A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

The Artists Live Forever

The artists have the power. They are the ones who write and record the songs and provide something of value.

So why are the rights holders of the artist’s works (otherwise known as the Copyright Holders, aka, the Labels and Publishers) organizing deals with ISP’s, the Courts, the techies and the Government. These bodies would not have any power if the artists never sold away their power in the first place.

If anyone should be organising deals it should be the ARTISTS/PERFORMERS with the USERS/CONSUMERS first and then with all of the other organizations who make money from their music.

But a lot of artists go about it without a plan.

Or it’s a plan with drama, telling the fan or borderline fan, how hard they worked on the newest album, the cost to them emotionally and financially and all the blood, sweat and tears that went into their newest work. It’s like they want to guilt the consumer into paying for their product.

Or some do it effortlessly, without drama. Both systems work, as it depends on the consumer, how they react or the surplus of funds they have left to spend on entertainment.

And it’s a choice, artists need to make.

And because of money, you start to get artist’s giving their fans what they believe the fans want, so that they don’t lose them. But they seem to forget that the fans came into their lives when they wrote songs when they had no fans. Those songs written meant something personal. Songs written with money as the motive or with the aim of critical mass public acceptance don’t end up getting there. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” was written when Dee Snider was still struggling to make it.

Hit songs/albums are not made by label marketing or an artist telling the world it is their best work. They are made by cultures of people that connect with the song and then share their love of that music with others.

I remember “Pornograffiti” from Extreme got no press in Australia and it sold. The follow up “III Sides To Every Story” had a scorched earth marketing policy and while I dig the album, it did nothing in the land of Oz.

Geffen promoted Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Roxy Blue and Galactic Cowboys heavily in 1991/92. It was a simple scorched earth marketing policy. Spend money and see what sticks.

But who cares who ran Geffen or worked in AOR. Will people remember Whitesnake or John Kalodner or Dave Geffen?

We know that Metallica released the Black album. Would people care on what label it was on?

We sing along together at a Bon Jovi concert. Do we care or know that it was Polygram who released “Slippery When Wet”?

So while record label people come and go, artists remain, as their music lives forever. But the label heads want to be ones that live forever and all because artists give away their rights and power to them.

And artists need to be creating. These stupid perpetual Copyright laws made artists lazy especially artists who made some dough, during the era when the record labels controlled the distribution.

If you don’t believe me, how many albums of new music did Jimmy Page do after Led Zeppelin disbanded?

From memory, two albums with The Firm, one solo album, a Coverdale Page album and one Page Plant album as the other album was Led Zep songs reworked in acoustics. A total of 5 albums in almost forty years.

The artists are in charge. They need to know that. They can post their tunes to streaming services and make coin, provided they care about making connections with fans.

And it’s exciting.

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

The Record Vault – Asia

The cover artwork for the albums I have is created by Roger Dean. His art made the “Yes”, “Uriah Heap” and “Asia” albums iconic. He even sued James Cameron for using one of his covers as an inspiration for an Avatar scene.

So how did Asia come into my life?

It started with the magazines “Guitar World” and “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”. Steve Howe always made an appearance and the storytelling in the interviews always revolved around the influential “Yes” albums and his pop “Asia” career.

So into the 90s when everyone traded in their record collection and purchased CDs instead, I managed to pick up the first three “Asia” albums and most of the “Yes” catalogue up to the early 80s at a very cheap price.

By cheap, I mean each record was $3 but buy 10 records for $20.

And when I got home, I played “Asia” first because hey, those albums came out in the 80s and I was an 80s child.

Asia

The debut album released in 1982.

Heat Of The Moment

I dropped the needle and I heard “Heat Of The Moment” and I was like, fuck, is this Asia. At that point in time I’d heard the song heaps but never knew the artist.

Only Time Will Tell

I love the way it starts. Then it’s AOR Journey like in the verses and very Euro like sounding in the pre-Chorus.

You can hear why Asia had huge sales in 82, as fans of rock music gravitated to this style.

Time Again

It’s progressive rock mixed with jazz and it’s perfect. It could have been a format to go with but it didn’t seem to be.

Wildest Dreams

It has this middle jazz like drum solo with some simple chords behind it which gets me playing air drums.

Without You

That guitar lead from 3.05. Yeah, it’s the most simplest lick Howe has played, but the most powerful.

Cutting It Fine

The intro leads are brilliant, going over three octaves.

Asia – Alpha

“Alpha” (released in 83) sold a lot but it was still seen as a failure by the record label.

