'Playin' With Fire' New Official Release From AZHIA by Punk Aristocrats

AZHIA - PLAYIN' WITH FIRE (Official Audio)

iTunes ► https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/playin-with-fire-single/id1294234953

Spotify ► https://open.spotify.com/album/33b9jnnaDDYr1eggVooj3r

Punk Aristocrats ► http://punkaristocrats.com/shop/azhia-playing-with-fire

MUSIC Produced, Recorded & Mixed by: Jason Hollis and Dan Dixon

Mastered by: Matt Hyde

Recorded at Sonora Recorders

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#MusicMonday Playlist Available NOW + FREE AZHIA Download by Jason Hollis

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Discovering cutting edge #newmusic from around the world just got easier. Punk Aristocrats #MusicMonday serves the VERY BEST in breaking bands and cutting edge new music delivered to you all day long on Radio 1. Why? Because you deserve it. #MusicMonday Every Monday, duh!

1pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm Pacific. Stream online or Download our FREE RADIO 1 APP for Your Trendsetting Taste In Music.

This week we debuted the WORLD PREMIER of 'Playin With Fire' form Punk Aristocrats very own AZHIA. TODAY we're giving you the 'Playin' With Fire' download for FREE! 

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#MUSICMONDAY PLAYLIST

October 16, 2017

  1. AK/DK - Morphology
  2. White Room - The Blue
  3. The Shimmer Band - Ya Ya (Uh Oh)
  4. Foo Fighters - Make It Right
  5. RedFaces - Take It Or Leave It
  6. Otherkin - Come On, Hello
  7. Only Shadows - Fight Milk
  8. Grace Mitchell - Capital Letters
  9. Irontom - Hookers
  10. The Stone Foxes - Hypno
  11. Mellor - Bone Idle
  12. She Drew The Gun - Sweet Harmony
  13. Shame - Concrete
  14. Bat$hitcrazy - Bats In The Belfry
  15. Fizzy Blood - Summer Of Luv
  16. Banfi - June
  17. Suzi Wu - Teenage Witch
  18. Curtis Harding - Need Your Love
  19. Azhia - Playing With Fire
  20. Bootsy Collins - Ladies Nite
  21. L’Orange, Oddisee - Look Around
  22. Space - Dangerous Day
  23. Destroyer - Tinseltown Swimming In Blood
  24. Outsider - Miol Mor Mara
  25. HAUS - Don’t Care Enough
  26. Floral Scene -Esteem
  27. Zach Said - Holding On
  28. Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile - Over Everything
  29. Howie Payne - Some Believer Sweet Dreamer
  30. Youth Killed It - Islands
  31. OUTLYA - Howl
  32. Jimmy Sweet - You Say You Don’t Love Me


Azhia Releases Hauntingly Good 'Heart Of Glass' Blondie Cover by Jason Hollis

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AZHIA - HEART OF GLASS (BLONDIE COVER ) OFFICIAL AUDIO

MUSIC PRODUCED BY JASON HOLLIS & DAN DIXON FOR PUNK ARISTOCRATS

ARTIST: AZHIA FACEBOOK ► https://www.facebook.com/AzhiaMusic/

Blondie - Heart of Glass (Cover)

STREAM ONLINE | DOWNLOAD OUR FREE RADIO 1 APP ► www.punkaristocrats.com

AZHIA - HEART OF GLASS (BLONDIE COVER - AUDIO ) Visit ► http://punkaristocrats.com Download Punk Aristocrats Radio 1 FREE APP for iOS or Android

iOS ► http://apple.co/2x84rR5  Adroid ► http://bit.ly/2vYbnNF  

Get your Limited Edition #PunkAristocrats

Bulldog Merchendise ► http://punkaristocrats.com/shop

Check out the new 42 KING - OVER MY HEAD (Official Video) release

YouTube ► https://youtu.be/jfd_bB8Jp6U

Download / Stream Everywhere iTunes ► http://apple.co/2fprT2Y Spotify ► http://spoti.fi/2x8vkVe Soundcloud ►http://bit.ly/2whaoMQ

Playing With Fire New Music Release #MusicMonday by Jason Hollis

Imagine discovering cutting edge #newmusic showcased from around the world, every week!? Yes Please! Punk Aristocrats #MusicMondayserves the VERY BEST in breaking bands and cutting edge new music delivered to you all day long on Radio 1. Because you're worth it, you have impeccable taste and the instincts of a Swami. Monday 1pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm Pacific. Stream online or Download our FREE Radio 1 APP

Who  ever said rock n' roll is dead must be getting pretty old. Check out  #MusicMonday on Punk Aristocrats Radio 1 today Oct .16, 2017 at 1pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm Pacific. Basically we'll be spinning new music all day long. 

This week we're featuring music from Suzi Woo, Curtis Harding, The Stone Foxes, The Shimmer Band, Fizzy Blood, Only Shadows, Grace MitchellJimmy Sweet and many more badass new bands. We also have the world premier of 'Playin With Fire'  from Punk Aristocrats very own Azhia

It's going to be an exciting day for show casing new music!

Let us know what you think. 

Scott Waldman Interviews Jason Hollis for idobi Radio by Punk Aristocrats

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This week, Scott is joined by Jason Hollis!

Jason began his career in music as an artist manager and is the founder of the lifestyle brand Punk Aristocrats. Since 2014, Punk Aristocrats has been a hub for all things music and media. Their website and social media is filled with eccentric videos and A+ music playlists. Punk Aristocrats continues to grow today and develop into not just a company, but a way of life.

Jason joins Scott to talk about the Pink Spiders, Punk Aristocrats, and fashion.

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The Infectious Arrangements of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys by Jason Hollis

Written by Scott McCormick

Written by Scott McCormick

Not only is Brian Wilson a unique songwriting talent, he was one of the most influential producers of his era, renowned for his ingenious musical arrangements.

Brian Wilson remains one of the more lauded and beloved figures of 20th Century popular music. His recordings with the Beach Boys have inspired and influenced countless musicians, and continue to do so. What’s especially amazing about the Beach Boys’ records is how much they are the result of the talent and vision of one guy. Unlike the Beatles, where Lennon had McCartney, and they both had George Martin, the Beach Boys only had Brian Wilson. He wrote or co-wrote all of their early songs, and what’s more, from 1963 until the early ’70s, he arranged and produced all the bands’ music. Not only is he a unique talent in terms of songwriting, but he was one of the three most influential producers of his era (along with George Martin and Phil Spector).

We’re going to run a series of articles that focus on different aspects of Brian Wilson’s talents. This month we’re going to dig into one aspect that set Beach Boys’ records apart from their contemporaries: Wilson’s ingenious musical arrangements.

What is a music arranger?

Quite simply, an arranger decides which instruments will be used to perform a piece of music. The role of an arranger was much more important in the swing music of the ‘40s and ‘50s than in early rock and roll. After all, in jazz, artists were frequently recording songs that had already been recorded by other artists. So, if Frank Sinatra wanted to put his stamp on a standard like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” he would contact Nelson Riddle to arrange the song for big band, and his arrangement would be different from, say, the arrangement Dinah Washington had used with Clifford Brown. The arranger was separate from a producer, whose job was to record the band.

In rock, there was never a separate role for an arranger. Records were either arranged by the band or the producer. Occasionally, if the song called for a string or horn section, a pro was hired to arrange that part of the song, but on the whole, rock records simply didn’t have enough instruments to require a lot of arranging. If a band had two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer, you would usually find those instruments, plus perhaps an additional piano or harmonica, on the record.

Phil Spector was one of the first rock and roll producers to spend a lot of time on the arrangement of songs. What became known as the “wall of sound” was an attempt to create a powerful, spacious sound that would still sound huge on AM radio and mono records. Instead of using a small combo group, Spector would double or triple up instruments (even drums), and he recorded them all live in a small room, with instruments bleeding over one another. Finally, he would run the entire recording through an echo chamber to create a huge wash of sound. (Critics often refer to it as the “wall of mush.”)

