A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Ritchie Blackmore

“Being original doesn’t require being the first to do something. It just means being different and better.”
Adam Grant, Originals

History is always written by the winners. If you read any story about Metallica today, it more or less states how “Kill Em All” came out in 1983 and took over the world. But, we all know it wasn’t the case. Hell, it wasn’t the case with their first four albums. But, their first four albums are seen as different and a better alternative to the MTV friendly form of metal.

Black Sabbath as a band gets a lot of attention for being original and influential and so does Deep Purple. But in every band like Metallica, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, there is always a person who is more influential than the others.

Ritchie Blackmore has been instrumental in influencing guitarists and vocalists all at the same time while carrying influential bands.

It’s common knowledge the iron fist Blackmore wielded to get Ian Gillian to record the “Child In Time” ohhhs and ahhhs. Eventually the production team needed to resort to studio trickery to make it sound like Gillian was more able than he was. And guess what happened after the record came out and people heard “Child In Time”. Suddenly every young wannabe singer started practicing. In the same way Roger Bannister achieved the first four minute mile in 1954, and inspired a whole new generation of runners that they could achieve the impossible, in music, “Child In Time” in 1970, inspired singers to practice and achieve a new standard.

A 12 year old kid called Bruce Dickinson became attracted to hard rock, after hearing Deep Purple’s “Child in Time” being played in another student’s room at his private school. As a result, the first album Bruce ever bought was Deep Purple’s “In Rock”. A 19 year old unknown called Rob Halford heard “Child In Time” and started to change his vocal style.

And when Ian Gillian couldn’t deliver the vocal performances Blackmore wanted, he fired him and hired a young singer/songwriter called David Coverdale to do what Blackmore wanted. From this vocalist change, a whole new range of singers saw this as a new standard and started practicing. And just in case David Coverdale couldn’t deliver the vocals Blackmore wanted, he had another singer in bassist Glenn Hughes as back up.

But in the end, Blackmore felt frustrated with the musical constraints of Purple, so he left “Purple” to start up Rainbow with a singer called Ronnie James Dio. This change, further evolved how a front man should sound.

In the space of 10 years and three different vocalists, Ritchie Blackmore, blew the paradigm open of what a metal vocalist should sound like.

There was a Twitter post from Stevie Van Zandt that said the following;
“Let’s just say it was an awkward period for singers. For the first and last time in history, guitar players were king. Hard to believe, but both Rod Stewart and Robert Plant were thought of as sideman. Both started on salaries. Both considered disposable. Some resentment may remain.”

The guitar player ruled up until the start of the 80’s. After that, you had a bassist writing songs for Motley Crue, WASP and Iron Maiden, a singer/songwriter writing songs for Twisted Sister, Bon Jovi and Europe. In Dokken, you had the influential guitar player who couldn’t handle the name of the band however the drummer and bassist provided most of the vocal melodies. Even someone like Ted Nugent needed to be pushed by John Kalodner into a supergroup called Damn Yankees.

Yngwie Malmsteen formed Rainbow Part 2 and called it Rising Force with Jeff Scott Soto and then found commercial fame with Joe Lynn Turner (another Ritchie Blackmore find), only to let his ego get in the way of a good partnership. David Coverdale had a powerful guitarist in John Sykes with which he carried out an excellent musical conversation with, only to let him go before the release of Whitesnake’s biggest album. Because as Coverdale showed, the guitarist was no longer in power. The front man was. When Lynch went solo, he didn’t get the platinum awards he had with Dokken and Malmsteen’s only platinum award is with Joe Lynn Turner. Hell, Vince Neil was more well-known than Nikki Sixx.

From a guitarist perspective, it’s hard not to be influenced by Blackmore. He enjoyed playing the Blues, but he took it a few steps further, by making it progressive. Most of his progressive interludes are founded in the Pentatonic scale. Again, he was not the first to do it, however he did it good enough to make it commercially successful. Blackmore’s fusion of blues, rock and roll, classical and medieval Influences was so commercially successful, he more or less spawned a new style of guitar playing called Euro Rock/Metal. Blackmore’s stage persona and guitar/amp set up became a standard amongst the young 70’s hard rockers who would become superstars in the 80’s. Malmsteen modelled himself after him even up to the same stage stand.

And from a band perspective, every single guitarist at that point in time was inspired by Blackmore to find a vocalist who had similar/better talents to the vocalists Blackmore used. lf the band was started by a drummer and a bassist, they would be looking for a guitarist like Blackmore and a vocalist like Gillian, Coverdale or Dio.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories


There are still complaints about the monies streaming services pay to the rights holders of music. There are still complaints about how YouTube and Spotify have a free tier and how it devalues music.

My kids play a game called “Fortnite” on the PS4. It’s “Battle Royale” mode is free to download.  The free mode works by all players starting with no equipment except a pickaxe for resource gathering and they parachute onto the map. Once they land, they can scavenge for weapons and resources.

Over time, a “storm” surrounds the area and the players need to get to a safe area. Those caught outside the safe area take damage and potentially die if they remain outside it too long. Players can use real money to purchase in-game currency, which can be used to purchase cosmetic items. The last one standing is the winner.

I was interested in how a game which is free to download, is making some serious dollars for the development company.


Since the game is free to download, it’s already at everyone’s price point. It can’t get any lower so it costs nothing to try it.

But hang on a second, an artist put their blood, sweat and tears into their music and because they did, they should charge for it. Then again, so did the video game developers, and they haven’t charged for it. Actually video game developers spend years on games only to see them disappear on release day, because like music, no one knows which game or song/album will be a hit or a miss.

Fortnite was originally a game for purchase. Within a six months of its release in 2017, it had over a million users, that means user = sale. But then in September 2017, Epic (the game developer behind it) did something different. They released a free-to-play “Battle Royale” mode. Within 2 weeks of its release, it had over 10 million players.

