Music, My Stories

Happy and Sad

“Humans are not designed to be happy, or even content. Instead, we are designed primarily to survive and reproduce, like every other creature in the natural world. A state of contentment is discouraged by nature because it would lower our guard against possible threats to our survival.”

The quote above is from an article I read in The Conversation.

Humans, by natures creation, are designed to survive and the fact that they are alive, should make them happy. But it doesn’t. And there is a billion dollar industry preaching self-help guides to happiness and what not.

As the article states, “even when all our material and biological needs are satisfied, a state of sustained happiness will still remain a theoretical and elusive goal”.

Advertisers have done a great job telling the public that their lives are crap and if they got the product they are advertising, it would make their life so much better and they will be happy.

Remember computers were meant to create the paperless office. Advertisers marketed that to companies. I work in an office and papers are still here.

Maybe our natural design to not be happy is a big reason why minor key music is so popular, as the minor key is known as the “unhappy” key and metal/hard rock music is awash with songs in minor keys.

If you even go back to the masters like Beethoven, Bach, Paganini and Mozart, their most popular works are concertos in a minor key.

There is a YouTube video of a guitarist playing metal songs in a major key instead of the minor keys they’re normally in. Check it out and hear the difference between major and minor. Slayer actually sounds cool in a major key, but it’s not the same impact.

My life overturned, unfair the despair
All these scars keep ripping open

Mudvayne’s “Happy” was anything except happy. Referencing a relationship breakdown, the song is saying, I gave up a lot of who I was to you, it put me in a dark place doing so and you were never happy.  

Peel me, from the skin
Tear me, from the rind
Does it make you happy now?
Tear me, from the bone
Tear me, from myself
Are you feeling happy now?

How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to make someone else happy?

We do this in a friend relationship, a love relationship, a work/professional relationship.

Love yourself first, be who you are and it will fall into place.

“If you are unhappy at times, this is not a shortcoming that demands urgent repair, as the happiness gurus would have it. Far from it. This fluctuation is, in fact, what makes you human.”

So what we can do about it, because no one really wants to live in a state of unhappiness?

As doctors and psychiatrists are very keen to prescribe pills because it’s too hard to analyse that a persons current state of mind and feelings could be due to other reasons.

Remember advertisers from day dot, have made it their task to make us all feel like we are missing something or we have problems, and they offer something as a solution to our problems.

And these days, advertisers are not just marketing companies, it is your best friends on social media, making you feel inadequate as they post away their glorious lives.

Love yourself, love your family and friends and follow your interests, instead of caring how your other friends (otherwise known as undercover haters) see you. Don’t let their words affect you because there viewpoints don’t matter not one little bit.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Anyone Still Watch Film Clips?

Once upon a time music videos used to cost anywhere between $100K to a cool million. Of course all charged to the band by the record labels. There was no way the label would pay this out of their goodwill bank account or the bank account which shows how the labels have recouped the monies spent on the album a thousand times over.

And a good song with a good clip would push a bands record into the platinum sphere.

Twisted Sister went platinum on the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” album because the film clip of the title track was excellent.

It had a story theme of the “noise police” chasing the band around the city for “noise violations”. And while the noise police were doing their job, the rock and roll/heavy metal music they were exposed to, was slowly converting them into metal/rock heads.

As MTV grew in its reach, so did the artists that got rotation on it. They went triple platinum on “Stay Hungry” from the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” film clips.

But artists believed that the film clip existed to break them into the mainstream. It didn’t.

How their music connected with fans was the secret sauce that would provide the artist with an audience that could sustain their career.

Because while music film clips could propel an artist’s career forward, it could also kill an artist’s career.

Did someone say Billy Squier?

So what is the aim of the film clip these days?

Queen recently had a post that stated “Bohemian Rhapsody” had surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube.

So is the point of the film clip to get as many hits online as an artist possibly can.

If it is about marketing the band and promoting awareness, what comes next?

