Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Dee Snider – Come Out And Play – What Fo You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

I really like Come Out And Play. I remember lying in bed, staring at the album back art, reading the lyrics and singing the songs as they played on the turntable. I remember the day I purchased the album, going into my parents room, finding my mums purse and taking $20 out to buy the album. The actual album was $10, so I knew that I was going to come back with two albums. Going through the hard rock/metal section, I decided on Twisted Sister, Come Out and Play and Motley Crue, Theatre Of Pain. When I came home, mum was far from impressed to find $20 missing. My dad, who I feared more, understood me. He was a musician as well.

Coming into the Come Out And Play period, Twisted Sister was coming off the Stay Hungry juggernaut.

The first big change was the producer. Gone was Tom Werman and in came Dieter Dierks. Tom Werman was the go to producer back then. He was achieving multi-platinum sales with the majority of his releases between 1983 and 1989. In addition, Werman also contributed unofficially to the songs arrangements and melodies. So in comes Dieter Dierks from Scorpions fame.

Come Out And Play was released in 1985. By now Twisted Sister was on an album per year cycle, with Ruff Cutts and the first independent release of Under The Blade coming out in 1981, then the major label release of Under The Blade in 1982, then You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll in 1983 and Stay Hungry in 1984. You can tell the band was starting to burn out. To lead off with Leader Of The Pack as the first single, was an act of desperation. It was seen as the band recycling the past. It failed.

Come Out And Play kicks off with bottles clashing together. It is an ode to one of my favourite movies, The Warriors. Instead of the chant, “Warriors, Come Out And Play”, we get “Twisted Sister, Come Out and Play”. Brilliant. The connection is made for me.

Join our cavalcade
Enter the world you made

The cavalcade is the SMF army of Twisted Sister. This is the Twisted Sister world, that we the fans made.

A place where fallacy
Becomes reality
We’ll spin you head around
We’re programmed to astound, stand by
Prepare to fly

Oh, welcome to our show
Oh, welcome to our life

Much in the same vein as other Twisted Sister anthems, this is all about the rock n roll show. The concert experience. The place where fallacy becomes reality. The place where the band does what we want them to do and that is to play, to put on a show. You can say that Dee already wrote this song, in What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You), however he did it better this time around and in my view even better with Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant). AJ Pero is the unsung hero in this song. The pedestrian riffs are balanced by the frenetic drumming and it works.

I Believe In Rock ‘N’ Roll

What a great tongue and cheek song. Dee merges the marriage oath (Do you take this music, to be your lawfully wedded rock, to have and hold in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, together until death comes to yourself?) with allegiance (I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the united states of rock, and to the point of view for which it stands, one music under one god, yes, even god loves rock ‘n’ roll, with liberty and justice for all lands) to come up with a new creed, “Belief In Rock N Roll.”

Every day
I work so hard
Every day
I’m dealt the cards
Every day
I’m told exactly what to do
Every day
I lose control
Every day
I rock ‘n’ roll
Every day
It’s gonna help to see me through

I believe in rock ‘n’ roll

Has life changed for the working class man since 1985? We still work hard every day, we still deal with the hand we are given, we still do what we are told to do and we still look forward to the weekend where we can rock n roll and relax. Praise the lord, I believe.

The Fire Still Burns

By far the best song on Come Out and Play and in my view, one of the best songs Dee Snider has written. Extreme Metal bands have even covered this song.

Get out of my way
I’m the hangman today
And the judge and jury

The victim and the punisher. The Yin and the yang. The constant battle we have in life. We are happy, and we are sad. We laugh and we cry. In the end, the ones that make it through have that fire that burns forever.

King Of The Fools is a bonus track on the CD version and on the Tape version. It is a classic.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

It’s almost like Dee is regretful at his fame. The song is a continuation from The Price, where Dee tries to capture life on the road and how it is a price he needs to pay for success. Of course, the prices is time away from family and loved ones. Doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. You want to be on the road, you want to play shows, yet you don’t want to be away from your family. You are travelling from town to town, with people that you realise you don’t really like anymore, however you can’t stop. The call of the road and music is too great to resist.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (The Mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the mainstream. If the mainstream sees us as fools, then Dee is our King.

