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

Writing A Riff Is A Combination Of What We Have Heard Before

Have a drink for creativity.

Even if we think our favourites are original, trust me, they are not. For an artist to create music, they need to hear music. And when you hear music, you write music in the style of what you have heard. You use chords and melodies from song you have heard. Nobody lives in a vacuum.

In the end it took eight unknown jurors to decide this.

The funny thing here is the Copyright Law that Corporations orchestrated via Government lobbying in the Seventies, is getting used by others to now sue those same corporations who hold the copyrights to songs. Page and Plant sold their rights to Warner for a lot of money.

But seriously, if Copyright is operating how it is meant to work, once the creator dies, all of their creations become part of the public domain. Instead, Randy California’s songs became part of a business model for a corporation. In this case, the Trustee’s of Randy’s Estate.

Remember when the lawyers for Randy California’s trustee Michael Skidmore, asked for a $1 settlement along with a writing credit for Spirit guitarist Randy California and any future profits would then be received by the Trustee’s of California’s estate. Yep, I really love how copyright is used as a pension fund for people who really are not eligible to gain from it.

And what about the creative accounting from both sides.

The Trustee’s for Randy California estimated that the song earned close to $60 million between 2011 to 2014, citing a music publishing deal that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant signed with Warner Music. However, the accountant used by the Jimmy Page and Robert Plant legal team, said that Jimmy Page earned $615,000 and Robert Plant earned  $532,000 for the song. There is a massive disconnect there.

Either way, that’s some serious dough and when you add the money that other songs in their catalogue would earn, it adds up to a lot of money.

But some one is not telling the truth and when it comes to the accounting of music, the truth is the last thing being told. There are so many skeletons and the only way to find out the truth is a federal investigation.

The part the troubles me the most is how Michael Skidmore is trying to present a picture that what Randy California created is so original and free from any influences. And that is just not true.What Randy created is a sum of his influences. It’s not original and in no way unique.

And neither is Jimmy Page’s assertion that what he creates is so original and free from any influences. All music is influenced by what came before it and by what we experience.

But of course, Skidmore and his legal team are not happy with the outcome and plan to appeal. What a dead set joke and copyright is a joke as it currently stands.

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

Spotify’s New Metal Tracks

I thought I would try out Spotify’s “New Metal Tracks” discovery feature as I was in the mood to sample something different as I was getting the shits with Spotify’s recommendations algorithm. I am a fan of the service but they still have a lot of work to do, especially around new releases from artists I follow. Maybe they don’t promote those artists, because they promote the acts that pay for it. Because there is a lot of shit/noise in their discovery features.

Anyway, lets start with a few selections;

DYNAZTY
Titanic Mass

I was blown away that this was their fourth album in six years. Another Swedish band that has made it to my favourites. The drum groove reminds me of “The Fire Still Burns” in the chorus. It’s fucking brilliant.

Then that harmony riff  kicks in before the solo section and its a cross between Iron Maiden and Helloween. Again fucking brilliant.

“Fire, flames, fury”

ARCHITECTS
Gone With The Wind

It’s like Killswitch Engage with keyboards. I dig.

Do you remember when you said to me, “My friend, hope is a prison.”?

RISING DARK
Plague

Very early Metallica meets Slayer with a bit of power metal. Brilliant. Vocally, the singer is a cross between Chuck Billy and Tom Araya.

Virus spreads, infects the nations
Only cure: extermination
Parasites wiped out of sight
Without mercy, only pride

Plague spreads
We disinfest

CULT OF LUNA
A Greater Call

I heard some music from them years back, however it just failed to stick. But not this time. The mood at the start of the song and how it just builds and builds for the full 8 minutes is pretty full on.

The piece d’resistance is those ethereal backing voices under the harshness of the death metal screams.

We leave. Upward, toward new dreams
A new hope. An odyssey
Underneath. The world left behind
Is dying as we escape gravity

IHSAHN
Disassembled

Musically Ihsahn is brilliant. Anything goes in his songs. Listen to this song. The riffs are prog like, arena like, hard rock like, metal like and the vocals are black metallish and arenarish and etheralish. So many different moods and grooves packaged in a 5 minute song.

A shattered soul presented
Like a disassembled gun
Assassins rushing up the stairs
All allies on the run

HELLYEAH
Human

As much as it pains me to say it, but losing Mudvayne guitarist Greg Tribbett (who formed Audiotopsy after leaving) was the best thing that happened to Hellyeah. They sound more focused and re-energised. And Chad’s lyrics are as always brilliant.

KATATONIA
Old Heart Falls

This is another band that I heard many years ago and no impression was made on me to revisit them again, but man, this song, I love it. It’s got this vibe and groove that is progressive, rock, metal and a Clint Eastwood Western all rolled into one.