There’s no doubt that a music video can be crucial to an artist’s success.

Just think of “Gangnam Style”. The dance moves is a huge reason why the song went into the stratosphere. And you saw those moves in a film clip.

If you are not using the music clip to connect with your audience and build a fan base, then it is a large expense for zero results.

I haven’t watched a film clip since I stopped watching music television in the late 90s. Maybe seeing Steve Tyler coveting his dick in Living On The Edge” was enough for me to know that this medium had done its course.

In saying that, I do believe that the music video is a valuable tool especially in these current times even if they don’t watch it and use it to listen to the music.

Because fans want instant access, instead of waiting for a music television show to play their favorite clip, or requesting a music television show to play their favorite clip, they can just call it up on YouTube.

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

The Record Vault – Adrenaline Mob

Omertà

2012 gave us “Omerta” and I was very intrigued to hear the metal project that involved Portnoy.

It is a balls to the wall metal classic in the style of Accept, Scorpions, Dio merged with the new metal stylings of Disturbed and Godsmack. “Undaunted”, “All On The Line”, “Angel Sky”, “Indifferent” and “Hit The Wall” are worthy additions to any metal bands setlist.

The cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” is also a fitting metal tribute to a pop tune.

The album was number 4 on my list for releases in 2012, that’s how high I rated it.

I hold the vocal talents of Russell Allen and the guitar talents of Mike Orlando in high regard. And Mike Portnoy commands the drum kit.

2013 gave us “Coverta” and 2014 gave us “Men Of Honour”.

“Men Of Honour” is a really good solid hard rock / heavy metal album in the same vein as all of the great hard rock albums of this genre from the Eighties.

And that is what Adrenaline Mob essentially is. Seasoned professionals collaborating on a hard rock project. For some reason they remind me of Night Ranger and how all those band members had past successes with previous bands.

Listening to “Men Of Honour”, it comes across as a band having fun and man it rocks hard and it is saturated with groove.

“The Mob Is Back” has that Eddie Van Halen “Eruption” thing for the first minute before it moves into the actual song. Remember the era when bands used to write songs purely for the rock n roll show instead of the charts. Well, this is one such song. It is a live song. A song to let our hair down to and rock away.

“Turn out the lights, we are all here tonight, We came to throw down, the Mob’s back in town.”

I don’t know what to call Orlando’s guitar style. One term I have for it is “Technical Chaos”. He has the chops, but he plays more with improvised abandonment then precision and I like that.

I always saw Adrenaline Mob as a band that will make their money from touring and merchandise because their songs sound like they are specifically written for the live show.

2015 gave us “Dearly Departed”.

In between, Mike Portnoy left and AJ Pero came in. They went on tour and AJ Pero died. Bassist, John Moyer also left and other bassists came in.

Finally, Adrenaline Mob would release one more album, “We The People” in 2017. I don’t own it but I stream it.

As expected, they went on tour and an accident on the road, claimed the life of bassist David Z and their tour manager. The other guys also suffered injuries. Mike Orlando has said in recent interviews, that there are too many scars to go back to the Mob but anything is possible.

So we wait.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Master Of Scalpers

The Forbes article.

It’s a fucked up world when Metallica scalps it’s own tickets. 88,000 Metallica tickets went to a reseller before they were even offered to the fans/public.

And for one simple reason.

More profits.

They believe that the market value of a Metallica ticket is considerably higher than the selling value. Well if they believe the tickets are worth more, put up the price. People will either pay it or they won’t pay it. The Rolling Stones did that 5 or so years ago and guess what, a week before the shows, the tickets got dramatically reduced so the venue fills up.

Metallica is an organization today, however before it became one, its fan base was built on their fan centric connections, like tape trading and allowing fans to film their shows.

Would Metallica (the band) have known about the shady practice of scalping their own tickets?

Maybe.

The truth is, the act is always in control.