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Music, Stupidity

Overdoses, Dysfunctional Bands and Jon Bon Jovi

So the word on the web is that Jon Bon Jovi tells Richie Sambora that he thought drug overdoses could only happen in Richie’s household. Thus was at the time when Jon’s daughter Stephanie had an overdose.

Truth or lie, only Jon and Richie know. The point. Bands are dysfunctional. They always have been and always will be. If there is truth to the rumour, how can Jon say something like that to a person that has co written the majority of the songs with him.

The comments about Sambora being easily replaceable adds further weight to the argument that Jon is simply an asshole and self centered.

Read The Dirt or The Heroin Diaries for how it was to be in Mötley Crüe.

Watch The History of the Eagles to hear the comment from Don Henley on the break up. He called it a horrible relief.

Robb Flynn from Machine Head has been very open about the firing of Adam Duce. He mentioned that Adam’s heart hadn’t been in it for a long time.

Dokken is the poster child for dysfunction.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Dee Snider – Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant) – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant) is from Love Is For Suckers released 1987. It was supposed to be the opening track on Dee Snider’s first solo album. Instead it was the opening track of the final Twisted Sister album.

Coming into the Love Is For Suckers period, Twisted Sister had released two defining albums in You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll and Stay Hungry. Both of those albums are produced by Tom Werman. They then used Dieter Dierks from Scorpions fame as the producer on Come Out And Play.

Tom Werman assisted the band in fleshing out the songs. Just listen to the demo’s on the Stay Hungry 25th Anniversary edition and you will hear half-finished songs. So Come Out and Play comes out and it doesn’t do as well as Stay Hungry.

Dee cops a lot of blame for the commercial failure of Come Out And Play. He was the one that wanted to use Leader of The Pack as the leadoff single. The songs on the album are all written by him.

In my view, the album didn’t flop. Come Out And Play showed Twisted Sister who their actual fans are. With Stay Hungry, you had two massive anthems that would pick up the casual swinging fan. With Come Out And Play you had the real fans coming back again. However, the tour had a lot of cancellations and half empty arenas. Put that down to more bad management decisions who over inflated the size of Twisted Sister’s fan base.

Rumour has it that Reb Beach, from Winger fame, played guitar on the Love Is For Suckers album. Beau Hill was tapped to produce the album. Beau would go on to produce albums by Winger and Warrant.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

Dee was always good at writing the anthem of the SMF’s vs the world. Wake Up The Sleeping Giant is no different. The WE in the song, is the fans, the black sheep, the ones that everyone was calling devil worshippers. I am surprised that Dee got pressured into releasing this album as a Twisted Sister album. From the exterior it looked like no one could pressure Dee to do what he doesn’t want to do.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship that was taking place against heavy metal music. Again it’s about the Rock N Roll show, where the disenchanted youth can go and let their hair down.

Love Is For Suckers had Slippery When Wet from Bon Jovi, Girls Girls Girls from Motley Crue, and Whitesnake 1987 to compete against. All of those albums were in the Billboard Top 10. Look What the Cat Dragged In from Poison was just outside the Top 10 at number 13.

From hearing Hot Love, you can tell that Dee was thinking of that hit pop metal single that all bands started to record.

In the end Love Is For Suckers has good songs that should be part of the Twisted Sister live set. Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant) is one of those songs.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Dee Snider – Widowmaker – What Do You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

I saw Dee Snider as the spokesperson for Metal music in the Eighties’. Apart from writing generational anthems, he could also string sentences together like no one else could, and this led him all the way to Washington.

Reason To Kill is from the excellent Widowmaker debut, Blood and Bullets, released in 1992.

This is an angry Dee Snider, and that anger is directed at Bob Krasnow, the head of Elektra Records and the person responsible for killing off the Desperado project. It is a far cry of the anthemic Stay Hungry era.

