CAPSTONE: ‘You can’t always get what you want’

By Allison Lozada —

While some bands try to make it big others have tasted the bittersweet nectar of stardom. John Blicharz, guitarist of metal band Annuanki and student at New Jersey City University gives some advice to those bands who are trying to succeed in the music business. The truth about the music industry isn’t as glamorous as it seems.

“You really have to love what you do,” said Blicharz. Blicharz may not sound too familiar in the United States but rest assure if you travel to Germany, you will find fans wearing Annunaki band shirts. He has played shows in multiple places in the United States and overseas. He explains how fans differ from American to German, “In Germany, we are treated like human beings… People are just friendly.”

Blicharz grew up in the era where metal was just gasping its’ first breath of air. Mentioning Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, and Slayer, it was no surprise he was going to become inspired by all these founding fathers of metal. Getting involved in the metal scene was much easier than becoming involved with the industry. Playing shows and promoting music hoping someone will be charmed by the chords and riffs can take its toll.

Struggles in the music business always come back to money. Some gigs can be farther than expected, but a gig is a gig. Promoting your music is expensive but not as expensive as traveling. Gas and food become a factor that must be taken into serious consideration. Signing with sleazy record companies with alternate motives can ruin everything. You can kiss the rights of your music good bye.

The New York Times had an article on August 15, 2011 that read, “When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance.”

Without having too much knowledge, especially experience, damage control may have to be taken. Along with money problems, however, band members can be the death of the musical journey.” The ideal band has democracy,” said Blicharz.

Dealing with band members will always be a constant struggle according to Blicharz. There will always be at least two people trying to call the shots or demand the attention and that is where the band can suffer. If any problem arises let it out or, as Blicharz said, “bitch it out.”

Meeting your musical inspiration may not always go the way you plan. If you have high expectations, your ideal can fall through the cracks. In fact, you may be seeing someone completely different than what you had hoped for. One advice Blicahrz does offer to everyone is, “Don’t meet your ideals. They won’t be your ideals anymore.”