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

Five Finger Death Punch – What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics?

Since Five Finger Death Punch are about to release new music, I thought it was time to look back at same of the great lyrics Ivan Moody has written.

The Pride (2011) from American Capitalist

It’s the 2011 version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” Five Finger Death Punch has a history of using vocal melodies from other songs.  The current single, Lift Me Up is proof of that.  I am all for it.  Derivative works is how music has evolved throughout the ages.

Zoltan Bathory has also said that the message in the song is about rebelling “against your circumstances, laziness and mediocrity — not the system.”

Johnny Cash And PBR
Jack Daniels, Nascar
Facebook, Myspace
IPod, Bill Gates
Smith and Wesson, NRA
Firewater, Pale Face
Dimebag, Tupac
Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop

A timeline of events following a similar structure to We Didn’t Start The Fire.

I will not be forgotten
This is my time to shine
I’ve got the scars to prove it
Only the strong survive
I’m not afraid of dying
Everyone has their time
I’ve never favored weakness
Welcome to the pride

The Commandments of Five Finger Death Punch.  In order to join their Pride, you need to have lived.  You need to have experienced.  You need to have loved and lost.  You need to have the scars to prove it.

Far From Home (2009) from War Is The Answer

Another day in this carnival of souls

When I see a lyric line that uses the word carnival, I immediately think of the concert experience.

The faces of people I’ll never see again
And i can’t seem to find my way home

I thought of Turn The Page by Bog Seger and Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi when I first heard Far From Home.

Ashes (2007) from The Way Of The Fist

You don’t understand me… And you probably never will!
I got a tendency to self destruct… And a soft spot, for the filth!
A hair trigger temperament… A switchblade, for a tongue!
I’m a walking 1 man genocide… With a black belt, in corrupt!

It could have come from a Motley Crue album.  It’s got that same agnst and tongue in cheek humour.  How powerful are those last five words?  A BLACK BELT IN CORRUPT. How powerful is that person?

War Is The Answer (2009) from War Is The Answer

This ain’t a test, Fuck the rest
Time to set the record strait
Talk your shit, Behind my back
Let’s hear you say it to my face
I’ve heard the words fall out your lips
You little trendy fucking bitch
The time has come to get you some
Cause i do not give a shit

We all have a version of the truth that we like to set straight on someone.  I have allowed that quest to consume me for a long time, until I finally realised one day that it’s not worth it.  Nothing was really going to change if i came out on top.

Under And Over It (2011) from American Capitalist

Did you hear the one about me being a punk?
Did you hear the one about me being a drunk?
Did you hear the one about me losing my nerve?
Or how I’m just another fucking sheep in the herd?
Did you hear about the money, how it made me change?
So funny to me, all the time that they waste.
Did you hear the one about me giving a shit?
Cause if I ever did I don’t remember it.

The song is about internet rumours.  It’s the anger in the vocals that hooks me, along with the marching pulse of the music.  You get that feeling that Ivan Moody is marching the cyber highway with his posse, trying to get the rumour mongers.

Remember Everything (2011) from American Capitalist

Remember Everything is The Devils Own ( from The Way of The Fist album released in 2007) Part 2.  The Devils Own has lyrics like, “Slap on the wrist, smacks in the face, the family tree, gave me a name, and nothing more, neglected seed.”

Oh dear mother
I love you
I’m sorry
I wasn’t good enough
Dear father
Forgive me
‘Cause in your eyes
I just never added up
In my heart I know I failed you
But you left me here alone

He is reaching out, trying to get acceptance from his parents.  Even in The Devils Own, the first verse, has the following lyrics “Where did I go wrong?, Who was I supposed to be?, No matter what I’ve done…You’ve ALWAYS criticized me, Where did I go wrong?, Who was I supposed to be?, When it’s said and done…Will you remember?”

It makes you feel sorry for him.

