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

1985 – Part 3

Here we are for Part 3 of 1985.

WASP – The Last Command

I always thought WASP was huge in the U.S, because they always appeared in magazines.

But they weren’t.

This album and the self-titled debut, got a Gold certification from the RIAA in June 1998, 14 and 13 years after their release. Maybe their claim to fame was due to the controversy of their song titles, lyrics and the overall decadence.

Regardless, WASP has a special place in my music life.

Those opening arpeggios for “Wild Child” hooked me in. And when Blackie tells us he rides the winds that bring the rains, I was interested and the Chorus about being a wild child, so turn the flames higher and be touched and loved.

Well, how can you not like it, even if it doesn’t make sense.

And the Vodka/Budweiser Swilling Chris Holmes breaks out a mean little lick from about 3.50 minutes which brings back memories of the “2 Minutes To Midnight” solo from Maiden, that slow little breakdown section before it picks up again into the intro riff.

How can you not like “Ballcrusher” about a vicious voodoo women who drank all of Blackie’s JD and stole his car?

“Fistful of Diamonds” is Blackie’s social song about the corruption of Wall Street and how the bankers/investors are tied in with the Governments. Because power rules the game. And the power is with the banks. It’s why the Government bailed out the banks when the GFC happened. And the banks gave themselves bonuses and had luxury parties while people lost their homes.

I like the intro to “Widowmaker”. The clean tone section sounds so doomy that when the distortion kicks in, it’s as bleak and dirgey like a Paradise Lost song.

“Blind In Texas” is not my favourite WASP tune, but I do like its high tempo ZZ Top”isms”.

“Cries In The Night” makes me want to pick up the guitar and play it as it moves between acoustic and distortion.

Spencer Proffer was the “producer of the moment” for a few years because of “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot and he was on hand to produce this album, going for crispness in sound.

John Cougar Mellencamp – Scarecrow

How good is the “Rain On The Scarecrow” start?

“Small Town” resonated and was overplayed on radio.

“Lonely Ol’ Night” is excellent and so is the reggae appropriated “The Face Of The Nation”.

“Between A Laugh And A Tear” sounds like a cross between Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen done Mellencamp style.

“You’ve To Stand For Something” is the best song on the album for me. Lyrically, its excellent, dropping cultural references in each verse. And how much truth is in the Chorus.

“You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything”.

And the album closes with “R.O.C.K In The U.S.A”, a track which transports your mind to the 60’s even though you didn’t live it.

Dio – Sacred Heart

The trilogy ends with the Mark 1 Dio band.

The first two were definitely a lot more fun than the third. ‘Sacred Heart’ was a very very difficult record to make for many reasons. I also think that musically it’s a little overly complex for the band. I think we started to kind of wander off course a bit.

I know that Jimmy and Vinny feel the same about that. It was a more difficult record to write and it was a more difficult record to record.

Ronnie was going through some very dark personal issues at the time; he was separating from his wife Wendy who was also the manager of the band. But Ronnie was in a very very dark place and he wasn’t easy to be around at that time. Ronnie was also producing the record…that made it exceptionally difficult for everyone involved. So that was a dark time.

Maybe that kind of clouds my being able to reflect objectively on that record, I don’t have great feelings for that record. But ‘Holy Diver’ and ‘Last in Line’ are two great records. They were very easy to write, they were very easy to record.”
Vivian Campbell

Vivian Campbell would be fired mid-tour, replaced by Craig Goldy. This led to Campbell and Dio going after each other in the press. Campbell would then disappoint a lot of his fans (the same way Gary Moore did ) when he said that he hated all the three albums he did with Dio (the same way Gary Moore said he hated all of his rock records) but in the last few years, Campbell has made amends with his past and acknowledged his heritage.

“King Of Rock N Roll”, “Hungry For Heaven” and “Sacred Heart” are classic Dio songs.

“Rock N Roll Children” rivals “Rainbow In The Dark”. “Like The Beat Of My Heart” has a solo section that makes me play air guitar. “Just Another Day” has a classic up-tempo riff with a classic Dio vocal melody.

