4 Years Ago (2017)
I was listening to “Promised Land”, which at that time was the new single from the Sweet & Lynch project.
For those that don’t know, Michael Sweet from Stryper joined forces with George Lynch to create Sweet & Lynch. They are supported by one of the best rhythm sections in the business in James Lomenzo on bass and Brian Tichy on drums. Underpinning or financing it all is melodic rock label Frontiers.
Their first album, “Only To Rise” was released in 2014. It’s a great throwback to the 80s style I remember well, but with modern touches and production.
3 years later, they are about to drop the “Unified” album.
The first thing that hooks me from “Promised Land” is the tempo. It’s basically a speed metal song.
A cross between Dokken’s “Lightning Strikes Again” and “Tooth And Nail” in some sections and Stryper’s “The Way” in other sections.
The lead break is one of Lynch’s finest metal moments in 2017. It’s got melody, hammer ons, pull offs, sweep picking and string skipping. All at 140 plus clicks a minute.
Unfortunately “Promised Land” is just another song lost in the 30 million plus songs on streaming services, along with other Sweet & Lynch gems like “Love Stays”, “Me Without You” and “Recover”.
Ed Sheeran writes songs which become popular. Then he gets hit with a lawsuit because his songs are making money and the family members of a departed artist, or the business entity that owns the copyright of an artist who is departed or has not creating anything worthwhile anymore wants a cut.
If Copyright terms remained how they were originally, this would not be a problem. First, the creator had a 14 year monopoly, with a chance to renew for another 14 years for a total of 28 years. However, once the creator died, all of their works became public property, free to be used by any other artist/creator to create derivative versions. So if the creator passed away during a term, the works ceased to be under copyright and went straight into the public domain.
The British 60’s Rock invasion happened because of these rules.
So who is copyright benefiting once the person who is meant to have the monopoly (the creator) to create works has passed on?
The corporations and estates who control the copyrights of long-dead artists. That’s who.
Frequency is a bad word for rock and metal artists.
Release music frequently is another bad phrase for artists.
It’s a concept artists are struggling with. It’s even more troublesome for bands. The singer/songwriter can make it happen, but for bands it’s a different story.
Netflix wouldn’t be able to grow their subscriber base if they released one TV show every two years?
It’s a streaming world. The youngsters, the ones who replenish the music base are signed up to streaming. And artists who don’t want to be part of the streaming group are still debating the payouts.
The money will come. But you need to control your copyrights so you get maximum royalties.
The paradigm is different. Your musical output lives online and the money is in what lasts. Success is based upon cumulative streams, not sales of albums, and the streams go on forever.
8 Years Ago (2013)
I watched Dream Theater in Australia on the “Systematic Chaos” Tour and they played for three hours (with an intermission of about 10 minutes in between). For some reason that was perfect, however when I saw them again on the “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” Tour, they played just over 2 hours and it was too much.
And I was confused as to why I felt that way.
I think hitting the same market too quickly and the flow of the set list was the problem. The 2009 show took place almost 12 months since the 2008 show.
They did “Solitary Shell” with extended solos. It is not the strongest song in the Dream Theater catalogue, so what happens when you take a song that isn’t your best and make it longer?
You get a yawn fest, a toilet break or a beer/smoke break.
And at the time did we really need a live album from Metallica?
They had released four DVD packages of Live Concerts during the Death Magnetic tour, as well as the Six Feet Down Under EP’s plus all the stuff they release on Live Metallica.
The saying goes, you need to have lived to create everlasting art.
When Metallica created the “Black” album, the main members were 27 years of age and the producer was 36. Life experiences were on their side.
The main classic rock bands were all about individuality. The Eagles, Boston, Styx, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Rush, Bad Company, Foreigner, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick all had a unique sound.
The Eighties gave us Metallica, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, U2, Duran Duran, AC/DC, Journey, Whitesnake, Van Halen (and yes i know that some of these bands formed in the seventies), Aerosmith again and Foreigner.
Metallica played fast speed metal that was labelled thrash, Motley Crue played a hybrid version of pop, punk, rock and metal. Van Halen wrote the book on the nuclear band, Guns N Roses rewrote the seventies classic rock period with a dash of punk and Def Leppard merged Queen, with Bowie with Mott The Hoople with their NWOBM leanings into a pop rock format. Each band spawned thousands of imitators.
Rush could have recorded a mainstream radio friendly album in 1976 just to please the record label. Instead they recorded “2112”, an album that set up a very lucrative future for Rush and an album that made the record label very nervous when they heard it. As guitarist Alex Lifeson has stated in numerous interviews, “2112” set up a career for Rush.
What happened to the uniqueness?
“Kill Em All” Metallica’s first album was celebrating 30 years in July 2013. At the time of its release it didn’t really set the world on fire, however if you look at the reviews and praises the album is getting now, it is like the album came out and created a movement called thrash metal right off the bat. In other words a lot of revisionist history was taking place.
Let’s put into context the lifespan of “Kill Em All”.
It came out on July 25, 1983. By February 1984, seven months after “Kill Em All” was released, Metallica was in the studio, writing and recording the “Ride The Lightning” album.
The victory lap of “Kill Em All” was seven months. That’s it. If the band wanted to have a career, they needed to get back into the studio and record a new album.
Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard had break through albums with “Shout At The Devil”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Pyromania”. Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was the first American heavy metal debut album to ever reach No. 1 in the United States on the Billboard album charts.
But RNR history is written by the winners. Since Metallica is now inducted into the Hall of Fame, everyone that can put fingers to letters on a keyboard is rewriting their back story.
Bands like Quiet Riot will be written out. Artists like Vinnie Vincent and Jake E.Lee will be forgotten. The impact of other bands will be diminished because Metallica won.
History is written by the winners.
And does anyone know what the Metallica movie, “Through The Never” is about.
Dream Theater were promoting their new album with webisodes which didn’t feature any musical snippets from their new album.
And a listening party which didn’t feature any fans but plenty of writers for Billboard, Village Voice and other media.
Has anyone purchased a Dream Theater album because Billboard Magazine rated it highly or poorly or from a Village Voice review?
The answer would be a definite NO.
Dream Theater built their career outside of the mainstream. It was the mainstream that came knocking on the door for Dream Theater and they let them in.
Remember back in 1991, Metallica had arena sized listening parties for their fans before the release of the Black album.
Connect with fans first and they will support you.
And that’s another wrap for another week.