A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Just Some Thoughts on Copyright, YouTube and Rock Music

Nikki Sixx and many others want Google to pay more for each YouTube stream so they could bring their payment rates up to the same standard of other streaming providers.

You notice how the people who are now speaking out against YouTube, are the ones who control the rights to their music. It’s because they know exactly what payments they are getting compared to other streaming services. The rest of the artists are clueless and at the whim of the record label creative accounting machine.

In case you were not aware, both Motley Crue and Metallica own their copyrights. Peter Mensch on behalf of Metallica spoke out about YouTube and called it the devil. Nikki Sixx is now calling out YouTube on payment rates.

Anthrax on the other hand are clueless. They kept their new album off Spotify for a few weeks, but it was all over YouTube via fan uploads. As a band, you cannot control what your fans do with your music and how they choose to share it but what you can control is how you release it. Anthrax can’t have the release cycle the way they want it to be (pre-Napster), much the same way any business that has customers, can’t run their business the way they did back in the past. Look at Apple as a perfect example of a business trying to operate like it did when Steve Jobs was alive, while Amazon, Facebook and Google have moved on and surpassed Apple as a leader.

Because the customers are king and they decide what is of value and what isn’t.

Imagine Prince’s post death stats if his music was actually available to be streamed on Spotify. In case you were not aware, every news outlet reported how his sales increased post death. It’s fantastic that his sales have gone through the roof again, as it will benefit his current management team/label. Not him.

And trust me when I say this, the people that will end up controlling Prince’s music will orchestrate a rich licensing deal for his music to be on streaming services. Because it’s all about the greed. Then the lawsuits would come against any artist who has a song that might feel and sound like a Prince song.

If people want to respect Copyright again, then all of Prince’s songs and his catalog of unreleased songs should be part of the Public Domain.

So which way do artists want.

Do they want strong Copyright enforcement forever and a day which leads to censorship and Corporate monopolies and billions of dollars in the hands of executives who created no art and fly in their own private jets, while the actual artists are paid pennies and fly economy?

Do they want the Tidal exclusives and making copyright infringement/piracy relevant again in the process?

Do they want their fans to purchase their music only, have big first week sales and to make copyright infringement/piracy relevant again in the process?

Do they want to make it as easy as possible for fans to access their music forever in any format the fan desires and as easily as possible?

Because in music there is a lot of value in recorded music, regardless if it’s streaming or mp3 purchases or actual vinyl/CD sales.

If you want to look at the value of recorded music and how you can make money when legal alternatives are better than the pirated alternatives, look no further than China. As a music market based on recorded sales, China, had no transactional recorded music business. Piracy was huge. However it is now bringing in some serious dollars. The difference here is that the record labels have built partnerships with the techies and ISP’s, instead of litigating them to death in the courts with stupid troll like suits and take down notices.

They tried a paid model in 2012, it failed. They tried again and again, until they got it exactly right for the CUSTOMER to buy in. Now digital music revenues in China brings in millions of dollars which were not there before at all. This is a good thing, but again, how much of it is going back to the actual artists.

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

Thrash Musics Three M’s. Metal, Metallica, Mustaine!!

According to “The Guardian”, Metallica is seen as a band that revolutionized the metal genre. According to “The Rolling Stone”, Metallica are kings at everything they do.

Metallica for me was an extreme act when I got into them by the mid Eighties. Extreme in the sense that their style was so departed from the “metal” music I knew, which at that time consisted off bands like Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot. When i first heard the opening riff of “Fight Fire with Fire” I felt like me head got chopped off with a chainsaw. It was brutal. By the time “Ride The Lightning” started with its harmony guitars I was ready to snap my desk in half.

So based on the bands I was listening too, Metallica was pretty extreme. Megadeth even more so. Slayer even more and more so. After that, my tastes became elective and depending on my moods, certain styles would win over the other. In the end, as long as it had distorted guitars, I was into it.

Anyway, there was a story doing the rounds a few weeks ago about how Scott Ian believes that Dave Mustaine is the godfather of thrash music or something along those lines.

And to be honest, I don’t agree with anything Mr Ian says about the internet and piracy, but for this, he is not far off the mark.

All you need to do is hear the songs written on the debut “Kill Em All” album and you will hear that the Dave Mustaine led compositions (“Mechanix/The Four Horseman”, “Jump In The Fire”, “Phantom Lord” and “Metal Militia”) had a certain technical and progressive edge to them.  Especially “Metal Militia” which for a young band full of energy, booze and in Mustaine’s case “drugs” it was a surprise to hear a young act attempt a song with time and tempo changes.

