Geeking out on Music Documentaries with Justin Jackson

Geeking out on music documentaries with Justin Jackson

Brian Casel: [00:00:00] Hey, it's Open Threads. It is my podcast. I'm Brian Casel. Welcome to it.

Back on the show today is Justin Jackson. We're kind of making the rounds here of bringing the previous guests back around on Open Threads to talk about other stuff. That's the whole point of this show, and you know, this is one of those episodes where Justin and I just could keep talking for days. We were geeking out on music. Bands, artists, our experience with music when we were younger. Our experience with music today as adults even the business of being in a band. And I talked a bit about my experience of, of being in bands when I was younger. Uh, We talked about music, documentaries, just really geeking out on all of it. It was , it was a lot of fun. And as you can hear uh, we just wanted to keep talking about it, so maybe, we'll, we'll keep it going on on another.

ZipMessage is the product that [00:01:00] sponsors this episode. That's my product. I made it. It's for async messaging with your clients, with your customers, with your team.

I'll tell you a thing or two about that later in the show. For now, let's geek out on music with Justin.

Let's just kind of, roll into the next one. We're gonna talk about music cause it's so, it's so related.

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Brian Casel: Alright, so, you know, this, this one doesn't have to be as, as long here, any excuse to just talk about music in general I'm, I'm up for. So I, you know, one of, one of the things that I loved about, I guess it wasn't on Build Your SaaS, but one of your previous ones, maybe uh, MegaMaker is like you, you know, you're sharing some, like, some metal in, in, in the intro of your of your podcast. So I know you're into some hard stuff. Like what do you, where should we begin here? I mean...

Justin Jackson: That came later. in high school. I...

Brian Casel: Cuz on, on Twitter, we were talking about uh, music documentaries. I know we're gonna get into that. But I'm curious, like in general, like, I hate the question of like, well what kind of music are you into? [00:02:00] Cuz I'm sure everyone is into like five or six different genres, but like, what, what would you say is like the, the headlines of, the music that you listen to?

Justin Jackson: So I just started buying vinyl and so I think one of the last five records I bought, I bought Tom Petty, the Wildflowers album, Ill Communication by the Beastie Boys, Black Sabbath Sabotage, Paul Simon, and...

Brian Casel: It's quite a mixture already.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. So it's pretty, I I mean, it's kind of all over now. I, in high school I was really into punk rock. That was like um, most of what I listened to. And then right at the end of my high school experience was when electronica kind of started becoming popular. I can't listen to most of that shit now, but you know, I still can put on some of those albums like Daft Punk. I could still listen to some of that. Uh, I got really into the rave scene in 97', [00:03:00] 98', 99'.

Brian Casel: It's interesting... I did a whole punk phase when I was younger and, hard stuff, a lot of grunge and some hip hop too. And then, I was one of these people who totally slept on electronic in general. Like I was just completely turned off by it when I was younger. And I only recently got more into it as an adult because it's like awesome work to work to, like, when I'm building software, like I love throwing on... Today when I'm in the office working, I just can't work to any lyric.

If there's lyrics, I, can't concentrate.

Justin Jackson: I'm the same way. I'm the same

Brian Casel: But I do listen all day long to like instrumental music. So like, these days today, it's weird. Like I'm into like, electronic and like, lofi and, and like film scores and like, original like soundtracks to, to like the shows that I watch.

Justin Jackson: Yeah,

Brian Casel: And then like when I'm driving or whatever, it's like I'm basically listening to everything I was listening to when I was like 18, 19 years years old.

Justin Jackson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean it's, it's cool. I think it's [00:04:00] actually cool, like. like the, the music I listen to when I'm working is kind of garbage. It's just like SoundCloud mixes and anything that's kind of brainless. I'm the same way. I can't listen to like, any sort of rock and roll, punk rock, metal anything with lyrics yeah, it doesn't work. But that's what's been so fun about buying albums again, is now in the morning when my kids wake up, I put on a record and then when I get home after dinner, I put on a record. So we're getting back into listening to albums and it really makes you realize-

Brian Casel: It's interesting. Like what? Yeah, like, so you, you just throw on music like in the house when when you're hanging you're hanging out?

