Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

Blockbuster Needed

October 2, 2013

Monday September 30th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I read an article years ago about Mario Puzo, author of “The Godfather”. What I found to be of interest was that he had intentionally set out to write a blockbuster, something he’d be known for to the masses and would bring him money. He’d written some other books that had received high critical praise but hadn’t gotten him anywhere, and he had a wife and five kids he needed to feed.

I also remember seeing an interview with Gene Simmons of KISS, and he talked about both he and Paul Stanley setting out to create the ultimate band they had never seen or heard but wanted to as fans. They wanted to create an ultimate fan experience that would turn them into superstars.

Both Mario Puzo and KISS have done more than well, but I also recall listening to an interview with Quincy Jones not too long ago talking about the creative process behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. He said everybody who ever sets out to make a record thinks they’re going to change the world, but there are factors beyond anyone’s control and if it happens it’s entirely by chance.

I think Quincy Jones is one of the most brilliantly creative minds of our time and what he says has validity, but I’ll bet Michael didn’t look at it that way. He was coming off a wildly successful “Off The Wall” album, and was firing on all cylinders. He was looking to rule the music world.

All of these examples swirl in my head as I sit and think about what I can do to create a similar sensation in the comedy world. I don’t know exactly what that is, but I sure know what it isn’t – plain white males telling randomly assembled jokes and routines. That’s not the way to make an impact these days, even though it worked for many years. Those days are gone and won’t return.

The world has simply changed too much for that model to remain relevant. It used to be if one could manage to get on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or maybe David Letterman, there would be a large enough audience where it could make enough of an impact to launch a career. If Johnny happened to think an act was funny, he or she became the golden child of show business.

It’s no longer that way, as there isn’t any single outlet that can make anyone that quickly – with the possible exception of You Tube. Something can still go globally viral in a short time, but that doesn’t guarantee anyone stardom. Recognition and stardom are not at all the same. Any frat boy can light a bottle rocket out of his poop shoot and film it, but how does that translate into money?

There used to be a circle of industry people that would watch The Tonight Show, and they’d be fighting the next day to get a piece of any new meat that made an impression the night before. In this new setup, it’s everyone for him or herself and no one path is the right one to take anymore.

The good news is, I realize the pickle I’m in and am looking to do something about it. The bad news is I have to survive month to month doing what I’ve done my entire adult life. I might have made a living doing it, but it wasn’t the recipe to be a superstar. I need to revamp my approach.

I don’t think my ego needs to be a superstar, but my wallet could sure use it. I would be able to help so many others, and that would be my ultimate end focus. Mario Puzo and KISS succeeded, why couldn’t I pull it off too? My gut feeling is that my secret of success emanates from Uranus.

Mario Puzo set out to make money first. And he did.

Mario Puzo set out to make money first. And he did.

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley wanted to create "the band they never heard or saw", and they did!

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley wanted to create “the band they never heard or saw”, and they did!

Was it luck? Some, but there was a LOT of talent there too.

Was it luck? Some, but there was a LOT of talent there too.

It's always FUNNY, when it comes from URANUS!

It’s always FUNNY, when it comes from URANUS!

Hard Luck Jollies – FINALLY!

April 15, 2010

Wednesday April 14th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL/Milwaukee, WI

Whoo Hoo! I’ve been pumped up before, but rarely like today. I’ve been positively and absolutely giddy all day and the grin on my puss just won’t go away.  My brand spanking new comedy CD “Hard Luck Jollies” is now available for sale at the competitive price of $13 postpaid in the continental United States of America – slightly more for Zimbabwe.

What a hell ride it’s been to get this project FINALLY done, and I can now see why it’s so difficult for bands to stay together for extended periods of time. This one took so long to finish, I almost broke up with myself. It may not be “Thriller”, but at least it’s finished.

The worst part of all is that I’ve had some stupendously sizzling shows in the time since the last copy of the previous one ran out to today’s rejuvenation and rebirth. I shudder as I think of how many copies I could have sold between then and now and it’s probably up in the hundreds. That translates in cash to thousands, and the only one to really blame is me.

Yes, I had problems with my ex business partner and all the ugliness that went with that plus I sold the rights to my first CD outright to Laughing Hyena Records and don’t own it anymore. Those two things contributed to the gap in time along with some reasons on the other side with both the artwork and Donna Gurda who was the producer of this project.

