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

Candlebox – Sometimes

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to Candlebox. The 90’s didn’t feel that far away, but man the debut album dropped in 1993, which makes it 25 years old.

The truth is, Candlebox was so good on that debut album, that I gave other 90’s bands a shot.

The “Purple Rain” sounding “Far Behind” is the star of the debut album. Then you had “Don’t You” and “Change” that rock as hard as any 80’s band and I used to cover “You” in bands I played in. I love the B minor key for songs and to be honest, a lot of punters thought it was an original of mine.

And “Cover Me”, is hidden all the way at the back end of the album at number 10. Brilliant track and a great solo section.

I didn’t get the “Lucy” album until a few years after its release. And something was missing. You know the whole saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and you just write music that suits your tastes when you start out. Then your music breaks through into the mainstream and suddenly you feel like you need to write hits. I’m not sure if this was on their minds, but something definitely was. Because it was different. Maybe I just moved on. Who knows.

Anyway, “Happy Pills” came out and like “Lucy” I didn’t lay out money on it for a few years after it was released. Actually, by the time I got it, the band was already broken up.

They also tried to get out of their recording contract with their record label Maverick.

As you all know, bands sign crap deals when they are unknown, with the promise by the label to renegotiate if they break through. The band breaks through and label does not renegotiate, which means, the band is still in a crap contract with crap royalties while the label makes millions and the band still hasn’t recouped.

Anyway, I remember listening to the album, while I was working on lyrics for some songs and I’m nodding my head, not really paying attention, like it was background music and then “Sometimes” came on.

I stopped and listened.

When the song finished I pressed repeat and listened again, and then I just put it on auto-repeat. I don’t know how many times I listened to the song that day, but it was a lot. I just laid down on the couch and listened to the same song over and over again. I guess we do that sometimes.

Sometimes

The acoustic strumming and the little acoustic lead was enough to get me interested.

I wipe the night from my eyes
Block out the sunny day and I hide
Everything’s falling down around us
I’m just missing the rain

Man, hearing these lines when I heard them, they connected. I didn’t want to face the day. I was a few years into a marriage, and it was up and down, in debt and trying to have kids. I wasn’t talking to my brothers or my parents. The friends I had before the marriage, ended up not being friends with me afterwards. And I felt alone.

We change directions, we watch the tides
And we borrow too much
We form restrictions and we form lines
And we separate you from me

As you get older you realise how much truth is in the above lyrics, because we change our views, our friends and our relationships. Even our musical tastes change. We also change jobs and we do borrow too much, like money, emotions, peoples time and goodwill.

Sometimes,
Sometimes we carry more weight than we own
Oh but sometimes
Sometimes goes on

We’ve all been there, taking up the slack of others because we need to. We carry the fears of partners and our children and put out a defiant and emotionless front. And sometimes, we just go on, doing what we need to do, to keep the lights on, and life ticking along.

The lead break.

You can hear the emotion drip from the strings, enhancing the melodies from the Chorus.

And just like that, Candlebox was back in my headspace.

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

For The Love Of Metal

It’s basically metal music the way I know it, which is very different to how metal music is known these days with hard-core growls and scream vocals added to the mix. Hell, I even remember when AC/DC was found in metal sections of record shops, whereas now if you do find a record shop, AC/DC is in the rock section. Even Bon Jovi was classed as “metal” once upon a time. It was a broad classification, that’s for sure.

When it comes to Dee Snider and Twisted Sister, I blame my cousin Mega. Mega had two bands he worshiped. Twisted Sister first and then Megadeth. The messages and viewpoints of both Dee Snider and Dave Mustaine connected. So it’s no surprise that both bands and lead singers/main songwriters are also influences to me. Dee’s message of the outcasts standing together against oppression and censorship and authority resonated big time with me.

The area I grew up in had a lot of migration from Europe. Young families with young kids moved in to established neighbourhoods, invading the peace and quiet the current residents had. And the current residents didn’t like it. Nor did they like the different languages the new migrants spoke. But somehow, we got along in suburbia. But in the schools’ it was a different story. In the nightlife, it was even more different. There was a constant division between races and there was no “cool” teacher like there is nowadays.

