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

Semi Obscure Bon Jovi Songs – Part 1

Bon Jovi did big business at the box office this year. During the turmoil of Sambora’s departure, Jon Bon Jovi said that he is not beholden to anyone and that the show will go on. This view point was even more evident when the final Australian leg of the tour was renamed to “Because We Did” from “Because We Can”.

I remember watching them at the recent Sydney show and thinking, man it would be so cool if they brought some of their more obscure songs and made a real night of it. The running time for the show was just over two and a half hours. So I started thinking about some semi-obscure tracks. Then again, are there really any obscure Bon Jovi tracks. Of course everyone knows the singles and even some of those songs have now slipped into obscurity and the radio platforms never go deep enough when they curate their playlists.

THE HARDEST PART IS THE NIGHT

Written by Jon Bon Jovi, David Bryan and Richie Sambora. It is from the “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit” album released in 1985.

What makes the track is the synths however there is still that Richie Sambora grit with some tasty virtuoso guitar work in the metallic interlude and solo section.

And let’s not forget the harmonies. This is what the album experience is all about. I’ve never heard “The Hardest Part Is The Night” anywhere else except in my own comfort. Then I saw a live performance video clip of it on the “Breakout” video and it cemented itself as a favourite. Yes, we live in a world of Top Forty charts that focus on the songs that moguls believe are hits however ask anybody and they will tell that the non-hit tracks from an album had as much impact as the “hits”.

“Your just a pawn in a losing game
You lose at life it aint no game”

This theme of working hard and still struggling in life would be done to multi-platinum success with “Livin On A Prayer” and “Born To Be My Baby”. This is where it all started. The main character is battling to succeed however he is just a pawn in a losing game.

“Stay alive, the hardest part is the night”

This is when you lay in bed and you just can’t sleep. Things at work could be worrying you, financial matters could be worrying you, health issues could be worrying you. This is when we contemplate, in the night, laying there in the dark.

The hardest part is the night, as we torture ourselves mentally.

Listen to how Sambora plays the Chorus riff. It is a technique that he will employ again in “Edge of a Broken Heart” and “I’d Die For You”.

It is up on YouTube on various channels. The “LoveYouAlec” channel has 192,509 views. The “bonjovi608” channel has 51,236 views. Numerous other channels also have different versions up.

What do the YouTube stats tell me? It is telling me that the song is slowly slipping into obscurity. Even though it has a small fan base that connects with it, compared to other numbers that Bon Jovi are achieving, this song is in the nose bleeds section of the stadium.

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART’

From the debut album released in 1984. “Runaway” took most of the glory as it became a radio staple however to me “Shot Through The Heart” was the reason why I got into Bon Jovi. They even used the title in the “You Give Love A Bad Name” chorus. When I first heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” I came in halfway through, so I thought the song was called “Shot Through The Heart”, so when I went to purchase the album, I saw the “Slippery When Wet” album first and it didn’t have a song on it called “Shot Through The Heart”. I picked up the debut album and saw it on there, so I purchased that instead.

It was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Jack Ponti. Jack Ponti was the guitarist in the band “The Rest” that also featured a very young Jon Bon Jovi on vocals. Despite having some serious endorsements from Southside Johnny and Billy Squier, the band failed to obtain a recording contract and split up. Is the song a leftover from those days?

In an interview with The Aquarian website, this is what Ponti had to say on “The Rest”.

“It was too much time spent on the edge of making it that lead to the frustration and ultimate breakup. It was an important part in the development of my career and Jon Bon Jovi’s career.”

In a separate interview on the Dry County website, this is what Ponti had to say about “Shot Through The Heart.”

“Jon and I remained friends after the Rest. He came over and said “I want to write a song with the title, Shot Through The Heart”, so we did. He was getting songs together for his demo. I know it was over 29 years ago because my wife was pregnant and my daughter is 29. It was written in NJ of course, Toms River to be exact. I think the hook was stronger than on the record, but it’s fine. It’s an important song for both Jon and me in many ways. All your songs are like your children.”

