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

The Record Vault – Arcade

EMI really wanted this album to work.

Stephen Pearcy’s previous band RATT splintered. Some say it was due to dwindling sales (500K units in the US is not a small amount for their “Detonator” album, but then again the labels reckon it was, especially after moving 3 million units for their previous albums) and others say it was due to Grunge.

Regardless, Pearcy didn’t wait around and he hooked up with Fred Coury from Cinderella on drums, Johnny Angel played guitar originally and wrote songs for the debut, but was dropped and in came Frankie Wilsex and Donny Syracuse, while Michael Andrews is on bass.

EMI even paired up Pearcy to write with Jim Vallance of Bryan Adams and Aerosmith fame, and they also got producer Dave Prater, who at this point in time had some serious chart success with Firehouse and Dream Theater.

But it didn’t work, and nobody really knows why. Good music is good music and it should find an audience. But it didn’t. Well it didn’t like how the label wanted it to.

So what happened to all of those rock and metal fans from 1984 to 1990?

Why didn’t they lap up this album?

Well, the base wasn’t as big as people thought. The bulk of the fans shifted between rock and pop and metal, so when it came to 1993, it was no surprise that some fans had shifted their allegiance to other styles. Maybe they just thought that Stephen Pearcy was done and dusted or he’s a one hit wonder or because fans became hip now, into more mellow music, like how Mark Wahlberg cut his hair in Rock Star, it wasn’t cool to like rock music anymore. I knew a few people like that, and if they existed in my circle, I am sure they existed in other circles as well.

I purchased the CD but I can’t remember from where. But I do remember the “Cry No More” single which I purchased via a second hand store, complete with ONE song. Yep, you read that right, one SONG on a CD which can hold 70 minutes of music.

And the album is not on Spotify, which is a shame. A real shame.

Calm Before The Storm

It has a wicked open string riff as good as any metal like riff at the time. It’s credited to Vallance, Angel, Pearcy and Coury.

But I dream of rising light
A sign it’s time to be reborn

And a Pearcy was reborn but ignored.

Cry No More

It’s written by Johnny Angel, Fred Coury and Stephen Pearcy.

And man, when a guitarist spends time being the main songwriter and then doesn’t get to play on the album or plays on the album and is fired before the tour, I see that as a low act by said band mates and management.

When I was young my daddy always taught me
To speak the truth and never tell lies
Now that I’m old and no one ever told me
The life you live, the truth you can disguise

We are living it everyday, trying to make out what is real and fake.

Down and out, I need a friend
Who’ll be there until the end

You don’t know who will be there at the end. And it scares people.

Messed Up World

A sign of the times we live in.

Greedy little fingers
Dirty little lies
Diggin’ themselves in deeper
Wearing their disguise
Crooked preachers sell religion
Underhanded politicians

Artists have written about corruption from when I can remember and it’s still happening without any end in sight.

And I ask myself why?

Maybe Geoff Tate was right all along, the holy dollar rules everybody’s lives and everyone has got to make a million, it doesn’t matter who dies.

I don’t wanna believe what they tell me
I ain’t gonna buy what they sell me
I ain’t gonna take what they’re givin’
It’s a messed up world that we’re livin’ in

Damn right and it is only going to get worse, because if you have school children who can’t vote, striking from school for climate change, imagine the changes coming when they can vote. The current powers that be will fight tooth and nail to keep the world messed up.

World peace and religion
Well you know that’s what they teach
But their arms hold up their halos
They never practice what they preach

Wearing masks is the name of the game. It’s all messed up, but that’s how we survive.

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

The Record Vault -Accept

I had an “Headbangers Heaven” compilation album which had “Screaming For A Love Bite” on it, so that was my second introduction to the band, with the first being the “Balls To The Wall” film clip. I actually traded the 4 LP compilation for “QRII” with Randy Rhoads.

And my ownership of Accept material started with “Metal Heart”, “Breaker” and the “I’m A Rebel” album.

I didn’t feel the need to own the bigger albums in “Restless and Wild” and “Balls To The Wall” but those albums did enough to make me buy “Metal Heart”.

The title track starts of excellent but the classical Beethoven lead was just too much for me. “Midnight Mover” has a head banging riff but the vocal melodies in the verses don’t do enough to capture the commercial vibe of the music.

I know that a lot of people didn’t like the new mainstream MTV sound to their music and I was like what the fuck are you talking about?

It’s still distorted, it’s still rooted in their metal and rock.

“Up To The Limit” reminds me of AC/DC and is the best song of the first three. “Wrong Is Right” is pure speed metal and my answer to the people who said Accept sold out with this album.

“Screaming For A Love-Bite” is the reason for my confusion. Musically the song is brilliant, very melodic rock, but the vocal delivery doesn’t do the song justice. Why would you write a song musically like this and expect UDO to sing it like Def Leppard.

And that’s what is wrong with the album overall, the expectation that a gravelly like vocalist is expected to deliver MTV friendly vocals.

“Too High To Get It Right” is hard to listen too, “Dogs On Leads” is a bad rewrite of “Balls To The Wall” and “Teach Us To Survive” sounds like a rejected “Pink Panther” song,

“Living For Tonite” and “Bound To Fail” are great musically but the vocals don’t do the songs justice.

And it’s these songs that should have been easy to listen too because they are Accept.

“Breaker“ is a good album. The rise started here.

