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

1984 – V – Grace Under Pressure

If you are curious here are parts one, two, three and four of the 1984 series.

Pretty Maids – Red Hot And Heavy

I didn’t hear this album until the early two thousands. I had “Future World” on LP, however any other release by the band was available via an expensive IMPORT price of $50 to $70 Australian. And then Napster came along, and then Audio Galaxy, LimeWire and cloud sites like Rapid Share. Suddenly, people’s music collections were available everywhere and at any time.

For this album there was no dropping the needle, it was all about putting on my headphones, plugging them into the computer and pressing play to the mp3 tracks, lined up WINAMP.

It kicks off with what I know as the “Excalibur” theme, and others know as ‘O Fortuna’.

“Back To Back” and “Cold Killer” have cool riffs and show off their NWOBHM influences.

“Red Hot and Heavy” shows off it’s Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Scorpions influences.

“Waitin’ For The Time” and “A Place In The Night” are AOR Melodic Rock to a tee.

And that’s why I always enjoyed the albums from “Pretty Maids”. Like Dokken and Y&T, they lived somewhere in between heavy metal and hard rock and melodic pop.

Rush – Grace Under Pressure

Ernest Hemingway said “Courage is grace under pressure.”

And when you are pushing towards the mid 80s, Rush showed true courage in delivering another album full of synth rock. Hell, talk about courage, some songs don’t even feature any bass guitar.

“Distant Early Warning” has a keyboard riff which sounds excellent played on a distorted guitar.

“Afterimage” is my favourite track and “Red Sector A” has this riff from about the 1.10 mark, which makes me press repeat on this track.

This is also the track which has no bass guitar

“Are we the last ones left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive?”

And its these first three tracks which still get played to this day.

The Alan Parsons Project  – Ammonia Avenue

The album came out in February 1984 and it was meant to capitalize on the platinum success of “Eye In The Sky”. And although it went Gold, the album was seen as a failure. MTV was a game changer and if you looked like a studio band, you didn’t stand a chance with a new empowered generation of rock and metal heads.

But to me there are always a few cool tracks on APP albums which I can relate to.

On this one, “Let Me Go Home”, “Dancing On A High Wire” and Pipeline” are stand outs.

Chris DeBurgh – Man On The Line

Chris DeBurgh doesn’t get enough credit as a Rocker because his ballad, “Lady In Red” was so huge, it dwarfed everything else he released. Then again, each album he did release always had more ballads than rockers.

“The Ecstasy Of Flight (I Love The Night)” is the song which stood out for me and I remember hearing it on a music video show and taping it.

Midnight Oil – Red Sails In The Sunset

They write songs about Australia, our environment, our history, our culture and our attitudes.

And it resonated and connected with people.

“Kosciusko” and “When The Generals Talk” are the standouts here.

Meatloaf‘s “Bad Attitude” didn’t have anything earth shattering on it, but the title track and “Surfs Up” are derivative versions of previous Meatloaf songs and are a cool listen.

Billy Squier – Signs Of Life

It all comes back to the “Rock Me Tonite” video.

Cheesy; yes, terrible idea; yes, but did it really kill Squier’s career because in the 80s there was a lot of cheesy bad videos for artists.

Squier like many others had some success early on and then struggled to duplicate it. Twisted Sister comes to mind immediately and so does Quiet Riot. That’s not to say this album doesn’t have good songs, it’s just the audience had moved on.

“All Night Long” is excellent while “Reach For The Sky” has a feel and groove borrowed from The Police and Gotye used a similar groove and feel for “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Quick call the lawyers.

“Hand Me Downs” borrows from “Long Way To The Top” in the verses. Quick call the lawyers again.

Don Henley – Building The Perfect Beast

“The Boys Of Summer” was everywhere and what a song. I didn’t hear the rest of the album until the late 90s. Other tracks which stand out to me are “Not Enough Love In The World”, “Driving With Our Eyes Closed” and “Land Of The Living”.

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

The Record Vault – Avenged Sevenfold

It all started with Guitar World.

Synester Gates and Zacky Vengeance started to appear in the magazine and songs from the band started to appear in the transcription section. One of those songs was “The Beast And The Harlot” and I read the transcription. And I read it again and again and again. There was just so much stuff happening in the song.

