It is their right as a famous musician to capitalize off of their sound, name, and subsequent brand that they have created and I am certainly not about to criticize someone for trying to make money. Hell, I want money, lots of money, and I will tell you right now that I am shameless enough to do just about anything to obtain it and the luxuries that it affords. However, I am going to criticize you for demonstrating behavior that is characteristic of a jackass.
Recently, I read a status update from a band (and I will assume many of you did, too) including a link to a YouTube video informing me of the features of a certain bassist's brand new signature Jackson bass series. Not to sound repetitive and redundant, but I find nothing wrong with releasing a signature line of instruments to capitalize on your success and unique sound. What is wrong with this picture should be completely obvious, especially to anyone who has ever played music with others enough to call themselves a “band:”
NO ONE COMES BEFORE THE BAND!
Maybe this band has sold out so much that they have lost sight of everything but the color green, but this completely and utterly violates band code. Cool, speak in front of people at a convention, advertise in magazines or social networks; sell yourself out because you (did) kick ass, but don't use the band when you are just one part of the band. Remember, you are so-and-so from such-a-band, nothing more. You are successful because the band is successful. Market yourself on your own time.
Had the band stood behind their bassist and tried to help their bandmate sell basses, maybe I would have less of a problem with this. However, the message on the band's status was written from the bassist, “Diggin'” his own basses. What? Let me repeat myself, what? Where do you get off and in what dimension do you live where this is acceptable?
One concept should be a given: the individual whose name is on the instrument line “digs” his or her series if for no other reason than you get free instruments and money. If the opposite is true, tell us why, otherwise you are telling us shit we already know.
It is well known that it does not pay to be metal or to be in a metal band. Most of us metalheads know how hard work is to come by, so we certainly are not helping the cause. What do many of the successful bands today do: record albums and tour to support them.
Say what you want about Metallica and Kirk Hammett, but it is not Hammett's fault for being good enough to have a signature line nor is it his fault that the band sucks. Metallica sucks because they suck as a band, a cohesive unit, focused on making the band money first and music second. Slayer, similar deal: I will not fault Tom Araya for capitalizing on his success in Slayer by releasing a signature bass line, but again, he did not put his interests (as far as I am aware) over that of the band, advertising through the band and making him seem better than the band. Once again, their long history of suck is due to them sucking as a unit not self-promotion.
Bands do not survive on individualism; metal does not survive on individualism. Both are a brotherhood. Perhaps it is this individualism that has contributed to the two decades of failure from this band. They have underachieved, overachieved, and said they went back to the mindset that made their most successful album successful and have produced nothing but suck since. Self-promotion is the detriment to any band and this band is full of self-promoters. Metal is and always has been about one thing: the music, and by focusing on individual interests bands lose sight of that.
Maybe, if you guys focused on the band's success, you might find that you would make more money by producing a GREAT album.