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

Streaming in COVID-19

It’s strange how things work out.

In reality, most artists and the labels wanted a return to the old sales model for recorded music.

This meant that the labels acted as gatekeepers and they decided who got a chance to come into the walled gardens of a record deal.

As we know, then came Napster and everything changed. iTunes, torrents, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and other streaming services all came.

The recording labels hated digital services, in the same way the book business and the movie business, and they all did everything in their power to stifle or kill the digital book and streaming services.

All because it meant they had lost control.

The record labels kept arguing about rising prices on monthly steaming rates and then they kept running stories everywhere about limited edition vinyl and record stores and the tradition of seeking out a vinyl and dropping the needle.

And now, COVID-19 is everywhere and suddenly physical sales are non existent and even online orders will not be delivered.

But this is when people can listen the most or read the most. And if you are championing physical, the problem is you can’t really buy anything as all of the stores are closed.

Suddenly streaming services are a source of income. In some cases the main source of income since all postal services are prioritizing essential deliveries over non essential. Somehow physical albums don’t matter when life and death is at stake.

Is this when streaming really takes over the world?

Because if there is a winner here, it’s the record labels, as they hold the majority of the copyrights, so they will keep getting paid forever. Yeah, I still see articles from the labels RIAA about people still obtaining music illegally, but hey, those people will never pay for recorded music in the first place.

And I haven’t heard of any label executive taking a pay cut during these unprecedented times.

But I have heard of artists doing it tough. And now we are getting artists dying as well from COVID complications.

And the labels are doing nothing to help their artists or even their former artists, the ones they still hold the copyrights for.

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


“Physical Graffiti” was released forty five years ago last month.

I really had no idea of the Led Zeppelin album until Nikki Sixx started talking about Motley Crue writing their “Physical Graffiti” in response to a question he was asked after “Decade of Decadence” came out and what would be next for the band. As soon as Sixx mentioned that, the album was on my radar.

Of course, we all know that Vince Neil got booted or left (depending on whose story you believe) and Motley Crue went to work, writing over 20 songs for what would become their “Physical Graffiti”, the self-titled “Motley Crue” album, otherwise known as Motley Corabi. My views of this album are all over this blog as one of the best Motley albums to date.

And I didn’t get “Physical Graffiti” until I picked it up at a record fair, for a very cheap price in the mid 90’s. I even heard Motley’s album before Led Zep’s. I know it’s sacrilege, but to have music at home, meant I needed to use my money for it and money was limited. And no one I knew had the album for me to dub.

The production team on this album is a who’s who of people that we all got to know from various hard rock albums.

Jimmy Page as usual is the producer, and you have Andy Johns engineering, Eddie Kramer engineering and Ron Nevison also engineering. These guys are all paying their dues, learning their craft from a master, which in this case is Page. It also has so many engineers because some of the songs which made the album are leftovers from previous albums.

But the stand out song on the album is KASHMIR.

I remember a time, when the riff was everything and there is no better definition of the riff being everything than this song.

I have already written about “The Kashmir Effect” before and again here. And man, i know it’s not right to say that I heard “Get It On” from Kingdom Come first. I even heard “Judgement Day” from Whitesnake before I even heard “Kashmir”. But that’s how it happened.

I didn’t own not one 70’s record until the 90’s.

And the older people I spoke to, said how “Kashmir” was one of the most popular songs in Australia, behind “Evie” (all three parts), “Stairway To Heaven”, “American Pie”, “Bat Out Of Hell” and “Hotel California”.

Not one of those songs is under 7 minutes.

An era in which artists did what they wanted and wrote what they wanted and FM radio had no choice but to play the whole damn thing.

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

I Remember You

The youth went wild for Skid Row, in the same way they went wild six years ago for Judas Priest, Van Halen, Scorpions, Quiet Riot, Ratt and Motley Crue. And Sebastian Bach went even wilder, trying to give a piece of himself to everyone who pissed him off.

And then they dropped “I Remember You”. A hit, with almost 72 million streams on Spotify, which would evolve to in-fighting and to things falling apart.

Skid Row opened for GNR on the “Use Your Illusion” tour. When they played in Australia, there were so many rules about drinking and glass bottles at concerts.

So Sebastian Bach brings out a case of beer and starts singing, 24 bottles of beer in the box, pass one down, pass it around, 23 bottles of beer in the box.

And im thinking, what the..

This is the dude who jumped into the audience, knocked an innocent girl senseless, started swinging with another audience member, all because a glass bottle was thrown towards the stage and it hit him in the head at a US gig. And now he is handing out glass bottles to the crowd.

