiate their hometown.
The artist I have worked with for a year, got to know me. He came in to town for 6 months, once a month, spent time and money with me, and proved himself to me. His personality was great, his skills very managable and his attitude was impeccable. In one year he has written now with 7 number one writers, has a full money deal and was signed to Warner Brothers Records last Friday as an artist.
He did not have to gherm because he had me. You have to find your own way in and even if you worked with me, I cannot guarantee your success. that depends on you. I can lead you right to it, but I can't force people to like you. There are other people who do critiques, run writers nights, workshops, etc. and to each of them there are plusses and minuses.
I am not here to sell my business. I am here to point out the other side of the desk and what it is like trying from here.

It is an uphill battle for everybody. I have been writing this week with a Hall of Famer, Richard Leigh (Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue, Greatest Man I Never Knew)and he has not had a significant cut in years. Now he is not suffering, but still the ego would like to make sure you are still relevant. And in a business that judges you by what is happening with your current record, it is a tough row to hoe for everyone, including yesterday's crop who are being replaced.
So when you get frustrated, upset, angry, dissalousioned, etc. just put yourself in the shoes of someone that has sold millions of records and having problems getting a foot back in the door. It is a rat race for all of us.

MAB

#705064 - 03/26/09 02:44 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Marc,

I'd like to add an important aspect of making friends...trust. When someone pushes too much or wants something for nothing, the reason they turn people off is that they are not trusted.

Yes, you should be a giving, helpful person, but the first day you meet the president of Big Big Music, you don't offer to house sit for them or drive their daughter to the mall. It is a matter of building trust. When a music executive endorses you, then they are putting their reputation on the line. They want to know you won't stab them in the back, or hit on their wife, or steal their leather cigar case.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#705079 - 03/26/09 06:31 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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MidniteBob Offline
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Raleigh, ya'll
Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar
Marc,
They want to know you won't stab them in the back, or hit on their wife, or steal their leather cigar case.


Dern it! Now I'm gonna hafta learn a whole new set of skills.

Midnite


Satchel was right. Something is gaining on me.

The Shoebox & Dinner at Eight trailers available at:

http://www.twometer.com/Two_Meter_Studios/HOME.html
#705186 - 03/26/09 02:45 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: MidniteBob]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Bob,

Maybe you have a future as a record company executive.

MAB

#705194 - 03/26/09 03:00 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Joanne Lurgio Offline
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Hi Marc -
Nice to meet you! This is an awesome thread! Thank You.
I learned about "gherming" the first time I attended Pineyfest in Nashville. Bobbie Gallup was whereing a t-shirt with the letters "WDG" on the front and offered a prize to the person who could tell her what the letters stood for.
WDG .. WE DON'T GHERM!
We all learned the lesson at that time.
I learned the lesson about developing relationships and making friends and I have passed the lesson on to my friends at home.
It is a respectable lesson no matter where are!
Thanks for the clear cut discussion.
All the Best
Joanne

#705772 - 03/28/09 12:31 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joanne Lurgio]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Okay Marc:

If one Gherms... does that make him a Gherman? Lol!

Dave

http://www.daverice.bandcamp.com

http://www.ShowCaseYourMusic.com/DaveRice

#705773 - 03/28/09 12:32 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joanne Lurgio]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Sorry... the old dreaded "double post" gremlin arrived just as I was clicking on the "send" button.

Last edited by Dave Rice; 03/28/09 12:34 PM.
#705865 - 03/28/09 08:33 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Dave Rice]  
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I've seen this word in print a lot but never heard it spoken. Is it really pronounced with a hard g (gurming) instead of with the j sound (jurming)? It seems like the latter would be perfect - like spreading germs. grin

Anyone know where the name comes from?

An off-topic yet still on-topic question.... smile

But critical, because if I'm gonna gherm someone, I'd better pronounce it right! Otherwise, I'd look stupid. grin

Just kidding, of course.... smile

Funny stories, Marc - thanks for the laughs! Serious about the pronunciation though....

Scott


#706125 - 03/29/09 10:08 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Scott Campbell]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi Scott:

I've seen a thread about this subject somewhere... and you are correct about the hard G. I can't remember exactly where I saw the darn thing but it was an interesting article. I don't think it was here at JPF although the subject has been discussed here. I'm leaning toward Muse's Muse or a similar site. Sorry, Senior Moment.

Regards,

Dave

http://www.daverice.bandcamp.com

http://www.ShowCaseYourMusic.com/DaveRice

#706144 - 03/29/09 11:20 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Dave, I think if one gherms, one is (if I remember the pronunciation right) a "Ghermlin."