Jack Ponti of course would go on to write with a string of other artists and went on a platinum/Grammy winning home run multiple times.

The track has this infectious piano riff. As the track soldiers it becomes more powerful, especially during the chorus. Again Sambora goes to town in this song, showing his melodic chops.

When you go on YouTube and search for “Shot Through The Heart” the first video that comes back is the official clip of “You Give Love A Bad Name” that has 42,667,226 views on the Bon Jovi Vevo channel.

However, the song “Shot Through The Heart” from the self-titled debut album has the following numbers on different user channels. User “Chris R” has the song at 355,075 views. User “bobjovilover98” has the song at 182,818 views. User “bobsnidery” has the song at 219,479 views. User “xxis16” has the song at 157,683 views. User “ichigo6232” has the song at 123,763 views. User “The Music4Life01” has the song at 148,540 views. It total, 1,187,358 views.

It was good to see the song get some concert time during “The Circle” tour.

HOMEBOUND TRAIN

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and it’s got this heavy blues rock swagger that just makes it connect.

On “Slippery When Wet” it all came together for Bon Jovi and suddenly they were playing arenas and in some cases stadiums. Then with New Jersey, what can I say. If you were in Australia in the summer of ‘88, “New Jersey” played from every car and every house window. This song came from left field. It was on “New Jersey” released in 1988 and sandwiched amongst all the top 10 singles in “Bad Medicine”, “Born To Be My Baby” and “I’ll Be There For You.”

The track is good but the magic is at the three minute mark when it goes into this Elvis Presley meets James Brown meets Rolling Stones vibe. The guitar drops out and it is the bass and drums that keep the groove going and Jon does a few voice impersonations, while Sambora keeps it funky and they build up the song again when Jon keeps singing “Here I Come”. The interlude is filled with church organ and harmonica lead breaks.

On “The Circle” tour, “Homebound Train” came back into the mix with Richie Sambora on vocals. It is a fitting tribute as Richie is the main creating force on this song. Go on YouTube and watch the band have some fun rocking out to it.

“When I was just a boy
The devil took my hand
Took me from my home
He made me a man”

It’s that whole Robert Johnson legend again. It’s also playing on the term that “Rock N Roll” is the devils music. Listening to the music and letting it take you away. The power of music when done right.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

It’s got this “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution” style intro. This song was released as a bonus track on the Australian version of “Keep The Faith” along with the very U2ish sounding “Save A Prayer”. It is another song written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team

“I been waiting
Standing in the dark of hours
Trying to find the faith and the power
To get back home to you”

It’s got that loneliness vibe that we all feel when we get homesick. “Starting All Over Again” was written after the marathon “New Jersey” tour that more or less happened straight after the marathon “Slippery When Wet” tour.

Jon really throws his voice out in this song and it nails the emotion perfectly. You feel the pain of the constant album/tour cycle that he was on since 1983 to 1990.

“Do you remember
Remember the odds we were given
When we had nothing
And we thought that was living”

Once Bon Jovi made it, the haters came out. When everything gets bigger, the hate is bigger. For a musician to make it in the music business, the odds are really stacked against them.

First and foremost, back in 1983, bands needed to get that record deal to get their music out. So, getting signed is one obstacle. Then once you get signed, it doesn’t mean the record label will give you the all clear to go in and record. They could reject all the demos. That is another obstacle. Once you make a record, it doesn’t mean that people will hear it. That all depends on marketing and word of mouth recommendations. That is another obstacle. Once people hear it, it doesn’t mean that they will like it as all art is subjective. That is another obstacle.

Bon Jovi by album number three overcame all of these obstacles and created a fan base that borrowed from all kinds of genres. When you think of cultural icons, Bon Jovi (the band) is one of them. You also need to remember that just because Bon Jovi had a record deal, it didn’t mean that he had money. When Richie and Jon started to write songs for Slippery When Wet, they were still living with their parents and owed their record label $500,000. Like the lyric states “When we had nothing and we thought that was living.”