Justin Jackson: It works now cuz the kids are older. This teenage phase is so fun if you are into music. It's just so fun cuz they can listen to, you know, they can listen to anything now. And I guess it depends on how you feel about like, language in your house, but we're pretty liberal with, with [00:05:00] language and

Brian Casel: My, my six and eight year old here, like, you know, all of it in the car.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. And, and so it, you know, my kids are sharing music with me. You know, I I just bought a Nas record and an MF Doom record, a couple MF Doom Records because my kids are super into it and I'm digging it too. But then I can share my music with them and you know, like I've listened to, I mean, my daughter and I have listened to the Graceland album together probably 20 times. We've probably listened to most Tom Petty records multiple times, like. It's so fun to be able to share music with your kids and...

Brian Casel: Totally. We don't really share.. I mean, we play a lot of music at home. Like I play guitar and my and my daughter's picking up guitar and piano and, and we, we play at home, which has been really fun. But we don't really like, listen...

Justin Jackson: Oh, I didn't either.

Brian Casel: -when we're in the house, we, we do all of our listening in the car, like, and we do [00:06:00] a lot of road trips and stuff, so that, that's when we're getting all the music.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. I was always wondering like, how did people listen to music in their house? Like when the kids are young, it's almost never works, you know? But now at this stage, it, there's just way more opportunities to put on a record. Or we have a little Sonos player out on our deck. And then car rides. And car rides are this amazing gift when you have teenagers, especially. Driving one kid at a time to wherever and they put on music and then you can talk and listen to whatever, you know, they've been in discovering on, on Spotify or whatever. It's pretty fun.

Brian Casel: it's, it's great. And, and like now, I get my, my daughter, like, she's like, you know, humming along with the lyrics to like Metallica and like 311 and, you know, Red Hot Chili Peppers and stuff. And I'm like, Oh my God, how is happening?

Justin Jackson: Yeah, yeah. It, it, it, it's pretty fun. [00:07:00] And, you know, the, there's a mix, you know, of old stuff and new stuff and, and it's so accessible now. You know, you can put on a playlist and go, Okay,

Brian Casel: Could just throw on anything.

Justin Jackson: Well, for them to experience like, you know, like a grunge playlist and go, Okay, you don't understand this but when this album came out in 91', I was 11 years old. And that was like, this was the first album that I bought was Nevermind. And you know, this is, this was just a huge-

Brian Casel: That was one of the first for me too. Yeah.

Justin Jackson: -cultural thing.

Brian Casel: I think Come As You Are, was the very first riff I ever learned how to play on guitar. And it was like, it was like, unbelievable, you know? And then I learned like every other song and all the Green Day songs and all of it.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. My guitar playing has never kind of progressed then.

Brian Casel: And, and like, I'm the same way too. Like, we'll we'll be like driving around and like, I, I'm like a driving like, like Behind the Music, you know? Like man, when Green Day Dookie [00:08:00] dropped, it was like such a cultural phenomenon. And like, Yeah, whatever. You know,

Justin Jackson: Yeah. That's that's like my, the classic line that my family makes fun of me for. On a Friday night, we often watch a movie and I'll be like, Hey, who wants to watch a music documentary? And everyone's like rolls their eyes,

Brian Casel: Oh, All right. So, so how about some, like, top docs here? I mean, I love them too. Um, what comes to mind?

Justin Jackson: Uh, I just watched one that's tangentially uh, related to music called The Individualist. Have you heard of this? Ricky Powell. It's his story. It's just... So he toured with the Beastie Boys as kind of their like, official photographer, videographer and groupie. And the whole movie is just so New York uh, which I really love. You realize how many of like New York at that time... Cuz he has so many photos of [00:09:00] just... like he's got photos of Will Smith, he's got photos of all the Beastie Boys, he's got photos of, you know, all these and, and you think like everybody was kind of around at that time in this cultural mix.

Brian Casel: I see it. Yeah. It's on...

Justin Jackson: Yeah, it's on Showtime. Yeah. So I highly recommend that one. I, and I actually watched that one with my kids. Like I watched it myself and then I watched it with my kids and they really liked it too. The story is just really compelling.

