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

1985 – V1

Two releases come to mind immediately for 1985, that I can never forget. They are “Live After Death” from Iron Maiden and “Come Out And Play” from Twisted Sister. I’ve written about these albums before and will probably keep on writing about them.

Iron Maiden – Live After Death

It’s the best live album ever and my first proper exposure to Iron Maiden, as prior to this it was just the few video clips I taped from the music TV shows.

Because this was my first proper exposure, I got to hear Bruce Dickinson sing the DiAnno era songs before Paul DiAnno and I didn’t know it at the time, but the tempo of the songs had a small increase compared to the recorded versions. So when I eventually got to the first two albums, DiAnno’s voice (along with Blaze Bayley many years later) proved to be a struggle, but when Bruce did those songs live, wow.

P.S.

Maiden hit the bullseye again with the “Rock In Rio” release, especially the live footage in the DVD release. And on that “Rock In Rio”, Bruce Dickinson also gave the Blaze era songs a new life.

P.S.S.

Maiden did it again with “Flight 666” which is a great memento for me for the two nights I watched em perform the same set.

Twisted Sister – Come Out And Play

I just remember dropping the needle on this, laying in my bed, reading the lyrics of each song and looking at the graffiti art on the back cover.

So what was happening in the Twisted Sister department?

By the time this album hit, Twisted Sister was on an album per year cycle and while the “Stay Hungry” album was written during the recording of “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”, this one was written after the “Stay Hungry” tour.

And it didn’t sell as much as “Stay Hungry” and “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll”, because everyone were still buying those albums.

And just because the sale didn’t match the label expectations, it didn’t mean that this album is not a quality album.

But I wasn’t a fan of the singles like “Leader Of The Pack” and “Be Cruel To Your School”. All of the other tracks definitely resonated and the bonus track “King Of Fools” is one of my favourite Sister tracks. But those two singles proved to be a bad decision.

And they didn’t soften their sound just because they made it with “Stay Hungry”. They came out all guns blazing with the title track and “The Fire Still Burns” is a speed metal classic.

Dee said to “join our cavalcade” and join I did.

P.S.

But the cavalcade that jumped on the ship with “Stay Hungry” didn’t all come back in 1985, but they would return ten fold in the 2000’s.

P.S.S.

One more album later in 1987 and the band would cease to be until the 2000’s.

Dokken – Under Lock And Key

It was the “Unchain The Night” video release which got me interested. My cousin Mega dubbed it off some other guy who dubbed it off some other guy. And I dubbed it off my cousin. The video sounded dodgy, with that white noise effect running in the background, due to it being copied so many times.

So I didn’t get this album until two years later, because the cover didn’t scream out “buy me” either.

There are songs which do sound like they are written for the charts, but its tracks like “Unchain The Night”, “Lightning Strikes Again”, “Will The Sun Rise” and “Till The Living End” which showcase the metal side of the band and still to this day, stand out as favourites. And when you add the rock tracks like “The Hunter”, “In My Dreams”, “Its Not Love” and “Don’t Lie To Me”, well, you have a pretty solid little album even though it was made from punch-a-thons, arguments and arm wrestles.

P.S.
Pilson likes this album, but in a recent interview he said that “Tooth And Nail” is his favourite. And he had a co-write in all of those tracks. The true unsung hero of Dokken.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Marching Out

One of the bands I was in, the co-guitarist was a devoted Yngwie fan. He would make fun at my tastes of guitarists because according to him, none of them came even close to the maestro level of Malmsteen. It was this elitism from him that made me hate Malmsteen at the start, but I also understood that in my journey to be a guitar player, I would need to check out some of the Malmsteen recordings.

And.

This is a good album.

Jeff Scott Soto on vocals brings it on songs like “I’ll See The Light Tonight”, “Don’t Let It End” and “Caught In The Middle” which he also co-wrote with the man known as the Fury. The other standout to me is “On The Run Again” which Malmsteen originally wrote while he was in Steeler with Ron Keel. At the time it was called “Victim Of The City”.

And I became a fan up to the “Fire And Ice” album. As soon as grunge hit and his albums were not available in Australia, he wasn’t on my radar anymore. I’ve heard a few albums since on Spotify and I can honestly say those 80’s and early 90’s albums are the go to albums for me.

P.S
Malmsteen would use JSS for one more album, “Trilogy”, and then many years later would diss him by saying that he (Malmsteen) came up with everything and JSS did nothing.

P.S.S.
Malmsteen is the fury.

Motley Crue – Theater of Pain

Only two video clips came out to support the album. And it was enough because the Crue generated enough controversy to remain in the press permanently.

“Louder Than Hell”, “Tonight”, the Bad Company sounding “Raise Your Hands To Rock”, “Fight For Your Rights” and “Save Our Souls” are some of my favorites.

Even tracks like “Keep Your Eye On The Money” and “City Boy Blues” are worthy tracks. So to me, there isn’t really any filler on this album. Actually I would put “Smokin In The Boys Room” as a filler track.

P.S

Was there really an imposter pretending to be Nikki Sixx during this period?

P.S.S.

Mick Mars, riffs away on this album and he’s playing is so underrated, it’s criminal. And Tommy Lee is a pocket drummer, something he doesn’t get enough credit for.

Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy

“Lay Me Down” and “You’re In Love” sold this album as the clips got a lot of TV time in Australia.