“Starlight” has cool riffs as Udo deals with the bright lights of Hollywood. “Breaker” is a part of the history of speed metal. “Burning” is a 12 bar blues metal tune in the vein of “Born To Be Wild” from Steppenwolf.

“Feelings” has Hoffman galloping his way to glory and delivering a tribute to AC/DC as well.

“Midnight Highway” is an AC/DC cut that Angus and Malcolm Young didn’t write because they didn’t have Judas Priest and Slade as influences.

The “I’m A Rebel” album is not on Spotify but YouTube has it, so I listened to it as I couldn’t really remember a track from it.

And I remembered I enjoyed listening to it, and I still didn’t remember a song from it apart from the title track.

Many years later I came across the Accept debut album and the “Restless And Wild” album on CD. The debut is not on Spotify however “Restless and Wild” is.

“Fast As A Shark” is fast and I was wondering if a young James Hetfield or Dave Mustaine were listening. Then again, the song owes its roots to Motörhead and Judas Priest.

“Restless and Wild” immediately hooked me in with its “Barracuda” galloping riff.

“Ahead Of The Pack” continues the riff assault.

“Neon Nights” is excellent, with a cool bass groove, melodic riffs, a verse that reminds me of “Welcome To My Nightmare” and a Chorus as good as any pop chorus doing the rounds at the time.

“Flash Rockin Man” intro is part of the “One Riff To Rule Em All”. In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I did a post a while go about the riff which I know as “Two Minutes To Midnight” and how for a period between 1976 to 1986, that riff was rewritten into different derivative versions by a lot of different artists.

“Princess Of The Dawn” has a riff which should be part of the melodic metal canon if it isn’t already.

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

The Record Vault – Alice Cooper

This is going to be a long one. For me, Alice Cooper’s career was discovered backwards.

I knew “I’m Eighteen”, “Schools Out” and “No More Mr Nice Guy” are tracks from his early career, but the versions I had heard were all covers of these songs.

Plus, I am a horror movie fan and I knew he did a song called “He’s Back” for a “Friday The 13th” movie.

Trash

It all started with this album. For the year it came out and my hard rock mindset, this album fit the criteria to a tee. Plus we used to play games to see how many times, Alice Cooper sang “baby” throughout the whole album.

I have the LP, plus the singles “Poison”, “Bed Of Nails” and “House Of Fire”.

“Poison” kicks it off, with a guitar riff that’s stood the test of time and I bet ya no one knows who John McCurry is or the guitar work he did on albums or the songs he co-wrote for others. You can tell that Desmond Child is involved because of the Chorus. It’s his style down to a tee.

“Spark In The Dark” immediately hooks me in with its sleazy bluesy guitar riff and I was surprised to see that no guitar player was involved in the songwriting of it as it’s listed as an Alice Cooper and Desmond Child cut.

“House Of Fire” is catchy and I swear it’s on the album to increase the “baby” count. Written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child and Joan Jett, even Bon Jovi gave the song a go for their “New Jersey” album.

“Why Trust You” fires up, and like “Spark In The Dark”, it’s written by Alice Cooper and Desmond Child and it’s a dead set rocker.

“Only My Heart Talkin’” is next and I’m reminded of Aerosmith straight away, so I wasn’t surprised when Steve Tyler made an appearance on the outro. Even the feel of the song is different, and it’s the only song on the album which doesn’t have Desmond Child as a co-writer.

“Bed Of Nails” kicks off side 2, and muscled up guitarist Kane Roberts from Alice’s band before “Trash” has a co-write along with Alice, Child and Diane Warren. The way this song starts off, with the backwards guitar effect, I thought Sammy Kerr from the “Trick or Treat” movie would arrive in my lounge room. For those who don’t know, in the movie, a grieving fan plays the album of his favorite artist backwards and resurrects him back from the dead.

“This Maniacs In Love With You” is written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Bob Held and Tom Teeley. The only reason I included the whole shebang of writers is to show how far and wide Alice went, to get the songs he needed for this album. This song could have worked with any artist.

“Trash” is written by Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Mark Frazier and Jamie Sever. Again, there is a songwriting committee.

How good is that little riff after each line is sung in the verse?

“Hell Is Living Without You” is written by a songwriting committee of Alice Cooper, Desmond Child, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

The emotive solo break hooks me in this song.

“I’m Your Gun” ends the albums and it’s the same writing team as the opening teach “Poison” with the classic lyric line of pull my fiddle.

And for the “baby” count, we all had different counts, ranging from 30 to 70.

I even borrowed “Alice Cooper Trashes The World” on VHS tape from a friend of a friend of friend and dubbed it into blank VHS tape.

After “Trash”, I needed more Alice Cooper. The live video opened up my eyes to classic songs everywhere. And I purchased “Welcome To My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies” together based on the covers.

Welcome To My Nightmare

And I’m transported to the sounds of 1975.

Man the acoustic start, the “hit the road” feel, the shimmering tones and we are off on some musical journey that’s a cross between rock, jazz, blues and whatever else they could chuck in, like a saxophone solo.

And I liked it.

Then that riff that kicks off “Devils Food” should be iconic but it’s not, because the opening track took that glory.

And here, my prize, the black widow, isn’t she lovely.”

And how good is that “Black Widow” riff?

It puts most of the bands who call themselves “Metal” to shame. It you want to see menacing, this is the song and Bob Ezrin as producer took this album up a notch, while Dick Wagner as one the guitarists and main co-writers is basically unheard of today.

And that outro. Fuck, what a song. It follows no formula, no structure and it’s memorable.

