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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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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Mirror – Tygers of Pan Tang

It’s a forgotten Sykes cut, released in 1981 on the “Spellbound” album from Tygers Of Pan Tang. Even though I’ve listened to the song for a long time, I’ve never sat down to learn it so, I thought it was time to get this little Sykes gem down.

With all the guitar tabs and YouTube videos available online, it’s very easy to go straight to Google, but no-one has transcribed it.

Funny that.

With all of the advancements made in technology, there still is no AI application which can transcribe all the instruments in a song just by listening to it. But AI can create music, can recognise our faces, plot our journeys and a million other things.

So I had to rely on the good old trusty ear. I haven’t practiced learning a song by ear for a long time. But it’s a forgotten art form. And the saying goes, if you don’t practice using your ear, you will forget how to use it.

I swear that my ear is better at figuring out songs now, then what it was in the 80’s/90’s. Maybe it’s because of the knowledge I have accumulated over the years which makes it easy. Maybe my brain has finally put some super highways between the cells to make learning a song by ear, easier. The faster stuff I still need to slow down to hear each note.

Anyway, the guitar is tuned to standard, EADGBE. The Intro from up to 0.44 is made up from a simple Emadd9 to Cadd9 chord progression arpeggiated on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings.

The first verse kicks in from 0.27 to 0.45. The arpeggios outline the chords, Em, C, D and back to Em.

From 0.46 to 1.06, the Chorus kicks in and the chords are C, D, C, Am, C, D, Em, Em.

Mirror, mirror on the wall
You stare at me and share my thoughts
Mirror, mirror I hear your call,
You have my soul and body caught

The fairy tale familiarity. In “The Crimson Idol” from WASP, Jonathon spoke to the mirror and the mirror spoke back to him.

There are so many magic moments in “Mirror”, but what seals the deal is when the Bridge section comes in from 2.30 to 2.54 and it then transitions into another lead break. The unique style of Sykes is here, in it’s embryonic stages.

Deception you have learnt

Deception is what our social media world thrives on.

What is fake, what is real, no one knows anymore?

Everyone has a responsibility to research far and wide and make up their own views. The mainstream press outlets are all beholden to their corporate employers who have their own agendas to push.

No wonder so many are dissatisfied. But we pretend the situation doesn’t exist. So how can we improve things tomorrow.

There is a saying in marketing that if companies frequently run last-minute sales, customers would stop buying things in advance because the company is training the customer to wait. And the way organisations should engage with people is drip by drip. Keep releasing.

It’s been a long time since John Sykes released any new music.

Has the well gone dry?

There is no more drip. The recording business has changed, there is no doubt about that. However if the artist is chained to their past ways, then they will never survive in the new world.

How Grammy Nominee Brent Faiyaz Built His Music Career Off Streaming (HBO) – YouTube

Check out the video. If you don’t here it is a nutshell. You have an independent artist using streaming data to decide which cities to hit. The data gives him the number of monthly/weekly listens in a city and the number of super fans in each city.

And for those who say streaming doesn’t pay, it does, if your fan base is using the platform to access music.

Sykes should get a team together to work in the new music world instead of the old.

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Musical Conversations

Sykes first official band was an outfit called “Streetfighter”. They played mainly cover songs and an original song called “She’s No Angel” appeared on a compilation album called “New Electric Warrior”.

In 1980, Sykes saw an ad for a lead guitar position. He auditioned and ended up joining Tygers Of Pan Tang for two albums, “Spellbound” and “Crazy Nights”. Although good albums, they didn’t sell like the record label wanted them to sell.

Meanwhile, Sykes was getting some recognition and was even asked to audition for Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

In the book “Thin Lizzy” by Alan Byrne, its mentioned how Sykes was brought into Thin Lizzy on the suggestion of producer Chris Tsangarides.

“It was on my suggestion that Sykes was brought in. I was after sorting out some stuff for Sykes and eventually I secured a deal with MCA to release a song that he had written. We were in Dublin when he asked me if Phil might be interested in recording and contributing to it. So I got in touch and Phil decided he was up for it and we recorded the track with Brian Downey on drums and I think Darren Wharton played keyboards on it.”

It wasn’t long after, that Sykes was offered the Thin Lizzy gig.

This is the way Scott Gorham recalls Sykes impact on the band in the same book.