So I sat down to play it, without even hearing the song. And I liked what I heard from playing it.

Then I went and downloaded their catalogue which at that point in time, consisted of “Sounding The Seventh Trumpet”, released in 2002, “Waking The Fallen”, released in 2003 and “City Of Evil”, released in 2005, which had the song in question as it’s opening track.

From here on, I purchased the self-titled album on release day, “Nightmare” also on release day and “Hail To The King” also on release day, while also going back and buying the albums I had downloaded. “The Stage” I still haven’t purchased in physical, however I will, purely to have it in my collection.

The “Waking The Fallen” album is all about “Second Heartbeat” to me and those last two minutes that kick in from 4.46 (you need to get through the screaming to taste the elixir). And that lead break from Synester Gates, that goes for the last 49 seconds of the song is the stuff of Guitar Heroes. 

“I Won’t See You Tonight” part 1 is up there as a cool second. And “Clairvoyant Disease” reminds me of Savatage post Jon Oliva era while “Unholy Confessions” has this Judas Priest like riff in the intro which hooks me in. I am pretty sure “Black Veil Brides” used that same riff for the song “Knives And Pens”. 

“Critical Acclaim” starts off the self-titled album released in 2007.

All the way from the east to the west we got this high society, Looking down on their very foundation, Constantly reminding us that our actions, Are the cause of all their problems

Pointing their fingers in every Direction and blaming their Own nation for who wins the elections They’ve never contributed a fucking thing to the Country they love to criticize

And what has changed since this song was written. The elite became more elite, they pay and bribe their way through life and for their dumb kids to enter college, they’ve been exposed as using tax havens to launder money and pay no tax and yet everyone else is a problem, except them.

“Almost Easy” is one of their best songs, and drummer “The Rev” does this double kick cymbal thing in it which is insane.

“Afterlife” has this lead break from Synester were he puts pedal to the metal at about the 4.15 mark. To be honest, he puts a lot of the 80’s guys to shame with his technique and feel, incorporating sweep picking, fast legato lines, supersonic picked alternate notes and tapping. 

“Lost” is another song which has a lead break to put all other lead breaks to shame in the outro. Super melodic, with whammy dives chucked in for effect.

“A Little Piece Of Heaven” is one of those defining songs of a band, which combines so many different things into a 7 minute song. You either like it or hate it or just put up with it.

The music box melodies of “Nightmare” kicks off the album that carries its name and after the death of “The Rev”, Mike Portnoy is on drums. It was a perfect fit music wise, maybe not personality wise. And in their pain of losing an important member, Avenged Sevenfold, created an excellent album.

“Welcome To The Family” has this Pantera “Cowboys From Hell” groove merged with Metallica’s “Sad But True” in the verses which I dig as the song transitions between these grooves to punk like choruses and melodic metal harmonies.

“Buried Alive” has an intro that rivals “Welcome Home” and “Fade To Black”. And from about the 4 minute mark its desk breaking time, as the song picks up with harmony leads, some supersonic shredding and sweeping and from about the 5 minute mark it’s Metallica time, ala “Orion”.

“Natural Born Killers” is a blast fest in the verses. “So Far Away” tells their sadness and “God Hates Us” tells their rage. “Victim” tells their sorrow and sadness with gospel voices throughout the song. “Save Me” tells their darkness.

The  burning flames kick off their best album and their most divisive due to all the songs sounding like a song that came before from a certain artist. Hell, this is how music works people. Take something that came before, build on it, put it in your creativity blender and the outcome is art. I’ve already covered this album in detail in a separate blog post.

“Shepherd of Fire” has “Black Sabbath”, “Trust” from Megadeth and “Enter Sandman” from Metallica. Lars Ulrich said the drum beat from “Enter Sandman” is based on AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and the main “Sandman” riff is based on a song from a band called Excel. Take what came before and make it yours.

“Hail To The King” is AC/DC in the riffs, “Wasted Years” in a gypsy jazz fashion in the intro and “Sign Of The Cross” from Maiden in the Chorus.

“Doing Time” is Guns N Roses. “This Means War” is “Sad But True” from Metallica. “Requiem” is In Flames Euro Metal. “Heretic” is Megadeth’s “Symphony Of Destruction”. “Coming Home” is Iron Maiden.

