Music

Vito Bratta – Guitar World September 1989 – Axology

The below is a summary of a Guitar World article on Vito Bratta’s set up at the time Big Game was released.

On Big Game Vito used the following equipment;

1988 Steinberger guitar with two EMG pickups.  The neck position single coil is used for undistorted lines and bluesier Hendrix like passages.  The humbucker at the bridge, is used for the distorted lines.

The Steinberger just has a two way pick up selector switch and no tone knob.

On Pride, Bratta used Marshall amps, with a rack of Roland JC120’s and distortion pedals.

For Big Game, he used a Vintage 67 Marshall with a MP- 1 ADA Pre Amp in the main room for the distorted sounds and a MP – 1, with a McIntosh Power Amp and a Hartke cabinet in the bathroom for the clean sounds.

Basically the guitar signal was split, so whatever Vito played came out of both systems simultaneously.  Both systems where recorded onto two tracks and the final guitar track we hear on Big Game is a balance between the two.

Vito explained that the reasoning behind this mixture was that if offered sparkle and clarity to the distorted tracks, so that the guitar parts never disintegrated into mushy noise.  This is important as Vito’s style is known for playing arpeggio lines as substitutes for power chords.

 

 

 

 

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Music

Teaser

Teaser

I first heard Teaser when Motley Crue covered it for the Stairway to Heaven/Highway To Hell  compilation album for the Moscow Peace Festival.  This was back in 1989, and I saw the writer was a T.Bolin.  Pre Internet era, meant I had to go to the record shop (which in my case was Rings Music World) and ask them if they have anything on T.Bolin?

The lady knew me well  as I was a chronic asker of music that she never had in stock and she knew very well, that she was going to spend time looking through massive folders from different distributers.

Lo and behold, she told me that she can import it in and it was going to cost $40 to get it in on LP.  I said import in.  Think about that for a second.  I spent $40 on an album that I only one song on it.  That is the power of music and the need to have that one song.  And it was the last song on Side A.  It was written by Tommy Bolin and Jeff Cook who was in the band American Standard and Energy  with Bolin in the late sixties.

The first thing that grabs you is that funky sleazy riff and the wolf whistle slide guitar.

That woman’s got a smile
Puts you in a trance
And just one look at her
Makes you wanna dance
Those dark and those red ruby lips
Only a fool would pass them by
With just a hint of ruthlessness
Sparklin’ in her eye

After hearing that first verse I was reminded how similar Bon Jovi got to it with You Give Love A Bad Name.   And then the chorus comes in.

She’s a teaser and she’s got no heart at all
She’s a teaser and she’ll tempt you ’till you fall.
Yeah she’ll tempt ya ’till ya fall.

Who hasn’t come across a woman like that?

She sips gin from a teacup, wears those fancy clothes
And somebody always knows her no matter where she goes
She’ll talk to you in riddles that have no sense or rhyme
And if you ask her what she means, says she don’t got no time

The second verse reminds me of T-Rex’s Get It On,

Well you’re dirty and sweet
Clad in black, don’t look back and I love you
You’re dirty and sweet, oh yeah
Well you dance when you walk
So let’s dance, take a chance, understand me
You’re dirty sweet and you’re my girl

Then the solo breakdown section kicks in where it’s just the bass and drums simulating an excited heartbeat at the beginning and it moves into a free form jazz fusion lead break.  Jeff Porcaro from Steely Dan and Toto fame played drums and Stanley Sheldon from Peter Frampton’s band played bass.

As I listened to the album over and over again, I found other gems in the instrumental Homeward Strut, with its James Gang Funk inspired verses and its unbelievable harmony lick that acts as a Chorus.

The piano ballad Dreamer with Glen Hughes singing the last verse (even though he is uncredited) and piano played by David Foster, the same David Foster that would go on to produce and compose songs for Whitney Houston, Michael Buble and many others.

You have the blues funk of Savannah Woman with Phil Collins even providing percussion.

Side 2 doesn’t have the same impact as Side 1.  People People is lacklustre, while Marching Powder is a jazz fusion instrumental, reminiscent of Return to Forever. Wild Dogs is so so, but the closer Lotus makes up for it with its fusion of hard rock, blues, jazz, funk  and synth orientated pop.

