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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – December 26 to January 8

Well it’s been two weeks since the last DoHh post.

Here we go.

4 Years Ago (2017 going into 2018)

2018 STARTED WITH SOME RANDOM LISTENING

Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Trilogy” album is full of great riffs and leads.

When the U.S record labels went anti shred in the 90’s, the Japanese and South American markets kept his career going.

There is no denying his 80’s output and it’s a shame that a rumoured collaboration with Ronnie James Dio never happened.

Then I moved to “Trash” from Alice Cooper. It’s commercial sounding, but it’s still Alice Cooper singing.

How can it not be good?

The real gems are “Spark In The Dark”, “This Maniac Is In Love With You”, “I’m Your Gun”, “Why Trust You” and “Trash”.

Afterwards, “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche got a listen.

It’s loaded with excellent guitar playing and the album gave me a tonne of great riff ideas to use as influences in my own song writing.

“Flesh and Blood” from Poison was next.

“Valley Of Lost Souls” is one hell of a good song and the best on the album.

“Let It Play” could have been on a John Cougar Mellencamp or Bryan Adams album while “Life Goes On” is a good power ballad and CC plays a tasty intro lead. “Come Hell or High Water” is another underrated tune in the vein of the Classic Rock of the 70’s that doesn’t get its dues.

“Ride The Wind” is another sleeper, while “Something To Believe In” copies the “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” country bluesy vibe, however this time, the piano is the main driver instead of the acoustic guitar.

“Blow My Fuse” from Kix was up next. Now this album is a perfect example of the “progress is derivative model”.

It starts off with “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” which sounds very familiar like something from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. “Get It While It’s Hot” is heavily influenced by “You Shook Me All Night Long” from AC/DC. Actually it’s very heavily, heavily influenced by that song.

“No Ring Around Rosie” is a beefed up “La Grange” from ZZ Top in the verses. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is taking its cues from “Home Sweet Home” and “Dream On”. “She Dropped Me The Bomb” is again heavily influenced by AC/DC with a touch of The Who.  “Cold Blood” is a very similar to “Long Way To The Top” from AC/DC in the verses.

“Piece Of The Pie” is very heavily influenced by Aerosmith. “Boomerang” is influenced by Led Zeppelin. “Blow My Fuse” is such a good track where the influences are not as obvious as the other tracks. “Dirty Boys” is influenced by “Let There Be Rock” by AC/DC.

Finally, Winger is up.

The groovy “Can’t Get Enough” kicks off the album.

When “Miles Away” came on, I wasn’t sure if it was Bad English or Def Leppard. It’s one of those slow tempo melodic rock songs. “Easy Come Easy Go” has a cool groove and I dig the horn section in the verses.

The next two songs are two of my favourite songs. “Rainbow In The Rose” and “In The Day We’ll Never See”.

RANDY RHOADS AND THE BLIZZARDS

The project could have been called that.

It all started when Ozzy auditioned Randy in LA. Afterwards they jammed for a few days with Dana Strum and Frankie Banali.

Then Ozzy went back to England and he met with Bob Daisley. Ozzy and Daisley jammed with another guitarist and drummer however Daisley mentioned that they needed better players.

Ozzy mentioned Randy Rhoads, however the label wanted a well-known British guitarist, but no one was interested to join because of Ozzy’s reputation. Gary Moore was Ozzy’s first choice and he rejected the offer to audition. Eventually the label relented and Randy was flown over to London. Rhoads and Daisley started writing music and it worked well. Lee Kerslake came towards the end of the writing process.

Here are some summaries of what I wrote about the songs.

Crazy Train

You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit but it never registered on the charts back in the day. But on Spotify and YouTube it’s huge. The new paradigm shows us what is being listened too.

Bob Daisley provided the title while Randy Rhoads had the riff and the chord structure. For the lyrics, Bob Daisley used Ozzy’s vocal melodies and referenced what was happening in 1979/80. The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War between the USSR and USA was still going on.

Goodbye To Romance

It was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.”

The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath.

On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy mentions he was humming the vocal melody, and Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. Ozzy’s revisionist take makes it sound that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process, which is obviously not true at all.

CRITICAL MASS

There are always different kinds of audiences.

You have the early adopters, the first to hear about an artist. These early adopters are looking and wanting a different experience than the people who identify as the critical mass market.

Early adopters want something fresh, exciting, new and interesting.

The critical mass market don’t. They want something that is familiar.

Metallica when they started had an audience that adopted them early. Some of those fans stood by them all the way, even when they broke through to the critical mass market in the 90’s and some of those early day fans just moved on to something new and different.

And who should the artist please, the early adopters of their music or the mass market?

Profits are fine as they allow the artist to invest back into their art. But if profit becomes the main aim, well, nothing and no one benefits if profits are the only thing the artist seeks.

And yes, there are routes to popularity which are random or accidental or luck or being in the right place at the right time.

BOB ROCK AND METALLICA

Bob Rock knew exactly what every song needed.

The demo of “Sad But True” (I had a drummer in a band who thought it was called “Sad Patrol”) was heaps quicker. Bob heard a “Kashmir” feel and asked James to slow it down and make it crunchy.

Rock kept telling James to re-write lyrics to songs. He told him to use fewer words in the choruses and to use stronger words. He questioned James on what the song was about. He asked him how the verse lyrics referenced the song message. James didn’t like this line of questioning. If James couldn’t explain it back to Rock, it meant he hadn’t nailed the lyric.

Rock told Lars to take drum lessons and he told James to take singing lessons. He told Kirk to rewrite solos.

And as a side note, in “Get Him To The Greek”, Lars gets told by Russel Brand to “Go sue Napster and your fans”, and unfortunately that is the stigma that will forever stick with Metallica. They got so out of touch with reality that they sued their own fans for sharing their music.

Nicko McBrain sums up piracy in “Flight 666”when he said “We sold out in Costa Rica but haven’t sold an album in this country…”

8 Years Ago (2013 going into 2014)

GRAMMY’S

From when Jethro Tull won the first metal award at the Grammy’s, the whole awards has been a joke for metal and hard rock music.

Having Metallica then win the “Best Metal Performance” in 1990 for “One” and then in 1991 for “Stone Cold Crazy” just added to the Grammy metal jokes.

“One’s” fate was tied with the “…And Justice For All” album and that was meant for the 1989 Grammy ceremony.

And seriously, for the 1991 awards, a cover song was the best that was on offer in the metal world for releases released from October 1989 to September 1990. I don’t think so.

Even in 1999, Metallica won again for “Better Than You”.

For which song, I hear you say.

“Better Than You.”

Does anyone know from which album it was on or how the riff goes or the vocal melody?

I bet that most people will answer NO.

HEADED FOR A HEARTBREAK

Billy Squire made one ridiculous video with a pink top. And just like that an amazing voice, with a catalog of songs was gone.

Winger had Kip Winger. A Playgirl pictorial was too outlandish and as glam music was committing suicide by cloning itself over and over again, Beavis and Butthead came along and trashed the band.

Metallica even threw darts at Kip Winger while they recorded the “Black” album.

But.

“Headed For A Heartbreak” is a hell of a good song.

Winger’s debut didn’t come from out of nowhere. Kip Winger did his time as a songwriter and studio session musician working very closely with Beau Hill who would of course go on to produce the first two Winger albums that went platinum.

Guitarist Reb Beach is a graduate from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. He also did his time in backing bands and studio work, until he met up with Kip Winger and started writing demos.

Drummer Rod Morgenstein was the most experienced. Active since joining jazz fusion legends “The Dixie Dregs” in 1974, he was a very accomplished drummer to bring into the fold.

Keyboard player and back up guitarist Paul Taylor was the x factor. He was the touring keyboardist for Aldo Nova during his “Fantasy” success. He did his time with Alice Cooper’s backing band at the same time with Kip Winger and played on the “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” albums.

Go on Spotify and check them out. Go on YouTube and check them out. Focus on the music and not on the pretty boy images put out there in the video clips.