Actually, all of the teachers I had were oppressive and they hated rock music.

If they saw a kid listening to music on their Walkman, they took the Walkman off them. It used to be just for the day, then it morphed for the week, then for the month, then for the school term, then for the whole year.

If a kid wore a hat from a rock band, they took it off them. If a kid wore a button or anything else that wasn’t school uniform, they took it off them. They just made up their own rules and the school’s Principal did nothing. Even when the kids parents came to the school and complained, these dudes wouldn’t give in. They enjoyed being in authority.

So you can see how “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”, “Come Out And Play” and “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” resonate.

Anyway, when Twisted disbanded in 87, Dee wasn’t in the news a lot, except for a few little paragraphs here and there in a magazine about his upcoming Desperado project. Then that project got killed by record label bosses, then Widowmaker got up and running, however Grunge came and suddenly it felt like the biggest voice in my life was missing during the “golden commercial years” of metal and rock music.

But Dee is a lifer. He battled tooth and nail to make it, so there was no way he was going to lay dormant. And like it was written in some holy book, Dee came back, more diverse than ever. He became a movie maker, a radio show host, a solo artist, an author and when TS reformed, he led them up front all the way to the last show.

And his solo music probably doesn’t have the same public acceptance as the Twisted music, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important or influential. As I’ve said before, a million sales of an album doesn’t mean you have 1 million fans. You just have a million people who purchased the album.

The question any artist should be asking is, how many people actually listened to the album from start to finish?

In a sale, this will never be known.

How many people listened to the album, more than a hundred times is never known in a sale.

The difference between now and 1984 is not piracy or streaming or YouTube. It’s obscurity.

With hundreds of releases coming out each day, compared to the 50 odd each month in 1984, each artist is fighting against the same tide. Fans can spread the word and make the new release rise above the waters.

Furthermore, back in 1984, people didn’t have the history of music at their fingertips. So the albums we purchased, we played em, because we spent money on em and we didn’t have any more funds for a few weeks, so we played it a little bit more. But today, any new release is competing against the history of music. And that’s huge competition for a person’s time.

In saying all that, “For The Love Of Metal” deserves to be in the public conversation and credit Jamey Jasta in challenging Dee to make this record, as well as produce it with Nick Bellmore and write music/lyrics for it.

Lies Are A Business

As soon as the up tempo and energetic double kick drums kick off the song, I was hooked. It reminds me of “Overkill” from Motorhead, crossed with “Painkiller” by Judas Priest. But god damn, I can’t shake the powerful feeling of “Emaheevul” from the Widowmaker album “Blood and Bullets”. It’s the same power.

And that solo section is brilliant. It starts off as a single lead and then it becomes a harmony lead, before it breaks out into a triplet pull off lick.

Then the breakdown section at the end.

They won’t say it, lies are a business too.

Fake news is huge. People cannot tell the difference anymore. Hence the reason to read far and wide. Find stories that support your viewpoints and find stories that don’t. Somewhere in between, is the truth you are looking for. Make your own decisions, instead of other people making them for you.

Tomorrow’s No Concern

The first pre-release single for the album.

I gave you yesterday, tomorrows no concern
I gave you yesterday, you can keep it, because today is mine.

Be proud of your past people, but remember that today is still a day to be lived and for glory to be attained.

And that galloping verse riff, is brilliant.

I Am The Hurricane
Roll Over You
Running Mazes

All of these are the middle finger salute, “I will win, you cannot stop me, you cannot oppress me or defeat me” type of songs.

I am a force of nature
Destroy your great design
I am a warning
You will never heed in time….

From “I Am The Hurricane”

Change happens from places and people you least expect it from. It relation to technology, if Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Reed Hastings, Daniel Ek, Steve Jobs and others listened and allowed people to suppress them or stop them, the world wouldn’t have Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and iPhones.

You got no heart and were not the same
You got so far but you never came
No heart, there’s no one you can blame
You tried to slow me down but ill roll over you….

From “Roll Over You”

It’s a brutal middle finger to people who try to control you. Some of those people come across as friends, but are really locusts, sucking the essence of what is you, before moving on to another person to destroy.