It was all in good taste and a bit of fun on a very hot Sydney day. But I also saw a very worried tour manager getting a few of the roadies into the crowd to retrieve these glass bottles. And of course GNR took forever to come on next.

I digress.

It’s a relationship song. Lyrically it didn’t connect, but musically it did.

The simple G to C chord progression is a staple progression of country, pop and rock songs. “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” has the same chord progression.

And it has a great title. For me, it didn’t have to be about a relationship, it could have been about a friendship, about a band, about a street, about a place, about a summer event. It could even be a love song from an artist to their audience.

And that’s how I see the song.

Remembering a moment in time.



From the beginning they had hate. I remember certain magazines like RIP and Metal Maniacs calling the band a joke even before Beavis and Butthead started their quest to destroy em. Hell, Metallica did a pretty good job destroying the bands credibility. Lars and James must have felt threatened by Kip Winger’s looks and bass playing abilities and ballet pirouettes, in their quest for world domination.

So what happened.

Kip Winger left Denver in 1985 and went to New York, in search of a recording contract. He ended up recording and touring with Alice Cooper on “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist And Yell”. Paul Taylor was also working with Cooper and the two became friends and wrote some songs together. Winger then went back to New York and was living with Reb Beach, with both of em doing studio sessions for others. They also wrote a few more songs together. Taylor came back into the fold and Rod Morgenstein came last.

When you look at the make-up of the band, Reb Beach is a jazz/fusion type of player, Kip Winger is classically trained, Paul Taylor is a rhythm and blues players and Rod Morgenstein is also a jazz/fusion type of drummer. And they played hard rock music. They could all play and they looked good. Perfect marketing for the label and MTV.

“Madalaine” was on MTV in the U.S for ages, and the station wanted more. “Seventeen” is their “Sweet Child O Mine”, hooky, melodic with some serious playing and real dumb lyrics.

The opening lyrics are reminiscent of the Lennon/McCartney classic song, “I Saw Her Standing There”. Of course when “Seventeen” broke through, the band was criticized for promoting sexual activity with teenage girls. No one yelled at The Beatles for it. Even Beavis and his mate Butthead had fun with this song in their jokes.

Listen to the riffage in this song.

It’s probably one of the most complex songs of the 80’s, even more complex, than the stuff Vito Bratta would write. I saw a comment on one of their YouTube songs that called Winger the Dream Theater of Hair Metal. I wouldn’t disagree with that.

And the solo from Reb Beach. There is no way you can’t like it. He is a true guitar hero.

“Headed For A Heartbreak” came next and became one of the most requested songs on MTV and the debut just kept on selling.

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

Round And Round

In Australia, you could say that this song was Ratt’s breakthrough and peak.

It was also the start of the new bands taking over from the Seventies acts. You had Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Iron Maiden leading the British invasion. Quiet Riot and Motley Crue started the LA invasion, and a new breed like RATT cemented it. Suddenly all of the NWOBHM acts, needed to get glammier to stay in touch and they needed to have band members do backing vocals.

Ratt was a music video band for me at the start. “Round and Round” was played on the TV music shows all the time and I always had a blank VHS tape ready, with my finger on the record button.

What a riff to get things going?

It’s big, hooky and melodic. It’s also a riff which is good enough to please the metal and rock audiences.

And those verse lyrics about meeting on the streets resonated instantly, because it summed up how life and society operated in those days.

Now we are or will be in lockdown because of COVID-19. There will be no meeting on the streets.

Those hand shakes and hand greets we always did, will be no more, once we are through the pandemic.

I re-watched the Contagion movie last night and it’s pretty eerie how similar it is to what we are experiencing. One of the CDC scientists Cheevers (played by Laurence Fishbourne) talks about handshakes. He goes that handshakes came about by people offering their right hand out to show that they weren’t carrying a weapon.

It was a symbol of peace and today it’s laced with transmission.

Anyway I digress.

Out on the streets that’s where we meet was the catch-cry and we did meet. We abused ourselves and crossed lines and did it again the next day and the next week.

And somewhere along the way we found a partner who wanted the same things. And round and round we went.

Finally, how good is that harmony lead break?

Alternate Reality, movies, My Stories

Catching Up

It’s strange.

Is it right to even say I am using this free time I have at night to catch up. Everything is just strange. The new normal in a strange land.

I’ve watched movies like this, then walked away from the movie, talking about the movie and then going on to live life again. And movies like “Outbreak” and “Contagion”, it feels like we are living in the script. As Morpheus said to Neo, in a construct.

And COVID-19 is keeping me home. I have been working from home for two weeks and now it is indefinite. So has my wife and I’ve kept my kids home from school since Thursday last week.