Basically, music is a sum of our influences. A person that hasn’t heard a piece of music before can say that what they heard right now is original as they have not heard anything else before that. Live long enough and you would know that everything has been written and how we interpret those influences through our own individualism, culture and viewpoint is what makes it sound “original” and there is nothing wrong with that.

But we still have lawyers and heirs of artists or artists who didn’t have a hit, suing artists who had a hit because the songs sound similar. And these kinds of people but the viewpoint out there that the songs they wrote are so original, so unique, so free from influences that only they could have come up with that note pattern, feel and rhythms in the whole history of music.

And I haven’t purchased “The Stage” as yet as I’m streaming it. To me the album concept and themes hook me in and “The Stage”, “Higher” and “Roman Sky” are worthy additions. “Exist” is not far behind.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Copyright, It’s Been A While

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post on the insanity which Copyright has become.

Over at YouTube, the copyright holders like Warner Music Group (WMG) are sending takedown notices for a super popular video called “The Fans Deserve Better” which has been allowed to operate since July 2014. In this takedown, WMG even blocked it, so nobody could watch it.

All the video shows is an 11 second clip of Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” to demonstrate what a great vocalist is and then 11 seconds of an Asking Alexandria song to demonstrate how bad a vocalist can be.

In my own backyard of Australia, the music labels and movie studios pumped up the political parties with lots of cash to get legislation passed and site blocking is a real thing in the land of Oz.

This time around, the music labels Sony, Universal, and Warner, with assistance from Music Rights Australia and the Australasian Performing Right Association, are asking Australia’s Federal Court to approve their demand for the ISP’s to block stream-ripping sites.

So the ISP’s need to be the Copyright Police for the labels, because they haven’t been able to figure out the stream ripping market, and why people stream rip and what relationship to music these stream rippers have.

Do they attend concerts? Do they buy any recorded music? Do they just want to have content? What do they do with the content?

I know people who have terabytes of books, movies and music on hard drives which they’ve never listened too, watched nor read and they will never have the time to devote to all of that culture. But they want to say they have it. And it makes them feel good. There are articles stating the same about people who hoard digitally.

Is site blocking really needed as the labels and studios profit and loss statements are looking pretty healthy.

Did you know that recorded revenue earned by the labels keeps going up and up and up?

Four years straight.

And of course streaming revenue was the star of the show, which offset the decline in physical and download revenues.

Along the way to these increases in revenue, something magical happened.

The record labels for a long time complained about Latin And South America being a haven of piracy activity. In previous blog posts I’ve mentioned how metal and rock bands continually tour these areas to massive crowds and the bands haven’t sold any recorded product in these areas. Basically the people were starved of legal offerings and resorted to bootleg recordings and then piracy.

Finally Spotify is allowed to open their servers for the people of these countries to stream and these areas along with Australia (which the labels class as another haven for piracy and needs more court blocks) have been the fastest growing markets.

The labels didn’t create this new income stream, the techies did, but hey, the techies are the bad guys here. And isn’t it funny when people are given the choice to stream at a super low price, the majority would pay for that. So instead of focusing on 90% of the music fans who do the right thing, the labels and their lobby groups believe the 10% who obtain music illegally is worth spending money on and to increase the price the other 90% pay for legal options.

Mmmm.

Speaking of the techies as the bad guys, you might have noticed headlines like “Spotify Sues Songwriters To Pay Less Royalties”. It’s all B.S. but with the way the internet spreads news and with people looking for someone to blame at their own failings in connecting with their fan base, these headlines spread like crazy.

What is happening is that Spotify and Amazon have taken issue with the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (which should never ever exist), raising the royalty rate amount that Spotify needs to pay to the Copyright Holders. So instead of paying 10% of their revenue, they need to pay 15% of their revenue.

Spotify is not suing songwriters at all. What they and other streaming services are proposing is a different payment model.

And then you have Apple, which went from an innovative leader to meh, coming out in support of these increases, because hey, since streaming is a small portion of their bottom line, it can only help them out if their competitors close shop. 

And the solution to make users pay more, will get some people paying more, and the rest will return to torrents and stream ripping.

