A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

Australian Method Series: Airbourne – No Guts No Glory

Released in March 2010, “No Guts. No Glory.” is album number 2 for Airbourne, the follow-up to their 2007 debut “Runnin’ Wild”. While the debut caught a lot of people by surprise, the follow up was anticipated. On the same day of its release, the “Iron Man 2” soundtrack hit the shelves, which is seen as an AC/DC “Greatest Hits”.

You can’t get too much Acca Rock.

The album cover forecasts what the album would sound like. There is a steel works, an out of control truck driven by Lemmy, alcohol, women, raising the flag at the Eureka Stockade, a twister, the band and an Explorer guitar raised high like a trophy by one of the band members.

Airbourne is Joel O’Keeffe on lead vocals and lead guitar, David Roads on rhythm guitar, Justin Street on bass and Ryan O’Keeffe on drums. Production is handled by Johnny K and mixing is done by Mike Fraser. All songs are written by Joel O’Keeffe and Ryan O’Keeffe.

The album was recorded in Chicago at Johnny K’s studio. The band even slept in the studio.

“Born to Kill”

The intro guitar lick is like an out of tune national anthem. Then the rock and roll power starts, to kick off a song about being in a rock and roll band, being loud and doing what you love.

“No Way But the Hard Way”

It feels like “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution”.

The idea of the song originated when the guys in the band lived together in a house (like a band house), while on welfare payments and trying to get the band up and running, and noticed.

As told by the band members in the track by track breakdown of the album on YouTube, after the album was released they were touring in Canada. The vehicle they were in, skidded off the road. They were stuck in freezing conditions for 24 hours, waiting for help.

No way but the hard way indeed. It’s a very Bon Scott like title.

And the film clip has them taking their rage out on the record labels as they enter the office of one and smash it all to bits. As I read in one interview, the labels are big powerful monsters who get demos from thousands of bands so they could put it in a box and never respond. So it was an F.U to them.

“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful”

“For Those About To Rock” or “Powerage” gets a makeover into a “Blonde, Bad and Beautiful” wrecking ball woman with long legs and the moves to break a man.

“Raise the Flag”

An anthem. Airbourne hit the market at the right time, just when AC/DC’s album output was slowing down and they quickly became the next best thing.

So if you love rock and roll, raise the flag. That’s the simple message of the song.

And how good is the intro?

“Bottom of the Well”

The title is self-explanatory, from being in a crap situation to turning it around. This song is more Kiss than AC/DC.

“White Line Fever”

More Kix like but still sounding like it came from the Aussie Pubs. Lyrically, I guess it’s that time again when you’re feeling stressed out.

“It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”

The fastest track on the album. Like “Let There Be Rock” just faster.

“Steel Town”

It was written for people from working class towns. Australia has a few “steel cities” so a lot of their fans here can relate.

“Chewin’ the Fat”

Read the lyrics. It sums up oral sex.

“Get Busy Livin'”

It feels like a Free cut at the beginning, but when the whole band kicks in, its AC/DC all the way.

“Armed and Dangerous”

The intro and verse riff rock.

From the words of the band members, just think of a hot chick walking past and you get a hard on, well you’re armed and dangerous. Enough said. Press play.

“Overdrive”

It’s about living hard and no sleep, having a good time and not caring about the next day. Easier said when you’re young.

“Back on the Bottle”

Another fast rocker, to close the album off, and a subject matter about getting on the piss.

I guess I’ll have one more glass of whatever then.

It charted well in Australia and New Zealand, and it also did good business in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Canada. In the U.S it peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hard Rock Charts as in some states they rocked and in other states they were unknown.

A shrewd business decision by the band and its management to license a lot of the songs from the album to various video games and movies, which brought in a different source of revenue, much higher than what the sales revenue would have generated.

“Born to Kill” is featured in the film “Jonah Hex”.

“Heads Are Gonna Roll” is featured in the video game “Madden NFL 10” and the official trailer.

“Raise the Flag” is featured in the video game “Twisted Metal”.

“Bottom of the Well” is featured in the video game “NHL 11”.

“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful” is featured in the trailer for the film “Bachelorette”.

“Back on the Bottle” is featured in The Good Guys episode “The Dim Knight”.