And “Metal Militia” is the style that Metallica went with, up until the Justice album. Technical, progressive thrash metal.

Actually going back even further, you need to look at the songs Hetfield and Ulrich had written prior to Mustaine joining Metallica. “Hit The Lights” was not really thrash metal and more a take on the NWOBHM and a chugging riff that was ripped off from “Detroit Rock City”.

But what about Jeff Hanneman (RIP). To me, the songs he wrote for Slayer are songs that pushed the boundaries of the genre. Thrash metal also had socially relevant lyrics over a bed of chainsaw of guitars and fast drumming. The disenfranchised youth of the blue-collar workers understood this message and suburbia was awash with rebellion and revolutionary ideals.

So even though Metallica (the band) are seen as the leaders of the movement, I think it’s a safe bet to say that Mustaine played a pivotal role in shaping the Metallica style. In turn, they took a lot of the noise happening around them and turned it into a career.

But the term thrash proved to be a barrier to commercial success and by the mid 90’s, the Eighties fans of the thrash bands screamed sell outs as they believed their heroes had abandoned the movement. But as Dylan sings in his songs, you need to keep on rolling, keep on changing and keep on exploring.

We all know what the “Black” album did, however Testament followed suit with “The Ritual”, Megadeth with “Countdown To Extinction”, Anthrax were already experimenting with their sound, moving to a more traditional sound with “Persistence Of Time” and a more modern groove sound with “Sound Of White Noise”. Meanwhile, Slayer delivered a typical Slayer album with “Divine Intervention”. Thrash had re-invented itself as a commercial force.

To say that one band revolutionized a genre is like saying one man invented all of Apple’s products, which we all know is not true. All cultural movements are products of many events coming together but in metal and thrash metal circles, it’s one band that is getting all of the accolades because of their commercial success. And history is written by the winners.

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

1982 – Episode VIII – The Final Post

When I started to write about music from 1982, I didn’t expect it to be such a large body of work. Finally after seven parts before this, here is the final part. As with the other posts, this post deals with full albums or just individual songs that couldn’t be escaped, because TV and Radio played them non-stop.

Circus Animals – Cold Chisel

The mighty Chisel’s are rock royalty in Australia.

“East” was their breaking through album and “Circus Animals” proved it wasn’t a fluke. Main songwriter, Walker didn’t want to do a commercial album again, however he didn’t count on the excellent song writing from drummer Steve Prestwich, who contributed “Forever Now” and the spine-tingling “When The War Is Over”.

The working title for the album was “Tunnel Cunts”.

The first single “You Got Nothing I Want” was written by singer Jimmy Barnes. He’s angry at Elektra Records for the lack of support given to Cold Chisel in favour of an unknown LA band called Motley Crue. This grudge would hurt the solo career of Jimmy Barnes in the U.S many years later. But that didn’t stop Barnsey from working with some of the best writers in the U.S. His biggest solo career song, “Working Class Man” was written by Jonathan Cain from Journey.

You got nothing I want
You got nothing I need

The live favourite “Bow River” is up next. Guitarist Ian Moss wrote it and sings it. It’s about a sheep station in the Northern Territory. It was a B-side to one of the singles, however it’s as iconic as the singles.

I don’t wanna see this town no more
Wastin’ my days on a factory floor
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

The monotonous life of a working person. You don’t want to be at work, but you need to be, as you need money to live, money to pay off debts and keep the wheels turning in your home life.

I been working hard, twelve hours a day
And the money I saved won’t buy my youth again

That’s what the young don’t understand when they are young. Hell, I didn’t. Our youth is only short, so it’s best to enjoy it as much as possible.

Piss all my money up against the damn wall
First thing you know I’ll be back in Bow River again

Damn right, pay-day comes and by the weekend, all of the pay is gone on booze. Today, all the pay is gone on mortgage, credit cards and utilities.

Steve Prestwich (RIP) proved his song writing chops on this album. “Forever Now” is a pop classic with a big sing along chorus.

“When The War Is Over” is brilliant.

When the war is over
Got to get away
Pack my bag to no place
In no time no day

How can I go home and not get
Blown away

There was a time when we paid for our albums and we didn’t own many because of it. So what we purchased we played until the songs became a part of us. Cold Chisel was such a band that people made room for in their wallets and their songs and their words are a part of us.

The J. Geils Band – Centerfold

The single came in September, 1981 but it didn’t really get traction until February 1982, so based on that fact, it is in my 1982 list. The J. Geils band never had another hit after it. Written by Seth Justman, we all know what the story of the song is. And even back in 1982, it was all about the big single.

