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

Jay Jay French Podcast

The French Connection is a newer podcast from Twisted Sister founder and guitarist Jay Jay French.

In this episode he interviews Dee Snider.

Dee talks briefly about his litigation with Clive Palmer, the Australian businessman and wannabe politician who used the vocal melody of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” with some word changes for his political slogan “Australia’s Not Gonna Cop It”.

Years before, Dee had already sold his catalogue to Universal Publishing, so he wasn’t missing out on any unpaid royalty fee but felt compelled to stand for the message of the song and for any unlawful use of the song.

Anyway, the case is over and the Australian judge will take about 6 to 18 months to come up with a decision and then if the decision goes against Palmer, he will appeal it and the case restarts again.

Jay Jay talks about being business partners with Dee as well as being band members for 45 years.

They talk about touring and playing shows during the “Son of Sam” murders, even taunting the “Son of Sam” killer from the stage, by saying “if you come here motherfucker, well kick your arse”.

They talk about politics and the artist role within that environment especially these days.

Artists are faced with a decision to either avoid talking about it in case they alienate a percentage of their fanbase (which is at about 40%) or to take a stand.

The general rule is if you keep quiet, the unacceptable becomes the acceptable.

Snider believes that a large majority of Trump supporters are metal fans because of their blue collar background. He doesn’t have the statistics to back it up, but it’s a general viewpoint he has.

Regardless Twisted Sister and Dee Snider’s success is more international than North American.

These two dudes can talk and it’s a blast to listen to.

Check it out.

Copyright, Music, My Stories

Copyright and Public Domain

January is a big month when it comes to copyright. You get old works entering the public domain for creators to use and create new works based on em.

So every 1 Jan, copyrighted works become copyright free.

Copyrighted works from 1925 entered the U.S. public domain, where they became free for all to use and build upon.

But these works from 1925 really expired in 2001 however the U.S. Congress extended the 75 year term to 95 years on the recommendation of the corporations that held the rights.

So if your a writer, you can use the story and ideas from “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald for your next story or “In Our Time” by Ernest Hemingway. Hell you can even rewrite them and include zombies. You can use them to make your own video game or movie without paying a fee.

The worrying part is how would the Public Domain look in the future.

Artists are selling off their rights to Investment organizations. And if there’s one thing I know, organizations will fight tooth and nail and lobby and bribe their way to ensure they do not lose out on their investments. More on that below.

First, Nicki Minaj paid Tracy Chapman $450K to make a copyright suit go away over an uncleared sample.

You see these popular artists and their producers and co-writers, use an existing famous song as the “foundation/bed” of a new song.

And they work it up, change the lyrics and bring in some other stuff and so forth. And if it still sounds similar to the original they will ask for a clearance or in some cases, run the gauntlet and release it, without a clearance.

Anyway this song was pulled from the Minaj album because Chapman wouldn’t give the clearance but Minaj liked the song so much and in a devious move, she gave the song to a radio DJ who played it and then uploaded it to social media.

Which of course pissed off Chapman.

And artists keep selling their copyrights to investment firms.

Here is a current artist in Ryan Tedder from One Republic who apart from writing songs for One Republic, he also writes for others.

An Investment firm called KKR doesn’t want to miss out on what other investment firms are doing, so they made a deal with Tedder to get a majority stake in his copyrights, which the firm valued at $200 million.

But Tedder previously made deals.

Check it out.

In 2016, he sold a percentage of his publishing, (but not the OneRepublic publishing), to Downtown Music Holdings. This firm will continue to own and administer those copyrights.

This is a usual business practice in which the artist tries to get the best price for their catalogue from a publisher for a limited term. Especially a valuable catalogue.

Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records still owns the master recordings to OneRepublic’s recorded music and they will earn the majority of revenue from sales and streaming and pay the artist as per the recording agreement.

KKR will earn income from Tedder’s and One Republic royalty income, as well as his producer royalties from other recordings for other artists.

A lot of hands are involved and it’s a complicated payment structure and who would have thought that Copyright would have become so complicated with so many deals.

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

1977 – Part 9

This is the last post for 1977, even though the 2000 and 1985 series will have a few more.

Steve Miller Band – Book Of Dreams

How good is the riff in “Jet Airliner”?

It’s a cover, an old blues song written by Paul Pena. And its a favorite.

“Book of Dreams” is the tenth studio album from Steve Miller using leftover material recorded for the “Fly Like an Eagle” album, but not released on the album.