And when you drop the needle on it, you are greeted with a triple knockout punch. It kicks off with that LA Sunset riff for “You’re In Love” and it moves to “Never Use Love” and “Lay It Down”.

P.S.

The album came out too early as “Out Of The Cellar” was still selling a lot, so people would have had to choose between those albums. In other words, Ratt and their label cannibalized their sales.

P.S.S.

It’s a solid album.

And that’s it for 1985 part 1. Now I’m off to 1977.

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Release Day Friday

A few surprises in the Release Day playlist from Spotify.

The 2020 Remix of “Still Of The Night” kicks it all off. And for those who don’t know who Chis Collier is, he is the one, doing the mixing. Recently he’s worked a lot of with George Lynch on his KXM, Ultraphonix, Lynch Mob and Sweet Lynch projects. And he’s been in the biz for a long time, especially as a mixer.

Even though I have overdosed on “Still Of The Night”, I can’t skip it. My fingers don’t allow me to. And the solo from Sykes has an effect added which wasn’t needed.

“Step Into The Light” from Dokken is next. I didn’t even know that Dokken had any new music in the works. Or what version of Dokken it is. So I had to Google for more information. And it’s not really new music at all, but old music that’s never been heard and before the band Dokken got a record deal. I actually have an EP of this version of the band called “Back In The Streets”.

Anyway, these songs that Don Dokken wrote in the early days will be released on an album called “The Lost Songs : 1978-1981”. And the song is forgettable but if you are fan and you want a prequel of what Don Dokken was like before Dokken, then it will be a good start. I already have the Lynch early days on a CD. The songs that Lynch and Brown wrote in The Boyz are the songs that Don Dokken used to get himself signed, which started the resentment between Lynch and himself.

There are live songs from Def Leppard, Rush, Black Crowes and Pretty Maids with “We Belong”, “A Passage To Bangkok”, “Sister Luck” and “Long Way To Go”.

Then there are some Warner Music Archives releases, so I got White Lion, Winger and Saigon Kick show up in the list, with “Wait – Extended Remix”, “All I Ever Wanted” and “Dear Prudence”. The White Lion track is over 6 minutes long and Reb Beach with Winger is always enjoyable to listen to, like the section before the solo and then his guitar solo.

And one of my favourite guitarists these last five years is Andy James, and his latest track “Dual” is on the playlist. He can play, he can shred and the difference between him and other guitarists/shredders is the song. Andy James writes songs with killer riffs, and then the solos he plays are melodic, even sing-a-like in the verse/chorus structure of instrumental music. And when it’s time to shred in the solo section, he delivers.

Blacktop Mojo have been pretty consistent with their songs, but “Leave It Alone” didn’t resonate today.

Vandenberg drops “Let It Rain” as the album also drops today, so this will take up my listening today, as I’ve enjoyed all the pre-release songs so far.

Trapt dropped another song, a ballad called “Far Enough Away”.

Aldo Nova dropped a groovy and bluesy tune which I like called “When All Is Said And Done”.

The Gathering Of Kings had another song called “Revelation” appear in the playlist, and I saw that their new album had dropped as well. So this would take some of my time to sink my teeth into.

The piece d’resistance is “Death Diviner” from Soilwork, because on this song Bjorn Strid brings his clean tone hard rock voice that he uses for The Night Flight Orchestra to the metal music of Soilwork. Previous albums and songs had him moving between death and melodic vocals, but on this song, he’s all melodic.

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

2000 – V1

I’ve been doing these yearly revision posts on and off for the last four years. Basically when I’ve felt like it.

I started with 1980, as that was a pivotal year when it all began for me. And then I went forward and back at the same time. I did a post for 1981, and then a post for 1979. Then a post for 1982 and a post for 1978.

Currently I am up to 1985 and 1977 for those eras. They are in a various states of drafts and on hold for a little bit because I get excited about other posts and it felt like I was just writing about the same bands (like AC/DC, who had releases on both sides of the 80’s and 70’s).

So I wanted to start up another year and work my way forward on that one.

Plus other bloggers who I follow have also been summarizing various years from their own personal experiences.

So a few days ago, I had a vision and in my madness I decided to also kick off a 2000 series.

So there will be a 2000, 1985 and 1977 series running in parallel.

Then there will be a 2001, 1986 and 1976.

But when I started to write the 2000 post, the world has a funny way to show me, that I’m still writing about the same bands I was writing about in the 80’s with a few additions here and there.

So h is Part 1 of 2000.

Bon Jovi – Crush

“It’s My Life” was everywhere. The single got a lot of traction in Australia. It was on radio, on the music TV stations and the various CD single editions were selling out quickly.

The resurrection of Bon Jovi was complete after a pretty relaxed period between 1996 and 1999. Then again, Sambora and Jovi did release solo albums in between and toured, so maybe it wasn’t so relaxed.

Songsmith Max Martin got a co-write, however it’s hard to know what he actually did because Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora didn’t use him again. Also just ask Steven Tyler, how much song writing some of the outside writers did. Holly Knight got a writing credit for “Rag Doll”, and all she did was come up with the song title. Thanks Deke for that one.

And although I like the derivative sounding “It’s My Life”, my favourites (like most of the Bon Jovi albums) are more of the deeper cuts, like “Just Older”, “Two Story Town”, “Mystery Train”, the six plus minutes of “Next 100 Years”, the laidback feel of “She’s A Mystery” and probably the best live song they have written in “Old Wild Night”, which gets no love these days but it should.

