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

1996 – Part 2.7: The Wallflowers – Bringing Down The Horse

I got on board The Wallflowers train in the 90’s. When this album came out, I had a 140 minute commute to work and home and I listened to mix CD,, purchased CDs and a lot of radio.

“One Headlight” was everywhere. They even made Bowie hip again in the 90’s with their cover of “Heroes”. If you don’t believe me, go and check all of the accolades the song has received post 1996.

And who knew that The Wallflowers released their debut album in 1992 on Virgin Records. They then lost the label deal and went back to playing clubs. By 1994, they got a new deal with Interscope Records.

Music is a lifers game. You don’t quit when the times are tough. Jakob Dylan was never going to quit. He grew up with music in his life. But others in the band didn’t have the same perseverance. In between the debut album and this one, they changed bass players, drummers and during the recording lost their lead guitarist.

And through all the struggles, Jakob Dylan created a 4x Platinum selling album.

“One Headlight”

A galloping groove, a memorable vocal line and southern rock country guitar licks dominate.

We can drive it home
With one headlight

It connects immediately, as I had a Nissan Pulsar that had a wiring problem and one of the headlights kept switching off. Hit a bump and I have two headlights. Hit a bump and I have one headlight.

Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same

Truth.

We don’t change our views or habits that much, but as we got older we are not the same spirit. Death changes us. Relationships change us.

“6th Avenue Heartache”

It’s like a Tom Petty cut and it’s also one of the older songs that was written pre-90’s.

And it’s a whose who of musicians. Mike Campbell from Petty’s band does slide guitar on this and Counting Crows vocalist Adam Duritz does backing vocals.

Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries, screams out loud
I had my world strapped against my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act

Jakob Dylan describes the streets, much in the same way Nikki Sixx described L.A in “Wild Side”.

And check out the descriptions in the last verse.

Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams

Can you picture it?

“Bleeders”

It’s got a strummed riff that feels like it’s ascending and it makes me feel good.

But this ain’t my first ride
It ain’t my last try
Just got to keep a-movin’ on

That’s right, it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to be disappointed. Don’t let it get the better of ya. Just keep on moving on. That brighter day is just around the corner.

“The Difference”

This one reminds me of “Born To Run” from Springsteen and I like it.

The only difference
That I see
Is you are exactly the same
As you used to be

Great lyric.

“Laughing Out Loud”

Another “Born To Run” vibe.

Laughing out loud
When I didn’t ever know just what it was all about

I’ve been in situations like this before when I was the joke but I didn’t know it. I wish I knew back then what I know today, that it’s so easy to change my situation as nothing is absolute.

Well I’m doing time inside a grapevine
Little things amuse little minds

You know the grapevine of rumours and b.s. Each day, there is a different topic. I have it at work, at the football grounds, in society, within the family and so on. The grapevine is everywhere.

“God Don’t Make Lonely Girls”

It’s a rock song, in the Mellencamp/Adams way.

“I Wish I Felt Nothing”

Great title. The barroom country rock ballad feel is back.

Say when you’re alone
It’s better cause nobody knows you
When no one’s your friend
It’s better cause nobody leaves you
So you turned your back
On a world that you could never have

Easier said than done, because humans like to belong to a tribe.

And then the band just disappeared. But they didn’t really disappear. The press abandoned em, in the same way the press abandoned other artists and genres. And the rise of the internet, made it easy for other artists to participate and suddenly, the market is flooded with new music and peer to peer sharing.

The follow up album “(Breach)” came out in 2000, and it went unnoticed in Australia.

I never heard from em again, until this year with the release of “Exit Wounds”, which got me googling the band name and I was surprised to read that there was another three albums by the band after “(Breach)” and three Jakob Dylan solo albums in between plus a lot of soundtrack work for movies and TV shows.

True lifers to the arts.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – One Live Night

What do you do when you want to do an “unplugged” album but MTV doesn’t care for you?

In Dokken’s case, it’s simple.

Do a few unplugged shows, record em and release it. Now this CD was originally released for the Japanese market. It was successful there and it got an international release in 1995.

My CD version is a double and it was released in 1999 in Australia with the album “Shadowlife” attached to it.

But this review will be solely for the “One Live Night” album. “Shadowlife” is up next.