It’s interesting to compare the arrangements of Spector’s records to Motown’s. Here are two recordings from 1963. Notice how in the Martha and the Vandellas’ song (Motown) you can hear individual instruments and the vocals are much more prominent. In the Spector-produced Ronettes’ song, the instruments that stand out the most are the percussion. Everything else is just massive waves of chords. Even the vocals are drowned a bit in the mix. In the Motown song, it sounds like you might be hearing the group in an intimate night club. In Spector’s, it sounds like you are at the Hollywood Bowl.

Brian Wilson was massively influenced by Spector. He recalls hearing “Be My Baby” for the first time and having to pull the car over because he just couldn’t believe the chorus. He attended every Spector recording he could, and he considered Spector the greatest producer in the world. He loved how Spector would use several instruments to create new and unusual sounds. Spector likes to say that Wilson spent his entire career trying to remake “Be My Baby.” (In fact, Wilson wrote two songs he hoped Spector’s girl groups would sing, including “Don’t Worry Baby,” which was his answer to “Be My Baby.” Both songs were rejected by Spector.)

You can hear one of Wilson’s most blatant attempts to remake “Be My Baby” on this 1964 Honeys’ record, “He’s a Doll.” Wilson wrote, produced, and arranged this hit. Note the similar use of percussion, and the similar vocal interplay on the chorus.

But as much as Wilson was influenced by the enormous sound of Spector’s records, he would find a way to deliver what Spector could not (or, more accurately, would not): he would get Spector’s giant sound, but he also found a way to get the clarity of Motown’s records. Note how, even on this early arrangement, you can hear a difference from Spector. The lead vocals are more intimate, the sax stands out more, as do the amazing drums.

The Brian Wilson sound

Rather than go through a history of the development of Wilson’s sound, let’s start with it at its most baroque: Pet Sounds. Wilson had dabbled in creative, expansive arrangements before this album, namely on the Today! and Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) albums – “California Girls” and “Let Him Run Wild” are arrangement highlights – but on Pet Sounds he was able to combine all of the elements he had been working towards: personal songs backed by the most intricate and unique arrangements anyone had ever attempted in rock.

Wilson is renowned for using unusual instruments in a pop setting. On Pet Sounds alone he would use bicycle bells, water bottles, buzzing organs, guiros, sleigh bells, timpani, harpsichords, Electro-Theremins, vibraphones, Coca-Cola cans, orange juice jugs, and more.

One of the stories you often hear is how the group initially didn’t care for what Brian had recorded. The band had been on tour in Japan while Brian was busy recording in LA with the Wrecking Crew. Today, it’s easy to dismiss their initial critiques as being short-sighted. But, when compared with their earlier hits, it’s not hard to see why they might have been concerned. 

Listen to just the music of one song from Pet Sounds, “Here Today.” If you didn’t already know the song, you might wonder how you were supposed to sing on top of this busy music, let alone play it live on stage.

For all the talk about how many weird instruments Wilson used on Pet Sounds, what’s striking is his restraint. “Here Today” is a veritable showcase of how to take 13 instruments – most of them “bass” instruments: two baritone saxes, a bass trombone, a double bass, and a bass guitar – and not have it sound like a mess. But Wilson uses space in a way Spector never did. For much of the song, you only have Hammond organ and bass, with occasional tom-tom hits and tambourine. And it’s only on the chorus when most of these instruments are playing at the same time. Thanks to these dramatic dynamics, Wilson was able to get an intimate verse and pounding chorus. 

The bass

The use of bass guitar on Pet Sounds was unique at the time. So unique, in fact, that it floored Paul McCartney, who regularly cites Pet Sounds as his favorite record. “The thing that really made me sit up and take notice was the bass lines … and also, putting melodies in the bass line. That I think was probably the big influence that set me thinking when we recorded Pepper, it set me off on a period I had then for a couple of years of nearly always writing quite melodic bass lines.”

Brian was the bassist for the group in their early years, so it makes sense he would choose the instrument to highlight in his recordings. Though he didn’t play bass on Pet Sounds (that was handled by the great Carol Kaye), he composed all the bass lines. On “Here Today” the bass notes are especially high in register, and way out in front of the mix. During the verse they play the same rhythm as the vocals, acting as a melodic counterpoint to Mike Love’s voice, which, again, was highly unusual. (Also fun, though it’s more of a harmonic thing, but from 1:47 to 2:02, the bass, which most artists use for playing root notes of chords, is playing seventh notes: an A note under a B minor and a G under an A major.) 

The drums

Unlike most rock groups at the time, the drum lines for Pet Sounds were composed by Brian, and the drums are used more for their timbre than for rhythm. Note the complete lack of a single cymbal hit. The Beach Boys seldom use cymbals in their songs, often giving that role to the tambourine player, or in some cases, bells. The Beach Boys were first and foremost a vocal group, with a special focus on falsetto singing, so it’s likely Wilson didn’t want anything up in the high register to compete with the singing.

Now listen to the original mono recording of the entire mix, and see how the music fits in with the vocals. Note how the pre-chorus doesn’t work the way you expect it to. Love sings “It makes you feel so bad…” and THEN the music drops out to just the bass and organ. It’s dramatic moment, nicely highlighting the line “It makes your heart feel sad,” and complementing the theme of the song, that love is here today, gone tomorrow.

“Wouldn’t it Be Nice”

Here’s a song you’ve probably heard so often it can be hard to hear it with fresh ears. So let’s just stick with the backing track. That glorious opening… if you’ve ever wondered what instrument is playing those notes, it’s a detuned 12-string guitar. And when the band kicks in, it’s accordions – two of them – that provide the signature rhythm sound traditionally provided by guitars. This is a great example of Brian’s penchant to use instruments in unusual ways in order to create a unique sound.

Vocals

We can’t talk about the Beach Boys without discussing their vocals. Wilson arranged every single line of every harmony on Pet Sounds. And they recorded them over and over again. Mike Love took to calling Wilson “Dog Ears” because he could hear imperfections no one else could. This brief clip offers a beautiful insight into Wilson’s vocal arrangements (as well as the glories of the Beach Boys euphonic harmonies).

It’s worth comparing Beach Boys records to the records of another popular American vocal group that also featured falsetto singing and that also had its roots in doo wop: The Four Seasons. To get a sense of how much bigger and more complicated – and flat out weirder – Wilson’s recordings are compared to other pop songs of the era, check out “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” which was co-written and co-arranged by Four Seasons’ band member Bob Gaudio. This hit, from 1967, is one of the Four Seasons’ most ambitious, popular, and covered songs. It’s a great song with a complex arrangement, but it’s a lot more traditional than “Wouldn’t it Be Nice.”

“Good Vibrations”

We also can’t talk about Brian Wilson without considering his greatest single. And since this is another song that’s hard to hear fresh, we’ll play just the music again. (Note the similar use of bass and organ as on “Here Today.” Both songs were recorded around the same time.)

Wilson’s use of cellos as a rhythm instrument are counterintuitive (apparently Van Dyke Parks made the suggestion, but hats off to Brian for using it). His use of Electro-theremin, which first appeared on Pet Sounds‘ “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” was as mind-blowing to audiences at the time as the Beatles’ use of sitar. But the most interesting aspect of this song is that it was a pastiche. There are six different sections, which were recorded in a dozen sessions, at four separate studios.

The change in production values is enough to give you aural whiplash, with one particularly jarring cut happening at 2:13. You go from the rather busy third section of the song (“I don’t know where but she sends me there…”) and there’s a cut that actually cuts off the lyric (“Oh my my, what an elation, oh my my what a—”) to a moment that sounds like it’s recorded at night in a church. There’s just an organ and a slowly-shaken maraca (ASMR trigger!) before the vocals come in with, “Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations a-happening with her,” followed by a throbbing bass. It’s not just a magical moment in the song: it’s where you first truly realize you’re in the middle of an epic, and there’s no telling where the song may go next.