Disturbed – The Sickness

There was a sticker on the CD, which had a quote from “Ozzy” calling Disturbed “the future of Heavy Metal”. I don’t know if Ozzy actually said that, but it was a cool bit of marketing, because I bit and handed over $20.

The thing that got me from the start, is the staccato vocals from David Draiman, which was so different from the 80’s type of singers I was used to plus it helped that the music was pretty cool as well. And I kept listening, became a fan, seen em live on two occasions and today, I hold David Draiman in some unique company of metal voices and Disturbed as one of my favourite acts.

And this album really put em on the map. In the U.S alone (and if you like to use the RIAA sales metric as a gauge for success) then 9 million is the number so far.

For me, the cross between groove metal and heavy metal and that thing people called Nu-Metal is excellent and it got me out of a rut.

“Voices” talks about some freaky shit, and that vocal delivery from Draiman was so unique it captured me. Then “The Game” starts off with the NIN style of electronics, and when the guitar riff comes in, its heavy metal all the way.

“Stupify” has this guitar riff that takes the style of Korn and guitarist Dan Donegan has this ability to make it sound like a metal riff.

And his ability to take influences from what was current like NIN, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Tool and put it into his metal influenced blender, that’s the magic brew of Disturbed. By the way check out the section from about 2.52 for a breakdown.

“Numb” is taking the moodiness of Tool and making it accessible in a 4 minute song. “Shout 2000” gives an old 80’s song a new lease of life and the title track “Down With The Sickness” is that song in the concert when the musician looks at the sea of faces jumping up and down and head banging, like an ocean swell about to hit the stage.

Fates Warning – Disconnected

I was always on the fence with Fates Warning. My cousin Mega loved em and he had all of their albums. But for me, I just taped the songs I liked from those albums and never really got into a whole album.

But this album changed all of that. As soon as the first ringing guitar notes started which to my ears mimicked a warning siren, I was hooked.

For me, it feels like a perfect blend of what was current, like Tool and Porcupine Tree and a nod to what Dream Theater was creating (they even have Kevin Moore guesting on keyboards) and it’s all surrounded by a hard rock progressive feel.

Also while the earlier albums showed guitarist Jim Matheos evolving with each release from raw NWOBHM, to Power Metal, to technical thrash metal, to Queensryche style rock to atmospheric progressive rock and on this one, he is digging deep into his well and bringing out everything he knows into well-structured songs and a cohesive album.

And the album is ignored by the masses.

But not by me.

“Disconnected, Pt 1” kicks it off with its ominous warning siren guitar bends. And the synth keys make it sound even more dystopian. Then again, if you look at the cover of the album, its people in gas masks under an orange sky. For me, it’s like our Australian summer, which had orange and red skies, and our air quality was crap, for a very long time.

“One” blasts out of the gates with its Porcupine Tree/Tool influenced riff.

“So” is groove heavy, with a hint of a Tool influence, but Jim Matheos makes it sound metal. When it quietens down in the verses, it just reminds me of the song “Black Sabbath”. The bridge section from about 4.30 also quietens down and then that Tool like groove from 5.50 hits you like a sledgehammer. “Pieces Of Me” is a derivative version of “One”, with small changes here and there to make it stand on its own.

And the two big bookends.

“Something For Nothing” and “Still Remains”. They are quality, as a melancholic and atmospheric groove leads the way. It’s progressive and it doesn’t have or need a thousand notes per second nor complex time signatures pieced together and added like fractions. On both songs, it’s a feel and a groove which lays the foundation and the songs keep building from there.

The album closes with “Disconnected, Pt 2”, with the guitar warning siren bends and some nice keys.

Iron Maiden – Brave New World

There was “The Ed Hunter Tour” of 1999, which announced the latest and upgraded hardware version of Iron Maiden from 5.0 to 6.0. And it’s been the same line up since.

And no one really knew how this 6.0 upgrade would go with new music. But they delivered.

Each song has a section which makes it connect.

From the opening Em chord of “The Wicker Man”, the song is full of the things that make Maiden great, like the repeating chorus line of “your time will come” and the singalong “woh-oh-oh” in the outro which is then followed by harmony guitars.

And I like the “Fear Of The Dark” section between 5.00 and 5.42 in “Ghost Of The Navigator” and the harmony solos in “Brave New World”.

“Blood Brothers” is a classic Maiden song, driven by an awesome bass riff, synth strings, harmony guitars (especially that harmony section from 3.29 to 3.57 and again from 4.22 to 6.20) and a vocal performance from Bruce Dickinson to rival his 80’s output. It feels like only a few singers could pull off repeating the same chorus line over and over again and make it sound unique. Dio comes to mind, Dee Snider as well and Bruce Dickinson.

“The Mercenary” has a head banging intro to rival the “Two Minutes To Midnight” intro. And that Chorus, when Bruce starts to sing “Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run”. Brilliant. “Dream Of Mirrors” and that “Phantom Of The Opera” intro. But when it quietens down and it’s just the bass rumbling along, with the closed high hats and a clean tone guitar melodic lick. That’s when the hairs on the back of my neck rise up. And by the end of it, I’m also dreaming in black and white because Bruce repeats it so many times, you get hypnotized. Also listen to when Bruce sings woh – oh from the 7.20 minute mark.

“The Fallen Angel” with its “Wrathchild” style intro. Then that open string pull of lick in the Chorus. The intro in “The Nomad” which is also the Chorus riff and then that epic sounding exotic/barbarian/viking like lead from about the 4 minute mark. The intro to “Out Of The Silent Planet”.

