“Loverboy”.. What sort of band name is that?

For those of you that are local to Southern California, you may be familiar with the music venue known as the “Canyon Club”, which is notorious for having classic rock, metal and rap acts that are long past their prime and on the slow road to the inevitable rock-n-roll graveyard.  From playing stadiums in their prime to now playing this small venue right outside the ‘Valley, their heyday has come and gone.

It is not uncommon for the marquis off the US 101 to showcase former monsters of rock, such as LA Guns or Great White.  Or 80’s icons Adam Ant, Berlin or The Motels.  Yacht Rock- check.  Kenny Loggins and Ambrosio are practically in the house band.  Heck- they even get hip hop icons like Snoop Dogg or Sir-Mix-a-Lot to spin some records on a good night.  But be careful- they sneak in some cover bands from time to time.  Watch out- Page and Plant won’t actually show up again when Zepagain hits the stage.  Nor will Don Henley or Glenn Frey be showing up as “The Long Run”.

But the 80’s hard rockers that really caught my eye recently while driving past the marquis was that of 80’s hard rock band “Loverboy”.  When I say ‘caught my eye’, I don’t mean in the sense that I would actually go to the show.  I wouldn’t be caught dead in that crowd.  I’m referring to it taking me back to that red leather’d, long frizzy hair, product of the 80’s hard rock flavor.  I could hear the driving synth and shimmery electric guitars from their hit song, “Workin’ for the Weekend”.

And in contemplating this memorable band name Loverboy, so indicative of the era, I thought.. “Loverboy”?  I thought, what in the lord’s name were they thinking when they were brainstorming over ice cold Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers at the Rainbow Bar on Sunset in Hollywood?  I mean, OK- for the late 80’s, Loverboy is perfect.  But had they considered what happens in the decades beyond the 80’s?  Where do they go with that?  How does one evolve as the band known as “Loverboy”?

Did they not see that the glam rock of the 80’s would crash and burn as fast as one could say “Milli Vanilli”?  Did they not foresee Nirvana and Pearl Jam waiting in the wings ready to stage dive into the 90’s, and steal the crown for world domination?

What if Loverboy wanted to head in the direction of say, grunge or alternative rock?  Or maybe one day they would be inspired to bust into electronic and add a guest DJ?  How does one do that as Loverboy?  Do they just feature Marshmello and DJ Khaled and call it a day?  Do they change their name to L.Boy?  Or the LB Band and go more in the jam band direction?  People, I just don’t see it.  I feel like they painted themselves into a corner.

For those of you history buffs keeping score at home, the true story is that they chose this fabulous name based on a dream their guitarist, Paul Dean had.  He came up with the name after spending the previous night with some of the bandmates and their girlfriends, before going to the movies. The girlfriends were browsing through fashion magazines, where the guys in the band saw a Cover Girl advertisement. Cover Girl became Cover Boy, and then became Loverboy in Dean’s dream later that night. True brilliance.

While I respect Loverboy for their music and hard rock hits for that era- I also have to assume they are content in their artistic choice of name, and I can live with that.

But as they unload the gear from their van and get ready for a night of screaming cougars and beyond-their-years metal heads, I wonder if they’ll consider what could have been had they chosen a name just a bit more fluid and timeless than…  “Loverboy”.

Why is Ticketmaster Spamming Me About “Air Supply” Tickets?!!!

Despite the fact that I sell Marketing Personalization Software for a living, this post is not about work.  It’s about my ‘personal’ experience with personalization. 

Every Sunday night, I have a ritual where I check my personal email for the week.  There’s usually nothing too interesting, but I check it to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  And as I’m sure you can imagine, I get a whole lot of spam.  I try to unsubscribe from as many email lists as possible from time to time, but it seems as though I can’t escape the endless flow of spam coming into my inbox.

However, the other week- there was one email that suddenly caught my attention.

TICKETMASTER

I recently went to a live performance of Dax Shepard’s, “Armchair Expert” podcast with Thomas Middleditch, and it was drenched in awesome sauce!

So this made me think- wait.  Why don’t I go to more live shows like this?  I live for music- why don’t I go to more concerts?  My kids are at an age where they would love to go to a concert- what am I waiting for?!!!

Back to the Ticketmaster spam.  I constantly get uninteresting spam blast emails that have no relevance to me whatsoever from Ticketmaster.  I get emails for Beach Boys, UFC, and acts I’ve never heard of- who do they think they’re targeting?!  Mr. Ticketmaster- this is not for me!

I decided to go on a mission and figure out what’s going on here.  I went to the Ticketmaster Preference Center, and found the culprit.  In case you weren’t aware- Ticketmaster’s default settings automatically sign you up to receive all alerts.  And the (air quotes) personalized emails you receive, are solely based on all the online tickets you’ve purchased, dating back to what appears to be 1996- when the website was launched.

Needless to say- basing my preferences and emailing me offers that are dating back to my fresh out of college days, does not match my current interests by any stretch.  I’ll take partial responsibility here, I should have manually updated my preferences.  But couldn’t an organization as ginormous as Ticketmaster/Live Nation, with their big budgets for technology find a better way to personalize to someone like me?

To fix this atrocity, I deleted all the 90’s Indie Rock bands that I no longer appreciate, and replaced them some of my latest faves- including “War On Drugs”, “St. Vincent” and “Andrew Bird”, along with some others that the family would appreciate.