Then when the cabaret feel of “Some Folks” kicks in, it feels dissonant, but as the song plays on, it fucking works.

And you need to remember in 1991, I’m listening to this and I’m like, “god damn, they don’t make music like this anymore”. The variations between each song, the different styles, the influences from other popular songs and how they are merged seamlessly into a coherent little song.

And that outro, I’m hooked and I pressed repeat on my CD player just to hear it again.

It’s knockout punch after knockout punch.

“Only Women Bleed” has an awesome guitar intro and that section after the bridge at about 2.28 to 2.38 is perfect.

And the knockout punches kept coming.

“Department Of Youth” kicks off with a riff that sums up a generation and the lyrics which confirm it.

And we ain’t afraid of high power
We’re bullet proof
And we’ve never heard of Eisenhower
Missile power, justice or truth

And that’s the Youth summed up. The issues and leaders of the world that concerned our parents didn’t concern the youth of the times.

And then “Cold Ethyl” keeps the punches coming, with a bluesy riff and a super melodic chorus.

“Years Ago” is just a circus tinker box like riff which is menacing and when you’re used to guitar heavy music, it’s a “ah-huh” moment.

And this leads into “Steven”, the best song on the album. That piano riff is enough to hook me in as it reminds me of horror movies but hearing a grown man sing like a little child about to lose his shit is scary enough.

And the musical groove when everyone sings “Steven”. Fuck, I still get goosebumps writing about it.

And that whole musical passage after it, sounds depressing, and I know the song is about to end and I had my finger on the repeat button.

I would have been happy if the album ended there. “The Awakening” is a little piano jam, which is haunting. “Escape” closes the album with an uplifting major key riff in the similar key and feel of “Department Of Youth” which is perfect.

And by the end of it, I’m bloody and bruised from all of the knockout punches.

Billion Dollar Babies

This was up next and man it had a lot to live up to. The first three songs were cool and “Elected” got me going, but after hearing “Department Of Youth” first, “Elected” had themes and style too similar for me.

And it took an iconic drum intro on track four which is as good as any classic guitar riff I’ve heard to hook me in. That my friends is the title track.

And when the guitar riff comes in, i was shocked again at how good these 70s albums are and the way the musicians write songs, following their muse and sticking a middle finger to the label guy.

And the labels hated this period because they couldn’t control the artists and they felt they should be the ones who could drop and sign anyone they wanted, but also scared to drop any artist or a disobedient successful artist, just in case they had a hit with another label.

“Unfinished Sweet” is 6 minutes long and they just try shit out. There is this section where all they are doing is hitting a chord with an effect on it and just letting it shimmer out. After that section, a simple 4/4 beat is played, and the song builds to a conclusion.

“No More Mr Nice Guy” was already a favorite and Megadeth’s version for the “Shocker” soundtrack was in rotation already for me.

“I Love The Dead” is brilliant. On the live VHS tape I have of the “Trash” tour, these 70s songs get an awesome modern sounding upgrade. And the repeating “I Love The Dead” is spot on and when you chuck in some cool pentatonic based lead lines, well what can I say. Once they added horns and violins, it’s a perfect ending.

In 1991, I don’t think any band at the height of MTV would sing or write a song called “I Love The Dead”, except an extreme or death metal act. And here is Alice Cooper in his ascendancy, writing about zombies, babies and what not.

I felt like I needed a proper original VHS video of Alice, so “Prime Cuts” was available and I purchased it, watched it once, the footage was crap and never watched it again.

Hey Stoopid

There is not a song on this album that I don’t like. And like “Trash”, Alice and his team went searching far and wide for songwriters to co-write and have them jam on the album.

Slash is on it, Mick Mars is on it, Nikki Sixx is on it, Joe Satriani is on it, Steve Vai is on it, Vinnie Moore is on it, Ozzy Osbourne is on it, Stef Burns from Y&T is on it and future Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald is on it.

For songwriting, the bulk of the songs are written by Alice Cooper, Vic Pepe, Jack Ponti and Bob Pfeifer.

Zodiac Mindwarp and his buds contribute “Feed My Frankenstein”, Sixx and Mars contribute “Die For You”, Dick Wagner contributes to “Might As Well Be On Mars”, Desmond Child also contributes to the Wagner track and “Dangerous Tonight”, Jim Vallance contributes a few and the list just goes on.

The beauty of it is, regardless of the different writers, it’s still an Alice Cooper album in sound and feel and when I heard “Wind Up Toy”, I knew the psychotic Alice from the 70s was still there along with “Steven”.

Constrictor

Back to 1986 and Kip Winger is on bass and “He-Man” Kane Roberts is on guitar and as co-writer for the album.

“Life And Death Of The Party” sounds like the song that would launch the career of Ghost as the style and feel is similar to what Ghost would bring forth many decades later.

“The World Needs Guts” is a great title and I wanted the song to be great but it was okay.

And then you have the synth driven “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” which sounds cool and for the movie it works.

Muscle Of Love

“Muscle Of Love” and “The Man With The Golden Gun” are the tracks I still remember, with “Muscle Of Love” being the one which still gets played today.

The Last Temptation

For me, this album is excellent. I became a fan because of the MTV friendly “Trash” album. I discovered his back catalogue after that. This album is a combination of the “Trash” era commercialism, merged with the 70s “Welcome To My Nightmare” and “Billion Dollar Babies” albums, merged with the sonic production qualities of the mighty “Black” album from Metallica.