Version 6.0 was off to the good start and the “Rock In Rio” DVD put any doubt to rest.

Everclear – Songs From An American Movie, Vol 1: Learning How To Smile

This is another album that got my attention.

The song “Wonderful” was all over the charts in Australia, and I suppose that “Star Wars” poster on the bedroom door lyric got me to bite. And the album is excellent. Again, it came at a perfect time to get me out of a rut, musically. It was different and removed from the 80’s and 70’s music I was so into. Then again, I was still overdosing on Maiden, but that’s another story.

“Here We Go Again” has these jazzy 7th style chords played in a pattern like “I Love Rock N Roll” in the verses, and it got me interested straight away. And there is a horn section which reminded me of “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob. And that bridge section about sitting on a mattress in the corner and eating Chinese food. Its conversationlist and I like it.

“AM Radio” has a lot of great lyrics about the 70’s and listening to that AM Radio or just laying in bed with the radio on and listening to it all night long.

The VCR and the DVD
There wasn’t none of that crap back in 1970
We didn’t know about a World Wide Web
It was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid

Even if you weren’t born then, you already get a picture in your head of some of the technology that wasn’t around.

Flashback, ’72
Another summer in the neighbourhood
Hangin’ out with nothing to do

Even in the 80’s, we had days like these with nothing to do. It changed in the 90’s when parents had an agenda of things their kids had to do or achieve or attend.

Cruisin’ with the windows rolled down
We’d listen to the radio station

Damn right.

I remember 1977
I started going to concerts and I saw the Led Zeppelin
I got a guitar on Christmas day
I dreamed that Jimmy Page would come from Santa Monica
and teach me to play

There is always a defining “aha” moment, which sets of the correct adrenaline kick.

I like pop, I like soul, I like rock, but I never liked disco

Not many who liked pop, soul and rock liked disco. Remember Bob Seger and his old time rock and roll to soothe the soul.

“Learning How To Smile” is my favorite track on the album.

Five miles outside of Vegas when we broke down
Threw my keys inside the window and we never looked back
Got all drunk and sloppy on a Greyhound bus
We passed out, all them losers they were laughing at us

Youthful enthusiasm, leave the past behind (the car) and move forward to something new. The oldsters would have organised a tow truck to retrieve the car and then spend money to fix it, because every possession was precious. Tell that to the throwaway generation, who upgrade their Tech yearly or bi-yearly.

We got lost in Phoenix, seemed like such a long time
Seven months of livin’ swimming on those thin white lines
Did some time for sellin’ acid to the wrong guy
Life just keeps on gettin’ smaller and we never ask why

Taking and selling drugs and doing what they could to get by, with no safety net.

Why there is no perfect place, yes I know this is true
I’m just learning how to smile
That’s not easy to do

Life is not all sunshine and a bed of roses. And the more older we get, the harder it is to smile sometimes, even though you want to smile.

We was broke outside of Philly when the storms came
I was working in New Jersey, hitchin’ rides in the rain
You was happy talkin’ dirty at that phone sex place
Life just keeps on gettin’ weirder for us every day

Tommy and Gina have nothing on Art and his girl.

We can leave it all behind like we do every time
Yes we both live for the day
When we can leave and just go runnin’ away

Escapism. I remember when I first got my car license. I felt a freedom, I’d never felt before.

Five miles outside of Vegas, five years down the line
We got married in the desert and the sunshine

Through all the ups and downs, I guess they learned how to smile.

And to close off the album, “Thrift Store Chair” has this acoustic 70’s feel, which reminds me of Bad Company and “Wonderful” kicks off with a simple drum groove, and then the piano which outlines the chords. And the song just keeps on building.

Well 2000 is officially kicked off. Now I’m going back in time to 1985. And then 1977. And then back to 2000, in ludicrous speed.

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The Record Vault – Bad Company

They were signed to Led Zeppelin’s label Swan Song.

You had Paul Rodgers from Free on vocals, Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople on guitar, Simon Kirke from Free on drums and Boz Burrell who did some time as a solo artist and with King Crimson on bass,

Supergroup maybe.

The soundtrack they created for a generation.

Legendary.

I got these albums in the 90s from various second hand record shops, so when I started digging into them it was like brand new because apart from the singles, I didn’t really know much else.

The self titled debut dropped in 1974. I also got the CD for this sometime in the early 2000’s.

CAN’T GET ENOUGH
The hit.

It’s on compilations like Best Drinking Songs and Best Driving Songs here in Australia and it was still on radio in the 80s.

It was the song that hooked people in.

ROCK STEADY
That slithering Intro riff; it’s dripping venom.

READY FOR LOVE
It percolates until it doesn’t.

DON’T LET ME DOWN
It’s like soul and rock had a child and this is it.

BAD COMPANY
“The Boys Are Back In Town” had a similar theme about wild eyed boys coming back into town.

Here it’s darker, more moody and atmospheric as the outlaw and his crew come back into town.

And how good is that chorus line, “they call me bad company and I can’t deny.”

MOVIN’ ON
The sound, the riff and the hopeful energy vibe as we move on from town to town.

SEAGULL
There is a lot of variation on this album and it’s why bands like Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Toto and Styx hold a special place for people.

And what a great analogy, about how we can just fly away like a seagull without being asked who we are and where we are from.

The follow up, “Straight Shooter” dropped a year later.

GOOD LOVIN’ GONE BAD
The riff to kick it off. How good is it?