It’s not original in anyway and there is no great “hit” song to sell the album. But it’s a fun album, cool to listen to and in the words of Bon Scott, “Let There Be Rock” as the album has its foot on the accelerator pedal from the outset.

P.S.

Here is a little playlist that Joel O’Keefe told Guitar World readers in the July 2010 issue. I guess there are no surprises in the list.

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The Record Vault: Dio – Sacred Heart

“Sacred Heart” is album number three.

By know Vivian Campbell was an unhappy camper. From his point of view he was promised a larger piece of the pie and that wasn’t forthcoming. Plus he had an issue with the publishing. So it’s no surprise that this is the last album to include Vivian Campbell, who Dio fired midway through the tour, replacing him with Craig Goldy.

Released on August 13, 1985, almost a year after “The Last In Line”, it wasn’t just competing against all the other new releases from other artists, it was competing against the previous two Dio albums. It wasn’t a smart decision from Warner Bros.

The band for the album is the classic line up, known as Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass, Claude Schnell on keyboards and Vinny Appice on drums.

The King Of Rock And Roll

How can you not like this song, fake crowd noise or not?

Campbell’s riffs are excellent to play, Dio’s melodies rock, Bain rumbles and Vinny Appice powers all over this.

Bad boy always on the cover gettin’ the story told

It could have been about anyone in the rock business. By 1985, a lot of bad boys graced the cover of magazines.

He’s got the midnight madness / he’s got a soul
’cause he’s the king of rock and roll / king of rock and roll

I used to keep my own book of rhymes before I realised that a rhyming dictionary existed. Well, Dio albums and most hard rock and metal albums provided plenty of source material.

Sacred Heart

The riff sounds epic on this and the keys from Schnell enhance it. But its Vinny Appice on the drums that turns this song into a powerhouse. The mix is perfect and I’m drawn to the groove of the drums.

Plus the lead break from Campbell is different from his earlier albums, better phrasing.

Oh running into nowhere turning like a wheel and a year becomes a day

Truth right there. Without a plan, the days just slip away.

Whenever you dream you’re holding the key it opens the door to let you be free yeah

Infinite possibilities when you let your imagination run wild. Why do you think mindfulness and meditation is so massive?

Another Lie

Its more blues rock but Campbell decorates a simple blues groove with pedal points and diads and suddenly it sounds like heavy metal.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Children

Does anything else think that “Shot In The Dark” from Ozzy sounds like this?

Anyway, it’s a melodic rock anthem with a killer Campbell lead break.

Rock ‘N’ Roll children alone again
Rock ‘N’ Roll children without a friend but they got rock’n’roll

Damn right.

As much as rock and roll lyrics are about parties, most fans of the music spent a lot of time alone with it, and the music was a form of escapism.

Hungry For Heaven

The solo break from Campbell on this is excellent.

So just hold on
You can make it happen for you
Reach for the stars and you will fly

It’s the same message as in other songs. You are responsible for your success, so what are you waiting for.

Like The Beat Of A Heart

It’s an inferior re-write of “One Night In The City” but still a good listen, especially the outro riff and groove.

There’s a beast that lives inside you and it’s screaming to get out

Just Another Day

Its “King Of Rock And Roll” part 2, and I like it. The riffs are excellent, while Bain and Appice hammer out an energetic foundation.

The guitar arpeggios after the solo.

Fallen Angels

The blues rock riffs on this just don’t get the credit they deserve.

Remember that the evil will rule / it’s waiting outside / bringing’ pain / for you fallen angels

Shoot Shoot

An AC/DC style cut.

Yes you know the feeling all alone your back to the wall
And all the doorways are starting to close in front of you

It’s more of the same that we are responsible for our own journey and that it all starts with us.

The high points on the album are definitely “Sacred Heart”, “King Of Rock And Roll”, “Rock N Roll Children” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

But like all Dio albums there is a little bit of everything in the other songs.

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Joel Hoekstra 13 – Running Games

I was interested to hear this but I didn’t think I would have liked it as much as I did.

It’s excellent.

I am a Russell Allen fan. I knew of Allen long before I heard of Joel Hoekstra. Allen has a voice which can suit power symphonic bands, metal bands, melodic rock bands, hard rock bands, nu-metal bands and blues rock bands.