DONT KNOW WHAT YOU GOT UNTIL ITS GONE

Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album.

Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Johns just kept on finding timing issues.

The end result is an album which is seen as a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 1

Everyone knows the singles and even some of those songs have now slipped into obscurity but if you dig deep enough you’ll hear some cult classics.

Tracks like;

THE HARDEST PART IS THE NIGHT

From the “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit” album released in 1985.

“Stay alive, the hardest part is the night”

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART

From the debut album released in 1984. “Runaway” took most of the glory as it became a radio staple however “Shot Through The Heart” was the reason I got into Bon Jovi.

It was good to see the song get some concert time during “The Circle” tour.

HOMEBOUND TRAIN

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and it’s got this heavy blues rock swagger that just connects.

The magic is at the three minute mark when it goes into this Elvis Presley meets James Brown meets Rolling Stones vibe.

The guitar drops out and it is the bass and drums that keep the groove going and Jon does a few voice impersonations, while Sambora keeps it funky and they build up the song again while Jon keeps singing “Here I Come”. The interlude is filled with church organ and harmonica lead breaks.

On “The Circle” tour, “Homebound Train” came back into the mix with Richie Sambora on vocals.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

It’s got this “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution” style intro written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

THE RADIO SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT

Another tune written for the “Keep The Faith” album that never made it.

To buy all the music that I liked was expensive, so I always purchased blank cassettes and kept my finger ready on the record button to record the latest song from the radio.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 2

RIVER OF LOVE

It never made the “New Jersey” album and it is a tragedy that it didn’t get fleshed out and recorded properly. It’s got a basic foot tapping riff that sticks with you from the outset. For those keen fans, you will hear the riff groove re-used in “Save A Prayer”.

“Pretend we’re in some movie instead of faded jeans”

Listen to the “Raise Your Hands” reference in the interlude. You could write a whole song based on that riff. Wait, they already did.

Progress is derivative.

JUDGEMENT DAY and GROWING UP THE HARD WAY

Both songs begin with that whole “Na Na NaNaNa” in the same vein as “Born To Be My Baby”, “Rosie” and “Hide Your Heart” from Kiss. Both songs also share the same riff. Both songs are written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

As with “River Of Love” these songs were recorded for the “New Jersey” album and they failed to make the cut. When a band is at their peak, they are able to churn out some great songs. The motivation is there to keep the machine rolling to see if the first round of success can be repeated.

In relation to the three demos mentioned above, I really thought that they would have seen the light of day “officially” when Bon Jovi released “100,000,000 Fans Cant Be Wrong” Box Set.

IF I WAS YOUR MOTHER

Man, this song is heavy and it has got some serious groove.

What a great vocal melody.

I saw them play it live on the “Keep The Faith Tour” and it rocked hard. The subject matter is weak and it hampers the song from being a powerhouse.

LETS MAKE IT BABY

It didn’t make the “New Jersey” album, however the bass line was used again in “Diamond Ring” (which was also originally written for the “New Jersey” album however it was officially released on the “These Days” album.

WEDDING DAY

“Wedding Day” was written for the “These Days” album, however it didn’t make the final cut.

The song is like a sleeper demo hit on YouTube.

Some of the lyrics made it into another Jon Bon Jovi song called “Janie Don’t Take Your Love To Town”.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 3

DAMNED

It has a soul like funky blues groove very similar to what Lenny Kravitz was putting out.

“These Days” from 1995 is a very misunderstood album, released in a very confusing time.

Hard/Glam rock as we knew it was dead, Grunge was fading and alternative rock was rising, along with a form of industrial rock/metal.

LOVE IS WAR

Of course it sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name” because Jon tried really hard to recreate the same vibe and the same kind of hit.

Is that a bad thing?

I’D DIE FOR YOU

“Slippery When Wet” was a monster of an album. And it was easy for other songs to get missed.

It’s got that Judas Priest “Breaking The Law” guitar line.

Did anyone pick up on that?

On YouTube, “I’d Die For You” is a cult hit. The fan’s have taken the song and made their own film clips, lyric videos and so on.

MY GUITAR LIES BLEEDING IN MY ARMS

The title is a take on the George Harrison classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

ONLY LONELY

The bottom line is this; it is a fan favourite.

THE PRICE OF LOVE

“We live, we learn, we lieFor the price of love”

Aint that the truth.

WITHOUT LOVE

Written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team for the Slippery When Wet album.

BURNING FOR LOVE

Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder. He never went too over the top, always focusing on enhancing the song, instead of enhancing his ego.

RIVER RUNS DRY

It is a Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child composition that begins as a derivative version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”.

Remember, progress is derivative.

SAVE A PRAYER

No one knows this song even exist, but they should.

THE BALLAD OF BOB DAISLEY

The music business is tough.

However, what happens when an artist in a position of power and mainstream success, does their best to undermine the work of previous people in their career.

This is what the Osbourne’s are doing to Bob Daisley.

They are trying to re-write history to show that Ozzy Osbourne himself was the main reason why his solo career progressed.

They are omitting important facts that when Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley signed on, it was always spoken of as a band. They are omitting important facts that the band was actually called Blizzard Of Ozz. They are omitting important facts of Ozzy punching Randy, because Randy didn’t want to do a live covers album of Black Sabbath songs.

Most importantly, they are omitting the main fact, that Bob Daisley served as the lyricist for for six albums.

The sad thing is that if anyone reads the credits to the “Bark At The Moon” album, you will see it listed as “All music and lyrics by Ozzy Osbourne.”

Like, yeah right, Ozzy really churned out all of those riffs.

It is sad at to what level the Osbourne’s stooped at that stage. One more thing, read the book from Ozzy and tell me how many times he mentions Jake E. Lee in the book.

But that is a story for another day.

VITO BRATTA

I did a Top 10 of Bratta killer riffs or moments.

All The Fallen Men

Wait

Love Dont Come Easy

Fight To Survive

Hungry

When The Children Cry

Cry For Freedom

Lady Of The Valley

Little Fighter

Warsong

In the end I had a hard time picking 10 songs for this post as each song that Vito has played on all have unbelievable sections.

BATM SONGWRITING CONTROVERSY

Coming into the “Bark At The Moon” sessions, the Blizzard of Ozz band was finished.

Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired before “Diary of A Madman” came out and the other driving force, Randy Rhoads died tragically when the plane he was on crashed into a mansion and burst into flames on March 19th, 1982.

Ozzy Osbourne as usual was at his drunken best but he still delivered the “Speak/Talk Of The Devil” album, and by doing so he was free from his Jet Records contract, ready to sign a major label deal with CBS.

Jake E Lee joined during the “Speak of the Devil” tour. Once that tour ended, the song writing process began for the next album.

Most of the writing was done by Lee and Bob Daisley.

“Bark At the Moon” was a title that Ozzy came up with. Jake E. Lee came up with the riffs and Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics.

While Bob Daisley got a buy out for “Bark At The Moon”, it looks like Jake E.Lee got screwed over. There are no royalty checks for the songwriting and no publishing monies either.

COPYRIGHT INC

I just finished watching the Rush documentary, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” and in the documentary, Neal Peart is talking about their “Vapor Trail” tour of South America and how they didn’t know what to expect because they never had big sales there and in the end they played to their biggest ever concert attendance at Sao Paulo.

The Brazil tour took place in November 2002. File sharing started in June 1999. Maybe copyright breaches by fans is not a bad thing.

And that’s another wrap for these last two weeks.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – December 5 to December 11

4 Years Ago (2017)

1983

The final blog post of my devotion to the year known as 1983 involved an eclectic bunch of artists.

Like “Modern Love” from David Bowie,
“One Of The Few” from Pink Floyd, “Sirens” from Savatage and “Cuts Like a Knife” from Bryan Adams.

“Alpha” from Asia which sold a lot but it was still seen as a failure by the record label because it didn’t match the sales of the debut album a year before.