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

1983 – The Holy Roller, The Devil Rocker, The Synchronised Eliminator and The Moon Rebel

From May 29, 1983 up until sometime in 1992, metal/rock ruled and it all started with the US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack). For the bands involved it was a pivotal moment. For the movement as a whole, it was massive. For a fledgling TV service called MTV, it showed them a market to tap into.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded. I will talk more about this album in one of the other installments of my 1983 saga.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival in May, helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, you heard those songs and you wanted them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. You can easily conclude that the festival had a hand in boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. This success didn’t come instantly either, working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. However the visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Anyway, enough of the U.S. Festival and time for a look at some albums.

Dio – Holy Diver

Ronnie James Dio success came from hard work and a commitment to stay the course. Check out his release schedule.

From when Elf’s self-titled debut album came out in 1972 he was constantly writing, releasing and touring. In 1974, “Carolina Country Ball” came out and in 1975, “Trying To Burn The Sun” came out.

Also in 1975, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was released. In 1976, “Rising” came out. In 1977, “On Stage” came out. In 1978, “Long Live Rock N Roll” came out.

With Black Sabbath, he was involved with the “Heaven and Hell” release in 1980. In 1981, “Mob Rules” came out. In 1982 “Live At Last” came out.

By 1983, he was about to release his eleventh album in 11 years.

While much of the talk these days is on Dio hiring Vivian Campbell, it was actually Jimmy Bain who had a larger influence on Holy Diver. It was Jimmy Bain that was hired first. It was Jimmy Bain who contributed musically to “Stand Up And Shot” and “Rainbow In The Dark”. It was Jimmy Bain who saw Vivian Campbell play with Sweet Savage.

Actually, if you look at the song writing credits you will see “Holy Diver” was written solely by Dio and “Stand Up And Shout” was written by Dio and bassist Jimmy Bain. Vivian Campbell’s contributions are “Gypsy” (with Dio), “Caught in the Middle” and “Invisible” (with Appice and Dio), “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Shame on the Night” (with Appice, Bain and Dio).

So have a drink for an unsung departed hero in  Jimmy Bain.

Stand Up And Shout
You’ve got the power, stand up and shout

The opening song and it’s a call to arms right off the bat. Written before Vivian Campbell joined the band, the opening riff was used again to great success by Iron Maiden in “2 Minutes To Midnight”. Quick, get the lawyers involved.

Lyrically the song deals with breaking away from conformity.  It was the same theme that Twisted Sister sold millions of albums on.

It’s the same old song
You gotta be somewhere at sometime
And they’ll never let you fly

The mysterious “they” could be your teachers, employers, leaders, mortgage brokers or some other entity/establishment who are holding you back.

You are the driver
You own the road
You are the fire — go on, explode

Damn right, we are our own driver but how many can truly say we made decisions without any influence from others.

Holy Diver
The lead single.

How good is that groove from Appice and Bain under the iconic riff. It’s the selling point of the song. Vocally, Dio is fantastic and the guitar solo from Campbell is shredalicious.

Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he’s clean

Only Dio knows what those lyrics mean however if you are looking for an explanation then go to SongMeanings. A user called “Nightrain50” posted the following;

“Holy Diver is about Jesus Christ’s descent into Hades after being crucified”.

Once you read the users lyrical breakdown, it sounds plausible.

The “Holy Diver” riff is that good, that the Foo Fighters used it in the pre-chorus of their song “Something From Nothing”.

Between the velvet lies
There’s a truth that’s hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life’s a never-ending wheel

The below is an example of the SongMeanings users break down of the above verse.

“Between the velvet lies” = velvet is gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination and a profit or gain beyond what is expected or due. Jesus is the velvet lie. His intentions are not clear. Satan has been fooled, he thought he had won when he had Jesus crucified, in fact he has sealed his own fate. Jesus is here to claim what’s his. All the souls of the fallen that will but believe in him can now be saved from Adam until now. Remember all fell short of the glory of God but one (Jesus), this means that all the prophets of the Old Testament were not reaching heaven. Not yet, but they are now.

“There’s a truth that’s hard as steel” = Truth is the word of God. Steel is the sword of Jesus’s mouth Rev 2:16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

“The vision never dies”= The vision is the law, Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. The law will never die because Jesus has finally fulfilled the law, allowing us to have eternal life with God through him.

“Life’s a never-ending wheel” = Death has been defeated. 1st Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Romans *:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It’s funny how a biblical interpretation has been made on “Holy Diver” that is pro-Jesus, and the person that wrote the song is known as the creator of the devil horn salute. Metal all the way is what I say.

Rainbow In The Dark
While “Holy Diver” and “Stand Up And Shout” warmed up the fan base it was “Rainbow In The Dark” that mobilised them and sealed the deal.

So depending on who you ask, it is pretty clear that a rainbow cannot exist in the dark, as rainbows require light. So is Dio using the term rainbow as an analogy for a “light” in the dark. Also, think of a rainbow as an entity and it found its way into the night. Is it lost? Is it lonely? Did someone abandon it?

It’s typical Dio, where the meaning can take many paths. Each verse line deals with a certain emotion.