And I’m also a Jeff Watson fan, so I wasn’t too thrilled with any Night Ranger version without Watson. Then again Watson hasn’t done much being away from the band and I still want to hear new Night Ranger music.

So I still listened and Hoekstra impressed but I felt he was restrained within that band as Blades and Keagy are the alphas.

And with Whitesnake, Coverdale has two great guitarists to write tunes with but they need to comply with what Coverdale desires.

Which means that Hoekstra 13 is the true Joel Hoekstra.

“Running Games” is album number 2 for his Frontiers label.

The musicians for the album are Russell Allen on vocals, Tony Franklin on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards with Jeff Scott Soto doing backing vocals. Yep, you read that right, the great JSS is doing backing vocals.

It feels like the 70s ethos, when you see so many guys from different bands jamming together and releasing music.

I was reading some of the interviews Hoekstra did when the album come out and fuck there are some shit interviewers out there, who just do the simple Wikipedia style of interview without even listening to the album.

But the one at “The Rock Pit” is what an interview is about. The interviewer actually listened to the album, liked it and wanted to know more about it. And you get exactly that.

“Finish Line”

“We Rock” from Dio is merged with “I’ll See The Light Tonight” from Malmsteen for the Intro riff and I’m all in.

And that Chorus. Wow. What a hook!

Make sure to check out the lead break as Hoekstra is doing his eight finger tapping.

“I’m Gonna Lose It”

I like the Intro lead. It reminds me of Thin Lizzy.

And just before the Chorus, there is a little snippet of a riff that gets me thinking of “A Touch Of Madness” from Night Ranger.

The lead break again. Wow.

Over at Glide Magazine, Hoekstra said He came up with the song out at Hook City at the Whitesnake studio.

“Hard To Say Goodbye”

The Chorus feels like a Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow Chorus.

“How Do You”

It’s slower and groovy, more in the vein of Adrenaline Mob in the verses with a Euro classical inspired Chorus.

“Heart Attack”

It is a bluesy groovy cut.

“Fantasy”

It feels like ZZ Top added some Metal to their sound in the Intro, and the verses are massive, Kashmir like.

Their is a keyboard solo and then Hoekstra breaks loose.

“Lonely Days”

What a melodic rock Chorus. I’m a sucker for these.

“Reach For the Sky”

Cliched and overused song title.

In an interview over at The Rock Pit, Hoekstra mentions how he wrote the riff on the Whitesnake Tour Bus. Inspiration strikes all the time.

“Cried Enough For You”

It feels like a Y&T cut from the “Black Tiger” album in the acoustic sections before it moves to an Iron Maiden like old school groove.

“Take What’s Mine”

The fast guitar lead and machine gun riff to start off the song gets me to pay attention, but it’s the verse riff that makes me pick up the guitar and bang my head to.

And there’s another anthemic Chorus.

“Running Games”

It feels like a Toto cut.

“Lay Down Your Love”

It feels like ZZ Top has come to town.

Overall Hoekstra’s songwriting is top level and the performances from the guys are excellent.

Check it out.

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The Record Vault: Dio – The Last In Line

The Vinyl Cover
The Cassette Cover.

Did anyone else think that the Dio logo upside down spelled Devil?

I did.

“The Last In Line” was my first Dio purchase and I played the cassette a lot. There isn’t a song I don’t like on it and if you want an introduction to Dio, then this is the album to sink your teeth into. Vivian’s guitar work also became very influential to me.

To this day, I still have the original cassette.

But I cannot locate the LP and the CD which I purchased much later on. As part of my many house moves I lost a lot of music.

The band is the same as the “Holy Diver” album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass and Vinny Appice on drums.

We Rock

How good is the Intro?

Appice is working away on that snare while Campbell plays the A minor pedal point riff.

And that solo from Vivian Campbell is perfect. It’s fast and melodic and it has a bluesy feel with doublestop bends and pentatonic licks.

The best part is the outro chorus when Vivan is playing the Am pedal point riff and the chords change from Am to F under it via Jimmy Bain whole Dio is ad libbing his vocals and Appice is driving the song home.

You can’t get better at that.

On Spotify it’s got 22 million streams.

The Last In Line

Sitting at 33.2 million Spotify streams.

That fingerpicked intro.