“Winter Time” written by Miller is also a favourite along with “Wish Upon a Star”. These ones are more ballad like, slower tempo’s with moods and grooves.

“Jungle Love” is written by Lonnie Turner and Greg Douglass and those blues rock riffs bleed out of the speakers. Its more Boston and Bad Company than anything else.

“Sacrifice” is written by Curley Cooke and Les Dudek. It comes across as a progressive jazz fusion like song.

“The Stake” is written by David Denny. The main riff is the same as “Rocky Mountain Way” from Joe Walsh. Walsh released that song in 1973. But if you go back to 1969, there is a song from Sly & The Family Stone called “Sex Machine” which also has that same groove.

Black Oak Arkansas – Race With The Devil

As soon as I saw a live picture of these guys, I thought of DLR because I kept on reading stories about how DLR modelled his moves from Jim Dandy.

“Race With The Devil” blasts out of the gate with its harmony guitars and speed. “Freedom” has an intro riff that the Rolling Stones would use for “Start Me Up” a few years later. “Rainbow” is progressive like, but still rooted in that Americana vibe. “Not Fade Away” is a Buddy Holly cover and at 7 minutes it closes the album out.

Leo Sayer – Thunder In My Heart

The title track.

A perfect slab of melodic rock with a bit of funk and disco added.

“It’s Over” is a blues funk tune as it stomps and grooves its way from start to finish.

When you look at albums from the 70’s, especially from solo artists, it’s a who’s who of musicians as the backing band.

Larry Carlton. Tick.

David Paich from Toto. Tick.

Bobby Kimball from Toto. Tick.

There are other known musicians and songwriters from different genres who also do backing vocals or play bass or keys or some other instrument.

And the one footing the bill is the artist.

Throughout his career, Sayer had management rip him off a few times along with the labels. He settled out of court on a few and lost money on others.

Little River Band – Diamantina Cocktail

“Diamantina Cocktail” is the third studio album by the Australian rock group Little River Band.

The album was the band’s breakthrough in the United States.

A “Diamantina cocktail” is a drink invented in the area of the Diamantina River in Queensland, Australia. It consists of Bundaberg Rum, condensed milk and an emu egg.

Have ya tried it yet?

“Help Is On The Way” is a great way to kick off the album and it’s the only song that I like.

Peter Frampton – I’m In You

“I’m in You” is Peter Frampton’s fifth studio album. It did big business on the back of the live album “Comes Alive” that came out a year before.

In order to promote Frampton as a teen idol, his label, A&M Records, featured him on the cover wearing silk pyjamas.

Not sure how that went down with the serious hardcore fans, because I always saw Frampton as a serious guitar player, and when I saw the cover many years later, I thought of Billy Squier and a certain video clip.

And with that, 1977 is a wrap. Back to the year 2000, for part 10.

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

The Record Vault – Cold Chisel

After years of hitting every place and pub in Australia and drinking em dry with their road crew, Cold Chisel got a record deal and released their first album on WEA/Elektra in 1978.

The self-titled debut sounded nothing like the band did live but back in the day every producer would tell the bands that what worked in the live arena would not work in the studio environment. Tell that to Bob Rock.

Regardless, before the album was even released “Khe San” was already a crowd favourite. It was a lot faster live than the studio version.

“Breakfast At Sweethearts” came in 1979.

I like the reggae influenced title track and the 12 bar blues of “Goodbye”. “Shipping Steel” has this feel good beat and a riff which is almost danceable. And “Merry Go Round” has a good riff, a fast beat and Barnesy delivering one of his high octane vocal melodies.

But the album is a product of a band touring and in between shows, put into a studio and asked to be creative.

“East” is the third studio album, released in June 1980 and produced by Mark Opitz. By far their best.

I have it on CD and LP. My LP has a yellow sticker of 2 on it which means absolutely nothing, as the second hand store I got it from had it placed there.

“Standing On The Outside”, written by Don Walker kicks of the album in rocking fashion.

“No amount of work’s gonna buy my way to Freedom”

We have been sold the dream that if we work hard enough, we will be somebody. But that’s not the case for everybody. For every person who makes it, there are millions who don’t.
The themes of the “working class man struggling financially” would appear on a lot of songs from Chisel and even on songs when the members went solo. Because even though Australia is seen as the “lucky country”, it sure costs a lot to live in it.

“Never Before” is written by Ian Moss and its progressive, a fusion of so many different styles, almost Police like.

“Choirgirl” is a Don Walker cut and he writes about abortion and the rights of a woman to choose, which at the time was part of the national debate.

