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

The Record Vault – Bobaflex

I remember reading in Guitar World about “Bobaflex” and the article said they’re a hard rock band, so when I purchased the album, released in 2005, I had no idea what to expect.

The first thing I didn’t expect was for the great art and attention to detail to make the booklet a worthy addition, instead of the usual band photo, thank you credits and lyrics.

So what is “Apologize For Nothing” about?

Aggressive, syncopated guitars, with aggressive and melodic vocals. And yes, its roots lay in hard rock and heavy metal with a modern sound. Think of Guns N Roses merged with Faith No More merged with Rob Zombie merged with System of A Down merged with Sevendust merged with Galactic Cowboys. Yep I think that sums it up.

“Six Feet Underground” and “Better Than Me” is the sound of what Five Finger Death Punch would take to arena success a few years later. “Guardian” is my favourite and the song “Medicine” has a vocal melody which “The Greatest Showman” decided to use, while “Rescue You” (my 2nd favourite) sounds like one of the best songs System Of A Down didn’t write in 2005.

And on some songs, the way they are delivered vocally reminds me of Galactic Cowboys, a Geffen act from the early 90’s who was marketed heavily but didn’t receive the commercial success the dollars invested in them demanded.

And it’s all over the place with styles, which is a good thing. It got me interested because of its progressive attitude to song writing and the beautiful booklet.  

And some of the music which came after is more accessible, but still worthy, like “Bury Me With My Guns” which is pure hard rock from their 2011 album “Hell In My Heart” or “I Am A Nightmare” and “Long Time Coming” from their 2017 album “Eloquent Demons”. The album “Anything That Moves” released in 2015 is a worthy listen as well.

“Never Coming Back” from 2013’s “Charlatans Web” has some serious riffage and “Pretty Little Things” is layered with vocals and a riff which brings back memories of the 80’s.

In other words, invest some time into Bobaflex.

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

The Record Vault – Blessed By A Broken Heart

I came across a film clip for the song “Forever”. It got me interested enough, so I found the album online, downloaded it via a cyber-locker, enjoyed it enough, that I purchased it from Amazon’s US store.

I wonder if the Amazon US store purchase counts for a sale in the US or because its posted to Australia, it counts for a sale in the Australian market.

Formed in the early 2000’s, Blessed By A Broken Heart (BBaBH) battled hard, became MySpace superstars, lost all of their original members who gave them the MySpace status and with new members in tow, got a deal with Century Media Records in 2007 with a cross between 80’s hard rock/screamo metal and released “Pedal To The Metal”.

This then led to a bigger deal on Tooth and Nail records and the “Feel The Power” album eventually came out (after many delays) in January, 2012 with a sound further evolved to the 80’s hard rock movement.

Vocalist Tony Gambino departed not long after in July 2012 and by September, 2013 the band was finished with repeated record company legal struggles and lack of support from booking agencies given as reasons.

And for some stupid reason, “Feel The Power” is not available on Spotify Australia, so put that down to a lack of record label support as well and for some other stupid reason, the “Blessed By A Broken Heart” YouTube account has a lot of the videos unavailable in Australia. Dumb and dumber.

So the album.

Its melodic rock all the way. The musicianship is top notch, however their Mad Max look was already taken by the Black Veil Brides.

“Forever” has some Dragonforce like “I’m getting finger cramps” sweeps in the lead break, a melodic rock Chorus that soars like a Journey song and music that reminds me of the “Soldiers Under Command” era of Stryper.

“Rockin All Night” could have come from the “Midnight Madness” album from Night Ranger.

“Shut Up And Rock” has this Whitesnake “Slip Of The Tongue” vibe in the intro but overall it has this NWOBHM feel and lead breaks that make Jeff Watson’s eight finger tapping look amateurish. That one screaming verse, never should have been there. If they kept it melodic, the song is a 10 out 10 for me because that Chorus soars, the music soars and the mastery and performance of each note is perfect.

“I’ve Got You” is a ballad with some great lead guitar work which reminds of Vito Bratta’s work with White Lion and an outro solo which burns like a John Petrucci solo.  

“Deathwish” has this Jake E Lee Ozzy style “Bark At The Moon” era like riff which gets me interested and the Chorus, seals the deal with the lyric, “Mama sold her soul to the devil, traded a kiss for a birthday deathwish, mama sold her soul to the devil, traded her pain for the love of cocaine.” And another lead break which is worthy of guitar hero status.

If you like the above songs, then you will like “Scream Like You Mean It” which reminds me of Journey and “Holdin’ Back For Nothin’” with its Dragonforce like power metal.

Lead guitarist Shred Sean Maier effortlessly shreds as his name states and underpinning it all is the orchestrated backing vocals that remind of Mutt Lange and his work with Def Leppard.