How good is the section when Dio holds the “home” vocal note and the band comes crashing in around him with an epic “Kashmir” like groove.

And the stop start music in the verse so the vocal melody is the centerpiece, goes to show how a strong melody can carry a song.

“Well know for the first time if were evil or divine” is one of the best lines Dio has put to paper.

For so many of us we live a life which we think we’ve done good and when it comes to judgement at the pearly gates, the almighty one might have other views.

Breathless

If the sound of a person being breathless in the intro isn’t enough to get you interested, then that groovy riff that kicks in will do it.

Dio’s strength (apart from his voice and good business sense) was the addition of a young guitarist that resonated with the youth and all the new young shredders who wanted to make their mark in Hard Rock and Metal.

Even though they parted ways bitterly, the three albums Dio did with Vivian set up Dio’s solo career, in the same way the two albums Ozzy did with Randy Rhoads set up Ozzy’s solo career.

Check out Campbell’s solo on this and the snare work from Appice to come out of the solo.

One other thing that I always enjoyed with Dio songs is Dio’s ability to ad lib in the Outro.

I Speed At Night

A speed metal song before speed metal became a thing or a genre. If you don’t believe me, then press play on this song.

If the riff sounds familiar, it should. It’s “Stand Up And Shout” re-imagined.

And that solo again from Vivian. It’s perfect.

One Night In The City

The music is head banging material for a song that introduces a dark child called Johnny, who was promised but seemed to get into trouble and then found some form of love.

Did you get that?

Cool. I’m still confused.

And what about the drum fills from Appice after the solo and into the outro.

Who said drummers are not important?

I can even air play the fills.

Evil Eyes

They promise you treasure if you fly and fly Dio did. It’s a perfect combination of fast blues and metal.

And Campbell again steals the spotlight with his guitar hero solo.

Mystery

It’s in the key of Dm and it moves between major and minor keys throughout like F major in the chorus and D minor in the verses.

The Intro has moments of “Rainbow In The Dark”.

And Vivian is on form again in the guitar solo department.

Eat Your Heart Out

In the key of Em and Vivian is all over this one. From a guitar point of view there is a lot to unpack in the riffs department.

And for the guitar solo, what can I say. Vivian kicks it off with a tapping lick before blazing into some arpeggios and finishing it all off with some pentatonic lines.

It might not be Dio’s most famous song but it’s a guitar players delight.

Egypt (The Chains Are On)

The best track on the album for me and the drumming from Vinnie Appice is excellent under the epic and groovy guitar riff.

The verse riff is basically the feel of “Heaven And Hell” and Dio references his singing style from the same song in the verses.

I love the lyric line, “when the world was milk and honey”. Dio puts it out there that the world was nice and sweet once upon a time and so far removed from the warmongering, greed and ills that came after. For singer well known for introducing the Devil horns salute, his lyrics are influenced by the Bible.

Did I mention that Appice lays down some serious groove?

Well he does. It’s so effective, so simple and fucking frightening.

And in the outro, Vivian plays the intro riff and the Jimmy Bain changes the chords under it, like in “We Rock” and it’s brilliant.

This is a band in form and on top of their game. Vinny Appice on the drums is an unsung hero on this.

For such an influential album in hard rock and heavy metal circles it’s certifications are at platinum for US sales.

By the end of the album I was doing the Devil horns. \::/

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Mean Man – The Story Of Chris Holmes

The guitar sound is what hooked me to WASP and when I saw the “Love Machine” clip, Chris Holmes had my attention. Running around and pretend slamming his guitar. He was a maniac.

In the 80s, he was called the new Lemmy, just crazier. He’s come full circle, fronting his own band and sounding like Lemmy when he sings.

Like so many artists, he never understood what he signed in the 80s. All of his publishing money goes to someone else because of it. He mentioned that if he understood what publishing was, Blackie and he would have gone head to head and he would have been out of the band pretty early on.

He mentioned how WASP ceased to be a band after the first album. All you need to do is look at the album covers.

They showed the footage of him in the pool in the “Decline Of Wedtern Civilization”. And Blackie was pissed because of it.

Psycho Squad is mentioned his post WASP band circa 1991 and 1992. But they couldn’t get a record deal after 18 months and broke up.