“Rising Sun” from Jimmy Barnes romps it’s way through the 12 bar blues as he references his brief relationship with his future wife which ended at the time when she went back to Japan, hence the lyric of the rising sun stealing his baby away.

“My Baby” from bassist Phil Small is my favourite. That vocal melody lead played on the guitar by Ian Moss during the intro deserves to be listened to.

The killer cuts continue with “Tomorrow”, which is another Don Walker track about a person who comes out of jail, can’t catch a break trying to make it legit and ends up on the wrong side of the law again.

“Cheap Wine” is a classic in Australia.

Cheap wine and a three-day growth

When you’re on the booze, tidiness and keeping appearances go out the window.

I’m sitting on the beach drinkin’ rocket fuels

Australia is surrounded by beaches and there’s nothing more Australian than going down the beach and having a few.

“Star Hotel” is written about the riot that took place on the night it was closing up for good.

And the most underrated star of the album is Mark Opitz. Finally the band had a producer who allowed them to do what they best, which is to play and he wanted to capture that live sound and energy on record. Bob Rock had the same ideals for the “Black” album from Metallica. The album sounded fantastic on any system or format.

Then came a live album in “Swingshift” which captures the band in its domain. No studio overdubs here, however mixing it all in took 125 hours.

In 1982, “Circus Animals” was released with the angry and loud “You Got Nothing I Want” kicking off the album, which was Barnesy’s “fuck you” to a certain U.S label who showed no interest in them on their recent U.S tour.

Then “Bow River” kicks off, with Ian Moss firing on the guitar and lead vocals. “Forever Now” (written by drummer Steve Prestwich) is more laid back with a pina colada type guitar melody.

I like the swinging “creeping in the night” blues groove of “Numbers Fall”.

And the piece d’resistance is “When The War Is Over” written by Steve Prestwich, the underrated songwriter of Chisel.

“Twentieth Century” is the fifth and final studio album until the group reformed in 1998. It was released in early 1984 and peaked at No. 1 on the Australian albums chart, their third consecutive album to do so.

The band had announced its intention to separate in August 1983, and by December had played its final shows months before the release of the album.

Barnes did the album on the condition that everyone receives an even songwriting royalty regardless who wrote the songs.

Pianist and main songwriter Don Walker called it a nightmare while producer Mark Opitz said he was there for the breakthrough album and the break up album and the breakthrough was much more enjoyable.

That doesn’t mean there are no good songs on it. “Saturday Night” is excellent and “Flame Trees” is my favorite Cold Chisel song which drummer Steve Prestwich wrote (with Don Walker). Prestwich wasn’t actually playing on the album because he was fired, however he was hired to do the Final Tour.


So am I. It makes no sense.

“No Sense” is a Jimmy Barnes cut and its got an acoustic riff which is almost reggae like. But it still rocks. “The Game” written by bassist Phil Small and Don Walker is underrated and a great track.

And the band was done until they reformed in 1998 and released the excellent “The Last Wave Of Summer” which I caught live.

And the tour book is excellent with a bio, the story of the reunion and then each track from the new album has a page for the lyrics with some great art.

Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – January 10 to January 16

4 Years Ago (2017)

I had no posts come out during this period 4 years ago. My usual routine at this time was a post at the start of the month and a post towards the end.

From new album releases, Swiss hard rock band Gotthard, released a very underrated album called “Silver”. Tracks like “Electrified” are as good as any well known hard rock songs.

8 Years ago (2013)

I also had no posts come out during this period. Celebrating the festivities or holidays or something like that. And the site was still young.

But I’ll go outside the designated years to highlight some other cool events.

29 Years Ago (1992)
Hard rock or glam rock or hair metal or whatever else the labels called it, had finally died.

“Nevermind” from Nirvana reached #1 in the U.S and the rest of the world followed soon after.

35 Years Ago (1986)

The Satanic Panic in the U.S was reaching fever pitch. Ozzy Osbourne was served with court papers by the parents of John McCollum, a teenager who shot himself while listening to Ozzy’s song “Suicide Solution.”

The parents claimed that their son was driven to suicide by Ozzy’s song and the subliminal messages contained within the song when its played backwards.

The court later throws the case out.

36 Years Ago (1985)

Queen, Iron Maiden and Whitesnake play the first “Rock In Rio” festival. Other hard rock acts included are Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC.

41 Years Ago – 1980

Rush released “Permanent Waves”.

“The Spirit of Radio” and “Freewill” become commercial successes. The new Rush would get even bigger and better with the next album “Moving Pictures”, which was my introduction to the band.

