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

Twisted Sister and Slaughter

“Love Is For Suckers” was released in 1987. It was meant to be Dee Snider’s first solo album. Instead it was the final Twisted Sister album.

Twisted Sister had released three career defining albums in “Under The Blade”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Stay Hungry”. Then came “Come Out And Play” and it didn’t do as well as “Stay Hungry” however that didn’t mean it was a shit album.

But hey, when something doesn’t meet the sales expectations, someone needs to be blamed. The tour also had a lot of cancellations and half empty arenas.

One of my favourite songs is “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)”. A simple riff in the key of Am kicks off the song before it morphs into an A5 Power Chord groove like Acca Dacca.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play

Anyone who has the money or the power or the authority, will always be looking to control others. It happens at home, in school, in the workplace and in society. Even in your friends circle you will have someone who is like a pseudo leader.

We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

I always saw the WE in the song, as the metal heads.

But by 1987, we had woken up and we needed something else lyrically. We had been hearing this same message for the last 6 years. Metallica nailed it a year later when they released an album about the corruption in the justice system. Black Sabbath Ozzy era came back into the public conversation because we liked to “smoke the sky” and there’s no better song for it then “Sweat Leaf”. Motley Corabi Crue wrote a killer track as well in 1994 called “Smoke The Sky”.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship that was taking place against heavy metal music. But the troops weren’t sure if they wanted to commit. A troop who was a rebel in 1983 and wasn’t gonna take it, had now graduated and is in college and are on their way to becoming part of the degree factory and another stat in the workforce.

“Tonight”, “Me And The Boys” with its “Summer Of 69” style riff and “Love Is For Suckers” are all strong songs.

“Hot Love” and “Yeah Right” are also cool and they round out the quality of the album for me.

The album had “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “Girls Girls Girls” from Motley Crue, and “Whitesnake 1987” to compete against. All of those albums were in the Billboard Top 10. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was just outside at number 13. “5150” was doing great business and “The Final Countdown” was also setting charts alight. To top it off, two 87 releases were slowly percolating lower down the charts getting ready to break through. Those albums being “Appetite For Destruction” and “Hysteria”.

Basically, a lot of competition for people’s ears and minds.

Going into 1995, Slaughter went from platinum darlings in 1992, to a band without a label. Their label Chrysalis Records was taken over by EMI and EMI didn’t have room for Slaughter.

How things change in three years?

The band also had issues within. Guitarist Tim Kelly was arrested on drug trafficking charges and had a legal mess up until 1997. A year later he would tragically die in a traffic accident. Main co-songwriter and bassist Dana Strum also injured his hand in a motorcycle accident so that delayed the writing and recording.

Lucky for the band a new label called CMC International was formed in 1991 and all they wanted to sign was hard rock and heavy metal artists.

So in 1995, Slaughter finally released “Fear No Evil” and no one even knew or cared. This is what its like when the record label doesn’t know how to compete in the current market place. Just because Grunge and Industrial Metal became mainstream it didn’t mean that hard rock and classic heavy metal had no audience. But the labels had no idea who and where the audience was. Most record shops would promote what was popular and only the ones who specialize in genres would have the rock and metal and even those stores would promote what was popular.

“Live Like There’s No Tomorrow” kicks off with an “Immigrant Song” vibe and wail, and you need to check out the solo section. And if you’re looking for a ballad like Slaughter, the opening track delivers a blistering speed metal song which I class as one of Slaughter’s best.

“Keep lookin’ forward don’t ever look back”, is one of the lines which stood out. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mark Slaughter was thinking of Tim Kelly when he wrote the lines, “you’re livin’ everyday of your life like there’s no tomorrow”.

“Hard Times” is another song which is ignored but it shouldn’t be. Just press play to hear the intro riff which reminds me of “The Headless Cross” from Black Sabbath.

It also has cool lyrics like “so now you learn from the concrete and pavement, it’s hard to see through city lies” and those lines connected. Because failing leads to growth and the city lies shows how people are always scheming to get ahead to the detriment of others.

