Alright this is more of a personal rant and vent than anything else. My favorite styles of music are some of the more fringe genres of rock and metal; black/death metal and dark/gothic rock (ok maybe I've lost some of you now). I've been making music for two decades now, to varying degrees of success. Each time I've had an original band making traction, there are setbacks to "making it". While I've been "signed" with European labels and released albums, people move, relationships end, members quit, bands break up etc. Despite some good shows, I've never had what I would call a successful tour or many album sales. The only markets I've had minor success with are Germany, Mexico and Brazil (though not enough to afford to tour there). Never my home country of the USA. A lot is due to personal issues but some of this I attribute to the genres I play which can't compete with the popularity of Pop, Hip hop and Electronic Dance Music which are big in the USA. I acknowledge I'm not playing very mainstream styles but there are some big festivals in Europe for the music I like such as Wacken, Inferno, Hellfest, Amphi, Wave Gotik, Mera Luna, but here in the States, not so much (perhaps Maryland Deathfest and to a limited extent Ozzfest). Likewise, I've seen bands such as Norway's Mayhem, who headline Euro festivals numbering 50,000 fans bring crowds of only 100 in the midwest USA. Fortunately I've had the chance to travel to Europe several times and attend these festivals as well as spend a summer in London. These have been the happiest times of my life but family obligations and lack of a college degree brought me back to the States. Recently I decided to move from the Midwest to the Los Angeles area which had made a big difference in finding musical opportunities but from what I gather, even the LA rock/metal scene is nowhere near what it was in the 80s and 90s. One thing seems clear; Rock music is declining in the USA and the fringe genres of rock and metal that I enjoy are on even more of a decline. As I'm getting further into my 30s, I feel the disappointment that I never got to do a big tour in my 20s, play in front of 100s or 1000s a night and feel "successful". There has been this nagging feeling that if I had lived somewhere else and been born 10-20 years earlier, it could have made a huge difference. Lately I've had offers to try out for Top 40 cover bands which could lead to good gigs, but given that I don't generally like the music, would this be just giving up? One was even talking about a European tour, but I didn't know that cover bands toured? I guess for me a big part of music is the personal validation, so playing covers feels like it would be empty. Having good shows could be a lot of fun though but playing the inevitable pop, country etc could kill it for me. I'm torn. I'm releasing two original albums this year so I hope that it makes a difference. Otherwise I feel like there needs to be a big change. Thanks.