72 Years Ago (1949)

The 45-RPM, 7-inch record format is introduced by RCA.

This was a time when record labels used to innovate. This new format replaced the 78-RPM record for “singles” – one song on each side.

The format takes off in the early years of the rock era almost 15 years later.

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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Pseudo Echo

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.

Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.

So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

Pseudo Echo got worldwide traction with their energetic rock influenced cover of “Funky Town” in 87.

It reached No. 6 in the U.S, No. 8 in the UK, No. 1 in Canada and No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand.

But it’s their third studio album, “Race” which was issued in 1988 that really captured my attention. The New Wave influences were still there but the rock and metal guitars were turned up and louder.

And it solidified Brian Canham as a guitar hero for me. He riffed and shred with the best of em.

“Fooled Again” kicks off the album with a major key riff that reminds me of “Dance The Night Away” from Van Halen. The Chorus reminds me of Journey. And the lead break is short, but it’s got melody, some tapping and a bit of shred.

“Over Tomorrow” is AOR Melodic rock. That intro needs to be heard.

“Imagination” has a wicked guitar solo.

“Take On The World” feels like I’m driving on the highway, window down and music blaring from the car stereo.

And “Eye Of The Storm” is melodic rock at its best with a head banging intro riff, a hooky Chorus and a killer guitar solo.

But the album didn’t do as good commercially compared to the first two albums and the band disbanded in 1990 after the tour in support of the album. For Canham, it was the perfect time to go their separate ways.

But the demand was strong and they reformed in the late 90s and are still touring today.

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

Victims Of The Future

On 6 February 2021, it will be 10 years since Gary Moore passed away.

Once “Still Got The Blues” got traction and started selling, Moore did his best to distance himself from his 80’s output as he went to the blues.

“My favourite of those is Wild Frontier because it was made just after Phil [Lynott] died. I was thinking about him a lot at the time, hence its Celtic influences. It’s a reflective record, whereas this [picks up Victims Of The Future] is just one of my feeble attempts at heavy rock.”

Feeble attempt or not, “Victims Of The Future” is an excellent heavy rock record.

I picked this album up on LP via a second hand music shop in the 90’s. It was an interview with guitarist Al Pitrelli in 1992 that got me interested.

You see, back in 1992, Pitrelli was in Widowmaker. For those that don’t know, Widowmaker was Dee Snider’s second attempt to kick start his post – Twisted Sister music career. His first attempt, Desperado was pulled from release a week before the album was meant to hit the streets by Elektra boss, Bob Krasnow.

Snider missed out on the final glory years of MTV and hard rock music between 1988 and 1991.

Anyway, “Blood and Bullets” from Widowmaker hits the streets and the obligatory interviews follow. At that time I purchased an issue of “Guitarist” and Al spoke a lot about Phrygian mode scales in the interview. He referenced Gary Moore a lot as an example and his emotive lead in “Empty Rooms”.

So it was a no-brainer when I saw the album for $2 and the supergroup of musicians recording it. Apart from Gary Moore, you had, Ian Paice (Deep Purple) on drums, Neil Carter (UFO) on keyboards, Neil Murray (Whitesnake), Mo Foster and Bob Daisley (Rainbow, Ozzy) all contributing bass parts.

But the labels in 1983 still had no idea how to market metal/rock acts.

Virgin Records was originally known in the 70’s for signing progressive rock bands and by the late Seventies/Early 80’s, they had punk rock bands and new wave bands. It was only a matter of time before they started to accumulate hard rock and metal bands because no label wanted to be beaten by another label.

Gary Moore started off with MCA for “Back On The Streets” and changed to Virgin for “Corridors Of Power” and he remained there until 1997.

There was a label format for the single releases. A melodic rock/AOR type of song, a cover and a ballad. And like clockwork, Virgin decided the singles to be released as; “Hold on to Love”, “Shapes of Things” and “Empty Rooms”.

“Victims Of The Future” gave Gary Moore traction but no certifications. They came with the next album “Run For Cover” and the certifications continued well into the late 90’s.

“Victims of the Future”

It’s a brilliant song, written by Moore, Neil Carter, Ian Paice and Neil Murray.

Searching each day for the answers
Watching our hopes disappear
Set on a course for disaster
Living our lives in fear
Our leaders leave us in confusion
For them there’s only one solution

Caught in the fight for survival
Trapped with our backs to the wall
Are we just lambs to the slaughter?
Who wait for the axe to fall?
Our world is headed for destruction
Our fate is in the hands of fools

I plagiarized/stole the whole first two verses for my major art project as it was based on “War”. It was a mixed media project that involved making a miniature coffin and on top of the coffin, I had the two verses written there, sort of like an Eulogy. Inside the coffin, I had drawings of all things war. Of course, Rattlehead and Eddie made appearances in there as well.