In the CD booklet, you open it up and see the cover to the Shadowlife album and lyrics to the live Album. It’s bizarre to say the least and I already had the “Shadowlife” album purchased separately.

Now it’s not all unplugged as Lynch does plug in for his solos.

Into the Fire

No one in the audience had any idea that the opening song was “Into The Fire” based on the opening strummed chords.

But when the arpeggios started, it was recognizable and the audience was on board.

I wasn’t sold on the plugged in lead break. I wanted Lynch to recreate a lead suitable for an unplugged setting.

“Who would have thought?”, said Don Dokken at the end of the song.

Yes, who would have thought.

Unchain The Night

Great song all round.

The Intro is excellent and I like the sinister acoustic verse riff.

But…

The electric leads over the verse riff detract instead of enhancing.

How powerful does the Chorus sound in this setting?

And the outro.

They are strumming Em to D to C and back to D and the vocal melody is hooky. The electric guitar comes in for the outro lead and it works. It’s restrained, but I still would have preferred an acoustic lead.

The Maze

Don introduces this song as one that Mr John Kalodner selected. For those that don’t know, Kalodner knew how to spot a hit.

But the 90s era was a different beast to the 80s era and a hit was harder to find especially when every promotion avenue ignored bands like Dokken.

Nothing Left To Say

Like the album version and Lynch delivers an acoustic lead like the album.

Perfect.

From The Beginning

The ELP cover works well here.

Tooth And Nail

They’ve rearranged it into a blues rock tune, almost Bad Company like with Wild Mick Brown on vocals who sounds like Jon Oliva from Savatage.

And it works.

But… why the lyric lead. An acoustic lead would have served this rendition well.

Just Got Lucky

You get to hear how poppy the Chorus vocal melody is in this setting.

I Will Remember

An instrumental from Lynch’s solo album “Sacred Groove”. It’s like a ballad with a lot of melodies and some super fast shred. A nice intermission.

Alone Again

How do you get the wall of electric sounds to sound so serene and haunting without losing the essence of the song?

They got it right on this one.

I like how the piano is the dominant instrument this time around. When you go unplugged, you need to be creative.

In My Dreams

This song works in any setting. The melodies are that anthemic it doesn’t matter if there distortion or acoustics.

Nowhere Man

I would have preferred a few Dokken cuts but everyone was trying to see if they could have a hit like Tesla and “Signs”.

It’s Not Love

It’s got that blues rock 70s vibe in the Intro. And the crowd has no idea the song title.

Then someone (I think its Mick Brown) yells 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the riff starts.

A perfect closer.

And no songs from “Back For The Attack” are on it. I guess they have their reasons.

This is the sound of Dokken fighting tooth and nail to stay alive in a hostile market place.

Crank it.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Dysfunctional

In 1992, three years prior to the release of “Dysfunctional”, George Lynch was still appearing in the Guitar mags I purchased like Guitar World, Guitar One and Guitar School.

But in 1995, he was nowhere to be seen. The album came out and there was nothing.

That’s how quickly the mags replaced Mr Scary with the dudes from Counting Crows, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Dave Matthews Band, Oasis, Rage Against The Machine and others.

I have a motto in life. To take care of what brings in my bread and butter. Anything else that I would want to do after, will be a spin-off from that.

And it looks like the guys in Dokken had a similar motto. Let’s focus on what brings in our bread and butter first.

But before we get to the album, you need to understand these guys.

The “Dysfunctional” album was pretty much written before George Lynch joined the project. Even George Lynch stated the same in an interview on the Guitar International website.

“Most of this record, “Dysfunctional”, was finished by the time I got there. In fact, everything but the guitar parts were pretty much done.

Everybody in management and in the band kept feeding me these horror stories of who they would get to replace me if I didn’t come back – you can guess the names.

Well, when I listened to the tracks, I could tell that Jeff [Pilson, bass] and Don [Dokken, vocals] had written a lot of the songs with me in mind. I mean, there were parts in certain songs that I had done on other Dokken records – and even Lynch Mob records- years ago.”

However Don Dokken has said that the album is written solely by him;

“Dysfunctional was a great album. I mean they (Lynch and Pilson) had nothing to do with that album. I wrote that album by myself. There wasn’t a George, Jeff, Mick effort. They joined Dokken at the last minute. And I basically wrote it, produced it.”