On any given day, it has over 500,000 players playing the game. By January 2018, Epic added a micro transaction system to purchase items for the game. For Epic, the “Battle Royale” mode is a major hit. It’s like Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The USA” or Bon Jovi, “Slippery When Wet” or Europe, “The Final Countdown” style of a hit.

And it’s still going strong. And Epic is hoping the more support they give it, the better the experience will become and players will stick around.

You need to get people’s attention first.

So you have a product, release it for free and nothing happens.

How do you get people’s attention?

In Epic’s case, they had a well known brand and released the free Battle Royale mode for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms on the same day. By doing it like this, they beat out other games with similar Battleground concepts tied in to a console. In other words, they were everywhere.

Then they controlled the narrative themselves. No one was waiting for a website or a magazine to interview anyone. The company controlled the story.

In music, we still get staggered releases to digital services. Hell there is a lot of music of bands I like which isn’t even on Spotify Australia, so in this case, I even get geo-blocked, which is ridiculous in our digital age. I can transact with Amazon US, purchase the album, but I cannot get legal access to music available in the US in Australia via a streaming service.

And in music, artists still do interviews with various press outlets, which means the press outlet controls the story.

Your best marketing tool is word of mouth.

Fortnite spread because the people who played it, enjoyed it and then they asked their friends to create an account and play with them online.

And their friends said “why not”, it’s free, let’s give it a try. And the ones who became hooked and enjoyed the online social experience, did the same to their circle of friends. And the process kept on repeating. 10 million users in 2 weeks.

Some people believe that marketing is about advertisements. It’s not.

Be social.

The game works because it connects people socially (albeit in a digital world). And when these people get together, face to face, they talk about it. Good music connects fans socially and crosses borders. There is a pretty good chance you would find an Iron Maiden fan in every country on planet Earth. For music, the social connection comes in two ways. In the digital world, it’s online communities and in reality it’s the live show.

Imagine listening to the song on a streaming service and you have the chance to view the sheet music and play along with it. Imagine listening to the song on a streaming service and you have the chance to remix a 5 second snippet of the song with someone else from another part of the world and make your own song.

Follow up the initial offering with more content.

The game keeps growing in popularity because its upgrades happen on a regular basis. In other words, the fans of the game are not waiting 2 years for a new upgrade. In some cases, it’s monthly and in the worst case it’s quarterly. And the upgrade enhances the original game and it doesn’t take away from it. Remember PokemonGo.

In music, fans are divided into camps of people who want albums or camps who just want content.

I come from the era of the album, but all I want is frequent content. It’s the reason why the bootleg industry was huge in the 80’s and 90’s. Hell, my record collection has hundreds of bootlegs, from live recordings, to demo recordings, to sound check jams and what not. It was the need to fill the gap between albums.

Build On What Came Before

And like all hit’s there is a writ. The developers of another game have threatened Epic over the game due to its similarities. But the other game has similarities to other games and those games had similarities to other games and the process just keeps on repeating.

One thing is certain. What used to work to break bands doesn’t work and artists need to think differently and take control of their story.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music

Live Albums

Live albums are coming out thick and fast these days. People tell me it’s because bands need to get product out on a regular basis because there is not much money made from recorded music sales. So getting new product out yearly instead of every two to three years is the new option. But it still doesn’t solve the problem of people not buying albums.

My answer always is, there never was much money made from recorded music sales.

The difference between the glory years of recorded music sales and now, is the ADVANCE. Once upon a time, the labels paid it, and now not so much.

Yes, that sweet million a band would get before the recording process even started. You see, the ADVANCE would be used to fund the demos (studio time), recording (Producer, Studio Time, Engineer, Mixer, Mastering), their lifestyles (rent, mortgage payments, addictions) and all other expenses like manager, lawyer and whoever else makes a claim.

The ADVANCE would be given on the basis that the record label would recoup those monies from the sales of the album. However, the fine print is the recouping monies would come from the bands 2% royalty percentage payments.

So if a band moves a million CD’s at $10 a CD, the gross income earned by the label is $10 million. However, the bands royalty percentage is taken from the Net income. So the label adds CD manufacturing, transportation, marketing, pizza deliveries, carpet cleaning, hairdresser bills and whatever else they could think off, in order to reduce gross to the final net income.

Let’s be generous and say the net income is $1 million.

And the band gets 2% of that. Which is $20,000. And from that $20K, the manager gets their 30%, the Producer the band wanted and the label agreed to, as long as the payment comes from the bands percentage gets 20%, the lawyer another 20%, which leaves 30% for the band.

It comes to $6,000. And from that $6K, the band needs to repay the $1 million advance. For the band to repay that advance, they would need to sell a lot of recorded albums, otherwise they would be listed as un-recouped by the label.

Not bad for the label. Invest a million and make 9 million profits. Of course, this is contingent that the band moves product. In other cases, it will be a bad loss for the label.

Don Dokken’s “Up From The Ashes” was a big loss for Geffen commercially, while Whitesnake’s “87” and Guns N Roses “Appetite For Destruction” was a big win. Lynch Mob’s “Wicked Sensation” cost Elektra a lot of money with all the advances paid to get Lynch to sign and it didn’t do great  commercially as the label wanted, while “Dr Feelgood” and the soon to be released “Black” album from Metallica would be a great win.

“Crazy World” from Scorpions and “Heartbreak Station” from Cinderella got Mercury/Vertigo what they wanted, while others disappointed. White Lion’s “Mane Attraction” cost Atlantic a cool million and it disappointed commercially, while “Pride” was done cheap and it was a win.

Everyone knows about the Motley Crue period with John Corabi. Nikki Sixx has developed amnesia to it, Tommy Lee doesn’t talk about it, Vince Neil wasn’t involved with it, so for him it doesn’t exist and the only two people who talk about it are John Corabi and Mick Mars. The album cost a lot.

Musically, it’s one hell of an album. Mick Mars has gone on record to say the album has some of his best guitar work, and god damn it, the man is right. So it’s good to see the vocalist behind it, paying tribute to it.