When there’s lightning
You know it always bring me down

It’s about feeling down.

Do your demons,
Do they ever let you go?

It’s about giving in to our vices because they are always there.

We’re a lie
You and I
We’re words without a rhyme

It’s about a relationship going sour.

No sign of the morning

It’s like the light will never return into his life.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” and “Shame On The Night” musically are fantastic songs, but lyrically they are terrible.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Dee Snider wrote the tracks for “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” while “Under The Blade” was getting mixed. At that stage, Snider was a 10 year vet in the music business. He didn’t rely on sales of recorded music to provide him with a living. He earned his coin by delivering the goods on stage, night after night.

The band was a consistent crowd puller on the live circuit. You would think that would get them signed, however it didn’t. All the labels rejected them, until an independent label in Europe called “Secret” signed them. This in turn eventually led to Atlantic’s European division signing them for the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” album which in turn led to the U.S arm of Atlantic picking them up, once imported versions of the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” LP started selling in the U.S.

And if you want to hear about record label mistreatment look no further than Dee Snider.

The Kids Are Back
The opening track.

My cousin Mega is a hard-core Twisted Sister fan. He is the one that got me into the band. He even has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder. This was my first exposure to the band. The sound of the marching feet. It was perfect for the time.

We walk the streets
In tattered armies
We got the lion in our heart
We’re not lookin’ for trouble
Just for some fun
But we’re all ready if you wanna’ start

How can I put in words the trueness of this verse?

We just wanted to have fun, but man, if someone wanted to roll with us, we didn’t take a backward step. You can hear the anger build in Dee’s vocal delivery. It’s raw and it is honest. It is not auto tuned like all the other crap released today. It has a certain life to it.

I Am (I’m Me)
It’s a song that needed to be written, so that Dee could go on and write, “S.M.F”, “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. To me, it is like a back story to the main movie. It’s message is one of standing up for yourself.

Who are you to look down
At what I believe?

Notice how most of the lyrics have a certain trend showing. If you don’t believe me, compare the lyrics between these songs;

“Stand Up And Shout”, “The Kids Are Back”, “I Am (I’m Me)”, “Your No Different”, “Rock And Roll Rebel”, “Red Hot” and “Rebel Yell”.

The eighties were a time when the youth didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of what their fathers did. I didn’t want to work in the steel mills. I wanted something different, but I didn’t know what. For too long I had been conditioned to want something else.

We’re Gonna Make It is another song that needed to be written so that Dee could go on to write the classics.

The power of the people
Ain’t been showin’
It’s never what you know
It’s who you’re knowin’
Sure it ain’t right,
But as the saying goes its might
That decides who stays behind
And who’ll be goin’

It’s the A to Z in making it.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

Lift up your hands in praise
You can’t stop rock ‘n’ roll

You know, those words are so true because rock just keeps on evolving. Even when hard rock stopped being a dominant commercial force in the Nineties, another form known as Grunge Rock took over with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Then Alternative Rock took over with Foo Fighters and a renewed Pearl Jam. Then Modern Rock took over with Matchbox Twenty and Tonic. Nu-Metal came and it morphed into Heavy Rock. We had Rap Rock, then Pop Rock and Glam Rock came back again via “The Darkness” and we even had Industrial Rock via “Filter”, “Stabbing Westward” and others of that ilk.

It’s an angry steed,
On a never ending course

Damn right.

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

There is a lot of septic crap around this album especially around the politics of the song writing.

By 1983, Ozzy had lost the momentum that the Blizzard Of Ozz band started. From the original crew, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired and Randy Rhoads died tragically and if the tragedy didn’t happen, Rhoads was putting plans in place to leave Ozzy.

Ozzy’s saving grace was the US Festival. After the US Festival, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. It could have been George Lynch instead of Jake E. Lee. Maybe on Earth 2, there is a version with George Lynch replacing Randy Rhoads.

For Daisley, coming back into the Ozzy camp meant certain conditions. He wanted to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. He wanted bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came.

Writing by Daisley and Lee continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman engineering again. Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio. Sharon Osbourne was constantly on his case as to why the drum parts took so long to record. Time is money. After Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. If you see the “Bark At The Moon” video, Appice is on drums. He had a contract to do the tour and he got fired as well, because he was sneaking off and doing drum clinics.

Bark At The Moon
What a way for Jake E. Lee to introduce himself to the fans of Ozzy Osbourne. Jake E. Lee came up with the riff, Ozzy with the title and Bob
Daisley wrote the lyrics based on a Hammer Horror film story.

But Lee or Daisley are not credited as songwriters. Only Ozzy is.

With so much talk these days about plagiarism and other people taking credit for something they didn’t do, this is exactly what Sharon orchestrated for Ozzy. As it stands, Ozzy is listed as the sole songwriter and by default taking full credit for someone else’s work.