Brian Casel: I always sort of wonder about music docs, what makes them good? There's probably a few answers to this, but is it the movie is just really well made, or is it like, I'm really into this band so I'm gonna like it no matter what,

Justin Jackson: I think it's the story I really like It Might Get Loud. Not because it's not a very good film in the sense that they're trying to weave together, Jack White, Jimmy Page and the Edge together. And to me that I don't like it, because of that.

Brian Casel: That's true. I remember seeing that. [00:10:00] I was like, I, I know that I, that rings a bell and I remember seeing it, and I don't, It, it doesn't... It's not one of those memorable docs. But I like the music from all those guys.

Justin Jackson: I, I like that particular documentary, just because of Jack White. He's just such a monster in that, that movie and it, if they had just made it about him, it would've actually worked better. And his story is just so fascinating, and he's just such a strong personality that he makes that whole documentary worth watching for me.

I, I really liked the the Descendants documentary called Filmage, and I wasn't even super into that band, but the story is just amazing just like, how did these guys find each other and then everything they had to do to survive. And that rollercoaster is so interesting me [00:11:00] the.

Brian Casel: Like. just just like, following bands in general. aside from the music itself, it's like, to me it's like some of best startup business stories in the world, you know? Cause like they're just hit it massive, right? Like, so for me, like two documentaries come to mind. One is Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster.

Justin Jackson: Yeah, yeah. I've actually only caught that one in passing. I, I've gotta give that a good watch.

Brian Casel: Oh dude. that one is like, they, they get so... Like, it gets really dark for them. Like they, the band breaks up like during the making of that movie.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. I love stuff like that

Brian Casel: And then, you know, and then there's like rehab the, but what's amazing about that one is like Metallica, even still to this day with their YouTube channel, like they are, as huge worldwide known as they are, they are really open. They let the cameras in. To the rehearsal rooms, to the sessions where they are arguing with each other, like all this different shit. And it's, it was pretty, pretty fascinating. They had like a therapist for the band[00:12:00] like, working with them.

Justin Jackson: This is exactly the kind of documentary I like. I gotta give this one another look cuz I think I only watched like, it in pieces. Yeah. I'm gonna, I'm gonna check that out.

Brian Casel: They basically hired, they hired like a, like a therapist to be, do like group therapy on them.

Justin Jackson: How metal is that?

Brian Casel: Exactly right. Like the, these guys are like the, the biggest metal act in the world and they're like in a room like crying together. It's unbelievable. Um, the other one, and I don't know if this one is because like, I'm like a lifelong super fan, but Phish, um, Bittersweet Motel.

Justin Jackson: Oh, I haven't heard of this one.

Brian Casel: um, yeah, the thing with, with Phish, like, you, you either like have never heard their music or their music is just too weird. You Or you're like, obsessed. And I, and I'm in the obsessed camp, right. And they're really like a musician's band to, to really get into and, and all that.

So I, I've been super into 'em and they had this documentary that came out like, I don't know, probably like late nineties. And, and I thought that it really, it's called [00:13:00] Bittersweet Motel, but it, it really captured... They are a phenomenon, like in terms of a... Like, literally like a startup story and a business story, like the, the business of Phish is insane compared to like every other band that you've ever heard of. I mean, like, again, like when you think of the name Phish or, or the, or the band Phish, like maybe you've heard some of their music in passing. You think they're this like niche act, but they sell out Madison Square Garden four nights in a row on New Year's Eve for the last 30 years. Like, they're huge, you know, and, and they have this huge following. They, they do arena tours all over the world. But they're like unknown. They're like not played on the radio. They're not on on television Like..

Justin Jackson: I love stuff like that.

Brian Casel: It's just a, yeah, it's, it's crazy,

Justin Jackson: Are, are they interesting as people?

Brian Casel: Yeah, I think so. I mean, especially like, the, the creativity and so like, they're really known for they're improvising. Like they get on stage and [00:14:00] every night is completely different from the next, and they go into these like, long like jam sessions and all that. But so they have this like, communication language that happens on stage through music which is pretty incredible. But then like the composition and the, and the playing is just like out of this world, just, just, amazing.