“Good Vibrations” was the first cut-and-paste song where Wilson recorded snippets – each with different music, instruments, and production values – and it would influence his next attempted project, Smile. Alas, for a number of reasons, the album was shelved (and revisited in 2004), and after his inability to fully realize Smile, Wilson drastically scaled back his ambitions. There are plenty of wonderful songs in the post-Smile era, from Smiley Smile through 20/20, but for the most part, the fire had gone out. 

Smiley Smile’s “Little Pad” offers a nice example of the intimate production and charming arrangements the Boys would use from ’67-’69. Like “Good Vibrations,” “Little Pad” is a pastiche song, but on a much smaller scale. In any given section there are only one to maybe three instruments. Then again, when you have guys who can sing as well as the Beach Boys, you don’t need to dress things up with much more than a ukulele. Note how effective a simple snap of the fingers can be. (Also, for as psychedelic as “Good Vibrations” may have been, no one on the song sounds like they’re on drugs. Not so for “Little Pad.” That percussion (maraca?) that comes in briefly at 1:58 strikes me as a such a stoner touch.)

Sunflower (1970) and Surf’s Up (1971) are a return to form in terms of production and arrangement. “This Whole World,” “Our Sweet Love” (which sounds almost like an outtake from Pet Sounds), “A Day in the Life of a Tree,” and Carl Wilson’s wonderful “Feel Flows,” are highlights – as great as anything they had recorded earlier in their career. But I’ll end this article with the song that is generally considered Brian’s last masterpiece: the glorious “’Til I Die” from 1971. 

Featuring a drum machine, a moog synthesizer, a Rock-Si-Chord, vibraphone, and an organ, the arrangement for this song is a 180 from the dynamics and “wall of sound” arrangements of Pet Sounds. Musically it is very static, with big, lush chords that change subtly throughout the song. (Worth noting is the different vocal arrangements on that giant E minor-ninth chord. It’s a pretty hollow chord at 0:22 during the line “I’ve lost my way.” It gets bigger and more fleshed out at 0:55 and further elaborated on at 1:28.) It’s a dense song that starts big and gets bigger, with no respite, complementing Brian’s haunting lyrics. It’s hard not to listen to this song and mourn for all the music we may have lost from Brian following his Smile implosion. On the other hand, at least we have “’Til I Die.”

For a great insight into Brian’s arrangement and production process, check out this video, which shows the recording of “I Know There’s an Answer” from Pet Sounds. The video is great for not only showing who played on the track (including Glen Campbell on banjo!), but also detailing how Brian beautifully mixed various instruments together to create new sounds.

Scott McCormick is a musician and the author of the Mr. Pants series of graphic novels for kids. He also runs Storybook Editing, offering developmental editing for authors.

 

#MusicMonday October 8, 2017 by Jason Hollis

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PLAYLIST v16

  1. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - American Girl
  2. Bad Nerves - Radio Punks
  3. Black Honey - Hello Today
  4. Dead Pretties - Confidence
  5. PLS PLS - Exes
  6. Ecca Vandal - Broke Days, Party Nights
  7. Koi Child - Touch ‘Em
  8. Grimes, Aristophanes - Scream
  9. The Bombay Royale - Ballygunge
  10. Bonzai, Big Freedia - I Feel Alright (Big Freedia Remix)
  11. Blood Orange - E.V.P.
  12. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Refugee
  13. Park Hotel - Going West
  14. Jamie T - Tescoland
  15. Interstelar - Hold it
  16. L.A. Witch - Drive Your Car
  17. DZ Deathrays - Blood On My Leather
  18. Formation - Pleasure
  19. The Noise Figures - Shoot the Moon
  20. The Cherry Dolls - Begging You Please
  21. Pale Seas - Someday
  22. Sturgill Simpson - In Bloom
  23. Seratones - Get Gone
  24. Jorja Smith - Blue Lights
  25. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - You Got Lucky


5 Changes to Make for Rockstar Social Media in 2017 by Punk Aristocrats

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If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s change – especially when it comes to social media. It seems like every day there’s some new feature or new technology that is taking the digital landscape by storm.

And social media isn’t showing any signs of slowing down yet. Today, one-third of the world’s population uses social media networks on a regular basis.

With so much constant change, it’s the brands that can keep up and roll with the punches that are going to be the ones to succeed on social. But to keep up and stay ahead of the competition, businesses must understand the latest trends and how to use them effectively.

If your brand is still stuck using Google+, it may be time for an upgrade. Here are five of the latest social media marketing trends that I want to incorporate into my strategy this year – you may want to consider them for yours, too.

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1. Live Video

In 2016, 14% of marketers experimented with live video, and that number is only going to climb this year.

We saw live video come on the scene last year with Twitter’s Periscope, and soon after, Facebook followed with Facebook Live, bringing livestreaming into the limelight. Instagram has also launched its own live video feature, and other social networks will likely follow suit in the near future.

It’s no secret that audiences love video content. YouTube has been a successful platform for years, and Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video every day. But live video takes video content to the next level.

Audiences crave authenticity, and that’s exactly what live video provides. With no editing or scripting, going live presents your brand in a more personable and genuine way.

Incorporating live video into your social media strategy is easy to do – especially if you’ve already been creating video content. “First and foremost, you’ll want to consider where your audience already spends time on social media – and try to connect with them on those networks,” saysSophia Bernazzani, staff writer at HubSpot.

Once you’ve chosen where to post your video content, you need to decide what to post. If you have an event going on, have a member of your team livestream it. Consider providing a behind-the-scenes look at your office and operations. Try hosting a Q&A with a special guest or demonstrate how to use one of your products.

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2. Paid Content

If you’re publishing a Facebook post and just hoping someone will see it, you aren’t doing enough. With more and more changes being made to social networks’ algorithms, the chances that your audience will see your content grow slimmer and slimmer.

While these algorithms serve to ensure the platform’s users are seeing content they actually enjoy, there’s no doubt they make it harder for brands to get noticed.

Plus, other brands and consumers are sharing and publishing more content than ever, so competition for attention is fierce. In the past two years, content consumption on Facebook has increased 57%.

So how do you cut through the clutter? The answer is: you must pay for it. Organic traffic on social can only get you so far. But paid content is well worth the investment.

Promoted posts and native advertising allow businesses to narrowly target a specific audience, so you know the right people are seeing your posts. By paying for it, you can ensure that your posts actually show up on your target audience’s feeds.

I am the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses.

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3. Interactive Content

While I’m on the topic of grabbing your audience’s attention, it’s also critical for you to take an honest look at the content you’re putting out on social. With so much content online already, doing the same things as everyone else isn’t going to make your brand stand out.

Consider spicing it up by creating interactive content. Eighty-one percent of marketers say interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content. Interactive content could be a quiz, game, calculator or similar.

“Brands not only want consumers to recall [their brands], they want them to be excited and share the content with their friends,” says Russab Ali, founder of SMC Marketing. “They can then ‘compare results’ with friends.”

It’s not enough these days for your audience to just click on your posts. You need to get them to engage, too. By making engagement intrinsic to the content, you’ll increase the likelihood that your audience will do just that.

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4. Customer Service Chatbots

When you need customer service, you don’t want to wait on hold for hours on the phone or for a representative to answer your question on social media. Good customer service is fast, but most brands can’t keep up with the demand.

This is where social media can step in and give customer service a boost. Chatbots are a type of AI that can interact with customers via social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Think back to the days of AOL Instant Messenger and SmarterChild – but don’t worry, we’ve come a long way since then.