Don Dokken further described his experience in the following way;

“I felt guilty for bringing George back into the band for “Dysfunctional” & the money & the big record deal & I was just miserable & he was miserable, he made all of us miserable, it was just a very un-happy band”

In a separate interview on the Legendary Rock Interview website, Don Dokken further added the following;

I remember when we got back together in 95, we were in Japan and I thought we were older, wiser and could get on with our careers but the same old shit was happening, he was playing behind his amps and just screwing around and the band was just not playing good in general.

I asked George flat-out “What can I do to make you happy? What is the problem that you just can’t seem to get on board no matter how well things are going?” and I will never forget it, he just looked at me and pointed his hand up to our backdrop, this 30 foot backdrop that said “Dokken” and he said, “That’s the problem””.

This is the way George Lynch described the “Dysfunctional” reunion;

“There is a huge market for the band, mostly overseas, and since things collapsed over at Elektra, I needed to keep my options open if I still want to have my solo career. That was one of the things that brought me back into the band. It was kind of like, ‘You do this deal with Dokken for two records, and you can still go out and do solo records at the same time.’ In fact, I was told that I’d be in a better position to do solo stuff. John Kalodner [Columbia’s A&R chief] is passionate about Dokken, but he also told me that he wants us on Columbia. That aspect of the relationship makes me pretty happy.”

Dokken in 1995 was not an arena act.

Whether they wanted to be together or not, it didn’t matter to me as they delivered a great rock album worthy of being called a classic Dokken record.

Inside Looking Out

There was no escaping the influence of the Metallica self titled album, Soundgarden and “A Vulgar Display Of Power” from Pantera.

Those grooves became the norm. And when they got merged with the riff from Mr Scary, well that’s “Inside Looking Out” in a nutshell.

Hole In My Head

It sounds exotic, almost 70s like with a verse riff that Zakk would use for Ozzy.

Check out the lead breaks from Lynch.

The Maze

It’s like ELO merged with The Beatles.

Too High To Fly

It’s like a blues jam session and someone decided to press record.

Then when it starts to build from the 38 second mark, it’s desk breaking, head banging time.

And how good are the verses?

The bass and drums play, while Don sings and Lynch comes in when Don stops. Brilliant.

It reminds me of “Lost Behind A Wall” which then reminds me of “Turbo Lover”.

Nothing Left To Say

This is a great song. A hit. Better than acoustic songs like “More Than Words” or “To Be With You”.

The acoustic guitar solo is not long enough.

Shadows Of Life

What a riff and drum groove to start the song?

This is classic Dokken, but down tuned and heavy and how good are those backing vocals in the Chorus.

Long Way Home

It’s the Mr Scary riff again.

Check out the lead break from Lynch.

But my favorite section is that bridge section after the Chrous. It’s very Queensryche like.

And that head banging riff from 3.55. Tool would build a career on riffs like this.

Sweet Chains

It’s like the “Dream Warriors” intro merged with “Tangled In The Web”.

Lesser Of Two Evils

What’s this.

Lynch channeling EVH.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What Price

It’s hard to describe this one. So I skip it.

From The Beginning

A great cover from ELP.

After 56 minutes, I pressed play again.

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1996 – Part 2.6: Corrosion Of Conformity – Wiseblood

“Wiseblood” came out in 1996. The band for the album was Pepper Keenan on lead vocals/rhythm guitar, Woody Weatherman on lead guitar, Mike Dean on bass guitar and Reed Mullin on drums.

It kicks off with the excellent titled “King Of The Rotten”.

The riffs are down-tuned, groovy and bluesy. The vocals on this one are very James Hetfield influenced with a Layne Staley/Jerry Cantrell style Chorus.

“Long Whip / Big America” reminds of ZZ Top “La Grange” era. It’s got that spirit.

Saw the news today, some D.C. suit trying to break away,
said he lost another million
just another old man trying to pass the buck with a dirty hand
good thing he knows his bible

Man, does anything change when it comes to politics, corruption and money. The same shit happening in 1996 happened before and after.

And when it all goes to hell, they turn to God. How many criminals have said “I’m sorry your honor for stealing millions, but I have found God and I’m a good Christian now.”

“Wiseblood” and “Goodbye Windows” bring the Southern Rock vibe. It also sounds like Zakk Wylde was listening because I feel that Black Label Society took this sound.

