There was a brief moment in the 80’s where we all had a similar vision of our world which involved standing up against the institutions and fighting for our rights. Maybe it was all fake (but man it felt real) and maybe we all stood together because there was nothing else. But between 1983 and 1985, metal and rock fans stood together as one.
But then bands started to run into trouble. Those platinum highs between 1983 and 1985, started to disappear. The vision wasn’t shared anymore. It wasn’t rock and metal anymore standing as one. There was rock, hard rock, glam rock, heavy rock, thrash rock, technical rock and the same deal happened with metal. The record label PR machine just kept the different genre’s coming. Different magazines came out that focused on genres. Don’t expect to see a Whitesnake interview in a thrash metal magazine.
Suddenly it wasn’t cool to like death metal and glam metal bands. Elitists popped up in each new record label created genre that basically bullied others if they had eclectic musical tastes. But I seriously believe the reason why metal and rock grew to become a commercial force is because we all made connections with each other. The tribe is what made the records great. We talked about them, we traded them, we dubbed them for our friends. And when connections happen, the movement keeps on growing. Until we became divided.
Hanoi Rocks – Back To Mystery City
I can’t say I am a fan of the solo work of Michael Monroe, however this album has that 60’s rockabilly vibe that Volbeat is renowned for today. I remember watching a documentary about how 60’s music from the US and UK made its way into other European countries in the 70’s, so it was no surprise in the 80’s to get rock bands from Finland, Norway and Denmark that had influences from the 60’s.
It’s unfortunate that most people know of Hanoi Rocks because of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley’s death in a car accident while being drunkenly driven by Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil. All death is tragic. If Razzle’s injection in 1982 never happened, the band probably would have broken up. And his death in 1985 ended the band.
“Malibu Beach Nightmare” has got that “Surfing In the USA” drum feel and if it was released in the 60’s it wouldn’t be out of place. Hell, it’s not even out of place in the 80’s. You can picture yourself on any beach enjoying this song.
I wanna stay in the sun
I gotta have my fun
Who didn’t want to stay in the sun once upon a time? Then people started dying from skin cancer and suddenly long exposure to the sun became a bad thing. Still, when summer rolls around, all we want to do is stay in the sun.
“Until I Get You” is an interesting song. It’s a mixture between glam, rock and new wave and the feel of the song is intoxicating.
I’ve seen you many times before
For each time you mean more
You have seen the person on various occasions and various places and with each viewing, the heart grows fonder. But the feelings are not reciprocated.
Until I get you…
I’ll be dreaming of you every night
And all of my time
But the other half is not interested right now, so all we have is our dreams.
“Beating Gets Faster” is also another interesting song with it’s mixture of so many eras. A love-song written by Monroe and McCoy.
I never dream of being a millionaire
Money can’t buy a love affair
We think by being loaded we’ll be happy. A look at the ones who are loaded and all you hear and see are the various break ups and what not. And after this album, Hanoi Rocks secured a major label deal with CBS which eventually led them to that fateful night in 1985. I guess money can’t buy everything.
Talking Heads – Speaking in Tongues
David Byrne is in the news because of his views/lawsuits over the lack of royalty payments from streaming services instead of anything creative. Which is a shame, because copyright has allowed artists to rest on their past successes when it was never intended to do so.
“Burning Down the House” is the song that sold this album. It was everywhere. One of my hard rock bands in the 90’s even covered the song in a rock context.
And it’s for this song that David Byrne has gone to war against streaming services. But his war should be against the label that holds his copyright and the publishing company. Not against the streaming service. If anything, the streaming service is providing a basic service that the record labels should be responsible for providing. And remember, copyright’s original intention was to give the creator a monopoly on his works for a limited time (so they can monetise their work and if popular make some money) so they have an incentive to create more works. Under the original Copyright terms, this song would be out of Copyright in 2011.
But Copyright is a corporation controlled business. They would give popular artists a few million for the rights to administer their catalogue of songs which would please the artist in the short term and reap massive dividends for the corporations in the long term. And then when the artist passes away, the corporations would give a few million to the heirs which would please the heirs in the short term and reap massive dividends for the corporations in the long term. But Copyright was meant to protect the artists while they alive and creating. Not when they are alive and not creating or dead and not creating.