Bad Company grabbed my attention from the outset.

FEEL LIKE MAKIN’ LOVE
And with this, they blew up even bigger.

This song has everything from the acoustic folk guitar, to that melancholic vocal melody and the power chords exploding in the chorus.

And I love the way it goes “Feel like makin’”
and then the guitar and drums and bass smash out some power chords (like de-d-der) and then “Feel like makin’ love” comes in and then the guitars, bass and drums smash around again.

SHOOTING STAR
About Johnny the schoolboy who heard his first Beatles song and the rest is history.

And the world will love him as long as he’s a star. But as Jon Oliva from Savatage sang, once the crowds are gone, then what.

DEAL WITH THE PREACHER
It’s about that tiptoeing through the darkness guitar riff. And those arpeggios in the chorus. It’s that variation again, fusing different styles.

WILD FIRE WOMAN
That vocal line when Paul Rodgers sings;

“Wild fire shooting through my veins
Burns a fever to my brain
Wild fire woman, something you got
I start to shiver when you do that
Do that baby”

Listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.

“Run With The Pack” dropped in 1976. Not as solid as the first two but still enough quality to get people’s attention.

LIVE FOR THE MUSIC
The chord and a vocal line, the chord again and another vocal line. And that funky riff in the chorus.

“But when the nighttime comes I’m ready to rock”

Like Slaughter’s “Up All Night”. Which has the same theme.

SIMPLE MAN
The way the song just rolls after those opening arpeggios.

It’s an anthem. So many good lyrical lines like;

“I’m just a simple man trying to be free”
“Freedom is the only thing that means a damn to me”

RUN WITH THE PACK
The slow down in the chorus. Listen to it especially when the violins come in towards the end.

FADE AWAY
They tried to rewrite “Bad Company” and they did a good job with it. It has enough variation to make it sound unique.

Album number 4, “Burnin’ Sky” dropped in 1977. I don’t own it but wanted to mention the tracks below.

BURNIN’ SKY
The pounding beat, that “Wishing Well” theme in the Chorus, the funky bass in the verses and Paul Rodgers wailing away while Mick Ralph’s takes a flanged/phased solo.

This is is Bad Company, when each band member had their home in the song. Their own special place.

LEAVING YOU
The guitars on this song.

And there are some other good moments like the intro in “Like Water” and “Everything I Need” is no different to “Since You’ve Been Gone” to “Louie Louie” to “I Need A Lover” and I like it.

Album number five, “Desolation Angels” released in 1979 is a favourite.

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FANTASY
The first track and that guitar groove, with the bass, which sounds like the riff that Kip Winger used for “Cant Get Enough” many years later.

CRAZY CIRCLES
An acoustic track. It’s that variation again.

GONE, GONE, GONE
More variation from song to song. And that riff.

EVIL WIND
And even more variation, with a different groove and a commanding vocal performance from Paul Rodgers.

EARLY IN THE MORNING
One of the best guitar intros from the band before it morphs into a Beatles like dreamy song.

LONELY FOR YOUR LOVE
It’s like Rodgers was listening to Bon Scott because he definitely brings it.

Album number six “Rough Diamonds” and the last studio album with the classic lineup.

It was a miracle that it happened. Their manager went missing in action and band members preferred to punch each other out than write songs with each other.

“Electricland”, “Untie The Knot” and “Painted Face” were all good listens but they are not good enough to replace a past song in the set list.

And the band split, until it reformed with a different singer in Brian Howe and started having hits again.

But there is no denying the power of the original line up.

that’s why they call me…..

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Release Day Friday

The Release Day Friday Spotify playlist offered a lot of goodies this time around.

It kicks off with Dee Snider and his new song, “Prove Me Wrong”.

In my book, Dee Snider is a huge part of my youth growing up. I followed him in Twisted Sister, waited for Desperado to release their album, then that album got canned and the band was dropped from Elektra. He then hooked up with Al Pitrelli for the Widowmaker albums, and I waited for those albums, thinking they would never come out. Finally the two albums dropped, the hard rock influenced “Blood And Bullets” and the grungier sounding, “Stand By For Pain”.

And this song is basically about how he has proven people wrong his whole life. He just kept going and going and trying to make it. He made it in music, he made it in radio, he made movies, he was key in getting Headbangers Ball up and going, and he spoke out against censorship while everyone else kept quiet.

I came, I saw, I rocked
I left it all upon the stage
For almost fifty years
Now it’s time to turn the page

It’s a long time to be in the business and in the 80’s he was only on top for a few short years. And the record labels like Neglektra did their best to kill his career afterwards.

I’ve been abused and used
Been over, under, sideways, down
But still my head’s unbowed
Was there ever any doubt?

If you want a definition of grit and perseverance, look no further than Dee Snider. There is a cool lyrical reference to his Desperado album on Elektra called “Bloodied But Unbowed”, where they spent a long time writing, then recording, then a week before the release, the album is pulled and Dee is dropped, but Elektra is holding on to the master tapes because they don’t want Dee to take em to another label and have a hit album. So Dee has the option to just walk away from his songs or buy some of his masters back.

How they tried, but couldn’t prove me wrong

You want to knock off the monster chip on Dee’s shoulder, go right ahead and prove him wrong.

The best revenge is none
Just be happy and live well
Knowing for your enemies
There is a special place in hell
No one could hold me back
Those who tried, I laid to waste

Truth in these words. The best revenge is to be happy and live well. That’s it.