But, what everyone seems to forget is that the money in music is due to the relationship a customer has with the music and the artist. They determine the price they are willing to pay.

Here are a few articles on the Spotify vs The Royalty Board to form your own viewpoints on.

Rolling Stone article which summarises the facts without any bias.

Music Business Worldwide article that has Sony and Warner Music reps urging composes to fight Spotify’s royalty rate challenge.

A Vulture article which explains the facts even better than the Rolling Stone article.

Here is the rock and metal worlds response via Loudwire.

And let’s not forget the reapers hand hovering over “Blurred Lines”, the song written by Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams, which had no infringing riffs or licks, but a funk feel similar to Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”.

In this case, a homage to funk led to $5 million being paid to the heirs of Marvin Gaye plus 50% of all future earnings. And the worrisome part is, these kind of cases put the idea out there that Marvin Gaye was so original and free from influence and that his songs did not pay homage to any artist or style.

From a rock perspective it’s the same as Led Zep suing Greta Van Fleet over a song of theirs for having a rock feel similar to a Led Zep song.

Ed Sheeran is also going to court to defend “Thinking Out Loud,” from the heirs of Ed Townsend who co-wrote, Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

A few years before that, Ed Sheeran’s song “Photograph” had a few extra writers added to it (out of court) as well. In this case, the writers of a song called “Amazing” believed their song is so original and free from influence that other artists couldn’t resist copying it (that’s sarcasm by the way). The fact that Sheeran’s song went huge and their amazing song didn’t, meant a writ needed to be served. 

In relation to “Thinking Out Loud”, it looks like another out of court settlement is on the cards and an extra songwriter who is dead, will be added to the credits of an Ed Sheeran song. Yep, Copyright was meant to expire when a person died, but not in this lifetime. They still get songwriting credits.

And these out of court settlements keep coming.

The most ridiculous one out of them all was where a person called Alisa Apps, took Universal Music Group and artist John Newman to court, because Newman’s song had the lyrics “I need to know now” in it, which is the same lyric line as her song.

Are you serious on this one?

Lucky the Justice system actually came to the party on this one and said you can’t copyright generic words or short phrases.

And finally, here is copyright as a shakedown tool, as collection agencies sue bars, nightclubs, restaurants and any place playing music over licensing fees.

In this case, the place in question is meant to owe BMI (a collection agency for 900K plus artists) $6,850. BMI alleges the organisation played music without a proper public license in place. I’m just curious for which songwriter is BMI collecting these monies for. Because when a collection agency sends employees to visit establishments and log the music they hear being played, it sure sounds like a shakedown than a warning or to educate business owners.

P.S. COPYRIGHT AS AN ENFORCEMENT TOOL

One last special Copyright case is how the RIAA, and the labels are suing an ISP for the fast speeds it offers because those high speeds foster piracy and it wouldn’t kick off the people responsible because it might damage their brand. I kid you not. I’m waiting for the day, when the makers of knives are sued because the sharpness of their knives foster greater damage to human organs when someone plunges it through skin in a fit of rage.

P.S.S. – COPYRIGHT AS AN ENFORCEMENT TOOL

People who create a tool that connects to the TV and internet and allows people to watch content they didn’t pay for are jailed for a total of 17 years. I’m waiting for the day when gun makers (a tool created by people) get jailed for 17 plus years, when their tools are used to take the life of people who didn’t want to die.

P.S.S.S – COPYRIGHT AS A MONOPOLY

And one of the outcomes of the Music Modernization Act was that a new music collective would be created for streaming royalties and suddenly we have groups fighting over who should be in it and lots of money going into different people’s hands to approve.

I thinks that’s all I have patience for. Till next time.

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

The Record Vault – Adema

 I never understood why bands got labelled as nu-metal. Maybe the culture stylists at magazines and labels wanted to create a new movement so they could say they created a new movement.

To me it’s all just music.

For the bands that started to make inroads in the early 2000’s, these bands had the same aggression and rage as a lot of the bands I grew up with. Just because they didn’t have guitar solos, had shorter hair, dressed differently and played syncopated riffs, it didn’t make them super different. Most of these bands had even bigger arena rock choruses than the bands who made it in the 80’s and they still had success without any form of MTV pushing them, which was very different to the 80’s as all the bands back then got to a million in sales on the backs of the exposure MTV generated.

