Archive for Wal-mart

Marketing 101: KISS and Wal-Mart

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by 30daysout

A package of KISS M&Ms at Wal-Mart

On Sunday, we drove our daughter back to college after a weekend home.  She goes to the University of Texas-San Antonio in the city’s northwest side, apparently also a newly developed area for upper-income people.  Anyway, we were in a Wal-Mart (yeah) and I saw this guy plunk down three – count ’em – three copies of the new KISS album Sonic Boom.

We found the Wal-Mart’s “KISS Korner,” where you can fondle the new triple-disc CD/DVD package (12 bucks),  a KISS fleece throw (10 bucks), a bag of KISS M&Ms (6 dollars) and KISS Mr. Potato Heads (10 bucks).   Somewhere back in electronics they had Sonic Boom crankin’, or maybe it was the live DVD.  Surely somewhere else in the store there was KISS makeup for the kiddies on Halloween and some action figures.  So it should come as no surprise that Sonic Boom may well be at No. 1 or close to it on the Billboard Top 100 album charts this week.

Now the idea of rock acts signing up to be “exclusive” with Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, may be repulsive to you.  It certainly was, earlier this year, for fans of Bruce Springsteen, who apologized after marketing his latest Greatest Hits only at the Mart.  But it’s a natural for KISS and the band’s bassist/marketing genius Gene Simmons.  He’s laughing all the way to the bank; in his case, multiple banks to hold all of his money.

You gotta hand it to him – and to bands like Foreigner, Journey, AC/DC and the Eagles – who all inked Wal-Mart exclusives and cashed in.  They are managing to do what our beloved mom-and-pop record stores can’t do, and that’s move physical CDs in the age of downloading.  Yeah, it’s too bad that independent record stores are dying.  But it’s way too late to resuscitate the corpse.  Wal-Mart didn’t kill the corner record store – we did.

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Review: “Sonic Boom,” KISS

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2009 by 30daysout

Kiss - Sonic Boom -  Front

I don’t know what it is with these Wal-Mart exclusive deals – bands like Journey and Foreigner, and now KISS, have put out brand-new albums at the world’s largest retailers and they aren’t bad.  Sonic Boom, available today at a Wal-Mart near you, is the first album of new material from KISS in over a decade.  I listened with the ear of a KISS fan (as I used to be years ago; or is it once a KISS fan, always a KISS fan?) and Sonic Boom is a fairly strong addition to the KISS library.

Produced by Paul Stanley and with most songs written by Stanley and Gene Simmons, the album is certainly a throwback to the band’s peak sound (around Destroyer or Alive) with anthems like Stanley’s “Never Enough” or Simmons’ “Hot and Cold” (containing the line “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”).  Actually Stanley’s lyrics are mostly “let’s party hearty” while Simmons takes care of the “let’s screw” department, and they don’t disappoint.  “Say Yeah,” by Stanley, is another one to turn up the volume for.  Drummer Eric Singer gets a vocal showcase (“All For The Glory”) as does lead guitarist Tommy Thayer (“When Lightning Strikes”), which is probably a first for a KISS album.

So we have here another 1970s-1980s-era rock band, concert hall favorites, producing a collection of new material that doesn’t pale next to the work from their “classic” period.  Members of Journey, Foreigner and now KISS know exactly who their audience is, and the formula they used to become superstars back in the day – that sensibility seems to be a perfect fit for the average Wal-Mart shopper.  Although I suspect that each of these bands have earned thousands of brand-new fans with these Wal-Mart packages.  So don’t be a snob – get over to your neighborhood Wal-Mart and pick up the new KISS.  In addition to the new CD, there’s a second disc of re-recorded greatest hits and a DVD of a live KISS concert.  All for 12 bucks!

MP3: “Modern Day Delilah”

KISS official website

Friday is Boss’ Day: Super Bowl Setlist?

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , on January 9, 2009 by 30daysout


On February 1, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play before their biggest audience ever when they grace the stage at halftime of Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.  Personally, I can’t wait to see all those idiots jumping up and down to a song they have probably never heard just so they can get on TV.  For Bruce’s sake, I hope there are at least some “healthy” women in front.

We have been speculating about the setlist.  The band will probably get between 15 and 20 minutes, or about four songs.  Bruce has to do something new, so you can probably count on “Working On A Dream.”  You know they’ll have to play “Born to Run,” and they’ll probably throw in something like “Dancing in the Dark” or “Born in the USA” from his biggest selling album.  It’s the fourth one we’re having trouble figuring out.

Denny seems think he’s going to play “Rosalita,” a song that clocks in at over 10 minutes live.  Doubtful, but you never know.  I think it’s newsbsesbgh3going to be a rocker like “Radio Nowhere” or “The Rising.”  Whatever he plays, you can guarantee it will be on the greatest hits package being released exclusively at Wal-Mart on Jan. 13.

Send us your Springsteen Super Bowl setlist. If we receive enough responses, we’ll post them for Boss’ Day next Friday, Jan. 16.

UPDATE: Here are some other predictions/polls:                                      


The Official NMAS Super Bowl Setlist Poll

Greg Kot (Chicago Tribune)

Friday is Boss’ Day: The First Four Singles

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by 30daysout


It’s quite unusual to release four singles more than a month before an album is released, but in this day and age of “no radio airplay,” Bruce Springsteen is evidently going to do whatever it takes to get his music to the masses.

A few days after NBC Sports played a lame clip of highlights over “Working On A Dream,” we were able to download it free (for a day) on iTunes.  I really like this tune.  While it doesn’t rock like anything on Magic, it has a great melody and uplifting message.  It reminds me of when he went from a rocking album (Born In the USA) to the acoustic/melody driven single “Brilliant Disguise” on his next studio album (Tunnel of Love).