Joe

#706171 - 03/30/09 02:25 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Scott and Dave,

I moved here in 88' but it had been in usuage for many years before that. The one I heard spell it was Harland Howard, who was considered the "dean of Nashville songwriters." Someone had tried to talk to him one night and he just was having none of it. He had been drinking his usual White Russians at a place called "Sammy B's, and was complaining about new writers bitching about how hard the music business was. they were always trying to get free advice from him.
This one guy had just been relentless and he said pretty loudly, "Nobody sent for you! And don't let the door knob hit you in the ass on the way out!"
AS the guy left, he said "Them Damn GHERMS are getting to me! G-H-E-R-M-S Gurms!!!! That is the way I heard it and where I get it from. Over the past few years it became a legal issue with a lot of people getting sued, and it has been quite a topic in the professional community. NSAI couldn't get pros to come out and do workshops, or talk to anybody. They were just tired of it too.
So that is why I have been trying hard to spread the word. And that is how it was spelled to me.

MAB

#706245 - 03/30/09 12:28 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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I think I'd heard it was derived from the Yiddish "goyim", which is "a disparaging term for one who is not a Jew."


––––––––––––––––––
Brian Baughn
BaughnSongs
#706276 - 03/30/09 01:44 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Brian Baughn]  
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It is entirely understandable why people would not want to be constantly bothered and imposed upon. They don't need it, and the probability of a g-er having something worthwhile is probably low.

Tom


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting
http://www.soundclick.com/thomasshea

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http://www.soundclick.com/justice-nebraska

#707221 - 04/02/09 01:29 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Tom Shea]  
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eb Offline
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What worries me is how I look when I see someone famous. I light up. I turned around one day at NSAI and Teddy Gentry of Alabama was standing right behind me. Well, NSAI is located in the old Music Mill/Bradley's Barn. The Music Mill is where Alabama recorded a lot of their stuff. So I was excited and said "Hey, I know you've been here before!" or something like that. He smiled a real big smile and then he was called into the side office. So I don't know if that was bad or not. I hope he enjoyed being recognized. I was really excited.

#707229 - 04/02/09 02:23 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: eb]  
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I've managed restaurants for years, and in the higher end places we'd get celebrities all the time. I always told my servers and bussers that they were not allowed to approach them and strike up conversations...unless of course they were sitting at the server's table. If I didn't do that, those poor people would be pestered nonstop until they left. I can't imagine a more annoying thing than to be constantly approached by strangers, all WANTING something from you...a smile, a joke, a memory...gimme gimme gimme. And yet I've rarely met a celebrity who acted like a jerk...most of them have been very poised and polite.

My two favorite celebrity dining memories were Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and their wives dining together, back when one of the "Grumpy Old Men" movies was being filmed, laughing together and really enjoying each other's company...and the other one was Christian Laettner (basketball star) and Stephen King at a two-top. From what I could tell, all King wanted to talk about was basketball, and all Laettner wanted to talk about was horror. grin

#707234 - 04/02/09 02:40 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: eb]  
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Hi Marc,

Thanks for a fantastic thread with some solid practical advice about such an important issue.
I'm grateful for your wisdom and the fact that you took the time to share this with us!! smile

One of the most annoying and repulsive things about the music business to me is the complete and total lack of awareness of others' needs and feelings that seems to be such a comman quality in many artists who are trying to break in to the business. Thanks for pointing out the importance of thinking of others and building real relationships.

Even in Los Angeles, most of my music opportunities have come from word of mouth and who I knew.

In general, I think our society has become quite rude and impatient. The old saying, "You get more flies with honey than with vinegar" really appplies here. I have also noticed that polite emails are more easily accepted and respected than violating someone's privacy by getting in their face with a CD.

I love your stories! Thanks again for helping others outside of Nashville to understand the proper way to build contacts appropriately.

Emily






#707827 - 04/03/09 11:25 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Emily Sanders]  
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Emily,

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. hey I wanted to make you aware of something I am trying to do on your behalf. Another "side of he desk" I see are "inside Nashville people" do that I call
"Reverse gherming." Those are studios, mentors, demo mills, "consultants" song pluggers, that put the hard sale on you for your business. I am trying to remind the insiders that we have to be resepectful of you as well. It is fine to point out if you offer services, but never to pressure someone to buy your book, support your service or studio without knowing everything you do and limits up front.
I am one of those consultants, but I would like to think I offer twice what I am paid for in the form of advice and suggestions in forums such as these. So before you employ anyone, especially those that might "seem a little fishy" make sure you get some insights in places like these first.Ask questions. Even about me. I have no problems providing references
on myself or anyone I personally know. Be careful but open.
Trust but verify.

MAB

#707828 - 04/03/09 11:28 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Eb,

You did fine with Teddy. He enjoys it. Recognizing and speaking to someone is NOT Gherming.It is common courtesy. Trying to get them to listen to songs or accept business cards, or CD's unasked for, are GHERMING.