I believe that the vocal tones of the Nu-Metal singers didn’t cross over to the hard rock audience as those audiences became used to Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Sebastian Bach, Ronnie James Dio, Tom Kiefer and David Coverdale style vocals. But to me, it’s the vocal tones which connected because I didn’t want to hear another clone of a hard rock vocalist.

Everyone

Everyone is the same
Quick to point the blame
All I know is that life is a struggle

The album came out in 2001, but I didn’t hear it until 2003. This song resonated straight away, with the above lyric line. Imagine a scene, with every single person in the room pointing the blame at someone else in the room.

Would anything sensible come out of it?

And for all of those college kids who had their parents clear the way for them, what struggle have they seen, because life is a struggle and if you can’t navigate the waters, dark places wait.

Blow It Away

The intro music reminded me of Godsmack and in the verses it has this Nirvana bass feel, with Korn like guitar embellishments.

Lyrically, it’s a nasty song about a relationship gone bad and if you’ve seen American Psycho, you will know what the singer is thinking.

Giving In

The intro hooks me in and it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album, about giving in to your addictions or giving in to the darkness that loneliness brings due to your addictions.

Shaking, lonely, and I am drinking again
Woke up tonight and no one’s here with me
I’m giving in to you

Freaking Out

The rapped verses (yes, rapped verses) have enough melody to keep me interested and the music/feel of the song reminds me of New Order.

The Way You Like It

My second favourite and the flow of the song hooks me in, with a catchy Chorus.

If you can see right through the greed and all your needs
You realize that you were just about as bad as me

People struggle their whole life to make and be somebody. When they do, they reckon that fame doesn’t change them. But it does change them and it changes the people around you.

Pain Inside

The chorus gospel effect on the guitars gets me interested and the verse drum and bass groove keeps the momentum going and once the power chords come crashing in for the Chorus, I’m sold.

This pain inside I can’t understand
This hate in life that will not go away (Go away)

And hate is real. It’s all over the world and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

Speculum

The acoustic guitar gets some use.

There’s so many people dying
You complain about your situation

Drowning

The intro riff hooks me in and then it’s all hell breaking loose.

It’s like a needle in my spine
It stings inside
Poisons me with time
I can’t deal with your lies

It’s very different to the 80s lyrics about blowjobs and sex.

Trust

I’m so alone, empty and lost, it’s easier to let you go
Time will erode the shame and the fault, it’s easier to let you go

We become focused on achieving something and when we do, we realize we also lost something along the way, like a relationship that you didn’t want to lose.

Adema released more albums after this one and I haven’t heard em, however I will call em up on Spotify in due time.

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

The Record Vault – Angel

You could be paying your dues for years and nothing happens, because no one wanted to get out of their comfort zone to believe in you and invest time to get you signed.

Gene Simmons at this time was prowling for bands. Van Halen was recording demos financed by Gene, Angel got a record deal with KISS’s label Casablanca because of Gene and he also told George Lynch he would never make it as a rock star if he didn’t change his name. He probably got the Lynch one wrong or right, depending on which definition of rockstar you believe in, the dictionary one or Gene’s definition of rock star.

Angel for me, was all about the path of Gregg Giuffria. It was his first label band, before he formed a band around his surname called Giuffria and then another band called House Of Lords. Throughout it all, he had small successes here and there. Actually Gregg Giuffria’s story is a typical “trying to make it” story with highs and lows.

You know the one, said artist plays in bars and clubs to get their name out and they finally get a label deal, however after five albums they have a debt they can’t pay back to the label and a record deal which no longer exists.

Then a new offer comes, to form a band around you instead of you being part of the band. But this is 1982 and metal and rock music was breaking through into the mainstream. And Giuffria, the band became a bus stop band for musicians who had bigger ambitions.

From the first Giuffria album, Craig Goldy on guitars, Gregg Giuffria on keys and Chuck Wright on bass are well known for their role in other bands, while on the second album Lanny Cordola on guitars is also known for his role in House Of Lords rather than Giuffria.

Giuffria however released two albums on MCA, had a third album ready to go but it didn’t get the green light.