Using social messaging apps is a smart choice for marketers. In fact, 20% of marketers plan to add messaging apps to their content strategy in the next year. “These apps have a wide audience and offer several attractive features to brands for e-commerce and client support, for example, which allows for economies of scale and the creation of new types of user experience,” sayssocial media strategist Isabelle Matthieu.

Chatbots can guide customers through completing a transaction, answer a question or point people in the right direction. They offer fast, one-on-one service without the need for additional employees. Plus, your customers are a lot happier when their problems are solved right away.

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5. Employee Advocacy

There’s a powerful social media marketing tool hiding right under your nose – and it doesn’t cost a penny. It’s your employees, the people who support and work for your brand every day. Why wouldn’t you leverage them as part of your marketing strategy?

By encouraging and empowering your employees to spread the word and share your brand’s messages on social, your brand will be exposed to hundreds or even thousands of potential customers.

Your employees are powerful advocates for your brand. They offer validity and credibility to your brand’s messages. Your audience tends to trust messages that come from personal social media accounts over a brand’s social media accounts.

But you can’t mandate or force it. The employee’s support must be authentic or it will lose that credibility, and your brand will suffer because of it.

“A company’s social media must be ‘cool’ enough for the employees to want to share it on personal platforms,” says Jake Messier, principal & COO of Mungo Creative Group.

Make it easy for your employees to get involved by providing them with easy-to-share updates. Simply ask them to share your posts, and see what kind of a response you get. Chances are you’ll soon see positive results.


Written by: Sujan Patel

Will Billboard Finally Enter Into The 21st Century? by Punk Aristocrats

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Getting your album on the Billboard 200 chart may become a lot easier if a new rule goes into effect.

According to a report from Hits Daily Double, for the first time, YouTube streams may now be factored into the ranking of albums on the Top 200 albums chart, including streams for user-generated clips. Lyor Cohen, head of global music at YouTube, was reportedly in charge of the change, hoping to cater to the modern day styles of music consumption.

YouTube views already count towards the Hot 100 chart and other album charts, and are even factored in by the Recording Industry Association of America when determining gold and platinum status.

While factoring in online streams may make it easier for artists to chart and go gold and platinum, not everyone has been a fan of the new rules. In 2016, after Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was certified platinum, Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith slammed the changes the RIAA had made to allow YouTube streams to be factored into gold and platinum album certifications.

“We don’t stand behind this RIAA BS,” Tiffith wrote. “Ole [school] rules apply. One million albums sold is platinum. Until we reach that [number], save all the congrats. No cheat codes [to] platinum.”

In a statement last year, RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman stood by the 2016 change, saying, “We know that music listening – for both albums and songs — is skyrocketing, yet that trend has not been reflected in our album certifications. Modernizing our Album Award to include music streaming is the next logical step in the continued evolution of Gold and Platinum Awards, and doing so enables RIAA to fully reward the success of artists’ albums today.”

The latest change has yet to be confirmed by Billboard, but if put into effect, artists outside the mainstream major label machine may have a chance to land on the Billboard 200 chart.

Thoughts?


So You Want to be a Rockstar? by Jason Hollis

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I’m going to start off this week with one simple word and the reason why most artists should stay in school or keep their day jobs. Within this word lies life riches and the key to success. The word is “Willpower” Now, I know some of you are thinking “does that come stock in the new F-150?” So let me define this sacred of all words:

will·pow·er
a combination of determination and self-discipline that enables somebody to do something despite the difficulties involved.

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Did you get that? If not, read it again and again in fact make it your new mantra. It’s funny because most bands, actors, singers and musicians just don’t have it, willpower that is. I’ve dealt with or even continue to deal those who just don’t have the will to succeed. Willpower is a hundred percent different from ego and a billion times more effective. It simply doesn’t matter if you think you’re the greatest actor, musician or designer on the planet if you don’t have the will to succeed then you’re probably not going to. It takes drive, energy and passion to get out there and do what ever it takes, within reason and values, to get from point A to point Z, bottom line - the will to succeed.

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Let me tell you one quick success story. I have many because I like to surround myself with successful people but I’ll save that for another article. I developed a band you may or may not have heard of, that’s beside the point. On one of the bands last shows of their 250+ “SELF BOOKED TOUR DATES”, (should I repeat that our did the quotes and bold lettering get your attention) the band wrapped up the year in December by playing a club in NYC. The band was not signed and living on a $3.00 a day self allotted per diem. The groups’ van broke down after arriving to the venue in the middle of a New York blizzard and since no one showed up to the gig, the band had to use the only money left from merch sales to have the van towed in for repairs. In the middle of winter in NYC the band headed out on foot to try and find somewhere to sleep. After several city blocks and a quick trip to the laundry, where the guys used their remaining few quarters to heat up their clothes, they made their way to the subway where they passed out sleeping one on top of another.

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They never once complained about what happened they just laugh at the fact that now when they go to NYC they sleep on a Tour Bus instead of the subway. That band had and continue to have the willpower to succeed. They went on to sign one of the biggest record contracts in the past 10 years for a new rock band.

The moral of this story is that it takes way more than just being able to play your instrument or sing or write good songs. It takes, in today’s world practically giving up all of your comforts, securities, friends, girl/boy friends, your nice car and your apartment. Nowadays if you’re not living on the road or with your band in some shack while you refuel to go back out on the road then you’re simply just to settled into your life. To make it in this brutal business you have to have the willpower to carry yourself through all of the bumps in the road you will hit on a daily basis… and I do mean daily but you know what it’s all part of the ride, its character building… and its fun. Remember sometimes the journey is far more exciting than obtaining the actual prize.

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You will NEVER really know what it feels like to earn what it is that your heart truly desires unless you have the passion, drive, respect and willpower to do what it takes to get it. You have to want it for yourself because if you think people are going to feed you with a baby spoon you’re sadly mistaken. I consider myself a successful person and still to this day continue to pay my dues. Without the drive and willpower that consumes my body I would have quit a long time ago when I had no money to pay rent and had to live out of my car.

So you want to be a Rockstar huh, just how bad do you want it?

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Questions or topics may be emailed to: [email protected] In the subject title line of the email write: “Rockstar”

This post is meant to encourage not discourage.

Ultimate Brussels Rockstar Beer Vacation by Punk Aristocrats

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Skip Oktoberfest

Home to a seemingly endless variety of beers and a vast array of traditions surrounding their consumption and production, Belgium’s beer culture runs so deep it’s actually a protected UNESCO Intangible Culture Heritage. (The “intangible” bit is slightly questionable— tell that to the bartenders who spend half their night washing intricately-shaped beer glasses by hand!—but okay.) While Oktoberfest roars along full steam, Belgium’s neighbor to the East often gets most of the credit as Europe’s beer capital. But with its charming sidewalk cafes, a twilight beer-sipping culture that’s more about quality than quantity, and, yeah, okay, famously boozy beers, Belgium is one of the best places to go for a beer-soaked vacation—without having to worry about bringing vomit-resistant shoes with you.

I’m lucky enough to live with a Brussels-born beer lover, which means that I have been indoctrinated into the world of Belgian beer, and recently returned from an intensive beer-research trip to Belgium’s capital. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned about this beer-crazy country over the years. Call it a crash course in how to have a fruitful—and in some cases literally full of fruit—Brussels beer trip.

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Trappist Beer

Trappist beers boast an official designation for breweries associated with Trappist abbeys. There are 11 Trappist breweries worldwide, and six in Belgium: Achel, Orval, Westmalle, Rochefort, Chimay, and Westvleteren (which is sometimes called the best beer in the world). The Trappist breweries make a variety of styles, often including several famed dubels and tripels. Achel brews a bunch of types of beer, while Orval only makes one. (That said, you might be lucky enough to find aged Orval on menus, which I recommend trying.)