Not today I still got fighting left….

From “Running Mazes”

It’s simple and brilliant. While you breathe, while you stand, keep pushing forward.

American Made

This could be called <<insert country name>> made. Because regardless of the divisions within, when it comes to sticking together in the face of adversity, we seem to unite.

That opening foot stomping riff with the drums is a call to arms.

No talk just action now
Push forward don’t care how
Fight til the end that’s how I’m made
American Made

Everyone can relate.

I’m Ready

Jamey Jasta penned this for Dee’s mum, who got hit by a car, suffered brain damage, and after 2 months of fighting for life, she passed away.

Death leaves a sorrow no one can heal
Love leaves a memory no one can steal

It’s a great lyric, with so much truth.

And that lead break just kills it. It starts off with a harmony lead that for some reason reminds me of Y&T and then it starts to burn as it goes into a thrash like lead break.

Mask

That intro riff hooks me in right away.

The face you see is not our own
It hides our tears and shades our eyes
The heart you touched has since grown cold
We wear the mask that grins and lies

We live in a world of suppression. We suppress our true feelings, our emotions because of a fear of rejection or embarrassment. And for a lot of us, this is okay. And for some, it’s much deeper and it leads to depression.

Become The Storm

It’s just knockout punch combinations all the way. Dee took a stance against bullies on Twitter and it continues in his music. And the song is not using words to stop bullies, it’s saying you need to show force and a lot of it. Basically, become the storm and destroy all the others that get in your way.

We are not here to suffer
What we get through makes us tougher

Life is tough, but navigating society and suburbia and relationships is even tougher. As much as  you want everyone to like you, it’s impossible. There will always be haters. And these haters will try their best to get you down, so they feel powerful. Remember, experiences makes the person.

And those lead breaks by Charlie Bellmore deserve attention from the guitar community.

The Hardest Way

Howard Jones does some vocals on the Chorus.

Some people do things easy and some people do it hard. I know in my life, I’ve gotten this far, the hard way. I’ve made more dumb decisions than smart decisions, but somehow I find ways to correct them and move on. And the smart decisions have been perfect so far.

With courage taking the first step

It’s what’s lacking today. People have grown up in comfortable environments, where servitude to a system of work, pay taxes, pay loans is taught from when the kids start school. All of this conditioning, takes away our courage to try new things out, because it could lead to disappointment, a drop in income and a change in comfort levels.

Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy)

Another anti-bully song, but with the bullied person’s final note showing empathy towards the bully, while the bully showed no empathy to their victim. Alissa Gluz-White from Arch Enemy does guest vocals on this one.

We all hear what they say
Heavy has the weight
Like words filled with hate
We all hear what they say
As hard as it could be
Love thy enemy

Another great lead break in this song.

For The Love Of Metal

The title came first and then the song was built.

If you want to know how many metal song titles can fit into a song, check out, “For The Love Of Metal”.

I once was under the blade
I once was the last in line
I was a victim of changes
You can stop rock and roll

And we do it for metal, the community and the togetherness.

If you like remember how metal music was in the 80’s, the you will like this album. If you like the way modern metal sounds today, you will like this album.

As Dee screams at the end, We are All Fucking metal.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Lies Are A Business Model

What comes first, the words or the music?

The answer always is, “listening to the words and music of other artists”, however it’s rarely said. Even more so today, for fear of a court case.

Being inspired by artists, story tellers and sounds is how we learn. From the day a child is born, they are listening to the sounds of the voices and learn how to talk from it. They watch people walk and decide to try it themselves. We basically copy what others do. But when big business gets involved and hijacks a law designed to protect artists, well this isn’t what Copyright should be and it shouldn’t be up to any court to decide.

Any musician starting out learns to play the songs of others before writing their own. This builds their style and forms a large part of their song writing. Led Zeppelin just made songs or riffs they had heard from other artists, sound better.

However, lawyers these days along with the heirs of deceased artists are trying to turn this into a pension fund, because the current length of copyright terms (which the labels lobbied hard to get in the 60’s and 70’s and 90’s) allow them to do so. But if you look at any guide to becoming great in any field, they all say to copy the greats.