Streets – 1st
Streets was the creative musical outlet for Steve Walsh in between his departure from Kansas and subsequent return. It’s a band made up of Walsh on vocals and keys, guitarist Mike Slamer, bassist Billy Greer, and drummer Tim Gehrt. The debut LP was released 1983 on Atlantic Records. The deal was negotiatied with one manager and subsequently destroyed by another manager. Neil Kernon was on hand to produce, however he bailed on them and guitarist Mike Slamer finished it off.
Atlantic just threw our Streets albums against the wall, and if they stuck, fine. But they weren’t willing to go out on a limb and do any kind of promotion for it, so they didn’t stick. We’re talking “hair god” days, back in 1984. Well, we weren’t “hair gods,” we were guys who were really good. That band was and is real good. Atlantic won’t even release them on CD. Neither Streets album is out on CD and don’t ask me why. Somebody really upset them greatly.
Steve Walsh (Walsh actually got a lawyer to get the albums back from Atlantic and Rock Candy re-released the Streets albums recently)
We got our deal with one manager and Doug Morris came to see us and we did a showcase, and he signed us. Steve decided that he didn’t like this manager and we got Derek Sutton, who used to be Styx’s manager. As it turns out, from what I understand, Derek (Sutton) got into it with Doug and the rest is history. We got pretty much canned. We did the album (Crimes In Mind) and there was no push behind it. There are so many people who wonder why that band didn’t do better. I thought we had a good album.
Streets manager had pissed off the president of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris, and he said ‘screw this band’. If he didn’t like the manager, then he was known to do that. We kind of got dropped through the cracks.
You might have come from a big name band, but that didn’t mean you had any power. The record label bosses, if wronged, could destroy a career at will. Ask Dee Snider and how Elektra destroyed his Desperado project. Even though the internet distribution chain was meant to level the playing field, the record labels still have control over who makes it or who doesn’t.
“Cold Hearted Woman” is written by an outside writer called Marty Conn. The origins of the song go back to 1978, when Marty Conn, fresh off a tour with the Whitford-St.Holmes band took a few musician friends into the studio to record a few tunes he had written. “Cold Hearted Woman” was one of those tunes and the bass player on the original recording is Billy Greer.
You said you wanted a lover
Now I know there have been quite a few
When it all goes to hell in a relationship, the past is used as the final insult. And guys really can’t handle that the person they love was with someone else.
“So Far Away” is written by Steve Walsh.
We came so close to love
Before you walked away
Now broken promises
Are all I’ve got today
Chalk it up to a lesson learned
Maybe next time love will stay
So close, so far away
We all want to be loved but man sometimes its so taxing on our heart and mind, we want love to be close but so far away.
“Fire” is written by Gehrt, Slamer and Walsh. This song is a pretty cool progressive number. The keyboard intro is good enough to hook me in and when the whole band comes in, the foot is tapping and the head is nodding. It’s almost like Rainbow meets Kansas.
The worlds on fire
Let’s look at our world in a nutshell. The rich control the government and the laws while religion is still causing wars and people still kill in the name of god. Then you have racial tensions between different colours even though we all bleed the same colour. In each democratic country we are seeing more examples of corrupted capitalism. And when it comes time to vote in new leadership, we vote the better option of two bad options.
And with all of the invasion of privacy of our governments, they still can’t stop a terror attack or a mass shooting. If an Islamic person carried out the shooting in Vegas, the U.S would be on high alert and travel warnings would be in place. Instead, it’s one of their own and it’s business as usual.
How cool is that progressive interlude/solo section from the 2 minute mark?
This place is where no man should be
Sometimes the social jungle around us is so toxic, we need to get out.
Eric Martin Band – Sucker for a Pretty Face
I had Paul Gilbert on my radar because of Racer X and the Shrapnel label, and of course Billy Sheehan was on my radar because of his work with Talas and then his high profile bass playing gig with David Lee Roth on “Eat Em And Smile”. So when I heard a new band was getting put together with these two guys, I was interested to know who the singer was and to be honest, back then, Eric Martin was an unknown. But 6 years before Mr Big became platinum darlings, Eric Martin was just another artist trying to make it in a world of similar artists.