For those that don’t know, Snider teamed up with guitarist Bernie Torme (Ozzy/Ian Gillan), drummer Clive Burr (Iron Maiden) and bassist Mark Russell to form Desperado, his first project post Twisted Sister. The album Bloodied But Unbowed was shelved at the last minute by Bob Krasnow.

Songs like Hang Em High, Cry You A Rainbow, Calling For You, Gone Bad and Emaheevull would be released on other Dee Snider projects. Dee even had to buy back his own songs from Elektra in order to re do them in Widowmaker, which features the excellent Al Pitrelli on guitar.

Pitrelli was coming off a run of high profile gigs with Alice Cooper (as musical director, songwriter and touring guitarist), Great White (fill in guitarist) and Michael Bolton (backing band guitarist). Also he started to become an accomplished songwriter, contributing to Y&T and Alice Cooper albums. On top of that, he had people like Steve Vai, recommending him as an artist to work with.

Widowmaker also included former Twisted Sister drummer Joe Franco and bassist Marc Russell from Dee’s Desperado project. The band name was suggested by producer Ric Wake because he liked the Dee Snider song called “The Widowmaker”. Snider even contacted bassist Bob Daisley (Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne), who played in the original Widowmaker, about using the name and got a “who cares if you use the name” reply. Rick Wake produced the album and that was an interesting choice as his experience at that time was purely pop artists like Taylor Dayne, Mariah Carey, Diana Ross and Sheena Easton.

So you used me
Then threw me away

That is the slogan of the Label Run Music Business. Actually it still is, especially to the ones who still chase major label gigs.

All my life it seems
Been spent building’ dreams
I knew would be broke by you

Think about the circumstances. Dee left Twisted Sister in 1987. He spent three years writing, demoing and recording the Desperado album, only to have it pulled from release in 1990. The band splintered apart and he was left in no man’s land. Three years out of the public eye in the music business is like a life time, and prior to Desperado, Dee spent his whole life building up Twisted Sister only to have that broken as well, by label and management pressure. Love Is For Suckers was always meant to be a Dee Snider solo release, however the powers that be had other ideas.

Dee was also upset with Atlantic when the label announced it was putting together a best-of Twisted Sister album, which was released a few months before the Widowmaker album. It was typical of the labels. Releasing music as best offs. The maths are simple. Zero Cost = Pure Profit.

Dee mentioned once in an interview, that he has grown musically and was into more heavy rock, and that he hoped, that the fans of Twisted Sister’s heyday had grown with him.

“You’ve got to remember that people who were fans in (Twisted Sister’s) heyday six or seven years ago were 16 then and are 23 now. The 12-year-olds are 18 or 19. Just as I’ve grown (musically), hopefully they have grown as well.”

Widowmaker didn’t have the same commercial success as Twisted Sister, however as a Dee Snider and Al Pitrelli fan, I loved the project and the combination of two talents.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Angeline

I like hard rock. It is the eighties child in me that I cannot escape. So I come across a band called Angeline. It is the Life: Volume 1 – EP. 4 songs to impress me. Impress me they did. So I dig a little deeper. There is an album called Disconnected that was released in 2011 and another album Confessions released in 2010.

So I want to know a bit about the band. They are from Sweden. Formed in 1987. Yep, you read that write. 26 years ago.

Initially the band was influenced by Bon Jovi, Europe, Iron Maiden and Queensryche. All bands that I like, hence the reason why the music from the band connected with me.

When the music scene changed, they reverted to a cover band. You need to do what you need to do. It’s not all about the glamour and the fame. There are highs and lows.

Promising line-up changes started to turn sour. You don’t get these kind of stories in the mainstream media. The band is still battling for recognition, 10 years after they formed. The sound also evolved to incorporate more blues. You see it takes time to find your true voice. It takes life and experiences to find that unique light of creation.

Death then came to a founding member. With inspiration lost, they reverted back to the cover band. Most bands break up. Most artists would have thrown in the towel by now. These guys are in it for the long haul. Music is their life. It is their companion. It is the air they breathe.

Then in 2004, friends of the dearly loved founding member, Sigge, who died due to heart complications made a short film about him called Sigge Stardust. This film started to get some traction at film festivals. This was the trigger that got the band to re-unite again.