He’s reunion with Blackie in 1995 and the subsequent albums with WASP. I recently reviewed “Unholy Terror” and Holmes is mentioned as the lead guitarist, but he said he didn’t play a note on it.

He’s touring Europe now, playing small clubs and living in his mother in laws basement. He’s trying to make a name for himself. For his brand.

The “Mean Man” brand.

Check it out.

P.S. thanks to Ken Taylor for recommending the doco on the “Unholy Terror” review.

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1986 – Part 2.7: Crimson Glory – Crimson Glory

I’ve posted on Crimson Glory before when I was doing my Record Vault posts.

The line-up which is known to me as the classic line up had vocalist Midnight, guitarist Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson, bassist Jeff Lords and drummer Dana Burnell.

They never broke out big in North America, with Asia and Europe being their main market. Their presence in Europe was probably due to Roadrunner Europe being their label and they got behind the band, booking them to play shows in major markets like Germany, France, UK, Holland, Belgium and Sweden.

Their overnight European success was 5 years in the making.

The masquerade mask angle along with hard rock perms and teased hair and leather vests was strange to begin with, but I understood their message, that the music should lead the way, not how they looked but by the third album the masks ceased to be and hard rock abs were on display in photo shoots.

The self-titled debut came out in 1986 but I didn’t hear it until 89, after I purchased “Transcendence” and I went back and got the debut.

Also by 1989, a lot of the bands I liked started to change or were past their heyday.

Scorpion’s didn’t really amuse me with “Savage Amusement” in 87, UFO still powdered their noses and had no recording contract, Queensryche went hard rock (which was a good thing) but I also liked their metal style and I was seeking bands like that, Iron Maiden lost an important band member and went even more streamlined with “No Prayer For The Dying” and Black Sabbath was still trying to replenish their worth and value after the “Born Again” debacle while Dio was starting to lose his star power from 5 years before.

So I went looking elsewhere for my unique metal fix and Crimson Glory filled the void.

And I like to play the guitar, so any album that makes me pick up the guitar to learn the songs gets my attention, and this is what the Crimson Glory albums do.

“Mayday”

There is a countdown. Then a chromatic moving arpeggio/lick in harmony.

And the speed kicks in.

The fastest song on the album, relentless like “Screaming For Vengeance” and that ball tearing falsetto from Midnight rattled my windows. A mixture between King Diamond and Rob Halford on this.

The lead breaks are Judas Priest like.

“Queen of the Masquerade”

It’s more hard rock than heavy metal with the “I Love Rock N Roll” chords in the verses and some serious shred.

“Valhalla”

The intro gets me with the harmony leads.

At the 2.00 mark, there is this guitar riff which moves up chromatically, reminding me of how “The Call Of Ktulu” does the same thing. Mustaine actually used that chromatic movement for “In My Darkest Hour” and then he took his “The Call Of Ktulu” riff and made it “Hangar 18”.

Check out the harmony solo’s on this.

“Azrael”

Along with “Valhalla”, it’s a two punch combo knockout.

The intro is a mix of acoustic guitars, symphonic voices, violins and Midnight’s unique voice which sounds like Geoff Tate from “The Warning” album.

This then leads in to one of the best metal tracks I have heard with harmony guitars and galloping riffs.

Check out the riff at 2.23, done in harmony. It goes for about 10 seconds, a brief change between verses.

The lead break from 3.11. It’s guitar hero worthy but guitarists Jon Drenning and Ben Jackson are virtually unknown to the masses as Crimson Glory didn’t really cross over like Queensryche in the U.S market.

“Dragon Lady”

It starts off with a Midnight wail, harmony guitars and then a Deep Purple “Stormbringer” like riff in the verses.

Make sure you check out the Chorus, which has a combination of harmony guitars and an AOR rock chorus.

But it’s the harmony lead lick that comes after the Chorus that really gets me hooked.

Plus the outro lead break. Check it out. It as good as Jake E Lee’s “Bark At The Moon” outro.

“Lost Reflection”

A haunting acoustic piece, built on two chords and Midnight’s gloomy and mournful vocals.

From 3.10, distorted guitars crash in with reverbed drums and after 30 seconds it fades out to how it started.

“Heart Of Steel”

It starts off with acoustic guitars and harmony leads.