The Tragic Truth (2011) from American Capitalist

I’m drowning in the bottom of a bottle
Running from a man I swore I’d never be
No one ever has to face tomorrow
But I’m the one that has to face me

How true is that verse?  We are never the same when we are intoxicated.  I have sure burned a lot of bridges in my intoxicated state.  The next morning, when sobriety kicks in, is the real killer.  That is when the big fall happens.  That is when I say to myself, “what have i done?”

Are we born to be broken, sinners, and thieves

It’s that old fallback position when everything goes up in smoke.  Maybe we are all born to suffer.

Back For More (2011) from American Capitalist

It’s time to rise up, man up, get back up, never been and won’t be broken
Dust off and then come back for more
You’ve gotta reach down, dig deep, break ground,
Show them all you won’t be beaten
Brush it off and then come back for more!
Come back for more

The war cry of life.  Get back up and go back for more.

Influenced, Music

My Dream Theater Collection

My Dream Theater Collection


The soundtrack to my life is what you see right here.  John Petrucci’s influence on my guitar playing and song writing has been huge.  Looking forward to adding the new Dream Theater album and Live at Luna Park DVD to it.  

The collection includes:

  • All official DT albums and DVD releases.  From the Roadrunner days it also includes the deluxe editions. , plus concert tickets to the Australian shows on the Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds and Silver Linings tours.
  • Original print run of Images and Words (DT Bio), with my name in it.
  • John Petrucci solo album, as well as Rock Discipline DVD, plus a concert ticket to the G3 show with Petrucci, in Australia.
  • All Ytse Jam Bootleg Series releases (both on CD and DVD).
  • Liquid Tension Experiment Releases
  • Adrenaline Mob
  • Platypus
  • Mullmuzzler, plus other James LaBrie related releases.
  • Not photographed is the DT Guitar Notation Books to Images and Words, Awake, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought and Systematic Chaos.
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Vaudeville – Restless Souls – Classic Song To Be Discovered

Vaudeville is one band that deserves more recognition for what they do.  They merge the styles from Muse and Radiohead with Hard Rock.  It sounds beautiful and original.

Check out Restless Souls here via their Bandcamp page or at Spotify.

Will you stand up
And fight against their wrath
Or will you run
Until there’s nothing left

Restless Soul has this omnipresent vibe.  It’s telling the story of not fulfilling your potential.  We all want to be loved, and in our quest for acceptance, we cage a bit of the person we are each day.  This is the running away part.  Eventually, it will come to a time, where there is nothing left of the person you really are.

Freedoms call
It’s too late
Restless souls
Dreamers decay
We’re all goners
Waiting for our day
We’re all goners
Floating in space

Acceptance that we are nothing in the end.  Acceptance that our whole existence ends in death.    Check out the whole album.

Vaudeville are an unsigned band.  They have been doing the rounds since 2007.  The first album Dismantle The Sky came out in 2009.  The next album Vendetta came out in 2012, and this is where Restless Souls is found.  In March 2013, they released an EP called House of The Rising Sun.  Remember, you need to be in this for life.  Good music will find an audience.  

A to Z of Making It, Music

What Can Daft Punk teach the rock/metal heads?

Daft Punk entered the charts this week at Number 1, moving 339,000 copies of their Random Access Memories.

So what can other genre’s learn from Daft Punk.

1. You need to be in it for life.  That is the committment needed to music.  Instant successes do not end up having a career. There will be times when doubt rears its head, and trust me, it is a hard obstacle to overcome.  It’s a normal feeling to just walk away.

Vito Bratta from White Lion is one example.  He just walked away from it all, where Mike Tramp (White Lion vocalist) and James  Lomenzo (White Lion bassist) have just kept on going.  Mike Tramp formed Freak Of Nature, then went solo, then reformed White Lion with a whole new suite of musicians and is not running solo again.  James Lomezo went with Zakk Wylde into Pride and Glory which morphed into Black Label Society, as well as a stint in Megadeth.

How many bands break up because they do not have instant success?