“After Snowy left, John came on board for the “Thunder and Lightning” album. To me, John was great because he had a real hard rock edge to him, he had a great attitude and was a very funny guy, though most importantly, he was a great player.”

“Thunder and Lightning” comes out and it started to re-establish Thin Lizzy in the 80’s. At the same time, David Coverdale tried to hire Adrian Vandenberg and Mama’s Boys Pat McManus on guitar however they both rejected the offer. John Sykes was then offered a million dollars advance payment to join Whitesnake.

Sykes introduced a new technical level to Whitesnake, fresh ideas and a polished image.

For the US version of “Slide It In”, Sykes and bassist Neil Murray re-recorded the guitar and bass parts. I have both versions, the Moody/Hodgkinson European release and the Sykes/Murray release.

Of course, having producer Keith Olsen remixing the album, gave it a more radio friendly sound for the US market.

Mel Galley eventually left the band during the tour and Sykes went on to handle the guitar parts himself. Jon Lord also left to reunite with Deep Purple, thus making Whitesnake a four-piece of Coverdale, Sykes, Murray and Powell.

Money plays a part in every band and Whitesnake was no different. Cozy Powell didn’t like what he was offered to continue with the band and left. Aynsley Dunbar got his chance and ended up being the drummer for Whitesnake’s most successful album.

The 1987 Whitesnake sessions had delays, illnesses and personality issues. Murray didn’t know if he was in the band or out of the band, however he kept on turning up to the studio and completing his bass parts.

Sykes heard stories that he was out, but until Coverdale told him personally he was still in. Meanwhile, Coverdale did tell them all to pick up or explore other projects if they got a chance as the money from Geffen was running out, so Coverdale couldn’t keep them on the payroll.

In the end, the Whitesnake album was reported via “Chinese Whispers” to have cost 3 million dollars to write and record. It also cost the song writing partnership called Coverdale/Sykes. It could have been one of the best song writing partnerships in hard rock music for many years after, but we’ll never know. David Coverdale called it a “musical conversation” between themselves. Well the conversation ended as quickly as it began because Whitesnake is David Coverdale and David Coverdale is Whitesnake. It was David Coverdale that John Kalodner signed to Geffen, not John Sykes. It was David Coverdale that John Kalodner supported all the way through.

And from David Coverdale, the world got to hear John Sykes.

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Release Day

Spotify has a playlist ready every Friday for me in relation to bands I follow or bands who might be similar to bands I follow. Sometimes there is fluff in those playlists and sometimes it’s like the good old days of being in a record shop and deciding which album to purchase from the many on offer. In this case, I can listen to everything.

And there is a lot of music out there to digest. The enemy to global stardom is not illegal downloading, it’s obscurity.

How are people going to find out who the hell you are?

You are not just battling for listeners attention from the artists who have new music, you are battling for listeners attention from the history of music. Yes, that’s right. We have “almost” the whole history of music at our fingertips. And even though the odds are really stacked against artists from making a living from music, people are still out there creating and releasing. Some artists are ahead of their time, so it might take a while for the audience to catch up. But one thing is certain, creativity is at an all time high.

Which is a good thing, because the recording industry and the copyright monopoly tried their best to convince everyone that creativity would die due to illegal downloading all in their push for government intervention to protect their profits.

And truth be told, while the internet might have given people access to play in the recording industry arena, it didn’t kill the labels. Because the labels consolidated into three majors. And they amassed a lot of power through a little law called copyright. And with this power, they had a monopolistic bargaining position at the table when it came to licensing deals with the techies.

Anyway here are few releases from the most recent release day Friday.

Fake
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

Let’s promote the new album with a song that sounds similar in groove and feel to every other song we have written. Maybe some lawyer will sue the band for plagiarising their own sound and feel.

You talk a great game, trying to make a big name, soon you’re gonna run out of time

I’m a fan. Hell my six year old is a fan.

The song has a head banging riff (who cares if it sounds similar to other songs), underpinned by a drum groove that gets the foot stomping and a vocal line full of vengeance about a fake person.

Over It
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE

I’m still waiting for BFMV to decide what kind of album they want to make. A bone crushing “Heaven And Hell”, a sonic sounding “Dr Feelgood”, a metal sounding “Powerslave” or their own “The Blackening”. While I wait, they still release cool tunes like “Over It”, a product of where the band is right now, with only two original members left.

I can’t take this anymore, I’m over it

Trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved or can’t be reached is a difficult process to deal with.