Artists do not operate in a vacuum. They assimilate what is happening around them to create music. They create because they want to create. It’s a human need that needs to be satisfied within. No artist sits down and says to themselves, “geez, lucky for me that Copyright law is for my life plus 70 years, so I have an incentive to create.”

However, the recording industry constantly spews the same rhetoric about the need for stronger copyright enforcement and longer copyright terms, because piracy is killing the industry and if there is stronger copyright enforcement, then artists will get paid, and if artists get paid, more art will be created.

Are they serious?

The true purpose of copyright, is the progress of arts and science.

And while piracy ran rampant, and recording industry revenues went down, there was still plenty of creative output. Artists create because they want to create.

And for getting paid, if you have some traction and are not seeing any coin, redo your contracts with the middle parties. Otherwise if you are an artist who has no traction, obscurity is your enemy, so keep on creating.

There is an article over at Torrentfreak which talks about copyright and how more money leads to less creative output which challenges the bullshit put out by the labels and their stooges.

It’s because overpaid artists don’t work harder; they work less. Jimmy Page is a perfect example. Look at his recorded output since Led Zeppelin finished up.

So Copyright was originally designed to give a creator a short term monopoly on their works so they create more works. However Copyright over the last 50 years has become a scheme which encourages our superstar artists to work less. And this is the opposite of the true purpose of copyright; to facilitate the progress of arts and science.

And what is even more opposite of the true purpose of copyright is this stupid “Blurred Lines” case.

Remember how the Pharrell/Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” infringed on Marvin Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” because it had a similar feel/groove. No actual music was copied. And what makes it bizarre, “feel” or “groove” is not protectable subject matter under copyright law. But we have a court deciding differently. It’s not like Marvin Gaye’s song was so original and free from influence of other songs from the same era.

Based on this ruling, The Night Flight Orchestra cannot exist at all, because they pay homage to artists who influence them. God damn it, every band that I know off, pays homages to other artists. This is a stupid court decision. Paying homage to other artists, or writing a song in the style of another artist is how musicians first learn to create songs. It does no harm to the original artist, and often introduces more people to the original work.

And, similar lawsuits are rapidly being filed. Ed Sheeran is dealing with one over his song “Thinking Out Loud” and if it is too close to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” The songs do have the same chord progression, but are pretty different.

As the Techdirt article states “having the same chord progression allowed Sheeran to sometimes easily perform a mashup of the two songs at concerts. But again, that’s a tribute, but it’s now being used against him.”

The scope of copyright is creeping into other things. And it’s wrong.

And because of how far gone Copyright is gone, we have a war in the EU over a perceived “value gap” of what YouTube pays versus what those songs would have earned if people had the chance to buy them.

Seriously, the recording industry might as well bring back dial up internet or the telegram.

The truth is, songs are streamed more on Spotify than they are on YouTube these days. And when are people going to understand we are living in a new era. Any person can make music. It’s cheap, you can do it from home and you can release it from home. But the biggest difference is consumption. It’s the listeners who hold the power now, not the labels.

The old model was you needed a major label. They would put some money into the recording and then promote you. Artists felt like they could have a career, even if they never became mainstream or had a hit. Now, there is so much music available, the majority of music fans don’t care about acts. The streaming platforms are not robbing the artist, it’s the fans. They have decided how they want to access music. Revenues are up for the labels, but maybe not for the artist, especially the ones on crappy record deals.

But somehow, the recording industry finds ways to put longer and stronger copyright terms into the discussion. Which is disappointing. And lawyers who represent the heirs of dead artists are waiting to sue. Which is disappointing.

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

Anew Revolution

I was clearing out my C Drive on my work computer and I came across my tunes folder. It was 30 gigs worth of music I had on my work PC and in the mix was the two albums from Anew Revolution, “Rise” and “iMerica”. So I called em up on Spotify and started to click save all over again with each song.

Whatever happened to em?

I was a fan back then and I’m still a fan today. The lyrics resonated with me. I could relate.

The following tracks are from “Rise” released in 2008.

Done

You wanna try me you might be the one who goes down
I’ve had it up to here with your rule
You’re such a two face it’s too late to take back those words

We have all dealt with people like this. One thing life has taught me is nothing is forever, and that means relationships.