For me, Steve Howe was in the band, but he wasn’t really part of the song writing, so you don’t hear his progressive jazzy bluesy fusion vibe in the songs.

John Wetton and Geoff Downes did most of the songwriting and it’s pop rock all the way.

Don’t Cry

For some reason the start just hooks me in. It’s like a REO Speedwagon song merged with the groove/chord progression from “Stand By Me”.

Musically and melodically it connects. Lyrics, not so much.

The Heat Goes On

Again how cool is the intro. It reminds of the “Staying Alive” movie which Stallone directed, merged with Aldo Nova and Billy Squier. I dig the melodies and music, but as bands overused the word “rock” in song titles, Asia overused the word “heat”.

True Colors

As soon as I heard the start of the song I thought of Marillion, but Asia came first.

And all those people you call friends
See who defends you when you’re down again
Don’t count on money-spinners then

The truth is no one defends you when you’re down. Everyone is serving their own interest.

Open Your Eyes

And see the world that stands before you now

So true. Open your eyes people and see what stands before you. Do your own research. Read far and wide and listen to arguments for and arguments against your views.

Astra

Released in 1985 and Steve Howe is missing, because of a power play by vocalist John Wetton, as part of his return to the band. Mandy Meyer from Krokus is on guitar duties for an album which is really lacking.

A song called “Rock and Roll Dream” had no rock and roll. And when Brits write a song called “Voice Of America”, well it comes across as a money grab for the US market. So it was no surprise the album failed commercially and the tour was pulled.

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

The Record Vault – Autograph

It pisses me off how some hard rock albums are not on Spotify. Maybe it’s an RCA label thing, or a Steve Plunkett thing, because the 80s recorded output of Autograph isn’t on the streaming service.

Autograph were either loathed or liked. There was no in between. I liked the first album and loathed the second album. I guess I fit that description.

I didn’t get their records until well into the 90s via the usual second hand record stores and record fairs.

Sign In Please

Before I dropped the needle on this, all I knew was “Turn Up The Radio” and a few interviews with Steve Lynch in the guitar mags I purchased.

Send Her To Me

Its basically a simple keyboard driven song like Night Ranger. It rocks, it’s melodic and it’s fun.

And that outro lead.

Steve Lynch starts off with a super melodic repeating lick and then he puts the pedal to the floor and shreds.

Turn Up The Radio

Again, it’s a simple riff made gold worthy by some keyboard chords over it.

And again, Lynch and his 8 fingers hammer-on technique is the star. Maybe it was a California thing as Jeff Watson also had that technique down.

Deep End

How can you not like this song?

To me, it’s got the riff which I call the “LA riff”.

But it was finally made super popular with “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by the Beatsie Boys.

And again, Steve Lynch steals the limelight with his lead break.

Thrill Of Love

The melodic riff in the verses could have come from Vinnie Vincent, the Chorus is a let down and the lead break again steals the show.

Friday

Yep, it’s a song about the start of the weekend. It’s got that vibe and the riff reminds me of EVH merged with Loverboy.

Did I mention the lead break is fucking good?

Yeah, it’s good.

In The Night

It reminds of Kiss “Unmasked” era and I like it.

All I’m Gonna Take

The best song on the album and it’s the closer. The melodic lead is AAA and when Steve Lynch decides to burn, he burns.

“That’s The Stuff” came next and it really wasn’t the stuff, while the second track “Take No Prisoners” is a rewrite of “Turn Up The Radio” and basically this is an album that is lacking in ideas and very hard to listen to.

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

The Record Vault – AC/DC

You didn’t need to own an AC/DC album to like them or to be a fan. If you went into a pub, the jukebox played em. If you watched live bands, they would cover em. If you watched music television, they would be on it. If you went to a mates home, they would be playing em. If you went driving in a car, they would be on the stereo. In other words, AC/DC was everywhere in Australia.

AC/DC tickets would be snapped up by fans who didn’t even own an AC/DC album. So the next time you hear a label boss or a musician who had a deal pre-Napster say, “sales of recorded music = fans”, call them on their bullshit.

I’ve had mix tapes of my favorites from their Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras on TDK cassettes.

I’ve had full albums dubbed on cassettes and VHS tapes with their video clips. All recorded from friends and relatives and TV.

Flick Of The Switch

It’s a solid album, coming out after their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” album in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”.

Personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair but Phil Rudd played on the album, Mutt Lange was also out as Malcolm felt the band was getting over produced and their manager Peter Mensch was also out.