In Australia this song was played regularly until the early nineties and then it stopped when the sounds of Seattle became popular. And 35 years later it is still relevant, because it renews it’s listeners with each generation due to the tongue in cheek lyrics.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘n Roll

The song is written Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of Arrows, who released their version in 1975. And it did nothing, until 1982.

Enter Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and MTV and what we have is another big single selling a so-so album..

The video clip was a constant and as a by-product, sales of the single continued to climb. And to this day, I still haven’t heard the album the song was on.

The beat was goin’ strong, Playin’ my favorite song

This is another song that will keep on keeping forever and a day. Guitar Hero brought it back into the public conversation and Britney Spears cover of it, for better or worse brought it even further back into the conversation.

Don Henley – I Cant Stand Still

I heard this song for the first time, thirty plus years after it’s release. What a groove. I had no idea what this song is about. But thanks to Google you can research it and Don Henley was going through his separation when he wrote this song with Danny Kortchmar. And once you know the source, you understand where he is coming from in the lyrics.

And baby, I can’t stand still (while he’s holding you)
I can’t stand (while he’s kissing you)

Don Henley – Long Way Home

It’s got this Jersey Springsteen vibe happening that I dig. Like “I Can’t Stand Still”, I heard this song just recently.

There’s three sides to every story, baby
There’s yours and there’s mine and the cold, hard truth

Amen. Ain’t that the truth.

We all have our own versions of truth, and if each event was captured on film to be viewed later, all of our versions would be different to what the footage shows.

Joey Scarbury – Believe It or Not

It’s from the album “America’s Greatest Hero”. It was released in 1981, but it was still heard well into 1985. The TV show kept it in the conversation. It’s clichéd “inspirational lyrics” are just to clichéd but I guarantee you that everyone who heard the song remembers it.

The actual performer didn’t even write it. The song is written by Mike Post (music) and Stephen Geyer (lyrics).

Believe it or not I’m walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer, who could it be?
Believe it or not it’s just me

Queen – Hot Space

This is the album where Brian May just went missing. There is hardly any guitar on the album. It pops up in some songs here and there, but instead of it being used as a centrepiece for the songs, May holds back and decorates each song, like tinsel on a Christmas Tree.

Production wise, my ears just can’t escape the midi triggered drums in the early Eighties “mainstream” acts. It really dates the music back to a certain era.

“Under Pressure” is the one that most people would know. A co-write with David Bowie who also performs on it. The bass riff is iconic and it proved to be a hit twice, once in 1982 and again in 1990 when Vanilla Ice pinched the whole bass riff for “Ice, Ice Baby” and then claimed in court that he came up with it.

It’s the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
Screaming “let me out”

I don’t know the exact meaning of the song from the bands point of view is, but the above words are truth. We know what this world is about and for a lot of us it gets too much.

Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

It’s because we get burned from it too many times. From a relationship point of view, it’s easier to be alone then to go through new relationships, making new friendships, while you are upset at the same time that some of the old friendships are lost. From a society point of view, “love” never existed. There is always hate, jealousy and envy.

Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry

I had no idea who sang this song when it came out, but it was everywhere. If it sounds like a Toto song, it’s because Steve Lukather plays guitar on the song and David Paich and Steve Porcaro play synths.

Producer David Foster, who also co-wrote the song with vocalist Peter Cetera played piano on the song, while Cetera performed vocals and played bass guitar and acoustic guitar.

Everybody needs a little time away
I had to say, from each other

Damn right.

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love

I dig this song. It’s the pre-chorus that hooks me in.

Written by guitarist Rick Nielsen, it’s got melodies all over it.

Lonely is only a place
You don’t know what it’s like

How cool is the line?

Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

Boy, did Steve Miller become fab again after his Hall of Fame speech. But that was two weeks ago and today, its like it never existed.

Steve Miller wrote an infectious song and it was good enough to knock Chicago off the number 1 spot.

Abra-abracadabra
I want to reach out and grab ya

I got no idea what it means, but it sticks.

Keep me burnin’ for your love
With the touch of a velvet glove

Again, I got no idea why the touch had to be from a velvet glove, but it rhymes and it sticks.

A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)

Even as a metal/rock head, I still dig this song. It was number 1 in Australia for a few weeks. That Chorus is just arena rock, but the feel of the song is new wave.

It was produced by Mike Howlett, who was becoming the in-demand producer for the new-wave bands. Sort of like how Tom Werman and Keith Olsen became the in-demand producers in the 80’s for hard rock bands.

A cloud appears above your head
A beam of light comes shining down on you
Shining down on you
The cloud is moving nearer still
Aurora Borealis comes in view

Using the “Northern Lights” as the lights of the departed. Well, that’s how I view the song’s lyrics.