Save Yourself
BREAKING BENJAMIN

So much gloom in the lyrics. For one thing, I’m happy Benjamin Burnley is making music and has kept the band name going after the various lawsuits and what not. And like AC/DC, Disturbed and FFDP, Breaking Benjamin is churning out consistent same music, album after album to great success and platinum awards.

Monolith
THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS

It’s an instrumental which keeps on building like the music in a movie preview.

Personally, I dig it, so I went to hear the album. As a fan of the first three albums and playing “Conquistador” to death from the previous album, the “America” album is not what I prefer in the first half and great in the second half, especially from “Great Wide Open” to the end.

Transition
CRASHCARBURN

South African rock band that fell of my radar the last four years, so it’s good to have them back.

GONE (Radio Edit)
RED

This band has changed a lot during the last 6 years, with more and more electronic elements added to their tunes.

The Human Radio
SHINEDOWN

I don’t mind the kind of rock that Shinedown is morphing into because it’s still Shinedown and it’s still Brent Smith on vocals. And come to think of it, all of my favourite bands took styles and sounds from what is current into their mix as their career went along.

Get the money, throw the tantrum
The human radio is playing your anthem

More Beautiful
HOOBASTANK

Don’t ever think your broken and not good enough
Cause all the things you want to fix are things that I love

Magazines in the 90’s did a great job selling beauty and the social media world created by Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram has only added more fuel to the fire.

And people are dying just to look beautiful, starving themselves to feel beautiful and paying stupid amounts to correct their natural beauty in order to look manufactured.

Liberta
MUSTASCH

A bunch of Swedes with moustaches that play some killer groove metal/rock with melodic vocals. If beards and moustaches worked for ZZ Top, why not for a band called Mustasch.

Set Free
JADED HEART

Experienced melodic hard rock from Germany with Michael Bormann on vocals.

For those who don’t know, Bormann handled vocals in another favourite German band called Bonfire, however it was after their US breakthrough albums.

Sacrifice Me
ISSA with DEEN CASTRONOVO

Cool to see Deen redeeming himself with some cool music over the last 12 months. “Freedom” from the last Revolution Saints album is still doing the rounds in my life and this time, he’s doing a duet with Finnish singer Issa which sounds like it’s from an Evanesence album.

Burn
W.E.T

Another Jeff Scott Soto collaboration, this time with Swedish songwriters Erik Martensson from the band “Eclipse” and Robert Sall from the band “Work Of Art”. It’s another great melodic rock song.

Show Me
NEIL YOUNG

Of course Neil Young surprised me with this cut, which takes the “Rocking In A Free World” chord progression and acoustifies it with some soul and blues and calls it “Show Me”.

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Twitter Thoughts

As soon as Dee Snider and his Twisted Sister band mates threw the teacher for a three-pointer in the “I Wanna Rock” video, I was hooked. Yeah, he looked all wrong but his attitude and message stuck with me. So it’s no surprise I follow Dee on Twitter and recently a few tweets got some discussions happening.

“Here’s a challenge for you (and no using the internet for the answer): Can you name all 7 (unsuccessful) albums I’ve done solo or been a part of with a band since I left Twisted Sister in 1987? You can use initials. Bonus points for naming the 1 live album. Good freakin; luck.”

You struggle your whole life to “make it”. And once you “make it”, you need to struggle to “keep it”.

And then “keeping the fame” ends up “breaking up” the band that “made it”. So you go solo but it’s many years later from your “making it” moment. And there are people who still crave your product but not as many as before.

For a very long time, the record labels convinced everyone that the only way to define success is sales. But people might have purchased an album, heard it once and never heard it again. The record label never considered that statistic because the sale has given them a monetary value, something they can count.

But as Dee said further on;

“While I’m proud of all the work I’ve done, YES success is defined by sales. I’m long past “making music for my own head”. Once you’ve had public acceptance of your art, you yearn for it. You want the world to see and hear “your children””.

The truth is, there is no secret formula for keeping the hits coming.

Artists always had a short life span at the top. Most of the 70’s acts would have been dead and forgotten if there was no MTV television in the 80s.

But the biggest obstacle is obscurity.

Someone tweeted back, “Didn’t know you did one, lol” in response to Dee’s post about the seven unsuccessful albums to which Dee re-tweeted with the following comments;

“This is the #1 response to my name the seven albums I’ve done since leaving Twisted in 1987. Which brings us to the age old question: “If someone puts out an album and nobody hears it…did it make a sound?””