I’m sure the band will do a press release blaming Ticketmaster, but the truth is Ticketmaster does what Metallica wants.

From a band point of view, it’s a good thing that concert tickets are selling, but is it worth ripping your fans off when thousands of tickets are sold in the first minute to StubHub, which then put the tickets up at a higher price.

Wouldn’t you want your fans to have first dig at these tickets?

The again, once upon a time people liked to buy tickets 6 to 8 months in advance, but these days people also like to buy tickets a few weeks before the gig because life is unpredictable. It’s a big reason why StubHub has grown into a huge business.

The demand for tickets is insane. Just look at the numbers Metallica is doing in Europe.

And if Metallica is doing it, they are all doing it. The Gunners, Jovi, AC/DC and any touring act who has a rabid fan base.

Why should someone else get the profits when the band can?

And are the people who are buying the StubHub tickets real fans, the ones who will support the band through the hard times?

Other articles portray these people who pay top dollar at StubHub as people who have dollars to burn and they want to say they went to the show, take a selfie of being there and move on to the next band because it’s the cool thing to do. And they normally buy very close to the show.

For me, I haven’t been to a Metallica show since the St Anger tour. The prices then were excessive, and at that point in time I put it down to our Australian dollar being very weak compared to the US dollar.

And I watched a great energetic show but I still remember Lars not playing any of the double kick bits from the St Anger songs and Kirk being sloppy and very improv in his leads, which didn’t work for me.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Saying No

Everyone wants to be good, but how many are ready to make sacrifices to be great. Even before social media, a lot of people wanted to be liked so they tried to be nice. And being liked is different to being good which is different to being great.

I read an article on Warren Buffet a few days ago. Basically he states, the habit that separates successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

Would that work in music when artists are tempted to say yes to everything and everyone wants to be liked, too scared to hold a point of view.

Label: Sign your rights away for life plus 70 years and we’ll give you a million dollars.

Artist: Yes please.

And the only way to be great is to build your experiences, learn from them and make mistakes.

Because somewhere in the back of your mind, you had a vision of what you want to be. Read the stories of your heroes and make your own judgements about how they used their experiences and mistakes to be who they are. Be critical in your reading.

Nothing is impossible.

Which is different to what they tell you at school. At school they tell you things and ask you to remember them. The better you can remember things, the better the marks you get and the better the qualifications you get.

And the people who can remember things get employed because of their past wins (qualifications) and not on their future desire to be somebody.

Because the people at school who had no interest in remembering things, had a greater desire and ambition to be somebody who will eventually overtake the qualified people.

To paraphrase Jen Sincero from “You Are A Badass”, you need to do things you’ve never done, to live a life you’ve never lived.

And remember you start with nothing and from that nothing, you find a way to make something.

So get to it.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Avalon

When I pulled the “Mystic Places” CD off the shelf, I couldn’t remember a track on it or even how it sounded. I don’t know why I purchased it nor do I remember what triggered the purchase.

And I just gave it a spin. And its Euro Metal mixed with a bit of progressive rock, like Queensryche/Marillion progressive rock.

“I’m Falling” is track two and it’s about a king, who doesn’t like to do the deeds that Kings need to do.

Confused.

Read on

“Through The Eye Of The End” reminds me of Marillion in the start and lyrically, its referencing “nuclear war” but by 1997, the Cold War was long gone, but in the minds and hearts of the people who lived through it, the fear of it still remained.

“Burning Down The House” has no similarities to the other song with the same title and lyrically it’s about a man on cold winter days who is caught in the red hot burning heat of fire and how isolation kills what friendship means.

If you are confused, I’m still confused.  

The instrumental “Isolation” reminded me of Queensryche and then when “Blind Dance” kicks in, I felt like I was listening to Malmsteen merged with Dream Theater.

Anyway, musically, the band had some chops, but lyrically and vocally, it was raw and I quickly moved on to something else.