John Corabi does a fantastic job giving his Motley Crue recorded output some overdue respect in “Live 94 (One Night In Nashville)”. And to be honest, songs that I thought were overproduced on the guitar side, sound massive, heavy and melodic live. It’s all raw, no crap rock and roll.

There are mistakes, there are voices hitting the pavement, but it’s totally worth it. “Power To The Music”, “Hooligan’s Holiday”, “Hammered” (love the story about the Crue audition and how this song came to be), “Till Death Do Us Part”, “Smoke The Sky” and “Droppin Like Flies” are still my favourites.

And I have a new found respect for “Poison Apples”. I always thought the original version was too over-produced, and after hearing it live, the song is a deadest killer. “Welcome To The Numb” live could have come from an Aerosmith album.

This is what music has always been about. Getting out on the road and doing it sweaty.

Whitesnake is a band which keeps firing out live recordings year after year. “Made In Japan”, “Made In England”, “Bad To The Bone 84”, “Castle Donnington 90”, “Live In The Heart Of The City” and “The Purple Tour” have been released as stand-alone albums over the last 10 years.

Of course with each album release there is a chance to cash in via the pockets of the super fans who pay for everything their heroes produce. David Coverdale knows it.

But “The Purple Album” is good. Really good. I reckon it’s because Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra are a perfect fit for the band. Veterans of the scene, they know how to deliver the goods. If you don’t believe me, check out Reb Beach’s solo on “Mistreated”. He burns and the song sounds so fresh and modern, but it was released in 1974 or 5.

There has been a lot of talk on social media about the upcoming Whitesnake release and how songs are being written by Coverdale and Beach, Coverdale and Hoekstra and with all three of the guys contributing  together.

With the talent there, it should make for an interesting listen.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

All Ideas Come From Somewhere Before

When I started writing music back in the day, I would take the music and lyrics from songs I liked and altered them. That would be version 1 of my new song. Of course, it sounded a lot like the original song. However after a few re-writes, you could hear that my song had influences but it was starting to take shape in its own unique way. The lyrics would end up changing completely however I might have kept the phrasing or the rhymes similar to the original. Once finished it was clear that my ideas/my intellectual property had an influence from something that came before.

It’s probably why people shouldn’t get all emotional over intellectual property. When you hear artists saying they put their blood, sweat and tears into their works, you might want to take it with a grain a salt. Yes, they did put their blood, sweat and tears in being influenced and taking what came before, shaping it, tweaking it and re-writing it, to create something which in the end, sounds unique enough to call their own.

And artists who do create something so new and off the wall, are more or less artists who are servicing a niche core audience, or are forgotten or unknown.

But no one expects artists to do something so off the wall original. People like familiarity. Derek Thompson in his book “Hit Makers” mentioned how people are drawn to music that might be new, yet familiar enough to be recognizable. In other words, that new song we like has enough variation in it to make it not a carbon copy of its source influence.

It’s the reason why we listen to a song on repeat. We love repetition. I bet you that on any given day, the majority of music you listen to is music you have heard before. Let’s say 9 songs out of 10, are songs you’ve heard before. And our love for repetition also means we go looking for songs that sound familiar.

So all of our ideas have already been stolen.

Now that we all know that, maybe we can focus on developing connections and creating works influenced by our past. And you create by using your influences.

Because there is no such thing as the genius loner. It’s a myth. We are all social people and our creativity is fuelled by our social environments.

Every single day, we take in our surroundings, we set meaningful and important goals and we are always thinking of solutions to problems.

A neuroscientist and a psychologist broke down creativity into three main buckets;

  • Bending means you take a previous work and re-model it in some way. Think of my post about “Sanitarium” from Metallica.
  • Blending means merging previous works together so you have multiple melodies and re-cutting it to suit what you want to write. Jimmy Page was great at doing this with Led Zeppelin’s music.
  • Breaking is taking a short and important musical idea otherwise known as a musical fragment and building on it. Think of my post on “One Riff To Rule Them All”, which covers the A pedal point riff used in songs like “Two Minutes To Midnight”.

All three of these elements are connected and every creator uses these elements when they are writing, without even knowing it.

The differences between humans and computers is how we store information and how we retrieve information. For the computer, the riff stored on the hard drive will sound exactly the same three years later, however that same riff stored in our head would be different.


Our brain breaks it down, blends it and bends it with other information. This massive mash up of ideas in our brains is our creativity. And when we play that riff three years later, it has a different feel, different phrasing or something else. Some of them stink and sometimes we create something that breaks through into society.

To me, “Comfortably Numb” matters because of that brilliant outro guitar solo from Dave Gilmour. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” worked because of its timeless message and video clip. “The Final Countdown” and “Jump” had the perfect keyboard riff. The characters in “Living On A Prayer” are unforgettable.

Of course, each one has other attributes however one thing normally sticks with us. There was a certain authenticity behind each.

Which is funny because I’ve been reading a lot of press releases about the latest release of “insert any band name here” being “authentic”.

What is authentic?

How do we define authenticity?

I asked some friends and they reckon, authenticity is saying whatever is on your mind and doing what a person feels like doing.

I disagreed.

Authenticity to me is someone who is the keeps their promises and is same person regardless of whether someone is looking at them or not. In all walks of life I have come across people who try to appeal to whatever is in right now. Whatever is in right now is momentary. It’s always evolving and changing. However a person who remains the same regardless of the status quo, could be the status quo for a brief time, by being authentic.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Crimson Idol

It’s a favourite of mine.

Back in 1992, “The Crimson Idol” was a release day purchase on CD for me. It ended up being a perfect album in a time when the record labels started to put all of their marketing monies into Seattle. The style of song writing and the lyrical themes would serve as inspiration for my song writing forever.

I played it to death, I learned riff after riff and lick after lick and it didn’t matter how much time passed between listens, I still knew every lick, every drum roll and every word in the songs.

Fast forward some years later and “The Crimson Idol” was released as a Double special edition CD, with two new tracks.

“Phantoms In The Mirror” (which I would place after “The Invisible Boy” in the story arc) and “The Eulogy” (which I would place at the end).