Reached out a hand to try again
I’m floating in a beam of light with you
A beam of light with you

And I ran, I ran so far away
I just ran, I ran all night and day

John Cougar Mellencamp – American Fool

It was a huge album created under duress and record label pressures.

The record company wanted a certain Neil Diamond sounding record. After spending three months in the studio, Mellencamp had 20 songs recorded. The label A&R rep came in, heard it and hated it. Album cuts, “Jack & Diane”, “Hand To Hold On To” and “Weakest Moments” were part of these 20 songs. The label halted the project. They considered getting in a new producer. They considered dropping Mellencamp from the roster. In the end, they gave the green light for Mellencamp to write some more songs however they wanted to hear the demos before they gave the OK to record them in a studio.

The end product is Mellencamp’s commercial breakthrough. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are cultural songs.

“Hurts So Good” is written with childhood friend George Green.

Sometimes love don’t feel like it should
You make it hurt so good

Said in a way that wasn’t R-rated.

Up next is “Jack & Diane” that little ditty about two American kids growing up in the heartland.

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone, they walk on

And that’s right. A lot of people don’t seem to realise those High School highs and good times have never come around again. But life goes on and your sense of duty to yourself and family takes over.

Daryl Hall and John Oates – H2O

They didn’t look metal at all, but they could write songs.

“Maneater” is from their eleventh studio album and the song is written by Hall, Oates and Sara Allen.

She’s deadly, man
And she could really rip your world apart

It’s like Phil Lynott wrote the lyrics.

“At Tension” has this bass synth riff that if played on distorted guitar its heavy as. It’s written by John Oates. It’s over 6 minutes long, far removed from the pop format. You needed the album to hear this album cut.

I’d like to join the army
Don’t want to join the war
I’d take my place in line hell (hell)

We keep on marching forward
Never will retreat

Words apart from the single “Maneater”.

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

I never gave this band a chance in the 80’s purely on their look. It was when “Come Undone” came out that I decided I needed to check em out a little bit more. So “Rio” is their second album and “Hungry Like The Wolf” is the song that launched it. There is no denying that the riff is hard rock to a tee. It was all over the TV stations in Australia.

I’m on the hunt, I’m after you

Stalker???

Me thinks so.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove

I am pretty sure the album “Raise” came out in 1981, however I haven’t heard the album. This song was all also all over the TV music stations in Australia. The single did come in 1982. I dig it, its funky and as the title states, groovy.

Let’s groove tonight
Share the spice of life
Baby, slice it right
We’re gonna groove tonight

Cocaine????

Me thinks so.

Goanna – Spirit Of Place

“Solid Rock” is the song.

We couldn’t escape it in Australia. It kicks off with a didgeridoo intro and a brilliant guitar riff that reminds me of the “Sultans of Swing” from Dire Straits for some reason. It reached #2 in Australia and charted in the US. According to Wikipedia, the inspiration came to vocalist Shane Howard on a ten-day camping trip at Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) during 1980 where he had a “spiritual awakening” which brought “the fire in the belly” to the surface over injustices to Australia’s indigenous peoples.

They were standin’ on the shore one day, Saw the white sails in the sun
Wasn’t long before they felt the sting, white man, white law, white gun
Don’t tell me that it’s justified, ’cause somewhere, someone lied
Yeah well someone lied, someone lied, genocide

Yep, Australia’s settlement history is pretty much summed up above. And to this day, 200 plus years later, there is still a lot of debate about it.

INXS – Shabooh Shoobah

Mark Opitz produced “Circus Animals” for Cold Chisel and then moved on to “Shabooh Shoobah” from Inxs. This is the version of INXS before they topped the Billboard charts six years later. It is this album that gave INXS their major label deal in the U.S.

The closer “Don’t Change” was the song that made me a fan. It was a “hit” song without being a hit. Richie Sambora played it live, when he appeared at the Enmore Theatre.

Don’t change for you
Don’t change a thing for me

Damn right, let’s love each other for who we are.

Loverboy – Working For The Weekend

Yeah I know the album was released in 1981, but the single “Working For The Weekend” was released in January 1982 in Australia, so for me it’s a 1982 album.

Everybody’s working for the weekend
Everybody wants a new romance
Everybody’s going off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance, oh

And like the song “Bow River” from Cold Chisel, once the weekend is over, we’ll be back at Bow River again for the Monday shift.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Forgetfulness

It’s funny how artists or their backers/support team forget about things they did in the past.