Justin Jackson: I found that the, sometimes the challenge with making like a documentary or even an interview, is some bands that I really like and that I, I want them to be super interesting are just not that interesting. Like Green Day is one of my favorite bands of all time. I've loved almost every album they've put out, but Billie Joe and the rest of the band, they're just, every interview I've seen with them, I've just been like, These guys are actually not that interesting. I don't know if they're...

Brian Casel: I, felt the same. I, I think they're, they're one of those bands who actually doesn't share a whole lot. Right. Like, they, you'll see like clips of them hit some, some behind the scenes stuff here and there, but they're not, like... Again, like back to Metallica, like [00:15:00] even today, these guys are old now, right? Like, they're, they're I think pushing 60 at this point, right? They throw up on YouTube, like, rehearsal room stuff like, from like this year. Like, you know, they're like fat and like out of shape and like, and they're just like putting it all up there on YouTube. Like they don't care.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Well, and I think that's what makes someone like Dave Grohl so compelling. Uh, I'm actually not a huge Foo Fighters fan, but I just love seeing Dave Grohl show up in documentaries and he's

Brian Casel: Sound City man. That's a great, that's a great one. You seen as...

Justin Jackson: Sorry. Go ahead.

Brian Casel: Sound City?

Justin Jackson: I haven't seen Sound, I haven't seen Sound City yet, so I should watch it cuz he's pretty compelling as a person. But he shows up in so many documentaries.

Brian Casel: Yeah. And, and the Foo... Foo Fighters had a good one called Back and Forth a few years back. Was that the name of that record? Was it called Back and Forth?

Justin Jackson: I know that they have a, their own documentary, [00:16:00] but..

Brian Casel: That was good. And man, like Taylor Hawkins, like losing him and, and you, and you really see his talent in that uh, documentary for sure. You know? They're band like, like I, I am really into them. I saw them live a few years back. I saw them at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and like, he opens the show. He's like, Just so you know, we play until we puke . And they, and they played like, they played over three hours straight, like no intermission. Like it was, it was craziness. But like, I wonder what happens to them now ,with...

Justin Jackson: yeah, Yeah. I mean, they've always been good at sharing clips and stuff too. And, and what I dig about him is he's just, he's obviously just a player. Meaning he's a good player. Like he shows up in all these documentaries because he's always been a fan. And it could be like some, like tiny documentary about, Washington DC punk scene. And there's Dave Grohl talking about that. He's in the Lemmy documentary. I was like, Why is he here? And he's like, playing drums [00:17:00] for Lemmy. And it's what, how did this happen? Like.. What are you doing here?

Brian Casel: I love how he was the um, you know, he was the drummer on Tenacious D.

Justin Jackson: Yeah,

Brian Casel: On, on that album,

Justin Jackson: So you could tell he just like, loves music. And I, I, I think that... That's what I look for in a music documentary is like, I want a good.. that Kanye documentary is actually really good on Netflix.

Brian Casel: I don't think I saw that.

Justin Jackson: I'm not into, I'm not again, it really into his music, but my son and I have been watching it and it's just this. What's fascinating is there was this, this guy in Chicago that met Kanye and was like, This guy's gonna be a star. Like, before anybody knew it, when he was just producing beats and he's like, I'm gonna start making a documentary about him now. So he has all of this crazy footage of early Chicago days, and then Kanye moves to New York, and then this guy's like, I gotta follow him. And he's not making any money. He's just like following him with the camera and [00:18:00] you get all of this access and seeing those moments. Again, it's, it kind of applies to startup life, but seeing what he had to push through in order to become a star is so fascinating. These people are just so many, and I, I love documentaries that involve New York. And just to see , all of it's like this host of characters. Every decade there's this host of characters that all were attracted to that city and they're all in the mix together, and they're all kind of competing with each other, but also supporting each other, and they're all trying to make it. It's so fascinating.

Brian Casel: Just the other day I was, I was listening to um, John Legend, he was a guest on Smartless on the podcast with uh, Will Arnett and and Jason Bateman and all that great episode. And he, and he mentions, like, he was talking about his story how he was discovered in the music industry, [00:19:00] Right. He had a friend, and this was in the, I guess it was in, in the nineties sometime or two thousands. He's like, Yeah, I, I had a friend he had this cousin named Kanye. He was just like some guy who was like doing some like music stuff. He was kind of like hanging out. Like he was, he was a nobody at that point. And he sort of like befriended Kanye and then Kanye got big and sort of like, you know, brought John Legend along, along with him, like into the show, you know, and, and like, that's how it happens.