Bark at the moon
Ha ha ha ha ha…

One of my favourite lyrical lines is;

He finds his heaven
Spewing from the mouth of hell

There are a lot of people like that, who find their happiness by putting others down. Hell, the whole bully system is designed in this way. Internet trolls are exactly like this.

And if there was any doubt to the guitar mastery of Jake E. Lee then just listen to the outro solo.

“You’re No Different”
A lot of hate for this song because;

a) it’s a ballad,
b) it has keyboards,
c) it’s a ballad and
d) it’s a ballad with keyboards.

But man, coming off the stellar opening title track, it was a WTF moment, but it’s still a good song and there is no denying the lyrics from Daisley that deal with how people judged and perceived Ozzy.

Everything that I say and do
In your eyes is always wrong
Tell me where do I belong in a sick society

Where do we belong when everyone has their own thoughts and ideas? And why should our thoughts, ideas and words be so wrong, just because we are lower in the status chain.

Your’re no different, no different to me

Last time I checked, we all have a mortality of about 80 years and we all end up in the same place when it all comes to an end.

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes reflecting jealousy

I’ve said sorry many times when I never should have. It was purely an attempt to put a situation to rest and move on.

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try and understand
Is that blood that’s on your hand from your democracy?

Is there such a thing as pure truth as what I see from my point of view and my cultural upbringing is different to what another sees.

And again that outro has a lot of cool Jake E. Lee’isms.

“Rock And Roll Rebel”
It needed to be written so Jake could go and write “Lightning Strikes” because the riffs are identical except in different keys.

I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel
I’ll tell you no lies
They say I worship the devil
They must be stupid or blind
I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel

It’s a national anthem for us metal heads. “I’m a rock and roll rebel” was my favourite comeback line to my school teachers.

They live a life of fear and insecurity
And all you do is pay for their prosperity

Damn right, it’s called tax and mortgages. The best way to ensure that the majority still serve rich masters like in ancient empires is to create wages, income tax and credit loans. That way, the rich will get even richer and the rest of us will just pay for their prosperity.

That lead break from Jake again is brilliant. Arpeggios, bluesy pentatonic lines, fast legato lines and anything else he could fit in, he did.

“Waiting for Darkness”
The excellent album closer. It’s how Jake E. Lee decorates the song by palm muting and double-picking each note to create a staccato style effect. It’s very similar to how Andy Summers from The Police decorated songs.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how I’m not free. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”;

“New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”

Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
Motley Crue is another band that benefited greatly from the U.S Festival. 1983 is when the LA Sunset Strip Scene broke out as a commercial force.

On the backs of Motley Crue and Quiet Riot, suddenly the labels were looking for bands that looked and sounded like Motley Crue and Quiet Riot. Ratt, Dokken WASP, Kix, Krokus and Mamas Boys are a few bands that benefited from Motley Crue breaking out of the L.A Sunset Strip scene.

Other labels that had established bands made their bands look like Motley Crue. Y&T, Accept, Fastway, Whitesnake, Helix, Saxon, Kiss and Tygers of Pan Tang are a few bands that had a look and feel change to their wardrobes. But for the Crue, their changes had a lot to do with what was popular at the time. Metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were riding a wave of commercial prosperity. The Crue had the metal look and all they needed was the metal sound.

Enter the pentagram.

The “Shout At The Devil” album was primarily written while the band was still unknown and striving for success. You can hear the angst, rebellious youth and aggression in the music. You can hear the kilos of cocaine and decadent lifestyle in the music.

Tom Werman is on hand to produce. There is no denying the fact that Werman had a certain touch to get the albums sounding radio friendly.

Around this time there was a satanic backlash happen in the U.S. Motley Crue played into the controversy and as Vince Neil once said, they did anything that would get them attention.

Werman advised them that they could record their tracks separately and then fix up any mistakes after. This in turn led to a lot of down time. Down time equals partying. In the end, the Crue managed to get it together to record an album that was a product and snapshot of 1982/83.

“Shout At The Devil”
The funny thing is the band is accused of being satanic however they had the most Christian sounding title in “Shout At The Devil”. It is no different to “To Hell With The Devil” from Stryper. The main riff is a bluesy classic, in the vein of ZZ Top’s if played with a boogie feel.

But in the seasons of wither
We’ll stand and deliver
Be strong and laugh and
Shout-shout-shout
Shout at the devil

Nikki is channelling his love of Aerosmith and his rebellious street punk nature in the lyrics. He is part of the disenfranchised generation.

“Looks That Kill”
The L.A sound is all over this. The opening riff of “Looks That Kill” was copied from somewhere and then all of the LA bands copied each other with different variations. If you don’t believe me, check out Ratt and Dokken. The “Breaking The Chains” album has a song with a very similar riff and so does ”Out Of The Cellar”.

As good as the riff is; it’s the foot stomping beat from Tommy Lee that gets the song going. It’s metronomic and G-string tight.

Now listen up
She’s razor-sharp

Now she’s bulletproof
Keeps her motor clean
If Nikki was channelling Aerosmith in “Shout At The Devil”, well for “Looks That Kill” he was channelling Brian Johnson and “Back In Black”.