“Head First” from Uriah Heep, another 70’s act that had to re-establish itself in the 80’s MTV world. So it was no surprise the band delivered a very pop sounding 15th album.

“Nemesis” from Axe was also on the list. Remember “Rock ‘N’ Roll Party In The Streets”. It’s from Axe’s 1982 album “Offering”. The name “Axe” didn’t really market the band to its full potential.

Axe was touring with Mötley Crüe in 1984 when their guitarist was killed in a vehicle accident. Another member was badly injured and the band broke up after the accident.

Michael Bolton was a rocker first and a balladeer later. He was in a hard rock band called Blackjack with Bruce Kulick between 79/80, so it was no surprise to see Bruce Kulick on lead guitar when Bolton went solo on his self-titled debut. Even Bruce’s bro, Bob Kulick makes an appearance. Another favourite guitarist of mine, Al Pitrelli replaced Kulick for the tour which was cancelled after four shows.

U2 and the “War” album was on the list along with Divinyls and the “Desperate” album. The song “Boys In Town” was all over the TV and the radio in Australia.

Eurythmics had me hooked with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, “Here Comes The Rain Again” and “Who’s That Girl”.

Being the long haired lout I was, I hated the way Spandau Ballet looked, but man they could write a good pop tune that worked well in a rock context. “Pleasure”, “Gold” and “True” are such songs. Great to re-interpret on guitar for a rock setting and it was interesting learning sax solos for lead guitar.

Elton John along with Bernie Taupin wrote pop songs that worked well as rock songs. “Kiss The Bride” and “I’m Still Standing” are two such songs I covered in various bands I was in.

Jim Steinman moved from Meatloaf to Bonnie Tyler. Big production, big songs and a lot of piano lines ripped off from classical music. But the best song on the album is “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” a cover of a Creedence Clearwater Revival song.

“90125” from Yes was album number 11 and the band was a very different beast from its Seventies incarnation.

SAYING ONE THING AT A TIME

If an artist is creating songs and making those songs difficult to get, the audience would surely move on to something else.

If a person talks for 70 minutes we will hear nothing. If an artist releases 70 minutes of music, we will remember some of it and forget the rest.

Most of my favorite albums lasted between 30 to 40 minutes in total.

All new music is competing with the history of music, plus TV shows with movie budgets, plus blockbuster movies, plus technologies and social media, plus AI created news stories and the history of print.

Maybe music is better when it is released frequently and when an artist tries to say one thing at a time, instead of 10 different things at once.

8 Years Ago (2013)

SALES

Spotify came into the market with the idea that they need to compete with free. And compete they did. The service even started to break artists to the masses, something that the record labels couldn’t do or were clueless to do.

But the mass media still focuses on the sales in the first week and the chart position. This is so old school and not a great measuring tool of reach or success, especially for new acts starting out.

But we get headlines like this.

Loudwire: Dream Theater’s new DVD ‘Live At Luna Park’ recently entered at No 1 on the Soundscan music DVD chart.

Loudwire: Volume 2 of Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘Wrong Side Of Heaven; lands at No. 2 on Billboard 200.

Blabbermouth: “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” sold 42,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart.

DOES A BAND HAVE CUSTOMERS OR FANS?

“Our audience are fans first and customers second. We really try not to annoy them.”
The above quote is from Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich Director of New Media, Media Rights & IT.

So how can a band turn fans into satisfied customers that keep on coming back, again and again?

DREAM THEATER

My favorite tracks from the DT album are still…
“The Bigger Picture” and “Illumination Theory”.

MEGADETH

Megadeth was in the news sections of the metal and rock websites a fair bit back then.

Regardless of what people think about Dave Mustaine or Megadeth, they can never take away the historical fact that Megadeth were early web pioneers.

Does anyone remember their old “Megadeth, Arizona” site that was launched in 1994 and then re-designed and re-launched for the “Cryptic Writings” release two years later?

Apart from the normal pieces of information, it was also a place for fans to check in, hang out and interact with the band along with other fans. Something that social media has built on and improved.

2013

Well the year was almost over and it was time to look back at the albums that connected and hit the mark for 2013 for me.

  1. Protest The Hero – Volition
  2. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King
  3. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1
  4. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent
  5. TesserAcT – Altered State
  6. Trivium – Vengeance Falls
  7. Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension
  8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2
  9. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies
  10. Alter Bridge – Fortress

Notable Mentions

Audrey Horne – Youngblood
Mutiny Within – Synchronicity
Hearts And Hands – My Own Machine
Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost
Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut
Faith Circus – Turn Up The Band

Final Notable Mentions

Due to my kids overdosing on the music I placed on their iPods certain classic rock albums have come back into my life.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry
Kiss – Lick It Up
Kiss – Asylum
Kiss – Destroyer
Deep Purple – Machine Head
Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet
Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
Europe – The Final Countdown

CRY FOR FREEDOM

White Lion had the balls to tackle the subject of apartheid.

The Eighties mainstream Metal and rock had degenerated into a state of generic and clichéd derivative lyrical themes and subjects involving sex, partying and drugs.

When bands branched away from that, it was very hit and miss.

White Lion fell into that crowd of misses as the label “Atlantic” would still push them as pop metal or pop rock.

The tours and marketing had White Lion sandwiched amongst bands like Motley Crue, Skid Row, Kiss, Whitesnake, Alice Cooper, Blue Murder and Badlands.

RANDY RHOADS

Randy Rhoads is a huge influence.

My first introduction to Randy Rhoads was the “Tribute” album and the tablature book that came with it formed my bible for a long time.

He was just unique.

Rhoads formed Quiet Riot when he was 16 years old however as good as Randy Rhoads was, the band couldn’t get a record deal in the U.S and they ended up releasing two albums (QR I and QR II) in Japan. Of course this incarnation of Quiet Riot was a totally different line up that sang “Cum On Feel The Noize” which in turn brought metal to the mainstream.

Most people know his musical legacy from the two landmark albums he made with Ozzy Osbourne.

The post covers my Top 10 songs from Randy Rhoads.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 28 to December 4

4 Years Ago (2017)

OUR BEST WORK

When you create your most important work, it could be ignored by the audience because it’s ahead of its time. It requires people to change their thoughts and beliefs. But all important work ends up rising above the noise.

Black Sabbath’s debut album didn’t reach platinum in the U.S until October 13, 1986. Yep 16 years later, the most influential heavy metal album had moved a million units in the U.S.

But their tours sold out, which goes to show that people didn’t always buy recorded music.

You could be an artist creating work which is popular, and it resonates with the audience who already like what you do. “Dr Feelgood” was always going to be Motley’s best seller. They spent 7 plus years building an audience with each release and tour.

In addition, it spawned a new production sound that would become known as the “Black” sound after Metallica’s self-titled album destroyed our senses and the charts.

Our best work is the heart of what we do and sometimes getting it out there is a long difficult journey full of scams and rip offs, highs and lows, good and bad people, rejection and acceptance.

But you will not get there if you quit. It’s what you do in the dark, which will make you shine in the light.

8 Years Ago (2013)

CONCERT ATTENDANCES

The highs of success and fame are brief. The air at the top of the mountain is thin, so you’re not expected to hang around for a long time.

Vince Neil

On July 6, 2013, Vince Neil played a solo show in Mexico City.

The venue was Jose Cuervo Salon.

The capacity of the venue is 1,500. The attendance was 64 people.

That’s right, less than 5% of the total venue size.

Total Gross sales for the night was $2,286.

Does anyone really care about Vince Neil outside of Motley Crue?

Based on the ticket sales, Mexico sure don’t.

What a hard truth that is.

His debut album “Exposed” celebrated 20 years in 2013, but Vince went out and played Motley songs.

Power Metal Rules In Europe

On April 18, 2013, Helloween, Gamma Ray and Shadowside played a Power Metal feast in Hamburg, Germany. The venue was the Docks.

The capacity of the venue is 1,500. The attendance was 1,171.

Total Gross sales for the night was $51,299.