Justin Jackson: Well, and and I think to see.. It often reminds me, you know, in the things that we're doing in our everyday life seeing.. So much of what we do is putting yourself out there, pushing something forward even when it's uncomfortable, and even though you might get shot down. And he does in a, a whole other level. Like he's going to like record studios and recording studio, sorry, and record companies. And he's like going into random people's offices and playing his CD [00:20:00] and just kind of sitting there awkwardly while the secretary listens to his cd. And the secretary is kind of like, doesn't care. And you can see he just kind of, you know, it affects him emotionally. He's kind of down and he like, picks up the CD and then he like goes to the next room just trying to make something happen. And that relentlessness that willingness to put yourself out there.

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Okay, back to the show.

I, I don't know if you've ever played, have you ever played music like instrumented in any, in bands or anything like

Justin Jackson: I play guitar, but not well, and I've never been in a band. And I, I have been a rave DJ , but, [00:22:00]

Brian Casel: Yeah, there you go.

Justin Jackson: But I've never like, so I've played like maybe three shows as a DJ.

Brian Casel: I was in a few bands around high school and then college, and a little bit of af after college. And the one there was, it was really two, but one, we were really trying to make like a serious push to, to make it as a band. We, so this was in my college years, we were like heavily in influenced by like Rage Against the Machine and Chili Peppers and like. So kind of like a rock, hiphop, like hard rock kind of mix.

Justin Jackson: Rage is one of my all time favorite bands as well.

Brian Casel: Dude. Oh yeah, me too. I just saw them at the Garden

Justin Jackson: Well, and I, I've had my COVID tickets for, I think we're going to, the show's finally happening in 2023.

Brian Casel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had, we had the tickets in 2020 and, and then it just happened, and Zach de la Rocha was injured.

Justin Jackson: Oh wow.

Brian Casel: And so he, he did the whole show sitting down. It was crazy. And it was like, Madison Square Garden was shaking the whole time. I mean, it, like, if you weren't watching the stage,[00:23:00] him sitting down made no impact on the energy level. It was you know.

Justin Jackson: I can't wait. But you were trying to do something similar?

Brian Casel: So, so dude, I mean, talk about marketing uh, a startup. And, and like getting comfortable with rejection and getting comfortable with just failing over and over and over again. Like, I don't know what it's like to try to be in a band today in 2022. But I can tell you in around 2002, 2003, we played... So we were in um, Indiana at first and then, and then Chicago for a couple of years. We played to so many rooms where it was basically just our girlfriends and the bartender in the room. And we're playing this like, hard rock music, right? Like, occasionally we'll be at like a party and there's, and people just want us to play covers. But we wanna play our original music or like, you know, we spend all this money to get a CD produced and then we have to like, go out on the street and like try to hand it out to people who don't want our stupid cd. [00:24:00] You know, And like, I mean, it was just... And then like, it's, it's a creative thing. We're, we're putting all this energy into, into creating what we think is, awesome music.

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Brian Casel: We have a ton of fun playing it, but then we gotta haul all of our shit. Like tear down the amps, the drum sets, put it all into the truck, bring it out to the city, and, get into the club now, tear it all back down after playing a show to like, no one.

And just doing that over and over again. Occasionally you get like a big, a, a big show where it's like you get some exposure. But like, we never had it like, click for us, where it was like.. And it, you know, like, obviously it never happened

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Brian Casel: For us, right? So it was-

Justin Jackson: What, what kept you going when you were like, if so you play to three people.. What was it just like, we've gotta keep doing this cuz something could happen? Is that what made you keep going?

Brian Casel: Part of it was fun just to play. But part of it was, we got lucky enough just to book a gig. Like that in itself is hard too, you know? Just to get club owners to say like, Sure, we'll give you like a [00:25:00] Monday night. Like, fine, you know. No. Yeah. But, but it was The, the hope was like, maybe we can book enough of these, that eventually we can start to reach some people who really dig this kinda music.

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Brian Casel: That was the, that was basically the hope.