MAB

#707829 - 04/03/09 11:35 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Mark,

Your great story reminded me of my own close call. My Father was my biggest supporter. And also sometimes WAY over the top. he and I had a business restoring old collector cars, Mercede's and Jaquars, etc. so many record execs found him very interesting to have around.
Through some efforts he got me in some pretty nice doors. But he was almost always pushing the envelope. One day he calls me up and says "I've got this new idea. " "Oh My GOD NO!" I thought.
His idea was to bribe valet people parking cars in resturants to leave my CD in their CD decks. He thought it was great. I thought it was an invasion of privacy and would have nothing to do with it. We fought over it several times and then he let it rest.
A year or so later we were putting a deal together pairing up collector auto auctions with people like Hank Williams Jr. Toby Keith, The Judds, Ricky Van Shelton, and others. I would be the opening act for a series of concerts at these events. One day the managers of those acts, a booking agent and other interested parties, were meeting for lunch to iron out the details. The agent, a very high powered guy with Willaim Morris agency sits down in a huff and say's "You are NOT going to BELIEVE what just happened to me!" Some SOB valet tried to leave his F......G CD in my car!!!!! I got him fired!"
I grabbed my DAD very quietly at the table and said "YOU DIDN't Did you?" He didn't but he never tried to do that again.
There is a time and a place for everything. Just be patient and nice. You'll do fine.

MAB

#710135 - 04/12/09 09:17 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Thank you for the insight Marc, very informative, and very important information for those who plan to visit here, and spend a little time promoting while they are here.

I can understand why some of the folks fail to get it though. About 3 weeks after I moved to Nashville, I was participating in a songwriter night over at the Broken spoke with Debi Champion. That particular night Denny Music Publishing was there with one of their writers who had found success writing songs. Pandora who was John Dennys wife took a liking to my songs and had Debi give me their card and told me to call and make an appointment, they would be interested in hearing more of my songs. I was at the very least elated beyond belief. I made the appointment, and being an ignorant new guy I took the whole CD I had to the meeting ( for those of you that haven't been there, the standard is to bring in at the most 3 songs).Scared to death because everyone had warned me that John Denny didn't waste time or mince words, and he wasn't real concerned about your ego or your feelings, if he thought it was bad he would tell you so...Gulp.
Well he listened to every song on the CD all the way through...never said anything really bad about any of them, and then started asking me questions, and it was going real good till he asked me how long I had been in town... I answered honestly "Three weeks", the conversation immediately changed, I was told how he thought for sure I would write something that would be a hit, but at this point I was too country, go home, write him something like the stuff currently on the radio and get involved in NSAI,keep doing the songwriter nights, keep working at my craft, and be sure to stay in touch with them, and he politely escorted me to the door.

Next day I was playing down at Roberts on Broadway, and a guy named Wayne Perry ( who was a staff writer for Sony tree at that time)asked me how it went. I told him the same story and he started laughing, and told me not to be too upset. Most people that had made it in the business were here for 6 or 7 years before someone was willing to take them seriously. Seemed like the fact I had been writing for 26 years before I got to Nashville really didn't matter, didn't count at all. To that he replied " Billy in my opinion your a great writer, but your gonna have to be patient and pay your dues , just like a lot of great writers before you. Hang in there, don't give up."..and I thought how many great writers went back home, how many great songs would never be heard, because they didn't have the money or the means to stay here for 7 years.

Anyways the moral of the story is, it didn't matter what I thought was fair,it didn't matter if it was right or wrong, it's the reality of the way things were. The Nashville community had a very tight, close knit group of people and it took time to break into it. They had many unwritten rules of protocol, and were very unforgiving if you broke them. In this town if you step on the wrong toes you may never get a second opportunity to make a good first impression. If your gonna play their game, you play by their rules, that simple.

Thank god for the alternatives that are available to all of us today, we no longer have to bow down to the good ole boys network, today there is nothing the big labels can offer me that I can't do for myself. My publisher is willing to freely distribute and advertise my songs, it's called the internet, and my success or failure depends entirely on me. Technoligy has most certainly leveled the playing field.

#710255 - 04/13/09 01:48 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Billy Darnell]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Everett Adams  Online Content
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,NL Canada
Sounds like the Mafia LOL

#710260 - 04/13/09 02:07 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Billy Darnell Offline
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Lebanon, TN
hahahahahahahahaha, never quite thought about it that way Everett, but I guess one could make that comparison. Maybe not as brutal, but certainly they are their own family, and much like the mafia not just anyone gets in.

#710276 - 04/13/09 03:04 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Billy Darnell]  
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beechnut79 Offline
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beechnut79  Offline
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Villa Park IL
Well, there was one person in particular who did step on the toes of the Nashville establishment and came out a winner, and theat was Waylon Jennings, who bucked the system and fought for creative control over his music. But he lived long enough to see the trend reversed, and the maverick heyday was over around the time Reagan became president, and control reverted to the bigwigs. I know this just from what I've heard, but it pretty much became the same in every industry. You have corporate conglomerates having become more powerful everywhere. Where is the next Waylon?

#710305 - 04/13/09 06:40 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: beechnut79]  
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Billy Darnell Offline
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Hi beechnut,

Waylon, Willy, Johnny Cash, and several others defected from Nashville, and moved their business interests to Branson, MO., back in the late 70's or early 80's after a rift with the industry and the city. Waylon and Cash went on to start their own labels, and publishing companies, and did quite well over the years, especially Cash who went on to many top billboard hits, and several music awards for his works.oh, and by the way, Branson was a huge success, and still is today, even after the passing of Cash and Jennings.