The thing with power metal bands is that they know the size of their audience. It is a niche and it has a hard core and devoted fan base.

The Black Crowes still do good business

On July 19, 2013, The Black Crowes, Tedeschi Trucks Band and The London Souls played a show in Nashville, Tennesse.

The venue was the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel.

The capacity of the venue is 4,056. The attendance was 3,273.

Total Gross sales for the night was $215,641.

In the end there is plenty of money available in music and the more people that have access to recorded music means more fans that could turn into customers.

COPYRIGHT TERMS

In Australia (and a lot of other countries) a copyright for a sound recording lasts for the life of the creator + 70 years after death.

If the creator lives to 80, then the Total Copyright is a 150 year term.

And since the large Corporations control a lot of the copyrights, a 150 year term benefits them.

Keith Richards famously said that you can’t copyright the blues.

The acts from the Sixties and Seventies, brazenly borrowed and built upon songs that already existed.

And didn’t we got a lot of glorious music.

RED DRAGON CARTEL

As a fan of Jake E. Lee and the work he did with Ozzy and Badlands, it was cool to hear that he made the decision to record music again.

Frontiers Records signed the project.

Are there any Classic Eighties metal/rock bands or stars that Frontiers haven’t signed?

And “Feeder” was doing the rounds and i didn’t like it because there was no classic riff that stuck around forever to haunt my eardrums.

The expectation that most artists have is that since they have talent, can write a song and love what they do, they should be able to charge people to listen.

The reality is that there are thousands of artists trying to reach the same fans that are very careful with the money they spend on music.

Music is never a sure thing.

LOYALTY PROGRAM

We live in a world of loyalty schemes. If you shop at any major retailer there is a pretty good chance that you have signed up to their loyalty scheme and after you spend a certain amount of dollars with them, you get a discount or some other reward for your next purchase.

So why isn’t this happening in the music business.

THE BATTLE FOR QUEENSRYCHE

Back in 2013, two Queensryche bands did the rounds.

The Geoff Tate version is on Cleopatra Records and the Todd LaTorre version is on Century Media Records.

And there wasn’t a demand for two versions of Queensryche?

Then again demand for Queensryche was diminishing since Chris DeGarmo left.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Labels Are Not Happy With A Certain U.K Copyright Bill

Check out the article over at Music Business Worldwide.

And the labels are up in arms because this new Bill which would change the way artists get paid in the UK.

The bill proposes the payments to artists from streaming should bypass the label system entirely, and be paid to the performers directly via a collection society.

And the reason why the Government is proposing this bill is because of an enquiry they did.

The enquiry looked at the dollar value of streaming payments paid to the labels and then how much of those monies end up being paid to the artists. And it was found that the labels are to blame for the lack of payments to artists.

The labels hate it and are bringing out the big phrases like “recipe to disaster” and that the Bill would make the payments even smaller. And my favorite one is how the Bill would be a damaging step backwards for the UK music industry.

The Bill even cares for the DIY artists who don’t have a label. It’s well thought out and actually looks like a benefit to artists.

It’s no surprise that the labels are against the creators of music of being paid properly because that would change the power structure in negotiations.

The MP behind the Bill sees it very differently compared to the Labels.

“These reforms would lead to more new music, the revival of recording studios, a boost to the UK session music scene, the unearthing of a new generation of British talent, and Britain becoming once again a world-leading cultural hub for the recorded music industry.”

And it has other changes to copyright law; the main one being the right to revoke any Licence agreement after 20 years and reclaim their rights.

To put it simply, the creator or songwriter will be able to get their rights back after 20 years.

The labels would fight this “reclaim right” tooth and nail. They already are in the US, which has a copyright reclaim right after 35 years, claiming those works are “works for hire” which the labels commissioned.

I say bullshit to that claim from the labels but hey the lawyers and the courts love these kind of cases.

Anyway let’s see how this pans out.

The Bill needs to pass a few houses before it becomes law but it does look like the Brits are leading the way to give back some control back to the artists who actually create the content,

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 14 to November 20

4 Years Ago (2017)

SYSTEMS

Everything we do today is controlled, stored and read by a machine.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist

“Are You Interested?” By Cog

There is no doubt that technology rules our lives.

For how long our data will be stored will never be known. What security our data has and who controls it, will never be known.

Up here in space
I’m looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do
You think you’ve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
I’m watching all the time

“Electric Eye” by Judas Priest

My Spotify.me algorithm tells me I must be a traveller.

Did it make that assertion based on the length of my playlists or is it taking into account my location/s when I’m listening to music.

My “Maps” app on the iPhone tells me if there is a traffic incident every Monday to Friday on my route to work. It tells me before I even leave home.

Should I care that an AI knows what time I leave home for work and what time I get to work.

At the end of the day I know,
That we work all our lives to pay for a cage they own
It ain’t no coincidence that the whole world is caught in an endless debt

“Problem Reaction Solution” by Cog

COPYRIGHT

It’s a mess.

Politicians introduce and pass Copyright bills and then refuse to pay the appropriate fees to use music in their ads.

And the Copyright industries, if they can’t get the politicians to pass new laws, they go to courts instead.

In the U.K, Copyright complaints take up most of the High Court’s time. The world is dealing with all forms of crime, but intellectual property crimes are more important.

1986/87

When you look back to the 1986/87 period, the artists who had their biggest hits and sales during that period, never replicated those numbers again.

Bon Jovi never topped “Slippery When Wet”. Europe never topped “The Final Countdown”. White Lion never topped “Pride”. Whitesnake never topped their “self-titled” album. Guns N Roses never topped “Appetite For Destruction”. INXS never topped “Kick”. Joe Satriani never topped “Surfing With The Alien”. Def Leppard never topped “Hysteria”. U2 never topped “The Joshua Tree”. Stryper never topped “To Hell With The Devil”.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

It was a good Release Day Friday playlist which included “This Is War” by Audrey Horne, “Beyond The Pale” by Machine Head, “Walk On Water” (Acoustic) by Thirty Seconds to Mars, “Miracle” by Story of the Year and “American Soul” by U2

You are rock and roll
You and I are rock and roll
You are rock and roll
I came here looking for American soul

NOV 9, 1985

The following albums came out;

  • Y&T – Down For The Count
  • Dokken – Under Lock and Key
  • Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play
  • W.A.S.P – The Last Command

In Australia, we had to wait. A geographical windowed release is the business name for it. And one of the main drivers of piracy was windowed releases. Fans of music in other parts of the world, wanted access to new music on the same day, U.S fans had access to it.

Check out my track by track breakdown.

8 Years Ago (2013)

HEAVY METAL

It doesn’t matter how many times the labels tried to kill it, mainstream it or commercialize it,

Heavy Metal has remained consistent from when it began. Whenever pop music becomes pretentious, heavy metal would rise up as an alternative answer.

Heavy Metal is the answer to all things corrupt. It is the soundtrack.

THE SLOW METAL HIT

The fan has the power as the fan could pick and choose what track they could listen too.

Alter Bridge released “One Day Remains” in 2004. “Open Your Eyes”, “Find the Real” and “Broken Wings” followed as promotional singles.

However it was the metal heavy “Metalingus” that the fans selected as the hits. On Spotify, “Metalingus” has 79 million streams and “In Loving Memory” has 25.37 million streams.

Metal and rock songs are always late bloomers. There is no formula as to why certain songs resonate more than others with fans.

In the end all artists need to do is create great music. The fans will latch onto it eventually.

PROTEST THE HERO

Every band wanted to be like Bon Jovi in 1987 and by 1988 every band wanted to be like Guns N Roses and by 1989 every band wanted to be sober like Motley Crue and by 1991 every band wanted to be Metallica and by 1992 every band started to incorporate grunge influences.

I started thinking about the above, after listening to the song “Underbite” from Protest The Hero and watching the hilarious puppet clip.

The song “Underbite” has lyrics like “An understanding between you and I that the ground that you stand on is somehow less than mine” and “Now you comprehend our complex relationship—consumer/consumed, You’re just some stupid kid and I’m a megalomaniac.”