And to finish off, how good is the intro to “Hide In The Rainbow”. Another Kashmir like groove to close off an album with a shred-a-licious solo.

And the album is more mature and the arrangements a bit more complex, but it’s still a worthy album.

Vandenberg – Alibi

The last album before Adrian put the band on hold, joined Whitesnake for a decade, disappeared from the scene for about a decade and a half, then tried to resurrect Vandenberg and was told he couldn’t by his ex-bandmates, so Vandenberg became Vandenberg’s Moonkings and in 2020, its Vandenberg again.

“All The Way” kicks it off, with its arena rock riffs and chorus. The way Vandenberg decorates the verses, is Hendrix guitar hero stuff, moving between power chords, arpeggios, single note melodic lines.

Did the Def Leppard guys listen to “Once In A Lifetime” and then went away to write “Hysteria”? Then again these kind of progressions started to become common.

“Voodoo” has an intro and verse riff which reminds me of Michael Schenker. “Dressed To Kill” has a speed metal riff in the vein of Deep Purple’s “Speed King” and “Highway Star”.

“Fighting Against The World” is that classic Euro Rock I like which reminds me of the Uli Jon Roth “Scorpions” era. And Adrian, brings out the guitar hero in him for the lead break.

“How Long” is one of those ballads that moves between rock and classical in the arpeggios and chord voicings.

“Alibi” sounds like it came from the 70’s. Actually “Because Of You” from Storm Force has this same feel in the verses.

The very “Into The Arena” sounding “Kamikaze” closes off the album.

Marillion – Misplaced Childhood

They came into my headspace when Michael Portnoy from Dream Theater kept talking about em in a lot of interviews that he did in the early 90’s. And when I checked em out, Steve Rothery entered my life as an influence.

And this album is a monster.

The synth riff to kick of “Pseudo Silk Kimono” is haunting. And Fish is unique with his vocals and his lyrical phrasing/messages, something that Geoff Tate would take and run with as well.

“Pseudo Silk Kimono” moves into the beautiful strummed guitar for “Kayleigh”, before the arpeggios start and Fish starts singing “Do you remember?”.

And the lead break in “Kayleigh” is so melodic, melancholic and hopeful at the same time.

“Kayleigh” segues into “Lavender” with its major key piano riff.

“Bitter Suite” has this section from 3.45 which always gets me to pay attention when it comes along. “Heart Of Lothian” and “Waterhole” contrast each other between slow and fast tempo’s. “Lords Of The Backstage” sounds like a certain Rush song. And when the 9 plus minute “Blind Curve” begins, I am intoxicated by the various moods of the song and the album overall.

The U2 influenced “Childhoods End” just keeps adding to the variety of the album. And it’s a big reason why I like Marillion. The variety. You get a mix of so many different styles.

Helloween – Walls Of Jericho

The Helloween guys kept on saying that they were like Judas Priest, Scorpions and Iron Maiden, only faster.

And they sure were.

Helloween came into my life because of the song “I Want Out” a few years later and that got me interested to check em out. This album came in various editions. The track listing on this one is from the 1987 edition. Hell, due to a manufacturing error, one of the sides on several cassette copies had the music of Celtic Frost’s “To Mega Therion” on it. And it confused a lot of people.

This is the only album to feature guitarist Kai Hansen on lead vocals as well.

“Warrior” starts off with the same machine gun noises and bomb explosions that Metallica also uses for “One” when they play it live.

The lead breaks in each of the songs are songs within songs compositions, moving between classical influences like Uli Jon Roth Scorpions era and Pentatonic/Modal influences like Michael Schenker UFO era, merged between Iron Maiden’s NWOBHM sounds. Just faster.

“Victim Of Fate” sounds like it came from an Iron Maiden jam session with riffs that remind me of “Phantom Of The Opera”. Just faster.

And after 2 minutes of 150km speeds, the song slows down like a traffic jam. This part of the song is my favourite, as it starts to build up again.

And the lead break that follows gets me playing air guitar. Then it picks up again to a harmonized lead break.

Like “Phantom Of The Opera”. Just faster.

And there is another open string harmony lead break to close the song off. But it didn’t, because with 40 seconds to go, a new lead break was created.