Today it's a way different environment. It's even more controlled than ever. Artists like Ricky Skaggs, and Dolly Parton have quit chasing after the Labels for a deal, and have set up their own publishing and recording Facilities, and now distribute their own music all by themselves. Skaggs had a very successful release a while back that went platinum, and garnered several CMA awards in the bluegrass category, Dolly on the other hand has not experienced the same degree of success, her latest release isn't doing quite as well, however, even with fewer numbers in sales, one would have to believe she is still making more money than she ever made with the labels.

Radiohead is another Major Rock group that defected from EMI last year, and released their own CD. They even went so far as to put the CD on their website, and offer it as a free download, while asking the listener to donate whatever they thought the CD was worth if they enjoyed it. If you didn't like it at all, you didn't have to donate anything, if you only liked 2 or 3 songs donate 2 or 3 dollars, donate a dollar, or .50 cents, whatever the listener thought was fair. Well as it turned out they didn't sell anywhere's near as many copies as they did with EMI, but from the figures I saw on the number of downloads, combined with the average size of the donation, I would say they grossed about $800,000.
Even after expenses, that's a heck of a lot more money than they ever saw while they were at EMI.

I believe as time goes on, in the very near future, we will see many more major artists not resigning once their current deal expires. Past history, combined with the fact that independent artists won a significant amount of awards at the Grammy's this year, will convince many of them they can still have their recognition, and probably make a lot more money, with fewer sales. The labels are now taking a bigger slice of the pie than ever before, and it wont be long before the artists start to realize there has to be a better way.

As a foot note I have to ad, these artists are benefiting from the millions of dollars the labels put out over the years promoting them, the same is not true for the average independent artist just starting out. They are far from achieving the numbers established artist have in the independent market.

Billy Darnell

#710337 - 04/13/09 11:56 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Billy Darnell]  
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Lynn Orloff Offline
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Lynn Orloff  Offline
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PA of the great USA
if you do gherm, there's always hand sanitizer smile


My Music at Soundclick
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~call it a blessing or call it a curse, but I see all of life in verse~

Always open to collaborations smile

God Bless Our Military!!!
#710479 - 04/14/09 01:34 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Lynn Orloff]  
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beechnut79 Offline
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beechnut79  Offline
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Villa Park IL
Very interesting post. I wish more artists would take a stand the way Pearl Jam did a few years ago against Ticketmaster. They are one of the biggest ripoffs around, and have boycotted them for ten years. I really don't have money for much live entertainment these days, but if I couldn't make time to go to the box office to purchase tickets, I'll gladly do without, thank you. Their service fees are totally ridiculous, even more so on line than at their physical locations.

Pertaining to artists leaving labels, John Prine, who started out playing clubs in Chicago, was with Atlantic for a few years, and heard that he got royally ripped off, and eventually started his own label. This is a good story, even though he never achieved the commercial success many once thought he would. For a time he was being billed as the next Bob Dylan. And Mary Chapin Carpenter, although she did achieve amazing commercial success, has also gone back to her roots with an independent.

#710554 - 04/14/09 06:04 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: beechnut79]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Indianapolis, IN USA
You can't avoid the ticket master fee even if you purchase your tickets at the door and they do nothing. It's sad. They've inserted themselves into a transaction with exhorbitant fees for doing nothing of value these days. With the internet, you don't need Ticketmaster at all. But they're so rooted in it will be very difficult to unroot them. They're sort of like the mafia.. everyone has to pay them a tribute for everything.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#710713 - 04/15/09 09:42 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D) Offline
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Thanks for Your Update, Mark, on Gherming. As one who's visited NashCity, songs-in-hand, since '83, I've watched the Attitude change considerably from the days ya could walk The Row & go Door-to-Door with the Publishers there. Ray Stevens' nice li'l brick place USED to just let ANYBODY walk up there & hand his gorgeous Secretary Your Latest..& it was gladly-accepted.

Last trip there..the Sec'y wasn't too-pretty & it was obvious Outside Material wasn't any longer In Demand..& "Ray's Retiring".

As old as I'm gettin', I'm a bit Gunshy of any place that requires a 6-7 yr Residency before ya can get in the Doorway.

I enjoyed the Ambience out in Branson...tho the best player at the Recordin' Session's quit his Piano Career & is now sellin' Real Estate.

So..I guess Joe & I'll continue our careers as Musical Footnotes..but a sincere "Thanks for Sharing", Amigo.

Best Wishes & a Big Guy-Hug,
Stan

#710718 - 04/15/09 10:00 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: ]  
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Lynman Bacolor Offline
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Caloocan, Philippines
MArc

Heres another word Ive learned from you "Gherm". I have pal here in the philippines who is a curmudgeon and gherm fit into one.

CAn i coin this Curmudgherm. LOL.

Thanks for your insider tips.
Send my regards to Jimmy Borja.