I’ve seen them devils pound our bible
You saints and sinners are both my rival

Can a person live a life without the influence of religion and pressure from society to conform?

How good is that harmony solo section in “Goodbye Windows” from the 3.46 minute mark, with the vocals over it?

Past regrets and future fears
Turns a boy to a man sooner than planned
All the same, the boy remains
Even though he’s free, he can’t fly with these heavy chains

There is a lot of self-assessment happening on this album.

What does it mean to be free in democracy?

Its basic meaning is “not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes”.

Do you live a life that meets the criteria in the definition?

And the bluesy Sabbath like tunes continue, along with the excellent song titles, like “Born Again For The Last Time”, “Drowning In A Daydream” and “The Snake Has No Head”.

When the bones that you own have long been dusted
You realize who you’re not supposed to be

The above lyric is from “Born Again For The Last Time”. Its only when we get older, we realise how much time we wasted being someone else.

But the body fills with greed and we spill when in need
And all the slaves are on probation growing fat in a comfortable nation

The above lyric of from “The Snake Has No Head”. They are referencing the same snake that’s on the cover of the Metallica self-titled “Black” album.

“The Door” and “Man Or Ash” are cuts that would not be out of place on a Metallica “Load” or “Reload” album. And if the vocalist sounds familiar on “Man Or Ash”, it should, it’s none other than James Hetfield.

Then there is the excellent titled “Redemption City”.

Simple words remind me
Cluttered room haunts me

It’s never easy being alone, with your thoughts and your vices.

“Fuel” is a thrash-a-thon and I had to keep telling my friends at the time that it’s not a cover of the other “Fuel” that appeared on “Reload” even though this one came out before.

And after “Wiseblood”, the band got dropped from Columbia Records because it didn’t meet the commercial expectations. And it was strange to read that, because the band was still at a creative high.

Lucky for them, Sanctuary Records picked em up otherwise they couldn’t participate in the recording business unless they went the “self-release” route, which no artist did in 1996.

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1996 – Part 2.5: Matchbox 20 – Yourself Or Someone Like You

It’s all rock to me.

Writers of the music mags back in the day did their best to give Matchbox 20 a more “current” or “hip” genre.

Modern Rock, Alternative Rock, Traditional Rock, Post Grunge and Grunge Rock are a few that come to mind today. I would even say hard rock as well, as structurally some of the songs have Cinderella and Tesla vibes. These two bands got lumped into glam rock and glam metal, but goddamn they had so much variation on their albums with each subsequent release.

Everyone knows Rob Thomas.

But the rest of the band, while they didn’t write any of the songs, performed and added their own uniqueness to the songs. That is Kyle Cook on lead guitar, Adam Gaynor on rhythm guitar, Brian Yale on bass and Paul Doucette on drums.

And man, didn’t people get behind em on this one. In Australia, it went 10x Platinum. In New Zealand, it went 5x Platinum. In Canada it’s 8x Platinum. In the U.S, its certified Diamond for 10 million in sales and at the moment its sitting at 12 million.

Production is done by Matt Serletic.

“Real World”

A John Cougar Mellencamp/Bryan Adams chord progression and guitar lead starts the song off.

I wish the real world would just stop hassling me

Sometimes I just need to get away and block the noise. It’s my own fault as I used to have a problem saying “no” to people. I’m a lot better at saying no these days, but sometimes it’s back to the old ways.

“Long Day”

What an intro?

The voice, an infectious vocal melody and an acoustic guitar. Then the rest of the band crashes in, as the melody continues.

And the Chorus.

Reach down your hand in your pocket
Pull out some hope for me
It’s been a long day, always ain’t that right

The guitar solos are little melodic interludes instead of the usual (towards the late 80’s/early 90’s) “play a million notes per second”.

“3AM”

We used to cover this song when we played 3 sets.

The first set was all originals, then the second set was 60’s/70’s and 80’s and the last set covered the 90’s, along with tracks like “If You Could Only See” from Tonic.

She’s got a little bit of something,
God, it’s better than nothing

Sometimes nothing is better than something because when you have something to lose, you are not free.

“Push”

It was a hit but it never resonated with me.

“Girl Like That”

If AC/DC used acoustic guitars, it would sound like this. If you don’t believe me, listen to the rhythm guitars.