“Here’s to our old friend
Who helped us get by
Here’s to the dreamers
May dreams never die
If we believe
We can keep the good times alive”

Let’s have a drink in celebration to all of the people that assisted and let’s have another drink to all the people that are trying to make it. In a way, “Don’t Stop Believin”. If YouTube is a sign of virality then this song has none. Like “The Hardest Part Is The Night” it is slowly being forgotten. For a lot of Bon Jovi fans, they haven’t even heard it.

THE RADIO SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT

Another tune written for the “Keep The Faith” album that never made it. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

It’s got that major key vibe and it connects with my youth as a regional city kid with dreams. Putting on the radio to listen to the latest in rock. To buy all the music that I like was expensive, so I always purchased blank cassettes and kept my finger ready on the record button to record the latest song.

The radio gave me and many others the freedom and the opportunity to enjoy the music that we liked. This was before advertisers and shareholders strangled it to death by creating playlists based on who pays the most.

“I tried to sleep but in my mind I heard that song
Like a friend in need, the melody keeps me hanging on”

I always went to sleep with music roaming in my headspace. Once a melody captures the imagination, it is forever engraved. This song is vintage Jovi. That is when music works best. When the artist reveals all their insecurities and lets us know that they may not be exactly just like us, but they’re just as screwed up. We are all flawed. The most famous rock and metal stars are messed up like all of us.

The days of the past are gone. The hopes and dreams of youth are also gone, however, the music from the past still lives on. It is our soundtrack.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)

It was a combination of events that cemented Cinderella as superstars.

The main event was the supporting slot on the Bon Jovi “Slippery When Wet” tour. Bon Jovi had just broken through and started selling out all of the arenas. Apart from opening all the North American dates, Bon Jovi had a little jam session during each gig where the Cinderella guys would come out and do a song with them. Sort of like how in the recent Sydney show, Jon Bon Jovi brought out Kid Rock, his sax player and his back up singers for a version of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock N Roll”.

Jon Bon Jovi even had a hand in getting the band signed with Polygram, by convincing Derek Schulman to check them out. By 1985, Schulman was four years into his A&R gig with Polygram and he was slowly proving himself at signing great talent. Of course he would also go on to sign such important acts like Pantera and Dream Theater in the years to come.

This is how Tom Keifer told it in a “Screamer Magazine” interview;

“We barely knew who he was because this was before Slippery When Wet. He was in Philadelphia making the 7800° Fahrenheit record, their second record, so we had no idea he was going to be there” stated Keifer. “He came back to the dressing room afterwards and introduced himself, Runaway was a hit, and he had a video on MTV so we knew who he was and for us at that point in our career, it felt like a big deal.”

“He was very complimentary, he really liked the band and enjoyed the show, nice to meet you and on his way he went. And we had no idea that he was y’know gonna get back to Polygram and he put in some very nice words to his A&R guy Derek Shulman who signed him. Derek had already had our demo tape as our manager had given it to him; and he was riding the fence. I don’t blame him because our demos were just god awful. We were pretty young and green and didn’t know how to record music. We didn’t really have much guidance. It’s a whole different thing to walk into rehearsal room or onto a live stage and blast out what you do, and then it’s another thing to walk in a recording studio and try to capture it!”

“So Derek’s riding the fence and basically what Jon did was, he said forget the demo tape, I just saw them live, and you should go down check them out.”

So the Bon Jovi tour gave Cinderella real exposure. Of course, they had the songs to capitalise on that exposure. While, lead off single “Shake Me” failed to make a dent, the second single “Nobody’s Fool” went nuclear, pushing the album to move 50,000 units a week. MTV put it in rotation and Cinderella became the new platinum darlings.

“Night Songs” was originally released in June 1986. In October 1986, the “Nobody Fools” video hit MTV and by December that same year, the “Night Songs” album is certified platinum. By February 1987, it was certified double platinum. So when it came time to record the follow-up, the pressure was on for the band to deliver.