The part in the film clip where the fan goes to purchase the merchandise is so spot on. I could relate as it happens to me all the time.

First, the merchandise stand rarely has the size that I want.

Then the prices are ridiculous. So as the clip shows, you end up forking out a decent amount of cash for a band t-shirt that doesn’t fit or is too large.

“Let’s not repackage the same old performance, Original content is so much more rewarding.”

I don’t agree with the viewpoints put out by some artists, that there is no need to create new music.

Listen to the song. There are some hard truths in there and Protest The Hero try to cover them all.

VOLITION

After the success of their debut album “Kezia” back in 2005, Protest The Hero was expected to go into a more commercially viable and poppy influence.

So what did the band do?

They released “Fortress” in 2008, which was less poppy and more technical. As lead singer Rody Walker put it, “a natural progression into further obscurity.”

My favourite song on the “Volition” album is “Mist.”

The song is basically talking about Newfoundland and Rody Walker’s love for it.

And “Skies” is what progressive music should be.

As an artist you have the power to make your own choices. Make them and live by them. Protest The Hero have. They are a special band. Support them.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 7 to November 13

4 Years Ago (2017)

DIARY OF A MADMAN

Back in the 80’s, when songs from the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio, I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old.

Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995.

More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 40 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end.

And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album.

Check it out.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

Back in 2017, during this week I was listening g to;

Sweet And Lynch – Unified

Babylon A.D – Revelation Highway

Shakra – Snakes & Ladders

These three artists had my attention back then. Tomorrow it would have been someone else. They might come back at another time and get my attention. Maybe they won’t.

But if they are not releasing new product on a regular basis, they become forgotten.

So heading towards the end of 2021;

Sweet And Lynch are reading a new album.

Babylon A.D haven’t released any new music since 2017.

Shakra released “Mad World” in 2020 which I missed and they dropped a new single this year which I also missed.

8 Years Ago (2013)

WHO IS THE STAR (The Band Name Or The Personnel In The Band)?

When Metallica started on the scene, I dont recall anyone walking around saying that they got into Metallica because James Hetfield was such a cool cat or Lars Ulrich was the man.

People get into a band for multiple different reasons.

Like being a fan of genre and looking for similar artists of that genre or the songs connected or the album cover connected or the artist was getting a lot of word of mouth and people wanted to be part of the conversation and so on.

Of course some outliers do exist and some people become a cultural influence that transcends their music. In other words, they become institutions themselves like Ozzy.

Slash also comes to mind but it took him almost 14 years from when he left Gunners to re-establish and re-brand himself as a force to be reckoned with.

But he’s back with Gunners.

Because the band name is the star and it always will be.

That is why Axl Rose went all legal to claim the name.

That is why Tommy Lee returned to Motley Crue.

That is why James Hetfield returned to Metallica after rehab. That is why Lars Ulrich never contemplated anything else except Metallica during this period.

That is why Dave Mustaine resurrected Megadeth after he disbanded the band towards the end of the 90s.

That is why David Coverdale resurrected Whitesnake after he disbanded it.

That is why Dimebag didn’t want Pantera to end. He knew that Pantera was the star.

That is why David Lee Roth worked with Van Halen again. That is why Sammy Hagar wanted to work with Van Halen again.

That is why Alex Skolnick returned to Testament.

That is why there was a fight over who owns the right to the Queensryche name.

That is why Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters went all legal for the Pink Floyd name and the rights to “The Wall”.

That is why Benjamin Burnley went all legal for the right to use the Breaking Benjamin name.

That is why Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden.

That is why Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest.

That is why Black Sabbath reformed with three of the original members and released ’13’.

That is why bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Poison and Skid Row are still continuing with very different line ups and in some cases no original members.

To finish off with the immortal words of Ronnie James Dio “And on and on and on and on it goes….”

COPYRIGHT

For all artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright.

And guess what the labels are pushing for.

Even longer copyright terms. Because their is value in copyrights for the corporate entity holding it.

GREED

Greed from the major record labels could end up killing streaming services.

Back in 2013, musicians from Sweden were threatening to sue major labels Universal Music and Warner Music over streaming royalties.

These artists had identified that the problem lies with the major record labels rather than the streaming service and they took action to get royalty rates that better reflect the costs involved in digital production and distribution.

Even the UK Government did a review of streaming paymnets in 2020 and found that the labels are at fault.

Spotify is just one streaming service and they pay 70% of its revenues to music rights holders. Apple is similar and Tidal as well.

And Spotify, as at 2020 has paid $23 billion to the rights holders. When you add the numbers from the other streaming services, it’s a prettty massive profit the labels are making.

Once upon a time, the artists had the power.

Then in the Eighties, the labels stole it back. With the rise in revenue due to the CD, it made the labels mega rich powerhouses.

Well it’s time for the artists to take back the power. Basically the labels without any artists are worth nothing.

But there’s a new player in town. Hedge Funds and Investment firms. And they have cash and artists are cashing in.

TIME

It’s 1992.

The labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre while at the same time they are dropping hard rock and heavy metal bands left, right and centre. This is the power the label had. Not only could they make an artist famous, they could also destroy an artist.

Because the labels controlled all the points of distribution.

But in 2013, things had changed dramatically.

But the power is still with the major record labels. They gathered enough of it during the Eighties and Nineties to be a force to be reckoned. Then in the Two Thousands the massive mergers and takeovers happened, further enhancing the power of the labels. Then in order to allow digital start-ups, the labels did one of three things; charge high licensing fees or litigate the start-up to bankruptcy or negotiate a large ownership stake in the start-up.

So even though the internet has lowered the barriers of entry, without the money and power of the label behind the artists, there is a pretty good chance, the artist would probably go unnoticed.

One thing is certain in 2013.

We move on fast.

Look at the Top 10 lists of pirated movies that TorrentFreak publish each week. It’s always changing and very rare for the same movie to be at number one spot for two weeks in a row.

Look at the Top 10 of the streaming Charts published by each country. The artists in the list are always changing.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

1976 – Part 3.7: Journey – Look Into The Future

Journey did exist before 1980 and before Steve Perry joined sometime in 1977/78. But it was a different Journey, more progressive rock and jazz fusion than the pop rock behemoth they are known for. But it’s those pop rock songs which game them a career. “Don’t Stop Believin” has 1.1 billion streams on Spotify. That equates to $3 million in royalties. Just for one song. And they have a lot of songs from that era in the hundred of millions.

But nothing from the early days.

“Look into the Future” is their second album, released in January 1976 on Columbia Records.

While the debut album was flavoured with a lot of progressive rock and Latin rhythms, the second album had a more standard song approach, with the progressiveness made to fit the song structures.

Guitarist George Tickner left the band after having co-written two songs for this album, leaving members Gregg Rolie (lead vocals/keyboards), Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), and Aynsley Dunbar (drums) as the recording members.

On a Saturday Nite

It’s very Doors like in style and vocal delivery.

It’s written solely by Gregg Rolie, so it’s no surprise that the piano leads the way to set the rock groove.

It’s All Too Much

A cover of a Beatles song written by George Harrison which appeared in the “Yellow Submarine” film and soundtrack.

Anyway

It’s like those 70’ mid-tempo songs that groove and rock and border on being like a heavy ballad but are not. Another Rolie composition which the band brings to life.

She Makes Me (Feel Alright)

Neal Schon makes an appearance as a songwriter along with Alex Cash and Rolie, with a super-sized Hendrix meets Sabbath like riff.

You’re on Your Own

Written by Rolie, George Tickner and Schon.

A piano riff and a melodic sing-along solo from Schon starts things off. Very Santana like.

And the song rocks and rolls.

Towards the end, Schon is shredding away over a Beatles like vocal melody in which Rolie is singing, “Trying to make up your mind”.

Look into the Future

Written by Diane Valory, Rolie and Schon. The start reminds me of “Free Bird” and the song retains that “Free Bird” feel.