Like Metallica’s manager, Peter Mensch forgetting how Metallica became the poster child for the RIAA’s fight against all things digital/internet related and then 17 years later, complaining that an internet video service is the devil because he doesn’t get paid. Seriously, Mensch believes that the artists he represents earn millions upon millions each year because of their CD sales and that their fan bases have grown exponentially because of CD sales.

Here is a little secret Mr Mensch.

The fan bases of the acts you manage have grown because of piracy and services like YouTube. The more people who have access to a band’s music = a higher chance of a return on merchandise, concert tickets or other special offers.

I suppose that Mensch has forgotten that Metallica’s fan base in the 80’s grew because of tape trading and bootlegging. My first Metallica experience was via a blank TDK Cassette tape that I gave to my cousin, so he could copy “Master Of Puppets” and “Ride The Lightning” on it. The first actual album I purchased from Metallica was “..And Justice For All”. It wasn’t until 1990 that I had the cash to purchase ‘Ride The Lightning”, Master of Puppets” and “Kill Em All”.

I bet you that Metallica’s recent box set release of their first two albums would be snapped up by fans who got into the band in the 2000’s via piracy and don’t really own any of their music. I have no intention to buy them. I already have “Kill Em All” and “Ride The Lightning” on CD and LP. The bonus stuff is not really convincing for me to purchase the albums again. I am pretty sure there are a lot of Metallica fans from the 80’s who would have the same view set as me.

Mensch Comments Article

Next in line in the world of “I don’t remember what I said in the past” is Nikki Sixx.

For the record, I believe that Motley Crue’s best artistic statement came with the Motley Crue album. It had class and so far removed from the cliched rock that died when Grunge exploded.

And if the album outsold “Dr Feelgood”, Nikki Sixx would be talking a different talk. Hell, maybe Vince Neil would never have returned to the band.

Instead, the album is seen as a failure because it’s didn’t out sell previous Crue efforts in a commercial sense.

And Nikki Sixx is distancing himself from it.

I’m with Mick Mars and Tommy Lee on this. The 1994, “Mötley Crüe” album never got a fair shake. Anyone who used to buy the metal and rock magazines like Metal Edge would have read Nikki Sixx talking about how great it was to have John Corabi in the band and how Corabi plays guitar and writes great lyrics. 22 years later, John Corabi can’t write lyrics. At least Corabi didn’t bite and took the high road.

The thing is, Motley Crue was never going to work with a different singer apart from Vince Neil because the Crue had no Angus Young or Eddie Van Halen in there. That’s why it worked for AC/DC and Van Halen. Both of those bands had another centerpiece to the band apart from the lead singer. As much as Nikki Sixx thought he was bigger than Vince Neil, the truth is, back in 1994 he wasn’t. Today, its a different story and he can credit Allen Kovac for re-inventing him.

Anyway,time to click play on the unfocused 1994 Motley Crue album.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

What If Led Zeppelin Decided To Start Taking Bands To Court for Copying Them?

The “Stairway To Heaven” case is the tip of the iceberg for cases like this.

Mark my words, Metallica (or the corporations who will own the Metallica copyrights in the years ahead) will be sued for plagiarism by the corporations and heirs of artists from the NWOBHM movement that Metallica used on their first three albums, and the California skate-punk band they ripped off for “Enter Sandman”.

Remember Copyright was designed to encourage creativity, but in the hands of corporations and heirs of the actual creators (who never should have held the Copyright of a deceased artist), copyright is now building up to have the opposite effect, “discouraging, rather than stimulating, music creativity.

As the Conversation article states;

I don’t think that it is appropriate to consider the act of devising a tune that simply has the same “feel” and “groove” as another as copyright infringement. This is how music creativity often works. Musicians frequently build upon earlier arrangements and styles, and so the increasing occurrence of cases such as these should give us pause.”

“Borrowing from earlier pieces is a structural element of music creation in many genres (a tune cannot always be created from scratch by just improvising). Classical music composers such as Handel, Beethoven, Shubert, Mozart, Bach and Puccini all significantly borrowed from earlier colleagues. The same holds true for jazz (which has built upon popular music and opera), rockabilly (influenced by country), rhythm and blues (which derives from boogie-woogie and gospel) and the Jamaican music scene (where traditionally covering and arranging each other’s tunes was widespread and largely accepted).”

Now, the term “original” means “not the same as anything or anyone else and therefore special and interesting”. It would be difficult to find a musician who has never listened to music written by someone else.

And yes, there are artists that did do something that “sounded not like anything else”, however if you take away the sonics, the root notes of every song are tied back to a composition that came before it and so forth. Even the evil sounding tri-tone made famous in the song “Black Sabbath” has its roots to classical music. The whole British Rock invasion of the Sixties was tied to the American blues of the Thirties.