But I roll with the changes is all
I’m same old trailer trash in new shoes

I rolled with the changes in the musical landscape that the labels wanted us to go with, back when they had control of the distribution. But I was always the hard rocker that grew up in the 80s.

“Back 2 Good”

The Chorus is excellent.

And I would like to know, how do we get things back to good?

Relationships are hard and when words are said in a breakup, the disconnect gets wider and resentment seeps in.

Then it’s done.

And the second half of the album is okay.

I remember “Kody”, about a person using alcohol to numb themselves. But the album was sold because of the tracks mentioned.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 14 to June 20

4 Years Ago (2017)

I reckon Copyright is a Ponzi scheme and they are using the law to protect it.

Copyright terms are ridiculous.

All of the songs from “Hardwired To Self Destruct” will be in the public domain by 2120 (approx. based on the current terms of life of the creator plus an additional 70 years after death).

Led Zeppelin’s “IV” will be in the public domain by 2110 (approx.).

The crazy thing is the 10 year difference of the estimated public domain date between Metallica and Led Zeppelin, however the albums have a 40 years difference between release dates.

Proof of how much Copyright was hijacked by corporations during the 70s. And while the executives take it in, the artists are left with nothing.

Because the music business has a payment problem.

Artists are constantly fighting to get paid properly.

Promoters don’t pay on time or they don’t pay what is promised. The labels get creative with their accounting and underpay the artists. Then trusted people like managers skim too much and people who didn’t create anything of value are flying private while the artists who created something of value are traveling by road or flying second class.

I was listening to some thrash music and wrote about my fandom of Megadeth and the the year 1986.

In Australia, we have a lobbyist for the MPAA called Graham Burke, who is so good at spinning the piracy argument that politicians believe him.

Burke and his organization “Village Roadshow” are meant to lead the movie business into the new age. But they think by denying that the new age exists they will get back to the old age.

And I was pissed at the broadband rollout in my area because I lost internet access for my whole family for three plus months. But according to Burke, we are all filthy pirates.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was listening to a lot of Motley Crue and Sixx AM so a Nikki Sixx “What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics” appreciation post was written.

I’m no puppet
I engrave my veins with style ….from Dancing On Glass

I was on Team Sambora when Jon Bon Jovi said that if Sambora was The Edge he would be harder to replace. It was a cheap shot from Jon. And since 2013 was the year I experimented with some douchebag posts, you can read one here about Jon. I did others as well.

And the anemic sales figures of artists kept getting publicity, but no one cared about sales anymore except the ones who wanted bragging rights.

I compared 1993 and 2013. From long haired stoner boy to short hair corporate guy. A slave to the grind I had become. And here is its sequel.

Music has been my companion my whole life. And I thought about that while I was watching Australia qualify for a World Cup.

At the end of a football game, music is always played. On the trip home, music is played again via the radio or a playlist or a CD mix. It’s always in my life.

I was surprised that people haven’t heard of Kim Dotcom or MegaUpload.

Kim Dotcom has been painted as a money laundering criminal by the FBI on evidence gathered by the MPAA and somehow he was that dangerous that his arrest needed SWAT teams to break down his door and arrest him in the early hours.

All because he ran a cyber locker that people used to share songs and albums through.

We are exposed to news 24/7. If any musician/artist wants to survive the times, they need to be creating news every day. Because what’s trending today is over tomorrow.

Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto said that Nintendo wants “to create a game that people will want to keep and keep playing for a long time.”

Sort of like our favorite artists and their best works.

I like hard rock. I cannot escape it. And I came across a band called Angeline and their “Life: Volume 1”, EP. They are from Sweden and formed in 1987.

Initially the band was influenced by Bon Jovi, Europe, Iron Maiden and Queensryche.

When the music scene changed in the 90s they reverted to being a cover band. It’s not all about the glamour and the fame. There are highs and lows. Artists do what they need to do to survive.

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Australian Method Series – The Silent Deeds

From Perth, Western Australia, The Silent Deeds formed in 2014.

Singer and rhythm guitarist Corey Ranger and drummer Tom Filter were in a Foo Fighters tribute band called “White Limo”.

When this project ended, they went looking for musicians to form an original band. Melodic lead guitarist Clayton Brown joined soon after, along with bassist Adam Quigley.