Guitarist Dan Wexler from the band “Icon” is on hand to co-write most of the songs as a few years before Alice Cooper did guest voiceovers on Icon’s 1989 album. Shaw-Blades, Chris Cornell, Jim Vallance and Bob Pfeiffer are other writers who make an appearance.

“Lost in America” is basically a rewrite of “Fight for Your Right (to Party)” in the verses. And how good are lyrics, about how Steven can’t get a job, because he aint got a car, and he can’t get a girl, because he aint got a car and he’s looking for a girl with a job and car. But it never made it as a hit, much the labels dismay, because it’s a god damn album cut.

“You’re My Temptation” is one of his best 90’s tracks and it’s unfortunate this co-write with Shaw and Blades is largely unknown.

The album has three different producers in Andy Wallace for “Side Show”, “Stolen Prayer”, “Unholy War” and “Cleansed by Fire”, Don Fleming on “Lost in America” and Duane Baron and John Purdell did the remaining three tracks.

Brutal Planet

The first album of the Bob Marlette era.

The title track is a stand out by far and the sound was very heavy, industrial and gothic. And what a live track it makes. Check out “A Paranormal Evening”.

And those riffs and dissonant leads in the intro,

We’re spinning round on this ball of hate
There’s no parole, there’s no great escape
We’re sentenced here until the end of days
And then my brother there’s a price to pay

It takes Alice to tell us that we have no escape or chance of parole during our lives.

Right here we stoned the prophets
Built idols out of mud
Right here we fed the lions
Christian flesh and Christian blood
Down here is where we hung ya
Upon an ugly cross
Over there we filled the ovens
Right here the holocaust

That’s only a drop in the ocean of the brutality that Mother Earth has seen.

Dragowntown

The second album of the Bob Marlette era.

And of course I was still seeking out the past albums, but as I started hearing em, I realized that I maybe had the best ones already.

For the “Schools Out” album, the title track is the only song I liked and what hasn’t been said about it or how it captured a perfect moment for a whole new generation, liberated from the social shackles placed on their parents.

For the “Killer” album, “Under My Wheels” is the song which stands out on this album. “Goes To Hell”, “From The Inside” and “Lace And Whiskey” came and went without impact.

A live album called “A Fistful Of Alice” didn’t set my world on fire and neither did an album of original material called “Dirty Diamonds”.

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

1979 – V – It’s Just A Game

If you are super keen to see the previous 4 posts, here they are;

1979 – The Highway To Hell Begins

1979 – II – Somebody Get Me A Doctor

1979 – III

1979 – IV – Lights Out In America

And here is part five.

Toto – Hydra

Toto got success with their debut, and there were expectations they would repeat the hits. I guess no one told the Toto guys, who went and tried something different.

The band came into my life because of Steve Lukather. He was always in the guitar magazines and he interviewed really well. But I didn’t start buying or getting access to the albums until well into the 90s.

There are a few songs on this album which are progressive and man, they work great in Rock and Metal circles and credit to Dave Paich for bringing the prog.

Hydra

At 7 minutes, this song shows a band following their muse and not conforming to what the label desired.

Like all good songs, the intro hooks me in.

And seriously, you wouldn’t expect lyrics about a Dragon lord, a summer solstice and a young man in love with a lady who descends down into darkness, especially after they hit the charts with “Hold The Line”.

99

It’s a love song about a futuristic movie made by George Lucas before Star Wars. You can hear the embryo of “Africa” in this.

The piano arpeggios with the subtle jazz fusion lead break works good.

All Us Boys

It’s just a feel good technical rock and roll song. And that repeating line from 3.10 up to the end (with a lead break chucked in) is super melodic and addictive.

Molly Hatchet – Flirtin’ with Disaster

The cover didn’t give me the impression that this album or band would be a rock and roll boogie band.

One Mans Pleasure

The intro musically blew me away. It started off with a “Another One Bites The Dust”, before morphing into an Aerosmith groove like “Sweet Emotion” and a Chorus from “Sweet Home Alabama”.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
One man’s pleasure is another man’s pain.

It’s about hitting the road with the band and leaving your woman behind. Your loss is another mans gain, because she ain’t waiting around.

Boogie No More

It’s got this Rolling Stones vibe merged with Bowie’s “Suffragette City” in the intro. Then it morphs into a speed blues jam song with a guitar solo that references “Free Bird”.

Flirting With Disaster

The way the song starts off with the drummer playing a 16th high hat beat hooks me in. It’s unconventional from the Southern Rock vibe and very Rush like.

I’m out of money, out of hope, it looks like self-destruction
Well, how much more can we take with all of this corruption

Corruption and money go hand in hand. People will lie, cheat, kill and steal for it and the ones who have it would also lie, cheat, scheme and kill, just to keep it.

And the way we run our lives, it makes no sense to me

Living from pay to pay, building someone else’s dream and believing that if you put in more hours, you might just get your turn to make it.

I’m travelin’ down that lonesome road
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load
Yeah, I’ve tried to turn my head away
Feel about the same most every day

In the end, the road is lonesome and you might walk it with a lot of regrets or “what if’s”.

Long Time

It’s got this “Don’t Fear The Reaper” vibe in the verses which hooks me in.

Triumph – Just a Game

Ric Emmett, underrated guitarist and songwriter. Like, Toto and Asia and Yes, Triumph came into my life because of interviews in the Guitar mags I purchased with their prospective guitarists.