It’s pretty safe to say that the majority of music out there is unoriginal.

Just think of how many metal and hard rocks songs have a riff over an A pedal point or an E pedal point that sounds similar in feel and groove?

But for some reason, our litigious society wants music to follow the same citing mechanisms as a University essay, with citations, footnotes and a discography of music used as an influence for the song.

At the root of it all is the descending bass line, played in the same key and an attorney called Francis Malofiy, who is well-known at bringing copyright infringement suits against any song that sounds similar to another because the acts/estates he represents are so original and their music could not have been influenced by other .

It’s easy to sue Led Zeppelin, because others have done it and its well-known that Jimmy Page likes to build on past works. But man, Led Zeppelin, actually Page and Plant in particular can sue a whole generation of artists for copying their feel and groove.

Let’s start with the most obvious (of the top of my head);

  • Robert Plant to sue David Coverdale from Whitesnake for copying Plant’s vocal feel in every Whitesnake song between 1978 and 1982.
  • Robert Pant to sue Lenny Wolf from Kingdom Come for copying Plant’s vocal feel and phrasing in every Kingdom Song between 1988 and 2016.
  • Jimmy Page to sue Lenny Wolf from Kingdom Come for copying “Kashmir” and calling the song “Get It On”.
  • Robert Plant to sue Randy Jackson from Zebra for copying Plant’s vocal feel
  • Jimmy Page and the Bonham estate to sue Coheed and Cambria for the song “Welcome Home” because it sounds a lot like “Kashmir” and for the drums having the same feel and groove as “Kashmir”.
  • Jimmy Page suing Tool because songs on “Aenima” sound a lot like “No Quarter”.
  • Jimmy Page and Robert Plant suing Billy Squier for the verse in “You Should Be High Lover” because it sounds a lot like “Black Dog”.
  • Jimmy Page and Robert Plant suing Wolfmother for the song “Woman”.
  • Jimmy Page suing Jet, for the song “Cold Hard Bitch” and how it sounds a lot like “Communication Breakdown”.
  • Jimmy Page suing Soundgarden for “Pretty Noose” because it sounds like the love child of “Kashmir” and “Whole Lotta Love”.
  • Jimmy Page suing Steve Vai for a three note sequence in his song “The Attitude Song” that is derived from “The Ocean”.

See the absurdity of it all.

I am sure there are a million bands out there that have ripped off Led Zeppelin and there are a million acts that Led Zeppelin has ripped off. But Led Zeppelin made what came before, BETTER and made a lot of MONEY from it.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Motorhead – 1916

Hot Metal February 1991….

The below review of “1916” from Motorhead is by Darryl Mason who gave it Five Skulls out of Five Skulls.  It appeared in the Hot Metal February 1991 issue. The italics are the actual review from Hot Metal and the rest is my addition.

KILLER! Is the headline in a big bold white font for album number 9. This is Lemmy before his work with the Osbourne camp for “No More Tears”. And for some reason, I feel like his lyrical contributions to “No More Tears” validated Lemmy (warts and all) to the mainstream.

Lemmy doing a ballad?

With f_____kin keyboards?

But that’s not the only big news to come out of Motorhead’s latest album “1916”.

The band that practically invented thrash six years before the term was coined have slowed down the juggernaut ride of drums and guitars to create a classic heavy metal album.

If you’ve been a fan of Motorhead since they first got into the picture as “the world’s best worst band” and followed them through the last decade and a half of mega albums like “Overkill”, “No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith” and “Orgasmatron”, then “1916” will be a surprise.

Yet after all, Lemmy and Motorhead have always been into shock tactics.

Before the album was even released there was controversy.

It was Motörhead’s first studio album in nearly four years, and their first release on WTG after their legal battle with GWR Records was resolved. It seemed to be a trend in the MTV Eighties were significant bands from the Seventies struggled with record label deals because they were not “good looking” and “marketable” for MTV. Black Sabbath, Bad Company and Deep Purple come to mind straight away.

Then they had the producer problem. According to the band, initial producer with Ed Stasium was fired for putting in instrumentation without the bands knowledge, while Stasium said he quit because Lemmy’s drug and alcohol was too much for Stasium to work with. Pete Solley was then hired to produce.

The Motorhead version featured Lemmy  on bass and vocals, Phil “Wizzö” Campbell on guitar, Würzel also on guitar and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor on drums.

Yeah, the album has some full-on heavy, fracture-your-skull tracks in the ball-tearing “Going To Brazil” and “The One To Sing The Blues”, but Lemmy throws in a healthy slice of humour to the metal when everyone seems to be taking it all a little too seriously these days. Check out “I’m So Bad”.