2. You need to engage your fan base.  The fans are loyal to the artist, not to the record label.  The fans will talk about the new song or the new album, they will spread the word and share the new video clip.  That is how marketing is done today.  Forget about the scorched earth marketing policy of Bon Jovi, David Bowie or even Black Sabbath. If no one is sharing your work, it’s time to create new work that is better.  It’s time to start engaging.

3. Excellence.  I don’t even like dance/electronica music, however I still dig the single Get Lucky.  It’s got that classic seventies funk disco vibe in 2013.  You need to be able to find your voice.  For any artist starting off in music it normally means writing songs in a style similar to what your heroes write about.  If that is your voice, cool.  However i suspect it isn’t.  Refer to point 1, you are in it for life.

TesserAct said that they put screaming vocals in their songs when they where starting out, because that is what was expected of bands in the Djent movement, however they never liked screaming vocals.  Check out their new album, Altered State.  There is not one screaming vocal line in it.

4. Streaming is king.  65% of Daft Punk’s sales came from digital downloads.  In addition, the buzz created by the fan base caused high streaming on Spotify. The Get Lucky – Radio Edit has been streamed over 33 million times.  Other songs from the album have been  streamed more than 10 million times.  Of course the RIAA will still scream piracy, and order that Google take down links via its search engine.

Compare this to say Stone Sour (I’m only using Stone Sour as an example as they have a new release), where Absolute Zero is getting close to the 2 million streams.  The only song from Stone Sour that has broken through the 10 million stream mark is Through Glass and that is from an album released 7 seven years ago. Songs from House of Gold and Bones Part II are not even in the million stream range and I really like that album.     

Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Streetlight Manifesto vs. Victory Records – Fans Treated Like Shit Again

Q: Why do I not have my record yet? I totally want it.
A: Simple – Victory Records has refused to send us any of Streetlight’s new album. Without that – we can not send out pre-orders. Classy move. Read on for more information about your order.

The above is on the front page of Streetlight Manifesto web site.  For some reason Victory Records always ends up in the news.

It first began in August 2006, when Hawthorne Heights filed a lawsuit against Victory Records, accusing the label of creative accounting practices, unpaid royalties and for damaging the band’s reputation and relationship with their fans.

By June, 2008, Hawthorne Heights had dropped the lawsuit and by August 2008, released their third album.  I enjoyed the first two Hawthorne Heights album, however the third album was a disappointment.  By the time Skeletons was released on Wind Up Records, it was all over for Hawthorne Heights.

In 2011, A Day To Remember also filed a suit against Victory Records for unpaid royalties. Victory Records is saying that the issue isn’t about unpaid royalties, and that the real issue is the band wanting out of their 5 album contract.

So back to Victory Records and Streetlight Manifesto.  The relationship is so strained, that Streetlight Manifesto even told their fans to download their album from other free sources, to not purchase the album from any physical and online retailers and to only purchase merchandise from the band’s website.

The loser in all of this is the fan.  What Victory Records fail to realise is that fans support bands.  If bands have fan support, then Victory Records will make money as well.  No one buys music because Victory or Century Media or any other label released it.  They buy music because a BAND released it.

Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

TesserAct – Altered State

Okay I have given the new TesserAct album a few listens. I have been looking forward to it, since the excellent One was released in 2011.

Altered States has Ashe O’Hara on vocals, who has become the groups fourth vocalist. Remember people, it’s a tough gig holding a band together. Different interests and different styles always clash.  

It would be interesting to see how O’Hara handles the growl style vocals, even though Tesseract has gone on record stating that they screaming style of singing was not what they had in mind for TesserAct, however it was something they felt they needed to have in there, because that is what was required for any Djent band coming out.   

Of Matter – Proxy opens up the album.  The reverb wash on the guitars, the atmospheric melodic vocals and then the technical math progressions come into the song, at first it is all sitting under the clean reverb guitars and then the technical progressions take center stage.  I must say, O’Hara on vocals has some pipes on him.  

Direction by the open door
All the chances I ignore

Of Matter – Proxy is all about trying to do something in life.  It’s about the endeavour.  The lyric means a lot.  The open door signifies opportunity.  Looking for direction as to what path to take.