Similar in structure to Teaser, it has that unbelievable breakdown solo section, which closes the album.

In 1975, he released Teaser and Come Taste the Band with Deep Purple, and in 1976 he released Private Eyes in September.  By December he was dead.  His music forever lives.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Be Somebody

Be Somebody

What a song.  I didn’t hear this song until a few weeks ago (Jan 2013) and the album it was on ‘The End Is Where We Begin’ was released on April 17, 2012.

That is how it is these days.  It’s an information overload society we live in.  The beauty of the internet is that nothing goes away.  This song deserves more attention.   I came across this song from a download I hadn’t listened to, and after I heard the whole album, I purchased it on Amazon.  It was that good; I wanted to have it in my collection.

“We all wanna be somebody; we just need a taste of who we are
We all wanna be somebody, we’re willing to go but not that far”

Aint that the truth.  We all want to be someday, but we are not willing to take it all the way.  That is the majority of people these days.   Even in my case, I wanted to make a living from music, but I also wanted to have a house, a family, a car and to have all of those, I needed a steady income.  So I became a slave.  Doing the grind.  My first job I was paid $160 a week and $100 went on petrol getting there and back, as it was 75 minutes drive from where I lived.

You can’t say that Thousand Foot Krutch wasn’t willing to take it all the way.  I did a search on them and the Wikipedia page shows that the band has been going since 1997 and prior to that the singer Trevor McNevan was in another band from 1995.  During that period 6 albums have been released from TFK and 4 from his side project FM Static.   Remember the golden rule, content is king.  Keep pumping it out, keep the fans satiated.

All up that is 17 years of work put in to BE SOMEBODY.

I wonder why bands are classed as Christian Rock bands or Christian metal bands.  Music is music, rock is rock, metal is metal.  The themes in the lyrics are irrelevant to me.  When I first heard the song, my initial view is that the lyrics where about music and how important music is to him, then I thought it was about someone that is very important.  I did come across an article in where Trevor states it’s about the Holy Spirit and how it speaks to him and how he feels about it.

“When I can only see the floor, you made my window a door
So when they say they don’t believe, I hope that they see you and me”

You know the feeling when your head is down, nothing seems to be going right and you just need that someone, a song, a friend, a lover, a parent to show you a different door that you can open.   I remember growing up and relating to We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock from Twisted Sister.  It was the music that opened doors for me.  They told me what I needed to know in a way no one else could.

“After all the lights go down, I’m just the words you are the sound
A strange type of chemistry, how you’ve become a part of me”

Yep, let the music play as we go to sleep.   Let it take you to the imagined place in your mind. That is the chemistry going on between the ears.   And then the chorus kicks in…

“We all wanna be somebody; we just need a taste of who we are
We all wanna be somebody, we’re willing to go but not that far”

How far are we willing to go to achieve our dreams, our passions, and our desires?  Do we go into things head first and with no plan b or do we go into it with a strategy and a fall back?   How many hours are we prepared to put into our art?  I could have done things differently, I could have made different choices, however one thing I didn’t do is go all the way.  I became safe in getting the fortnightly wage, I became scared to change, just in case I lost the possessions I had.  I became another link in the chain and I forget what I was.  I need to get that taste back.

“And we’re all see through, just like glass
And we can shatter just as fast
That light’s been burned out for a while; I still see it every time I pass
It was lost in the coldness of my mind, behind a box of reasons why”

There it is.  Our mortality.  We can hide behind names; make up, clothes and hairstyles.  We can build something that takes forever.  All it takes is one second to see it all disappear.  We need to be great every day, bullshit doesn’t cut it.  Be see through, it’s okay.

Musically the song is pretty easy, moving from C to Em in the verses and C to D to Em to G in the Chorus.

I did some Googling on TFK and saw that their latest album was done via Kickstarter and released through Tunecore.   The band took control of their career again, after 8 years on a label.

Apart from Be Somebody the album has a lot of good songs, like Fly on a Wall, War of Change, Light up the Sky, The End Is Where We Begin, Courtesy Call and Let the Sparks Fly.

Give the song a listen, it deserves your attention.  Don’t let the Christian moniker dissuade you from experiencing it.

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