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

Attention

Everything happens at once.

You get a message on WhatsApp, on Messenger, a normal SMS, a blog post notification, a voice mail, an email, a Slack mention, a phone call, while you are listening to music with the earpiece in one ear and you are carrying out a conversation with a work colleague or a family member or a friend.

This is a crisis, and its real.

We have to choose on what to focus on, as our attention is a scarce resource. We need to find ways to use it wisely because every single human being gets the same amount of attention to spend each day, but some use it better than others and have an ability to focus on getting stuff done.

While others just waste their time on their smartphones or gaming or watching streaming TV. Imagine if all that time wasted on your smartphone scrolling the social media feed was money.

Would you waste your money like that?  

On absolutely nothing.

I suppose the question to be asked is, how do we want to live each day?

Do we want to live to just get through the day, and tomorrow will be another day to get through?  

And then what happens?

We’ve gone through all the days and lived the same as all the previous days. Is this a life fulfilled?

But what would happen if we saw each day as an opportunity to do something different, just for 10 minutes, instead of a task in a process.

How would that feel 12 months from now?

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

The Record Vault – Bon Jovi From 2000 to 2009

After a very limited release schedule of new music in the 90s, Bon Jovi became a different beast at the start of the 2000’s releasing more frequently. Almost yearly.

Was it the Napster effect?

100% it was.

When fans of music could get their music fix for free or by cherry picking from the iTunes Store, it meant the old business model of living off the royalties of your past successes and releasing music every two to five years was challenged and a new way was needed. Suddenly not a lot of people wanted the album, just the “hits”.

And because of the internet, people moved on to different artists and sounds quicker than ever before. So in order to stay relevant and in the public conversation, artists had to release more frequently. Which Bon Jovi did.

There was no escaping “Crush” released in 2000. “It’s My Life” was everywhere and Bon Jovi had another Super Bowl title win with this song. It’s no surprise that the hitmeister of the day, Max Martin co-wrote the song, in the same way Desmond Child co-wrote a lot of the Jovi hits back in the 80s and early 90s. I even got “Collectors Edition 05686”, whatever that means.

And I got all the singles from this album because they had so many unreleased tracks on them. Check em out.

“One Wild Night Live 1985–2001” came out in 2001 and I purchased it, to hear Jovi, still firing on all cylinders.

“Bounce” released in 2002 is one of my favorite Jovi albums. There is a lot of Dropped D riffing, it’s heavy and it’s angry. It’s written post September 11 and everyone who saw those images of the planes hitting the towers could forget em.

And I purchased the singles because they had a lot of B sides to them. Something that Jovi was doing really well.

“This Left Feels Right” came out in 2003. Sambora went to town here, re-interpreting all the classics in an acoustic folky way.

“100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong” is one hell of a box set, released in 2004. This is the jewel in the Jovi crown. There is so much history on this.

“Have a Nice Day” came out in 2005 and it had some cool tunes on it as well. I’ve got the Aus Edition with bonus tracks and a DVD I haven’t played.

“Lost Highway” released in 2007 was interesting, because I liked it. I liked the ballsy change to country rock.

“The Circle” was released in 2009 and after the GFC so it had songs on it about the working man doing it tough. It was interesting how people took offense to Jovi even attempting to write an album like this while he was so far removed from the working man.

Regardless, it still had some cool tunes on it and I was still on board.

Coming up is my Jovi collection from 2010 to 2020.

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

Working Man

Alex Lifeson really gets to work on this song in the riffs and the guitar solos.

The opening riff could easily be used on a Metallica or Pantera album, it’s that heavy.

I get up at seven, yeah
And I go to work at nine
I got no time for livin’
Yes, I’m workin’ all the time

And when you add overtime to the mix which everyone would say yes to, as it added that little bit of extra in the pay, then there is zero time for living because you are working all the time.

But hey, you are thinking that the holidays are coming soon and you will have time for living then and you will go away with your family, but suddenly, you and your partner are disconnected because of all the time you spent away and your kids just don’t have that connection with you either.

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am
I guess that’s why they call me
They call me the working man

Live to work or work to live. Jobs in the past provided security. It was the norm that someone would start and retire in the same job. My Dad did. These days it’s very different. There is a gig economy, part time work, casual work, full time work and most people have been in more than one job. Sometimes a lot of jobs.