It reminds me of 70’s Scorpions with Uli Jon Roth on guitars, with a nod to the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. And it’s probably their most catchiest.

I like the way Midnight sings “Heart of steeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeel” with an increase in pitch as he holds steel.

Check out the little harmony lead at around the 4.10 mark. And the last 15 seconds is that good, the only thing you can do is press repeat.

At 5 minutes long it doesn’t get boring.

Especially the guitar playing and those harmony leads.

“Angels of War”

It’s very reminiscent of Iron Maiden.

There is a lot of great guitar playing but the little section from 3.25 is excellent.

And my favourite is when the bass and drums kick in at 3.55, then the harmony guitars start and then the Chorus vocal. A perfect minute to end the song.

“Dream Dancer”

It’s not on the vinyl version that I have. But it’s on Spotify.

Like other songs, it is a mixture of acoustic guitars in the verses with an anthemic chorus full of distorted chords. It feels like Dio vocally, but musically, it’s more in the spirit of the 70’s.

The section from 3.45 is brief but so good.

And then the lead breaks start.

“Dream Dancer can fly away / wings of fire she burns the nightshade”

And like that, the 1986 part 2 series comes to an end as I fly away to 1976.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 12 to July 18

4 Years Ago (2017)

When I was growing up there’s like a half a dozen or 10 big giant great bands that are super groups you know. Now it’s like there are thousands of bands. Picking through everything is hard. It’s stressful trying to find all the right music you know.
George Lynch

It’s a good time for an artist to get their product out and streaming has moved distribution further away from the labels. And it pissed em off because their power came from controlling the distribution. Then the millions started coming in from streaming and suddenly their powerful again. And all they did was moan and complain.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was writing about my fandom of Tesseract, who just released the excellent “Altered State”.

And it reminded me of an Australian band called Karnivool.

Tesseract also liked Karnivool as they had a few of the Karnivool songs in the Spotify playlists they created to promote the album.

Trivium was also doing the usual PR interviews about their new upcoming album called “Vengeance Falls”, produced by David Draiman from Disturbed.

And from the interviews, the theme was, “Bigger Melodies, Bigger Hooks, Bigger Riffs.”

And in 2021, I can say that the album proved just that, giving us the concert favorite “Strife” with its Judas Priest “Sentinel” Intro.

And the lyrics from Dave Mustaine seemed prophetic to me during this period.

I was questioning why artists would spend a lot of time putting together 12 tracks just to sell them as a packages for $10. It’s an old business model. In 2021, that business model is 55 plus years old.

I can’t recall a lot of companies doing the exact same thing they did 55 years ago and surviving.

But it looks like the album won’t go away anytime soon.

When Zoltan Bathory was putting together a new band in 2004, his vision was to bring metal back to the masses.

And I think he’s done that. Every FFDP album has a certification. It’s because of the songs, which Bathory said, a song needs to be there for anything else to be added.

And I think my final douche post was written and I was asking the question if having Portnoy in your band is a good thing or a bad thing due to the many projects.

As James Hetfield once said that he is anti-side projects because it dilutes the quality of the main product.

And in the end it is quality that the people want.

I was trying to be a sociologist with the post, “The Old Rock Star Is Dead, It’s Time To Create A New Rock Star”,

You don’t want to be an artist that becomes who others want them to be. It’s okay to not be liked by everybody.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Two Fires

“I’d been caught between two fires for a long time. One was the inferno that I had built with my success and addictions. The other was the fire that burned for my family”

It’s how Chapter 33 called “out of control like a bushfire” started from the “Working Class Man” book.

“Two Fires” is his fourth studio album released in 1990 and his first United States release for Atlantic Records.

This was the last proper attempt to break Barnes to the U.S market, as previous label partnerships with Elektra and Geffen for the earlier records fell apart due to various reasons.

It was also the first step away from the AOR sounding “Freight Train Heart”. Most of the song writing credits this time are shared by the band and unknown writers instead of Desmond Child, Jonathan Cain and Diane Warren.

“Lay Down Your Guns”

The album gave Barnesy a chance to work with some great players like Brian Setzer from The Stray Cats who plays guitar on this.

A sinister crime noir “Peter Gunn” style riff kicks it off. The song is written by Jimmy Barnes and Rick Nowels.