Lynman


#710769 - 04/15/09 01:21 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Lynman Bacolor]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Lynman,

That is great! Thanks for chiming in. I'll tell Jimmy you said Hi. Will see him on Sunday.

Stan,

I know that it always seems weird about the gherming thing. But I would like to know what business allows outside people just to walk in and start selling their wares?

Plumbing, construction, building?
If you are not familiar with local codes, proved that you are credible, know what you are doing, have worked in lower level jobs, actually show up, have been referred to someone else based upon your reputation, who can just walk in and set up? You can open your own office, pay rent, put up signs,and go to work, but you have to have business from somewhere.Those are generally referalls.

Doctors, nurses, health care assistants?
Hiring someone with no records, no references, no reputation, could be downright dangerous.

Airline pilots, transportation, truckers, cab drivers, train engineers? You want to fly with someone who just walks up and say "Hey, let me fly this thing. I did flight time on my simulator on my computer."

Government officials? Okay, you have me there. No experience is even wanted there.

How long do you think that each of those professions took to get where they are? Did they do education, seminars, training, on the job training, internships, developing relationships, learning the various rules and regulations, and perfecting their craft? Or did they just walk up to an office and start passing out their business cards?

Nashville, LA, New York, etc. have rules and take time to make inroads into. They always have. No body just wakes up one day and decides to go do anything. And when these businesses have taken years to establish themselves, why would they just open their doors to people they don't know, especially when their friends, relations, brothers, sisters, business partners, etc. are all there doing what it takes. People who come from outside have not done the same things they have to do, and so why would it be allowed.
Then let's take another look at the issue. You go through these and other pages. Do every single post, or rant seem rational? You understand the internet. About three fourths of it
is totally insane. The annonimity of the WEB allow and encourage every kind of crazy out there. And I can guarentee you there are no more arrogant, so full of themselves, wear their emotions on their sleeves, frustrated, emotionally damaged people than songwriters, artists, actors, who's entire sense of self respect come from the adulation or acceptance of others.
So there is a distinct saftey issue. When you fuel the attitudes of people toward their music, (their children) throw in substance abuse, alcohol, or mental problems, job layoffs, coupled with constant rejection, do you really want open doors so any total weirdo wandering in your place of business? Particularly, again, when you are working in a declining market with business in free fall? That is a recipie for chaos.

In the 1990's, there was an incident at Warner Brothers. Jim Ed Norman, a very distinquished looking gentleman, producer, record label executive, was walking to his office in the building. A man in a pick up truck pulled up and asked if anyone knew where he could find Jim Ed Norman. Jim Ed, obviously not being recognized, leaned in and asked the man what he wanted and said that he might be able to find Jim Ed. The man replied that he had some songs he had sent in to Jim Ed and that he was there to find out why they hadn't been cut. On the seat next to the man was a shotgun. Locks and security guards went up that afternoon.

We deal in a business of dreams. It is very hard crushing people's dreams. And it is nothing that any of us enjoy doing. I hate sitting across from a person in a critique session and listening to a plodding, ambiguous song that has the same title and lines that have been written a million times before and have never been any good from the beginning. And sometimes these people get downright angry about my comments. I don't know what else I can say or do. I try to find things they do well, but sometimes there is very little there. These are dreams, and everybody has them.

And throw in the entire "let's sue somebody" mentality that is the modern version of the lottery, and you have the current climate in which we all live.

So like it or not, fair or not, that is the case of the music industry and why it has developed this way. Gherming is a real problem, I wouldn't bring it up if it was not so. My role in people's lives as it relates to Nashville and music is to describe some of the things everyone comes in contact with, and because I care for the spirit of writers, try to make it as understandable as possible. That's what I am trying to do.Don't know if I am doing it too well, but I am trying.

MAB

#710770 - 04/15/09 01:30 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Crozet, VA
Marc: I think you've just about clearly explained it as well as it can be explained!

Kevin


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#710772 - 04/15/09 01:33 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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Saint Petersburg. FL
WRT gherming, it seems you are damned if you do, damned if you don't.

In a former life, I was plant manager of a large aluminum manufacturing operation. Salesmen would show up unannounced all the time, sometimes selling something we needed, sometimes selling something we didn't. They would ask to see the purchasing agent who usually refused to see them. Once in a while though, they would strike gold because she was looking for a better supplier or was bored and wanted to talk to someone new (!) and maybe impress the plant manager with something she found. If they hadn't come knocking, we would have both lost out.



Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#710811 - 04/15/09 04:06 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Colin,

That would be true except for this fact. Imagine that those salesman came to your business, tried to sell you something, then you bought it from someone else, virtually the same product. Then they sued you saying you got the idea from them, took their product idea and had someone else sell you the same product. Then they sue you, the other salesman, the distributors, the catalogue manufacturers, everybody.
You know it is a bullshit suit and figure it will be thrown out of court and see a lawyer. They assure you it is frivolous and doesn't stand a chance, but then hit you with a ten thousand dollar bill for their services. Then the distributors you work with, the other salesmen, pissed at the annoyance of being added in a suit they had nothing to do with, drop all contact with you, withdraw the product, and actually counter sue you for getting them involved. Your bank calls the note on your business and before you know it you are in the newspapers, on the internet and all kinds of debtors are knocking on your door. all your other customers reading the headlines, figure you are a bad risk and about 6 months after letting someone in your door you didn't know, or want anything from, you have no door or no business.

