I've probably gone on and on way too much about my son Jamie and his recent work. But today I was curious to see how the new 30 Seconds To Mars record he worked on was doing; I know that he was very hopeful that it would do well, because of his career demands. I was happy to see that it IS doing well; #3 on the US rock chart only 10 days after its release, #3 on the alt-rock chart, #1 in the UK, doing very well in the rest of Europe, too.
So I started thinking about the two years of effort that went into this project, and what made it succeed. I put together the bits of information my son shared over the past couple of years, and most especially the culmination of the effort and how it all came together - it was a team effort, and the result of an incredible amount of work and leadership, like any other successful product!
Let's start with their 2009 effort, "This is War." They made that album while in a lawsuit with their label. No one knew what was going to happen. The band fronted the money for the project out of pocket rather than stop working. Lots of other bands wouldn't. Jamie was an assistant engineer on that record.
Talent and creativity aside, I'm talking about hard work. Hard choices.
By 2011, the band was in the middle of a 300+ date Guinness record tour. They had been writing on the tour, and in the fall of 2011, called Jamie and said they were ready to start recording demos. Not in the studio; they recorded in every spare second they had while on this grueling tour! Jamie brought portable recording gear, and they simply started production, in hotel rooms, outdoors, even on a mountain top in India (yes, for real, next to an old fortress overlooking Jodhpur).
They got back in January of 2012. They took a couple of days off, and then immediately started production on the record. They worked 7 days a week; Jamie had to work on his stamina, it was that demanding. I would call him, no matter what time of day, no matter what day, and he'd say, "Dad, I have to get back to you, I'm working." At one point I could tell he was so tired that he was ready to fall asleep on the phone.
Meantime, along with all of this effort, Jared finished directing and putting together a documentary film (Jamie was the music director for it and got his first film credit), the promotional videos for the record, the interaction with the label, the work with the outside mixers and mastering guys, promotional interactive shows on Vyrt, and all kinds of other stuff. All this has to be shot, recorded, mixed, and so on.
Plus finishing the record. Plus working the social media. Plus tons of fan interaction. Plus Jared Leto and Jamie sitting outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in freaking LA, and in Union Square and in a subway in NYC, and Soho in London, with acoustic guitars to get a little attention for the record. Yes, it gets down to that level. Bottom-up. Top-down. Whatever. That's what it takes. Do everything and anything to rise above the noise floor.
Then the real heavy lifting got going; TV appearances, rehearsals, radio interviews, warmup shows all over the US, and now a tour of Europe all the way to Russia and Turkey. Flash events in every city. More interviews, performances, radio concerts, you name it. Sure it's a fun job, but it's incredibly demanding work when you hear about it from someone who's living it.
So I'm really impressed with these guys. I see the reason they're successful. It's called hard work, concentrated effort, etc. It's a 24 hour a day, real deal, JOB. And there's a plan, and leadership, and direction, and it's not a bunch of guys who can play and sing and can't find their rear ends with both hands. These are serious guys, with a serious agenda.
Oh, and Jamie tells me that Tomo is an incredible guitarist!
Huge thumbs up. You want a hit album? These days, in most cases, you're going to have to put in a lot of effort for it!
EFFORT, above and beyond the usual expectation, directly connecting with fans, this...