Fast forward another decade or so from that release and “The Crimson Idol” has been “Re-Idolized” with additional songs added to the storyline however, “Phantoms In The Mirror” and “The Eulogy” have been left off.

The Titanic Overture
The ominous acoustic opening.

I look at my face in the mirror and I don’t understand

The drumming is epic and orchestral. It sets the stage and tone for what is to come.

Overall, the song is made up of the best riffs and licks from all of the other songs.

The Invisible Boy
Who am I – cause I’m the boy only the mirror sees

The riff is good. Play it down-tuned and you’ll be surprised how heavy and doomy it sounds, which is perfect for the tone of the song and the theme of not fitting in, being beaten and ostracised from the family.

Arena Of Pleasure
The riff that kicks the song off sets the scene in my head of a kid running away from home and when Blackie starts singing, “I ran away from home last night”, it was perfect.

And I’ve heard the words of what I should be
Live, Work, Die

The above lines have remained with me from the time and day I first heard them. It brought home all of the truths of my upbringing and my many conversations with my father.

He always said, if you don’t have control of your life and someone else does, like the bank, your employer or the courts, all you would do is just live, work and die. If you have control of your life, you can live, make choices, decide when to work and when not to work and you can do that as many times as you want too, free from burden and stress.

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)

If anyone wants to know what it was like to deal with the record label bosses when they controlled everything, here it is. And yes, these kind of people still exist today.

Chainsaw Charlie is the “the president of showbiz” who is just looking for the next raw talent that he can exploit.  Back in 1992, you never really got to hear stories about the labels and how they treated artists.  The bottom line was if an artist wanted to be heard, they needed a label behind them.

[Charlie to Jonathon]
O.K. boy now here’s your deal
Will you gamble your life?
Sign right here on the dotted line
It’s the one you’ve waited for all of your life

Artists worked hard to get a record deal. They paid their dues. Their best friends who formed the original version of their band had probably left to pursue “jobs” which paid “real money”. And then when you finally believe you get a break through, you are confronted with a deal, which would make the record label millions if your album sold and the artist would be owing the labels millions.

[Charlie to Jonathon]
We’ll sell your flesh by the pound you’ll go
A whore of wrath just like me
We’ll sell ya wholesale, we’ll sell your soul
Strap on your six string and feed our machine

It’s basically the hidden fine print in the deal.  The labels own the artist.  They own their image.  They own the music.  They would do whatever it takes to make as much money from the artist as they could.  And as our access to information has become greater with the rise of the internet, we are now seeing more and more people talk about the creative accounting of the labels.

Def Leppard did forgeries of their own songs, in order to circumvent a blockade put up by their label due to a breakdown in the negotiations to the digital rights of the back catalogue. Finally, in Jan 2018, Def Leppard’s full catalogue is available digitally. Almost 8 years from when Spotify started operating in the US and over 15 years from when the iTunes store opened.

Eminem took his label to court due to underpayments and won. His label was paying him a physical sale royalty % for iTunes sales and Eminen argued that it should be the licensing %.

[Charlie to Jonathon]
Welcome to the morgue boy
Where the music comes to die
Welcome to the morgue son
I’ll cut your throat just to stay alive

How many bands from the 70’s got added to the morgue in the 80’s. And every year, the morgue kept on growing. When Seattle happened, the record label A&R people would not even take the calls from the hard rock and heavy metal bands.

[Charlie to Jonathon]
I’m the president of showbiz, my name is Charlie
I’m a cocksucking asshole, that’s what they call me
Here from my Hollywood tower I rule
I’m lying motherfucker, the chainsaw’s my tool
The new morgue’s our factory, to grease our lies
Our machine is hungry, it needs your life
Don’t mind the maggots, and the ruthless scum
Before we’re done, son we’ll make you one

Power corrupts people. Money corrupts them a little bit more. When you have a person in charge that has both, prepare to be seen as a business cost instead of an asset in which to invest in. And this to me is the biggest problem. The power, wealth and boardroom negotiation leverage these people have is due to the artist, their asset, which was never treated as an asset.

The Gypsy Meets The Boy
All stories have the main character in a confused state, looking for direction.

She said, do you see what I see?, be careful to choose
Be careful what you wish for, cause it may come true
When I lay the card down will it turn up the fool?
Will it turn up sorrow? If it does then you lose

So many of us are looking for answers. It’s why the self-help books, behavioural science books, mindset books, grit books, resilience books and 10,000 hours books are all so popular. We purchase them in the millions, looking for guidance or advice on how to change. Then you have people who devote their life to the tarot or some other form of card reading, palm reading, crystal reading and what not.

Miss You
This is an additional song added to the album story in “Re-Idolized”. The interesting thing is the song appeared on another WASP album a few years before.

Lost inside our room
A priest at the door with news
Said you were gone and I knew
Oooh and my world was broken in two

Someone has the job of sharing the news of someone’s passing.

Oh God I miss you
Tell me can you hear me

You still believe that their spirit is somewhere. It’s hard to believe that the lifeless body is finished, with all of their memories gone.

I’ve found this thing that I make sing
Can you hear me now

The Crimson Idol has found his voice via his guitar.

Why did you go and leave me alone
Now I’m running away from my home
No they’ll never know I’m gone

The ones who remain are affected differently with loss. In the case of Jonathon, he lost a person who he saw as his friend and protector.

Doctor Rockter
It’s a great name for a dealer.

He’s the king of sting, Mr. Morphine my friend
Uncle Slam, the medicine man
And I’m a junkie with a big King Kong sized monkey
Crawling up and down my back

Great story telling. In four lines, Blackie has described his dealer, his relationship to him and Jonathon’s addictions.

Doctor please, my M.D., fix me in my time of need

Yes, but this Doctor doesn’t fix anything.

It’s the mirror from the wall, that’s on the table
Feeding me little white lies
And I’m wasted in a waste land, I’m a junk man
I got tombstones in my eyes

More of Blackie’s brilliance. He’s brought back the mirror, but this time, it’s not talking to him, instead it’s serving up some white lines.