Shadows of the past,
Victims of the future
How long will it last?
Victims of the future

You would think our leaders would learn from their mistakes or the mistakes from the past, but no, they don’t. Narcissists go into politics. It’s all about them and their viewpoint. They enrich themselves and their supporters.

Into the verbal arena,
Armed with the lies that they tell
They’re fighting for world domination

Nothing has changed over the last 100 plus years and nothing will change in the next 100 plus years. It’s all about dominance.

And Gary Moore was dominant as a hard rock guitar hero. If he liked it or not, hard rock gave him a few victory laps.

Check it out.

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

1985 – Part 9

Exodus – Bonded By Blood

I didn’t hear this until the Napster era. I wanted to hear it a long time ago because it was Kirk Hammet’s origin band, but every time it came to deciding what to spend my money on, this wasn’t it.

“Bonded by Blood” was originally titled “A Lesson in Violence”, but had its name changed when a suitable cover idea could not be found. The song “Impaler” was originally to be featured on this album, but it was abandoned when Kirk Hammett took the main riff with him to Metallica and used it for “Trapped Under Ice”. The song however was resurrected on the “Tempo Of The Damned” album released in 2004.

And the thrash metal acts which came from San Francisco, there was a lot of crossover of riffs, similar to the LA Sunset Strip crossover. The way the riffs flow on this album I expected to hear Hetfield’s or Araya’s or Mustaine’s voice. They are almost interchangeable.

Paul Baloff as a vocalist was different. He snarled, growled, spat and screamed his way through songs with his chainsaw like delivery. I got it, understood it, but I wasn’t a fan of it.

Anthrax – Spreading The Disease

I like Anthrax because they played hard and fast and had groove and melodic vocals. This is Joey Belladonna’s first album with them, having replaced Matt Fallon who replaced Neil Turbin.

After the blistering speed of “A.I.R”, its back to traditional metal with “Lone Justice”, my favourite track on the album. “Madhouse” continues the traditional metal vibe but with a lot of groove and at 32.5 million streams it’s their Spotify star.

“Stand Or Fall” is a speed metal track and with Belladonna’s delivery, it can be classed as the embryo to power metal. And it still sounds to me that they are singing “Sand The Floor” instead of “Stand Or Fall”.

The 1.18 minute intro to “The Enemy” is desk breaking stuff. “Armed And Dangerous” is armed with acoustic guitars and a tonne of melody for about 1.20 and then it explodes. “Medusa” has one of those head banging riffs which is synonymous with heavy metal.

Loudness – Thunder In The East

If you want your Loudness treatment, head over to mikeladano and read his reviews.

“Thunder In The East” is not on Spotify, so I had to head over to YouTube to hear it in full as I’ve only heard “Crazy Nights” from this album. It still amazes me how some music is missing from Spotify and other streaming services.

YouTube actually showed the labels and publishers what the people want when it started. Access to music and they also wanted to upload their catalogues, so others could listen and comment and so forth. And what we have is some bastardised version of that with Content ID.

This album from the outset reminds of Bonfire and their “Fireworks” album which came a few years after. Produced by Max Norman, it has all the bells and whistles of a quality production.

Akira Takasaki brings out his metal riffs. “Crazy Nights” kicks it off, but “Like Hell” is so like Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye” that it quickly became a favourite. And in the lead break, Takasaki leverages Malmsteen for the fast shred and Rhoads/Lynch tapped solos from “Flying High Again” and “Tooth And Nail” for the tapping sections.

“Heavy Chains” starts off with a clean tone arpeggio riff with a melodic lead over it. I’m always a sucker for these kind of songs as they move from these clean tone intros into an aggressive epic song. The vocals from Minoru Niihara are excellent. And the song is more power Viking metal than the Nordic bands. The whole interlude and lead break is worthy of your attention.

“Get Away” blasts out of the gates and so far it’s a four punch knockout. Especially when Takasaki goes into his “Burn” from Deep Purple inspired solo.

“We Could Be Together” is traditional heavy metal with Niihara delivering a Steve Perry like vocal in the verses and then going all falsetto in the pre chorus and chorus. Perfect.

And the album doesn’t really let up on the high quality song writing, with “Run For Your Life” kicking off side B, especially that palm muted arpeggio riff in the Chorus and it ends with the ballad “Never Change Your Mind”.