They had every chance to prove me wrong

And they’ve all failed.

“Atlas Falls” from Shinedown was a surprise drop and it’s a nod to their sound up to 2012 which I like. It doesn’t have the “Imagine Dragons” pop sounds from the last two albums.

So I did some reading and found that “Atlas Fall” is an unreleased track from their 2012 album “Amaryllis”. And it just hit Spotify today, but has been out since 23 March 2020 as a digital download to raise funds for Direct Relief (who provides medical supplies to people in need).

Don’t give up now, there’s already so much at stake
If Atlas falls, I’ll rise up and carry us all the way

We need to support each other more these days than ever. If the world we know, crashes down around us, we need to find a way to survive.

“Skyfall” from Vandenberg really got my attention. I repeat, really got my attention.

Adrian has gone back to his roots. This song is epic 70’s style as the riffs ooze grandeur. A five plus minute song. If you like how Europe went back to their roots in “War Of Kings” then you will enjoy this album. If you like Rainbow, then you will like this song. Plus if you like Adrian Vandenberg’s style, which I do, it’s a no-brainer.

When the sky falls down
Fields are burning all around
I’ll be right beside you

Haken dropped another song “Invasion” and their form of groove/riff driven progressive rock gets me interested and so does the atmospheric groove instrumental music of Long Distance Calling and their song “Voices”.

Reach dropped “The Law”. Metallica dropped an acoustic “Blackened 2020”, which James plays with a nod to the style of Ennio Morricone. There is FM and a song called “Change For The Better”.

The melodic rock “Gathering Of Kings” project keeps ticking all the boxes for catchy choruses with “Highway To Paradise”. Scorpions released “Sign Of Hope” which didn’t really give me hope, but they have a lot of goodwill in my book, so it’s okay. “Ghosts” from Paradise Lost also appeared on the playlist, telling me (subliminally) to check out their new album.

Trapt also released “Tell Me How You Really Feel” which is more in the vein of pop than the alt-rock they have been known for, however I’m still interested to see what the full album

P.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between Helix the rock band and Helix (the dance act).
P.S.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between RSO (Richie Sambora Orianthi) and RSO (some dance act).
P.S.S.S.
Spotify still can’t tell the difference between Jasta (American metal singer) and an Eastern European act called Jasta.

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

The Record Vault – Black Roses Soundtrack

“Trick Or Treat” and “Black Roses” played on the fears of the bible belters. This fear, that rock and roll music and now heavy metal music was causing kids to commit suicide and live disobedient and decadent lives led to fertile story telling in film.

I didn’t see “Black Roses” or know about it or purchase the soundtrack until sometime between 94 and 96 even though it came out in 1988.

I purchased the LP first and then many years later, I didn’t know that I had the LP, so I purchased the CD for it.

So in the movie, a heavy metal band named “Black Roses” turns a sleepy towns kids into rockers first and secretly into demonic monsters.

Wikipedia mentions how the soundtrack features many prominent bands at the time such as King Kobra, Tempest, Hallow’s Eve, Lizzy Borden among others. I wouldn’t say prominent but hey the past is always rewritten to suit a narrative.

But the reason why I wanted to hear the album is because of guitarist Alex Masi who had a lot of advertisements running in the guitar magazines when his “Attack Of The Neon Shark” album came out in 1989, plus he got a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Rock Album.

But then again, I’m not sure if getting a Grammy is a good thing when it comes to metal and rock music, because, Jethro Tull did get an award over Metallica and then recently, the Grammy sound people played “Master Of Puppets” when Megadeth got the award. Ouch.

Anyway, the Black Roses band is Carmine Appice on drums, Mick Sweda on guitars, Chuck Wright on bass and Mark Free on vocals with Alex Masi assisting on some guitar tracks.

And because we didn’t have the internet to research stuff, I found out that Masi only played the Rhythm’s after purchasing the album.

Damn, No Leads. That was Mick Sweda.

But when I heard the songs, Sweda was never known for having sweep picking in his repertoire of licks, and when you go deep into the credits of each song, you see that Masi is the shredder on the songs from the band titled Black Roses/Masi.

Anyway, lets unpack this soundtrack (which is not on Spotify), but hey YouTube has it. By the way, there is a user called DannyWaysted who has a lot of 80’s album on the account. Some very obscure favourites of mine. Check it out. Just search for the user name.

“Dance on Fire” kicks off the album and it is from the Black Roses band. The riff is derivative, basic and nothing original. But it’s still a good listen.

The next track “Soldiers of the Night” is mentioned as Black Roses/Masi. This song could have appeared on a Manowar album. The difference that production makes to a song is huge. In a Manowar environment, it would have sounded metal, cranked to a Spinal Tap’ish’ 11. In the hands of lesser mortals, it sounds like a pop rock song with keyboards with a catchcry of raising our fists forever high.

Then we get a song “I’m No Stranger” from an underrated hard rock group in Bang Tango. This song rocks.

There was something about Bang Tango that I liked. I once said to a friend that the band takes something from Motley Crue, Y&T, Guns N Roses, Ratt, Scorpions, Judas Priest and Poison and puts them in a blender. That’s Bang Tango to me.

The Black Roses/Masi version is back with “Rock Invasion”. Of course the song is going to kick off with a lot of shred from Masi. And the chorus is derivative, but hey, rock did really invade the masses in the 80’s.