Motorhead pays tribute to the Ramones in the song of the same name. Short, thrashy, trashy and mashy. It’s a killer.

“Nightmare/The Dream Time” is a dark, nightmarish song covered in possessed background sounds and waves of chilling guitars.

But here’s the big one. The song “1916” closes the album and it begins with a chorus of churchish organs before Lemmy comes in with a chilling tale of children going to war.

“1916” is going to finally pull Motorhead out of the ridiculous ‘cult band’ limbo world they are continually thrust into, and good on ‘em. After 16 years they deserve it.

Get this and load your brain with some power sounds.

And the album is full of Lemmy’s brilliant lyric writing.

“The One to Sing the Blues”

I can’t always say
Just what I want to say
I’m out-of-place again,
You’re on my case again
Bringing up the past
And sling it in my face again

Yes, even the great Lemmy might have felt they he was censoring himself in a relationship.

And that god damn past is the bringer of all evil on the world. No one is bringing up the future and slinging it at our faces. It’s that god damn past. The best part is when your other says, “you NEVER”. For me, that means, they want an argument.

“I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)”

Come round and pop your cork,
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am,

This is the tongue in cheek Lemmy I know, full of humour. The “No More Tears” album really brought Lemmy to the forefront as a great lyric writer. “I Don’t Want To Change The World” and “Mama I’m Coming Home” have lines in the songs that are cemented in metal and rock culture.

“No Voices In The Sky”

This is one of the Ed Stasium produced songs to make it to the final master tape.

Rich men think that happiness
Is a million dollar bills,
So how come most of them O.D.
On sleeping pills,

There is so much truth in the song. You think that having a lot of money will lead to happiness. How many CEO’s are onto their second or third relationship/marriage? How many ended up spending time with their children? How many ended up volunteering to coach their kids in a sport? A few might, but the majority are just focused on ensuring that what they have accumulated isn’t lost.

“Nightmare / The Dreamtime”

Evil lives within ourselves, We need nobody else

“1916”

16 years old when I went to the war,
To fight for a land fit for heroes,
God on my side, and a gun in my hand,
Chasing my days down to zero,

“Nightmare/The Dreamtime” and “1916” are both about the Battle of the Somme in World War I…As Lemmy has stated and Wikipedia has the quote;

“Nineteen thousand Englishmen were killed before noon, a whole generation destroyed, in three hours – think about that! It was terrible – there were three or four towns in northern Lancashire and south Yorkshire where that whole generation of men were completely wiped out.”

I was born out of the wars in peaceful and laid back Australia. My father and mother were born in 1944 with the European war raging around them. My grandfather was just born after World War 1 ended, which meant that my great-grandfather survived WW1. I am here and my three boys exist because the generations before me survived. But a lot didn’t survive.

“Love Me Forever”

This is another song produced by Ed Stasium and to be honest, this song is a surprise with its clean tone arpeggio riff.

We are the system, we are the law, We are corruption, worm in the core,

 There is no trust in our institutions. Our leaders serve the corporate lobbyists who fill up their coffers via campaign contributions or a nice job with them once they push laws through that benefits said corporation. It was bad when Lemmy wrote about it, but it’s exponentially worse today.

“Angel City”

I wanna backstage pass,
Drink Bon Jovi’s booze for free,
I wanna be a star
And buy a hundred guitars,

Lay by the pool
And let the record company pay,

So where does a guy who’s just speaking his truth fit into the world of pretty boy MTV stars. If you want to know about Los Angeles, then get the lowdown from Lemmy.

Because the above lyrics are more or less the culture that MTV created.

How many interviews did you see on MTV where the artists are standing in a room with a collection of a thousand guitars.

I remember watching the “Decade of Decadence” video from Motley Crue and Nikki Sixx is being interviewed outdoors with the pool behind him, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars are in their home-built studio’s and Vince Neil is being interviewed in his man cave, playing pool/billiards by himself and the platinum and gold records are hanging behind him.

And I guarantee you that every struggling musician wanted all of that and more. But there was a reason why Motley Crue had the riches and the rest of us didn’t. Work ethic, luck, right place at the right time all play a part, but for Motley it was the lifestyle. They lived and breathed their lyrics.

For Motorhead and Lemmy his music was a lifestyle. He lived and breathed his lyrics.

I can’t say I was a huge fan of the album when it came out but I always have been a huge fan of how Lemmy can summarise a 20 page chapter into a four to eight line verse.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

All Things Music And Metal

The RIAA record label industry body a few weeks made an announcement about how are losing billions of dollars because of streaming and that Vinyl sales generate more revenue. The announcement then led to headlines across all of the news outlets.