Which someone else replied that Dee’s last album, “We Are The Ones” was excellent with the following questions;

“Do you consider it unsuccessful? Is success only defined by album sales or rather by the quality of the product?”

Another person commented that just because it isn’t popular it doesn’t mean it’s not valid and that music touches people in different ways.

And here we are again wondering what success is.

Is it sales?

Is it streams?

Is it video views?

Is it concert ticket sales?

Is it just people interacting with you on social media?

For Dee, he hit the mainstream with Twisted Sister and for a three year period he was on top. Success is defined as that same public acceptance for his other music.

So let’s talk about “Blood and Bullets” from Widowmaker.

Post Twisted Sister, it was deafening silence. From being everywhere, Dee was nowhere. My cousin Mega, who has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder told me about his Desperado project. It was mentioned in a shorts column of a U.S magazine. That’s it. One of the biggest voices between 1983 and 85 was reduced to a paragraph.

Then there was silence again. We got nothing Dee Snider related in Australia.

I then read a “Blood And Bullets” review in a magazine, three months after the Widowmaker album was out. It was in a Guitar magazine, because of Al Pitrelli’s involvement. Nothing from the mainstream metal rags.

So I went looking for it in the mainstream record stores and I couldn’t find it. I asked at the counter if they could get it and they could get it as an import and charge me $50.

I went to Utopia in Sydney, the home of heavy metal, who only had a few copies of the album and already sold them. They said they would order it in for me and it would cost me $30. It took another 3 months for it to “arrive” in Australia and into my hands. Imagine that. 3 months to arrive.

So six months after the album was released I had it. And I played it non-stop and I still play it and I told everyone I could about it. It’s angry, it’s hopeful, it’s sombre and it’s tongue’n’cheek.

For me, it’s highly influential. It’s got the kind of music I like making, all over the album.

“Reason To Kill”, “Blue For You”, “Calling On You”, “Snot Nosed Kid” and “Emaheevul” straight away stood out for me. “Blood And Bullets” and “Widowmaker” grew on me with every listen. The cover of “Evil” surprised me with its energy and increased tempo while another pop rock cover called “The Lonely Ones” was a sleeper hit waiting to smack me in the face. “Gone Bad”, “You’re A Heartbreaker” and “We Are The Dead” while sounding clichéd on earlier listens grew into unique contributions to the album.

Dee delivered a stellar vocal performance and Al Pitrelli also produced the goods in the guitar department, while Joey Franco and Marc Russell underpinned it all. Of course, Desperado guitarist Bernie Torme co-wrote 7 of the 12 songs on the album, so he deserves a huge 10 out of 10 for his stellar riffage and songwriting.

If you’ve read Dee’s book, “Shut Up and Give Me The Mic” Dee had to buy back the Desperado songs from Elektra who claimed ownership of them due to the label financing the demo song writing sessions and the failed Desperado album release.

But the problem with the album not setting the sales department on fire was not Grunge. It was obscurity. People didn’t know about it because there wasn’t a source of truth anymore.

Even in 1992 going onto 1993, we had a lot of different sources for information. The magazines were struggling to sell like they did in the 80’s, hence the reason why so many of them finished up.

So in order to stay relevant, the magazines only reported what was popular so they could sell. And no one bought all the magazines but in the 80s if you purchased Faces, Hit Parader or Circus or Metal Edge, you more or less had your rock/metal “source of truth” covered.

And MTV was moving into reality TV and out of music, especially music made by the metal community.

And speaking of the metal community, we had fractured into different styles. Once upon a time we liked metal. We listened to metal bands.

Suddenly metal (courtesy of magazines and record label A&R reps) had different genres like Glam, Pop, Thrash, Heavy, Hard, Death, Black, Industrial, Hardcore, Grindcore, Rap and whatever other term someone could think of like Sludge, Weed, Fart, etc.

So those metal bands in the early 80s got relabeled to something else.

And it shits me because the Widowmaker debut album is not on Spotify (well I don’t know about the rest of the world, but it’s not on Spotify Australia) and people who are fans of the band and who pay for Spotify cannot listen to it.

But it’s on YouTube and I don’t do YouTube. But I have a CD mp3 rip of the album on my devices and I listen to it that way.

The thing is, a lot of the albums which are really influential to people are rarely commercially successful.

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