“Bastard”

Bastard
Won’t get screwed again

Written about their manager who funded their debut album and then split with the Elektra advance.

“Red Hot”
Tommy Lee is channelling “Overkill” from Motorhead with the drums.

Shout at the devil
We’ve laughed at your wars

The title track appears again in another song. It’s such a strong statement.

“Too Young to Fall in Love”

Again, it’s Tommy’s foot stomping and metronomic drumming that gets the song rolling and grooving.

Run for the hills
We’re both sinners and saints

“Knock Em Dead, Kid”
That intro riff from Mick Mars and the build-up from Tommy Lee is a foot stomper. It’s a call to arms.

In the heat of the night
You went and blackened my eyes
Well now I’m back, I’m back, I’m back
And I’m coming your way”

Lyrics about a fist fight. Nikki took a few hits and now he’s back for retribution. Brilliant

“Ten Seconds To Love”
Touch my gun
But don’t pull my trigger
Let’s make history
In the elevator
Or lock the door
Shine my pistol some more
Here I cum
Just ten seconds more

Sixx is a master at the tongue and cheek bubblegum sexual lyrics.

Bring a girlfriend
Maybe bring two
I got my camera
Make a star outta you

The Crue guys made stars of themselves and others with those camera’s many years later. How prophetic.

“Danger”
This one is one of those gems that is forgotten, telling a story about the bands early days.

“Danger, you’re in danger when the boys are around”

The Motley Crue lifestyle. It was danger. Hotel rooms got destroyed, cars got destroyed, Razzle died, Nikki Sixx died.

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

“Rebel Yell” is written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens.

Steve Stevens is merely a footnote in the pages of rock/pop and Digitech whammy noises. Tom Morello is seen as an innovator for doing the same thing that Steve Stevens was doing a decade before. Stevens only crime was big hair and big hair is not in to the people who write pop culture history.

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more, wow!

The Police – Synchronicity

It goes to show how one great song and two good songs could move millions upon millions of albums. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 are the ones.

“Every Breath You Take”
The big one. The songwriting credits state it was all Sting, however the way guitarist Andy Summers plays the stock A – F#m – D – E progression is what defines the song and sets it apart from all of the other pretenders.

“King Of Pain”
Gotye took the feel and chordal structure of this song and made it a hit again almost 30 years later. Quick, call the lawyers, we have plagiarism at its best.

There’s a king on a throne with his eyes torn out
There’s a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt
There’s a rich man sleeping on a golden bed
There’s a skeleton choking on a crust of bread

I’ll always be king of pain

Brilliant lyrics. All of those characters could have been Sting.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger”
Again, Summers takes centre stage with his intricate, melodic and delicious sounding guitar lines.

I can see the destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold
I’ll be wrapped around your finger

ZZ Top – Eliminator

“Gimme All Your Lovin’”
It kicks off the album that turned ZZ Top into superstars. And as all things to do with the Eighties it was on the back of MTV and their stylish videos that all kept the same theme going throughout.

You got to whip it up
And hit me like a ton of lead
If I blow my top
Will you let it go to your head?

Are the lyrics dealing with cumming on her face.

“Got Me Under Pressure”
All the trademarks of classic ZZ Top are here. The riffs, the solos, the jam like structures.

I’m gonna give her a message,
here’s what I’m gonna say:
“It’s all over.”

Man, it’s good the ZZ Top guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Premature ejaculation gets a verse.

“Sharp Dressed Man”
If “Gimme All Your Loving’” and “Got Me Under Pressure” were the combinations, then “Sharp Dressed Man was the knockout.
It’s a technological refined Southern Blues Rock boogie merged with a lot of pop sensibilities.

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

“Legs”
Six songs would have been enough for this album.

She’s got legs, she knows how to use them

The immortal lyric that everyone knows. But what about this one;

She’s got hair down to her fanny
She’s kinda jet set, try undo her panties

Fanny makes it in a hit song. Brilliant.

And based on the above, here is a sequenced list of songs for a 20 song double album. All killer, no filler.
Side 1
1. Bark At The Moon
2. Stand Up And Shout
3. Looks That Kill
4. Rainbow In The Dark
5. Every Breath You Take
Side 2
1. Rebel Yell
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Legs
4. You Cant Stop Rock And Roll
5. Holy Diver
Side 3
1. Red Hot
2. I Am (I’m Me)
3. Too Young To Fall In Love
4. Gimme All Your Lovin’
5. Waiting For Darkness
Side 4
1. The Kids Are Back
2. Wrapped Around Your Finger
3. Sharp Dressed Man
4. King Of Pain
5. Got Me Under Pressure

Stay tuned for Part II.