Alcatrazz – Disturbing The Peace

Alcatrazz with Malmsteen was like Rainbow. Alcatrazz with Vai was like Rainbow with alot more fusion added.

“God Blessed Video” kicks off the album and you hear the old Rainbow influences with the Vai fusion in the music.

“Mercy” is excellent musically, but Bonnet’s lyrics are a mess with killing queens in Africa and India or something like that. But check out the lead break from Vai.

“Wire And Wood” has Vai starring in the first 30 seconds. “Desert Diamond” again has Vai starring in the intro, using the guitar like a sitar. Musically the song is excellent. “Stripper” is speed rock in the vein of “Highway Star”. “Painted Lover” has a riff that has appeared in a DLR song here and there.

Lee Aaron – Call Of The Wild

This album surprised me. It’s a brilliant piece of melodic rock.

Bob Ezrin is there as keyboardist and executive producer. Bob Halligan Jr has a co-write with Mark Ribler on the song “Line Of Fire”. The very underrated John Albani is on guitars and is one of the main songwriters on the album.

“Rock Me All Over” and “Runnin’ From The Fire” are a lethal 2 punch knockout.

And then there is “Barely Holdin’ On”. It’s written by a songwriter called Joe Cerisano and man the lyrics.

Growing up, you were taught to believe
That everyone was created equal in the master plan

Everything is about control. Go to school and study so you can memorise everything and pass the tests because you have a great memory. Then you get a chance to work. The higher your education, the better the pay. Well it’s a load of B.S

Oh I’m sick an’ tired of waiting for tomorrow
Promising me the world.. that I’ been hoping for..
Oh I wanna live, an’ I wanna feel
The things in my life, that I’ been searching, for.. so long….

Build your own dreams people and not someone else’s. It’s easier said than done.

The Bob Halligan Jr cuts, “Line Of Fire” and “Beat Em Up” are underrated songs.

“Paradise” is so Scorpions, its perfect. This track is written by Aaron, Albani with Dick Wagner. And those lead breaks after the solo, so Boston like and yet so Scorpions like.

“Danger Zone” continues with the melodic guitar leads and hooks.

Warlock – Hellbound

“Hellbound” is like a Motorhead meets Deep Purple “Highway Star” cut. Musically its ferocious and of course Doro Pesch on vocals is brilliant. And there is a “Burn” like solo which got me interested.

“All Night” is one of those fist pumping anthems. The embryo to “All We Are”.

“Out Of Control” has a traditional metal riff in the verses and a super melodic chorus with clean tone arpeggios over a distorted riff.

“Time To Die” sounds like “Stay Hungry” from Twisted Sister and I love it. And the good riffs keep on coming with “Shout It Out”.

April Wine – Walking Through Fire

It’s not on Spotify but it’s on YouTube.

A contractual obligation to the band’s record label, to whom they still owed one album. The album is a mixture of AOR melodic rock gems, hard rock and blues rock because of the different songwriters involved.

“Wanted Dead Or Alive” is written by Jeff Cannata and Michael Soldan. It has a keyboard riff which is AOR Heaven. Cannata and Soldan released this song with their own band, Arc Angel back in 1983. The U.S press dismissed the band as Boston/Kansas clones, while Europe took to em.

And then CBS dropped em.

The AOR Rock continues with “Love Has Remembered Me” which is written by vocalist/guitarist Myles Goodwyn.

“Open Soul Surgery” is written by Jim Vallance and it has a Robert Palmer “Addicted To Love” feel in the verses crossed with “All Right Now” from Free. “All It Will Ever Be” is written by Goodwyn and it sounds like a pop song that I cant remember right now but nevertheless I like it.

And just like that, the album came out and the band was done.

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

2000 – Part 9

Before some craziness happened in my life towards the last two months of 2020, I was on a roll posting about 2000, 1985 and 1977.

I have a lot of hard rock friends who really hated the 90’s (from about 95 onwards) and the first five years of the 2000’s.

For me, the start of the 2000’s gave rise to so much music.

The labels kept dishing out the new genres. Hard rock releases still kept coming. And we had Nu-Metal, Rap Metal, Rap Rock, Industrial Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Glam Metal, Alternative Rock, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Art Rock, Math Rock, Math Metal, Djent, Industrial Rock, Acoustic Rock and so on.

It was different but still rooted to rock and metal.