Moving On

That intro riff is in every 70s song. Free, Bowie and Rolling Stones immediately come to mind.

And that section when the backing vocals are singing “on and on”, the tempo is slowed down, Emmett is in the groove bending and picking those strings and I’m reminded of The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” but its just a small reminder.

On and on and on
You’ve got to keep on movin’ on

It’s what life is about, moving on, taking chances, failing and succeeding, embracing changes and doing it all again.

Lay It On The Line

A simple catchy repeating chorus line with chords that would become famous with “I Love Rock N Roll” and you have the gift that keeps giving royalties.

Young Enough To Cry

I once thought that only the Brit guitarists could play this kind of blues rock. Emmett shows that Canadians are more than capable.

And how good are the lines “I’m too old to get hurt baby, Oh but I’m young enough, young enough to cry”.

Just A Game

And that slowed down tempo from “Movin On” which reminds me of The Beatles kicks off the title track. It has enough of a progressive touch to make me listen. And the lyrics are the reason why this song grabs me.

But the corporate strings that make them dance
Lead up to an ivory tower

We sing the song of the corporation daily, so we turn to music as an escape, only to see our heroes suffer the same fate.

And those bosses who we dance for, and pretend to like, live in a world so fake and so out of touch with reality.

Try hard to remember all that glitters is not gold
You can pay the piper, but you cannot buy his soul

Remember the legend of the Pied Piper who abducted all of the children in the village because the people of the town refused to pay him for catching all their rats. Well if you don’t pay your debts, someone will come and collect.

It’s just a game, and all I can do…is play

Play the long game. More so now. Streaming pays over the long run and it pays forever. Be in it and get your fans to stream because no one wins by dominating the news or being the social star or TV star for a month.

Who remembers “The Voice” winners?

And the labels are here to sell the same mainstream pop, hoping that sales and dollars makes them winners. Hell, this derivative method alone killed hard rock, hair metal and whatever kind of metal you want to call it back at the start of the 90s. A market saturated with rubbish is due to be cleaned up.

What you do choose, now, what do you believe, now
Who are you gonna trust?
All you dreams and fancy schemes
Just crumble into dust

To me it’s about free will and free choice. And it’s a touchy subject. People believe because they live in a democracy they are free. But they have a loan, which they need to pay monthly for the next 30 years. It doesn’t sound so free right now when you have a 30 year sentence. And I get it, they had freedom to make the choice to get into debt. But to counter-argue, that choice wasn’t so free because the only way a person could enter the housing market is to get a loan, or a large family donation or an inheritance.

And then in order to pay the loan, they need to ensure they have a job which pays a steady income. Which if they lose the job, all of their dreams and fancy schemes just crumble into dust.

Calm and cool and computerized to calculate and collect
We wait and watch and wonder
Just which puppet they’ll select

Like the movie “Dark City”, their are people we cannot see who manipulate and control what happens.

Science tells us global warming is real and leaders from democratic nations ignore it and call it a lie. Someone with deep pockets controls the narrative, and money rules this game.

Like the moth, too near the flame,
Who learned his truth too late
We’re all too deep into the game
That is the master of our fate

Learn to play the game better than others and maybe we’ll succeed. But remember our time on Earth is limited, and the game ends when we take our last breath.

Blackfoot – Strikes

The melodic rock side of the band is what I liked.

Left Turn On A Red Light

And as I buy myself another ticket, Lord
For somewhere else on down the line
Well I’ll always be a rambler
Well the ones I love always keep tellin’ me

It was a rite of passage once upon a time, to leave home and go your own way. It’s why so many songs with those themes connected. Today, the majority stay at home, because it’s comfortable and risk free.

Wishing Well

How good is this song from Free?

It’s been covered to death, but, what can I say, you can’t keep a good song down. So kick off your shoes and lose yourselves.

Highway Song

The lead breaks from about 4 minutes to the end is the reason why this song is here.

“Solo to the end” was a musical sectional once upon a time. Lost when MTV took power. In saying that, Skid Row brought out the “solo to the end” section in “Quicksand Jesus” and “In A Darkened Room” from “Slave To The Grind”.

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors

The album is ordinary except for “Lonely Teardrops”.

That funky riff which reminds me of “Superstitious” and “Play That Funky White Music White Boy” is catchy.

I seem to see a rose
I reach out then it goes
Now in its thorns I roam

Brilliant lines to describe the pain of being away from home.

38 Special – Rockin’ Into the Night

For me, only “Stone Cold Believer” is the highlight.

I speak my mind. I don’t hold it back,
That’s how I am, and I’m hopin’ that’s where you’ at.

Do we really speak our minds?

Research out there reckons that Google and other search engines know more truth about us via our search results than our partners know.

And these days what is truth?

We have battle lines drawn, our view points backed up with our research and away we go, trying to shout louder than the others. It makes great viewing, it might be fun, but it will not change the other persons view.

Viewpoints can change, but not by picking a fight.

Wanna climb that ladder, y’ wanna make it to the top,
Takes only one thing, gotta give it all y’ got.
Knew a man who couldn’t lose, ’cause he never gave in,

You get to the “top” or to your “defined top” by being a lifer. You need to be in it, even when the times are tough and you feel like you should leave.

In saying that if the business venture is costing you money, you’ll need to walk away and cut your losses, but still be in the game and restart again.

Amazon walked away from developments that cost them billions and restarted again. It’s okay to fail and succeed.