The New York Post had the headline “Artists make more off vinyl sales than streaming services”.

Billboard had the headline “Vinyl Sales Made More Than YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud Ads Combined”.

The Australian Financial Review had the headline “Some artists blame music streamers for shrinking the business”.

Fortune magazine had the headline “Record Industry Continues its War on Free Music”.

Mashable had the headline “Music streaming is getting bigger and bigger, but artist revenue isn’t keeping up”.

It’s safe to say that the RIAA got what they wanted with their report.

“This is why we, and so many of our music community brethren, feel that some technology giants have been enriching themselves at the expense of the people who actually create the music.”
Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO of the RIAA.

“Last year, 17 million vinyl albums, a legacy format enjoying a bit of a resurgence, generated more revenues than billions and billions of on-demand free streams: $416 million compared to $385 million for on-demand free streams.”
Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO of the RIAA.

 

This is the RIAA being as dishonest as you can get.

They are basically comparing gross retail vinyl sales against the net streaming revenue amount earned. In truth the net vinyl revenue is a lot lower than the gross $416 million quoted. And the $385 streaming revenue was $0 before 2011 due to copyright infringement/piracy.

As an article at Fortune.com states;

“Sherman is saying that because ad-supported services—or in fact, any alternative music-distribution method—don’t pay as much as some other music services, they must be flawed and/or stealing from musicians and record labels. In other words, the music industry’s largest negotiating body assumes that any new distribution method or infrastructure for delivering music to consumers must by default generate as much revenue as the industry used to get from records or CDs. And if it doesn’t, that means there is a structural error in the business that the RIAA needs to fix.”

And streaming companies like Spotify have a battle being profitable.

Remember that the streaming services pay the record labels a licence fee to have the music the record labels hold copyrights too on the service. These monies are never passed onto the artist. Hell, Spotify doesn’t even have long-term license contracts with Universal and Warner Music. These labels are cashing in on licensing deals on a month to month basis.

Then based on listens, the streaming services pay 70% of their streaming revenue to the record labels and publishers and based on the contracts the artists and songwriters have with their labels/publisher, these monies are paid back to the creators in cents. Meanwhile, the record labels are rolling in billions of dollars from streaming.

Maybe that’s why Spotify needed to get a billion dollars from investors.

The money will be needed for further expansions, acquisitions of tech companies and other investments. In my opinion, for Spotify to survive long-term they need to get into the record label business themselves sort of like how Netflix is creating its own content and using that content to sell their service. That is why HBO went from licensing movies from the studios (which wasn’t profitable) to creating their own content. And now look at the company.

There is no way around it for Spotify. They are under increasing pressure to remove their free tier and the latest research from the RIAA (mentioned above) is being used as evidence to build a case against ad-supported free music.

And poor old Google is always the punching bag when it comes to the RIAA.

If Google isn’t taking flak for not censoring the internet based on what the RIAA or the MPAA see as wrong, then their YouTube service is attacked for not paying enough.

So what we have is a coalition of artists and music groups asking for the lawmakers to write new laws to support their business models. Just think of it as another Lars Ulrich/RIAA vs Napster battle. And how did that turn out.

As the article at Techtimes states every law is open to abuse and while the DMCA was never intended for censorship, it is being used exactly as that:

“Over the past few years, however, the DMCA has been a cause of controversy. On one end, holders of rights to content are saying that the law does not do enough to protect content creators, while on the other end, there are warnings of abuse and censorship if the law is further tightened.”

And speaking of Lars Ulrich, in case you have lived under a rock, “Master of Puppets” from Metallica has been added to the National Recording Registry in the US as a cultural, artistic or historical significant recording.

Basically anyone can nominate a recording to be considered via sending an email to recregistry@loc.gov.

Once the nomination is sent, the lobbying starts.

Don’t get me wrong, “Master of Puppets” is a great album (although I do prefer “Ride The Lightning”), but is it really a defining cultural, artistic or historical significant recording. Although Metallica is seen as leaders of the thrash metal movement, the truth of the matter is that the movement is much bigger than one band.

I would even say that the “Metal Massacre” compilation that featured Metallica (spelt incorrectly as Mettallica mind you) is more culturally significant than “Master of Puppets”. But hey, Brian Slagel, founder of Metal Blade Records, is nowhere near as important as the biggest band. Because all history is written by the winners, the ones that have the most money.

And for Metallica albums, you cannot escape the “Black” album.

That one album killed off glam rock/metal, introduced a new heaviness to the mainstream that opened the door for bands like Korn, NIN, Disturbed, Godsmack and many others to exploit in the Nineties to great success.

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