Nme

I can’t believe I finally see the enemy in you

Yes, that best friend, might scheme and lie. Yes, that great love, might scheme and lie. Eventually all the lies come down like a house of cards and those people you trusted suddenly become untrustworthy. And it’s hard to take when it first happens. There is anger, a feeling of being wronged and disbelief that it’s happened for so long.

But, humans are resilient and we rise again, better and stronger than before.

Generation

We are the voice of our lives,
But no one’s listening.

Eventually people will listen. It just takes time, effort and commitment. We give up too easily.

And how long, how long,
Can I fake this?

How long can we really fake our lives?

We have so many tools at our disposal to connect with people and we remain even more isolated.

Rise

Hey you
Stand the truck up and rise
I’m not afraid

It’s pretty simple. Stand up, don’t be afraid. Easier said than done, because of what could come after. Life is always a struggle. People in power versus the ones who work for them. Some abuse the power they have and others are more utopian.

I can’t fake the way I feel inside
Every one of those eyes judging me
It’s funny how things change
I redefine how messed up this life can really be

There was a time when every action and every word that came from me was so thought out because I didn’t want to be judged or questioned for my actions/words. As I got older, I ceased to care about those kind of social arrangements. Life is too short for me to care and there are too many other things I care more about now.

Saddest Song

And all you are, are to me.
The saddest song that I’ll ever sing.

It’s over. Gone. Never coming back. It hurts, but you move on. It takes time, but you get back into the game again.

Let Go

And if I let go,
Will you let go of me?
Cause I can’t keep holding on.
I’ve given everything
And if I let go
Know that you can’t hold on
You can’t hold on to me

There’s history there and no one wants to let go, even though it’s over. The thought of starting over again is too frightening. So you hold on to each other, playing games, blaming each other even more and eventually you both stop trying to save what can’t be saved anymore.

The next songs are from “iMerica” released in 2010. This album is like Slipknot on melodic steroids.

Broken Bones

The way it starts, it’s heavy metal as prescribed by Lemmy himself.

You live, you learn, but all your left with is broken bones

I can relate. Once upon a time, big life events for me ended with fists. It felt like it was the only way, like there had to be a winner and a loser.

Head Against The Wall

It’s a great song, reminds me of Slipknot and it’s the one that has over a million streams on Spotify.

I feel the weight of all the world across my chest.
Like a cigarette it burns and stings with every breathe
I grind my teeth to stone I bite my tongue to hold every word that I’m thinking.
I lost my head in a hole I lost my heart and my soul with every word that I’m bleeding

It’s the antithesis of social media and all the likes and happy pics. Pressure is real. Financial pressure, work pressure, family pressure, health pressure and relationship pressure.

I keep banging my
I keep banging my head against this wall

But we persist, we go on, banging our head against the same wall, every single different day, until those small one percenter changes we made weeks ago start to compound and things change.

Social Suicide

Broken in pieces and sold off today
This American dream has been rigged

The GFC hurt a lot of vulnerable people, while the people who caused it, got away with college speaking tours, a government bailout and jobs with the firms who caused it.

Ashes From Stone

All I can see is ashes falling from the stone

It’s a fiery song. There are a lot of wrongs in life, and when things don’t go to plan, we seem to blame others for our own failures. We don’t take responsibility for our decisions. It’s always someone else’s fault. I used to be like that. Once I took ownership of my choices, man, what a difference. It really is like seeing the light. But until then, all I was seeing was ashes falling.

Take Me Over

I’m waiting for the sun to rise
But darkness is the only light
I’m waiting for the dark to
Take me over, take me over

It’s dark and life is dark sometimes. It’s hard to even talk about darkness in life, because of people’s reaction towards you. Some want to avoid you and some want to help and others want to help you too much that it gets bothersome. One thing is certain. We only have one life. It’s precious. Don’t throw it away. There is always a better way.

Life

I see the bottom of the bottle everyday
I keep on crawling for another inch, but an inch still seems so far away
All I can do is pretend

I don’t drink as much as I used to, but I still enjoy my vino and beers, especially in social gatherings. I do know people who cope with life in the bottom of the bottle. It’s not easy and all of us look for something to dull the pain or the fear.