I’ve seen in various press releases their sound described as “Tom Petty meets Foo Fighters meets U2 meets Pearl Jam meets Hoodoo Gurus.” I wouldn’t disagree with that. I would add Choirboys, AC/DC, The Screaming Jets and Jimmy Barnes to that.

Their latest EP “Down With Me” came out in 2020. It features two previously released singles “The Race” and “Come Alive” with two new tracks “Down With Me” and “Ghosts”.

The band has said it is their “heaviest, catchiest and funkiest set of songs”. And I wouldn’t disagree with that as well.

Ghosts

If AC/DC and U2 had a love child, this would be it.

Come Alive

You can feel the funk from the bass but it’s a hard rock song to me, more Stones like.

The Race

The riff is a common one but I still like it.

Foo Fighters comes to mind but so many hard rock and classic rock artists had these kind of riffs.

Down With Me

More funky bass lines and a heavy Fuel modern rock feel.

They have me interested. Let’s see what comes next.

P.S.

When I was in bands, we decided to do three sets. The first set would be 10 originals. The second set would cover 70s and 80s songs. The third set would cover 90s and above. It was hard work but also rewarding and it paid good. Plus we were the only band on that night.

I’ve read that “The Silent Deeds” also do three hour gigs involving covers and originals.

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1996 – Part 2.4: Dio – Angry Machines

“Angry Machines” came out in 1996.

By now, Dio’s glorious 80’s highs ceased to be. He was already struggling during the “Dream Evil” and “Lock Up The Wolves” eras. Even though fans like those albums, they didn’t translate commercially and the label was not happy.

His return to Black Sabbath was inevitable and with “Dehumanizer”, they released a critically acclaimed album, which the hard core Dio and Sabbath audience liked, but the same old issues of playing second fiddle to Ozzy reared its head again and Dio left, as he didn’t want to be an opening act to Ozzy.

“Strange Highways” came out in 1993 and it was well received by the hard core fans, but there wasn’t a mainstream market for 90’s Dio, let alone a 90’s Dio trying to sound relevant.

My mate, “Nick The Stick” (6ft 4 of just bones) worshipped at the altar of Dio and he burnt me a copy of this. I didn’t listen to it right away, because I had lost interest in Dio at this point in time.

Apart from Ronnie James Dio on vocals, the band is Tracy Grijalva (a.k.a. Tracy G) on guitars, Jeff Pilson on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Scott Warren on keys.

Most reviews I have read cited this album as carrying grunge like influences, however, it is more groove metal (think Pantera) and progressive metal than a hard rock artist attempting to add Grunge influences to their sound.

And most artists who had successful careers in the 80’s didn’t really know what metal sounded like in the 90’s.

In the 80’s everything with a distorted guitar was classed as metal. Then by the mid 80’s, different genres started to come out. By the 90’s, bands advertised as metal didn’t even sing in clean tone anymore. Suddenly Black Sabbath sounded like a pop band compared to the metal bands of the 90’s, but in the 70’s Sabbath was seen as an “extreme” metal act.

On “Angry Machines”, there isn’t a perfect song or a great song or a good song. There are good bits in the songs.

“Institutional Man”

Written by Appice, Dio and Tracy G. Dio sounds uninspired and tired. But the biggest problem is the lack of good riffs.

In saying that, the verse riff would sink “Sad But True” for heaviness and in between the verses, there is this chromatic riff which came from the fingers of Iommi and the song “Buried Alive”.

“Don’t Tell the Kids”

Written by Appice, Dio and Tracy G, it’s speed metal, done in a 90’s Pantera way.

“Black”

Written by Dio, Tracy G, Appice and Jeff Pilson. On my initial first listen, I was ready to press stop. I didn’t like it. It was to atonal.

Hearing it again today, I like it for what it is. A way to keep Dio relevant. It’s got this E7#9 sounding shape in the intro riff which makes it sound almost progressive in its song writing.

Tracy G. shines in the lead department here.

“Hunter of the Heart”

Written by Appice, Dio and Tracy G, this song has potential.

The bass grooves to start it off are worthy, very Sabbath sludge like. When the band crashes in, it’s head banging time. The verse riff’s remind me of songs from the “Dream Evil” album.

“Stay Out of My Mind”

It again showcases Pilson’s strength as a songwriter (he is solely credited), bringing in psychedelic rock and heavy metal influences into this.