This album is a great piece of AOR Melodic rock. Actually, the first time I heard this album was well into the 2010 + decade. Yep, that’s almost 30 years from when it was released.
Sucker For A Pretty Face
It’s a cool melodic rock song that just works for me. The lyrics are old and overused, but who cares.
She’s as fast as a train in the station
Like a dangerous drug from a pharmacy
Well, I’m a sucker for a pretty face
I can’t judge a book by its cover
Sucker for a pretty face
The same old story
Who isn’t a sucker for a pretty face?
I know my time will come when she leaves me
For another sucker for a pretty face
Yep, it’s only a matter of time before they move on.
I dig the piano riffs and the vocal melodies on this song. It works perfectly.
Almost everything I do
Seems to get back to you
Almost everything I say
Has its day in court
These days, everything is out on social media. There is no escaping the copy society the internet has created. So if you want to be famous, expect your private life to become a public life. And don’t take photos of yourself in different stages of undress.
Ten Feel Tall
Again the intro just hooks me in. I swear “Revolution Saints” must have used this album as a template for their debut.
Oh, you don’t remember me
I’m the man without a name
It’s always the same, I get lost in the shuffle
It’s never easy trying to get the attention of someone.
She’s got a nerve
You’ve gotta stand up, down
Look like you’re ten feet tall
Show a little pride, you overcome some
Sadness inside before you fall
Gotta look ten feet tall
The Chorus is hooks galore.
Just Another Pretty Boy
I heard “Just Another Pretty Boy” in the excellent “Thunder Alley” movie. For a movie on wanting to be a rock star, I think it puts the actual “Rock Star” movie to shame.
The intro again just hooks me in.
Many times I know love is blind
You’ve gotta take it slow I know he’s the kind
The pre-chorus works with the melody and the riff doing a great build up to the chorus.
Just another pretty boy, just another pretty boy
He’ll use ya like a toy, just another pretty boy
Yeah the lyrics are dumb, but you can’t help but sing along.
Shooting Star – Burning (1983)
How wasn’t this album a big hit?
Maybe because they were on Virgin Records, a label known for new wave and low on funds, so when a rock album landed in their laps they had no idea how to promote.
Our first managers were stealing us blind, so we fired them. They were record promotion guys and I think they blackballed us to a lot of radio stations. Another thing that happened was that we signed to Virgin and they had absolutely no money at the time. We did not know that when we signed with them.Later, we signed with Geffen and we put out Silent Scream and Geffen got in a fight with all the radio promo guys and they fired them the week our album came out. We had 200 ads on radio, out of 300 reporting stations the first week. “Summer Sun” was being added everywhere and it looked like the album would be a smash. After the fight with the promo guys it dropped to 40 stations. What do you do?
Van McLain – Shooting Star
Imagine yourself dreaming of making it. The roads you take are all part of the journey to make it. Sometimes for days, months or even years, you have no clue where you are going. But then you get some breaks, a bit of luck and you get a record deal. You spend months in the studio, then the record comes out and the label that signed you, doesn’t care about your music as much as you do.
So what do you do?
Do you give up or continue?
So many people who contribute nothing to culture make money from the artist who actually creates art that culture consumes. And it’s an unfortunate world that these faceless people can either destroy or make an artists’ career.
This song is just like life, with more questions than answers, but you’ve got no other option than to keep on moving on.
Moving straight ahead
Straight into the fire
It’s the only way to live. Moving forward never stalling as intent opens the door to forward motion.
Don’t tell me to slow down
I got no time to wait
Don’t tell me to hold back
Gotta keep running
Isn’t it a life lesson for us all?
We are a short time alive and a long time dead. We need to keep moving as time waits for no one.
Go For It
The music is brilliant in this song. It’s like a cross between Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and Led Zeppelin. Then there is a section that is progressive and very reminiscent of Kansas.
Let me tell you go for it
Life… It’s about experiences. Live long enough and you’ll realize you get stronger with the lessons you learn. And you rue the days when you failed to go for it. When fear stopped you from reaching higher.
