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What Metal Music Can Teach Us About Business


7/30/2013
By Mark Phillips

How you think is everything.
 
Mark Phillips
In a previous column, I discussed a book about The Beatles and how if you follow their example, you could achieve business success.

This month, let’s talk about metal music.

There’s a band from Seattle called Queensryche that’s been around for about 30 years. They were progressive metal gods. They were innovators.

I say “were” because at one point, the band was headed for near obscurity because they were losing focus and drifting away from their core fan base (customers). That’s never good for business.

For reasons that will likely be hashed out in court proceedings, suffice it to say that the long-time lead singer and the rest of the band parted ways. What happened next could have unfolded many different ways. The “business” could have imploded. Without a singer, the band could have pointed fingers at each other, played the blame game and degenerated into chaos that would have imperiled their future.
Instead, the members of the band remained positive and kept their minds open. And then, they met a guy named Todd La Torre.

By his own admission on Facebook, La Torre had never before sang on an entire album.  
Why would a band that’s been around three decades and could have had their pick of just about any household name vocalist take a chance on La Torre? He’d been a drummer in several metal bands around Florida. And, for two years starting in 2010, he was lead singer of a band first founded
in 1979. So there wasn’t a resume with a laundry list of bands for which he was lead singer.

But, three things stand out with La Torre: Positive attitude, talent and potential. La Torre has all three — in truckloads. The members of the band were smart to recognize this and acted quickly.

The mere combination of La Torre and the other band members Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Parker Lundgren, has unlocked creativity that hasn’t been fully tapped for years. It’s like a mini business and creative incubator. What the band has gained isn’t so much a leader as a collaborator. He’s the Lennon to their McCartney.

We could all learn a few things about business through Queensryche:
•How you think is everything.
•Promotions and appointments should be made based on potential, not necessarily the past.
•If whatever you’re doing right now isn’t working, quit doing it and try something else. That doesn’t mean close the band and try a totally different business. Or maybe it does. Perhaps all that’s needed is a small tweak; or a big tweak. Whatever the “tweak” is, find it.

•Move quickly. If the members of the band had waited, someone else would have snapped up La Torre.

Mark my words, there’s a book to be written about Queensryche and how they reorganized their operations. What they did can teach many other businesses how to think when the chips are down.














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