And by the end of the 6 minutes, a classic Helloween song is born and Power Metal with it.

“Cry For Freedom” has this haunting acoustic guitar riff to start it off. “Walls Of Jericho/Ride The Sky” starts off with a trumpet version of “London Bridge Is Falling Down” before a blistering speed metal riff kicks in (which is the start of “Ride The Sky”) to rival anything thrash related that Metallica was doing at that point in time.

“Reptile” sounds like an unfinished demo from “Piece Of Mind”. Only faster.

“Guardians” is patient zero of the Power Metal pandemic. It has it all, the fast riffs, the soaring vocals, the progressive time changes in the solo section and the major key “battle cry” Chorus.

“Phantoms Of Death” sounds like the “The One Riff To Rule Em All” which is known as the “Two Minutes To Midnight” riff but it goes back to the 70’s because it was that common. And a harmony lead break which reminds me of “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”. Only faster.

“Gorgar” has this head banging riff that reminds me of Accept. This is the song, which is the slowest on the album. And Wikipedia tells me that “In The Hall Of The Mountain King” is referenced here. Similar to how Accept referenced Beethoven in “Metal Heart”.

And you know the wrestler Chris Jericho who is also the singer in a band called Fozzy, well he took his name and wrestling manoeuvre from the title of this album.

And into the time machine we go for 1977 – Part 3.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey

I purchased it for the Megadeth track, “Go To Hell”. I’m not sure if Mustaine was having a piss take towards Metallica with the “Now I lay me down to sleep” section of the song because I think that first minute was all about that as the actual song “Go To Hell” begins from about 1.10 minutes.

If I only knew then, that I would have “Go To Hell” on other Megadeth Compilations, I would have used my money differently on this, because I already had the Kiss track, “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II”, “Dream Of A New Day” by Richie Kotzen and “The Perfect Crime” by Faith No More.

I don’t remember how “Shout it Out” by Slaughter and “Battle Stations” from Winger sounded. Same deal for “Tommy The Cat” by Primus (who I remember played themselves in the movie) and “Juniors Gone Wild” by King’s X, which I tried to call up on Spotify to listen to, but hey, it’s not there, the same deal with “Battle Stations” from Winger.

I was surprised by “Drinking Again” from Neverland and “Showdown” from Love on Ice brings blanks.

So yeah, not the best soundtrack.

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

Volbeat

I’ve been following a site called “Stream N Destroy” for a while now and I dig these emails, full of numbers about stream counts, YouTube views and sales for artists in the metal and rock genre. I subscribe to the free tier and of course there is a paid tier which goes even more in depth.

So in the current email, which can be found here, there is a mention of VOLBEAT and how their 2013 album “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies“ is certified Gold.

And that’s important to note, because he music from artists used to take a while to break through. Black Sabbath didn’t set the world on fire with sales of their 70’s albums.

  • “Black Sabbath” released in 1970 was certified Gold a year later in 1971, and then Platinum in 1986.
  • “Paranoid” released in 1971 was certified Gold that same year and then Platinum in 1986 and by 1995 it was 4x Platinum.
  • “Master Of Reality” released in 1971 was certified Gold that same year and by 2001 it was 2x Platinum.
  • “Volume IV” released in 1972 was certified Gold that same year and then in 1986 it was certified Platinum.
  • “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” released in 1973 was certified Gold in 1974 and Platinum in 1986.
  • “Sabotage” released in 1975 was certified Gold in 1997.
  • “Technical Ecstasy” released in 1976 was certified Gold in 1997.
  • “Never Say Die” released in 1978 was certified Gold in 1997.

“Ride The Lightning” from Metallica took two years to get a Gold certification while “Kill Em All” took six years to get a Gold certification.

For Volbeat, this is a 7 year case.

And it doesn’t look like they will disappear anytime soon. Their 2012 album, “Beyond Hell, Above Heaven” was certified Gold in 2016, 4 years since its release. Their streaming numbers are high, although Queen takes the trophy this week, with 15.9 million streams of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Not bad for a track released in 1975.