Nowels was still in his early days of becoming a huge songwriter. His credits now include Adele, Lana Del Rey and many more. Just go to his Wikipedia page.

Lay down your guns and surrender

“Let’s Make It Last All Night”

Very Foreigner sounding, the Chorus is massive as you would expect from a song written by Barnes, Diane Warren and Desmond Child.

It was also a hit in Australia and it’s a staple of his live show.

Let’s make it last all night
This could be the last time I make love to you

“Little Darling”

A Barnes composition with Setzer on guitar again bringing some rockabilly to a soul rock tune.

Well I get to your house
Like the rest of the band
But somehow these things don’t always turn out as planned
You called me a cab and yeah I walked out that door

Barnesy talks about this event in his book. he thought he messed up his chance with his future wife.

“Love Is Enough”

It’s got a feel like “Every Breath You Take” in the verses, just more rockier.

“Hardline”

It’s a hard rock track and one of the best on the album.

Well it’s late at night something just ain’t right
I can tell by the look in your eye
You don’t say two words
You got a stare that burns
It’s gonna be a long long night

“One of a Kind”

Another rocker with hard rock lyrics.

Tight skirts, like a flirt
She don’t stop till it starts to hurt
She’s sweet, what a treat
Got to get her into my back seat

Mmmm. Flirt with skirt with hurt and sweet with treat and backseat. Overused terms but I would not have it any other way.

“Sister Mercy”

Cause a woman’s got the power
To take control of me
Well she can wrap me round her finger
And make a damn fool of me

The blues songs from the 1930s had lyrics like this. That’s how much staying power the blues medium had.

“When Your Love is Gone”

A great ballad. The sound is dated as it uses a lot of 80s sounding midis.

Well, I missed all the signs, never read between lines

And the Barnesy kids make an appearance in the outro.

“Between Two Fires”

A track written by Barnes and Holly Knight.

As you would expect, it’s anthemic and melodic rock.

The Intro and verses riff remind me of “Rocking In The Free World”. And the Chorus soars.

Caught between two fires
Losing control since I first met you

“Fade to Black”

This is a great rock song. Forgotten behind the hits.

When day fades to black
I won’t look back, of that I’m certain

When you just want to escape the rat race for the night.

I wanna get of this one way street
Don’t want to be among the faceless

“Hold On”

It sounds like a track from “Out Of This World” by Europe. With a bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.

Like most albums of the time, the labels held the power, so they made artists write and write and write.

Barnes wrote over 30 tracks for the album with a lot of em still unreleased and some as B-sides to the singles.

And the fans rallied behind him once again, sending the album to number 1 on two separate occasions and making it 6x Platinum.

And that elusive break through into the US market still remained elusive.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Writing On The Wall

It’s good to hear Iron Maiden music.

They are one of the rare bands from the 80’s who keep writing and recording new albums. Although the time spans between albums has become bigger over the last 15 years, it’s not because they are lazy, they are just on the road or in the air, touring and doing what they do.

And a pandemic put a halt to their touring plans in 2020. So when artists have time, they normally write and here we are in 2021, with new music.

They have been teasing this new music for about a fortnight, and a lot of internet sleuths started piecing together all the clues about “Belshazzar’s Feast” from a T-shirt that Bruce Dickinson was wearing in an interview he did on Sky News.

And like all things Maiden, I am sure we will get to know more about Belshazzar’s Feast, because that’s what Maiden does, they get people like me into researching and learning.

It’s written by Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickinson, with production by Kevin Shirley.

The country blues rock in the intro has me interested. It’s a new style into the Iron Maiden family.

The verse riff reminds me of “Stormbringer” from Deep Purple played with a bluesy swagger. Vocally Dickinson is still a powerhouse.

How good are those guitar harmonies after the first chorus?

The lead that comes at the 4.27 mark, I am pretty sure it’s Adrian Smith as it sounds like his style, is excellent.

I keep re-listening to this song just to keep hearing the lead break.

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

1986 – Part 2.6: Cinderella – Night Songs

I’ve written about this album and certain songs previously on this blog.

This post was scheduled for today as part of my 1986 “Year In Review” series. And yesterday my Twitter feed was all about the passing of Jeff LaBar at 58. May he rest in peace and thank you for the music and all those licks and leads.