Justin Jackson: I think, I think it's so instructive to like, hear those stories.. So often you'll see someone who's made it, whether it's in the software industry where we are, or in the music industry. And to hear like how, you know, some people just get a lucky break right away, but you know, like the Beastie Boys story is basically, they're in New York, so there's an important lesson there. So much came outta New York because it's just it's cultivating all of these different, you know, trends, all of this different stuff. And you know, you have all these people kind of in the same space at the same time and you know, they're able to catch a break and all of a sudden become that band. [00:26:00] Right.

But then there's other stories like, I think it's Eminem that know, he had always sent people his his mixtape or whatever, and Dre had it, and like maybe it was like underneath a big pile of stuff, and then one day he like listened to it or something, and you just think Wow.

Like just, of course all of those things can add up. You know, all of these, these efforts can add up. And often the breakthroughs, whether it's in the software industry or the music industry or whatever you're doing, is the culmination of a bunch of effort and a bunch of just little bets and little, you know, pushing things forward. And it's also a reminder that it just, there's no guarantees. Like you can push and push and push and and it, it might not happen for you either, you know?

Brian Casel: I think if, if I can try to pull some thread from the years of trying to make it in a, [00:27:00] in a band to today, I think there's two things. Like one thread is that like me and my yeah, like, like two of my bandmates, we were, we were all like songwriters, right? I, I was really into crafting songs that I just thought were great, right? So, so there's this creative per, it's not just about playing on stage I was actually much more into the, the time in the studio, or the time in the bedroom and, and just getting songs down right? And, and and coming up with really truly original takes on things.

So, so there's that, that I still take to today where it's like, just make it good. Like, just care about the quality, care about the integrity of, of the thing. Like, I'm not trying to rip off someone else's song. I'm not trying to rip off someone else's SaaS, you know. I'm trying to create something original here. You can go too far with that in software and like, you, you still need to solve the problem, right? I, I think that's the other thing is that, you know, playing to those empty rooms, and really what we're trying to do is. [00:28:00] Time after time we're, we're essentially, we're just trying to get lucky.

We're, we're trying to get, get some sort of lucky break where we get some new level of exposure. And I think that's the thing that I, that I avoid now as a business owner, right? Like, and, and that's why like I personally avoid like consumer products. Like, you know, like for me, like I would, I, I just never, I'm not gonna get into like creating games or creating a clothing line or something like that because it's like, it's so based on taste and then, and then luck and then exposure. I sell to businesses so that I can find a problem and I solve it. And, and you know, there's demand and so like, there, there, that's like the yin and yang of, of I think how we tie it back to, to music. And I, I mean there, there's also like the music plus tech thing, like creative plus the engineering side. But Yeah.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah. And I, think the other, the other lesson is probably these things that you start cultivating early in your life. So the more things you're trying, the more,[00:29:00] the more that's kind of in motion. So your dream may have been to be in a band, but that whole line of experience, that whole thread of experience eventually does connect with building software. And all of those things you learned, all of those layers you put down, it actually does matter. It becomes part of your unfair advantage with whatever you're doing. You know, once you find the thing that's kind of going, you know.

Brian Casel: And I, I do think that there's a sales lesson in there too. You know, I mean, I was listening to another Smartlist episode with, um, who's the big movie star. Uh, the guy, he's like in the Transformers movie now. What's his name? Oh..

Justin Jackson: LaBeouf?

Brian Casel: Or Jurassic Park? No, no. The guy from uh, Jurassic Park actually. Um, yes, Chris Pratt. He, he was talking about, he was on Smartless a few months ago talking about he was doing like door to door sales. Like he, he was, I don't, I don't know what they were selling, but like, he did that for a bunch of years [00:30:00] and he actually got really good at it. And so then he was talking about like, you know, all, all my Hollywood actor friends who are trying to make it and they, they can't deal with the constant rejection of, of like audition after audition. He was like, it was so easy for me cause I had done door to door sales all those years. You know, like, I think there's part of it, like, like, I don't know if it's the same for, for me, but like, having gone, gone through the, you know, playing in a band to like empty rooms like that. It's like you, you start to deal with like, all right, well this, Tonight was nothing like, we just gotta go back and do it again tomorrow. Like it's, I, I think there's, you know, it, it does start to harden you a little bit when you get business.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. And I think also to, once you've played to a good room, you know what that feels like. And then when, you know, for Derek Sivers, his story was similar, right? He was wanting to be a musician. He was putting everything behind being a musician. And then he did this thing on the side called CD Baby. And the way he describes it is like [00:31:00] he was playing, you know, like really pushing the music but playing to rooms that were just kind of half full. And then he launched this thing called CD Baby. And it felt to him like playing to a packed room that was really into his music. The feeling was the same. And I think until you've done something and you know, like what that feels like to, to put on a show and have nobody show up, cause I've been there too.