There is this cool bass and drum groove from Carmine Appice and Chuck Wright in the middle when Masi gets a chance to play with his whammy and force out a million notes in 20 seconds.

And Black Roses closes off Side 1 with the ballad “Paradise (We’re on Our Way)”.

And it reminds me of those Stan Bush ballads he did for various movies.

Now Stan Bush was an 80’s movies voice. Who can forget “The Touch” which basically is another derivative version of “Jump”?

The lead break from Mick Sweda is emotional and perfect, but the star on this song is Mark Free, known since 1993 as Marcie Free, who delivers a vocal hero performance. And if you want to know which band does music like this today, look no further than Revolution Saints.

Lizzy Borden’s, “Me Against the World” kicks off side 2 and it’s basically “Rock N Roll’s Gonna Save The World” from Y&T done in Lizzy’s way. I never got into Lizzy Borden and I don’t why, because I do like this song. Especially the harmony solo section. If you haven’t heard it, find the song on YouTube and crank it. It rivals the harmony solo from “Round and Round” by Ratt.

“Take It Off” from King Kobra is okay. I always gave King Kobra a chance because Johnny Edwards is one hell of a vocalist.

The only time I’ve seen and heard of David Michael-Phillips is via this soundtrack. “King of Kool” is the song. And it’s AC/DC in the verses with a melodic rock style chorus attached. But in the end, I kept thinking of Britny Fox and I couldn’t bite.

Tempest with “Streetlife Warrior” is up next and it was the first time I heard the band. That 10 second intro had me interested, the verses lost me, and the chorus really lost me, then that brief melodic lead after the chorus had me interested again. So I listened through the verses and chorus again to see what else they could do instrumentally. But I didn’t commit any further than this song on the soundtrack.

The NWOBHM was alive and well with Hallow’s Eve and their song “D.I.E.”.

Even early Metallica was alive and well in Hallow’s Eve.

I really liked this song and I have no idea why I didn’t go deeper into their catalogue in the mid 90’s when I got this soundtrack. There are lyrical themes like don’t live your life worrying about things you can’t stop (in this instance it’s about death) because if you give into your fears, you became a slave to them.

D.I.E
Death in effect…..

And that’s it, the “Black Roses” soundtrack is a wrap….

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

April 2020 – Part 4

The final post for April 2020.

Here is the Spotify link to all of it. Here are posts 1 and 2 and 3 which talk about new music in April.

And here are the songs from the first three months (Jan to Mar) who are still doing the rounds in April.

Circle The Drain
Machine Head

Up until last year, Machine Head had four members. Then drummer Dave McClain and guitarist Phil Demmel left. Actually they already left, but then committed to finishing off the tour as sort of a last farewell. I read some interviews where they said it was like “turning up for the pay check”.

Robb Flynn is the founding member of Machine Head and he continued the band after the departures.

Robb got drummer Chris Kontos and guitarist Logan Mader who played on the MH debut “Burn My Eyes” album (released in 1994) and they (with current Machine Head bassist Jared MacEachern) re-recorded that 94 album live in the studio. This iteration became known as the BME band. Then Robb did an acoustic cover of “Die Young” from Black Sabbath, released it on Spotify and it became my favourite track.

And Machine Head toured. But with two versions of the band. There was the BME band mentioned above and the “Classics” band, with the addition of Waclaw Kieltyka on guitar and Matt Alston on drums.

So the “Classics” band would play all the Machine Head classics, and then the “Classics” band would go off and the “Burn My Eyes” band would come to play that album in its entirety.

From a new song perspective, he dropped two songs with different musicians (yep different from the dudes mentioned above). I couldn’t even keep track of who is who and I like looking at the credits.

I didn’t like “Do Or Die”, but I do like “Circle The Drain” and I enjoyed watching the making of videos. I like how it all came together and how a conversation with a friend about his relationship “circling the drain” finally nailed the title down. The drummer on “Circle The Drain” is Navene Koperweis.

It’s a great song and when Robb Flynn sings melodically, it’s a pretty cool moment. I still remember when I was watching the making of “Through The Ashes of Empires” album in 2003, and Robb Flynn is playing an acoustic guitar and playing Tesla’s “Love Song”. And I was like F yeah”. This dude knows his shit.

Feeling Whitney
Royal Bliss

It’s a cover of a Post Malone song about addictions and looking for that fix. The Post Malone version has more of a “Dust In The Wind” acoustic feel, while Royal Bliss turn it into a modern rock song.

Running Up That Hill
Naked City
Jorn

These two cover songs from Jorn would probably never go out of this playlist. The Kate Bush cover about making a deal with God to swap places is excellent and“Naked City” is one of my favourite cuts from the “Dynasty” album.

Come Clean
H.E.A.T

The Chorus on this song is so catchy.

Lyrically it’s not the best, about moving on to other partners but he can’t stop thinking about his ex. But the melody and the execution is excellent, and it’s melodic rock so who cares about the lyrical message.

Because Of You
Storm Force

I love the keys in the start, the nod to “The Who” as an influence and the major key 70’s feel of the verses.

And when the Chorus rolls around, it seals the deal.

Because of you I will climb a little higher

There is always someone there, who has your back, mentoring and supporting you. Remember that and never feel alone. It could be a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, a friend, a mentor.

Aeromantic album
The Night Flight Orchestra

Yep, the whole album is still doing the rounds.

“Transmissions”, “Aeromantic”, “Taurus”, “Carmencita Seven” and “Dead Of Winter” kept getting a lot of listens this month.