Their current album, is still selling, it’s up to 45,500 sales in the U.S. It’s anaemic compared to the past, but then again, how many of the past artists that had big sales in the 80’s are still around and selling these kind of numbers today. Hell, the 80s artists couldn’t even get these numbers in the 90’s.

Their song “Leviathan” is also in the Billboard charts.

People are still interested in the band.

It’s a longer road than before, but it’s a road still worth taking. You just need to be patient and you will need to have another line of income to pay the bills. For a lot of artists, this was the road, but that will change.

The labels don’t like it because they got used to making a quick buck, especially when MTV turned culture into a monoculture, the labels wanted every release to be an instant pay day.

And when it wasn’t, heads rolled.

Artists would get dropped and A&R department heads would also disappear. Because the labels didn’t want to waste time on artist development. And today, that is even more prevalent.

In relation to the weekly streams, while Queen is on top of the world, “Thunderstruck” from AC/DC is sitting at 11.8 million streams for the week.

And what I took out of it all, is that the big streaming songs (apart from some Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed) are all pre 2006, with “Stairway To Heaven” the oldest track at 1971.

Music lives on for a long time, hence the reason why the labels wanted Copyright terms to last 70 years after the creators death. And that same rule that they wanted is also getting em undone in court cases from the heirs of the artists.

Keep creating because you’ll never know when it’s time for your creation to take over the world.

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

June 2020 – Part 3

Palimpsest
Protest The Hero

The cover of the raging bull with the American flag draped over a horn, tattered and torn, really got my attention. It’s a great piece of art.

I had to Google what “Palimpsest” meant. And it means, “a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on the erased earlier writing.” Another definition which breaks it down is, “something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.”

Protest The Hero can play their instruments. Their music moves between technical metal with textures from a lot of different genres. So they really earn the “progressive metal” title.

A Metal Injection review said, “the bands Queensryche meets Between The Buried And Me approach makes albums like 2013’s “Volition” indispensable amalgamations of conceptual grandiosity and technicality”.

And if you want a killer review of the album that I agree with, then the metal injection one is it. This album will be streamed for a while.

Landing In Heaven
Free Spirits Rising

About landing in a place in the afterlife and not knowing you are there.

And the best bit is when it changes half way through to a massive 2 plus minute outro section.

I guess “until it’s time to meet again, I’ll be here waiting”. There is an instrumental version of the song as well.

Press repeat.

Beyond Your Limits
Long Distance Calling

There album dropped recently and I’ve added all of it to my July playlist. From Germany, I am a fan of their instrumental rock grooves and I am hearing some vocals on this album.

The last three minutes.

The moods that deconstructs and reconstructs the song. Brilliant.

Then that last 30 seconds with that emotive lead break.

So I press repeat to listen again.

Back To Life
H.E.A.T

From the bands website: “In the new world order, we find ourselves in a position where we can’t go on tour, we feel we have a duty to bring some vibe to the summer of 2020. So kick back, grab a drink, make your backyard a festival area and let us bring you back to life.

And that’s exactly what I did, in the winter of 2020, Australian style.

Blood From Above
Stryper

From the upcoming “Even The Devil Believes” album, which will surely get the clergy into a mess. Its classic Stryper. Here is a review from a blog that I follow which I totally agree with.

Cradle Rock
Joe Bonamassa

When Bonamassa rocks out like he does on this one, I’m all in.

And the title hooked me in straight away because it reminded me of “And The Cradle Will Rock”. There is even a small section in the lead break, that brings back memories of Van Halen.

After A Few
Another Lost Year

I feel a bit tipsy after a few and I’m ready for a party, but in this song, they take it too far and make it way too hard to move on, after a few drinks.

A great listen.

Dangerous
Seether

That bass riff to kick off the song sounds dangerous as we are told to take off the blinders that cover our eyes.

Hot Damn
White Flame

That funky groove. Hot Damn.

Dead Elysium
Vanishing Point

From Melbourne, Australia and one of the best progressive metal bands out there.

It’s been six plus years since they released the excellent “Distant Is The Sun” and in between they have had their setbacks in getting this album done, especially around vocalist Silvio Massaro and his throat infections and respiratory illnesses.