And Gregg Giuffria was again at the cross roads. Good ole Gene came to the rescue again and basically said to Giuffria, “I’ll sign ya to my label, but you need to change the name of your band and you need to fire your lead singer”.

So in 1987 and after 14 years of trying to make it, Giuffria was still trying to make it.

And remember that third Giuffria album which didn’t get the green light, well they ended up on the debut “House Of Lords” album which did sound very derivative but was still a cool listen.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

On Earth As It’s On Heaven

Released in 1977. It’s their third album but it was the first album I heard from them and Eddie Kramer is on hand to produce.

The funky “White Lightning” musically hooks me in and a young Lenny Kravitz must have been listening to “Cast The First Stone” on repeat because he rewrote it many years later and called it “Are You Gonna Go My Way”.

White Hot

In 1978, Angel became like ELO for album number four.

Flying With Broken Wings (Without You)

The outro of this song is excellent.

It’s like Tesla heard this and combined both “Hey Jude” and this one for the ending of “Love Song”.

Over and Over

I feel like Zebra was listening to this song over and over again as Angel took a 70s derivative riff and turned it into their own song.

You Could Lose Me

A sleazy riff kicks it off and how cool is that synth lick after the Chorus.

Sinful

The fifth album is their best album released in 1978.

 

Don’t Take Your Love

The keys are prominent especially in the verses, however if one thing was clear in the 70s, the guitarists didn’t have it in them to become background musicians. So by default, you hear guitar, left, right and centre.

And the chorus is a perfect example of AOR pop with a riff which reminds me of a lot of songs and as I type this, I can’t remember any of them.

LA Lady

The honky tonk piano rocks, and the Rolling Stones influence is all over this song about an LA Lady who drives them crazy by the look in her eyes.

Just Can’t Take it

It’s just a good hard rock song which reminds me of REO Speedwagon.

Bad Time

The keys in the intro dominate, but that verse riff hooks me in and then that Chorus riff, keeps my interest going, followed by a wailing guitar lead, while the drums lay down a hard rock open/closed high hats beat which also borders on disco. Musically this song is excellent.

I’ll Bring The Whole World To Your Door

Yep, it’s got a Kashmir style riff in the verses, but not as exotic as the Led Zep version, however it then morphs into a pop rock song which is an excellent piece of song writing, merging different influences into a cohesive work.

I’ll Never Fall In Again

That Chorus keyboard riff is epic and it sounds like it’s in a 5/4 timing.

Wild And Hot

It’s like the best song Slade, Sweet or Alice Cooper wrote in 1978, which they didn’t write.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Dirt

I grew up on a diet of Motley Crue music. And I never abandoned them, even when they changed singers and even when everyone wrote them off as has beens after “New Tattoo”.

Still to this day, Crue tunes get a listen and my kids even learned to play guitar to “Kick Start My Heart”.

I couldn’t switch off the movie, even if I wanted to and the script, the direction of Jeff Tramaine, the filming and editing was excellent, funny and at a good pace.

Maybe they missed a great opportunity here to make a series. Telling the story in ten, 60 minute episodes would have done me fine. So many things could have gotten screen time, but didn’t.

Nikki OD’d before, their manager Doc was drug trafficking during this period, and the fallout with him happened because of the Moscow Peace Festival concert.

Robin Crosby was with Nikki and had the same addictions but he got no mention, but they mentioned the Corabi period briefly like it was the worst period ever however it should have been fleshed out more. We got nothing about the Randy Castillo/Samantha Maloney “New Tattoo” period, the Tommy and Vince leaked sex tapes and punch ups, the solo albums and …

Nikki Sixx posted on Twitter that the critics hate it. And so they should, because even in their wildest dreams, these critics wouldn’t even be allowed to participate in the decadent 80s era to even report or write on anything musical. But hey, the internet and the social media platforms give people a voice. Hell I’m part of those voices via the blog.

And people don’t like to admit it, but we are out of touch with what’s happening in the zeitgeist. The young ones, those kids born at the start of the two thousands will watch it, to check out the era of their parents. And they will see how Hard Rock was all about the party, the highs and getting laid and with smartphones these days, rock and roll decadence will never return.