I Am One

This is the song, where Jonathon realises he is just one. It’s just him. He lost his brother, ran away from home and he thought he would find love within his audience. But he didn’t.

Is there no love to shelter me
only love, love set me free

As David Coverdale sings, we are all looking for a love to surround us.

The Idol
It starts off with a phone dialling a number, a phone ringing, a woman answering, silence on the other line and then the caller hangs up.

Will I be alone this morning
Will I need my friends
Something just to ease away the pain

At this stage, who are your real friends. Read any biography of a “rock star” and you will be confronted by how lonely they are and how people they view as friends are really just leaches trying to get a free ride.

If I could only stand and stare in the mirror could I see
One fallen hero with a face like me?
And if I scream, could anybody hear me?
If I smash the silence, you’ll see what fame has done to me

Everyone is looking for an outlet, a person who can listen to them. Be careful what you wish for, cause it might come true. I watched my six year old’s assembly item last year and one of the questions the kids needed to answer was “What do you want to be when you grow up”? All of them gave a description of what they wanted to be and the majority of them ended with “to be rich and famous”.

For example, I want to be a singer and be rich and famous. I want to be rugby star and be rich and famous. I want to be a video game creator and be rich and famous.

Where’s the love to shelter me
Give me love, come set me free

In the song previously, he’s asking is there no love. In this song, he’s asking where is the love.

Hold On To My Heart
It could be taken as a love ballad, but even without reading the narrative, I associated it with the singer asking his audience to hold him. I even view “Forevermore” from Whitesnake in the same vein.

Oh no, don’t let me go
’cause all I am you hold in your hands,
Hold me and I’ll make it through the night
I’ll be alright,
Hold on, hold on to my heart

It’s the only place he feels safe and loved. But is it enough.

The Peace
I am a sucker for those power ballads that Blackie does. “Sleeping In The Fire”, “Forever Free”, “Heavens Hung In Black” and all the ones that appear on this album, like “The Idol”, “Hold On To My Heart” and now this one “The Peace”.

As soon as I heard the lyrics, I thought of the song “One Tribe” which appeared on “Still Not Black Enough”, released in 1995, after “The Crimson Idol”. Hell it sounded exactly like “The Crimson Idol”.

“Give me peace, give me hope, give me love” is how the lyrics go in “One Tribe”.

“Give me peace in my life, give me hope in my heart, give me love” is how the lyrics go in “The Peace” chorus.

Look to your own past, your own experiences to write something in the present.

The Great Misconceptions Of Me
Welcome to the show the great finale’s finally here
I thank you for coming into my theatre of fear
Welcome to the show, you’re all witnesses you see
A privileged invitation to the last rights of me

Jonathon to his audience.

How many people went to a rock and roll show and by the next day, they would read that their hero is gone?

Remember me? You can’t save me
Mama you never needed me
No crimson king, look in my eye, you’ll see
Mama I’m lonely, it’s only me, only me

With every hero, there is a past which hurts them, which drives them, which in the end could kill them. Nikki Sixx had the rejection of the father. Robb Flynn was put up for adoption. Dave Mustaine’s dad abandoned them and his mum changed her religion, which in turn changed her.

I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna be
The crimson idol of a million

At the start of the story, Jonathon wanted to be the idol and now at the end, he doesn’t want it.

Living in the limelight little did I know
I was dying in the shadows and the mirror was my soul
It was all I ever wanted, everything I dreamed
But the dream became my nightmare and no-one could hear me scream
With these six-strings, I make a noose
To take my life, it’s time to choose
The headlines read of my suicide, of my suicide

Alice Cooper goes to the guillotine every night in his show. In this case, there is a noose made from six strings and there is no coming back. A drastic and extreme measure.

I’m the imposter, the world has seen
My father was the idol, it was never me

To Jonathon, all he wanted was the love and acceptance of his father, but it never came.

[Jonathon to all]
No love, to shelter me, only love
Love set me free

And the circle is complete. In “I Am One”, he’s asking is there no love. In “The Idol”, he’s asking where is the love. And in the final song, he understands there is no love.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

I’ve been doing a lot of 80’s reflection on this blog and currently I am up to the year, 1984. As I type up the first blog post for 1984, I also decided to start a 70’s one in tandem. But with a different touch. While the 80’s post ascend yearly, the 70’s posts will descend yearly. So when I start 1985, in tandem I will also start 1978.

So here is the kick off from 1979.

AC/DC – Highway to Hell

Who would have thought that six months after the album release date, Bon Scott would be dead. There is no denying what a massive force he was in the band and since his departure, AC/DC got stuck in recreating the formula of Bon’s intensity with the band. Even down to the lyrics Bon wrote in 1979. Yes, the version of AC/DC post Bon, just wrote songs which had knees rhyming with please and what not.

Mutt Lange is on board to produce at the strong insistence of their U.S record label and it was the start of the holy trinity of albums. Malcolm was less than pleased because it meant older brother George, was no longer involved.

I never purchased this album until the early 2000’s. I just went over to a friends place with a bunch of blank cassettes and I taped every album he had, while we drank beers.

“Highway To Hell” is a rite of passage. It might have been about touring, however timeless songs have lyrics that can be interpreted in many different ways. The riff to kick it off is iconic. Credit Malcolm.

Livin’ easy, Livin’ free

Those words are exactly how we want to live life. Easy living. Free living. But it isn’t so. Nothing is free in life and nothing is easy. The people born between 1948 and 1962 inherited a rich country and bankrupted it. They first got into government by the early 80’s and by the mid 90’s they had the power.

What did they do when they had the power?

Pass laws and regulations to benefit their bank accounts and the bank accounts of their sponsors. If they did something wrong, the taxpayer would bail them out.

I’m on the highway to hell
On the highway to hell

The Satanic panic begins. If this was played backwards, the subliminal message would say, “lleh ot yawhgih eht no”. Ohh, it’s so dangerous.

