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

1996 – Part 1.4: Bush, Deep Purple and Bruce Dickinson

Without even realizing, it’s a special U.K edition.

Bush – Razorblade Suitcase

I got this album a few years after it came out on cassette tape, via a 3 for $10 bin, so it was a no brainer.

Gavin Rossdale got a lot of crap from journalists and critics.

Like he was too handsome to be considered grunge but then he’s labelled a Nirvana clone. And when the debut album sold in the multi-millions, the band was labelled as slick rock.

He got worse treatment in his homeland. As the U.K ignored them initially, Bush landed a U.S deal and became successful in the North American market first before their album was released in their home country.

He mentioned that Pixies are an influence, and the press called him a Kurt Cobain poseur as Cobain also said that the Pixies are a massive influence. So he said “fuck it”.

“Swallowed” is the lead single. My favorite on the album.

“Greedy Fly” is basically an artist writing a song, without a thought of it being a hit. And somehow it gets released as a single and it’s seen as a hit.

“Cold Contagious” has a cool drum groove, with the guitars decorating the song in a nice way, as Rossdale is singing, “you will get yours” with the volume and intensity increasing. And at six minutes long, it’s the anti-single, but it still got released as a single.

And the band toured for 14 months to promote the album. In the process they moved 6 million copies of the album in the U.S alone.

But with every peak, there is a valley waiting below.

A fight with the label delayed “The Science Of Things” and when the album came out, their sound was suddenly seen as “old” by the press, in the same way that hard rock became old circa 1991/92.

Deep Purple – Purpendicular

It’s not on Spotify but YouTube has it. It’s ridiculous why some albums are missing from digital services.

“Purpendicular” is the fifteenth studio album. It is their first album with guitarist Steve Morse. His injection was seen a breath of fresh air.

“Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic”

The blues boogie is excellent and the Mixolydian lead break from Steve Morse is guitar hero worthy.

What a way to introduce yourself to the Purple fans.

“Loosen My Strings”

Arpeggios kick off the song, but its Roger Glover’s bass line that takes this song to a new level and then Morse starts to play a distorted chord riff which complements the bass riff.

The riff before the lead break is excellent, but make sure you check out the lead break and the outro lead break, which sounds like a Boston outro, ala “Don’t Look Back”.

“Soon Forgotten”

It’s a strange song, with a riff that sounds a little bit exotic and a bizarre staccato like vocal melody on top of it. The organ work on this track is stunning and you are reminded why Jon Lord is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

“Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”

The intro guitar from Morse is haunting and sad. He then plays this melodic lead in between the verses which is memorable.

The guitar solo is amazing.

It’s one of their best and should be known with their classic songs.

Did I mention that the guitar solo is amazing?

It is.

Do yourself a favour, check it out and start playing air guitar to it.

And did I mention there is an outro guitar solo as well?

There is. So check that one out as well. In other words, Steve Morse rules on this track.

“Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover”

The churchy organs of Jon Lord kick it off, while Steve Morse plays a bendy melodic lead, before it takes a left turn and a U-turn and becomes a hard rock song with a “Highway Star” like vibe.

The guitar/organ harmony solo from 2.15 to 3.15 is one of the great moments on this album as Lord/Morse go to town playing arpeggios, in a similar way that Lord and Blackmore did for “Burn”, just a lot faster.

“The Aviator”

Morse brings out the country and folk influences to create a major key “good vibes” medieval arrangement. Make sure you check out “Highland Wedding” from Steve Morse’s “High Tension Wires” from 1989 as Morse has been dabbling with these kind of melodies previously.

“A Castle Full of Rascals”

The beginning sounds like a cross between ELP and Led Zeppelin in the blues rock vein.

And the song changes at 1.58 mark with a bass groove, lush keys and a progressive like vocal melody. Morse at first is playing single note lines before crashing in with power chords and distorted single notes, paving the way for Jon Lord and his Hammond Organ solo.

“A Touch Away”

It’s got that feel good 70’s progressive vibe.

“Hey Cisco”

It sounds like “Hit The Road Jack” on steroids. Hell, it could have come from a Van Halen album. Make sure you stick around for the guitar and organ harmonies from about 4.08 and then Morse breaks loose with his fast alternate picked Mixolydian lines.

“Somebody Stole My Guitar”

What a riff to introduce the song. It grooves, its heavy and bluesy. I haven’t mentioned the swing and soul feel of Ian Paice yet, but man, this dude can play.

At the 2 minute mark, Morse starts this palm muted arpeggio riff, while Lord plays these Organ chords before Morse launches into the solo, while Lord plays the palm muted arpeggio riff on the Organ.

Brilliant.

“The Purpendicular Waltz”

It’s a blues shuffle built around a cool groove and a great closer to the album.

For all the debate about Blackmore and Morse, forget it.

Listen without prejudice.

Bruce Dickinson – Skunkworks

I didn’t like this album when I first heard it. And it stayed on the shelf for a long time before I pulled it out and re-listened. I still didn’t like it and back on the shelf it went. But over the last 8 years, the album has taken a life on its own.

I didn’t get it back then, but goddamn this album sounds progressive. The cover design from Storm Thorgerson (RIP) should have been an indication of its progressive intentions, but it escaped me.

It was meant to be a band album but the label wouldn’t release it under anything except Bruce Dickinson. Jack Endino a Seattle producer who worked on Nirvana’s “Bleach” is producing. The sound is like an amalgamation of 80’s Rush with alternative rock and metal.

And I’ve never heard of Alex Dickson again after this album but he does a stellar job on the guitar and as a co-writer on all the songs. But as Rod Smallwood said, “Bruce Dickinson is a heavy metal singer and that will never change”. His attempt to shake off the image of his Maiden past was futile.

“Back From The Edge” has double time drumming over a jangly chord progression, but it’s the bridge and solo section which gets me interested.

“Inertia” could have come from any Maiden album, past or future.

How good is the riff to kick off “Faith”?

At times I feel like I am listening to a Dream Theater cut from the “Falling Into Infinity” album with this song.

Make sure you check out the solo section.

“Dreamstate” in the verses sounds like a Nirvana cut. Yes, that’s right folks, Bruce is channeling Cobain.

How good is “I Will Not Accept The Truth”. Listen to the repeating arpeggios in the verses. Sinister and melodic in the same breadth.

The whole mood and groove in the interlude/solo section of “Strange Death In Paradise” while Dickinson sings the title is a must listen for any Dickinson fan.

In the end, unless you were interested in what Dickinson was up to, there was nothing really here to get you to commit. Then again, the 90’s was an interesting time for 80’s artists and the fans of those artists.

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6 thoughts on “1996 – Part 1.4: Bush, Deep Purple and Bruce Dickinson

  1. That Purple one is good. Bush when they first came out in Canada were known as Bush X as another band owned the rights. They settled and are now known as Bush here as well. I never really heard that Bruce one. Maybe I need to at some point.

  2. Bush did seem to a get a raw deal. For me, their albums were inconsistent, but their singles were great. I have to admit, their latest album is amazing. I liked everything on it. Best thing they’ve done in years. Don’t know the DP one or the Dickinson one though.

  3. Ken Taylor says:

    Bruce Dickinson, have all his albums, and i could talk day about them, I loved the live albums, Alive in studio A I think one was called and thinking it was the band from Balls to Picasso with Roy Z, after reading his book found out was the band from Skunkworks, then i started getting back into Skunkworks, and now i give it more time and agree with you. But The Chemical Wedding is a masterpiece!

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