Why does life keep getting harder
Constantly pushing me under

It’s our choices and our relationships that keep us from excelling. A toxic choice in a toxic relationship leads to more toxicity. A positive choice in a positive relationship leads to some more goodwill and different paths, with more choice.

I need Anew Revolution to make more music. They have fans. We probably won’t make em millions, but we will listen.

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

The Night Flight Orchestra

I’m suffering from World Cup fatigue and the typical Australian problem of watching games held in Europe between midnight and 7am. Add to this fatigue, another weeks worth of football in the Australian Capital for the Kanga Cup for my U13 boys and I’m ready for a holiday.

Being a coach is not easy and on occasions I just need to make time for some feel good music, which is fun and so departed from the tense societies we live in.

What can I say, there is something about TNFO and the music they produce that hits a nostalgic spot for me. And I’m digging it.

Album number 4, “Sometimes The World Aint Enough” came out a few weeks ago and it’s full of massive sing-along choruses and derivative versions of some of the best pop songs ever written.

Actually each album has usually 4 to 6 songs that stand out and when the mood is right, they get cranked on repeat.

This Time

It was the first single dropped in the promotion run to release day and it was actually written for the “Amber Galactic” album. Somehow it didn’t fit the flow of the album. Maybe because it sounded too similar to “Midnight Flyer”.

Regardless it made this one. If you like Deep Purple, Supertramp and Rainbow, then you will like this song. And it’s been on repeat since it came out.

Turn To Miami

This is one of those songs that will also get cranked on repeat. The track by track review on YouTube from the band, mentions a Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac influence.

Also with its “Flashdance” film clip and arena rock chorus, how can you not like it. The other thing I like about TNFO is they write about places that have affected them. The city of Miami pops up on the first album via “West Ruth Ave” and “Miami 501”.

Paralyzed

This is another song to be cranked on repeat. The groovy and melodic intro riff does enough to hook me in while the disco beats and silky bass lines get the feet tapping and the body moving.

Sometimes The World Aint Enough

Yep, add this one to the list of repeats. The keyboard riff in the intro sets up the melody, and when one of one of the most simplest drum beats (yes, it reminds me of Kiss “Deuce”) starts grooving in the Chorus, the song is elevated. As the band has mentioned in interviews, the song is about escapism.

Moments Of Thunder

The track by track YouTube videos has the TNFO guys talking about the song reminding them of Yes and how 44 different snare drums got used. Yep, it’s moments of thunder.

Speedwagon

I think the title gives away it’s influence. REO Speedwagon anyone. Maybe, but not according to Bjorn Strid, as it was just a working title which stuck to the end. According to Bjorn, the song reminds him of Swedish pop bands from the 80’s and 90’s.

Lovers In The Rain

The second singled dropped in the promotion run. It reminds me of Survivor and Def Leppard, however the track by track breakdown mentions it’s like a rock version of Ultravox. Regardless, it’s pretty cool.

Can’t Be That Bad

Seriously the riff to kick it off is so addictive, I am hooked and when the Kiss “Deuce” style drumming comes in, it’s perfect.  And that Chorus reminds me of those Desmond Child choruses from Alice Cooper’s “Trash” album crossed with Belinda Carlisle “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”.

The beauty of these tracks is hearing or reading what the TNFO guys think of it. In the track by track breakdown, it’s mentioned that the song is the output if Alan Parsons hooked up with Kiss for a song writing session.

Pretty Thing Closing In

It’s got this disco drum groove that reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”. TNFO reckon it’s a great song to listen to when you are driving in Italy.

Barcelona

Man, the riffs are addictive.

“How I need you Barcelona”

Having been to Barcelona and being really taken by the beauty of the city I can easily relate. And like “Turn To Miami”, this is TNFO writing about cities which have had an impact on them.

Winged and Serpentine

Rick Springfield influence according to the track by track breakdown as the guys watched all of his videos before they entered the studio.