At 8:10, it was the longest song Journey had recorded until 1980, when “Destiny” from the soundtrack album “Dream After Dream” took its place but no one would know it as the album is ignored, released the same year as “Departure”.

If there is a track to listen to on this album it’s this.

Especially when Schon starts to wail. His note selection, phrasing and emotive bends just needs to be heard. And the outro section has an open string like lick which Schon repeats while Rolie is singing, “it’s just around the corner” and then Schon breaks loose again, wailing away to close out the song.

The only thing you can do is press play again.

Midnight Dreamer

Written by Rolie and Schon, this one is funk rock fusion, very Hendrix like even in the vocal delivery.

But at the 2 minute mark it goes into a Doors like jam, with the piano leading the way and the drums playing a fast “Riders On The Storm” like shuffle.

And once the synth solo starts, its more ELP and Yes like than rawk and roll.

I’m Gonna Leave You

Written by Rolie, Schon and Tickner.

The intro riff is familiar because John Sykes used the exact same riff in the song, “Blue Murder”.

But then again, it’s a riff that is from the 70’s, one of those riffs that just can’t fall under copyright because it’s so derivative. Even “Carry On My Wayward Son” has this riff.

The title might not sound very metal like, but this cut is a Heavy Metal cut.

The Metal that I grew up on, before it became unrecognisable with guttural like vocals throughout.

Check it out.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 24 to October 30

4 Years Ago (2017)

ATTENTION

Attention is fleeting.

Attention is there and then it’s gone.

Or it never goes away because fans care about the artist; love what the artists does, their music and their connection to them via social media.

But some of those fans will grow and change and fall out of love with what the artists does.

And what will the artist do to get back their attention.

STREAMING

All the action is in streaming. The oldsters hate it and the youngsters embrace it. 

Personally, I thought all the 80s acts I grew up with would re-enter the charts because streaming would allow them to compete with the new acts. But back in 2017, none of the old acts had hit a billion streams.

Used to be you weren’t a star until you got a record deal and heard your song on the radio.

Then it was MTV. 

Then it was YouTube and now you’re not a star until you see your track in the Spotify Top 50 and just recently your not a star if you don’t have a song with a billion plus streams.

The media keeps pushing stories about the small payments of recorded music to artists and songwriters, however revenues are going up on the back of streaming. If you ain’t making money, get a better deal because streaming will pay you forever.

COPYRIGHT

Copyright issues are always in the news.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was speaking out against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), accusing the RIAA of asking the US government to apply copyright law the way the RIAA wishes it to be applied.

Because if Copyright is there to reward creators then there would no need for the Spinal Tap creators to take Vivendi/ Universal Music to the courts.

Both of these corporations are making up accounting transactions so the creators of the Spinal Tap movie and the soundtrack are STILL shown as being in debt to the studio/label.

Yep, you would pay off a home loan in 35 years, but in 2017, the Spinal Tap soundtrack still had a debt to the studio/label.

And all they wanted to do was take back their copyrights. Because Copyright law was written to allow the creator to take back their copyrights after 35 years.

80’s AND TODAY

80’s
It was hard being a musician
Today
It’s still hard being a musician.

80’s
You wrote and performed music.
Today
You write and perform music, maintain an online presence, manage yourself, promote yourself, have to know your legal rights, organise your own shows, licensing, merchandise and more.

80’s
Artists did the hard work of building up a local fan base, city by city
Today
Artists want to take over the world in an instant.

80’s
The labels and the media measured attention via sales of recorded music.
Today
Well, attention is measured by likes, shares, views, streams, sales of physical, sales of digital, sales of tickets and so forth.

80’s
MTV was king.
Today
YouTube is king.

80’s
To discover new music, we needed to rely on a knowledgeable record store operator, gatekeepers, radio and expensive import magazines.
Today
We don’t know when new music comes out? There is just too much noise. Spotify Release Friday is one avenue. We have Google, YouTube, Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, blogs and many more.

80’s
Gatekeepers decided who would get signed or not
Today
The internet decimated the barrier to entry.

GETTING PAID

Do you wanna get Paid?

The ones who write the songs always get paid.

Sting gets paid for “Every Breath You Take”. He’s listed as the sole songwriter, but the guitar arpeggio pattern created over the synth/bass lines from Sting’s original demo is the iconic part of the song. And it wasn’t written by Sting, but Sting gets the payments.

Ozzy Osbourne gets paid for all of the “Bark At The Moon” album songs as he “supposably wrote” it all by himself.

Bon Scott wasn’t kidding when he said “getting ripped off on the pay” in “Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock’N’Roll)”.

But in the 80’s, two things happened to the music scene. 

MTV made artists into global superstars and the CD revolution cashed up the labels while all the fans replaced their vinyl and cassette collections with CD’s.

Suddenly you had record label execs flying private and living in mansions on the backs of monies earned from songs the artists wrote.

Motley Crue almost had their career derailed when Elektra Records refused to promote the band post Vince. They got Vince back and the label still didn’t deliver on promises. Nikki Sixx along with manager Allen Kovacs went into battle. They got back all the rights to the Motley’s songs, left Elektra Records, formed Motley Records, took control of the Motley narrative and re-invented the band to become a commercial behemoth from 2003 onwards.

And we moved from Napster to iTunes to YouTube to Spotify in little over a decade while at the same time MySpace tanked and got replaced by Facebook, Yahoo lost the search battle to Google, video stores lost out to Netflix and Amazon became the one stop shop.

It turns out the public is paying for music. It’s called streaming and if the Spotify royalties the artist is getting are low it’s because not enough people are streaming their songs. Then again, if you are on a label, the label will be taking the lion’s share of the royalty.

And with streaming, every artist is competing with Metallica, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, AC/DC and the whole history of music.

The power of music is in the song, not the distribution system. And if we are listening, artists will get rich and have more power than they know what to do with. It’s the modern music business.

8 Years Ago (2013)

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

I was listening to “Disarm the Descent.”

I came to Killswitch Engage late. I didn’t listen to their first three albums.

It was a “Guitar World” issue from 2007. At that time the magazine still came with a DVD of bonus content. One of the bonuses was a lesson from the Killswitch guitarists on how to play “My Curse” and after watching it, I was hooked.

So I asked my bass player friend to burn me all of their albums, which he did.

By the time, their 2009 self-titled album came out; I was purchasing it without even listening to a single note. So free does pay as I became a buyer of their next album.

Sales data can show what is in demand at a certain point in time; however the reach and the popularity of a certain band or a certain album cannot be properly measured until many years later.

Remember that history is written by the winners. In music, the winners are the artists or bands that outlast the competition.

VITO BRATTA

The record labels didn’t have no moral obligation to keep their hard rock rosters in tact. The only obligation they had is to their shareholders and their bottom line.

So with every major label signing bands from Seattle, the poor old hard rock bands that made the labels billions over the last 10 years suddenly disappeared. White Lion was one of them. The label never dropped them, however they would have if the band stayed together.

White Lion finished up because Vito Bratta became conflicted. Disillusioned.

The recording business only cared about short-term income and total control.

Vito wanted longevity and he didn’t like how White Lion was seen as part of the same movement of bands that he was commenting about. He was an artist competing in a game of rock stars. He was an artist competing in a game of profits. With each game, there is a winner and a loser.

By 1991, every artist needed a hit to get recognition. The album format was already dead due to MTV playing the “HIT” video. If a band had a hit single then people were interested in buying the album to see what that band is all about.

This was Vito’s disillusionment. When he made an appearance on the Eddie Trunk show, he said words to the effect like “how do you write a hit single” when he was talking about Big Game, the following up to Pride.

White Lion was never a band that played the singles game, however the industry forced them into it and their main musical songwriter started to second guess himself as a creator.

CHARTS

What do the Billboard charts tell us?