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

The Pirate Vault #4

The Pirate Vault keeps on rolling.

Iron Maiden – Killers and The Jimi Hendrix Story

From memory, the “Jimi Hendrix Story” was a double CD of Hendrix cuts that my mate MoeFartin (nickname of course) had, so I picked my favourites at that point in time.

“Killers” is basically a dub from the album, so I can have it transportable on my Walkman as I felt I hadn’t given it enough attention compared to the other albums.

And I had “Live From Death”, “Somewhere In Time” and “No Prayer For The Dying” on cassette. Plus “Live After Death” touched all of their albums up to that point except “Killers”.

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness

I’m a bit torn on this album. I always thought it should be one album, like “Siamese Dream” which I have on CD. The main songs I listened to are the ones I had to learn for the band I was in, like “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and “1979” and “Zero”.

And how iconic is the lyric, “the world is a vampire”.

Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom and Metallica Mix

“Cliffs Of Dover”.

Just listen to it, and that arpeggio lead riff in the key of D major. Learning the song, the licks, proved to be a beautiful experience and Eric Johnson, opened my eyes to a different side of guitar playing which sounded accessible.

And for the Metallica Mix, well, at that point in time, I really enjoyed listening to these songs and I’ll always state that “Ride The Lightning” trumps “Master Of Puppets”. So it’s no surprise that on this mix I have four songs from the “Justice” album and two songs from the “Ride” album.

Rock Junkies

It’s a weird mix for sure.

 Done in the 90’s.

I remember I was at Mega’s place and he is a collector of all things musical and I had a tape which had music on it, but I said screw it, I am going to overdub it for some off this stuff (hence the made up cover and not the original cover sleeve that comes with a blank cassette).

So he had some Police records and I copied the two big songs from those. He also had a Dokken 12 inch single, which had “Back For The Attack” and “Paris Is Burning” as the B-sides, so I copied that.

He also had U2 – Achtung Baby and I copied my three favourite songs from that.

Moving onto Side 2, I had the film clip of Great White’s “Rock Me” and “Stars” from Hear N Aid, so I copied those songs. Then Body Count and “Cop Killer” song came next, some Billy Idol and his “Rebel Yell” and I finish it off with Dee Snider’s “Calling On You” from Widowmaker which actually took the spot of another Body Count song called “The Winner Loses”.

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

The Record Vault – The Black Crowes

Prior to “Three Snakes And One Charm”, my only other Black Crowes purchase that I had in my possession was the “Remedy” single. And I still don’t know what happened to the debut album LP I had. 

Three Snakes And One Charm

Released in 1996, but I picked this one up recently at a music record fair. In saying that, I do have the pre 2000’s Black Crowes albums on mp3, obtained via TPB.

And sometimes depending on moods and feel and how your life is, certain tracks appeal more than others. On this album, it’s the more mellow tracks that connected with me.

“Girl From A Pawnshop” stood out, about a long lost love affair and it’s got some great musical movements and lead breaks which makes me want to pick up the guitar and learn.

“I never lost your number I never lost your address and if we remain friends at best sometime later no, no not yet, we’ll smile and remember it like this”

Let it be and remember it for what it was.

“How Much For Your Wings?” has a Led Zep acoustic feel from their “III” album.

And they put on one of the best jam driven rock and roll shows I have ever seen when they toured Australia in 2008. Rich Robinson was the sheriff in town that night, as he directed the band into extended jams of certain songs with a nod of his head and he directed them out of these jams with another nod of his head and a dropped shoulder. So cool to watch and experience.

And that’s my Black Crowes collection. A single, an album, a concert ticket and an awesome memory of them jamming and commanding the stage.

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

The Record Vault – Bush

I was a bit late to the Bush party. It took the single “Comedown” to get me to pay attention and then “Glycerine” came out and I was “yep I like it and I will purchase the album on my next outing”, but that didn’t transpire as I kept pushing the album out of my purchase list in lieu of hard rock and metal bands. Then “Machinehead” came out as a single and I committed financially.

Sixteen Stone

The album came out towards the end of 1994, but it was in 1995 that it started to get people’s attention and for me, it was around May/June 1996 that I committed financially.

The picture you see is not the original. I gave the CD to a friend circa 2001, who then claimed that he lost it, and then gave me back a copy, with the cover printed on an inkjet printer and the CD burned onto a blank disc. I gave him the benefit of the doubt until many years later, other friends told me, he did the same to them, so the prick was scamming us.

As soon as the “Rockin In A Free World” vibe of “Everything Zen” kicked in, I was very interested. And then a bit lost with “Swim” and “Bomb” and “Little Things” brought it back into focus with its “Smell Like Teens Spirit” vibe merged with a Tom Petty “Free Fallin” vibe.