If you like bands like Evergrey, then there is no way you can’t like Vanishing Point. Guitarist Chris Porcianko is an excellent song writer, creating intricate and syncopated riffs. And the dude can shred and be emotive as well.

This is the title track of album number 6.

The haunting piano kicks it off, and then that syncopated riff comes in, which reminds me of “The Masterplan” and “A Touch Of Blessing” blended together.

And I was all in.

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

June 2020 – Part 2

Shine On
Adelitas Way
This Means War
Aware At Last featuring Adelitas Way

“Shine On” is a good song. Reminds me a lot of Tesla and the “Forever More” album.

And it’s virtually ignored.

The YouTube video dropped a few days ago and it has less than 5000. It doesn’t even rate in the Top 5 listened songs on Spotify.

But it should.

Break
Still Breathing
Taking Dawn

They started off as “7th Son” in tribute to their favourite Maiden album. Signed to Roadrunner and then neglected by Roadrunner.

This one is from their “Dawn Of The Demos” album released during COVID-19.

London 1666
Alcatrazz

There best known phase was with Malmsteen on guitar. “No Parole From Rock N Roll” and “Live Sentence” are good metal albums.

Fast forward 30 plus years later and Yngwie devotee Joe Stump is on guitar. He riffs and shreds like Malmsteen and Alcatrazz haven’t sounded this good for a long time.

The intro riff could have come from the “Marching Out” album. And Graham Bonnet, he might not look like a stereotypical metal singer, but he has the pipes for it.

So far they have dropped two songs from the upcoming “Born Innocent” album and I am liking.

When Ignorance Turns To Bliss
Good Days, Bad Days
Eric Steckel

I was searching the blogs for blues rock guitarists to sink my ears into that have come out in the last 15 years. And it wasn’t a simple search. I was going in deep, reading reviews of albums and various blogs and what not. Like the good old days of searching vinyl.

Eric Steckel and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram are two blues rock dudes that have come out of this search and I have gotten into.

And man, they can play and they can sing.

Eric Steckel reminds me of what Jake E. Lee was trying to do with Badlands crossed with a bit of Bad Company. Steckel can be emotive, bluesy and if needed, he can metal it up and shred.

“Good Days, Bad Days” is my favourite of the bunch. It’s a subdued and melancholic, rhythm and blues rock tune with a killer emotive lead break.

Stop The Bleeding (featuring Jesse Leach)
Bulletproof
Machine Head

“Stop The Bleeding” is a great song. The riffage, the punk like feel in the chorus and the lyrics, “Beating after beating, throat choked under knee, help me please because I can’t breathe, just stop the bleeding”.

The whole world is aware but will anything really change in the long run.

Like the lyrics in “Bulletproof”, “The rich mad with power, the poor left to bleed”. And its these people and the organisations they represent that will do whatever it takes to keep their power and all their multiple zeroes in their bank accounts.

As Y&T sing in “Masters And Slaves”, “there’s only kings and queens and you’re a pawn in their game” and “like masters and slaves, we are divided that way”.

In the state of Victoria, in Australia, they are experiencing a second wave of outbreaks of COVID-19. Government housing buildings and suburbs which are not wealthy are in lockdown, but the wealthier suburbs are not in lockdown. So what gives.

Who are people who live in affluent suburbs so special?

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Little Wing and Catch A Rainbow

Progress Is Derivative.

I always say it. Especially when it comes to music. It’s always a new take on an old sound with some small changes to the progression.

I knew when I heard “Catch A Rainbow” from Rainbow that I had heard the song before. And I was thinking of Skid Row when I heard it, because their take on a Jimi Hendrix song was fresh in my mind at the time.

The origins of “Little Wing” go back even further to a 1966 recording of “(My Girl) She’s a Fox”, an R&B song which features Hendrix playing a Curtis Mayfield-influenced guitar accompaniment.

It’s all derivative and cyclical. Hendrix toured with Mayfield and learnt from him and then used some of the techniques that Mayfield used, like the rhythmic fills on the chords to orchestrate songs like “Little Wing” and “The Wind Cries Mary”.

To call Blackmore a copyist is wrong.

To call Dio a copyist is wrong.

To call Hendrix a copyist is also wrong.