Signed to Polygram, the debut album, “Night Songs”, produced by Andy Johns, had everything from AC/DC style riffing and grooves, to Aerosmith style highs and Keifer’s unique raspy snarl.

But Keifer and co didn’t just sound like all of the other bands out there, because their influences weren’t just your standard Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC acts. They also went back and found out who influenced their influences, and allowed those artists to also influence them, hence the reason why Cinderella was more bluesier than the rest.

The debut album came out on released August 2, 1986.

It’s stood the test of time and when it came out, it competed with some massive albums from Bon Jovi, Europe, Ratt and Poison. And let’s not forget that within a year, they were also competing with Whitesnake, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Guns N Roses for market share and sales.

The clip for “Nobody’s Fool” was first.

It hooked me in because those clean tone Am arpeggios reminded me of “Bringing On The Heartbreak” from Def Leppard. At 30 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of their biggest songs, with “Don’t Know What You Got (Until Its Gone)” at 42.19 million streams above it.

The lead break starts off so bluesy to begin with. Then it goes into some fast melodic picking.

As “Nobody’s Fool” is repeated over and over again in the outro, there is another great lead shredding away.

Then I heard “Shake Me” and the party was getting started.

Tom Keifer’s raspy voice is the difference. He didn’t sound like any other singer out on the market. Maybe a bit like Brian Johnson and a bit like Blackie Lawless. The band Hinder built a career in the music business many years later because their singer had the same raspy voice like Keifer.

So I got the album and I thought I had a feeling how the other songs would sound. I dropped the needle and the opening riff to “Night Songs” started.

I was floored.

It was heavy. It sounded deep, like “When The Levee Breaks” heavy. And the slow groove hooked me like nicotine. (I could probably do better with that line, but hey).

Workin’ this job ain’t payin’ the bills / Sick and tired rat race takin’ my thrills / Kickin’ down the road not a dime in my pocket / Nightime falls and I’m ready to rock it

This message appeared in a lot of songs around this time. “Let It Rock”, “Rock The Night”, “Working For The Weekend” just to name a few. Working to get paid, so we could rock out.

Even if the rocking took place in the comfort of our own home. There was nothing more soothing then dropping the needle and letting the sound surround you and bounce off the walls.

I love the main riff in “Nothin’ For Nothin’” and Keifer delivers a stellar vocal melody in the verses.

“Once Around The Ride” is a classic heavy metal track, with an air guitar pedal tone riff, a wicked lead break from Jeff LeBar and a vocal melody from Keifer which sticks around long after the song has finished.

“Hell On Wheels” is a fast twelve bar blues type of tune, but it’s done that well, it could have come from any NWOBHM act, just with better melodies and vocals from Kiefer. Even ZZ Top on steroids comes to mind.

We’ve had enough of the raw deals / Hit the road and tell ya how it feels
Like hell on wheels

“Somebody Save Me” is my favourite. The “Knock Em Dead Kid” riff merged with “Looks That Kill” works a treat and Keifer delivers vocally.

Well, everybody’s got opinions / But nobody’s got the answers / And the shit you ate for breakfast / Well, it’ll only give you cancer

Remember when white bread was marketed as a health food.

Now processed meats will give you cancer. And too much red meat as well. Plus all those cereals and muesli bars and low fat alternatives are full of sugar.

“In From The Outside” has an excellent outro and it’s the reason why I go through the whole song, just to hear the outro and how they fit in this metal like section to a 12 bar blues.

And “Back Home Again” is a great way to bookend the album. An open string riff kicks it off and the vocal melody from Keifer is brilliant.

I hit the road wide open at seventeen

It doesn’t happen like that anymore or does it. I read an article how most kids are still living with their parents past the age of 30.

And there is a cast on the album.

Jon Bon Jovi does backing vocals on a few tracks, drums are played by someone else and even the guitar leads are played by someone else on a few tracks.

For a debut album, it was an expensive exercise for Polygram. But it paid off in spades. Three times platinum in the U.S.

A school friend back then asked me to describe the album and I called it “AC/DC on steroids”. Hearing it back throughout the decades its more varied than that. There is a lot to unpack. ZZ Top is present, the first three Def Leppard albums, Aerosmith, Bad Company and Led Zeppelin.

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