The thing I like about music is when artists are creative.

From the 2 minute mark “Working Man” changes. That whole lead section and that riff from 3.10 is basically a song within a song. And it keeps going, so far removed from the pop formula of verse, chorus and bridge.

Then at the 5.20 mark the song comes back to the original music. After 7 plus minutes, the only option left is to press repeat.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

Money

It’s all about money, money and money.

I’ve never used Trivago to book any hotel. I normally re-book at the hotels I like and have stayed before and I do it direct with the hotel. Like my music, I’m a pretty loyal to things I like.

But a lot of people do use Trivago and recently a court case brought against Trivago by the ACCC in Australia found that Trivago, didn’t actually promote the cheapest rates to its users. What it actually did promote was the hotels that paid Trivago the most commission as the cheapest.

And speaking of sleazy tactics, how much more bullshit is the recording industry going to spread over free ad-supported music being a negative in the industry.

Isn’t $3 billion enough?

I guess not.

And on the topic of YouTube, it’s 15 years old this year. It all started in February, 2005. Eight years later, it was getting 1bn users a month. Another seven years after that it reached the 2bn users a month stat.

Are there lessons there for aspiring musicians or for musicians who want to make it?

Of course there are.

Stop thinking about the traditional label album deal and start embracing what the world has to offer. The Guardian article interviews five people who have used it to great success from the early days. And of course there are millions of others who have used YouTube, without any success at this point in time. Like the recording business.

How many artists get signed and end up unsuccessful in commercial terms versus the artists who get signed and end up successful in commercial terms?

Because it’s all about money. Everyone wants to be paid and in music, too many people make money from music, who shouldn’t, like the label CEO and workers who fly private, because it’s these people who keep money away from artists who are on the road in shitty buses and vans.

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

Circle The Drain

The song started its life 13 plus months ago. It had a hook about “Treading Water” initially and that was probably going to be the title.

Robb Flynn then mentioned how the song title came about. He had a friend, who returned from Afghanistan only to have his relationship fall apart. His girlfriend messed around on him while he was gone, then she got paranoid about him messing around on her and drove him crazy. The title came from the words Robb’s friend said to him, “they were just circling the drain”.

Circling the drain means to be very near death and have little time to live. It is also used to describe a project or relationship that is on the brink of failure.

Robb also lost two long term band members who decided to leave Machine Head.

I don’t know if it was a relationship gone bad or if it was just time to move on, as nothing lasts ever, even the cold November Rain.

But when relationships do go bad, either romantic or band breakups, the people’s lives change forever. Suddenly, people/friends take sides, and you are not being invited to the events you used to go to and you are exposed to it all via social media and societies quest to showcase how great their lives are on it.

So artists channel this pain and anger and aggression into their music and their words.

Treading water, were just numbing the pain
Spinning round as we circle the drain

You know how it’s going to end, but you are too scared to move on and break ties. So we go around in circles, walking on egg shells and taking care to not hurt each other’s feelings, while our real feelings left the building a long time ago.

Excuses don’t mean anything when tears run down our eyes

No one said break ups are easy. And totems of the relationship are left behind everywhere, like a song or a movie that you don’t like anymore, because it brings back memories of that person.

And if it’s not tears running down the eyes, its blood. For all of our advancements in science and technology, we still can’t control our lizard brain, that small section of the brain that controls everything once it’s activated. It’s dangerous and on occasions deadly.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Imperfect

When artists create, they create because they need to create.

In most cases, it’s a pretty basic set up to get that idea recorded, like an acoustic guitar and a vocal or a keyboard and a vocal or a crappy distorted guitar sound and a vocal. But as soon the artist goes into the studio, the quest for perfection begins.

Perfect is the enemy of good, because no one and nothing is perfect. It just can’t be. If everything was perfect there would be no viruses, no illnesses and everything would work and never fail.

And music is littered with artists talking about how it took them weeks or months to get that “perfect” sound, which they never replicated again, and when money became even tighter and recording budgets even smaller, never even tried to get that “perfect” sound.

I’ve read stories of drummers describing their studio time with other artists as the most painful experience of their life, because of some made up standard of perfection. Drummers in some bands didn’t even make the recordings because the producers felt they weren’t up to it. Again, some made up standard of perfection.