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

1979 – Part 6 – The Music Community

Finally I have wrapped up the year that was 1979.

The first post came out in February, 2018. The second post came out in November, 2018. The third post came out before the second post in September, 2018 because I forgot to schedule the second post. The fourth post also came out in November, 2018. The fifth post came out in February, 2019 and here we are.

If you are interested in the previous posts, here they are;

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Here is the playlist for 6.

Dire Straits – Communique

“Money For Nothing” and “Walk Of Life” were the songs that took Dire Straits into the stratosphere. MTV loved em, so they kept playing em. And I was interested. Guitarist and singer Mark Knofler didn’t appear in magazines a lot in the 80’s, maybe because his look was seen as old by the magazine editors and feared that the youth would not buy, but when the guitar mags did get a chance to interview him, he came across as really keen to talk about music, his sound, his finger picking guitar style and I was sold.

And suddenly on the radio, I was hearing songs like “Lady Writer” and “Romeo and Juliet” and I was all in. 

Once Upon A Time In The West

The reggae rhythm, the country/western leads and a subdued vocal line, all come together into a perfect song.

Some people get a cheap laugh breaking up the speed limit
Scaring the pedestrians for a minute
Crossing up progress driving on the grass

Owning a car, keeping it clean and mean was a rite of passage once upon a time in the 80’s. Now the kids are quite happy to drive their parents car, as long as they have all the tech they need. Hell, my 12 year old son is already complaining his iPhone 6 is too old and he needs a new one.

Yes it’s no use saying that you don’t know nothing
It’s still gonna get you if you don’t do something
Sitting on a fence that’s a dangerous course

More so today than ever. You need to exercise your vote, use your voice and own it. But the media companies want to bully you into supporting their viewpoint and the social media companies want you to be liked and suddenly you begin your day to accumulate likes, instead of being who you are. Then again, if likes is what you want to be, then all the best to it. China’s social credit system is looking for people like you.

Oh, you could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force
Even the hero gets a bullet in the chest
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west

Everyone thought Ned Stark would save Westeros, instead he lost his head. Heroes are always written after the fact.

Mother Mary your children are slaughtered
Some of you mothers ought to lock up your daughters
Who’s protecting the innocents
Heap big trouble in the land of plenty
Tell me how we’re gonna do what’s best

Most are pushing their own agendas and are doing what is best for their pockets and lives. And who is protecting the innocents when you have corporations running the government and the media pushing their own agendas to the people.

Lady Writer

I dig the clean tone riff in the verses. It’s why I love music, it places a feel or a memory to a time, to a date or to an era.

And that outro solo from Knofler.

Single Handed Sailor

It’s the groove. I was blown away how a band that plays mostly in clean tone can groove and swing like this.

Ted Nugent – State of Shock

So what do you do when you had a hit with a song called “Stranglehold” a few years before. Well if your Ted, you would just re-write it for all the albums which came after. Case in point, “Paralyzed” is a derivative version of “Stranglehold”. But it has a section from about 2.25 minute mark, which hooks me.

Ian Hunter – You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic

I didn’t know who Ian Hunter was before I heard this and I immediately gravitated to a few songs.

When The Daylight Comes

The riff is familiar and the vocal line is also familiar. It’s like all the song writers of the time were listening to the same influences. To me it sounds like something John Cougar Mellencamp would write.

And the familiarity is the big reason why this song is in the list.

But when the daylight comes, I’ll be on my way

The Outsider

The song to me feels like it’s about a cowboy life, however i didn’t pick up on that vibe when I first heard it.

Breath is my witness and roads are my life

When you are alone and travelling, the sound of your own breath becomes your best friend.

When the wind grows cold, when the sun grows old, Nothing holds the outsider

Changes happen because of outsiders. The ones who operate on the fringes, honing their craft and building it day by day, person to person.