Of Matter – Retrospect is a quality song on the album.  It is a song that gets me in the mood to wreck stuff, especially when the heavy bits kick in at the 3.50 minute mark.

I don’t begin to proclaim that i know
I can’t continue down this road

Of Matter – Retrospect continues the theme of the first song, however in this instance, the path taken didn’t turn out to be the right choice.  Making the decision to stop and start again, is a massive mental burden.  I have been in those situations, thinking that if i see the path through, things will work out.  They never do.

Of Mind – Nocturne is a stand out.  It starts off with the classical math groove.  The difference is again the melodic atmospheric vocals.

Climb (you’re dehydrated)
Fly (your wings are jaded)
Cry (you’re enervated)
Die (for what you believe in)
Try (you’ve nearly made it)

So true.  We are climbing each day on our life.  It could be the corporate ladder, it could be a personal goal, it could be musical dream.  Whatever the case, we climb something every day.  And when we get to the top, what will we do.

We will be so tired, we could collapse.  How can soar, when our wings are broken, when we are weakened and all of our vitality and strength has been destroyed in the quest to make it.  We have died for what we believed in and then we question ourselves.

To get to the top could take years, it could take decades, however the fall only takes seconds.

Of Energy – Singularity is the future of the Djent movement.  It’s mathematically technical, with soaring melodic vocals and loads of crazy polyrhythms going on.  Trying to follow along is a challenge.  For some reason, it reminds of Tool – Lateralus, with a math rock rhythm behind it.  

All up, Altered State is a great follow-up to One, and just like One was a favourite of mine for the year that it was released, so is Altered State.  This album goes straight to the YEAH folder.    

I really dig what TesserAct have going and in my eyes Altered State is a Djent genre defining album.  In years to come it will be looked back as a Classic Album and a game changer for the genre.  There sound is very personal sounding and it’s very for me to connect with it.

Alternate Reality, Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Dream Theater – Why the silence on the Live At Luna Park DVD release?

–UPDATE: The DVD will be out by Christmas.  They delays are due to sound quality issues.

The Live At Luna Park DVD/CD package from Dream Theater was announced in February 2013, with a May 2013 release date.

It was available for Pre-Order from various sellers and now it is no longer there, with some like CD Japan saying that the release has been cancelled.

May is almost over. So what is happening?

Dream Theater has a very loyal fan base, however since Mike Portnoy exited, the public relations between Dream Theater and the fans, has all been one way traffic. There is nothing of substance posted by Dream Theater or the individual band members. I love Dream Theater. I am one of those people that fan funded the limited edition run of their authorised Biography.

However the silence is deafening from the DT camp.

What is the big deal?

All the fans want to know, is the DVD coming out or not.

Instead, we get updates about a Jordan Rudess fan funding campaign, updates about certain songs becoming available on, a few posts about the new Dream Theater album and a few YouTube interviews.

Look over at Mike Portnoy’s blog and Facebook and he is promoting all of his projects, plus offering updates on release windows and schedules for each release. There is no B.S from Portnoy when it comes to connecting with his fans.

Come on John Petrucci, instead of updating us, that you have finished writing lyrics and are about to start on the solos, how about updating us with what is happening with the DVD release.

Is there a legal matter with Mike Portnoy holding up the release?

Is it a label decision?

The rock star these days doesn’t have the same stiff middle finger attitude to the label bosses as the rock stars of old.

Dream Theater hasn’t released anything new since A Dramatic Turn of Events.

At least when Portnoy was in the band, we always got a DVD release after each album and tour cycle, then the Ytse Jam releases would come out and then the new album would come out.

All of these projects where co-ordinated and overseen by Mike Portnoy.

Now that he has gone, we don’t have nothing. No DVD was released after the Black Clouds tour and no Ytse Jam recordings. At the moment it looks like nothing will be released after the recent tour.

Someone in the band needs to take on Mike Portnoy’s work ethic.

I wonder how Dream Theater would have sounded today, if John Petrucci left instead of Mike Portnoy back in 2010.