Deliver they did. Within two months from when it was released, “Long Cold Winter” was certified platinum. “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)” certified Tom Keifer as a serious songwriter. Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album. Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Andy Johns kept on finding timing issues. The album is a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company and it celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

It’s got that piano riff that’s instantly memorable and secondary to Tom’s raspy voice. The song had everything that all the glam rock/metal bands where selling, but at the same time it was different enough to be stand out amongst the noise.

“Don’t know what you got till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I got
It’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back
Takes so long”

That’s what being an artist is all about. A need to express yourself. This is something that songs written by a committee cannot really achieve. The real stars of the Eighties wrote and performed their own material.

When you hit bottom, the first thing we turn to is music. Tom Keifer’s raspy voice brings the emotion out and connects on all levels. Truer words have never been spoken especially when in a few years, Tom Keifer would be diagnosed with a collapsed vocal chord. That still didn’t stop them from delivering “Heartbreak Station” and it would be another 4 years until “Still Climbing” hit the streets to a hostile musical climate. It quickly disappeared and their next project ended in a legal mess.

In an interview with Metal Sludge dated June 12, 2001, A&R Guru John Kalonder had this to say about Cinderella;

“Tom Keifer is a very talented musician and has always taken a long time to write a record. In two years, he demo’d some songs, only one of which I thought was good enough to be on a new album after so many years away. Just before we attempted to record some material last winter, I dropped them due to the lack of support from people at my company. Cinderella is one of my favorite bands and I hope they record a record and have great success with it.”

This is what Tom Keifer had to say on it on the matter of new music on Blabbermouth.

“We attempted that in ’98 with Sony and [former A&R executive] John Kalodner and it turned into a big legal hassle and lawsuit, which prevented us from recording the material that they claimed they owned, for five years. . . . Even though they didn’t want to record it. It’s typical in recording contracts. It’s called re-record rights. Once they claim they own the songs, you can’t re-record it for five years. They claimed ownership and decided not to make the record. It was like two years of writing and demos of material that we weren’t allowed to record. Needless to say, we had a slightly bad taste in our mouth. . .”

That’s the music business. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. When the history of hard rock is written by the winners, Cinderella needs to be there. Their first three albums are all masterpieces. Tom Keifer’s vocal style is his life style. When everyone was going for high range vocals in the Eighties, Cinderella brought it all back to basics. With each album they became rawer and dirtier, which was the opposite of what their contemporaries where doing.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

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

Headed For A Heartbreak

Blame Beavis and Butthead. Blame Grunge. The truth is a bit more complex.

Winger was good. Real good, however the band suffered the same unjust fate as all the other Eighties bands. Billy Squire made one ridiculous video with a pink top. A pink top that was recommended by a plethora of enablers, including record label execs. And just like that an amazing voice, with a catalog of songs was gone.

Winger had Kip Winger. A Playgirl pictorial was too outlandish and as glam music was committing suicide by cloning itself over and over again and despite Kip being a great musician, Beavis and Butthead came along and trashed the band. Metallica threw darts at Kip Winger while they recorded the “Black” album.

“Headed For A Heartbreak” is a hell of a good song. On the “Official Winger” YouTube channel the song has 1,506,304 views. On the “80’s Metal Videos” channel it has 347,590 views. On another channel, a live version that appeared on MTV has 245,624 views. On Spotify the song has 173,229 streams.

The song is written by Kip Winger, however it is the performances from the band that captured the imagination and connected on all levels. “Madalaine” was the first single and it failed to get traction. The the track “Seventeen” came out and interest in the band started to grow and while it softened all the hard heads to Winger, it was “Headed For A Heartbreak” that sealed the deal commercially. This business model worked well during this time. Who knew that in 5 years time the band would be headed for a heartbreak.

MTV was king of the airwaves and most people owned little music. The CD’s remained expensive so people only purchased with they really loved or saw as great. Then we would go to the show to hear the songs. Now we only have time for the best. When an album is released we can cherry pick what we like and in a lot of cases it isn’t the single that the record label decided to go with.