And in the middle, it’s almost theatre “Andrew Lloyd Weber” like.

Check out the outro, it’s like “She’s So Heavy” from The Beatles getting a 90’s makeover.

It could have used some editing, but… it is what it is.

“Big Sister”

It starts off with a vocal line that says, “Who controls your mind?”

Written by Dio, Tracy G., Appice and Pilson, this is when Big Brother turns into Big Sister, and you are given a number and another name, while others watch what you do.

If you like Tool, then you will like the Tool like riffs between 3.20 and 3.40.

“Double Monday”

Written by Appice, Dio and Tracy G.

Check out the awesome acoustic guitar mid-section. It’s only 30 seconds long, but totally worth the listening experience.

“Golden Rules”

It starts off eerie like, as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is played on a music box. The song is written by Appice, Dio and Tracy G.

It then has a chugging riff and drum groove which kicks in and I like it.

“Dying in America”

Written by Dio, Tracy G., Appice and Pilson. They delivered a nice piece of groove metal.

“This Is Your Life”

Its written by Dio and Tracy G and it’s more Beatles like. The track remained ignored, only to be noticed after Dio’s death.

If you haven’t heard this album, there is no reason to go out and invest time into it. It’s not classic Dio. People claim he sold out, but he didn’t sell out chasing trends, he just didn’t know what metal was meant to sound like, so he went in and tried to create something different.

P.S.

For an album that did terrible commercially, it put Dio on the road from November 1996 to November 1997. There was a U.S leg, a European leg, another U.S leg, a Canadian leg, a Japanese leg and finally a South American leg.

The venue sizes ranged from 400 people to 3000 people and Dio had quite a few sellouts.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – Beast From The East

“The thing I will never understand about the management and that tour and the band was that in their insane thinking, the management called a meeting before the tour started and informed the band that Don was gonna be breaking the band up and trying to just hire us as musicians on the band.

Or else, if that didn’t work, we didn’t agree to that, he was just gonna leave, keep the name and kick us out. Before the tour started — literally days before it started.”

George Lynch

The band was unraveling. I was happy to be out there on that stadium tour, but I was totally depressed. I was just miserable. To see your guitar player on stage in front of 100,000 people walk behind his amplifier in the middle of the solo and snort coke, I mean, fuck, man. It drove me crazy. So, that just broke us up. That’s the way it goes. Shit happens.

Don Dokken at Songfacts

Somewhere in between, the truth is there.

And drugs or no drugs, this album known as the “Beast From The East” captures a band at the peak of their creativity and mastery of their instruments in 1988.

Unchain The Night

It was a weird choice to open with, especially when the album they were promoting, opened with “Kiss Of Death”.

But.

It was perfect.

After the taped (I think) Intro plays, the band kicks in and all hell is breaking loose. And my speakers are rumbling, because the guitar tone from Lynch is excellent.

Don is sounding good. And I’ve heard the vocals got juiced up later on by Michael Wagener, but hey it still sounds live and I’m all in.

And I still go nuts for the Chorus after the solo. Then there is another solo from Lynch and the Chorus comes back in again.

Tooth And Nail

They play it even faster and I didn’t think it was possible to chuck in fills during the verses at that speed, but Lynch delivers while Pilson and Brown keep it grounded and rocking.

Dream Warriors

The clean tone in the verses. Check it out.

Kiss Of Death

It’s faster than the studio and I like it.

And the solo break. I can listen to it all day long and play air guitar to it.

When Heaven Comes Down

I didn’t expect this to resonate as good as it did.

How heavy does that Intro/Chorus riff sound?

And I still go nuts over the mood they set, with the guitar riff and drum build up just before the solo.

Into The Fire

The clean tone sections sound wicked because Lynch puts bends and legato into his arpeggios.

And I like how the outro is loaded with guitar leads.

Mr Scary

Pilson and Brown need a special mention here for holding down the fort. Great playing. And of course, Lynch excels, coked up or not.

Heaven Sent

I love the bluesy swagger of this one.

The way it starts off with the crowd participation and just high hats, then the clean tone riff and then the beat.

It sounds great on the album and great live especially the improvised lead break. It’s fast and furious and scary.

It’s Not Love

They jam it, they get the crowd to sing along with em and I’m singing along with em as well.