That has happened. I don't know what is so hard about getting to know someone before you try to get them to buy your wares. Just doesn't make sense to me. has nothing to do with damned if you do or dammned if you don't, has to do with common sense and understanding the market and etticate.That is why there is no gherming and signs that say "No unsolicited material." Because if they don't understand common sense and etticate, you don't want to deal with them in the first place.

MAB

#710836 - 04/15/09 05:22 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Joe Wrabek Online content
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Joe Wrabek  Online Content
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I kind of agree with Colin on this. ASs a city manager, I have dealt with a lot of salespeople. Most of them did do the "I wanna get to know you first" thing--it is a good sales tactic. You are more likely to buy something expensive from somebody you think you know and trust, and we both knew that.

I still got the cold-callers--not a lot, but some. Having been one for a while (I sold aluminum siding), I am inclined to sympathize with what they were going through. I would talk to them. I would tell them very firmly what I was interested in, and tell them if they had a really good deal on it, I wanted to hear from them, but not until. And most of the time, they'd do what I wanted, and when they did call me again, they would have something really good, and I would buy it. I saved a ton of money on some of those deals--and I wouldn't have been able to do it if they hadn't called me, and I hadn't listened.

I realize Nashville is dealing with intellectual property, which is more intangible--but I would think the bottom line is they're still folks with a product to sell. There are going to be bad apples as have been described--I ran into some in the city-manager business--but I'd think folks like that would or could get frozen out of the business pretty fast, if people talk to each other. I've certainly managed to do it with bad apples I've dealt with. And yes, one possible reaction to the existence of those kind of people is to refuse to deal at all with that cold-calling end of the business, which I guess is what I'm hearing Nashville has done. The problem is you miss out on a lot of good product that way.

And of course, that attitude leaves the cold-calling salesperson with the impression, right or wrong, that you're just not interested in any "product" from anybody outside the circle of people you know, and those salespeople will go do or deal with somebody else. Kind of what I have done with my music.

Joe

#710843 - 04/15/09 05:36 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Z. Mulls Offline
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I totally understand the "closed community" feel and attitude of Nashville. It makes it practically impossible for me personally, as I'm not at a point in my life where I can relocate and/or devote my full time to writing song lyrics, and without that kind of commitment it would be sheer luck for me to have any kind of success.

I for many years was active in a local theatre, which had a reputation for being top-notch. It attracted, and kept, many of the best non-professional actors and directors around. It was a great community of people as well, mature and mutually supportive.

It also had a reputation for being "closed" and "cliquish" and "snooty." Now I would sit in audition for other directors' shows, and when someone new came on stage and blew us away, we were excited, and wanted the director to cast that person if at all possible. But most people weren't quite up to the level of talent we had on hand.

And on the flip side, when we put together a show, sure, we had some idea who would come out and who would be likely to be cast -- you have to know who's in the talent pool -- but they never had it in the bag. If someone new came along who was better, they'd have an honest shot.

When you have such a rich talent pool on hand -- *and* they're people you've worked with before, who you know will show up on time, be easy to work with, give a great performance, be reliable in all ways -- the new person has a big hurdle to get over. That's just the way it is.

I may be a talented writer, but Nashville is not hurting for talented writers. Who are there. Every night. I do get it.

I was a little ghermy when I landed in Nashville, and hope I didn't make too many mistakes, but by the time I left three days later I "got it." I did go into a publisher's office, and left a CD with the gal at the desk (and I'm sure it was pitched, hard). I did follow up with a guy I saw at a writers' night on MySpace, swapped a couple of e-mails, but when I mentioned I didn't live in Nashville I never heard back.

This would have been a great thread to read *before* I went down last year, but it's never too late to learn...


ZMULLS.COM
My Soundclick

2007 Grand Prize Winner International Songwriting Competition

Avatar Photo by Diana (used with permission)
#710905 - 04/15/09 08:38 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Z. Mulls]  
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Billy Darnell Offline
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Lebanon, TN
Ladies and gents,

I think you can make all the counter points you want, and they are all certainly warranted. All good reasons for the Nashville industry to change or loosen up their closed door policy. Unfortunately,The bottom line is, "It is what it is", and it isn't going to change any time soon. They still have a lot of power, still control the airways, they're still the biggest show in town, and it will take a long time until they have reached a point where they are willing to grasp at any life preserver thrown in the water.

What I hear Mark saying is, he doesn't necessarily agree with the wrong or the right of it either, but that's the way it is. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If your not comfortable with that I hear Greece is looking for a few good artists.