People are quick to blame piracy for all the issues currently happening in the music business however the truth is that the audience has outgrown the album format. Why should that outdated format work for us, especially when we can go on YouTube or Spotify to get the hit song we desire.

The audience is king today. Not the artist, not the songwriter, not the record label or the producer. That is why the cycle is so fast. Albums come and by three to four weeks they are gone. Except the real good ones. In the eighties, the big effort was marketing and getting people to buy the record. Today it is all about getting people to listen to the music over and over again.

Winger’s debut didn’t come from out of nowhere. Kip Winger did his time as a songwriter and studio session musician working very closely with Beau Hill who would of course go on to produce the first two Winger albums that went platinum. It is during those studio sessions that he came across Reb Beach. It was still going to be another 4 years before the self titled Winger album was released.

So Winger did time with Alice Cooper’s band, recording and writing two albums. Then in 1987, he left to form Sahara which would go on to become Winger after Alice Copper suggested it.

Guitarist Reb Beach is a graduate from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. He also did his time in backing bands and studio work, until he met up with Kip Winger and started writing demos.

Drummer Rod Morgenstein was the most experienced. Active since joining jazz fusion legends “The Dixie Dregs” in 1974, he was a very accomplished drummer to bring into the fold.

Keyboard player and back up guitarist Paul Taylor was the x factor. He was the touring keyboardist for Aldo Nova during his “Fantasy” success. He did his time with Alice Cooper’s backing band at the same time with Kip Winger and played on the “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” albums.

Winger like Night Ranger was a pseudo super group of musicians that connected on all levels and it’s important to mention this point to all the wannabe musicians out there.

Another important point to mention is that the songs that made up the debut album were written during a 3 year period by musicians that had experience and that had lived. I rate Winger the same as White Lion, however Winger did have a better all star team, whereas White Lion had Vito Bratta and to some extent Mike Tramp.

Winger is a band that has the songs that you can play forever. In a world that is suffering from information overload, Winger produced a body of work that we can all continue to listen to. Go on Spotify and check them out. Go on YouTube and check them out. Focus on the music and not on the pretty boy images put out there in the video clips.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Treating Fans Like Shit

Grammy Awards

It’s a gimmick. From when Jethro Tull won the first metal award at the Grammy’s, the whole awards night and nominations has been a joke when it comes to metal and hard rock music. Hell, even metal heads said “who is Jethro Tull” when his name was announced. Jethro Tull didn’t even turn up to the awards ceremony because their label told them they wouldn’t win.

I am all in for metal music to be recognised, however it’s time to call a spade a spade. The Grammy awards for metal doesn’t recognise anything. It is a dead set joke. The Revolver awards are a step in the right direction however they are not much better as they play up to the ‘PR’ companies who assist in writing their stories. You see, we live in a different world right now where we get to choose what we want to listen to from a plethora of choices. Does anybody really care who wins or is nominated?

Having Metallica win the “Best Metal Performance” in 1990 for “One” and then in 1991 for “Stone Cold Crazy” just added to the Grammy metal jokes.

“One’s” fate was tied with the “…And Justice For All” album and that was meant for the 1989 Grammy ceremony. And seriously, for the 1991 awards, a cover song was the best that was on offer in the metal world for releases released from October 1989 to September 1990. I don’t think so.

Even in 1999, Metallica won again for “Better Than You”. For which song, I hear you say. “Better Than You.” Does anyone know from which album it was on or how the riff goes or the vocal melody? I bet that most people will answer NO.

Fast forward to the 2014 nominations. The nominations are Anthrax – “T.N.T.”, Black Sabbath – “God Is Dead?”, Dream Theater – “The Enemy Inside”, Killswitch Engage – “In Due Time” and Volbeat – “Room 24” featuring King Diamond. Scott Ian has even said that he didn’t know that Anthrax could be nominated for their cover songs.

From an artist point of view a Grammy nomination can be trumpeted as a marketing success in future promotions however it means nothing if the music isn’t great. Even in movies, who cares if a new movie has Oscar nominated actors if the movie is a dud. Same deal with music. Who cares if Megadeth has been nominated for the most Grammy’s without a win? We only care if the music is great?