But it still begs the question- why is this such a manual process for me this day in age, with all of today’s AI, Machine Learning and Automation technology?

IDEA:  Could Ticketmaster hook up with Spotify, and develop an API to update my weekly concert emails to reflect what I’m listening to?  This would then tie together the real-time changes in my listening habits, and match them to the latest concerts in the area.  It would ensure that I’m not missing any great local shows (i.e. how did I miss Flaming Lips playing Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery?!!!  Still bruising from not being aware of that one..).  And it would ensure that Ticketmaster doesn’t leave any money on the table- they can feel confident that I’ll go to every show that interests me, without missing any awareness. 

And of course, the bigger question is.. am I willing to give Ticketmaster access to my Spotify listening data?  In this case, probably yes.

With all this said, I finally updated my preferences to match exactly what I want to be notified on going forward.  And I regret to say, after updating my preferences, here were the emails I received this week:

  1. Christina Aguilara
  2. Ex-Hex (um, who is Ex-Hex?!)
  3. Air Supply

I promise you that none of these were listed as my preferred artists, I swear!

So clearly, Ticketmaster has some work to be done on their Preference Center, but I’ll keep an eye on this, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves…

“Led Zeppelin is the Greatest Band of All-Time.”

I just finished reading the definitive rock classic book, Hammer of the Gods, covering the history of Led Zeppelin from start to finish.  Ironically, I finished it around the same time as the 50th anniversary of their first album and the day Led Zeppelin was born.  In reading the tales of their debauchery and excess, I thought it would be appropriate to throw down a claim equally bombastic to their legend:

“Led Zeppelin is the Greatest Band of All-Time.”

In staking this claim, I mean it in the most literal sense.  Pound for pound, best band.  Most committed.  4 equally matched band members, aligned to the goal of rocking as hard as possible, at risk of having your eardrums bleed.  Committed to turning whatever city they were touring upside down by the time they left town.  And if any of the band members had been different, it literally could not be Zep.  And to prove the point, when their 1st member died (Bonham, from having 40 drinks in a 24 hour period), the band ended.  Bonham died.  Zep is over.

From Day 1 in January 1968, from Track 1- “Good Times Bad Times”, and with their first album, Led Zeppelin 1– was a band on a mission.  They entertained other fellow journeymen that shifted from band-to-band as often as I change my socks.  They considered other members to be in Zep, like Moon and Entwhistle from the Who, and Steve Winwood as lead singer.  But that magic moment on August 12, 1968 in the west end of London when Page Plant Jones Bonham first jammed, they knew this was it.  This was the band they would commit to until they would crash and burn.

And they had plenty of naysayers and critics, but in my opinion- this was their greatest blessing.  While The Beatles and Stones were critic faves, for a long time Zep could only appeal to teenage kids, while the critics would pan them.  But this is what provided Zep with the mission of proving them wrong.  After Led Zeppelin III hit rock bottom with the critics, it provided the fuel to create their masterpiece- Led Zeppelin 4, “Zoso”.  Without the challengers, LZ4 may have never been created.

So what makes Led Zeppelin the greatest so-called band of all time?  One characteristic is the distinctiveness of their sound. Could you ever mistake them for another band (“who does ‘Black Dog’ again- is that The Doors?”, I think not.)  While true that they were taking from blues and folk influences, they always made them their own.  Take “You Shook Me” from LZ1- a classic blues track, yes.  But could you ever mistake Bonham’s pounding for another?  Or how about at 4:20, when Page launches a grenade via Les Paul and explodes this blues tune in between your 2 earbuds?  Would these songs sound the same if you were to remove one of the essential ingredients?  The answer is no.

What if you replaced Page with Clapton?  No Zep- that’s more like The Yardbirds.

What if you replaced Bonham with Phil Collins?  They tried that at Live Aid, it bombed.

Or what if you replaced Plant with David Coverdale from Whitesnake?  Page tried that, the bastard.  Truly sacreligious.

To drive it home further- I’ll compare Led Zeppelin with what many might consider the top contenders for ‘greatest band of all-time’:

The Beatles– Not the greatest band of all time.  I’d categorize them as the greatest assemblage of 4 songwriters of all time.  These chaps created some of the most timeless songs, bar none.  But as we all know- we don’t label their tunes by the band, we label most by the songwriter.  “I Am the Walrus”- Lennon’s song.  “Yesterday”- McCartney.  “Here Comes the Sun”- Harrison.  “Octopus’s Garden”- Ringo.  And when you compare each member pound for pound with Zep, it’s no contest.  Starr/Bonham, Harrison/Page, come on. Were the Beatles amazing, yes of course.  Were they committed to taking over the world as one, single unit. Not as much as Zep.

The Stones– This band’s gone through 7 members over time, so they just don’t have the pure core that Zep had.  When I think of the Rolling Stones, while they’re chock-full of great songs and albums, I actually think of them more as a business.  For decades, they’ve been filling stadiums, selling their brand and trying to prove that they can be the world’s biggest band longer than any other.  But they didn’t invent a genre (heavy metal) like Zep did.  When they re-create the blues and soul, they’re just not as inventive.  One of the greatest, for sure- but not the best of all-time.

Some of you may agree, some may not.  But after reading 360 pages of Led Zeppelin’s legend, and now going through and listening to their entire recorded catalog song-by-song, I have to give them the credit their due.  Led Zeppelin is the Greatest Band of All-Time.