No stop signs
Speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down

Nobody does this anymore. I tell my kids they go to school to learn, not to get a job. But people I speak to always tell me that schools are there for people to get a job. You see, money is more important than developing yourself and experiencing life.

Payin’ my dues
Playin’ in a rockin’ band
Hey, mamma
Look at me
I’m on the way to the promised land

It’s why music was great. People paid their dues. It didn’t mean they would make it, or be global superstars. Hell, it didn’t mean they would make a living wage. But they could have. Bon’s lyrics are a lifestyle and six months later, Bon Scott, would be on his way to the promised land.

“Girls Got Rhythm”

I been around the world
I’ve seen a million girls
Ain’t one of them got
What my lady she got

Only Bon could get away with confessing his cheating ways to his real love back in Oz via a song and still be in a relationship.

Love me till I’m legless
Achin’ and sore

Is this even possible anymore?

Everyone is too busy parading on social media, joining movements of empowerment. There is no time for loving until the morning light.

“Touch Too Much”

Seems like a touch, a touch too much
Too much for my body
Too much for my brain

Only Bon can put his bedroom ways into a song like this. In this case, the woman is just too much for him. He can’t handle her.

“If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

It’s animal
Livin’ in the human zoo
The shit that they toss to you
Feelin’ like a Christian
Locked in a cage
Thrown to the lions
On the second page

Quick, call in the political correct activists.

Life is like living in a cage that you pay for, your whole life and you never really own it. The crap they toss at us, is the wage we get for building someone else’s dream and we have three options, leave and try to build our dreams, stay and work on the side to build our dreams or just stay and be a slave. Because the system is designed to benefit the companies. If you don’t have a weekly wage, you cannot get a loan.

Pink Floyd – The Wall

“The Wall” is Roger Waters lasting legacy. But the best song on the album to me is “Comfortably Numb” written by Gilmour and Waters. Credit producer Bob Ezrin for persisting to get Gilmour’s music on the record. But it was “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” that was all over the radio.

“Another Brick In The Wall, Pt 2”

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control

The rally cry against the institutions. Producer Bob Ezrin also produced some of Alice Cooper’s earlier work. On “School’s Out”, Ezrin had children sing on a chorus. On the “Destroyer” album from Kiss, Ezrin used his own kids to tell horror stories, on “God of Thunder”. It worked before and with “Another Brick In The Wall” it worked even better.

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall

More so today than before. We might have had stricter teachers and parents in the past, but we still explored and made our own way. The kids these days are told they need to go to University to get a job. It wasn’t the case when I was young. People went to higher education to expand their minds and walk different paths. Instead today, our universities are factories to produce like-minded individuals.

All I hear today is how education rules, but once upon a time people became self-educated without education, and they had the heart and voice to question authority and all the established norms.

“Goodbye Blue Sky”

It’s the inspiration for “Fade To Black” from Metallica.

Did did did did you see the frightened ones
Did did did did you hear the falling bombs
Did did did did you ever wonder
Why we had to run for shelter
When the promise of a brave new world
Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky

I studied WWII in History, however our focus was more on Australia’s involvement. But we still read the text about the London Bombings. And if we didn’t read the text, we had “Aces High” to listen to and digest, which also covered the London Bombings. And who can forget “Churchill’s Speech”. Only a metal band can take a politicians speech and make it even more legendary.

“Goodbye Cruel World”

You can hear the inspiration for “In the Presence Of My Enemies” by Dream Theater, and lyrically, you can hear similar themes and rhymes appearing in Metallica’s lyrical output on the “Ride The Lightning” album.

Goodbye cruel world
I’m leaving you today
Goodbye all you people
There’s nothing you can say
To make me change
My mind

So many people are checking out these days.

Is it the upbringing?

From the 90’s, every kid was told how perfect they are, how great they are and even when they failed or didn’t succeed, they still got told how great and perfect they are.

How is a child meant to build resilience and a growth mindset if there is no challenge set in front of them?

There are no easy answers.

“Hey You”

Hey you, out there on the road
Always doing what you’re told
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall
Breaking bottles in the hall
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall

So much power in the final verse. It covers obedience, living a life controlled by the state and dreaming of a revolution.

“Comfortably Numb”

It’s written by Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters and my favourite song because of the excellent outro lead break.

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?

The mind, the spirit and the soul are three powerful revolutionaries. They need to be suppressed if governments want to exist.

Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick

The injection to numb and control.

I have become comfortably numb

Nothing else needs to be said and then the end lead break from Dave Gilmour kicks in. Just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy.

“I banged out five or six solos. From there I just followed my usual procedure, which is to listen back to each solo and make a chart, noting which bits are good. Then, by following the chart, I create one great composite solo by whipping one fader up, then another fader, jumping from phrase to phrase until everything flows together. That’s the way we did it on ‘Comfortably Numb.’”
David Gilmour https://www-guitarworld-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.guitarworld.com/.amp/artists/100-greatest-guitar-solos-no-4-comfortably-numb-david-gilmour?

Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather/Killing Machine

This album had two different titles depending on the region it was released. “Killing Machine” all around the world and “Hell Bent for Leather” in the U.S. I didn’t get this album until well into the 90’s.

Delivering The Goods

It’s written by the holy trinity song writing team of Rob Halford, K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton. The first time I heard this song was via Skid Row’s “B-Side Ourselves” EP. I enjoyed the Skid’s live take on it, so I went seeking for the album in the second hand record stores. I actually own both copies, the “Killing Machine” version and the “Hell Bent For Leather” version.

Shake down, rock ’em boys, crack that whip strap mean
Pulse rate, air waves, battle lies in every place we’ve been
Stealing your hearts all across the land
Hot blood doing good, we’re going to load you with our brand

It’s exactly how heavy metal and hard rock took over the world in the 80’s. Place by place, city by city, house by house.