So when the band takes back some control, what do you get?

A live and raw version of AC/DC. There are no classic songs or hits on the album. But there is a lot of groove and swagger. The slower tempo’s make it sound HEAVY. Hell, bands like Corrosion of Conformity built careers off these kinds of grooves. But the songs don’t get played live, so the album remains largely forgotten to the masses.

Here is a review I totally agree with from BuriedOnMars.

And here is another review I agree with from Deke over at Thunder Bay.

Let There Be Rock

I know “Back In Black” is the highest seller in the catalogue, but man, this album and “High Voltage” are victory lap recordings. Look at any set list and you will see these songs on it.

Go Down

Bon Scott is singing about Ruby and Mary licking that licking stick.

Dog Eat Dog

Bon Scott always had a social and political angle in his lyrics.

Business man when you make a deal
Do you know who you can trust
Do you sign your life away
Do you write your name in dust

Dealing with people in the music industry is like signing your life away. If you make it, these business people will then make money of your songs, your image and when all the crowds move on, they leave you in the dumpster to pick up the pieces.

Dog eat dog
Read the news
Someone win
Someone lose

These days, the news is the social media feed. We are surrounded by people with the best holiday shot, the best party shot, the best beach shot, lunch shot and so on. Everyone portrays an image of being a winner. And if someone is watching a winner, it must mean they are a loser.

See the blind man on the street
Lookin’ for somethin’ free
Hear the kind man ask his friend
Hey, what’s in it for me

We are more wealthy today than ever before, but 70% of that wealth is with the top 1%. So while you get people living from pay to pay helping out and volunteering, the ones who have the means to make a difference, do nothing, create their own charity as a tax dodge and make it look like they are doing something.

Let There Be Rock

That riff that kicks it off. It’s speed rock, it’s simple and I love it.

In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty five
Man didn’t know ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news

Bon is framing a picture of a time when rock and roll was born and referencing Chuck Berry and his track “Roll Over Beethoven”.

And it came to pass
That rock ‘n’ roll was born
All across the land every rockin’ band
Was blowin’ up a storm
And the guitar man got famous
The business man got rich
And in every bar there was a superstar
With a seven year itch

Bon is capturing the essence and excitement of rock and roll when it came to the youth of the 60s.

One night in the club called the shakin’ hand
There was a 42 decibel rockin’ band
And the music was good and the music was loud
And the singer turned and he said to the crowd
Let there be rock

And there was rock alright. I remember every album I purchased in the 80s had a song title in the list that mentioned rock.

Bad Boy Boogie

On the day I was born the rain fell down
There was trouble brewin’ in my home town
It was the seventh day I was the seventh son
And it scared the hell out of every one
They said stop
I said go
They said fast
I said slow
They said yes
I said no
I do the bad boy boogie

Religion and belief in the Bible as truth is massive all over the world. Bon knew how to frame his lyrics with enough rebellion for it to connect with a generation who more or less had similar devout upbringings.

Problem Child

What I want I take
What I don’t I break
And I don’t want you
With a flick of my knife
I can change your life
There’s nothing you can do
I’m a problem child, yes I am

Scott lived for the moment.

Overdose

I overdosed on you
I overdosed on you
Crazy but it’s true
Ain’t nothin’ I can do
I overdosed on you

If a current pop artist had the above lines in a Chorus it would be a hit.

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

Spends my money
Drinks my booze
Stays out every night
But I got to thinkin’
Hey, just a minute
Somethin’ ain’t right

If Bon was a problem child, what about the women in his life, who spent his money and drank his booze.

Whole Lotta Rosie

What hasn’t been said about Rosie, about a whole lotta woman who knows how to rule the bed. But it’s the call and response of the intro riff which hooks me.

For Those About To Rock

For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

The way the guitars start it off, man, what can I say. It’s perfect.

Stand up and be counted for what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We’ll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
Cos rock has got the right of way
We ain’t no legends ain’t no cause
We’re just livin’ for today
For those about to rock, we salute you

And that’s how Rock was, a lifestyle of living for today, going to the show and allowing the music to surround you.

I Put The Finger In You

Again, I love the intro musically. The lyrics about fingers on fire being out of control is whatever, but the music…

Evil Walks

It’s got that “Hells Bells” influenced intro. And a verse riff from the chorus of “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Ball breaker 95 Tour Booklet

I didn’t own the album. A friend of mine had it on CD and I copied it off him.