And to see em all as super original and free from influences is also wrong.

To see Mayfield as super original is also wrong.

Everyone learns from someone or from some song. It’s why we start off playing covers. We are all influenced.

However people would like you to believe that they are original and free from influences when they bring up suits to the courts.

Did Tom Petty deserve a lyrical credit to a Sam Smith song?

Did Iron Maiden need to settle with a person who didn’t create anything and just managed an artist?

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My Stories, Stupidity

What’s The Purpose Of Police In Today’s Society?

The police are meant to enforce the law to ensure the safety of the citizens and to prevent crime and civil disorder. But the Police act as a revenue force first.

Issuing speeding or traffic violations at will. The wealthy and the connected get away with it, while the middle class and the ones doing it tough, trying to get from A to B to pay the bills are left to foot the bill.

And just say a car slows down to 5km at a stop sign and doesn’t actually stop, but treats it like a give way. They put no one in harm as they go through the stop sign. Technically they broke the law. So they must be punished.

And that law breaking is treated the same as a person going through a stop sign at 80km an hour and putting people at risk. It’s the same law being broken.

So why have police patrolling at all. Just set up cameras everywhere. I’m sure all the soldiers who went to two World Wars and Vietnam, will appreciate living in a surveillance state.

Then you have the AFP (Australian Federal Police) investigating journalists, becoming a political police force. All because a journalist actually did their job and leaked information of Australian soldiers torturing Afghanistan people, which is very different to the 90% of journalist who just push the stories their supreme overlords demand.

In relation to preventing crime, unless they have some pre-cognition “Thought Crime” task force, they have failed in that regard.

The war on drugs is into its 50th year and there are more drugs on the streets than ever before. Billions spent for failure.

In relation to stabbings, shootings and general violence, these crimes happen. A police force doesn’t prevent them. Of course these crimes will be investigated later on by detectives, so there is a need for that kind of force.

Cyber Theft and Cyber Crime is through the roof. Speak to any victim of it and they will tell you how alone they feel when it happens because no one cares to investigate. It’s all up to them to fight for their rights. But a crime has been committed. And the police don’t care.

And the police force in Australia is ripe with systemic abuse because the law allows it.

Fully able bodied Police Officers go out on luxurious Invalidity Hurt On Duty pensions and then keep working. Double dipping into the public and private purses.

People have no faith in the government, it’s police force or the media. And let’s not even talk about people’s view on science or facts.

And basically, if you’re not rich, you’re living under a different legal system, that works against you with the Police as puppets to powerful individuals.

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

Resilience

Robb Flynn from Machine Head was interviewing Matt Heafy from Trivium, on his podcast “No F Regrets”.

Heafy comes across super on a podcast; well-spoken and very articulate. He spoke about his love of black metal, his military father who was the bands manager at the start, and the crap that Trivium copped from the metal press and the metal bands they supported because of the way Heafy sang, especially after “The Crusade” album, when Heafy sounded better than Hetfield ever did.

Bullying was used a lot by Heafy and a mention was made, how at one of the Ozzfests they were the outcasts (and eventually Maiden would be as well, because they played better than the headline act), hated by all the bands on the bills.

And it didn’t help Trivium when people involved with their show, said negative crap to the other artists, which more or less stained the band without them knowing why.

It was the same Ozzfest when Maiden played before Ozzy and the fans gravitated towards the Maiden show a lot more than the Ozzy show, so it was no surprise that Maiden suddenly had sound problems during their sets, then they had the sound completely cut, until it got a stage that Maiden had to leave the Ozzfest tour because of this.

And they would take Trivium out on tour with them after this.

The bullying in metal circles really goes against the metal ethos of the early 80’s, when the metalheads stood together against this kind of behaviour.

Some artists might crumble, argue and give up. But not Trivium. They showed resilience.

Resilience comes from experience. Mental toughness comes from experience.

You can read all the books you want and have a toolbox of routines in place, but to become resilient and to become mentally tough, you need to live it, breathe it and experience it.

Only then, you can apply any of the mental tough routines from your toolbox like box to box breathing and flipping the negatives to understand the why.