“She Goes Down” is one of my favorite Crue songs. Guess we cant have those kind of songs any more as they are politically incorrect. Or “Lick It Up” by Kiss.

And in the years to come, people will be talking about the movie as a cultural influence.

Nikki Sixx might have been the most fucked up and strung out of all of them, but he ended up being the smartest.

The negotiation to get his copyrights back is the smartest business move ever and it basically made the Crue comeback in the 2000’s possible.

Because when you have control of your music and it’s making money, the sky is the limit. Ask Joey Tempest and Europe, ask Def Leppard and David Coverdale, even Metallica.

But not all art holds any worth or economic value. Usually it’s zero or thereabouts, except for the ones who break through and still have their rights. Motley Crue did it and they lived to tell the dirt.

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

The Record Vault – Australian Crawl

There is no way you could have lived in the land of Oz and not known Australian Crawl. They had their own unique merge of Aussie pub rock, The Police, The Eagles, Reggae and Pop. Add to the mix, musicians who could really play their instruments, a guitarist who didn’t mind shredding pentatonic lines and a vocalist who had a unique singing style which at times you couldn’t make out what he was saying, which made it even more fun. 

I didn’t get these albums until the 90’s because I didn’t feel the need to own any Australian Crawl in the 80’s because every radio station played em, every music video TV show played em and when they split up in 1987 and singer James Reyne went solo, the same thing happened with his solo career as his solo songs were everywhere along with his Australian Crawl songs.

And my favourite song is “Reckless” and I don’t even own it. Also, the first ever song I wrote was called “The Final Wave” taken from the title of their last album, which I saw was out via a commercial on TV, but I didn’t buy it. At the time, the album was competing with a lot of big releases from the U.S for my hard earned dollars. But their most famous song, is “Boys Light Up” because everyone associated it with weed smoking. And it is a song you don’t need to own, because it’s still played on radio to this day, plus I used to cover the song in various 90’s cover bands I was in.

“Sirocco” is the first album I dropped the needle on. It came out in 1981 and it got its title from a boat which Error Flynn used to own. If you don’t know who Errol is, then read on below. 

“Things Don’t Seem” kicks the album off, dealing with a relationship where the girl’s mother has a bird’s nest hairdo, her brother gets plenty of action and her father thinks he’s a weirdo and all he wants to do is just get some action with the girl.

“Unpublished Critics” is the song that everyone in Australia reckons Axl Rose and Slash ripped off for “Sweet Child O’Mine”. And Axl Rose did have a like for Aussie music, covering songs from Rose Tattoo in Guns’N’Roses club days. Lyrically, I always thought it dealt with their critics, with the lyrics;

The singer in the band, he sweat on a pose
And he’s really such a jerk
Thinks he can call me stupid
Because he gets a lot of work

“Oh No Not You Again” is probably the best Eagles song not written by “The Eagles”. It’s got that “Take It Easy” feel. Actually “Take It Easy” was written by Jackson Browne, so… And if you think, Tommy and Gina had it hard in “Livin On A Prayer”, these two lovers in this song had it even harder or he had it hard for someone else.

Don’t own no swimming pool, not even a colour TV
He work awful hard some days and she lets him be
Things ain’t looking good for them, no love no more
Some friends are comin’ round tonight
He’s out on the town, knockin’ on the wrong door

“Lakeside” was also all over the radio. The sound and feel of the song puts you at the lakeside and the lyrics sum up the suburbia, with the lyrics;

I got a terrific Torana
A green hand going to wave bye-bye
I got a C.B. shuffle and a dashboard muffle
Pilot’s twitch my eye

My older brothers mates had yellow and black Torana’s, while my brother had a Holden V8 Calais, all done up. The cars looked super cool and they always had pretty woman in the passenger seat.

“Trusting You” is one of their best constructed songs, with so many different stylings when it comes to playing the guitar; like guitar leads, arpeggios, power chords, off beat reggae upstrokes, natural harmonics and some whammy bar action. And the verse riff is similar to “Rockin In A Free World”, albeit in a different key. Which song came first?

Your time will come and go
For a while you’ll have control
Take your pound of flesh
Feed your greed and leave guiltless

Is it about a relationship, a bad business partnership or the record label bosses?  In any two way relationship, regardless if its peer, business or romantic, there will be someone making more decisions than the other party.