Well that’s it for another 1979 section. I think I have a few more to do before 79 is a wrap and I move to 78.

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

The Record Vault – Asia

The cover artwork for the albums I have is created by Roger Dean. His art made the “Yes”, “Uriah Heap” and “Asia” albums iconic. He even sued James Cameron for using one of his covers as an inspiration for an Avatar scene.

So how did Asia come into my life?

It started with the magazines “Guitar World” and “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”. Steve Howe always made an appearance and the storytelling in the interviews always revolved around the influential “Yes” albums and his pop “Asia” career.

So into the 90s when everyone traded in their record collection and purchased CDs instead, I managed to pick up the first three “Asia” albums and most of the “Yes” catalogue up to the early 80s at a very cheap price.

By cheap, I mean each record was $3 but buy 10 records for $20.

And when I got home, I played “Asia” first because hey, those albums came out in the 80s and I was an 80s child.

Asia

The debut album released in 1982.

Heat Of The Moment

I dropped the needle and I heard “Heat Of The Moment” and I was like, fuck, is this Asia. At that point in time I’d heard the song heaps but never knew the artist.

Only Time Will Tell

I love the way it starts. Then it’s AOR Journey like in the verses and very Euro like sounding in the pre-Chorus.

You can hear why Asia had huge sales in 82, as fans of rock music gravitated to this style.

Time Again

It’s progressive rock mixed with jazz and it’s perfect. It could have been a format to go with but it didn’t seem to be.

Wildest Dreams

It has this middle jazz like drum solo with some simple chords behind it which gets me playing air drums.

Without You

That guitar lead from 3.05. Yeah, it’s the most simplest lick Howe has played, but the most powerful.

Cutting It Fine

The intro leads are brilliant, going over three octaves.

Asia – Alpha

“Alpha” (released in 83) sold a lot but it was still seen as a failure by the record label.

For me, Steve Howe was in the band, but he wasn’t really part of the song writing, so you don’t hear his progressive jazzy bluesy fusion vibe in the songs.

John Wetton and Geoff Downes did most of the songwriting and it’s pop rock all the way.

Don’t Cry

For some reason the start just hooks me in. It’s like a REO Speedwagon song merged with the groove/chord progression from “Stand By Me”.

Musically and melodically it connects. Lyrics, not so much.

The Heat Goes On

Again how cool is the intro. It reminds of the “Staying Alive” movie which Stallone directed, merged with Aldo Nova and Billy Squier. I dig the melodies and music, but as bands overused the word “rock” in song titles, Asia overused the word “heat”.

True Colors

As soon as I heard the start of the song I thought of Marillion, but Asia came first.

And all those people you call friends
See who defends you when you’re down again
Don’t count on money-spinners then

The truth is no one defends you when you’re down. Everyone is serving their own interest.

Open Your Eyes

And see the world that stands before you now

So true. Open your eyes people and see what stands before you. Do your own research. Read far and wide and listen to arguments for and arguments against your views.

Astra

Released in 1985 and Steve Howe is missing, because of a power play by vocalist John Wetton, as part of his return to the band. Mandy Meyer from Krokus is on guitar duties for an album which is really lacking.

A song called “Rock and Roll Dream” had no rock and roll. And when Brits write a song called “Voice Of America”, well it comes across as a money grab for the US market. So it was no surprise the album failed commercially and the tour was pulled.

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

The Record Vault – Autograph

It pisses me off how some hard rock albums are not on Spotify. Maybe it’s an RCA label thing, or a Steve Plunkett thing, because the 80s recorded output of Autograph isn’t on the streaming service.

Autograph were either loathed or liked. There was no in between. I liked the first album and loathed the second album. I guess I fit that description.

I didn’t get their records until well into the 90s via the usual second hand record stores and record fairs.

Sign In Please

Before I dropped the needle on this, all I knew was “Turn Up The Radio” and a few interviews with Steve Lynch in the guitar mags I purchased.

Send Her To Me

Its basically a simple keyboard driven song like Night Ranger. It rocks, it’s melodic and it’s fun.

And that outro lead.

Steve Lynch starts off with a super melodic repeating lick and then he puts the pedal to the floor and shreds.

Turn Up The Radio

Again, it’s a simple riff made gold worthy by some keyboard chords over it.

And again, Lynch and his 8 fingers hammer-on technique is the star. Maybe it was a California thing as Jeff Watson also had that technique down.

Deep End

How can you not like this song?

To me, it’s got the riff which I call the “LA riff”.

But it was finally made super popular with “Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by the Beatsie Boys.

And again, Steve Lynch steals the limelight with his lead break.

Thrill Of Love

The melodic riff in the verses could have come from Vinnie Vincent, the Chorus is a let down and the lead break again steals the show.

Friday

Yep, it’s a song about the start of the weekend. It’s got that vibe and the riff reminds me of EVH merged with Loverboy.

Did I mention the lead break is fucking good?

Yeah, it’s good.

In The Night

It reminds of Kiss “Unmasked” era and I like it.

All I’m Gonna Take

The best song on the album and it’s the closer. The melodic lead is AAA and when Steve Lynch decides to burn, he burns.

“That’s The Stuff” came next and it really wasn’t the stuff, while the second track “Take No Prisoners” is a rewrite of “Turn Up The Radio” and basically this is an album that is lacking in ideas and very hard to listen to.