And the rules the government is applying are confusing. One person per 4 squared metres, social distancing but school with 30 kids in a class room is still on.

And all of my sporting commitments are on hold as every sport is either postponed or suspended to a date. So I’ve done what everyone else seems to be doing. Catch up on my Netflix and Amazon Prime shows.

All Or Nothing – Brazil National Football Team
There is a quote in this movie from the coach Tite, about courage.

How you need to have the courage to try things, do something new, the courage to help a teammate in need and if you fail, the courage to rise back up and try again.

And we need courage today more than ever to survive the madness around us. Life as we know it, is changing.

Very fast.

Things that we took for granted are just not the same anymore. And it never will be.

Altered Carbon – Season 2
I really like the concept of this show. It covers a lot of technology and science concepts, plus it uses our history.

In the show, Earth humans travelled decades to occupy a new world which had extra-terrestrial lifeforms on it, but the humans didn’t tell planet Earth about it, so they went about cleansing the world of “The Elders” as the original inhabitants are known. The occupation of a lot of lands in the world happened like this by the British, French and Spanish

Then there is the concept of immortality and cloning.

Memories/life experiences are saved on stacks, which are then backed up and if the sleeve (the body) dies, a new one is “spun up”. Of course, this is if you have money. The poor don’t have this luxury. And what I mean by “spun up” is that they already have a cloned body ready, on ice, waiting to have the memories downloaded into it, and its business as usual.

And the scientist who came up with the technology saw how it could it was used for evil and decided to destroy it and became a terrorist.

Then there is the concept of AI helpers and virtual constructs.

The First Purge – Movie

The NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America), had to come up with a creative way to get their economy and unemployment back on track.

So they designed a 12 hour event, called “The Purge” where all forms of murder are legal. And they did a social experiment in a suburb full of housing projects and derelict buildings, which was also populated by dark skin residents. Of course the NFFA have only white skin in their ranks.

But when the people of the area, didn’t really start killing each other, the NFFA brought in mercenaries with machine guns and rocket launchers to increase the body count and make the night a success, so the day could become a yearly event.

All in the name to get rid of the old, the homeless, the sick and the poor. And today, we have a virus doing the exact same thing. Except this virus takes the wealthy as well.

It doesn’t discriminate.

John Wick 3 – Parabelum – Movie

I like the John Wick movies. The first one is brilliant and they haven’t topped that, but this one is cool as well.

And the concept of “living under the high table” is mentioned a lot here. We have our society and our governments and the laws which come from that.

Then you have a secret society which has its own set of rules. But it still retains a hierarchy structure and even the High Table has an Elder who sits above the table.

And the question the movie asks is; what kind of life do you want to live and be remembered by?

A life under the control of someone and doing their deeds for them or a life that you see as free to make your own choice.

Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Spreading The Disease

On Thursday, March 19th, a cruise ship called “Ruby Princess” was allowed to dock in Sydney and all passengers were allowed to disembark. Four people went straight to hospital and tested positive for COVID-19.

The storm had just begun.

As of yesterday, March 24th, 133 people (107 in New South Wales and 26 interstate) have COVID-19. One person has already died and experts reckon this will get worse.

The PM blamed NSW Heath and NSW Health blamed Border Force. This is what happens when you have people employed in positions who don’t question the status quo. This isn’t the time to just do your job like you’ve always done and to just listen to the people above you.

This is the time to be brave and ask questions.

NSW Health asked the ship Doctor for a report on sickness, and deemed the ship low risk based on the report.

Border Force just carried out what NSW Health told them. But NSW Health is not protecting our borders, Border Force is. So they had one job to protect our borders and failed.

Don’t let the people off the ship and demand that NSW Health come in and do swabs on all of them.

And for NSW Health to trust the ships Doctor.

Seriously. How fucking negligible?

These kind of doctors are not trustworthy because they work for a corporation who is in the business of making money and who also pays the Doctor their wage.

The ship couldn’t afford to be quarantined, so it wouldn’t be surprising that they would advise the Doctor to report what they need to report, in order to operate.

Because after it docked, the “Ruby Princess” reloaded with new passengers and set sail again on the same cruise to New Zealand.

Talk about spreading the disease.

The intro to “Among The Living” which goes for almost two minutes, is as good as any Megadeth or Metallica or Slayer cut.

And Anthrax were one of the first acts to branch out and merge metal with hard core. Of course the metal elitists hated them for it, but in the 90’s with John Bush on vocals, they delivered some of the best metal albums of that decade with “Sound Of White Noise” and “Stomp 442”.