Just let me be the outsider
They ain’t far behind, they’re always on my mind

Sometimes, the outsiders can’t handle being on the inside. It gets to them and they want out. So many have taken their own lives because of it, or succumbed to an addiction which would eventually claim their life. And I interpret the “they” as the people in power who don’t want to let the outsider in. They want to crush the outsider because of the change they represent.

For example, you know that Netflix is no longer the outsider when Steven Spielberg speaks out against it. Netflix is the new emperor in tow.

Eagles – The Long Run

To some it is sacrilegious, but I got into “The Eagles” in the 90’s a few years before their “When Hell Freezes Over” reunion.

The Long Run

We can handle some resistance
If our love is a strong one (is a strong one)

Most relationships don’t last the long run. And in some cases, neither does the second one or the third one. Because if the person stays as the same person they were when they got together, well that person hasn’t really grown. And when that happens, resentment sets in and when you introduce financial pressures, kids and time away from each other, suddenly you have a bomb ready to go off.

People talkin’ about us
They got nothin’ else to do

There is no escape from people talking. It’s one of the first things humans did. Get together around a fire and talk. But when your friends talk to your ex, you feel pissed, because they should be on your side.

I Can’t Tell You Why

The Eagles could all sing well and they all took turns. To me, it’s a big reason why they didn’t sound so stale. So many different vocalists, different ideas, different songwriters and when you all put it together, you get an Eagles album.

But it’s the guitar solos in the songs, which always hook me.

In The City

I heard this track for the first time at the end of “The Warriors” movie. A connection is made straight away.

King Of Hollywood

I like the intro licks in this. It’s a lead guitar line, which is like a riff.

And the outro. The emotion in the licks.

Mick Taylor – Mick Taylor

I just heard this album recently, and the song “Leather Jacket” stood out straight away. Maybe it was the familiarity to other songs.

Put your leather jacket on when it’s time to be moving on

When you leave, it’s that piece of clothing that comes with you.

All your leather jackets and your faded jeans is all you have left of your rock and roll dreams

And you started your path with the same clothing you leave it.

REO Speedwagon – Nine Lives

REO knew how to rock but it was a power ballad which broke them to the masses, so they got labeled as a power ballad band.

Heavy On Your Love

When this song started off, I thought of “Do You Like It” from Kingdom Come.

Only The Strong Survive

Another rocker that gets the foot tapping and the head nodding.

Back On The Road Again

The outro, from the 4 minute mark.

The drums and the claps start it and then the vocal line of  “I Am On My Way” comes in.

Then the riff kicks in, and my foot is tapping, and when the outro guitar solo kicks in, its hands in the air and time to play some air guitar.

John Mellencamp – John Cougar

His early career is chock full of good songs.

Small Paradise

How good is the intro in this song?

I’ve always said I need to learn it on the guitar and make it metal/Thin Lizzy like. Even the drums how they come in, its very “Eye OF the Tiger” like, and this is before “Eye of the Tiger”.

And in the Chorus, the guitars come in, exactly how I thought they would. In harmony and with distortion. 

I Need A Lover

For almost 2 minutes we get washed and rolled with music. And then the iconic chorus melody kicks in. So different to what happens today, when beats dominate and music is a distant third. But it’s Pat Benater’s version I remember more.

Pray For Me

How good is that intro guitar lead?

And the lyrics about God giving Moses a few rules, and told him to go and have a good time but humans being humans just took it a little too far.

Sammy Hager – Street Machine

To me, this album is a shrewd marketing move from Sammy and his team to tap into the gear heads of the US.

An album with the title “Street Machine” and an opening song called “Trans Am”.

Plus he couldn’t drive 55 either, but we didn’t know that until 1984. However, if this album bombed I honestly believe there would be no “I Can’t Drive 55”.

Trans Am (Highway Wonderland)

 The syncopated staccato riff kicks it off and Sammy’s Golden tones take over.