Alone Again

I like how the little Intro flows, it throws a curve ball. Your thinking, is it “Alone Again” or not.

And then it begins.

By the end of it, everyone is singing “alone again without you”.

Just Got Lucky

It sounds full of energy.

Breaking The Chains

I’ve always liked the main riff and there’s no way you can’t enjoy it live.

In My Dreams

It’s powerful live. A great closer.

And I like how they jam out the ending.

Walk Away

The final studio cut.

A fitting title to signal the end of the 80s Dokken era. As the outro played, I didn’t want it to fade out.

By the end of it, the “Beast From The East” (the album, not the recent European snow storm) cemented itself as one of my top 5 live releases behind “Live After Death” and “Tribute”.

And of course, I got in on vinyl first. Then on CD. And then again on CD as part of a box set.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Back For The Attack

Released in November 1987 on Elektra Records. By January 1988, it was certified Gold and Platinum. Then again, everything released in 1987 was certified platinum in 1988.

And they had momentum.

The single “Dream Warriors” was released in February 1987 as the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”. The single was still selling and video was still doing the MTV rounds when the album was released.

The title of the album comes from the song “Back for the Attack”, which was recorded during the sessions for “Under Lock and Key” in 1985 and released as the B-side to “Dream Warriors”.

Dokken is Don Dokken on vocals. George Lynch on guitars, Jeff Pilson on bass and Mick Brown on drums. And Jeff Pilson again has a hand in every song.

KISS OF DEATH

As soon as the opening notes are played I was hooked. The riffs in this song are aggressive and very thrash like.

How good are the pinch harmonics in the verse riff?

For the solo, Lynch did numerous takes however they ended up using his first take as it was the best and the most emotive. And if there was any question about his prowess, listen to this.

It’s basically one of the best metal songs ever made.

PRISONER

Melodic anthemic heavy rock at its best with a cheesy chorus about being a prisoner, chained by love.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s one of my favorite cuts.

And check out the leads from Lynch in the Intro/Chorus and his normal solo break.

NIGHT BY NIGHT

a strange mix of hard, heavy, melodic, and dark alike, and stands as one of the strongest cuts featured here as a result.

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS

It’s very AC/DC-esque.

HEAVEN SENT

It’s bluesy and I like it.

Make sure you check out the lead break.

MR. SCARY

It’s known as the instrumental which showcases George Lynch, but it also showcases Jeff Pilson as a very capable bassist.

How heavy is the Intro/Main riff?

SO MANY TEARS

It’s got this Tom Petty vibe in the Intro/Chorus riff, before the normal power chord to flat 5 riff kicks in.

BURNING LIKE A FLAME

Musically they are trying to write their own “Summer Of 69” but…

LOST BEHIND A WALL

One of my favorites.

I feel like “Turbo Lover” inspired the Intro and verses.

It’s just bass and drums, then the vocals and then the guitars crash in.

Listen to it cranked.

STOP FIGHTING LOVE

Another melodic rock classic, hidden deep in the album.

The Chorus riff is a great example of metal like riffing in a pop song setting.

CRY OF THE GYPSY

Check out the rhythm and lead work on this one?

It’s basically what Lynch Mob would sound like in a few years time. Actually am I allowed to write that name these days.

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

Too many songs with similar themes like this. “Sleepless Nights”, “Up All Night”, you get the idea. Cliched yes, but Lynch does his best to shred all over it.

DREAM WARRIORS

The movie company wanted us to write a song that they had already decided would be called “Dream Warriors” [for the 1987 film A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors]. So, it wasn’t like we came up with it. They said, “Can you write a song with the title ‘Dream Warriors’?”

And again, Jeff, Mick, and George wrote a version, and I wrote a version by myself. Mine was more uptempo, more of a rock song.

So, I wrote a version, they wrote a version. It’s kind of funny. They said, “We actually like your version better Don, but we’re going to use our part.” [Laughs] It was just ego – there was a lot of ego in my band in the ’80s.

Don Dokken – Songfacts

The Intro. How good is it?

The lead break is excellent and how good is the riff in the verse after it.

And of course, I purchased it on CD as well via the box set that mimicked the vinyls.

Finally, this Guitar World issue with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee on the cover introduced the new Dokken album.

Check out Lifeson. So 80s and so not flattering.

And why not.. A photo of some of his iconic guitars.
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