But the piece d resistance is “Comedown” with its bass riff which reminds me of the “You Give Love A Bad Name” verse riff. And Grunge purists are probably gagging at the thought of this, but yes, the riffs are very similar.

And there is no escaping the power of “Machinehead”. The intro riff octaves, along with the power chords crashing all over the place is perfect.

“Breathe in, breathe out” and the way its sung, with a loudspeaker/telephone vibe, captures the frenetic pace of life, and how we don’t have enough time to take a breath.

And I realised that the accessible singles of the album, got me interested, sort of like how the accessible singles of hard rock bands got people interested who would otherwise enjoy other musical styles.

And with this debut, Gavin Rossdale showed he is a force to be reckoned with as a songwriter.

Razorblade Suitcase

The cassette was in a 3 for $10 bin, so it was a no brainer. I didn’t get it when it came out in 1996, but circa 1998.

“Swallowed” is the lead single, and it followed a “Live (band) vibe”. “Greedy Fly” is basically an artist writing a song, without a thought of it being a hit. And somehow it gets released as a single and it’s seen as a hit.

“Cold Contagious” has a cool drum groove, with the guitars decorating the song in a nice way, as Rossdale is singing, “you will get yours” with the volume and intensity increasing. And at six minutes long, it’s the anti-single, but it still got released as a single.

And like “Sixteen Stone”, it was the accessible singles of the album that got me interested again. Then the band lost me with an electronic remix album and I’ve never really checked out anything afterwards, however friends have told me that “The Science Of Things” is worthy.

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1978 – Part 3 – Power To The Rock N Roll Outlaws

Australian artists had a certain sound which seemed to connect with the world.

Being oceans apart from the many other continents aided this sound as music didn’t travel that fast to get to the land down under, which meant we had to listen to our albums with the same songs a bit more longer, or listen to the same songs on radio a little bit more longer or watch the live pub shows with the same songs a little bit more longer.

And when you went to a pub show and heard a certain sound/style rocking the joint and getting people into it, well it was a no brainer that if you formed a band, your style would have some of those elements.

And here my folks is Rose Tattoo.

Rose Tattoo – Rose Tattoo

The real Bad Boys of Rock N Roll, cut from the cloth of Heavy Metal Thunder and various pub brawls in Australia. And they had a singer called Angry Anderson, who didn’t mind spilling blood on stage either. At their Reading performance, he kept banging his head against the amp head until he spilt blood.

I saw a picture of the band once and I thought they would motor in on their Harley’s and bash everyone they saw.

Rose Tattoo is tied to biker culture the same way “Born To Be Wild” is. Maybe it’s got to do with Angry’s up bringing and how his Uncle was a biker.

Motley Crue and the Gunners have nothing on these guys. And Gunners covered “Nice Boys” on their live EP, which Rose Tattoo introduced as a Gunners song when they opened up for them on the “Use Your Illusion” tour down under in the early 90s.

“Rock N Roll Outlaw” starts off with the opening lyrics of “I don’t need lots of people telling me what to do”. Defiance and rebellion encapsulated in just a few words.

“Nice Boys”  don’t play rock and roll and “Remedy”is “Long Way To The Top” on steroids. 

AC/DC – Powerage

The ascendancy to world domination is almost there.

Who would have thought that in almost 2 years time, Bon Scott would be dead?

“Rock N Roll Damnation” is a great opening track. Musically, its typically AC/DC and Bon Scott lyrically, is growing into a beast of a writer.

Especially in the section when he sings; “Damnation, left a happy home, Damnation, to live on your own”.

And it continues in that vein, with Bon Scott singing “Damnation” and then something else after it, like “you got dollars in your eyes” or “chasin’ that pie in the sky”.

Life is about taking risks. You can stay at home and be comfortable or you can live.

“Down Payment Blues” has some of the best lyrics about life.

“Living on a shoestring, a fifty cent millionaire, open to charity, rock n roller welfare”

Life is not easy trying to make end meets as a rock and roller.

“I’ve got holes in my shoes and im way overdue, down payment blues”

One thing you can’t escape in Australia is repayments. Miss one and you get a letter. Miss two and you are on notice. Miss three and the whole world is coming down.

“Get myself a steady job, some responsibility, cant even feed my cat on social security”

Government welfare payments, which are less than the minimum wage are there, but if you can’t find a job in time, these payments are not really there. It’s spent on day one and then you have to wait 13 days for the next payment.

“Gimme A Bullet” has this awesome guitar groove which just gets your head nodding and foot tapping. And to my ears, it’s the embryo to what would become “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

“Riff Raff” and “Sin City”  make it a perfect five-0.