She’s American made, you know what I mean?
Red on black, she’s a street machine.
Set’s ten inches off the ground with a custom plate
That says I-E-A-T Z28

For those who don’t know, the Z28 refers to the Chevrolet Camaro, which was in competition to the Trans Am.

Trans Am
Come on, catch me if you can

The challenge is set.

Feels Like Love

The sleazy riff must have been heard by a young Nikki Sixx, because he re-wrote it and called it “City Boy Blues”. Then again, the riff from Sammy is influenced by an artist I can’t remember.

Sammy also re-wrote the lyrical them for “When It’s Love”.

Cause it feels like
It feels like love

Plain Jane

I love “Plain Jane” as it has a plain AC/DC style riff in the intro, then a plain acoustic strummed verse which sounds like an Eagles song crossed with John Cougar.

Never Say Die

How good does this song start off?

Just play that intro riff with the distortion cranked to 10 and you will hear how heavy it sounds.

Pat Benatar – In The Heat Of The Night

How good is Pat Benatar?

Heartbreaker

One of the best female rock voices period, a wicked riff and lead break as well.

I Need A Lover

While John Cougar delivered a 5 minute song, Pat Benatar delivered a pop rock song in the 3 minute range which made John Cougar a lot of money.

Don’t Let It Show

It’s a ballad, reminding me of The Beatles and Benatar delivers a soulful emotive vocal lead and I love the lead break. So simple, emotive and stylish.

Santana – Marathon

Carlos Santana either had me hooked with albums or he had me trading them. On “Marathon” he brings the rock.

Stand Up

The music is excellent especially the riff in the verses and the lyrics resonate about standing up for something.

And that wah talkbox solo is perfect.

Love

The start of the song reminds me of something else, the verse riff reminds me of something else and the Chorus reminds of something else. All of these reminders makes me press repeat on the song.

And the lyrical message, of all we need is love, is not new, but god damn, it’s what the world needs right now.

For both “Stand Up” and “Love”, co-guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist, Chris Solberg was a co-writer with Carlos Santana. And no one would even know who Solberg is, hell I don’t even know. But these songs deserve more.

And vocalist Alex Ligertwood  who wrote the closer “Hard Times” has one of the best voices which is not even known.

Also, how good is “Hard Times”.

Status Quo – Whatever You Want

They wrote songs in the 110 to 120 beats per minute range which is perfect for running to.

Whatever You Want

It’s a jingle now, appearing on TV commercials for places who sell goods, because it’s perfect for the message they want to say, come and buy from us, because we have whatever you want.

Bad Company

It’s not a cover, but an original song with a cool riff to sink your ears into.

April Wine – Harder Faster

I didn’t hear this until well into the 90s.

I Like To Rock

The intro hooks me.

The whole interlude before the solo is perfect and the pentatonic lead break brings it.

And the outro is basically “Satisfaction” from the Rolling Stones, hell it even has the riff in the song towards the end.

Nice touch. Now i feel like listening to “Satisfaction”.

Before The Dawn

The clean town intro arpeggios hook me in. The lyrics don’t connect but the music gets me rocking.

Babes In Arms

The intro riff connects.

Better Do It Well

The intros on all the songs just connect with me straight out from the gate. It’s like all the bands tried to outdo each other with killer intro riffs.

21st Century Schizoid Man

A King Crimson cover and since I’m a fan of the Crimson, I dig it, plus it got me interested to check this album out.

Jefferson Starship – Freedom At Point Zero

From being interested in music, I always searched far and wide for new music. This band came into my radar because of an interview I saw in Guitar World with guitarist Craig Chaquico.

Jane

My ears can’t tell what the difference is between “Jane” from Jefferson Starship released in 1979 and “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova released in 1981.

Awakening

The way it just builds works for me. It has leads in the first two minutes. The vocals come in much later.

At six plus minutes, I like it when artists don’t follow formulas.

Just The Same

It has a section which is influenced by “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” which gets me.

Well that’s a wrap, moving on to 1978 next.

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