Right, wrong, Fair, Unfair, regardless of what we think about it,it's the the reality, pure and simple.

I think Mark honestly wanted to help people avoid a common problem if you decide to come here one week and make an impression. We all know you only get one chance to make a good first impression. I don't think Marc means to defend the policy, but on the same hand he is an insider, and he has a first hand knowledge of how and why some of those policies exist. In their own way the Nashville community is "Damned if they do, and damned if they don't".

I sure don't mean to defend it either, because I am not an advocate of it, I am not looking for a deal, but I also realize their is little sense trying to tell them there has to be a better way.It's a total waste of time and effort, and at my age, both time and effort have become high priorities if you know what I am saying.

Take faith in "the times they are a changing", and spend your time helping to sculpt the business of the future, and learn from the mistakes of those who came before you, for their but by the grace of god, go I.

Billy Darnell


#710927 - 04/15/09 10:04 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Billy Darnell]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Guys,

I want to refer back to the definition of Gherming, the reason I started this thread. It is the act of "forcing" your product on people that you don't know, who are in the business. There is a very simple way to get your material to people. Asking permission. it is simply talking to someone for a few minutes, finding out about what their life is like and then asking the best way to get them to listen to a song or two. They will tell you right up front. they either don't accept outside material, or in many cases, have a certain person that might "listen" to material. It is all about timing, time and place. If a hit writer, established publisher, person of note, are at a party, public event, showcase, playing a show, etc. that is not a time to hit them up to listen to things. Yet that is exactly when we are talking about. During dinner, trying to get into their cars, walking down the street. These are the times it happens.
For me, it is after a workshop or seminar or class,where someone comes up and tells me to "listen to this in your spare time." What spare time? I don't have any. But I try to be nice about it. If someone has taken my workshop, I usually will take the CD, although I rarely listen to them. If you do music from around 7:00 in the morning to around midnight, music is the last thing you want to listen to in your "spare time."
I have never met anyone who came to Nashville, who spent a little time, made the rounds, went to some writer's nights, met some other writers, who didn't find an avenue in a back door. Just takes a little perseverance and not being so insistant. It is really not as hard as it seems. If you will just "flip the desk" a little and ask yourself how you would like to be approached if the roles were reversed, you might see it from a different perspective.
Z. is right about new people coming in. There are two elements of Nashville to keep in mind. It is a small town. Everybody knows everybody. It is easy to get a reputation. That is the good news. The bad news is that it is easy to get a reputation.

MAB

#918572 - 08/29/11 04:04 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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The Gherm Guys Offline
Casual Observer
The Gherm Guys  Offline
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Nashville, TN
This post is awesome!!

Hank & Fred

#918573 - 08/29/11 04:08 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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The Gherm Guys Offline
Casual Observer
The Gherm Guys  Offline
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Nashville, TN
We love Conway!!!

Hank & Fred

#918929 - 08/31/11 12:24 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Tom Shea Offline
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Tom Shea  Offline
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Nebraska
Marc - good perspective.

It is impolite and it does not do any good anyway.

Tom


Thomas Shea

Thomas Shea - Songwriting
http://www.soundclick.com/thomasshea

Justice - Songs
http://www.soundclick.com/justice-nebraska

#918947 - 08/31/11 02:19 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Tom Shea]  
Joined: Jan 2009
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
I don't really get the "Gherm boys" but I hope it helps sometimes.

MAB

#918965 - 08/31/11 04:37 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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Denmark
"the definition of Gherming, the reason I started this thread. It is the act of "forcing" your product on people that you don't know, who are in the business."

Isn't that what groupies do? Who doesn't want groupies? Are you sayin' them groupies ain't what they're cracked up to be?? heheh


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#919036 - 08/31/11 08:16 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Kolstad]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
If you consider a "groupie" some 375 pound guy that hasn't bathed in two weeks, breathing down on you and leaning you up against a wall to tell you how great his songs are, I guess you could call them "groupies." At least with most Groupies there is some kind pleasure involved. With Ghermers, there is only the strong desire to get the Hell away.

MAB

#919205 - 09/01/11 04:35 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Dec 2000
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John Voorpostel Offline
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John Voorpostel  Offline
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I'll share this story.

First Pineyfest, one attendee was probably the most "focused" business wise. I cannot remember who the artist involved was, so I won't mention any names, but he happened to be the attendee's seat mate on the plane in from Texas.

The attendee did say why he was going to Nashville (the artist was attending the Fan Fair held in June every year) but everthing else was pleasantries and conversation.

The attendee also said he could almost not control himself, he sooohhhh wanted to get more out of it, but he kept quiet....which seems was the right approach because he said that as they were deplaning, the artist actually asked him to keep in touch and send him some stuff.

Don't think anything came out of it in the short run, but I thought I'd share what could happen when you don't gherm smile




If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#919305 - 09/02/11 01:25 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: John Voorpostel]  
Joined: Aug 2009
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Sausagelink Offline
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Sausagelink  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2009
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Years and years and years and years ago I was at a NSAI event where Buddy Killen was speaker. At the end someone asked if Buddy would take a tape. I think Woody Bomar was the host and he said we don't offer tapes at those events. Buddy said "I'll take the tape." So then everybody else was wishing they'd broken the rules. Who was the guy with the tape? Heck if I know, he never became a star.

