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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-25-2018, 04:20 PM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-26-2018, 09:38 PM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Who really cares what is mainstream or not? You listen to what you connect with. Music used to define class, lyrics were mostly confined to folk songs sung in bars by the drunk, where the upper class went to the symphony, and lyrics were confined to opera. Now it much less defines class as it does personal taste. Todays Billies are just as likely to listen to rap as they are jazz. Most jazz had no lyrics, most blues did, and in all genres of music you had songs with and without lyrics, except maybe rap [none that I know of]. Electronic music for clubs, no lyrics, they're not needed. Music does not need lyrics to be successful, but it needs lyrics to get on top 40 radio.

There has always been plenty of music that was mainstream but had no lyrics, Kenny G was all over the air, Yanni [did I just say that?!] the list is long, just not as long as those that add words to connect to a listener where the words matter as much as how the notes are arranged.
I would say it is more the human voice that is strong and the lyrics, while helpful, are secondary. There are many instances of lyrics that are unintelligible but the brain is ok with that because it knows it is hearing a human voice. Of course, you also have situations like "All Along the Watchtower" by Hendrix. If you love Bob Dylan, great! His voice did that song no favors, but Hendrix made it iconic. There are fewer of these examples though. Rich is right, the voice and most of the lyrics carry the most musical weight, especially if you want it on Top 40 radio.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2018, 03:09 PM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

Mike, I hop you will enjoy the protocol 4 show!!! I saw them in last November and that was my best show in years, the sound, the groove, the musicians, the performance the music, everything! Even discussions with each of the 4 guys and a pic with Greg!!!
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 10:27 AM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

Mainstream is being in the media's spotlight. And I don't mean radio, radio is mostly dead playing re-treads. I mean ANY media that's out there today, which is some radio, TV, interviews and music shows, even instrument promotions, and the ever so important social media buzz.

One of the most important things to get 'mainstream' is currency. Like when VH finally came out with a new record, all of sudden you're hearing and seeing VH all over the place. Steve was never THAT mainstream but his talents and music and just off the charts. But to get into mainstream discussion, he's got to release some new material!!!! C'mon Steve!!! I keep looking for "new" material and none comes, how many times can you re-release "Passion and Warfare".

Joe Satriani stays current not only from touring regularly (like Joe Bonamassa), but he keeps putting records out -- and his latest one he still kills it!

Originally Posted by mike570 View Post
The cool thing is the internet gives these acts a solid yet still niche audience.
Kind of a side note: I've seen Satch and Vai many times live and even Paul Gilbert a few times. Wednesday I'm going to get to see Greg Howe live with Protocol. I never thought I'd ever see Greg live. All of my access to his material has been thanks to the internet. Not to mention Simon Phillips being rock royalty.
Not to derail this thread...

Saw Protocol last week in N'ville, MAN were they good. I'm kinda like you, I've been a Greg Howe fan for years but haven't had a chance to see him live. So not knowing Protocol I went to go see them. They were awesome! And you know the surprise? Not Howe, and actually he takes a subdued roll in this band (which is cool, it ain't his band), but Simon Phillips! And I'm not a drummer!!! That guy is amazing. His band was so tight you couldn't see daylight between the measures! I went out and got all 4 Protocol records and love them all. Prog music like that is few and far in-between in this world and those guys bring it. You'll love the show!
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 06:44 PM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

Protocol was bad a$$! I'm glad I got to see them. Holdsworth played here about when our second kid was born and I missed that but I wasn't about to miss Greg Howe. And Simon Philips? Amazing! I started doing my own instrumental tunes really after hearing Jeff Beck - long after being exposed to Satch and Vai. And with records like "There and Back" Simon Philips is very much a part of that audio DNA. Amazing drummer live! My wife, who I will say is WAY more into mainstream stuff, liked it too.
Not to derail further but: Greg looked like he struggled a bit with his guitar the first couple of songs but he eventually fell right in I think. Simon dropped a stick on the opener and didn't miss a beat. He could probably drop a bag of sticks while playing odd meter and not get lost for a second. Incredible!
Getting back on topic, to me mainstream in rock is who the twenty somethings are going to see at a festival show. Maybe it's Paramore. Maybe it's Cage the Elephant. Maybe it's Red Hot Chili Peppers if they release a new record everyone likes. Maybe it's Weezer. And all those bands have an internet presence too. Sure, I dig Vai and Satch more but to argue they're mainstream or anything close to it is just not the case IMO.
But, as with Greg Howe and Protocol, the niche fanbase can get a big surge of energy from the internet. The first crowd funded thing I ever donated to is Paul Gilbert's new record. Also, I was born in the early seventies so I would have never known how awesome 70's rock is if it weren't for the internet. I always thought Thin Lizzy or ZZ Top were just okay from the stuff they played on the radio but with online streaming I listen to their catalog over and over again avidly.
I also really dig R&B soul. The Isley Brothers, The Time, Prince, The Gap Band, Stevie Wonder, The Ohio Players, Parliament, The Brothers Johnson... some of these acts are no longer mainstream R&B either they way DLR is no longer mainstream rock. Thank God for the internet allowing us access to so many of their recordings. (Also, if you haven't heard Jessie Johnson or Ernie Isley play guitar you really should do yourself a favor and listen to some of the records they're on.)
And now that (you're right) there isn't really the big influence of radio I like to try and find new acts; so I don't think of myself as the curmudgeon stuck in his childhood genre of music. That's how I found Hard-Fi, Interpol, The Killers (who get radio play), and Mastodon (who are amazing!).
Ok, long rant but I'll end with this. It is fun to see someone who was "niche" gain more of a mainstream appeal. And that name is Richie Kotzen. I remember picking up Richie's early Shrapnel stuff and then when "Fever Dream" it I was all "WTF?!?" But I DUG it! I think Richie did more to introduce me to R&B than probably any other act. And it's good to see him get more mainstream respect. I knew it was possible for him to get there way back at "Mother Head's Family Reunion." Now is his current success "mainstream?" Maybe. But it's closer now than it was in 1994. Good on him!
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post #21 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 02:12 PM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

If a band thatís usually on the top 10 lists in the radio and the usual conformists in your social circles are into it, thereís a pretty good chance that they are.

Itís never a problem though. I know Morbid Angel will never achieve the same success as Rihanna but I never cared for Rihanna in the first place.
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post #22 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 11:53 AM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

If an artist is not "mainstream" they certainly do not get their name or music out there... Just so different now. You guys were talking about Greg Howe, one of those names I've heard about forever but never checked out. Gave "Protocol 4" a listen and liked it... which led me though youtube suggestions to Holdsworth, another legend I never listened to... killer! At work this morning listening to a Project X album it got over and youtube automatically started playing "Electric Outlet - On!"... an instrumental band of studio musicians from Germany that made me crank it up to the point of being too loud for the workplace... lol! What a rockin prog jazz fusion band! Luckily my coworkers understand my handicap, being a music based lifeform and all.
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post #23 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 05:13 PM
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Re: When is an artist considered "Mainstream"?

I liked the Timmons Protocol albums and the first that Simon, I think, did much on his own. Protocol 4 with Greg made me think "There and Back" only modernized with Greg playing.
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