You will also occasionally see the terms “Abdijbieren” or “Bières d'abbaye” on menus. These refer to abbey beers. This is more or less a marketing term that means the beer or brewery in question is in some way associated with an abbey, but not necessarily a Trappist one. Regardless, many of these beers, including St. Bernardus, Tripel Karmeliet, and others, are some of the best you’ll find.

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Lambics

Another incredibly famous Belgian beer, lambics are grouped by their brewing method. These are often quite sour and are a bit of an acquired taste, but once you get into them there’s a whole world of lambic to explore.

Variations on lambics are often sweetened slightly. There is faro, in which a lambic is sweetened a bit with caramelized sugar and is traditionally served flat, although carbonated versions are available. Geuze is made by combining a young lambic and an older lambic together in a bottle and allowing a second fermentation to occur. And finally the famous fruit beers, in which lambic is sweetened with fruit. Common flavors include kriek (cherry), framboise (raspberry), or peche (peach).

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The Other Stuff

Belgium makes a hell of a lot of beers beyond Trappists and Lambics, though. There are the Flemish Reds, a sour, almost wine-like beer, and the wits, made with wheat. There are saisons and Christmas beers and golden strong ales and lightly hopped ambers. There are even, now, American-style IPAs—pronounced EE-pas, ha ha—if that’s what floats your boat. And the best way to find out what you like is to drink your way through some of Brussels’ longest beer lists.

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The Deal with Glassware

Unlike in the US, where bars serve beer in whatever pint glass is closest at hand, Belgium takes its glassware very seriously. Every brewery produces its own glass, and bars actually use them to serve their beer. These include simple, flat-bottomed glasses similar to (albeit smaller than) American-style pint glasses; bell-shaped, stemmed, etched beauties; and fantastically shaped blown glass numbers that require wooden stands to be kept upright. After heading to Belgium, you’ll never look at a beer glass the same way again, I promise.

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Where to Drink in Brussels

Before you go anywhere on this list, do check to see what days the place is open, and double check their social media to see if they’re on vacation. I have learned this lesson the hard way.

  • A La Mort Subite Near the Grand Place lies this charming slice of traditional Brussels cafe culture where you can get all manner of beer, plus an omelet or a croque monsieur if you’re feeling peckish.
  • Poechenellekelder Yes, it’s near the tourist zoo surrounding Manneken Pis; go anyway. This is where you can go to find the weird and the rare.
  • Brasserie Cantillon Cantillon is a renowned brewer of spontaneously fermented beers. Take the self-guided tour, then sample the goods.
  • Moeder Lambic Original Get your butt out of the city center and into this temple to all beers lambic. (There is a central location as well, at Place Fontainas 8.)
  • A l'Imaige Nostre-Dame Hidden down a long, narrow alley lies this cozy cafe that feels like a secret, even when it’s packed. Afterwards, head across the alley to the wood-paneled and super-cozy Au Bon Vieux Temps.
  • Au Brasseur This is where to go for flights, if you’re looking to try more beers in a shorter amount of time.
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How to Bring it Home with You

Now that you’re hooked, you’ll want to bring some beers back home. You can buy beer at the airport duty free, but these are some of the more common breweries that are often available in the US. Your best bet is to go to one of the many stores surrounding the Grand Place that cater to tourists, selling hundreds of different bottles (along with their accompanying glassware). Small bottles are best protected in your suitcase by shoving them in your shoes, while larger bottles can be rolled up in jeans. In either case, snuggle them in the center of your suitcase and cross your fingers. Try De BiertempelBeer Planet, or Malt Attacks.


Not Just A Rockstar... Tom Petty Was One of Us by Punk Aristocrats

The unlikely rock icon, who died Monday at the age of 66, was always down to earth—even when on top of it.

The unlikely rock icon, who died Monday at the age of 66, was always down to earth—even when on top of it.

Tom Petty never felt above us. The hit records and sold-out tours never stopped, and he counted Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Johnny Cash, and so many more legends among his friends—yet he still felt down to earth. It was as though he was our representative among those storied artists, like a fan had snuck in and grabbed the last seat at the table with the big boys.

And now he’s gone.

Tom Petty died on Monday at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, surrounded by family, his bandmates, and his friends, longtime Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers manager Tony Dimitriades said in a statement. Petty had suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu early Monday and could not be revived. He was 66.

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"It’s shocking, crushing news,” Bob Dylan said in a statement to Esquire.com. "I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”

Born in Gainesville, Florida, on October 20, 1950, Petty rose to legendary status as the frontman for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. He was also a co-founder of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison. Just last month, he’d wrapped a 40th anniversary tour with the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

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It was an unlikely story: The small town boy with the abusive father, who’d scaled unimaginable heights after being inspired by a childhood handshake from Elvis Presley while on the set of a movie in Petty’s hometown, only to become a legend in his own right. But no matter how easy he made it seem, Petty was an artistic giant, even among his legendary friends. He had innumerable hit records—Damn the Torpedoes, Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, and his first number-one album, 2014's Hypnotic Eye. Of course, there were hit singles, too: “Breakdown,” “Refugee,” “The Waiting,” “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”—plus a shelf full of Grammy Awards, a George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, an ASCAP Golden Note Award, a Billboard Century Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and he became a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2016.

His songwriting seemed simple, almost effortless. In fact, it was unique and economical, full of memorable lines and musical hooks. His singing was often jeered at; sent up on Saturday Night Live. But it, too, was unique, as well as expressive and singular in a way that only the greatest singers are. When Tom Petty opened his mouth, you knew he meant what he was saying. And, of course, he was the consummate bandleader, taking his Heartbreakers from little more than a collective dream to the mountaintop, and sustaining that, wowing audiences for four decades, night after night on grueling tours long after he needed to, and holding it all together in the process.

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But in person, it was hard to reconcile all that accomplishment with the person standing in front of you. When I first met Petty, at a Manhattan event for the launch of his 2010 album Mojo, he was exactly as you might imagine: intense, sure, but also warm, funny and relaxed. We talked about touring and songwriting, and he bemoaned having to recently retire a beloved Gibson acoustic guitar on which he’d written almost all of his hits. A rock and roll fan, too, he was also happy to share stories about Dylan and Orbison and Harrison, seeming almost as amazed as I was that he counted those legends among his closest friends.

All the while, it was hard to forget I was talking to Tom Petty, but, of course, that was a large part of his appeal.

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That's because Tom Petty really did seem to be one of us. His music has been so ubiquitous for so long, we've probably taken him for granted more than we should have. But his catalog boasts some of the greatest songs of the past 40-plus years, if not the entire history of rock and roll.

TOM PETTY'S CATALOG BOASTS SOME OF THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE PAST 40-PLUS YEARS, IF NOT THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL.

In fact, there’s not a bad Tom Petty record. Pull him up on Spotify, and marvel at just how many songs you know—and love—and how every album he released had at least a fistful of true gems. 

"We've always been a great band, but we've really blossomed in an unexpected way and this album really showcases that,” Petty told me in 2010 with his characteristic humility. “I always say that, but this time there's something really special going on."

Then he squinted at me and smirked, just the way you’d imagine Tom Petty would, and we both laughed.

"Well, you must be real proud of this one," I said. In his trademark southern deadpan, Petty grinned at me again, and without hesitation replied, "Shit yeah!"

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Of course he was right, though. The Heartbreakers never lost their fire. Instead, unlike so many of their contemporaries, who toured to support greatest hit collections or playing classic albums from start to finish, they seemed to grow only better with age.

Last summer, at Forest Hills Stadium, in the midst of the band’s 40th anniversary tour, Petty and company seemed almost ageless. I’d seen them countless times, and of course they were older. But for two hours, in the Queens heat, they played a set chock-full of hits and with a large helping of deep cuts; they seemed to turn back the clock.