Yep, Motorhead won a Grammy in 2006, beating out acts like Cradle of Filth, Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage and Slipknot. Can anyone name the track and the album it is on without Googling it. Yep, Judas Priest won an award in 2010 for a live track of Dissident Aggressor. Seriously, a live track. That is the best that was on offer.

If the music is not repeatable and if people are not listening to it, it’s time to go back and write some more songs. To think that the Grammys’ are a reflection of heavy music today is akin to saying what Loudwire rights is gospel. Did anyone read their praising review of the first Red Dragon Cartel gig? It was a shock to the 99.9% of the audience in attendance who blasted the show on Facebook and other social media sites.

NARAS is beholden to the old major label structure. That structure is going through a chaotic time and for some of it is crumbling. So what does NARAS do? They nominate what the labels push and lobby. They get it wrong year after year as their membership is declining. In other words, the current music paradigm looks for people to lead and NARAS has none.

The old paradigm is gone. Entertainment and music are owned by the fans. The days of Producers, Record Label A&R’s and Publishing people voting for who should be nominated and who should win are over. If these people think they are above the audience, then they are in for a rude shock.

Musicmetrics has shown Iron Maiden where their pirate (copyright infringing) fans are and Iron Maiden rewarded them by doing concerts there. However apart from the websites that report critically on these issues, the rest of the media ignores the story, because they are beholden to the labels or to the old newspaper system. So of course, they cannot be trumpeting the virtues of copyright infringement.

What we should be awarding is music that managed to get their message out to people. In 2013 we are inundated with so much information, so we decide to invest time into music that interests us or really connects with us.

So what is important. The bottom line is this.

If a band is at decent “star” level, they will get traction because they have proven themselves. They do not need a Grammy nomination or a Grammy win to trumpet their next album. If Megadeth releases another stiff album, then they can expect to do even lower numbers on their next tour, because in the end ten tracks slapped together means nothing if nobody isn’t interested. Same for Dream Theater.

The plan today is back to selling songs. The record labels wish that is not the case, however that is just denying the inevitable. Music is a hit for a reason. It’s because its good. It’s not because it won a Grammy award or got nominated for a Grammy award.

Otherwise a Grammy nomination is near meaningless. A footnote. It doesn’t service the fans. That’s the music business right now. The fans have the power. They deserve the respect.

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My Stories

What A Crazy Month December Is?

By the time the 31 days are up. I would have celebrated two sixteenth birthday parties, one twenty-first birthday party and my youngest sons second birthday party. One 15 year wedding anniversary (mine), two work Christmas parties, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. One “Bon Jovi” concert, car registration, car insurance, plus Christmas presents for my three boys, four nieces and two nephews. Finally, two concert tickets to a “30 Seconds To Mars” concert as an anniversary gift to my wife and four summer passes for a water theme park.

All of the above puts a severe dent in the finances. As much as I try to plan for December, it’s all to no avail when the month hits. I still go into debt during this month.

Society and life have been twisted when it comes to Christmas. If we get one gift for our children, we feel like a failure. So we buy another gift. We feel better for a day and then realize that two gifts are not enough, so we buy one more.

Now each child is sitting at three gifts each. You feel content and then your children mention in passing that they hope Santa gets them and updated bike. So I am like, god damn. I don’t have that gift. So I go around for the 4th time and in the process grab a few more extras like updated helmets and some DVD’s.

So each child is sitting at six gifts each. That is enough I tell myself and my credit card bill is screaming “Please Stop”.

And then that neighbour who is known as “Mr Righteous” meets you in the street. In a simple conversation, you find out that his wife is busily wrapping up a lot presents. My first thought is “I need more presents”. The logical thought that they have fewer children doesn’t compute. The only thought is that I need more gifts because once my children find out that the Neighbours kid got more they “could” be disappointed.