The Last Of Independent Romantics

With album number 2, TNFO started to have a longer and progressive track as the closer. “The Heather Reports” appeared on “Skyline Whispers” and “Saturn In Velvet” appeared on “Amber Galactic”.

The processed electronic drums at the start underpin the “You Give Love A Bad Name” vocal melody in the verses. Yes, you read that right. They took one of Jovi’s biggest choruses and used it for a verse.

Then the riff from 2 minutes, that’s the power of music and the power of this project known as The Night Flight Orchestra.

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

Across The Years In May

I knew that Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” had its 30th Anniversary on May 21, 1988. So I went to Spotify to give it a listen and it’s no longer there. But it was there before. I can’t understand why artists withdraw their albums and then bring them back when they feel like it. Go on YouTube, and the whole album is there, and it pays less. Talk about leaving money on the table. I guess it’s Cinderella’s loss.

Anyway, I also knew that on May 23, 1979, Kiss released “Dynasty”. It was my first Kiss album on LP and of course, due to having so little product to listen to, it became a favourite. However, my brothers friends who had the earlier Kiss albums up to “Love Gun” hated this album. And the good thing is, when I went to Spotify, it was there, available, to be listened too. Gene and Paul are very critical of the current business models, but they are also business minded people who don’t want to leave any source of income unattended.

It’s like going back in my room, dropping the needle and being greeted with the fast picked E note that is “I Was Made For Loving You”. While “Loving” is modern and of the times, “2,000 Man” is a rock and roll relic out of place on this glitzy melodic rock disco album. And back then, the year 2000 seemed so far away and now we are 18 years past it.

“Sure Know Something” has that groovy sleazy bass line in the verses and when the guitars start crunching in the Chorus the song moves from a disco R&B feel to Hard Rock. And when “Dirty Livin’” starts up, I am floored by the diversity of the album. It’s covered a lot of ground musically. Actually, when I heard “The Night Flight Orchestra’s” debut album back in 2012, I was immediately reminded of “Dynasty”.

“Charisma” and “Magic Touch” keep the momentum going. “Hard Times”, “X-Ray Eyes” and “Save Your Love” bookend the album, but I would have been happy if the album finished at “Hard Times”, with one of my favourite lyrical lines in “the hard times are dead and gone, but the hard times have made me strong”. Damn right they did.

Continuing with May releases over different timespans, on May 24, 1988, Van Halen released “OU812”.

The piece d’resistance is “Mine All Mine”.  It wasn’t just competing with the singles from this album for attention, it was competing with “Jump”, “Panama”, “Dreams”, “Summer Nights” and “Why Cant This be Love” for attention. Because in the MTV era, songs had some legs.

The drumming is frantic, making a clichéd keyboard riff sound heavy as hell.

Oh, you’ve got Allah in the east
You’ve got Jesus in the west
Christ, what’s a man to do?

Exactly, what is a man to do when belief systems go to war. Sort of like Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s famous film clip “Two Tribes” when Reagan and Gorbachev went at it.

And how good is the guitar solo from EVH?

Then the single “When It’s Love” keeps the pop metal momentum going, but “AFU(Naturally Wired)” is vintage EVH. Its chaotic and yet so focused. And how cool is that bridge riff just before the crazy solo. I know Sammy loves “Cabo Wabo” and I love the solo section of the song and I dig the music, but man, I don’t like the lyrics.

“Source Of Infection” is wild abandonment on the steroid level scales of “Hot For Teacher”.  “Feels So Good” is a favourite of mine and “Finish What Ya Started” is groovy and sleazy. To be honest, I’ve overdosed on these songs as the clips always appeared on the TV shows, but man, those verses on “Feels So Good” just get me all the time.

“Black and Blue”, “Sucker In A 3 Piece” and “A Apolitical Blues” close out the album, and the star here is “Sucker In A 3 Piece”. It should have come after “Finish What Ya Started”.

And everything these bands represent is opposite to what is adored today by the masses. Today it’s all about the beat and it doesn’t feel personal which is opposite of what music should be. Music is personal. So while some people go to the show to have a good time, the majority of people still go to connect with the band on the stage.