“Riff Raff’ is basically a re-write of “Let There Be Rock” and it has riff that Motley Crue used in “Rattlesnake Shake”, a decade later. And the lyrics,  man, Bon Scott was onto climate change.

“See it on television every day, hear it on the radio, it aint humid but it sure is hot, down in Mexico, boss man tryin to tell me, beginning of the end.”

Is there a better song that “Sin City” and that verse riff?

“Ladders and snakes, ladders give, ssssnakes take, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief”.

The sin city always win, its why it has survived and everyone who has ventured there has turned to dust.

“Kicked In The Teeth” is another re-write of “Let There Be Rock” and I love the lyric, “kicked in the teeth again, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Relationships are try and try again.

Songs like “What’s Next To The Moon”, “Gone Shootin’” and “Up To My Neck In You” are good songs, but the ones mentioned above are my go to songs.

UFO – Obsession

If only the band spent the same amount of time creating as they did partying and taking narcotics, who knows how big they would have been.

Because while a lot of the 70’s bands got a second chance in the 80’s on the back of MTV, UFO didn’t and neither did Michael Schenker, although the label tried and ex-partners and managers did their best bankrupting them.

There are no hits on this album, but a band following their muse and creating.

“Only You Can Rock” is rooted within the Free/Bad Company/ELO roots.

“Pack It Up (And Go) is heavily influenced by “Immigrant Song” and a perfect UFO song which gets no attention.

“Arbory Hill” should have been made into a song instead of a short minute instrumental. It sounds like something from a Genesis album with Peter Gabriel singing.

“Cherry” has a bass riff in the verses, that I swear appeared on a “Joy Division” or “New Order” album a few years later. It’s like the seed of the New Wave movement.

“Hot N Ready”, “You Don’t Fool Me” and “One More For The Rodeo” are songs from UFO we know and they would have served the existing fanbase well, but for me, it’s those songs that had a few things just a little bit different that really connected with me.

Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute

I have to admit, I dig the song “What A Fool Believes” and those ball squeezing falsettos in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus.

The Police – Outlandos d’Amour

As soon as they appropriated the reggae and put it into the mix, it was a different ballgame.

Because while the opening track “Next To You” is rooted in blues rock and roll, the second track “So Lonely” is a cross between reggae and rock and roll.

So when “Roxanne” kicks in as the third track, its mix of reggae guitars over a flamenco bass guitar riff in the verses, and a pop rock Chorus, well, you can hear something special was in the air.

So it’s no surprise that the biggest songs on the album had that reggae feel, like “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “Roxanne” and “So Lonely”.

But “Truth Hits Everybody” is my favourite. It’s a melodic rock song.

Joe Walsh – But Seriously Folks

“Tomorrow” and “Shandi”.

What came first?

And with the Kiss reference to close of Part 3, Part 4 will begin with a Kiss-a-ganza.

Part 1 can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

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Shine

Michael Sweet is one of the hardest working musicians these days. The arena days of the 80’s are long gone, but if creating music was all about playing arenas, then Sweet would have packed it in a long time ago. From his work ethic, the need to create is more important than anything else.

And each album has a track which makes me pay attention.

“Shine” is the one on his newest solo album “Ten”.

The riffage, the chorus vocal melody and the music under the Chorus, are all very similar to the songs he writes for Stryper. In other words, Michael Sweet is Stryper and Stryper is Michael Sweet.

Times are tough
The waves get rough
And it’s hard to see the land

Man, times are tough, especially if we let our small lizard brain control everything. You need to remember, the human body is designed to fight or flight.

In other words, it’s designed to survive. It’s been that way from the sabre tooth days and it’s still wired that way, even when you lay down in the comfort of your bed. So when those times are tough and your mind is telling you to give up, remember that you are designed to survive.

You’ve seen it all
And taken falls
And you’ve stood the test of time
You’re a conqueror, a warrior
And your spirit is sublime

Living makes you experience failure and success.

How you deal with setbacks and success, is how you survive.

Hey – there’s only one of you
Hey – don’t let life run you through
Hey – you’re one of a kind
You don’t have to hide
All you have to do is shine

Damn right, you only have one life, so don’t throw it away focusing on past wrongs or allowing toxic people sap your energy and light.

And the Guitar solo by gunslinger Ethan Brosh, is worthy of attention. But will anyone care in our noisy society.

And straight after “Shine” comes “Let It Be Love”, a stellar ballad with one of Sweet’s best vocal performances, which goes into “Never Alone” and “When Love Is Hated” (with its “Immigrant Song” from Led Zeppelin groove merged with the “Lady Of The Lake” from Rainbow groove), basically the four best songs on the album, back to back.

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