And also to put on a show and then everything falls in place and people buy tickets and show up. And that you get that full room feeling once you've felt that, it kind of helps you to seek out that it, it also helps you to not settle, you know. Like, okay, I'm not gonna play empty rooms the rest of my life. I gotta find something that really kind of, I gotta do something that fills the room, you know. And you, you can kind of diagnose it. Like we did a [00:32:00] rave one year and we made thousands of dollars and it was like amazing. And then through electronica, we got into hiphop and then the next year we did a hiphop show and it just did not work. We lost a lot of money and and in our minds, like the hiphop show was like, we had so much good talent and like really good MCs and we had this like, big break dance battle and like all this stuff that was like incredible, but it just didn't resonate with people that would've bought tickets, you know. And once you've experienced that, you kind of, it helps you to seek out the stuff that fills the room.

Brian Casel: Yeah. Yeah. We had some moments where it was like, we had a good show here and then that like, keeps us going for like another six months. Right. and I, I do wonder like how it would even happen today in 2022. And, and I think that knowing what I know now, like, like I would probably be more creative in terms of like launching our own events. Using online, [00:33:00] using streaming, whatever it

Justin Jackson: I think there's also a mythology in music that was detrimental to people on the outside. Cuz the mythology was, Oh, these were just amazing musicians that got discovered and then everybody wanted to see them. But the more you dig into the actual stories.. On YouTube, there's the history of Iron Maiden, part one, part two, whatever. But part one is one of my favorite music documentaries of all time, because you realize right away this manager gets involved with Iron Maiden and he comes up with Eddie the Head and all of this like branding, which he says in the beginning it was like kids were just coming to Iron Maiden shows to see Eddie the Head, and to buy those t-shirts with Eddie on them that are so famous now.

Right? And that was a branding decision. And in your mind you're like, Well, Maiden's amazing. They're like incredible [00:34:00] musicians. They've been around forever. They, but you start to learn you know, a lot of that mythology is just not true. And a lot of the mythology about, you know, like bands not being in it for the money and all that stuff, just not true.

And once you actually hear about what was going on at the time and you know, what actually made the difference in those early years? I think it's encouraging to me because it's like, okay, well branding matters, marketing matters. Having a t-shirt that you can and a mascot that you can put on , you know, all sorts of merchandise and on every poster and have people recognize that brand, that actually really helps. And in whatever we're doing now, it's gotta be the same thing.

Brian Casel: Yeah, I mean we, we, we gotta wrap this up in a minute, but the one, one kind of random thought, maybe this gets back to like the idea of like, sometimes good is just good. Like sometimes it, it is act not that like if it's it will become popular. [00:35:00] But sometimes it's like, man, this thing is just so good. It can't help but, but get popular. And like, so I was really thinking about this at the race against the machine show I was at a couple weeks ago. Again, all of Madison Square Garden, these are like lifelong people who just constantly Rage all, all their life, right? And if you know Rage Against the Machine, like they are a political activist band, they, they literally formed and they, they exist for the purpose of getting a, a political activist message out there, right? And so about halfway through their set, you know, they're playing, I don't know, Bombtrack or, or Bullet in the Head or one of these. And like, they go into like the, the section where it's just like the baseline, like, like, you know, um, and over this Zack de la Rocha goes into like a, political speech sort of thing for about five or six minutes.