If I were to meet Alan Jackson, George Strait, or George Jones, I'd probably gherm all I could just so I could say I did later.

#919333 - 09/02/11 05:33 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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Denmark
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
If you consider a "groupie" some 375 pound guy that hasn't bathed in two weeks, breathing down on you and leaning you up against a wall to tell you how great his songs are, I guess you could call them "groupies." At least with most Groupies there is some kind pleasure involved. With Ghermers, there is only the strong desire to get the Hell away.

MAB


laugh laugh laugh .. or get away to hell!


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#920264 - 09/06/11 05:57 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 47
AJ Love Offline
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AJ Love  Offline
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Posts: 47
Its too bad in this day & age people don't know better than this!

Everytime I've met a celebrity I prefer to talk to them about some subject other than their job in order to help them feel at ease. Talk to them about football or kids or hotels or the traffic or about something funny that just happened in the room or about your hometown or whatever. Most celebrities I've met are extremely nice people when you just treat them like human beings, which they are....

Can you imagine meeting a pro baseball player and trying to talk him into helping you get a tryout in Major League Baseball? It would be silly. The same thing is true in the music industry


A.J. Love - Telecaster player & Songwriter
#920353 - 09/06/11 08:06 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 2,446
Ande Rasmussen Offline
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Ande Rasmussen  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 2,446
Martindale, TX, USA
Not to Gherm

Make friends,
Build relationships,
Create value for others.
Earn a great reputation.
Keep showing up.
Improve your ability and catalog.
Get cuts on your own.
Be an artist.
Be patient, persistent, charming yet bold.

In time opportunities will come your way.

You MUST earn the right to work with excellent artists, producers, and writers. Wait for them to ask you to work with them.
Or HIRE them and pay them well.

Ghermers have this particular annoying urgency, ignorance, and desperation that they mistake for being bold. some are cocky and over confident. It's a huge turn off. They have no clue how the music biz works.

Are there any Ghermer success stories out there?

What's funny is some beginning songwriters and artists go on to become very successful.

Be nice to people. You never know who will become what.
People remember how you treat them.

I know MAB has a bunch of I-could-just-kick-myself stories
Where writers or artists said no to writers or artists who asked them to cowrite or asked to record a song or something else?
They said no then that person goes on to have huge success.

I wonder how many writers turned Taylor Swift down when she just hit town?
I wonder how many of them now wish they hadn't?
Liz Rose found a way to work with her and that lead to the most cowriter cuts on her first 2 albums.

#920373 - 09/06/11 09:07 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Ande Rasmussen]  
Joined: Jan 2009
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Posts: 4,825
Nashville, Tn.
Andy,

I was one of the guys who passed on an opportunity to write with Taylor. But it was more of a scheduling thing than anything else. I personally have a bit of a problem with 14-15 year olds because I just don't know how to say what they want to say and usually they don't know either. So the sessions end up with a lot of us sitting around looking at each other.

I have gotten better over the years, but it is always difficult.

My stories are always more of a "just happened to miss the timing" thing than actually any slight on anyone's part. I was sent to meet Garth Brooks the day he got his big deal. We did talk a few minutes and had been hooked up to write but his career took off. Just missed it.

The "Ghermer stories:" with the happy endings, usually happened when they learned their lessons, regrouped and tried it a different way later on in their career.

Most of the people I talk about when it comes to this, dissapear pretty quickly.

MAB

#986434 - 12/03/12 04:01 AM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 6
Michael Ofi Offline
Casual Observer
Michael Ofi  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 6
CA
I keep having this dream where I land my helicopter on somebody's lawn and jump out to deliver a hand full of my demos. There's a lake behind me - and this big dude with a deep voice and a shotgun stompin' down from the house, growling something about a "Ghermin' son of a . . ."

Never seems to work out like I planned it. (Scratching my head.)


#986451 - 12/03/12 01:51 PM Re: To Gherm or not to gherm -MAB [Re: Michael Ofi]  
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 288
Sue Rarick Offline
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Sue Rarick  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 288
Springfield, TN
Most business has as much to do with how you’ve networked as the music business in Nashville. Many years ago I got out of music, went to college and started off on a new career. Along the way I went to a lot of conferences and symposiums and met a lot of people. Fast forward a couple years and I was on vacation in Plymouth England the same time that the Virgin Atlantic broke the cross Atlantic speed record. I went down to where it was docked to see a friend who was part of the crew. After getting a tour of the boat we went out to have a beer and a friend of his came in and after a few beers I got an offer to work on a research project in Plymouth.

That offer came purely from networking. Plymouth had one of the better Naval Architecture colleges so I knew I wasn’t the only one qualified for the job. Networking is a fact of life in any and all business. People just like to work with people they like.


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