On the Rock and Metal chart we had the following list for the week;

  1. Korn – Paradigm Shift (1 Week on The Chart)
  2. Alter Bridge – Fortress (1 Week On The Chart)
  3. Cage The Elephant – Melophobia (1 Week On The Chart)
  4. Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington – High Rise (EP) (1 Week On The Chart)
  5. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (7 Weeks On The Chart)
  6. Dance Gavin Dance – Acceptance Speech (1 Week On The Chart)
  7. Metallica – Through The Never (Soundtrack) (3 Weeks On The Chart)
  8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 1 (11 Weeks On The Chart)
  9. Dream Theater – Dream Theater (3 Weeks On The Chart)
  10. Rush – Vapor Trails: Remixed (2 Weeks On The Chart)
  11. Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (10 Weeks On The Chart)
  12. Skillet – Rise (16 Weeks On The Chart)
  13. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (27 Weeks On The Chart)
  14. Black Sabbath – 13 (18 Weeks On The Chart)
  15. Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (27 Weeks On The Chart)

Special mention:

Imagine Dragons – Night Visions (58 Weeks On The Chart)

So the above charts show me a few things:

  1. That the fans love new music. There are 5 albums that have their first week on the charts.
  2. After a week, if that new music is not great, we move on very quickly.
  3. If that new music is great, we spread the word and the album hangs around in the “charts”.  Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet and Volbeat are a few bands that are hanging around.
  4. If you create a group of songs that connect, expect to be hanging around for a long time. Imagine Dragons is one such band.
  5. Artists need to adapt their business practices. Instead of spending months on an album, just to see it fade away within 6 weeks, they should be releasing more frequently. It doesn’t have to be original songs all the time. It could be acoustic versions, cover versions, unique live versions, blog posts and so on.
  6. Here today, gone tomorrow is the modern paradigm. Artist need to adapt, so that they are here today, everyday.

Expectations (Alter + Adapt) = Survival

So what do all of our favourite bands/artists keep on doing?

They keep on spending a lot of time writing and recording 10 to 15 songs, just so they can group them together and release them as an album.

This “expectation” worked once upon a time.

However it is not working today.

But Metal and Rock artists still have time as metal fans are loyal and still purchase the “album”.

Check out the following comment from Anita Elberse and her book “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, And The Big Business Of Entertainment”. It is probably the best advice that any artist will get.

“…out of a total of 870,000 albums that sold at least one copy in 2011, 13 album titles sold more than a million copies each, together accounting for 19 million copies sold.

That’s 0.001 percent of all titles accounting for 7 percent of sales.

The top 1,000 albums generated about half of all the sales, and the top 10,000 albums around 80 percent of sales.

Deep in the tail, 513,000 titles or nearly 60 percent of the assortment, sold fewer than 10 copies each, together making up half a percent of total sales.”

513,000 album titles sold fewer than 10 copies each. So if you are one of those 513,000 bands that sold less than 10 copies, what do you do?

You obviously expected a better return on your investment. A lot of artists will give up, a lot of bands will break up and then there will be a small percentage who will adapt and alter their expectations.

The competition for listener’s attention is huge.

Like the Seventies, the Eighties and the Nineties, there are still only a select few of releases that end up selling more than a million.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 17 to October 23

4 Years Ago (2017)

METAL T-SHIRTS

My then five year old had to draw his family in kindy class. In the drawing he had me drawn with a black T-shirt and black shorts.

When they say “Take the Black” in “Game of Thrones”, a metal/rock head says, “pffft, we’ve already done that”.

All though I’ve morphed to plain black tees as I have gotten older, I still break out the metal and rock t-shirts now and then.

When I first got together with my wife, I had a Posion T-Shirt with the sleeves cut off and she had dance music playing in the car.

I asked her if she had anything else.

The answer was no.

I asked her if she would be okay if I introduced some new music in the car.

She said okay.

The next day, I had the rock and metal mix tapes ready for indoctrination.

At first it was the more commercial sounding rock and metal.

Secretly the dance tapes ended up in a draw in my room. It was many years later that she asked what happened to those tapes.

\::/

ALBUMS

I started this post with “Just put out the damn album”.

When we laid out cash for the 10 to 15 albums we used to buy a year, we had time to digest and live with the music for a long time so we were okay with the lead up.

But.

The 8 week lead up to the release is too much these days especially when the LP run could be over in a month after it’s released.

That’s right.

That’s how fast new albums disappear from the conversation in the current environment.

The first week sales that might look great on paper are irrelevant.

Check the second week streaming numbers. Then the third, then the fourth and so on. Those numbers will show you if the fans care for the music or if only the press (that the marketing team has paid to promote your product) cares.

And people will complain about streaming revenue and how it doesn’t pay enough. Control your rights, have a song that people connect with and you will be paid well and forever.

If investment firms are cashing in, it’s because streaming pays. But it pays the organization who controls the rights.

YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and all the rest will pay forever.

Isn’t that better than the one off transaction between the record store and the fan?

That fan could have purchased the album, taken it home, played it once and traded it.

Maybe that fan played the album a million times. But the artist wouldn’t know that behaviour. 

Data tells us what’s hot and what’s not. And like it or not, it’s always been about the hits. To me a hit isn’t the song that takes the number 1 slot on a chart.

“Fear Of The Dark” or “Hallowed Be Thy Name” or “Creeping Death” or “Fade To Black” or “Master Of Puppets” didn’t set the charts alight but the fans made those songs hit’s. Convert staples.

We don’t live in 1989, where mediocre stuff on the radio gets some traction because of the marketing/hype dollars invested into the promotion. We live in the era of connectivity and virality and hits and streaming that pays forever.

But artists need to release a continuous stream of product to win.

TRIBUTE

It’s my bible.

I played the cassette tape to death trying to learn every riff and lick. And when I couldn’t pick it all up, I shelled out $50 on Wolf Marshal’s transcription of the “Tribute” album and I spent a lot of hours woodshedding to it.

Even though Ozzy re-cut his vocals for the release there is no denying Randy Rhoads and his love for his instrument. The way he re-imagines his multi-layered guitar riffs from the studio versions and turns it all into one definitive guitar cut is brilliant. For any guitarist, new or old, this is it. It gets no better than this.

“Mr Crowley” was the first song I got stuck into. It has two shred leads and the way Randy combined those guitar lines into one definitive track for the “was he polemically” section is brilliant. And the outro lead is just one of those songs within a song lead breaks.

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” has a finger picked part at the start which is breathtaking, the interlude is subdued and relaxing but that outro is breathless. And the live tempo is much better than the studio tempo. 

“Children Of The Grave” was the next song I tried to learn after “Mr Crowley”. I love the way Randy plays the C#m riff on the 4th fret on the 5th string. That’s how I learned this song. It wasn’t until many years later I heard the Sabbath version and Iommi is down tuned to C#.

I must say, I love the tempo of this live version.

And that outro improv lead is brilliant especially when Randy starts to reference Ace ala “Love Gun”.

When I think of “Children Of The Grave”, I think of this.

“Goodbye To Romance” is the piece d’resistance in guitar playing. The jazz like chords in the verses, the arpeggio chorus riff and that guitar solo.

These day’s guitarists can do unbelievable and very advanced things on the guitar but do they have the song sense of Randy Rhoads.

JACK BLACK

My kids back then had been watching “School Of Rock” and “The Pick Of Destiny” on and off, so i did a \::/ salute to Jack Black for spreading his love of rock and heavy metal to the masses.

Because the movies capture what rock and roll is all about;

  • going against the grain, 
  • breaking rules set by the institutions/parents and having fun along the way. 

Let’s make sure it will never be forgotten. 

MY NINTH POST ON THE YEAR THAT WAS 1983

“Back To Mystery City” by Hanoi Rocks was covered. It’s unfortunate that most people know of Hanoi Rocks because of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley’s death due to being drunkenly driven by Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil.

All death is tragic. And I remember reading an interview (I think it was in Faces) that if Razzle’s didn’t join in 1982, the band probably would have broken up. And then his death in 1985 ended the band.

“Speaking in Tongues” by Talking Heads is mentioned. “Burning Down the House” sold the album. It was everywhere. One of my hard rock bands in the 90’s even covered the song in a rock context.