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With all the battles he fought over the years—with everyone from the record labels heavies who’d sold his contract out from under him or raised the price of his albums without his approval, to politicians using his music to promote their “outsider” status—it was easy to see that Tom Petty had a chip on his shoulder. But, as he joked to me that night in 2010, having a father that beats you up regularly will do that. So he never felt as though he fit in, and he had to do it his own way, while never, ever selling out. That he found rock and roll, and channeled that rage into being the absolute best artist—always true to his heart and his beliefs—is something that we all, and most especially his peers, should take note of.

Ultimately, though, as effortless as he made it seem, and as graceful as he was holding down center stage for more than 40 years in front of the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty earned his seat at the high table of rock and roll, and then some.

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In the summer of 2016, backstage at New York City’s Webster Hall, I watched as Petty and Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, along with the reunited members of Petty’s first band Mudcrutch, jammed with The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn. Using little practice amps and singing just loud enough to hear themselves, they were preparing for McGuinn’s guest spot with the band that night. Although McGuinn was only scheduled to play “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and “Lover of the Bayou” with the band, the group of musicians, with grins on their faces, played on, trading licks and digging deep into the catalogs of Bob Dylan and The Band. It was an amazing, unforgettable experience. 

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But, most of all, I’ll remember Tom Petty, with a beaming smile on his face, ceding the vocals to McGuinn and guitarist Herb Perderson, plucking a bass, lost in the music. He seemed the happiest I’d ever seen him, onstage or off, lost in the magic of the music he loved so dearly.

BY JEFF SLATE


Punk Aristocrats Pay Tribute To Hugh Hefner by Jason Hollis

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In 1953, writer and illustrator Hugh Hefner created the men's adult entertainment magazine 'Playboy,' which played a role in the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Hefner built his controversial yet groundbreaking magazine into an international enterprise.

“Could I be in a better place and happier than I am today? I don't think so.” 
—Hugh Hefner

Who Was Hugh Hefner?

Born on April 9, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, Hugh Hefner transformed the adult entertainment industry with his groundbreaking publication Playboy. From the first issue featuring Marilyn Monroe in December 1953, Playboy expanded into a multimillion-dollar enterprise mirroring the often controversial sensibilities of its founder. By the 1970s, Hefner set himself up at the Playboy Mansion West in California, remaining editor-in-chief of the magazine he founded. In more recent years he starred in the reality TV series The Girls Next Door

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Background and Early Life

Hugh Marston Hefner, born on April 9, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, was the eldest of two sons born to Grace and Glenn Hefner, who were strict Methodists. Hefner went to Sayre Elementary School and then to Steinmetz High School, where, reportedly, his IQ was 152 though his academic performance was generally modest. While in high school, Hefner became president of the student council and founded a school newspaper—an early sign of his journalistic talents. He also created a comic book entitled School Daze, in which the generally reticent youngster was able to be at the center of his own imagined universe.

Hefner served two years in the U.S. Army as a noncombatant toward the end of World War II, and was discharged in 1946. He studied at the Chicago Art Institute for a summer before enrolling at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he majored in psychology. Hefner earned his bachelor's degree in 1949, the same year he married his first wife, Mildred Williams. He later did a semester of graduate school work in the area of sociology, focusing on the sex research institute established by Alfred Kinsey.

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By the early 1950s, Hefner had landed a copy-writing job at the Chicago office of Esquire magazine, which featured literary works by such writers as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as illustrations from pinup artists like George Petty and Alberto Vargas. Hefner opted not to remain with the publication, which moved to New York, when he was denied a $5 raise.

Starting 'Playboy'

Out on his own, Hefner was determined to start his own publication. He raised $8,000 from 45 investors—including $2,000 from his mother and brother Keith combined—to launch Playboy magazine. Hefner had planned to title the magazine "Stag Party" but was forced to change the name to avoid a trademark infringement with the existing Stag magazine. A colleague suggested the name "Playboy," after a defunct automobile company. Hefner liked the name, as he thought it reflected high living and sophistication.

Hefner produced the first edition of Playboy out of his South Side home. It hit newsstands in December 1953, but did not carry a date because Hefner was unsure as to whether or not a second issue would be produced. To help ensure its success, Hefner had purchased a color photograph of actress Marilyn Monroe in the nude—which had been taken some years earlier—and placed it in the centerfold of the magazine. The first issue quickly sold more than 50,000 copies, and became an instant sensation.

America in the 1950s was attempting to distance itself from nearly 30 years of war and economic depression. For many, the magazine proved to be a welcome antidote to the sexual repression of the era. For those who initially dismissed the magazine as a pornographic publication, Playboysoon broadened its circulation with thoughtful articles and an urbane presentation.

Developing a Voice

The Playboy logo, depicting the stylized profile of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo bow tie, appeared in the second issue and remained the trademark icon of the brand. Hefner chose the rabbit for its "humorous sexual connotation" and because the image was "frisky and playful"—an image he fostered in the magazine's articles and cartoons. Hefner wanted to distinguish his magazine from most other men's periodicals, which catered to outdoorsmen and showcased he-man fiction. Hefner decided his magazine would instead cater to the cosmopolitan, intellectual male and feature more overt sexual imagery.

In a series of 25 editorial installments presented during the 1960s, Hefner promoted what became known as the "Playboy Philosophy." An evolving manifesto on politics and governance, the philosophy espoused Hefner's fundamental beliefs about free enterprise and the nature of man and woman, calling for what he viewed as reasoned discourse on the truths of human sexuality. However, Hefner never lost sight of the fact that it was pictures of nude women which ultimately sold the magazine.

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Work on the publication consumed much of Hefner's life and marriage. By the late '50s, Playboy's circulation had surpassed that of rival magazine Esquire, with sales reaching a million copies a month. But personal issues loomed. Hefner and his first wife divorced in 1959 after having had two children, Christie and David. As a single man, Hefner had many girlfriends and became known for his romantic, unpretentious presence. Yet he also earned a reputation for being controlling and trying to enforce double standards.

The Golden Age

In the 1960s, Hugh Hefner became the persona of Playboy: the urbane sophisticate in the silk smoking jacket with pipe in hand. He adopted a wide range of pursuits and socialized with the famous and wealthy, always in the company of young, beautiful women. As the magazine's increased success came to the attention of the mainstream public, Hefner was happy to portray himself as the charismatic icon and spokesperson for the sexual revolution of the '60s.

This was also Playboy's golden age as ever-increasing circulation allowed Hefner to build a vast enterprise of "private key" clubs that, among other traits, were racially inclusive in a time where segregation was still legally enforced. (A documentary on Hefner that focused on his civil rights activism later received a NAACP Image Award nod.) Hostesses, known as Playboy Bunnies for their scanty outfits made up of rabbit ears and puffy tails, staffed these high-end establishments. The Bunnies often did quite well financially via tips and were directed to keep a certain professional distance from ordinary patrons. The women also had strict conditions placed on them in regards to appearance, including size. 

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Over the years, Hefner's Playboy Enterprises also built hotel resorts, started modeling agencies and operated a number of media endeavors. Hefner hosted two short-run television series, Playboy's Penthouse(1959–60), which featured the likes of Ella FitzgeraldNina Simone and Tony Bennett, and Playboy After Dark (1969–70), with guests like Milton Berle and James Brown. Both programs were weekly talk shows set in a bachelor pad full of Playboy Playmates, who chatted with Hefner and his special guests about various subjects.

The publication itself began to garner a reputation for serious journalism, as author Alex Haley launched the "Playboy Interview" in 1962 with jazz great Miles Davis. But Hefner's success didn't come without controversy. In 1963, he was arrested and stood trial for selling obscene literature after an issue of Playboy featured nude photos of Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield. The jury couldn't reach a verdict, and the charge was eventually dropped. The publicity didn't affect the reputation of Hefner or Playboy Enterprises. In 1964, Hefner founded the Playboy Foundation to support endeavors related to fighting censorship and researching human sexuality.