Tool – Salival

It’s an 8 track CD made up of live songs and cover songs, and a 4 song VHS which had the film clips. There is also a 56 page booklet. It was a limited edition release. When it came out, I couldn’t get it, but a few years later, I picked this up in New Zealand when I visited there in 2003.

Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory

This album was introduced to me by a singer from a band I was in at the time and I became a fan instantly, in awe of the talent of Chester Bennington on vocals and the prowess of Brad Delson on guitars. And the unsung hero in metal and rock circles is co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda.

The drums kick it off, but as soon as the riff comes in for “Papercut” I was all in.

And that interlude/bridge/outro section when Chester starts singing “when the sun goes down”.

How good is it?

Then Shinoda starts singing over it in a rap fashion and it’s perfect.

“One Step Closer” has a head banging groove riff to kick it off.

That intro to “With You”, is heavy as lead. So is “Points Of Authority”. “Crawling” and “Runaway” are super melodic.

Check out the Chorus section in “By Myself” when Chester starts singing, “I can’t hold on”… The angst. You can feel it.

And then you have “In The End”. It’s sitting at 898 million streams on Spotify at the moment. The piano riff is iconic, as good as any riff by a guitarist.

This is the song when the tandem singing and rapping of Bennington and Shinoda came full circle. Just listen to those verses.

“A Place For My Head” starts off with a riff that could have come from a Mariachi band before it explodes with the distortion. “Forgotten” moves between clean tone U2 like verses into an aggressive pre-chorus and a melodic chorus.

One of my favourite songs is closer “Pushing Me Away” because its foundations are basically hard rock. It has that U2 delay like intro and verse riff, and a melodic chorus. It could even be a derivative version of “In The End” with the piano riff replaced by a digital delay guitar riff.

Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish

The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park also introduced Limp Bizkit.

Wes Borland on guitars is a very unique individual. He has a unique way of decorating the songs. His distorted tone is fuzzed out and so defined, it sounds huge. Then his clean tone riffs with delays and palm mutes add the perfect contrast to the chaos of the distorted riffs.

Check out the syncopated riffs on tracks like “My Generation”, “Full Nelson”, “My Way” and “Take A Look Around” (which is their take on the “Mission Impossible” theme).

Rage Against The Machine – Renegades

The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit also introduced me to RATM.

It’s a covers album, but each song has been Ragefied, for the lack of a better word. The only thing left from the original recordings is just the lyrics.

All the vocals are rapped/spoken and the music is by Morello, Commerford and Wilk and it takes the form of their blues based pentatonic grooves with a few chromatics chucked in here and there.

“The Ghost Of Tom Joad” is so far removed from Springsteen, but give it a listen as the intro riff is so similar to “Cochise”, which came a few years after. “Street Fighting Man” starts off with the guitar making a police siren sound with the Digitech Whammy Pedal and its nothing like The Rolling Stones, but still a very interesting listen. “Maggies Farm” begins with a haunting lick before the blues like grooves kick in.

A very interesting way to do covers.

Coldplay – Parachutes

They had a decent promo budget thrown their way by the label and there songs kept appearing everywhere.

A few of the tracks like “Don’t Panic”, “Spies”, “Yellow” and “We Never Change” resonated. But overall, I was interested to see what came next and still not a fan.

Orgy – Vapor Transmission

As far as I’m concerned, Orgy is basically a hard rock band with new wave and grunge influences and they got all the newest production bells and whistles added to their sound by the producers of the day.

“Fiction – Dreams In Digital” is the star of this album. Other songs on the album like “Opticon” and “Suckerpunch” have some cool riffs.

Deftones – White Pony

This album was introduced to me by a bass player I had in a band.

And I kept “Change (In The House Of Flies) on repeat for a long time. The bass riff, the drums, the moods between the verses and the chorus and the angst in the vocals.

And the next star is “Digital Bath”. Like “Change” it’s the different moods that capture me, as the song moves between slow and melancholy to angst like aggression in the chorus, with soaring vocals.

“Rx Queen” also follows the same template as “Change” and “Digital Bath” as it moves between melancholic verses and angst ridden choruses.

I didn’t notice this before, but I guess I gravitated to these songs.

And “Knife Party” follows the same pattern of clean tone verses and an aggressive Chorus.

Then there is “Passenger” which has Maynard from Tool guesting on vocals. And what a song it is. Its progressive, moody, atmospheric and metal. One of my favourites still to this day.

I still don’t really know what the lyrics or the messages in the songs are.

It didn’t matter because Deftones is all about the different moods and textures.

Switchfoot – Learning To Breathe

How good is “Dare You To Move”?