“Errol” is about a good ol’ Aussie womaniser called Errol Flynn, an actor who took Hollywood by storm with his legendary 12 inches. Musically, this one reminds of “The Police”.

Convict state
It just don’t rate
He want to get higher
Apple Isle
The inbred smile

Errol didn’t want to stay in Australia, he had bigger dreams and the U.S was the place for him.

He want to pounce
Like an animal
To girls he just can’t say no
He had them all
Screamin’ for more
He play the wild scene
Ah scandalise
No compromise

Errol, the boy from down under is showing Hollywood how it should be done.

They build him up
They took it all
And then they
Just cut him down

And like all entertainment careers, the movie studios who made him, took it all away, because they held the power and I think at that time, they would sign actors to long term contracts and then they wouldn’t give them any movies to do, and they wouldn’t release them either to go work for another studio. These kind of contracts got abolished when they were challenged in court by an actress, who was also in a similar predicament.

“Easy On Your Own” builds on their acoustic Eagles vibe. This one brings back memories of “Sweet Home Alabama” and because of their diversity to cover different styles, it is a big reason why Australian Crawl became so popular. Like for example, the guitar solo is a slide guitar solo. In other songs, it’s a rock solo, a reggae solo, a country solo, a blues solo and so forth.

Shirt tails flapping in the wind
Waiting for my train to come in
Ticket reads like a faithful friend
Run the gamut back again
Rounds completed there’s no more crowds
Towel around my neck-it’s finished now
Stumbles blindly to the door
Impending Monday morn

The end of a weekend, the end of a night, catching the train home as not a lot of people had cars. These days, people still catch the train but with fear. It wasn’t like that once upon a time.

“Love Boys” has this verse riff, which is a lot like “Long Way To The Top”, played in a clean tone with a chorus effect and it sounds heavy.

Kings Cross cruiser
Late night bruiser
The tattooed love boys
The tattooed losers
She’s ready for him
She’s pretty pretty
He’s pretty bent and
He’s bashed her silly

Those big bikie bouncers at Kings Cross in Sydney, always up to no good and in and out of jail. If you’ve ever been to the Cross, you will know what I mean.

“Resort Girls” kicks off with a lead break which sounds very familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. And that’s why I love music, taking your influences and making them your own.

Holiday resorts are really quite amusin
If ya don’t watch out you can really take a bruisin
Lots of pretty girls in very scant bikinis
With rum, boyfriends too busy with their surf skis

“Sons Of Beaches” is up next, released in 1982 and does anyone remember that Jersey kid called Jon Bon Jovi, wanting to call the follow up album to “Slippery When Wet” exactly the same. That son of a ….

Anyway, for us Australians, which is a land surrounded by water and sand, the title is perfect.

“Runaway Girls” starts the album off and it is another fast paced rocker, in the same vein as “Things Don’t Seem” from the previous album and it deals with a girl headed for big bright lights, use on the way but that’s alright, seems like there’s some things you got to sacrifice to get where you want to go.

“Daughters Of The Northern Coast” has a riff which again sounds familiar to something I already know, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Daughters of the northern coast
Sons of beaches, don’t deliver the post

“Shut Down” is my second favourite and we used to cover it in various bands I was in. That lead break that kicks the song off and repeats in the Chorus, is simple, yet so emotive. And the lead break in the middle, hooks me in only to end when I think it’s going to go for a bit longer. The beauty of music, make a statement and leave the listener wanting more.

The outro section, we would play games as to what was sung. I always thought that “Alimony” was always repeated and after a few beers, my listening apparently got better and it sounded like “out of money” and then it morphed to “hey there honey”.

Lyrically, it deals about a girl with a slim waist, who is addicted to the swing jet set lifestyle and likes to go slow and pick up the pace. And then she moves on to another, hence the reason why the outro vocals are singing alimony.

“Downhearted” appeared on the first album, but it got a second wind on radio and appeared on the third album as well. Along with “Shut Down”, this song got played relentlessly on radio. Huge songs, that appealed to both rock heads and pop fans.  Lyrically it deals with a relationship left behind in Bali, and the empty feeling upon the return home to Australia.

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