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

June 2020 – Part 1

Beautiful
Bodies For The Bones
Die Trying featuring Shaun Morgan
Sweet Forgiveness
Art of Dying

These songs are from their “Demos and Rarities” lockdown release. I’ve been in and out of love with this band.

“Beautiful” is in the similar vein to their “Vices And Virtues” album in sound and theme. It’s the style I like.

“Bodies For The Bones” is super down tuned for heaviness. I don’t like this style. While the music sits super low which I’m not a fan of, the vocal melodies sit in the upper registry and drive the song.

“Die Trying” is one of my favourite cuts. This one features Shaun Morgan from Seether. Remember them. Seether came onto my radar almost 15 plus year ago when they did a song with Amy from Evanescence for “The Punisher” movie. A ballad called “Broken”.

“If it takes forever I would die trying”

The ethos of a lifer trying to make something from their life, to meet their definition of success and happiness.

And that’s the important element here, it’s your definition, that defines you. Don’t try to fit in to other people’s definitions.

“Sweet Forgiveness” has a haunting acoustic riff.

“Come take me out of here, I’m at the end of my rope, there’s nowhere to go”

There is always somewhere to go. Pick up the phone, talk to someone, catch up for a coffee and keep talking. There is always someone who wants to listen.

Darker Thoughts
Ghosts
Ending Days
Paradise Lost

This one-way street you’re on
You’ll never be fulfilled
And this one way street you’re on
Is gonna get you killed

That vocal melody. It’s haunting.

With inner peace gone, you pray
All those darker thoughts are coming back to stay
With inner peace gone you’ve paid
All those darker thoughts are coming back to stay

And then the violins kick in, over a grinding dirgey riff, while the “Godless are sworn to kill, Annihilation” is barked out.

Let’s chuck in an emotive pentatonic minor lead to finish it off.

On The Run Again
Chrome Division

The way this song starts off with the acoustic delta like blues riff, which morphs into a head banging distortion riff. It’s been played before, it’s been heard before, but I still like it.

Dual (featuring Matt Guillory)
Ultra City
Andy James

Instrumental music at its best.

In the 80’s, it got to a stage where the instrumental songs would be just a power chord and a million notes in the bar. Then another power chord and then another million notes. There was hardly any riffs and it became pretty bland. Because once you’ve heard one artist doing it from Shrapnel, you would have heard em all.

But these days, the instrumental players, write a song first, with awesome riffage and then decorate it with great melodic lead breaks.

Andy James is up there for me, with players like John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, George Lynch, John Sykes, Yngwie Malmsteen and Marty Friedman.

Leave It Alone
Signals Gone
Blacktop Mojo

This band deserves more attention. One of the best hard rock bands out there at the moment.

Far Enough Away
Trapt

They are doing Daughtry better than what Daughtry is doing right now. There is something special about an acoustic guitar, drums, bass and a good vocal melody, with some synth strings thrown in.

Death Diviner
Soilwork

The riff.

A cross between “Schism” from Tool and Soilwork’s signature groove.

Bjorn Strid takes the clean melodic highway on vocals and a classic Soilwork song is born.

That Chorus.

The riff again.

Press play and enjoy.

When All Is Said And Done
Aldo Nova

I didn’t expect this kind of cut from Aldo Nova.

And I like how artists can still surprise me.

This is bluesy, groovy and heavy. If you like the work that Glenn Hughes did with Black Country Communion, then you will like this.

Revelation
Riders Of The Light
Highway To Paradise
Lorelei
From A Whisper To A Scream
Final Hour
Gathering Of Kings

This band’s new take on an old sound is just to my liking. This is album number 2.

“Revelation” sets my mind time machine to 1984/85 and that beautiful melodic rock coming from an excellent band called Y&T.

And if you like tunes like that, then you’ll like this project, a gathering of Nordic musos who want to create.

All Of My Life
The Road
Highway
Between Good And Bad
When She Cries
Mike Tramp

I’ve always enjoyed Mike Tramp’s voice. With the last few solo releases, his lyrics are exceptional and they resonate on this album, “Second Time Around”.

He sold his heart and soul for rock and roll in “All Of My Life”.