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Challenges and Downsizing

By 1971, Hefner had built Playboy Enterprises into a major corporation. The company went public, and the magazine's circulation hit 7 million copies a month, earning a $12 million profit in 1972. Hefner also began dividing his time between two large mansions, one in Chicago and the other in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. When he wasn't home, he was globetrotting in the Big Bunny, a converted black DC-30 jet complete with a living room, a disco, movie and video equipment, a wet bar and sleeping quarters. The jet also featured a circular bed for Hefner himself.

In the mid-1970s, however, Playboy Enterprises fell on hard times. The United States hit a recession, and Playboy faced increasing competition from more explicit men's magazines such as  Penthouse, helmed by rival Bob Guccione. At first, Hefner responded by presenting more revealing photos of women in less wholesome poses and circumstances. Some advertisers rebelled, and circulation fell even further. From then on, Hefner concentrated the company's operations on magazine publishing. Playboy Enterprises eventually divested itself from its unprofitable clubs and hotels and downsized its ancillary media endeavors. The magazine kept its new photography standards and began presenting features like "Girls of the Big Ten."

Over the years a range of female celebrities have appeared in Playboy, including MadonnaKate MossJenny McCarthyNaomi CampbellCindy CrawfordDrew BarrymoreNancy Sinatra and, appearing on the most covers, Pamela Anderson. However, the magazine has also been targeted by critics who take issue with its objectification of women and barely veiled emphasis on commercialism. Feminist icon Gloria Steinemfamously went undercover as a bunny waitress in 1963 to showcase what female workers endured for a two-part Show magazine article. (Steinem's exposé was later made into a 1985 TV movie starring Kirstie Alley.)

In 1975, Hefner decided to make Los Angeles his permanent home so he could more closely supervise his interests in television and film production. He became involved in the restoration of the famed Hollywood sign and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And in 1978 he started the Playboy Jazz Festival, an annual event featuring some of the best jazz musicians in the world.

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Transitions and Other Projects

In 1985, Hefner suffered a minor stroke, with the entrepreneur blaming it on stress from director Peter Bogdanovich's book The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten 1960-1980, which profiled the life and murder of a former Playmate. The stroke served as a wake-up call for Hefner. He stopped smoking, began to work out and adopted a slower pace in his pleasurable pursuits. He married his longtime girlfriend, Kimberly Conrad, in 1989, and for a time, the Playboy Mansion reflected an atmosphere of family life. The marriage produced two sons, Marston and Cooper. The Hefners separated in 1998 and officially divorced in 2009. After the separation, Kimberly and the two boys lived on an estate next door to the Playboy Mansion.

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In 1988, Hefner turned over control of Playboy Enterprises to his daughter Christie, naming her chair and chief executive officer. She played a key role in directing Playboy's ventures in cable television, video production and online programming, with Hugh continuing to serve as the magazine's editor-in-chief. Christie Hefner stepped down from her position in January 2009.

While the magazine saw more modest sales in a changing publishing landscape, the Playboy brand remained a formidable entity in terms of global licensing opportunities. The famed logo also made inroads into various avenues of pop culture, as seen with its display on a chain regularly worn by fashionista Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in Sex and the City.   

In his later years, Hugh Hefner devoted much of his time to philanthropy and civic projects. He directed his foundation in 1993 to launch the annual Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Hefner also gave the University of Southern California $100,000 for its "Censorship in the Cinema" course, and went on to donate $2 million to its film school in 2007. Additionally, he made major contributions to the restoration of classic films, one of his great passions.

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'The Girls Next Door'

Hefner received numerous awards for his contributions to society and the publishing industry. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Society of Magazine Editors in 1998, which, ironically, was the same year Steinem earned induction. In the new millennium, he received the Henry Johnson Fisher Award and became an honorary member of The Harvard Lampoon.

2005 saw the premiere of The Girls Next Door, a reality series focusing on the lives of Hefner and his girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion, on the E! cable television network. The show's earlier seasons featured Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, with later seasons featuring twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon and Crystal Harris, who would later become engaged to Hefner. True to form, the series served as a promotional vehicle for many of Hefner's projects.

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The 2009 season finale of Girls Next Door chronicled more changes in Hefner's life, as Marquardt left the mansion and began her own TV series. Wilkinson left soon after, pursuing a relationship with NFL player Hank Baskett. Madison also vacated the mansion. She later penned the 2015 memoir Down the Rabbit Hole, detailing Hefner's off-camera machinations and the severe unhappiness she experienced living at the mansion.

Third Marriage and Rebranding

Hefner reportedly was in discussions with Hollywood studio executives for many years to create a biopic about his life. Director Brett Ratner was linked to the film at one point, with several major stars named as prospects for the lead role, including Tom CruiseLeonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr.

Hefner and Harris became engaged in December 2010. Not long after, in June 2011, the couple made headlines when Harris called off the engagement. Hefner and Harris were then back in the public eye in 2012, after announcing their re-engagement. The couple tied the knot at a Playboy Mansion ceremony on New Year's Eve in 2012. After the ceremony, 86-year-old Hefner tweeted: "Happy New Year from Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hefner," with a photo of himself and his 26-year-old bride.

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Meanwhile, Playboy was set to undergo a transformation: In October 2015, chief content officer Cory Jones revealed to the New York Times that he and Hefner had agreed to stop using photos of fully unclothed women. The change was part of a strategic decision to secure more advertisers and better placement on newsstands, as well as a response to the proliferation of internet pornography that had made the magazine's spreads seem old-fashioned. The March 2016 issue featured bikini-clad model Sarah McDaniel on the cover, the first time Playboy presented itself as a non-nude magazine.

However, the change was short lived. Not long after Hefner's son Cooper took over as chief creative officer in 2016, it was announced that Playboywould again feature unclothed models. "Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem," the creative chief tweeted in February 2017. "Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are."

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Cooper Hefner had also voiced his displeasure with the Playboy Mansion going up for sale, though he was unable to have his way on that issue. In the summer of 2016, it was announced that the mansion had been sold for $100 million to a neighbor, under the agreement that Hefner and his wife would continue living there until his death.

Death

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Hefner died on September 27, 2017, at his home, the Playboy Mansion, in Holmby Hills, California. He was 91. “Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognizable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones,” Playboy Enterprises confirmed in a statement. “He was 91 years old.” 

Hefner bought the mausoleum drawer next to Marilyn Monroe in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, where he will be buried. 

 

6 Rockstar Ways to Win at Social Media Promotion by Jason Hollis

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Increased exposure and traffic are the top two benefits of social media promotion cited by marketers in the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. To gain those advantages, and more, for your business, consider incorporating these elements into your social media promotion strategy:

Engagement is key.

You want your followers to comment, like, and share your posts on social media. When they do that, it increases exposure to your content by getting more people to look at it. "Make sure you generate content that is appealing to the masses and makes people want to share it with their friends," says Justin Sochovka, a principal in Psyched Media Marketing. Asking questions in a creative manner, holding contests and connecting with social causes can be effective strategies for increasing engagement with your content. Polls and how-to videos are also popular.

Balance promotion with value-add.

No more than one out of every six or seven posts should be overtly promotional. The rest should focus on sharing content that is authentic and genuinely useful to your followers. It's okay to "soft-promote" your business in those other posts, as long as it's subtle and relevant to the value-added content being shared, for example, offering advice on how to use a product most effectively or economically.

Think video, video, video.

The average user spends more than twice as much time on a website with video than one without, and two-thirds prefer videos of less than 60 seconds--perfect for social media! "It's the best way to organically generate buzz," Sochovka says. Spend some money on a good camera to maximize the video's strong points: attention, emotion, perceived value, and clarity. After creating a video, host it on your own site first, then post to social media channels.

Set up complete profiles.