In case you didn’t get the title;

  • The Holy Roller is a combination of “Holy Diver” and “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll”.
  • The Devil Rocker is a combination of “Shout At The Devil” and “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll”.
  • The Synchronised Eliminator is a combination of “Synchronicity” and “Eliminator”
  • The Moon Rebel is a combination on “Bark At The Moon” and “Rebel Yell”.
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Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Even More Abuses Of Copyright

Copyright, copyright, copyright.

What kind of world do we live in, where a law that is meant to give a creator a monopoly on their works and encourage creativity for a certain period of time is being used for everything else except creativity.

First up is Axl Rose. In the past he has used copyright (via the DMCA Takedown Notice Scheme) to shakedown websites over album leaks and now (via a shonky firm called Web Sheriff) is using copyright to take down unflattering pictures of himself.

Here we have a Government law, (the DMCA) used in the name of copyright as a censorship tool without any consequences for fake claims.

Next, is a company called Smart Circle who is going after a WordPress blogger that is critical of the company. It looks like Smart Circle didn’t like seeing pictures of their Executive Team with devil horns and fire put up on the blog. So of course, the company sent WordPress a takedown notice, however WordPress left them online. Freedom of speech and fair use comes into play here. As the Torrentfreak article states;

Not pleased with this decision, Smart Circle asked the court for a DMCA subpoena against the blog owner, which a clerk has now signed off on. This means that the company can compel WordPress.com to hand over the personal details of the blog owner.

Yep, it’s nice to see how copyright gets abused to take down the voices of others.

Next.

AMC, the creator of “The Walking Dead” TV show and HBO the creator of “Game Of Thrones” are ramping up their abuses of copyright to take down websites that are “predicting” what would happen or who would die in the TV shows. In both instances, AMC and HBO are accusing the people behind the websites/Facebook pages of violating copyright law.

“What the?” is the first thing that comes to mind. Here the DMCA is being used in the name of copyright to silence fans of the TV shows from talking about them.

For “The Walking Dead” forum users, if they post who they believe their Lucille victim is and if they are right, then AMC will sue them. Well anyone who has read the comic books or gone to Wikipedia to catch up on the comic book stories will see that Glen is the Lucille victim. If the TV show chooses to run with that storyline then it’s no big secret is it.

So how does writing about it, lead to a copyright claim. Remember, copyright was designed to encourage creativity. It wasn’t designed to be used in a ridiculous manner by taking down websites/forums/Facebook pages, predicting what will happen in a TV show.

Then we have the many cases happening about “plagiarism” or “copyright theft” or “influence”.

“Stairway To Heaven” is going to court, almost 50 years after the song was released. Was copyright created to serve the heirs of creators and be used as a pension fund by these people.

Ed Sheeran is going to court because two Californian songwriters claim that they were ripped off. In a nut shell, the songwriters wrote a song called “Amazing” which was used by an X Factor winner and retitled “Amazing 2”. The songwriters then claim that “Amazing 2” was copied by Ed Sheeran and called “Photograph”.

“The chorus sections of Amazing and the infringing Photograph share 39 identical notes — meaning the notes are identical in pitch, rhythmic duration, and placement in the measure.”

Is Copyright designed to sue anyone who has a hit song because your song failed?

Of course not.

But every artist pours their blood, sweat and tears into their songs so they must be entitled to a piece of the pie in some way.

Their songs are their children so they must be entitled to something if a song that sounds similar to their song makes a connection with audiences. The fact that the songs these artists created in the first place are based on other songs that came before doesn’t seem to make it into the conversation.

Which is sad.

Jimmy Page is testifying that the passage in “Stairway” is a thousand years old and generational. However in a courtroom, in front of people who have no idea how music works, Page’s comments don’t hold much weight. These people don’t understand that music is a sum of many influences that our brain mixes together and when we create music, our brain blends what we have heard and stored and what comes out is unique and original. Their might be some overlap here and there, but doesn’t equate to plagiarism.

And when the same jurors are asked to assess the two songs based on various legalities, Page’s comments don’t benefit his case at all.

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

The Whole Damn Thing Has Turned To Dust

Tremonti windowed the release of “Dust” and kept it from Spotify for 4 weeks. This windowing process denies Spotify Premium fans a chance to listen to it. It’s discriminatory . It didn’t make me go out and buy the CD to hear it. I was actually tempted to search for it on the pirate sites to download it, however it just proved too much effort. And to purchase an mp3 just doesn’t come into the equation for me. And then YouTube, the service that pays less had it up.

Anyway, it feels like yesterday that I was listening to “Cauterize”. It was my number 7 for 2015 releases. So here we are almost a year later with “Dust”.

“In the words of the immortal YODA, a solid listen, this album is. An outstanding song, there is not. Intention of Tremonti, was not the hit single.”

It’s how I started my review of “Cauterize” and it still rings true for “Dust”.

Mark Tremonti has shown the world that he was the brains and driving force behind Creed. He kept his career trajectory going with Alter Bridge. In the downtime, he also started his own solo band.