That’s not to say that the other tracks like “Divinyls”, “If Tonight Is Our Only Chance”, “Sister Mercurial”, “Servants Of The Air”, “Golden Swansdown”, “This Boy’s Last Summer” or “Curves” are no good. Because based on my mood anyone of them would become my favourite for a day.

Mr Big Shot
Collateral

This song reminds me so much of the songs from Skid Row’s self-titled debut and it just keeps getting spins from me. And it’s also from the debut album of Collateral.

Since this song has been four months in my playlist, I thought I should find out more.

Clicking on their bio on their website, it tells me, “Ripped jeans, cowboy boots, long hair and make-up, Collateral are a band that look and sound like a stadium rock band”. I know most stadium bands didn’t wear ripped jeans and cowboy boots, but hey, who cares, its rock and roll so let’s go with that imagery.

I think I have mentioned before that Collateral are from South East Kent in the U.K.

Remember a time when the UK led the way for rock and roll, with Cream, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Free, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, Slade, Mott The Hoople and David Bowie. And then the U.K did it again in the 80’s with the NWOBHM and New Wave.

Maybe the modern streaming age is seeing another revival. Sweden definitely has something special happening with their many different scenes focusing on different styles of rock and metal, like melodic rock, hard rock, progressive rock/metal, thrash metal and death metal. UK bands have also made their way into my playlists and my headspace as well.

Let’s see where it all goes.

Aftershock
Swallowed By The Machine
The Death Of Me
Harem Scarem

There are a lot of good cuts on Harem Scarem’s album and the guitar playing from Pete Lesperance is excellent. “Swallowed By The Machine” at this point in time and for the mood I am in, is getting a lot of attention.

We’re falling into dystopia
It’s crumbling before our eyes
Black mirror reflecting all our lives

I love technology, I work in technology and I am careful to switch off and not let those black mirror devices take control every single minute of the day.

Days of judgement upon us
Broken and demoralized
March into the vortex single file

It’s like a dystopian movie, where the human race is lined up, like cattle, waiting for their turn to walk into confusion and dizziness.

Because it feels like the world tries to do that.

With so much information at our fingertips, we don’t know what to click on and read sometimes. Every story has a point of view of the writer, and they are laced with some facts, a little bit of lies and a little bit of fiction. And then people try to pass it off as “truth”.

We all have dreams, we all have doubts
Be careful which you feed
And don’t get swallowed by the machine

Feed the correct hunger and walk the road you want to walk.

Watching “The Last Dance” and seeing those years roll by, man, it brings back some crossroads decisions. I can’t dispute the decisions made, because I am here today, with a wife and three kids. And I am content, happy.

I have no doubt that if I made a different decision, I wouldn’t have what I have today and I probably wouldn’t be in the same place mentally. But I still wonder, what if because the machine still rolls on, beckoning me to step inside.

Fake News
Turn The Light On
Shakra

The intro riff on “Fake News” reminds me of that GNR and Skid Row swagger.

And it’s good to hear these kind of influences, because Shakra (from Switzerland) are a band which defines the meaning of perseverance and grit.

Imagine a hard rock band, being formed in 1995, when the Grunge movement was on a decline and Industrial Metal like Ministry and NIN was becoming a thing, Tool was still a relatively unknown band, as “Aenima” was a few years away from being released and Korn was a few years away from their breakthrough and the start of the Nu-Metal movement.

25 years in the business and twelve albums down. Not bad at all.

Bubbles
Framing Hanley

These guys started off in 2005. They got signed and released two albums on a record label in 2007 and 2010. The band left their label and created a Kickstarter campaign for the next album, by asking their fans to donate a dollar.

That album is “The Sum Of Who We Are”, released in 2014.

They went on a break for three years between 2015 and 2018. And finally they have a new album out in 2020 and the song “Bubbles” just refuses to go away.

I Can’t Be The Only One
Killswitch Engage

I like Killswitch Engage.

The riffs are a cross between melodic rock, hard rock, heavy metal and groove metal. On occasions there are thrash and black metal riffs and a nod to Sweden’s metal scene around 1992 to 1998.

The vocals move between screamed and melodic. And screaming the way they do, it takes a toll on the vocal chords.

During the album making, vocalist Jesse Leach had to have throat surgery to remove a polyp and then 3 months of speech, vocal and scream therapy. And no vocalist wants to hear, that there could be a chance they could never sing again.

And you know how much I hate labels. Here is what Jesse Leach said on the issue of being classed as Metalcore in an interview at the excellent Consequence of Sound website.

“You know how genres go. That term has been so bastardized, I don’t even know what it means. When I think of Killswitch, I don’t think metalcore, I think metal, in general. I get people gotta categorize it, I get that, but you ask me, I don’t know, because I don’t even listen to metalcore. We came from the hardcore scene. We were hardcore kids who were into metal. That’s where the ‘metalcore’ came.”

This is an alternate edit from the track released on 2019’s “Atonement” album. And I really like the below lyrics.

Divided we’ve become, this fight has just begun
But I can’t be the only one
Together we overcome with a truth they can’t outrun
But I can’t be the only one

United we overcome

“Habit” by Adelitas Way, “All Eyes On You” by Smash Into Pieces, “The First Time” by Khymera, “Shadowman” by One Desire, “Broken” by FM and “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Legacy” and “Lay Me Down” from In This Moment are also getting spins.

And that’s it for my April listening. It’s only taken me half a month to complete.

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