“Burning” could have appeared on a Journey album before “Don’t Stop Believin’” pushed Journey through a different door and into a different musical direction. However once upon a time a version of Journey existed which wasn’t scared to jam and take you on a musical journey. “Shooting Star” capture that vibe here.
The fire is burning in everyone
To change is to take a journey. And that journey is not pain free or stress free. You can’t change without the stress. They go hand in hand. And the fire to change and be somebody is in all of us. But a lot of us, take a stress free journey and waste away.
“Winner” has this Euro-vibe “Deep Purple” meets “Kansas” vibe happening which I dig.
You gotta be tough
Or be broken in two
We all have to pick ourselves up off the floor at some point when we don’t win and this song is a great soundtrack.
Feel it in our hearts
We’re the winners
A lot of other important things matter more than the results, like relationships, families, laughter and memories. You have those, you’re a winner.
Train Rolls On
I don’t need a reason to feel like I do
I live like I want to, I can’t wait for you
We don’t always have all the answers, but we make the best of life.
My life is like a freight train
Running down the track as the train rolls on
Everybody needs a friend
And the touch of a lovers hand
You’ve either been in relationships or you’re afraid of them. So many hold back, stay away as they don’t want to share as they are scared of change. And people do change you. When there is a connection it’s exhilarating and when there’s a disconnection, it takes years to recover. And some never ever do.
Hold on to your dreams
Sometimes it’s all we’ve got especially in a world spiralling out of control.
The lead break in the outro is too short. It needs to go longer and fade naturally.
Meatloaf – Midnight At The Lost and Found
“Bat Out Of Hell” was such a monster album both commercially and critically, anything that came afterwards just couldn’t compete. Meatloaf was the most imperfect front man you could get. But he put so much energy into his performance, it was genuine.
Midnight At The Lost And Found
It’s written by Marvin Lee Aday, Steve Buslowe, Paul Christie and Danny Peyronel. Meatloaf was a performer. Other people wrote his songs. Jim Steinman is the man behind the big ones, however the song writing committee on this album is not bad either.
Put your hand up if you knew that Marvin Lee Aday is Meatloaf. Bassist, Steve Buslowe worked with Paul Stanley, Jim Steinman, Bonnie Tyler, Aldo Nova and many other artists. Paul Christie is an Australian bassist/songwriter, who worked with a lot of Aussie acts like AC/DC and Mondo Rock, while Danny Peyronel is a Juilliard School trained keyboardist and associated with a string of high profile acts like UFO and Pink Floyd.
Hey Ricky, now mine is empty
How about one for you
We could set it out together
Seems tomorrow’s overdue
The scene is set. We are all drinking at the bar.
Midnight at the lost and found
Lost souls in the hunting ground
A remedy for all your ills
At the lost and found
Mmm, is the remedy, alcohol?
Wolf At Your Door
It’s basically a re-write of “Hurt So Good” John Cougar Mellencamp. This song is written by Marvin Lee Aday and Steve Buslowe.
Workin’ your life to the bone
There’s a wolf at your door
He wants your money, wants your soul
A wolf at your door
You give it all, he wants more
There’s a wolf at your door
There is so much truth in the above. The wolf comes in many different disguises, the bank man, the tax man, the gas man, the electricity man, the ISP man, the grim reaper man, the lawman, the government man and so forth. So many wolves are waiting to take away your life’s work.
Aldo Nova – Subject
“Fantasy” was such a massive song, anything else that came after would be compared to it.
Cry Baby Cry
It’s very similar musically to “Fantasy”.
It’s a perfect example of melodic rock, especially the harmony guitars that kick it off and lead in to the shredalicious solo break.
Always Be Mine
This is a keyboard heavy Journey style AOR rocker.
Let’s talk it over now
We both have a lot to say
Let’s get it over now
We can’t let it go this way
Sometimes talking it over, leads to more talking about the words said in the talking it over part.
It’s just a game we play
We look at love through eyes so blind
So don’t give your love away
Cause in my heart you’ll always be mine
Baby, you’ll always be mine
As Yoda said, “No, another there is”. Relationships are the same.
All Night Long
The chorus guitar riff is very similar to a certain song by Journey called “Don’t Stop Believin’”. I dig it and it rocks.
That’s it for Part 9 and I will close off 1983 with Part 10 soon.