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

Girls, Girls, Girls

There is a scene in the “Uncensored” video with Vince Neil cruising down Sunset in a limo with a spa pool and he’s talking about the name of the next album, called “Girls, Girls, Girls”.

On May 15, 1987, “Girls Girls Girls” comes out and the world was treated to two video clips. The censored “Girls” clip and the “Uncensored” one. MTV has a ball with it.

While it looks like the guys are having a ball, attending strip clubs and dropping bills into knickers, Nikki Sixx was in the spiralling grip of a heroin addiction, Mick Mars was blacking out from alcoholism, Tommy Lee was coking it up, screwing anything that moved and somehow he got married, while Vince Neil was still on probation and pretending to be sober. In other words, it’s chaos with a capital MC and they still managed to get together and crack out a decent album.

The best track on the album is the opener, Nikki’s religious sermon to the street life of L.A. “Wild Side” is perfect, from the riffs, the drum groove, the vocal melodies and of course, the lyrics.

Kneel down ya sinners to streetwise religion
Greed has been crowned the new king

Greed has become the new king. Not just in the streets, but in all walks of life. There is so much betrayal and broken dreams in our quest for millions.

Take a ride on the wild side

Only if you dare. You might not come out of it alive. For some it’s the thrill. It’s the metal lifestyle. All aboard. Hahahaha…

I carry my crucifix under my death list

Every single dealer believes in God, wears crucifixes and then breaks God’s rules in killing someone. Every single wronged person, while a good citizen with family values, carries a revenge list of people who wronged them. Humans are born aggressive.

Papa won’t be home tonight
Found dead with his best friends wife

There was a time when crimes of passion dominated. Now, crimes of insanity dominate.

A baby cries, a cop dies
A day’s pay on the wild side

Doing the beat, could mean a gun fight and death. I guess, it is really all in a day’s pay on the wild side.

The sounds of a Harley, a G5 power chord and one of the grooviest riffs ever. That my friends is “Girls, Girls, Girls”. And it’s part of MTV lore with its two video clips.

“Dancing On Glass” has a riff from Mick Mars, which is sleazy and dangerous and Nikki fires out some of the best lines about being an addict.  “Valentines in London, found me in the trash” covers his first overdose. “One extra push, last trip to the top” covers the addict need to get high. “Silver Spoon and needle, witchy tombstone smile” covers the process and when you are user, “I’m no puppet, I engrave my veins in style” sums up the toll on the body.

As far as I’m concerned the first three tracks are a triple knockout, but “Wild Side” and “Girls” survive to this day.

“Bad Boy Boogie” is exactly that, a 12 bar blues boogie that compared to some of the other tracks on the album is considered a decent cut, plus it’s got the iconic line, “you better lock up your daughter when the Motley’s hit the road.”

“Five Years Dead” has some wicked riffs and a lyrical theme from a book Nikki picked up in a second hand shop.  “All In the Name Of ….” is another song with killer riffs and a lyrical theme about “legal never being their scene”.

“Your All I Need” was more popular for its controversial film clip, but then again, whoever said the six o-clock news was pretty.

“Rodeo” was a bonus track on the re-released edition of the album. I guess they already had the ultimate road song in “Home Sweet Home”. Regardless, “Rodeo” is one hell of a song and you can hear that Mick Mars is all over this one.

Laughing like gypsies, from show to show, living my life like a rolling stone
Travelling man, never at home, can’t find love so I sleep alone, this whisky river has a long way to flow

It sure sums up the excess of the 80’s.

From a commercial perspective, “Girls” was competing against “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “The Final Countdown” from Europe and Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album for listeners attention. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was also rising. But it not only competed, it went toe to toe with all of those releases and Motley came out on top in the live box office. Hell, even Whitesnake was opening up for them.

And who can forget the words from management, that if the band went to Europe to tour, they will come home in body bags. “Girls” would be the end of the Motley band as we knew it. A snapshot of how a band can take alcohol and drugs to the limits.

If you end up alive, there is always a change. “Dr Feelgood” would be the result of the change, and the pinnacle for a briefly sober band. Of course with sobriety, an artist gets clarity and with clarity people start to realise the dysfunction within. And with more years under their belt, their life choices start to become different. And Motley was different.

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