Seems obvious, but Chris Stocker, CEO of CSI Marketing Solutions, says it's amazing how many small businesses neglect to do this. Important information that is often omitted includes email address, street address, business hours and relevant images, he says. "Be as thorough as possible. This may be the first impression many people have of your business-;and maybe their last."

Be prepared for negative feedback.

Murphy's Law is real. Occasionally, things go wrong. It's okay to pre-craft responses to your most common questions and complaints, so you can respond quickly when they crop up. But make sure to personalize your responses, as well. People want a quick response on social media, but they also want to feel they are being heard.

Use ads strategically.

Advertising to those who have already been on your website can be an effective and economical way to promote your business through social media. For the best results, use remarketing tags, which are free to install and use on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Tags are short snippets of code that add your website visitors to your remarketing lists, making it easy to target them.

There's no one-size-fits-all solution for creating a social media promotion plan, but according to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, all plans should address five key points: choosing the most-effective tactics, maximizing engagement, measuring ROI, optimizing use of paid social media and targeting the right audience. Set clear objectives for what you want to achieve with social, and use these guidelines to formulate a plan and optimize it as needed.

What David Bowie Can Teach You About Self-Reinvention by Toby Rogers

In the 21st century, everyone leads multiple lives. Long gone are the days when people would leave school, walk into a job then stay there until they could claim their gold retirement watch. Unless they’re lucky enough to find their vocation early on, modern workers will have many careers before they get the chance to stop. But how do you successfully reinvent yourself over and over again?

One of the most influential artists in pop music history, David Bowie was an icon who remained relevant and contemporary for five decades.

But how did he do it? What can David Bowie teach the rest of us about staying at the very top of our game?

When David Bowie killed Ziggy Stardust in 1973, few would have imagined he’d be able to better it; but he did. The Thin White Duke is as iconic as Bowie’s glam-rock legend and arguably had a bigger influence. And it’s not just his own image that Bowie revitalised. He did the same for Lou Reedand Iggy Pop, whose careers looked all but over until Aladdin Sane stepped in.

So what can David Bowie teach you about reinventing yourself? What can you learn about rebooting your life from the original spider from Mars?

Don’t Be Afraid To Shed Your Old Identities If They’re Not Successful

Just because you’ve got a six-figure salary and you’re getting regular slaps on the back from your boss, it doesn’t mean that’s it. Even the most successful people can reinvent themselves, it’s just a bit harder if you think you’ve got a lot to lose. Job security, though, is an illusion. You might be on a roll now, but don’t ever kid yourself that it’ll last forever. You could be made redundant tomorrow; isn’t there something else you’d rather be doing?

David Bowie was at the very top when he decided to call time on Ziggy Stardust. Across two albums in the early seventies, he single-handedly gave birth to glam rock, setting the blueprint for a host of other artists to follow. Really, he could’ve built his whole career on it, churning out “Jean Jeanie”-esque stomps adinfinitum. But he didn’t. David Bowie had the vision to realise glam had run its course, abdicating before he became the forgotten king of a long-dead genre. His band didn’t like it; the cash cow was being slaughtered prematurely. But history proved him right.

Contemporaries who commanded hit after hit were consigned to the annals of Britrock’s past, while Bowie remained as influential as ever. Reinventing yourself when you’re at the top of your game can be just as successful as doing it when you’re at the bottom, if not more so. Don’t wait until things come crashing down around you before you take steps to live the life you want. If your success isn’t making you happy, then what’s the point?

Repeatedly Reinventing Yourself Is The Key To Longevity

Why just reinvent yourself once? When David Bowie became The Thin White Duke it wasn’t the last character he developed. All your identities have a certain shelf-life. You’re not the same person in your fifties as you were in your twenties, so why try to live the same life? One of the problems with many aging musicians is they’re still clinging to rose-tinted views of the artists they once were. Even icons like Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones have refused to grow old gracefully, instead becoming embarrassing caricatures of their former selves. It’s something that never happened to David Bowie.

No longer able to pull off the androgynous spaceman image, Bowie remained acutely aware of his evolution; always adopting personas that suit his time of life perfectly. Just as trying to squeeze into the jeans you wore in your teens will make you look foolish when you’re in your sixties, so too will trying to reconnect with your former selves. Life’s a journey that doesn’t end until you shuffle off your mortal coil. There’s no point stopping until you’ve explored as many destinations as you can. If you want to have the most rewarding experiences, you’ve got to jump in at the deep end. Just because you’re satisfied with where you’re at, it doesn’t mean you need to stay there forever.

Just Because Your Latest Persona Is Successful It Doesn’t Mean It Always Will Be

The same goes for success. Just because your current persona pays the rent and lets you live the lifestyle you think you want, it doesn’t mean it’ll last forever. The key is to always be aware of when it’s time for a change. Your friends and family may think you’re being rash if you quit a perfectly good job; but if it’s not where you see yourself fulfilling your dreams, why stick around? We’re long conditioned to believe that a good job title, a decent salary and the security of a half-decent pension are the keys to happiness. It’s a myth. Success happens on the inside; you need to be content that the life you’re living matches up to your expectations.

Don’t be afraid to call time on a successful career if there’s something you’d much rather be doing. Waiting until retirement is just wishing the best years of your life awayDavid Bowie was never afraid to reinvent himself, often long before the rest of the world was ready. Even his most successful incarnations benefited from not hanging round too long. His most iconic, Ziggy Stardust, remains so because he never outstayed his welcome.

Don’t ever become stale and bored in a life you find less than fulfilling. David Bowie didn’t, and that’s why his star will shine far brighter than most. So long Starman, you’ll be missed.


Written by: Toby Rogers https://www.tobyrogers.io

Follow Toby Rogers via Twitter @tobiasrogers

 

The Delta Riggs Share Details of New Album by Jason Hollis

Photo Credit: The James Adams

Photo Credit: The James Adams

Having just wrapped up a short national tour in support of their new single "Surgery of Love," today Sydney's The Delta Riggs have announced details of their third album, Active Galactic, the follow-up to their 2014 LP, Dipz Zebazios.

"Vibe is key", Riggs bassist Michael "Monte" Tramonte explains of the recording process of the new record. "After nine days, cocktails at 5pm, suits at 6pm, a few minor disagreements and some intergalactic good times later – we had finished what we believe to be our finest work to date."

Active Galcatic is due August 26th via Inertia. Following which, the band plan to criss-cross to all corners of the country on an extensive national tour, details below.

Active Galactic Tracklisting
1. "Surgery of Love"
2. "Never Seen This Before"
3. "Slingin' On A Saturday Night"
4. "Get Right"
5. "June Gloom"
6. "Stay While You Run Away"
7. "Kids Are Alright"
8. "Sunny"
9. "Baddest Mother Fucker in the Beehive"
10. "Don't Be Lonely"
11. "Take You For A Ride"
12. "Waiting for the Rain"
13. "Losing All Our Love"

The Active Galactic Tour
Friday September 23: Prince of Wales, Bunbury
Saturday September 24: The Rosemount Hotel, Perth
Thursday September 29: The Whalers Hotel, Warranambool
Friday September 30: The Gov, Adelaide
Saturday October 1: Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Sunday October 3: SSA Club, Albury
Thursday October 6: Kay St, Traralgon
Friday October 7: The Grand Hotel, Mornington
Saturday October 8: Westernport Hotel, Phillip Island
Wednesday October 19: Academy Night Club, Canberra
Friday October 21: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Saturday October 22: Torquay Hotel, Torquay
Thursday October 27: Wollongong Uni, Wollongong
Friday October 28: The Metro Theatre, Sydney
Saturday October 29: The Big Banana Festival, Coffs Harbour
Friday November 4: The Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay
Saturday November 5: Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale
Thursday November 10: The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
Friday November 11: The Triffid, Brisbane
Saturday November 12: SOLBAR, Sunshine Coast