It just rolls along with the acoustic guitar and a melancholic vocal melody in the verses, with a soaring melody in the Chorus.

The song was re-recorded for “The Beautiful Letdown” album three years later and it started to appear in movies.

And at 60.6 million streams, it’s their Spotify hit.

Radiohead – Kid A

How do you follow up some great albums in “OK Computer” and “The Bends”.

In the case of Thom Yorke, he just threw out the sound canvas of the previous albums and started fresh. This album is classed as a rock album, but it’s a rock album without the six strings of a guitar blaring out of the speakers. Guitarist Ed O’ Brien picked or strummed only a few notes on this.

“Everything In Its Right Place” has a keyboard synth lick that works well as a guitar riff.

“Kid A” has a riff that you can re-create on the TonePad app on your iPhone. It’s not a favourite, but the attitude to do something like this is what I like. As Thom Yorke said. “Kid A will be the name of the first human clone.

“The National Anthem” has a dominant bass riff and a drum riff. I don’t hear any guitars, but a lot of electronica. And then a brass band kicks in with a sax playing a melodic lead that would have sounded sweet on guitar. It starts to get more chaotic, but it’s all hanging in. It all still makes sense and sounds good.

And we are only 4 minutes in with another 2 minutes to go.

By the end of it, the song was so weird and it pushed the boundaries of what rock is or should be, it became a favourite.

“How to Disappear Completely” has a nice acoustic strummed riff, with a walking bass line and Yorke’s brilliant vocals. It’s melancholic and sad. Just listen to when Yorke sings “I’m not here”.

“Optimistic” has a strummed clean tone electric with a bit of a dirt in its sound.

“In Limbo” has this progressive arpeggio single note riff which I like.

If you want the Radiohead sound from the previous albums, forget it. The band abandoned that sound and started to experiment. They played the songs live before the album was released and encouraged their fans to bootleg it.

Collective Soul – Blender

“Blender” is the fifth and last album for Atlantic Records. It’s their most pop sounding album and in relation to sales, their least commercial. But it’s one of their most surprising, because it pays homage to their past and it also brings in some newer references.

“Why, Pt. 2” is the best song on the album. It’s got all the pop gloss, but it rocks along. “Boast” wouldn’t be out of place on the “Disciplined Breakdown” album.

“Turn Around” is classic Collective Soul.

“You Speak My Language” divided some of the fan base because of its heaviness and speed rock in the Chorus.

Elton John duets with Ed Roland on “Perfect Day” and it’s one of those iconic ballads from the band.

“After All” continues with the mid-tempo rockers and the album closes with the heavy, “Happiness”.

Overall, another solid effort from the band even though the sales didn’t come. Then again, it was up against some cultural defining albums for sales.

Like “Parachutes” from Coldplay. Or “The Marshall Mathers LP” from Eminem . Or “Hybrid Theory” from Linkin Park.

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

Alexi Laiho 1979 – 2021

Dead at 41.

Alexi Laiho picked up the guitar after seeing the clip for Steve Vai’s “For the Love of God” on MTV. And along with Zakk Wylde, Jake E. Lee, Randy Rhoads, Dimebag, Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, these are the guitarists he looked up to.

I’m not a fan of the extreme vocals but the music always had me interested. Steve Vai on his Twitter tribute to Alexi credits him for introducing a brand of “hi octane, intense Metal at its most brutal and beautiful.”

Laiho and Vai even shared a Guitar World cover together.

Extreme melodic death metal is not the o everyone’s liking so here are a few selections in which the riffs and the lead breaks showcase his talent.

“Punch Me I Bleed” from the “Are You Dead Yet?” album released in 2005. The riffs remind me of the Pantera groove metal and the lead breaks from Alexi showcase his ability.

“Angels Don’t Kill” from the “Hate Crew Deathroll” album is like a traditional metal cut in the music department. But the solo is a must listen.

“Triple Corpse Hammer-blow” is also from the “Hate Crew Deathroll” album and it has a solo section that came from “Over The Mountain”.

“Not My Funeral” from the “Relentless Revkless Forever” album released in 2011 is one my favourite solos. Go to the 3.30 mark to hear it.

To me, he’s basically an 80s guitar hero in the 2000’s and he will be missed.

Check out this ESP Guitars 2 minute short on YouTube. If you haven’t heard his riffs and leads, you will hear em on this video and some cool stories.

Did you notice the style and look of his guitars.

Or this from the EMG YouTube site.

Another guitar hero gone too soon.

Rest In Peace.