Leaving your heads
Crushed out on the floor
Begging for mercy
Be careful or we’ll do it some more

Quiet Riot might have had a hit song with “Bang Your Head” and Drowning Pool in the late 90’s/early 2000’s hit the mainstream with “Bodies” and the catchcry, “Let the bodies hit the floor” but Judas Priest from day zero always had moshing and head banging in their songs.

You better watch out and hold on tight
We’re heading your way like dynamite
Uhhh, Delivering the goods

And the live show was just that. A band, turning up and delivering the goods. AC/DC’s first U.S show was played to less than ten people. After the first set, those people vacated the building only to return minutes later with many more. And the rest is history.

Hell Bent For Leather

This one is written by Glenn Tipton.

The riff is iconic. If you want to understand how iconic and how many derivative versions this derivative riff spawned, check out my post on it..

Wheels! A glint of steel and a flash of light!
Screams! From a streak of fire as he strikes!

Any fan of “Under The Blade” from Twisted Sister would also know the above lyric.

Hell bent, hell bent for leather

Simple and effective.

Black as night, faster than a shadow
Crimson flare from a raging sun
An exhibition, sheer precision
Yet no one knows from where he comes

The song’s story has been re-written many times by Judas Priest. A few that come to mind are “Screaming For Vengeance”, “The Sentinel” and “Painkiller”.

In relation to guitar playing, Glenn Tipton always kept an eye and ear out for what was hot in guitar circles and he would go away, master these new styles and incorporate those influences and styles into his guitar playing. In this case, he breaks out a tapping lick which was obviously influenced by EVH. On albums from the mid 80’s, Tipton would start to incorporate sweep picking courtesy of Yngwie Malmsteen’s influence.


How can you not like the “Walk This Way” riff merged with the “Superstition” riff from Stevie Wonder merged with the “Play That Funky Music White Boy” riff?

The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)

It’s a Fleetwood Mac cover song written by their original and largely forgotten guitarist Peter Green, and it works pretty cool in the hands of Judas Priest. It’s not out of place at all in the pantheon of songs written by Judas Priest.

I had to Google “manalishi” and the first search item that comes up is a Wikipedia page for the song. This is what Wikipedia tells me;

“The song was written during Green’s final months with the band, at a time when he was struggling with LSD and had withdrawn from other members of the band. While there are several theories about the meaning of the title “Green Manalishi”, Green has always maintained that the song is about money, as represented by the devil. Green was reportedly angered by the other band members’ refusal to give away their financial gains.”

There was something really out there about the late 60’s and early 70’s period. Every songwriter was experimenting with different narcotics so they could tap into some state of the brain, which would help them be even more creative.

Running Wild

The intro riff is another riff to rule them all. You can hear where Iron Maiden took inspiration from for the “The Wicker Man”. Quick call the lawyers. Then again, i am sure someone will. It’s another cut written solely by Glenn Tipton and he covers themes which in the 80’s became the norm.

No chains can hold me down
I always break away
I never hear society
Tell me what to do or say

The idea of being able to live your life the way you want to live it is our greatest invention. It is the bedrock of our culture. And these days more than ever, these ideals and rights have become inconvenient to our leaders who only serve the corporations or come from the corporations. And it’s precisely why we have to work so hard to defend them.

I rebel but I walk tall
And I demand respect

Fitting in seems like a good way to earn trust. How many people sit back and don’t do anything to draw attention to themselves, just in case they are left out. The philosophy is simple, go along with the crowd and you will get ahead. But the truth is, no one can fit in all the way. People can choose to stand out, be respectful and challenge the status quo.

Journey – Evolution

It has “Lovin, Touchin’ Squeezin’” but it’s not my favourite. The three listed songs are for various reasons.

Lovin’ You Is Easy

The music is upbeat and infectious and it’s always good to hear Schon rocking out.

Do You Recall

The melodies in this song appear in a lot of Jovi songs.

Yes, it’s the lovin’ things
That keeps us wondering

Lady Luck

This song grooves, taking its cues from the hard rock stylings of Led Zeppelin.

The Police – Reggatta de Blanc

The Police to me, didn’t really write a perfect album from start to finish, but man could they write classic tracks.

Message In A Bottle

The intro is the first thing that hooks me. And it’s guitarist Andy Summers who saves the day with his add9 chord voicings over a simple bass groove.

I’ll send an SOS to the world

Sending out a message to the world today is easier than ever. We are all hooked up, ready to go.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

Who knows, but to participate, we need to give away some of our privacy and people get a look into our lives.

Walked out this morning, I don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone in being alone
Hundred billion castaways looking for a home

Today we live in a social media society. We have friends and likes. For some, this is fulfilling and for others they feel even more isolated and lonely. In the end, we all castaways looking for a home. Sometimes we find it, sometimes it takes a few turns to find it. Eventually we find our home.

Whitesnake – Lovehunter

I didn’t hear this album until very late in the 90’s. Hell, I was buying so many second hand LP’s from record fairs and second hand book shops, I can’t even place a memory as to when I purchased it. I was always a sucker for the $1 bins.

Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues

Written by David Coverdale and the underrated Bernie Marsden.

I love the blues, they tell my story
If you don’t feel it you can never understand

It all started with the blues. Rock was built on the bones of the 30/40’s blues artists. Metal was also built on the bones of those same artists, along with the defiance and rebellion of rock music. Without the blues, the music I listen to, would not be possible.

‘Cause I love the life I live, I’m gonna live the life I choose

My Dad knew what he was talking about, but I was too full of youthful energy to really listen and heed his warnings. You only have one life, so live it the way you want to live it. It’s easier said than done, but achievable and it starts with control.

Do you have control of your life, so you can make the right decisions or is your job and your commitments to banks and credit companies controlling you?

Once you give up control, your life path changes.

All of my life I’ve had the same reputation
I’ve been the black sheep of the family all along
I never know if in my heart I’m really guilty
But I’ve been accused of never knowing right from wrong

The themes are still relevant. When the youth don’t conform to the wishes of the elders, they are always seen as black sheep’s.