Music works because it’s imperfect.

The first Black Sabbath album was recorded in 48 hours. It’s a snapshot in time of a well-rehearsed band on the cusp of something new.

If you have seen artists perform live, you will know what I mean about imperfections. Each concert is never the same regardless if the set list is the same. A drummer will miss a beat, a singer will be pitchy, a guitarist will miss a lick here and there and the bassist will play a note that they shouldn’t. It still doesn’t take away from the show, the act of being there and experience the energy.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Hair Metal

There is no doubt that artists who played the Strip had a certain dominance on the charts until a new sound from up the Pacific coast, washed em away. And when people started to write about the 80’s, there was nothing positive said. All of these new indie writers tried to re-write history in favour of their preferred musical taste and all they wrote about was the bad hair, the bad music, the lipstick and hairspray, the bad hair again, the lifestyles, the bad hair again x2 and the bad music again.

Would “Guitar Hero” have existed if it wasn’t for the 80’s?

Van Halen is one of the first bands that I know that came from the Strip, more because they played up and down the Strip like crazy instead of living on the Strip. And even though they had long hair, it wasn’t teased and hair sprayed and glammed up. Only David Lee Roth would take that on, even though the poster boy look upset the Van Halen brothers. When the band became Van Hagar, they still had a down to earth look, with Sammy even wearing an interesting red outfit.

Motley Crue is the first prominent band to came from the Strip, living and breathing it. While “Too Fast For Love” was done independently with songs written before the Crue was formed, it wasn’t until “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets, that the sound of the strip was born.

The generic sounding “Shout At The Devil” sets up the “Shout” call and response vocal, while “Looks That Kill” pulverises you with its down tuned riff and razor sharp women ready to slice the little boys apart. Even “Helter Skelter” sounds like it came from the Strip, instead of the clubs of Liverpool, England. In “Ten Seconds To Love” Vince is telling his girl to wait a little bit more, because here he comes and how he can’t wait to tell the boys about her, while she shines his pistol a little bit more.

Glam metal then left the Sunset Strip and moved to Sheffield England and an album called “Pyromania” from Def Leppard.

From the opening notes of the AC/DC influenced “Rock Rock (Til You Drop)”, to the harmonies of “Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages”, to the grooves of “Billy’s Got A Gun” and “Die Hard The Hunter”, Def Leppard changed the game. They brought the sounds of the NWOBHM, mixed em with AC/DC, Queen, The Sweet and Mott The Hoople and suddenly, the glam hair sound is developing even further.

The glam sounds returned to the Sunset Strip and a band called RATT took over with a song called “Round and Round” from “Out Of The Cellar” released in 1984.

It’s got streets, where people meet, to cross lines and get into fights. And we loved it, even though the chorus of “love finding a way” didn’t really match the threatening verses of picking a fight. The Rat gang also got a mention in “Wanted Man” and my favourite track, “The Morning After” comes roaring out of the speaker.

WASP is another Sunset act, which was thrown in with glam, but to me, that’s like placing Motorhead as a glam act as well. Then again, with songs like “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” and “L.O.V.E Machine”, they got traction and Tipper Gore added the band to her filthy list.

At the same time, a band that played the New Jersey/New York State area for a decade broke big with big hair and a glam rock look from the 70’s and film clips about standing up for your rights, like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”.

And the term hair band and glam metal got even messier.

Poison moved to the Sunset Strip, dragged the cat in, played dirty and screamed for action with their 1986 debut album, and their 1988 follow up “Open Up And Say Ahh” cemented big hair.

Bon Jovi showed how slippery it really gets when things get wet and “New Jersey” in 1988 further cemented the big hair look.

Suddenly, we had Skid Row going wild with their big guns, looking for a piece of everyone. Def Leppard poured even more sugar on their sound with “Hysteria” and finally, a bunch of highly strung musicians got it together to write and record an album called “Appetite For Destruction”.

You know where you are, you’re in the jungle baby, and that jungle proved so easy to please, with cheap booze on the Nighttrain, while talking to Mr Brownstone on our way to the Paradise City.

Regardless of what you think of the music from these artists, or how you want to label them, this form of rock and roll was loud, in your face and it didn’t really care what you thought, sort of like how Axl said, if you think your so cool, you can just fuck off.

The journal that inspired this post.

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