After Creed finished up, he went away and mastered the art of shred. Along with his brother they formed Fret12. It’s a record label, book publisher (you should check out the “The Sound And The Story” specials and the diverse guitarists involved) and an overall one stop shop for all things Tremonti and other projects. His PRS guitars are state of the art and brilliant to play. Trust me on that one as I have one. The PRS through the 5150 is the perfect sound for me.

And via Alter Bridge, Tremonti is filling the void left behind by Led Zeppelin. Myles Kennedy is one of the best vocalists of the modern era ala Robert Plant and Mark Tremonti is a prolific writer and innovator ala Jimmy Page. And the real good musicians always rebuild their careers after their initial success. Jimmy Page did it after “The Yardbirds” and Mark Tremonti continues to do it after “Creed”.

Evan as “Dust” hits the streets, Alter Bridge are recording their next album. The work ethic is high.

“My Last Mistake”
It’s a thrash-a-thon. Like “Cauterize” before it, it’s a speed metal song. The chorus is excellent.

Just like tragedy
Folks line up to see
We forget and the problem’s gone
It just ain’t right to move on

It’s a sick symptom of society where we fail to hold to account, the people responsible for the tragedy. The GFC perps went on college speaking tours and high-five jobs at the financial firms they organised laws to benefit. They escaped unscathed, while the middle class and lower class got their homes foreclosed. Every time there is a shooting there is outrage, however nothing is done after on gun reform.

For all of the laws passed to spy on citizens in the name of terror, not one terrorist act have they stopped. And after each terrorist attack, our privacy and liberties erode a little bit more. The people need to hold to account the people responsible. But we cannot devote the time because the people responsible have us hooked line and sinker. We can’t take time of work because the income means more to us than the cause.

“Once Dead”
It’s another thrash-a-thon speed metal song, with a blast beat groove and a wicked arena rock chorus. It’s a great mix. Garrett Whitlock cements himself as a powerhouse drummer on this one.

We sink like a stone
Once dead once belonged

Sinking like a stone means to fail completely and once dead to me; means, your time is up. So in other words, the lyrics can be paraphrased as;
We have failed in life
And now our time is up

“Tore My Heart Out”
It’s a derivative version of “Dust” but unique enough to be a stand alone. Tremonti thought of changing the title because he didn’t want another song title with “heart” in it. “Another Heart” is on “Cauterize”. And that outro riff is like a crazy train going off the rails.

Show your will and do your part
Or be blind right from the start

“Catching Fire”
There is an interview with Tremonti (I think at whatculture.com) where he states the riff that starts the bridge, he’s had since high school. I dig little insights like that. You just don’t know when the time will come for an idea to blossom into a song.

The whole world’s catching fire again

“Betray Me”
How could you betray me
Remember hope, remember faith, remember trust

Venomous lyrics and sweep picking makes an appearance. Remember Malmsteen. Actually, how many fans of Creed/Alter Bridge, would know of Malmsteen?

“Dust”
But the piece de-resistance like “Providence” from the previous album is “Dust”. In the original track listing, “Dust” was the closer, however it got moved up to track number 4.

It grooves from the opening notes and it’s a song to define a career. The syncopated call and response of the riff and vocals, immediately hook you in.

You can hear the years of practice, the honing of his chops and how he called Shred teachers from the 80’s in Troy Stetina and Michael Angelo Batio to brush up his technique. Even after he sold 30 million plus records with Creed, he still worked at improving.

Tremonti stated that “’Dust’ is about how it feels to watch a close friend lose confidence in you.” And that’s what great songwriting is. Evidence of humanity.

And the Pre-Chorus, is a riff, building up to a Chorus that rocks hard with emotion and groove.

The whole damn thing has turned to dust
The ashes you left to bury us

There are other tracks on the album like;

“Rising Storm”
The song was meant to be called “Lay To Waste” however when Tremonti recorded the song in Garageband, it was called “Rising Storm” and the song title just stuck around.

“Unable To See”
It’s a derivative version of “Waters Rising” from Alter Bridge. The intro is from “The Sound and the Story DVD” and another musical idea that was written 20 plus years ago. Tremonti also stated over at whatculture.com;

“Unable to See” has some of the oldest parts on the entire record. The chorus of that song comes from a pre-chorus of a song I’d written for the One Day Remains record, the first Alter Bridge record, so that’s many years old, so there’s definitely some history scattered throughout.

Still we love to see a smile
But we are wronged by the ones that would never

If you take the relationship perspective to the lyric, it would be that we are surrounded by people who see the glass half empty and if you take a world view perspective, it would be about the terrorists who are trying to turn all of our cities into a desolate wasteland like their home city.

“The Cage”
Is that some chicken-picking going on masquerading as tapping? And the lyrics are very strong, almost venomous.

Take your words, they’re worth nothing, let your evil show

It’s another way to say, that the beliefs of people who try to affect our freedoms and liberties mean nothing to us and whenever their evil shows, they just push us together, something even the best intentioned governments couldn’t do.