Donna’s mother passed away and she had to attend to all that goes with that, and Pedro Bell’s artwork became an issue when his business partner embezzled from him and put an additional unexpected damper on the project. Any one of those things would be extremely frustrating, but all together it nearly choked out the whole project. I am thrilled it didn’t.

I had to keep plugging or it would never have gotten finished at all, and I’m very glad I did. Donna did a great job on the disc along with Mark Heleniak at EarMark Productions. She used to produce Tom Green’s music projects and she knows what she’s doing, along with Mark. They worked hard and were worth every penny I spent. I appreciate their help.

Pedro Bell’s cover artwork is also fantastic, even though I wasn’t able to get it colorized fully. It’s really intricate cartoon work, and after a lot of testing it was decided to just add color to the name logo for me he created and the words ‘Hard Luck Jollies’. The logo was modeled directly after the logo for the group Funkadelic. Anyone who’s a fan will know.

There are some things I’d change on the packaging just as there are on my last one but it won’t be noticed by anyone but me. It looks very presentable and sounds crisp. Nobody is going to know or care how many delays there were with this, they’ll just enjoy the results, or at least I hope they will. The last one went over very well, and this one is an upgrade.

The good thing is, this won’t happen again any time soon. I’ve already got ideas for the next one and I talked to Donna and Mark about it today as I dropped off copies of this one up in Milwaukee. We’ve got a lot more recordings to go through and there’s enough there for at least one but possibly even two more projects like this so I’m set for at least a bit.

I’ll keep cranking out product as much and as often as I can, but I won’t whore myself. I want to keep some kind of quality control and not just slap anything together. This took it up a notch, and I want to keep doing that as long as I can. I know there’s a lot more in me, and hopefully I can use these recordings to develop more of a fan base, like a musician.

Now is when the real work starts though. I’ve had some solid support from Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and I hope they’ll continue to showcase my newer offerings. Some of the material is the same from the first one to these next two or three, but I did it in a different way. Plus, there’s new stuff added in there too. I purged myself of everything I had in me.

I also have to restock websites that have sold my product like CD Baby and quite a few others like http://www.comedyhome.com and http://www.laugh.com. Those were also years ago and I wasn’t the contact person, my ex partner was. I’ll have to dive in and do all of this myself even though none of this is my field of expertise. For now, I need to be in charge of it all.

I’ll put the word out on Facebook and myspace and I’m even doing it here on my daily diary, which I normally don’t use to plug anything blatantly. This time I have to put it all aside and market this thing. I was always shy about it before, but people liked it and I am still getting compliments from it seven years later. This new one will not be a stink bomb.

I also have to find a way to put it up on my website and have people buy it there. I have no idea how to do that, and I didn’t ask my friend Shelley today when I picked the boxes up from her house. I had them sent there because there’s always someone home watching her kids. She’s also been a gigantic help lately and I appreciate all her efforts immensely.

I appreciate everyone who has contributed to this entire project from Donna and Mark to Pedro’s artwork and also Greg Phelps in Indianapolis who put the whole package into completion mode from getting all the design and art finished to getting the printing done. His company is called Tridigital Solutions and I recommend them for all your CD needs.

The main regret I have is not being able to thank everyone I wanted to thank. The inner sleeve would have had to have been 20 feet long, and I couldn’t afford that. Still, I’m very thankful for all who contributed in whatever way they did. I’ve had a lot of support from a variety of people and I am humbled, flattered and owe them a debt of sincere gratitude.

There’s also a Mr. Lucky song written and performed by my friend Joe Dell’Orfano and a one on one interview with Jerry Agar recorded in the WGN studios. I’m a fan of a lot of people, and an interview is always interesting to me so I put one on hoping somebody else feels the same way I do about it. All in all, this is a jam packed CD chock full of stuff that I’d want to get if I was buying a comedy CD. That’s a formula that’s worked in the past.

This is a milestone, and I love it. One CD isn’t easy to do. Two is twice as hard. Three’s extremely rare, so that’s the next goal. I think I can do it, especially since it’s already been recorded. If you’d like a copy of Hard Luck Jollies, I’ll gladly sign it for you. Please send $13 to: Dobie Maxwell P.O. Box 618 Lake Villa, IL 60046. I totally appreciate all orders.