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Brian Casel: And you know, talking about like anti-war and, you know, capitalism and they're the themes that they tend to touch on. Right. [00:36:00] And I just noticed that the energy in the, in the room really died down. And he's sort of just like saying these words, getting, getting his message out. And I, I just ha there's a few people in the crowd you could see with like some flags and signs who, who are probably politically active, but like 99% of the people in there just fucking love this rock music and they just want to nod their head to it, you know. Um. And like they kind of don't care so much for the.. Not that they don't or do agree with what he's saying. It's just like they're not here for that. They're here to hear like Killing in the Name, you know, and, and just get the energy out, you know, like. And it, it's almost like, it just made me think like, you know, Rage just kind of got too big for what they intended it to be. Their music, their, their rock songs were just too simple and too good. And they reached so many people that like, it went way beyond a political act, activist movement sort of thing.

You know, It was just like an interesting moment where I was just [00:37:00] like looking at all these people in Madison Square Garden and I was like, really?

Nobody cares about what he's saying. They kind of just want to get back to the music.

Justin Jackson: Dude. I mean, I wish we could talk more about that because I think, I think a lot about fame on one hand and success on the other hand, I guess. And so many people see fame as a way to get to success. And I think musicians are such a great example of this. There's this, Fat Mike interview from, he's from NOFX and I quote it all the time. But he's like, you know, in the nineties when punk rock was blowing up, NOFX he said, We kept having the same shows, same venues, same amount of people, all that stuff.

And he said some band's group blew up, like Offspring blew up and then they could never get that cat back in the bag. And it was depressing for them. You know, for a long time Offspring was playing like they, they were playing casinos because the music, wasn't trendy anymore. But [00:38:00] Fat Mike is like NOFX shows, we've been playing to the same size crowds our whole life. It's just enough for us to make a living. And what more could you ask for? We're not mega famous, but that means that, you know, when the second album comes out and no one digs it, it doesn't matter for us cuz we've got fans that are just gonna dig this no matter what.

And I think that there's so many lessons for, especially now with Twitter. You know, there's some people that think they need to be Twitter famous in order to start a business or whatever. And fame really scares me. I think fame is, you do not want fame if you can avoid it. If you can be, you know, a line drive success and you know, fill a room with a hundred people and play to those a hundred people in multiple cities around the globe, you've made it. that's perfect, you know, and this desire to get, you know, insanely popular or get insanely big.. Even with [00:39:00] my business, like I'm happy for the podcast industry to grow 10, 15% a year. And the people that are like driving it to, they want it to grow a thousand percent every year. I'm like, that's gonna destroy everything we like about this category in this industry, and what makes it great. And there's no better example examples of this than music. Like there's just some bands that just continue to play, continue to be, you know, great. And there's different levels of this, obviously, but you know, Phish is a good example. I think Iron Maiden is a good example. Like

Brian Casel: Iron Maiden is another one kind of like Phish that that's like, has this seems, quote unquote, like niche following, but they're huge. Right. But like, either, either you love 'em or, or you're not that into 'em. And like, Another huge one for me is, is 311. I've been a lifelong 311 fan, and, and they're one of these bands who's, they sort of just like stick to their formula. They play small theaters, you know, they, they grown larger than that. They, they've had like, I don't know, [00:40:00] 15 albums and just solid music for, for their fan base. They're not gonna get much bigger than that. And it's great.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. And I, I what more could you want, you know, to have enough customers or enough fans that are with you for life, as opposed to they heard a catchy song on the radio and now they're like, What? Whatever. That music's lame now, you know? Yeah. So I could-

Brian Casel: Yeah.

Justin Jackson: -talk about this forever, but yeah. This was great.

Brian Casel: Dude, we we, gotta, we gotta loop back on another, we'll do another session in, in a couple months. Uh, Have you back, I'm sure we'll find plenty of other stuff to ramble about.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. But if anyone's listening and they, they wanna uh, reminisce about snowboarding or they've got good music documentaries, definitely reach out to me on Twitter. I love, I love this stuff.

Brian Casel: Yeah, man. Alright, thanks Justin.

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Thanks.

Brian Casel: Well, that wraps up today's Open Thread. Hey, tell me what you think. I'm on Twitter @casjam, and right [00:41:00] after that, head over to iTunes and give this show a five star review. Really helps it reach more folks like us. I appreciate it. Talk to you next week.

Geeking out on Music Documentaries with Justin Jackson
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