“Never Wrong”
It could have been on an Alter Bridge album.

Tremonti is a guitar hero, as good as any of the Eighties shredders. He had multi-platinum success with Creed, an act that was devoid of guitar solos and lumped in with the Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock scene. It brought out the haters, jealous that a person who could shred, didn’t shred. In the end, people live and breathe on the songs they write, not on the guitar solos they write and Tremonti has built a consistent legacy. The pinnacle of his career in my eyes would be when his second act, Alter Bridge played the Wembley Arena. And dont be surprised if Tremonti the band get there as well.

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

Machine Head – Is Anybody Out There?

It blows me away the amount of negativity towards Machine Head.

Just reading a comments thread to anything Machine Head related and you get the usual comments like;

“Wow. Not only is Rob still trying to push a beef with Phil, he is trying to make money off it, with some Burning Red rap-rock sounding garbage. Waiting for him and Machine head to get out the Wanna-be Korn garb again.”
METAL INJECTION

“Wow. Quite the statement Robb. I’m really beginning to lose respect for Flynn with his incessant social justice rants. Gimme a break. Crap song too.”
METAL INJECTION

“I really hate the new Machine Head track, “Is There Anybody Out There?” – Any normal metal head alive, ever.”
METAL INJECTION

“Cuck Metal! A new genre for SJW Faggots.”
METAL INJECTION

“They grab Deep Purple’s iconic album title as their name, then the name of a classic Pink Floyd track from The Wall for their single…what’s next, an album called “Appetite for Destruction (Use Your Illusion)”?”
BLABBERMOUTH

“rob flynn, short fake tough guy…another boring metal song.
where’s the creativity??? come the fuck on flynn, i hope someone steals his guitar.”
BLABBERMOUTH

“Yes, Robb, somebody is out there. She returned your Dime guitar. Stop acting all lonely and kick some ass Blackening style.”
BLABBERMOUTH

“is this a greenday song”
BLABBERMOUTH

“Monster magnet called they want their lyrical phrasing back from the dopes to infinity song. When did machine head get a keyboard player? Weak as fuck song”
BLABBERMOUTH

“Ah yes….the guy who spewed racial slurs in the past himself, hoping on the high horse. Sorry Robb, but you showed your true colors, dropping a few racial slurs yourself and laughing when Gary Holt and Jeff Hanneman were photographed doing the Nazi salute”
BLABBERMOUTH

So, I’m listening to the new song “Is There Anybody Out There?”

And as you have seen above, a lot of comments on Machine Head taking an album title as a band name and then taking a song title of another band as their own song title. There is a lot of entitlement happening here.

Words are words, and the phrase “Is Anybody Out There?” has really been around for a very long time, and long before Pink Floyd used it for a song title.

Anyway, back to the song.

It’s different. Dare I say it’s a punk rock song. The whole verse structure is reminiscent of a punk rock song merged with a Rammstein vibe. The chorus is arena rock/metal and overall, it’s a pretty good and enjoyable listen.

As a guitarist I would have loved a lead break, but the lack of one doesn’t detract from the song in any way. It’s a fucking good song and a lot better than some of the stuff that has come out of late.

On the press release, Robb Flynn said that “the song is about love, loneliness, racism, and not getting what is going on in the world, or America. It’s very much about current events, but it applies to a bigger picture.”

I was born as a bastard, no father, no master,
A shadow in silence left searching for answers
Put up for adoption and left with no option
Another kid fostered to fester forgotten

It’s deep and personal. A lot of unresolved issues are still festering.

Is there anybody out there?
Anybody listening to me?
Is anybody else scared?
The paranoia, drops me to my knees
Does anybody feel lonely?
Disconnected from the things I see
Is there anybody out there?
Anybody out there just like me?
I’m choking on these words and I can’t breathe

Based on the chorus the song could have had many titles. Once upon a time, before the world-wide web, we all asked the same question. Is there anybody out there that feels and thinks just like me? We thought that once we got more connected, those feelings would pass. Instead we feel disconnected even more.

Now I stand as a father, to men with no honor
Ashamed of the racists I used to call brothers
Cause no flag can mean bravery,
when bloodied by slavery,
The rebel, a devil, disguised as a savior
And the sickening feeling in the air
Is the fear to speak that no one dares

The verse that has coped a lot of criticism. I have no idea why. It’s easy to make a connection to Anselmo, but man, the whole world has blood on their hands when it comes to racism. Racial discrimination is ripe in every walk of life and circle of life. Maybe its people just hating on Robb for wearing an orange jumpsuit once upon a time.

The question I hear a lot is what should Machine Head sound like. They have covered a lot of musical ground when it comes to their sound. Some popular and some not so popular.  There is no denying that the trajectory they have taken since 2003 has been fantastic as they pursued thrash metal and technical thrash metal. And then on the last album and this new song, they scale back a little bit.

Is that a bad thing?

Not at all. As long as Robb Flynn keeps making music, I’m fucking buying. Rock On. \::/

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