And when the tour rolled into town, it was a no brainer to go.

They kicked off with a 1-2-3 knockout combo with “Back In Black”, “Shot Down In Flames” and “Thunderstruck”.

“Girls Got Rhythm”, “Hard As A Rock”, “Shoot To Thrill” and “Boogie Man” came next.

“Hail Caeser”, “Hells Bells”, “The Jack”, “Ballbreaker”, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “TNT” and “Let There Be Rock” finished the set off.

For encore, they did “Highway To Hell” and finished off with “For Those About To Rock”.

Fire.

Blow Up Your Video

“Heatseeker”, the video clip was everywhere on music television, in the same way “Who Made Who” was still doing the rounds and “Sink The Pink” was also doing the rounds, along with “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

It’s one of the main reasons why we didn’t need to own the albums. We felt like we heard enough of em. And music television in the 80’s had the ability to reach a lot of people and as a by product make a lot of money for the labels.

“That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll” was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Told boss man where to go
Turned off my brain control
That’s the way I want my rock and roll

There it is again, the call to arms of “no one can tell us what to do”. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us. But the people in power and with wealth do control us.

“Two’s Up” has a super melodic Chorus riff and a tapping guitar solo by Angus.

High Voltage

Bon Scott wrote lyrics that resonated with his audience and this album is full of great lines.

“It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”

Ridin’ down the highway
Goin’ to a show
Stop in all the byways
Playin’ rock ‘n’ roll
Gettin’ robbed
Gettin’ stoned
Gettin’ beat up
Broken boned
Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks

Australia is huge. To travel east to west in a plane, it will take 5 hours. By car, a lot longer. AC/DC didn’t just conquer their region, they conquered all of Australia, by playing shows in every state and city. They even played Tasmania, which is a state everyone ignores.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
If you think it’s easy doin’ one night stands
Try playin’ in a rock roll band
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll

Remember it, and to add that rock and roll is a lifers game.

Hotel motel
Make you wanna cry
Lady do the hard sell
Know the reason why
Gettin’ old
Gettin’ grey
Gettin’ ripped off
Under-paid
Gettin’ sold
Second hand
That’s how it goes
Playin’ in a band

Getting ripped off and being a musician go hand in hand. There are always people looking to make a buck from the hard work of artists.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer

My Daddy was workin’ nine to five
When my Momma was havin’ me
By the time I was half alive
They knew what I was gonna be
But I left school and grew my hair
They didn’t understand
They wanted me to be respected as
A doctor or a lawyer man
(But I had other plans)

It’s the rebellion against authority which hooked people in. Back then, your parents didn’t hang with you. They were your enemy.

Parents always have plans for their children and I’ve seen first hand, how those plans have broken their children, mentally and emotionally. I’m a parent and all I have for my kids is support and guidance if they want it.

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll,
A rock ‘n’ roll star

Some wanted to be a rock and roll singer once upon a time and when MTV brought the rock starts into the lounge room, then everyone wanted to be one.

These days, kids are gonna be a tech billionaire, or a sell n trade broker. Imagine the lyrics with those words.

Gonna be a sell ‘n’ trade broker
Gonna be a tech billionaire
Gonna be a sell ‘n’ trade broker

It just doesn’t have the same rebellion as rock and roll. In fact, being a broker and a techie is following the status quo and confirming to what the current corporations in power want.

Well I worked real hard and bought myself
A rock ‘n’ roll guitar
I gotta be on top some day
I wanna be a star
I can see my name in lights
And I can see the queue
I got the devil in my blood
Tellin’ me what to do
(And I’m all ears)

There’s nothing else except the dream. From reading the bios of rock stars it’s a lonely journey in reality. As you ascend the ladder, people who were there at the beginning are replaced by different people with questionable motives.

Well you can stick your nine to five livin’
And your collar and your tie
You can stick your moral standards
‘Cause it’s all a dirty lie
You can stick your golden handshake
And you can stick your silly rules
And all the other shit
That you teach to kids in school

There are no moral standards in Corporations and Governments. Everyone is on the take. And kids these days are taught by people who just read from a curriculum, and are not interested to go the extra to ensure that what they are teaching is understood. And those curriculums are changed regularly to suit a certain interest group.

Did you know that the RIAA and MPAA lobbied hard to get Copyright and how breaking Copyright is stealing to be taught at primary schools?

Yep they did and not one parent even blinked an eye, as they fired up their uTorrent and kept breaking Copyright.