Next up is “My Lucky Day,” which came a few days after Thanksgiving.  The song rocks like the newsmyluckyday stuff on Magic, has a great hook, but sounds more like it would have been the B-side of “Working” if 45s were still on the market, instead of the second single.

The third single is “The Wrestler.”  This one is clearly the best of the bunch.  The string instrumental at the beginning sets the mood for a dark ride.  It has the feel of “Dead Man Walking,” but it has a much better melody, better instrumentation and a much cooler ending.

The fourth single, “Life Itself,” sounds like it could have been on lifeitselfTunnel of Love.  It reminds me of a song you would listen to alone with the top down while traveling on the lonely roads of West Texas.  The guitar solo is also something you don’t normally hear on a Springsteen tune.

Any chance he’ll release the entire album before it’s supposed to come out?  We can only hope.

On another note:

Many Springsteen bloggers have been bitching about the upcoming greatest hits package being newsbsesbgh1available only at Wal-Mart.  Like I said earlier, with little or no radio airplay, Springsteen has to do whatever he can these days to sell CDs. Wal-Mart worked beautifully for the Eagles, Journey, and AC/DC, so why shouldn’t he follow their lead?  They’ll probably sell the disc for under $10 and thousands of people who had never heard his music before will pick up the disc after seeing him at halftime of the Super Bowl (Big Game, sorry).  From a marketing standpoint, it’s a genius move. How many times have you been in Wal-Mart and said “hey, I’ll pick that up for 10?”

I’ll bet Guns and Roses and The Police wish they had chosen Wal-Mart over Best Buy to sell their latest projects.

New Release Alert! – “Greatest Hits,” Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , , on December 22, 2008 by 30daysout


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are following The Eagles, Journey and AC/DC to Wal-Mart. A new “Greatest Hits” package hits store shelves on January 13. Check out the rest of the story from our friends at Backstreets Magazine.

Bruce Springsteen Official Website

Review: “Black Ice,” AC/DC

Posted in Review with tags , on October 20, 2008 by 30daysout

Pack up the kids and head on down to the local Wal-Mart: AC/DC’s Black Ice is coming out today!  And what an album it is – kicking off with the incendiary “Rock n’ Roll Train,” the Aussie group unleashes its 15th album with 15 gut-crunching rockers.  This band is kind of like a force of nature: you either get out of its way or take it full blast.  Diving head first into Black Ice is the way to go; there are four songs here with “rock and roll” or some derivation thereof in the title, and the energy rarely lets up.  Thanks to smart production by Brendan O’Brien, AC/DC’s never sounded better.  Guitarists-brothers Angus and Malcolm Young keep the muscular riffs pumping, and lead vocalist Brian Johnson hasn’t lost the edge off his cat-in-the-fan-belt vocals. 

Now this isn’t a perfect album by any means – it may be at least one or two songs too long – but I thoroughly enjoyed Black Ice.  It’s one of the better rock albums released this year and the centerpiece of the 2008 party trifecta with Metallica’s Death Magnetic and Motörizer by Motörhead.  Now you know Black Ice is available only through Wal-Mart stores and websites, and the band’s own website.  When you are in the store check out all the related stuff on sale in conjunction with this big event (AC/DC t-shirts, specials on energy drinks and chips).  And make sure you have a laugh at the rubes who’ve wandered in looking for the new Kenny Chesney album (which will NOT be reviewed here).  Rock and roll! 

MP3: “Rock n’ Roll Train”

AC/DC at Wal-Mart website

AC/DC official website (stream the entire album for free)

Preview: “Rock n’ Roll Train” by AC/DC

Posted in News with tags , on August 29, 2008 by 30daysout

Stream the new single, “Rock n’ Roll Train” from AC/DC at their website.  It rocks!  It’s from the album Black Ice, to be released October 20 at a Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club near you.  Or, check out the above mentioned website for pre-sale bundles with T-shirts, caps and other good stuff.

AC/DC official website

Update: Does Journey Stay in the Top 25 Without Wal Mart?

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2008 by 30daysout

Journey, with new lead singer Arnel Pineda , has been in the Top 25 on the Billboard Album chart for nine weeks with their latest, Revelation. This week they are at number 23 on the Top 200 Album chart and number 1 on the Independent Album chart. They are still outselling new releases by Alanis Morissette, Nine Inch Nails, Motley Crue, Jason Mraz, Usher, Weezer, The Offspring, Jewel, Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical fame, and yes, Alice Cooper.

As we have said before, the Wal Mart strategy was genius. Radio refuses to play any new stuff by guys like Journey, so there is no way Revelation would be in the Top 25 for one week, let alone nine, if it didn’t get the push it received at the store. 

We here at 30 Days Out are very interested to see if this same strategy will be successful for AC/DC, who is coming exclusively to a Wal Mart near you in the very near future.  The Police will be selling a live CD/DVD from their “last” tour exclusively at Best Buy, but honestly I don’t think it’s going to have the same impact.

I really can’t wait to walk into Wal Mart and hear AC/DC blasting all over the place. The Aussie rockers might just knock out the remaining teeth of most of the customers. Don’t Stop Believin’.

MP3: “Change For The Better” by Journey

YouTube: Faithfully (with Arnel Pineda)

YouTube: Don’t Stop Believin’ (with Arnel Pineda)

Journey Official Website

Journey Hits Jackpot at Wal-Mart

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2008 by 30daysout


Journey has hit the jackpot at Wal-Mart. Check out the link to the story from about the first week sales figures for Revelation with new lead singer Arnel Pineda.  The CD debuts at number 5 this week on Billboard magazine’s Album Chart. Don’t Stop Believin’.

MP3: “After All These Years”