“Here I Go Again” from Whitesnake plays in the background at this crucial moment and the title more or less sums up my feelings.

“Could” is the crucial word here. Due to “could” more money is blown and each kid will be receiving more gifts than they really need. I did it. The kids would be so happy and I will deal with the debt fallout later. What a great dad, who just can’t sleep at night as one side of the mind thinks of the debt. Then the other side thinks that you only live once so enjoy it.

The thing is, the kids would have been happy with the first three gifts plus the bikes. Now they will have so many it will be hard for them to enjoy them all. The one year old that is turning two in three days time still wants to destroy the wrapping paper and then play with all the gifts that his brothers got.

I don’t normally recover financially until March, however as one side of the mind says, “YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, SO ENJOY IT.”

Merry Christmas to all.

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My Stories

Gravity. Tearing Down My Perceptions

So I managed to watch a few movies recently. The most recent one was “Gravity”. Suspenseful sums it up. I didn’t see the 3D version, however after seeing the 2D version, I wish I had. Apart from James Cameron’s “Avatar” all of the other so-called 3D movies were not really 3D movies. After getting burned on a few, I stopped paying the extra dollars to watch a normal movie with pretty crappy ‘3D’. Going back to “Gravity” I reckon the 3D version would have been unbelievable. People would have vomiting at some of the scenes. The story line was nothing spectacular however the CINEMATOGROPHY; top notch.

The movie is up there as a contender for movie of the year for me. And who is the star of the movie?

If you said Sandra Bullock or George Clooney, you are wrong. The real stars are Alfonso Cuarón the director, Emmanuel Lubezki’s the cinematographer and Steven Price for the musical score. Of course, Sandra Bullock’s performance was also top notch and you put all of that together, you get a great picture.

I became a fan of Cuaron’s movies after “Children of Men”. Some of the scenes in the “Children of Men” movie were revolutionary. So my interest in “Gravity” was purely because of the director. Ask anyone to name you the director of the “Top Gun” movie or the producer of “Pump” the 1989 album from Aerosmith?

When I first heard about the film and that it was about two astronauts in space, I thought to myself, “how can that keep me entertained for 2 hours.” However Cuaron did exactly that; by taking such a simple storyline and making it an “edge of my seat” journey throughout the whole movie. This is a hit album without any filler. This is a slow burner. Each person that watches it, becomes a fan.

“Gravity” is definitely special. It is a “cinematic experience”. Much like before when albums and music in general was a “sound experience” and that “sound experience” was even different to the “live experience”. Then came high levels of compression, the loudness wars and ear fatigue. I would love to hear some of the more newer albums, mixed and mastered with a 1970’s mindset.

The movie studios can scream piracy all they want. When a movie is made great, the audience will flock to it. Look at movies like “The Conjuring” and “Now You See It”. They beat out all of the blockbusters they where up against in the summer.

What “Gravity” accomplished is totally opposite to what Marvel and DC Comics are trying to achieve with their universes. You know, movies that rely heavily on the plot / story line that interconnect over a vast timeline. It seems these days that’s been the pivotal factor for me in order to consider if a movie is a hit. “Gravity” tore down that perception. It is simply a visual and audio masterpiece without the need to spend $250 million. It wont have a toy range like all the other top 10 grossing movies of 2013 however it will have a place in the minds of viewers.

Even when the big scenes happen in the movie, the viewer doesn’t get any sound effects with the explosions cause there’s no sound in space. All the viewer hears is the score building up in the background and then things start to happen. My eight year old and seven year old watched it with me and I could see them lying down and slouching. Then the music starts softly. The music starts to get a touch louder and they start to get up. As the music builds with the action sequence they are off the couch and I am thinking, WOW, the kids are full on feeling the suspense as well. Cuaron and “Gravity” have connected with us.

Alfonso Cuaron has cemented his place as one of my favourites.

So the next time you get that rare chance to actually be alone and watch a movie, without the slightest possibility of any interruptions, so you are able to engross yourself in the movie, the movie I want you to put on when that opportunity arises is: Gravity

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