The Jack

But how was I to know
That she’d been dealt with before
Said she’d never had a Full House
But I should have known

She’s got the jack, she’s got the jack

This is classic Bon, using a deck of cards analogy for a sexually transmitted disease.

But how was I to know
That she’d been shuffled before
Said she’d never had a Royal Flush
But I should have known

Brilliant. Even comedic. How many did she have?

T.N.T.

Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi

A street alley chant is a great way to start. And when you add the simple Em to G to A riff, it’s perfect.

Cause I’m T.N.T., I’m dynamite
(T.N.T.) and I’ll win the fight
(T.N.T.) I’m a power load
(T.N.T.) watch me explode

High Voltage

Well you ask me ’bout the clothes I wear
And you ask me why I grow my hair
And you ask me why I’m in a band
I dig doin’ one night stands
And you wanna see me do my thing
All you gotta do is plug me into high
I said high

High voltage rock ‘n’ roll

There ya go folks, get into a band, fuck a lot and play live.

Family Jewels DVD

This is a great DVD package, a bonafide best off.

And my “Back In Black” LP and cassette is also missing, suffering the same fate as “Disturbing The Peace” from Alcatrazz and “Permanent Vacation” from Aerosmith.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Going It Alone

The lesson is simple.

Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring you lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important assets to the record label.

The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it. And they do that by controlling your copyrights.

Sometime ago, you signed a contract that gave the label the power to own your rights. In the process they paid you a fee. If those songs went huge, guess who was making some coin. Yep, the label was, because they paid you that fee before and they need to recoup that fee along with some other creative accounting tricks.

But artists are finally fighting back.

In the U.S, there is a clause that allows artists to reclaim their copyrights as long as they serve the labels with a termination notice. Well, the artists are serving their notices and the labels are ignoring them. So off to court they go, as the labels are making money on Copyrights they don’t really own anymore.

And the labels fear this loss of power, because holding the copyrights of artists is what gives them a seat at the negotiating table with the techies and politicians.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, or purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed. But with streaming you don’t need the labels at all as the streaming service is the distribution.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall?

Time will tell, but if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify has won the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. Netflix rules television.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. And the ones who do, understand that music is a lifers game.

Do you go it alone or follow the paths set in stone 100 years ago?

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

It Takes Time

How do you develop a fan base that will support you?

Do you protest for the old days of record labels acting as gatekeepers, looking to sign the next big thing and when they do, the labels will employ a scorched earth marketing policy to move a million units, give you a platinum record and in the process you think you become a star albeit with a large debt to the label. And you still don’t know who your fan base is.

Do you complain about streaming and comparing the payments of streams to sales? Streaming tells you if you have fans who are listening, in which cities and what songs are being listened to. And if you know how to use this data, you can place options to buy physical items like T-shirt’s, lyric sheets, music books, LPs and other items to those fans who are high streamers.

And if you have the means to do it, you can organize shows in those cities. At its simplicity, music is a connection between the artist and the audience. The record labels fear this, hence they use their power to get legislation passed to protect their business models and their marketing teams make it out that the label is there working for the artist.

But if an artist connects with their audience, they can keep and grow the relationship themselves without the need for a label.

However, artists fear going it alone as the buck stops with them.

But artists are capable. It’s uncomfortable, and there’s no safety net, but you are showing you have the capacity to lead and people like to follow in the footsteps of leaders. And all leaders have people who hate them. Don’t worry about the haters, move on and understand you can’t be liked by everyone.

But if you go it alone, without help, you may feel overwhelmed and give up. Remember, music is a lifers game. If you are not in it for life, you will not be able to build a fan base.

But if your dream is global stardom, then maybe you need the support of a label. But global stardom today is not the same as it was in a monoculture. We used to know who was massive but today, artists are massive in their niche and people who are not part of the niche wouldn’t know any different.

Artists don’t even need the press. They can control their own narrative via their social media accounts. It makes sense to me. Why rely on others to control your story when you can do it all yourself?

And remember music is a connection between artists and their audience. And artists need to do it because their heart is in it. Don’t worry about money. Build a fan base first and the rest will take care of itself.

It takes time to get recognition in this modern world. Bon Scott knew the truth, it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n’ roll. And he is someone who had been doing the rounds for years with pub bands before he even got the AC/DC gig and he did it again with AC/DC as they built their audience, town by town.

And sometimes you might be a bit too different and it takes time for the audience to catch up with you. Hell, you can became famous by covering a song.