Disease, Disease, Spreading the disease, with some help from Captain Trips, he’ll bring the world down to his knees

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

Feels Like The First Time

It’s from Foreigner’s debut album. No one knew Mick Jones until this track dropped. No one knew the pipes on Lou Gramm until this track dropped.

Released in 1977, no one was sure if disco was ending or rock was starting.

How good is the intro?

The guitar riff kicks in and then the bass guitar kicks in, syncopated with the bass drum?

“Running With The Devil” from VH comes to mind as doing something similar.

And that musical section from about 1.50 to 2.20. The change of dynamics, it’s progressive, and then there is an open string lick which moves chromatically.

There is also a demo version of this song on Spotify. It’s totally worth the listen because the main riff is played on an acoustic guitar. Yep, that’s one thing that a lot of the 70’s acts had over future generations. The songs they wrote, worked on acoustic or were originally written on acoustic guitars.

And the album has some songs which are forgotten, but they rock as hard as anything I have heard.

A song like “Starrider” would work on any Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake album. Even on an Y&T or Scorpions album. “The Damage Is Done” has this outro solo ending that reminds me of Santana or even “Winds Of Change” from Y&T. “At War With The World” could have come from a Rush album. There is so much variety on this album. It’s a shame that the first two cuts ruled everything…

Did I mention that “Cold As Ice” is also on this album?

Check out the debut.

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

Rock Me

Great White began their career in the early 80’s with “Out Of The Night”. Then EMI signed em, released an album and didn’t really know what to do with the band, so they dropped em and then Capitol records got em on the books.

In 1987, “Once Bitten” their third album, got the platinum treatment and they went on tour in the U.S with Whitesnake. Then “Twice Shy” followed in 1989 and this led to more platinum sales and their own successful headline tour.

By 1991, most of the world was heading into recessions, and the hard rock public was getting a bit jaded with the same lyrical themes and sound-a-like chord progressions of hard rock. So “Hooked” didn’t really set the charts alight.

“Psycho City” came out in 1993, and by then band members had left, band members had marriages and divorces and illnesses. And hard rock was not a commercial force anymore, but bands who had success before, wanted the same success. And so did the record labels, but when this didn’t eventuate, it was goodbye to the record deal and hello to arguments within band members.

“Rock Me” came out at the same time as “Appetite For Destruction”, maybe it got lost in the noise, but it still got a lot of airplay in Australia, and I’m thinking its blues tinged hard rock definitely hit a note with the programmers and Australian audiences.

The bass boogie kicks it off.

The drums are simple, high hats for some time, slowly percolating until the right moment to explode in the chorus. And the guitars are just decorating, until it comes time for them to explode as well.

Rock me
Rock me
Roll me through the night

How good is the Chorus?

And when you think the song is about to finish, they pick it up and blast in to an outro solo for the last minute. At 7 minutes long, the blues boogie doesn’t gets boring.

Today, it has 7 million listens on Spotify and the 5 minute music video has 12 million views on YouTube. The song is forgotten compared to the numbers other songs have, but if you were alive during this period, it was a song from our youth.

My Stories

COVID-19 – Day 10

Australia had their biggest rise in COVID-19 cases yesterday.

On March 12, we had zero new cases in Australia. Before that date we had small cases from travellers coming home.

And then it started.

Between March 13 and March 18, we started getting between 50-100 new cases. Then from March 19 to March 21, we started getting cases between 100-150 new cases. And then our big one yesterday, over 250 new cases.

This increase, was expected because on Friday, we had a hot day on the east coast of Australia and the “invincible” Aussies all congregated to the beaches with no social distancing in place.

And the pubs and nightclubs kept operating with no social distancing in place over the weekend.

And a cruise ship docked in Sydney, with people who tested positive for COVID-19 and everyone was allowed off, to catch trains, buses and interstate planes home.

As the cases kept increasing, the government constantly made announcements about stimulus packages and bailouts to corporations, like the airlines.

More like panic announcements.

And in the recent update from our government last night, the PM said the most important tool in our fight against the virus is social distancing. So pubs, clubs and casinos are all closed now.

But schools remain open however parents are allowed to keep their kids home. And State Premiers are saying to keep your kids at home.

Very confusing.

Because no one knows what is happening.

We are in uncharted waters, without a compass, and people are making decisions based on what history has taught us.

And for some reason the lyrics to “Sailing Ships” from Whitesnake come to mind.

About how the wind was with us when we left on the morning tide and we set our sails for an island in the sun. But on the horizon, dark clouds are up ahead, for the storm has just begun.

And the storm has just begun.

As a parent, I go with what I read.

I will read the government circulars, I will read what academics say and scientists say and doctors on the front line say. And I will analyze all of the information and make decisions based on that.

Because we are all strangers right now living in a strange world.