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

The Record Vault – AC/DC

You didn’t need to own an AC/DC album to like them or to be a fan. If you went into a pub, the jukebox played em. If you watched live bands, they would cover em. If you watched music television, they would be on it. If you went to a mates home, they would be playing em. If you went driving in a car, they would be on the stereo. In other words, AC/DC was everywhere in Australia.

AC/DC tickets would be snapped up by fans who didn’t even own an AC/DC album. So the next time you hear a label boss or a musician who had a deal pre-Napster say, “sales of recorded music = fans”, call them on their bullshit.

I’ve had mix tapes of my favorites from their Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras on TDK cassettes.

I’ve had full albums dubbed on cassettes and VHS tapes with their video clips. All recorded from friends and relatives and TV.

Flick Of The Switch

It’s a solid album, coming out after their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” album in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”.

Personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair but Phil Rudd played on the album, Mutt Lange was also out as Malcolm felt the band was getting over produced and their manager Peter Mensch was also out.

So when the band takes back some control, what do you get?

A live and raw version of AC/DC. There are no classic songs or hits on the album. But there is a lot of groove and swagger. The slower tempo’s make it sound HEAVY. Hell, bands like Corrosion of Conformity built careers off these kinds of grooves. But the songs don’t get played live, so the album remains largely forgotten to the masses.

Here is a review I totally agree with from BuriedOnMars.

And here is another review I agree with from Deke over at Thunder Bay.

Let There Be Rock

I know “Back In Black” is the highest seller in the catalogue, but man, this album and “High Voltage” are victory lap recordings. Look at any set list and you will see these songs on it.

Go Down

Bon Scott is singing about Ruby and Mary licking that licking stick.

Dog Eat Dog

Bon Scott always had a social and political angle in his lyrics.

Business man when you make a deal
Do you know who you can trust
Do you sign your life away
Do you write your name in dust

Dealing with people in the music industry is like signing your life away. If you make it, these business people will then make money of your songs, your image and when all the crowds move on, they leave you in the dumpster to pick up the pieces.

Dog eat dog
Read the news
Someone win
Someone lose

These days, the news is the social media feed. We are surrounded by people with the best holiday shot, the best party shot, the best beach shot, lunch shot and so on. Everyone portrays an image of being a winner. And if someone is watching a winner, it must mean they are a loser.

See the blind man on the street
Lookin’ for somethin’ free
Hear the kind man ask his friend
Hey, what’s in it for me

We are more wealthy today than ever before, but 70% of that wealth is with the top 1%. So while you get people living from pay to pay helping out and volunteering, the ones who have the means to make a difference, do nothing, create their own charity as a tax dodge and make it look like they are doing something.

Let There Be Rock

That riff that kicks it off. It’s speed rock, it’s simple and I love it.

In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty five
Man didn’t know ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news

Bon is framing a picture of a time when rock and roll was born and referencing Chuck Berry and his track “Roll Over Beethoven”.

And it came to pass
That rock ‘n’ roll was born
All across the land every rockin’ band
Was blowin’ up a storm
And the guitar man got famous
The business man got rich
And in every bar there was a superstar
With a seven year itch

Bon is capturing the essence and excitement of rock and roll when it came to the youth of the 60s.

One night in the club called the shakin’ hand
There was a 42 decibel rockin’ band
And the music was good and the music was loud
And the singer turned and he said to the crowd
Let there be rock

And there was rock alright. I remember every album I purchased in the 80s had a song title in the list that mentioned rock.

Bad Boy Boogie

On the day I was born the rain fell down
There was trouble brewin’ in my home town
It was the seventh day I was the seventh son
And it scared the hell out of every one
They said stop
I said go
They said fast
I said slow
They said yes
I said no
I do the bad boy boogie

Religion and belief in the Bible as truth is massive all over the world. Bon knew how to frame his lyrics with enough rebellion for it to connect with a generation who more or less had similar devout upbringings.

Problem Child

What I want I take
What I don’t I break
And I don’t want you
With a flick of my knife
I can change your life
There’s nothing you can do
I’m a problem child, yes I am

Scott lived for the moment.

Overdose

I overdosed on you
I overdosed on you
Crazy but it’s true
Ain’t nothin’ I can do
I overdosed on you

If a current pop artist had the above lines in a Chorus it would be a hit.

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

Spends my money
Drinks my booze
Stays out every night
But I got to thinkin’
Hey, just a minute
Somethin’ ain’t right

If Bon was a problem child, what about the women in his life, who spent his money and drank his booze.

Whole Lotta Rosie

What hasn’t been said about Rosie, about a whole lotta woman who knows how to rule the bed. But it’s the call and response of the intro riff which hooks me.

For Those About To Rock

For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

The way the guitars start it off, man, what can I say. It’s perfect.

Stand up and be counted for what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We’ll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
Cos rock has got the right of way
We ain’t no legends ain’t no cause
We’re just livin’ for today
For those about to rock, we salute you

And that’s how Rock was, a lifestyle of living for today, going to the show and allowing the music to surround you.

I Put The Finger In You

Again, I love the intro musically. The lyrics about fingers on fire being out of control is whatever, but the music…

Evil Walks

It’s got that “Hells Bells” influenced intro. And a verse riff from the chorus of “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Ball breaker 95 Tour Booklet

I didn’t own the album. A friend of mine had it on CD and I copied it off him.

And when the tour rolled into town, it was a no brainer to go.

They kicked off with a 1-2-3 knockout combo with “Back In Black”, “Shot Down In Flames” and “Thunderstruck”.