“Streets” was the creative musical outlet for Steve Walsh in between his departure from Kansas.

The debut LP was released in 1983 on Atlantic Records. The deal was negotiatied with one manager and destroyed by their next manager after he argued with the President of Atlantic Records, Doug Morris.

So Atlantic just released the albums with no promo and if they stuck, good. But they didn’t stick. And they never released the albums on CD while they controlled the rights.

Steve Walsh even got a lawyer to get the albums back from Atlantic and Rock Candy re-released the Streets albums recently.

So before people beat up streaming, they need to understand how it was back then and the monopoly the labels had to kill or break a career.

The Eric Martin Band released a great melodic rock album called “Sucker for a Pretty Face”.

And I still don’t understand how “Burning” from Shooting Star wasn’t a big hit.

Maybe because they were on Virgin Records, a label known for new wave and running low on funds, so when a rock album landed in their laps they had no idea how to promote.

But the truth is that the bands first managers were stealing from em, so the band fired em.

And because these managers used to work as record promotion guys, they blacklisted the band to the radio stations.

Meatloaf released “Midnight At The Lost and Found” but it was lost as “Bat Out Of Hell” was still selling like it was a new release.

And Aldo Nova was trying to capture the highs of “Fantasy” with “Subject”.

8 Years Ago (2013)

STREAMING

The public has voted. It prefers streaming.

You would think the war is over. But it’s not.

Spotify pays millions to the copyright holders.

Now unless the artist is a DIY artist who controls their own copyright, or Metallica or Motley Crue who own their masters, most of the copyright holders are the major labels. So the labels are raking it in.

There is also a term doing the round, called “Black Box Revenue.” This is the name given to income that the record labels collect that cannot be directly tracked to the recordings of a specific artist.

To put it all into context, streaming services pay the labels an upfront fee to access their catalogues. In addition, the services then pay the labels royalties for each stream.

Yep the labels get paid twice because they “own” the masters that artists created.

Musicians always had to work hard to get somewhere, that part hasn’t changed and it will never change while others fly private on the backs of the hard work of artists.

THE LIES OF THE LABELS

During the recorded music industries heyday, there was this widespread idea, sort of like an unwritten law, that we (the fans of music) could purchase music and own it, the same way we purchased and owned the toaster and any other commodity.

Of course when it comes to music, its never that simple.

What the music fans actually purchased was a non-transferable license to listen to the music under very specific and strict conditions. If you don’t believe me read the fine print.

We basically had the right to enjoy the music in private, over and over again.

METALLICA

I had been re-reading a lot of the magazines I accumulated during the Eighties and the Nineties and I finished reading a story about Metallica from the Australian magazine “Hot Metal”.

It was the June 1992 issue.

And in the interview James Hetfield was talking about the stage design and how they would have an area in the middle of the stage set aside for taping. The fans would have to buy a special ticket for the tape section area and Hetfield saw it as a cool thing to flood the market with bootlegs.

Metallica in 1992, wanted to flood the market with bootlegs. Metallica in 2013 had the following disclaimer on their Live Metallica website “Terms of Use”; Any violation of copyright laws may result in severe civil and criminal penalties. Violators will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible.

KIRK HAMMETT

Kirk Hammett said that there hasn’t been any great bands “because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”

You see, when you detach yourself from the streets and live in your ivory tower, you don’t see what is happening at ground zero.

Five Finger Death Punch is going GOLD and PLATINUM in a tough sales market. They have great numbers in relation to YouTube views and Spotify streams. Their albums have been selling up to the point of when their new one is released. Think about that for a second.

Shinedown are doing super numbers in relation to sales, YouTube views and Spotify streams. They have certifications to prove it as well.

Will we have the superstars of the Eighties and Nineties again?

Of course not, but we don’t live in a monoculture anymore.

We are living in the golden age of music access. The history of recorded music is at our fingertips and that is a good thing.

STREAMING vs OWNERSHIP

If I pay $120 for a Spotify Premium account, it means that i can listen to millions of songs.

If I buy $120 worth of songs from iTunes in Australia, I can only listen to 70 songs.

If I pay $120 for CD’s, I can pick up 5 albums with a potential of 50 to 60 songs.

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

I’m a fan.

The music that BFMV creates is very reminiscent to the hard rock / heavy metal music created between 1981 and 1986, before Bon Jovi released “Slippery When Wet” and the majority of bands started chasing the pop metal / pop rock “pot of gold”. It is basically the same music that I grew up on.

Metallica – CHECK
Iron Maiden – CHECK
AC/DC – CHECK
Slayer – CHECK
Megadeth – CHECK
Judas Priest – CHECK

Modern influences like Machine Head, Pantera and Metallica “Black” album period are also found in the songs. It’s probably why I connected with the band.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

Australian Method Series and 1986 – Part 3.5: AC/DC – Who Made Who

“Who Made Who” is like a Greatest Hits album released as a soundtrack album in 1986, for the Stephen King film “Maximum Overdrive”. A forgettable movie.

The funny thing is that the next Greatest Hits slab would come out with another movie, this one a lot better and having a larger social and cultural impact.

Yep, the multi- billion franchise known as “Iron Man” sent AC/DC into the stratosphere. Not that they needed it.

Both album packages are excellent entry points for people who didn’t own or know about AC/DC.

If this was your first exposure, there would be a high chance that you would go out and buy/access some of the back catalogue.

And the song “Who Made Who” introduced Angus Young the shredder. His guitar work here is at a Shrapnel level.

Who Made Who

Drums and bass from Simon Phillips and Cliff Williams in a stock 4/4 time. I’m already invested.

Malcolm kicks in with some power chords outlining a blues chord progression as Brian Johnson fires in with his throaty vocal melody.

Angus then fired in with some fast palm muted licks which sounds like open string licks, something he’ll use to even greater success with “Thunderstruck”. But it’s all picked.

Check out the lead break. Angus breaks out some EVH like tapping.

Lyrically, it’s based around the themes from the “Maximum Overdrive” movie, where the machines come alive and begin killing people.

Like the “Terminator” movie, the tools that humans create, rise up to obliterate the humans.

You Shook Me All Night Long

From “Back In Black”.

It was re-released as a single after the massive success of “Who Made Who” which gave this song a second coming, not that it needed one.

D.T

It’s an instrumental jam which became soundtrack music.

It moves between distortion and clean tone so it could be used in multiple scenes.

Sink The Pink

From the “Fly On The Wall” album.

This song doesn’t get the love it should but goddamn it’s a great song.

The Intro reminds me of “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” and it has a Chorus chord progression which could be interchanged with almost every AC/DC chorus, and I like it.

At 2.50, the Intro kicks back in, with drums and bass before Angus kicks in with his bluesy lead.

Ride On

From the “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” album and Bon Scott gets a spot with this slow blues dirge.

Hells Bells

From the “Back In Black” album.

As soon as the bells chime and the dirty arpeggio riff in Am kicks in, everything starts tingling. It doesn’t matter that I’ve heard it a lot of times. It still gets me.

Shake Your Foundations

Also from “Fly On The Wall”.

Another underrated song from an album that is seen as a disappointment.

You can’t tell me that the Intro/Verse riff isn’t classic AC/DC and a Chorus that almost mimics “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

Chase the Ace

Another instrumental jam session but a bit more aggressive than “D.T”.

Check out the drum groove in the Intro. Something that Lars Ulrich would use to great effect in “Enter Sandman”, which is also based on the “Dirty Deeds” Intro/Verse drum pattern.

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

From the album with the same title which came after the “Back In Black” monster.

I was hooked from the opening riff and the way Malcolm and Phil Rudd build it.

Once the slow groove kicks in, it feels that heavy that it’ll destroy everything in its path. And it did.

In Australia and the U.S, it’s 5× Platinum.

And it kept AC/DC relevant in a friendly MTV world which was starting to promote artists who looked great over the music they created.

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