Medicine Man

It’s written by David Coverdale who is a pretty cool guitar player in his own singer/songwriter way. Lyrical, he’s the doctor of love, the medicine man who is always there to satisfy. Musically, it’s just a feel good jam song.

Mean Business

Lyrically Coverdale has his love gun loaded and ready to fire if the lady he’s with doesn’t mean business. Musically, it’s very “Ballroom Blitz” like in its pace and feel.

Love Hunter

In “Love Hunter”, DC is needing a woman to treat him good and to give him everything a good woman should, because she would be waiting for her brown eyed boy to come home and treat her right.

Do you reckon these lyrics will work today?

Maybe not.

Then again what about this one?

In my time I’ve been a back door man


I took to the highway,
Chasing my dream down the line

Does anyone do this anymore?

I keep on reading reports of kids staying at home with their parents well into their 30’s. Is this because parents have too much control and have taken away the right for their child to make a decision.

Outlaw – born outside of the law,

All the rockers and metal heads are outlaws.

I’ve always been a dreamer,
Dreamers find it hard to survive

You need to act if you want your dreams to come true.

Rock N Roll Women

About groupies.

I’m looking for the promise of a one night stand
So I’m going looking for those rock ‘n’ roll women tonight

That’s all DC wants, a good time with no strings attached.

KISS – Dynasty

One of the first albums I owned from Kiss and i played it to death, so it’s no surprise I have a few songs from it on my list. Other friends I know hate this album and the debates between albums is always fun. I always saw the debates like this.

“Dynasty” is my first Kiss album, so by default I dropped the needle on it a lot. However, most of friends had “Love Gun” or “Destroyer” as their first Kiss album and they dropped the needle on those albums a lot.

“I Was Made for Loving You”

It was the obvious single, and the unexpected hit, written by Paul Stanley, Vini Poncia and Desmond Child. Stanley also performs bass duties on this one. Seriously, if you were a fan of Kiss before this song, how can you not like the poppy chorus. Some of the best pop songwriters hung up their pens and pads after this. (Maybe not, but you get the point).

For me, the melodies are great, but the lyrics are crap.

Sure Know Something

Written by Stanley and Poncia, this is another song hated by “fans” who cried sell out. To me, it’s a mixture between melodic rock, disco and new wave. In the end, it’s still Kiss. It has all the ingredients of crap lyrics and great melodies. The bass groove is unique and the lead guitar break from Stanley is worth the listen.

Dirty Livin’

This is an excellent track. It could have been on a Steely Dan album or a Doobie Brothers record. Instead it’s on a Kiss record and it rocks. Peter Criss sings, it and he co-wrote it with Stan Penridge and Vini Poncia.  It’s actually the only track that Peter Criss drums on. Anton Fig played drums on all of the other songs.

Magic Touch

Solely written by Paul Stanley this track comes loaded with a melodic riff and a pop melody. Still to this day it’s a favourite, purely for its sense of melody.

Hard Times

Ace Frehley wrote it, he sings it and he plays all the guitars. It’s another Kiss rocker. All the pieces are here.

The hard times are dead and gone
But the hard times have made me strong

Damn right they did.

Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Cassette Copying Incorporated

Copying of music has always been there. People once upon a time used to listen to the radio and record songs from it. People used to record video clips from TV music stations. People would make a copy of an LP from their friend or a family member. Hell, we would make copies of a copied album and so forth. In other words, the music industry grew because of copying.

So if we used the buzzword of the modern era, piracy was rampant back in the 80’s. Most of my music collection during that period was made up of music taped onto blank cassettes. Every time I visited my older cousin, I was armed with blank cassettes and proceeded to copy albums that he had purchased. I was not alone in doing this, nor was I the first. Most of the music from the seventies that was passed down to me by my brothers was in the same format (blank cassettes that got filled with music).

You know that peak year of sales for the recording business in 1998. Well there is research out there which suggests it was due to two reasons. One reason was people replacing their vinyl collections with CD’s and the other reason is the people who had music on blank cassettes in the 80’s finally having enough disposable income to buy their favourites on CD.

I fit into both reasons because in the 90’s, I purchased every album I had on dubbed cassettes on CD. I re-purchased every LP I had on CD. I went to second hand record shops and purchased LP’s from the Eighties and Seventies very cheap. I was not the only one that did the above.

All of this copying allowed bands to have fans. And fans are not people who just spend money on something because they are a fan. Fans are people who enjoy a particular product. Some fans pay for that product early on while others pay for it later on. Some don’t pay at all. If it wasn’t for cassette copying, I never would have heard the full length albums of bands that didn’t do the rounds on MTV. I never would have heard “Master Of Puppets” from Metallica. After hearing it, “…And Justice For All” was a purchase on release day. It was many years later that an original copy of “Master Of Puppets” came into my collection.

Funny thing, my brothers had a friend with a nickname “Greeny”. He got that nickname because he was a tight arse and even though in Australia we don’t call money “green”, my brothers saw a movie that used the word “Green” as an analogy for money, so Greeny got his nickname.

Now Greeny, would always purchase metal and rock music. It was in his car stereo, I heard Kix “Blow My Fuse”, Bonfire “Fireworks”, Night Ranger “Midnight Madness”, Leatherwolf “Street Ready” and so many more. I always asked to borrow a cassette and make a copy of it, or i asked if he could make a copy of it for me.

And Greeny always said no. He always said, why should he pay $15 for the album, while I paid $10 for three blank 90 cassettes and dubbed six albums from him. So I had to resort to a different strategy. My five fingers would stealthy move and take the cassette from his car, without him knowing. I knew that I had a small time window to dub it before he found out so I would use the high speed dubbing on my stereo to copy it.

When Greeny found out a tape was missing he was always storming over to get his cassette back. In time and before I left the car with my bros he would do a stock take of his collection, so my borrowing days were over. But from borrowing and copying (which the labels call stealing and piracy today), I never would have become the fan of music I am and I probably would have had four houses paid off, instead of having a tonne of grey concert shirts, ticket stubs and a wall to wall record collection.