“Girls Got Rhythm”, “Hard As A Rock”, “Shoot To Thrill” and “Boogie Man” came next.

“Hail Caeser”, “Hells Bells”, “The Jack”, “Ballbreaker”, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “TNT” and “Let There Be Rock” finished the set off.

For encore, they did “Highway To Hell” and finished off with “For Those About To Rock”.

Fire.

Blow Up Your Video

“Heatseeker”, the video clip was everywhere on music television, in the same way “Who Made Who” was still doing the rounds and “Sink The Pink” was also doing the rounds, along with “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

It’s one of the main reasons why we didn’t need to own the albums. We felt like we heard enough of em. And music television in the 80’s had the ability to reach a lot of people and as a by product make a lot of money for the labels.

“That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll” was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Told boss man where to go
Turned off my brain control
That’s the way I want my rock and roll

There it is again, the call to arms of “no one can tell us what to do”. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us. But the people in power and with wealth do control us.

“Two’s Up” has a super melodic Chorus riff and a tapping guitar solo by Angus.

High Voltage

Bon Scott wrote lyrics that resonated with his audience and this album is full of great lines.

“It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”

Ridin’ down the highway
Goin’ to a show
Stop in all the byways
Playin’ rock ‘n’ roll
Gettin’ robbed
Gettin’ stoned
Gettin’ beat up
Broken boned
Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks

Australia is huge. To travel east to west in a plane, it will take 5 hours. By car, a lot longer. AC/DC didn’t just conquer their region, they conquered all of Australia, by playing shows in every state and city. They even played Tasmania, which is a state everyone ignores.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
If you think it’s easy doin’ one night stands
Try playin’ in a rock roll band
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll

Remember it, and to add that rock and roll is a lifers game.

Hotel motel
Make you wanna cry
Lady do the hard sell
Know the reason why
Gettin’ old
Gettin’ grey
Gettin’ ripped off
Under-paid
Gettin’ sold
Second hand
That’s how it goes
Playin’ in a band

Getting ripped off and being a musician go hand in hand. There are always people looking to make a buck from the hard work of artists.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer

My Daddy was workin’ nine to five
When my Momma was havin’ me
By the time I was half alive
They knew what I was gonna be
But I left school and grew my hair
They didn’t understand
They wanted me to be respected as
A doctor or a lawyer man
(But I had other plans)

It’s the rebellion against authority which hooked people in. Back then, your parents didn’t hang with you. They were your enemy.

Parents always have plans for their children and I’ve seen first hand, how those plans have broken their children, mentally and emotionally. I’m a parent and all I have for my kids is support and guidance if they want it.

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll,
A rock ‘n’ roll star

Some wanted to be a rock and roll singer once upon a time and when MTV brought the rock starts into the lounge room, then everyone wanted to be one.

These days, kids are gonna be a tech billionaire, or a sell n trade broker. Imagine the lyrics with those words.

Gonna be a sell ‘n’ trade broker
Gonna be a tech billionaire
Gonna be a sell ‘n’ trade broker

It just doesn’t have the same rebellion as rock and roll. In fact, being a broker and a techie is following the status quo and confirming to what the current corporations in power want.

Well I worked real hard and bought myself
A rock ‘n’ roll guitar
I gotta be on top some day
I wanna be a star
I can see my name in lights
And I can see the queue
I got the devil in my blood
Tellin’ me what to do
(And I’m all ears)

There’s nothing else except the dream. From reading the bios of rock stars it’s a lonely journey in reality. As you ascend the ladder, people who were there at the beginning are replaced by different people with questionable motives.

Well you can stick your nine to five livin’
And your collar and your tie
You can stick your moral standards
‘Cause it’s all a dirty lie
You can stick your golden handshake
And you can stick your silly rules
And all the other shit
That you teach to kids in school

There are no moral standards in Corporations and Governments. Everyone is on the take. And kids these days are taught by people who just read from a curriculum, and are not interested to go the extra to ensure that what they are teaching is understood. And those curriculums are changed regularly to suit a certain interest group.

Did you know that the RIAA and MPAA lobbied hard to get Copyright and how breaking Copyright is stealing to be taught at primary schools?

Yep they did and not one parent even blinked an eye, as they fired up their uTorrent and kept breaking Copyright.

The Jack

But how was I to know
That she’d been dealt with before
Said she’d never had a Full House
But I should have known

She’s got the jack, she’s got the jack

This is classic Bon, using a deck of cards analogy for a sexually transmitted disease.

But how was I to know
That she’d been shuffled before
Said she’d never had a Royal Flush
But I should have known

Brilliant. Even comedic. How many did she have?

T.N.T.

Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi

A street alley chant is a great way to start. And when you add the simple Em to G to A riff, it’s perfect.

Cause I’m T.N.T., I’m dynamite
(T.N.T.) and I’ll win the fight
(T.N.T.) I’m a power load
(T.N.T.) watch me explode

High Voltage

Well you ask me ’bout the clothes I wear
And you ask me why I grow my hair
And you ask me why I’m in a band
I dig doin’ one night stands
And you wanna see me do my thing
All you gotta do is plug me into high
I said high

High voltage rock ‘n’ roll

There ya go folks, get into a band, fuck a lot and play live.

Family Jewels DVD

This is a great DVD package, a bonafide best off.

And my “Back In Black” LP and cassette is also missing, suffering the same fate as “Disturbing The Peace” from Alcatrazz and “Permanent Vacation” from Aerosmith.

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