He looked ahead on “The Road” that broke him, made him, turned his tears to smiles, brought him home again and the road he never wants to end.

He saw life come and go so fast on a “Highway” as he went for a ride and never looked back, finding love, finding heartache, finding highs and crashing lows.

Loving You Is A Dirty Job
Easy Come Easy Go
Intensity
Lost In The Dark
Back
Victims Of Desire
Built To Please
Passion

Passion covers most of the 80’s/early 90’s sounds and releases from bands.

Kiss. Its covered.

Keel. It’s covered.

Ratt. Its covered.

Steelheart. Its covered.

Skid Row. Its covered.

Hurricane. Its covered.

Winger. It’s covered.

2020
Vandenberg

The whole album is stellar.

It gives me this feeling of when I listened to Bad Company, Rainbow (Dio fronted), Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Deep Purple (Coverdale/Hughes version), Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (Dio fronted).

Each day is a different favourite.

“Ride Like The Wind” reminds of “Gates Of Babylon” from Rainbow. That’s my favourite today.

Yesterday, it was the Bad Company sounding “Hell and High Water”.

The day before it was the “Bad Boys” sounding “Light Up The Sky”.

Tomorrow it could be “Shout”, which reminds me of “Slow And Easy” on steroids, with a driving beat. Especially that section after the solo, when it’s just drums, and Romero is singing, “Get Up And Shout”. Even “I Love It Loud” comes to mind.

There is the “Fool For Your Loving” inspired “Shitstorm” with a David Coverdale like vocal that has been my go to track.

Or the Richie Blackmore inspired “Shadows Of The Night”.

“Let It Rain” reminds of Bonfire.

And my favourite track “Skyfall” closes the album.

And apart from the excellent riffage and song construction, the lead breaks are superb, song within song moments.

And the band is excellent.

Part 2 coming up.

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Music, My Stories

Musical Culture

Bob Lefsetz interviewEd Bob Ezrin recently on his podcast. 

And Ezrin is a natural talker. He spoke about working in Nashville and having a lot of good session players available to pick from to work on songs. Players with high technical skills who can come in and record effortlessly. And the producers who work in the Nashville Studios, how they come from rock bands like Dan Huff from Giant.

He also spoke about the Swedish School system and how they focus on music and on building a musical culture. It’s probably a big reason why Swedish artists and songwriters are in high demand when it comes to popular music. As a hard rock and metal fan, a lot of the artists I like come from Sweden. 

In Australia and from the readings I have done on the U.S, music is sort of ignored or bypassed by prospective talents, because there is no money in it, unlike the Scandinavian countries who offer governmental support. In Australia, the Government wants all the kids to go to the University degree factories so the kids can then get mindless jobs in the Corporation degree prisons.

But in Sweden, education is free. The Government even pays for after school music programs. Max Martin is one of those people who benefited from this kind of education so you know it goes back a long way.

On top of that, the Swedish Arts Council, gives out a lot of money to acts, concert venues and regional music associations. On top of that, there are grants which artists can apply for to help pay for recording time, tour costs and what not.

The Atlantic article makes mention how in May, 2012, most of the Top 10 Songs on Billboard Hot 100 were written or produced by Swedes.

Also while UK artists are looking at giving up their music career because the Government didn’t care about the Arts sector once COVID-19 took hold, countries like Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are doing the opposite with aid packages. 

A healthy culture thrives when people want it to thrive. I remember when Sydney got the rights to host the Olympic Games in 2000. The Government obviously wanted the nation to put on a good show in all events, so almost immediately, funding went up for all the Olympic Sports, to hire more coaches, build better facilities and increase talent identification. Then funding was made available to provide support to the elite athletes. A new sporting culture was created and it’s been our best Olympics, all because the Government cared enough at that point in time for our sporting culture to thrive. Afterwards, the Government pulled funding and we went back to winning medals for the events we normally win, like swimming. 

The last 15 years has seen Government investment in tech companies and e-commerce, so it’s no surprise that quite a few companies from Australia are doing great things on the world stage in these areas. When someone cares enough, culture thrives.

And fans try their best to care and keep artists alive, but when the fans are doing it tough themselves, it’s hard.

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