You see, it was something totally different that started to bring some light to the band. It was a short movie. It was the bi-annual Sigge festival. It was the scholarship offered at the festival. It is not all about writing a song and making millions of dollars. Music is much more than that. Music is life. As Robb Flynn screams in Darkness Within,

Music My Saviour. Save Me.

The opening track Life has that AC/DC vibe in the verse that hooks me. Coming from Australia, AC/DC are gods here.

Time isn’t on our side. And Life, always seem to bring us down

How true is that statement? Time is never on our side. We are always saying, we have no time or if we had time. Life is not meant to be easy. If we could buy more time we would. It goes so quickly and then you realise you don’t have much time left.

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Music

The State of Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi just can’t seem to get out of the news these days. There is the escalating feud between Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, which I am sure will sort itself out and then re-escalate again. The Because We Can tour is still continuing, playing to thousands of people each night. Maybe Jon Bon Jovi should remain the tour to Because I Can. Then there is the Cleveland Browns debacle, where a concert to launch the season for the NFL team was cancelled due to low ticket sales at the request of Jon Bon Jovi.

Word on the street is that, fans still purchased tickets on the belief that Richie Sambora will be returning to the band eventually, however, with the feud escalating and the comments from Jon Bon Jovi about Richie Sambora being easily replaceable, fans are starting to realise that Sambora’s return is far from certain, especially when Sambora has stated that he would like to return, however Jon Bon Jovi denied the request.

So where does this leave the band Bon Jovi. At the moment the band is Jon Bon Jovi, Tico Torres, Dave Bryan, hired salary employee Hugh McDonald on bass and fill in guitarist Phil X on guitar. Can this version lay claim to the Bon Jovi title?

It’s like another favourite band of mine, Dokken. To me Dokken is Don Dokken, George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Mick Brown. Don Dokken once said that he and the rest of the Dokken band members thought that they would get rich once they signed a recording contract and started selling records. He then goes on to say that for every dollar the band made, they had twenty cents to split four ways. Since Don Dokken signed the original contract, the band agreement was that he would earn 50% and the other 50% was to be split between George Lynch, Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson. That is what started the rift between George Lynch and himself. In order to keep the band together Don was forced to sign a contract that was an equal four way split. As the band got more famous, the resentment got more.

I know it is difficult to hold a band together, especially when money starts to become involved and so forth.

Jon made it clear after the New Jersey tour, that if the Bon Jovi band was to continue into the Nineties, he had to seize control. Is the current state of affairs a consequence of this?

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Then vs. Now – Twenty Years The Sequel

Then
It was hard being a musician

Now
It’s hard being a musician.

Then
You wrote and performed music.

Now
You write and perform music, maintain an online presence, manage yourself, promote yourself, organise shows, licensing, merchandise and more.

Then
We obsessed about booking shows. That is where people went to find new music.

Now
We hardly play shows. We are more selective. People also have different avenues to find new music.

Then
We had a mailing list.

Now
We look at the numbers on social media.

Then
We focused on building followers by engaging with them.

Now
We focus on building followers and hope that they engage with us.

Then
We did the hard work of building up a local fan base.

Now
We want to take over the world in an instant.

Then
The gatekeepers pushed us to copy other acts.

Now
We learn from other acts in order to create our own identity and voice. What works for one, does not work for another.

Then
We looked for a record deal and the belief that fame and riches would follow.

Now
We know that there is no single solution. We know how record labels ripped off the artists.

Then
We focused on appealing to our target audience, like metal heads or rock heads.

Now
We try and appeal to everyone. A 16 year old would not have the same connection to a 50 year old artist.

Then
We didn’t care about a return on investment.

Now
We want a return on investment.

Then
We practiced to perform, so that the live show was special. Amateur bands where outdoing professional bands.

Now
We learn how to use technology and recording techniques.

Then
We had two paths of getting our music out. The record label path or the do it yourself path.

Now
We have hundreds of paths for pushing our music out. We just need to work harder at it.

Then
We didn’t know what a business strategy was.

Now
If you don’t have a business strategy, you are already behind the eight ball.

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