Quiet Riot made bank with “Cum On Feel The Noize” as it pushed a mediocre album to number 1 on the Charts and platinum plus in sales. Joe Cocker took an okay Beatles song and made it his, with a little help of some friends. Jimi Hendrix made a Dylan song a staple of his live show. Motley Crue told everyone to smoke in the boys room, while the Van Halen version of “You Really Got Me” became the official version.

Unique pricing options or fan funded packages would surprise your audience and work only once. Don’t expect the same interest the second time around.

Protest The Hero did Indiegogo for the “Volition” album, then a few years later they did a 6 month subscription model with Bandcamp for a song a month project called “Pacific Myth”. Radiohead named their own price. Other artists used Pledge for presale offers but Pledge doesn’t always pay and in same cases never pays. Which shows again how people who contribute nothing to culture, RIP off artists who do. Especially the artists who have the guts to go it alone.

It’s not easy to build a fan base and it’s uncomfortable. Even more so if you are a band as not all members have the same patience and staying power. In addition, not all members are in it for the right reasons. As a solo artist, you will have a higher chance to build a base, because it’s you making the connections.

But it takes time, sometimes a lot of time.

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

The Record Vault – Alcatrazz

The Alcatrazz story is much deeper than Malmsteen’s and Vai’s brief appearances.

Like a lot of other bands in the 80’s it was a pseudo supergroup of musicians. You had a 20 year old guitar hero in Yngwie Malmsteen, a 30 year old experienced bassist in Gary Shea, a 33 year old experienced drummer in Jan Uvena, a 24 year old keyboardist in Jimmy Waldo and a 35 year old vocalist with major label experience in Graham Bonnet.

The story starts with bassist Gary Shea and keyboardist Jimmy Waldo. After their band “New England” lost their singer, they moved out to L.A to work with an unknown guitarist at the time, called Vinnie Vincent and a new band called Warrior. Vinnie Vincent also had a deal in place to co-write songs for Kiss. ‘Boyz Gonna Rock” and “I Love It Loud” actually appeared on the first Warrior demo.

On the strength of that demo and the songs that Vinnie had written, he was of course asked to join KISS.

And from the ashes of Warrior, Alcatrazz was formed. With a dodgy manager on board, who took royalties meant for the band into his own pocket, Alcatrazz was a go. Shea actually reckons Malmsteen lost a lot of money when he left due to the thievery of their manager.

Alcatrazz – No Parole from Rock N’ Roll

I dubbed this album on cassette from a former co-guitarist and eventually purchased it via a second hand record shop.

Today we would be classed as pirates for sharing but back then music was expensive and if someone had the opportunity to share music, they would.

Island In The Sun

It’s the opening track and an underrated Malmsteen classic with a E major riff full of open string palm muting, legato lines, slides and single notes.

Jet To Jet

That Bm riff which kicks the song of is a perfect example of Malmsteen referencing his Blackmore roots. Think “Burn” and “Highway Star”.

In the verses I also like how he chromatically goes down from a “B” to a “B flat” to an “A” to an open “E” and building it up again via a “F sharp”, “G” and “A”.

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Bonnet was inspired by the 1959 French film Hiroshima Mon Amour, which he had seen in school.

When you read about the fall out and the cancers still happening today, you get to understand the gravity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and how generations of people have been affected.

The riff is heavy, switching from Bm to F#m, as it references the “Lights Out” riff from Michael Schenker in his UFO days.

Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live

It’s a brilliant riff by Malmsteen which again references his Blackmore influences.

Blackmore is renowned for picking a root note and then playing its octave. Then again so was Jimi Hendrix and this riff is in F#m, the same key as “Foxy Lady”. Then again so was Jimmy Page, especially in “Immigrant Song” which is also in F#m. It’s how music is written. By being influenced.

Alcatrazz – Live Sentence

I picked this up on vinyl at a record fair in the 90s. I enjoyed listening to it and hearing Malmsteen before he became the fury.

Musically, Malmsteen brings it.

There are a few Rainbow songs like “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “All Night Long” and “Lost In Hollywood” plus a cool cover of Michael Shenker’s “Desert Song”. The last two mentioned songs are not on the vinyl version.

And of course, Malmsteen is the star here, so he gets to introduce “Evil Eye”, an instrumental song which would appear on his debut album.

I also had “Disturbing The Peace” on vinyl, however the same mystery disappearance that befell “Permanent Vacation” from Aerosmith has befallen “Disturbing The Peace”.

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