“Prelude / Outta My Head” is a great combination of an acoustical piece leading into a rocking track. These two songs wouldn’t light up the charts but they would become fan favorites. The riff is good and the lead break is excellent but the lyrics didn’t match the excellence.

“Unknown Destination” has a lead section which I dig and the lyrics about travellers from the East who don’t know where they’ll be tomorrow captures the gypsy life and maybe we all should be doing a bit of that. Instead we get up and get to our first destination, the office and then get to our next destination, home. In between, there will be other destinations like school drop off or pick up and getting some groceries from food outlets.

Anyway the messages I get from the two albums is don’t let people in power abuse your rights and don’t be afraid to fail, because if you want to live your life like no tomorrow you need to feel the concrete and pavement.

And both artists felt the concrete and pavement a few times in their careers.

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

XYZ and Danger Danger

I’ve got both XYZ albums on LP. Well, I got the debut because Don Dokken was producing and I liked it, so I got the next one a few years after it came out, which by then, I think the band was already broken up, because hey, hair bands didn’t warrant call backs from the label suits anymore. And the majority of the magazines didn’t report on the progress of bands who weren’t popular anymore.

“Hungry” was released in 1991 and recently it has been coming up on my Spotify home page as an album I should play, based on my past listening, because up until today, I haven’t played it on Spotify at all. Well, Mr Algorithm, I guess it’s your luck day as I’m pressing play.

One thing that stood out for me for about XYZ is the music. I liked it, I could relate to it and I even wrote riffs similar to it. And the lead breaks rocked and shredded and wailed when they needed to.

But music is a business and record labels want to make money at an exponential rate. So the labels got producers to work with bands and that work involved making the band sound like other bands, especially the singers.

At one point in time, I couldn’t tell the difference between Tangier, Babylon A.D, XYZ, Danger Danger, Hericane Alice, XYZ and Roxy Blue. To even prove my point, I did a mix tape of songs from all their albums that had a similar vocal style, and even though side one had seven different artists, it all sounded like an album from just ONE artist. Maybe a future blogpost right here.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back to XYZ.

The best song on the album is “Off To The Sun”. The feel of this song is epic, reminding me of the 70’s artists, it’s also very Dio like in the vocals, the music is excellent and the lead break from Marc Diglio is the stuff of guitar heroes. Another great guitar player who is virtually unknown.

“Face Down In The Gutter”, “Don’t Say No” and “When The Night Comes Down” contain great riffage and music overall plus the lead breaks from Marc Diglio is the stuff of guitar heroes.

“I’ve got JD eyes so I don’t need to see, to know I have landed where I wanted to be” is from “Face Down In The Gutter”. If the lyric didn’t connect with people, then they obviously don’t drink and there was a time in my life I didn’t trust anyone who didn’t drink. Anyway, who hasn’t tried to drown their sorrows in a bottle of whiskey.

The next best song is “The Sun Also Rises In Hell”. Great title and it’s basically a speed metal song that Helloween would be proud of, hell even Dokken wrote similar songs like “Till The Living End” and “Lightning Strikes Again”. Actually, this song does have elements of the Dokken songs and like all of the other songs, it has another unbelievable guitar solo from Marc Siglio.

The self-titled debut from Danger Danger was up next, again another recommendation from Mr Algorithm.

I have it on LP and I must say, I like this album and the guitar playing from Tony “Bruno” Rey (Saraya guitarist) on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 and Andy Timmons on tracks 3 and 7.

Along with Marc Soligo mentioned above and Bill Leverty from Firehouse, these guys could take a stock chord progression and make it sound exciting. And when it came time to shine, they sure knew how to make that moment great. In relation to Tony Rey, you really need to hear the work he did with Saraya. Great song writing, great playing and killer leads.

Also, all of these guys merged so many different styles like EVH tapping, Malmsteen sweeps, Bratta melodicism, Rhoads modal style of writing, Sykes Pentatonic lines and whatever blues artist influenced them into a cohesive, melodic, rocky, metally style.

“Naughty Naughty” and  “Under The Gun” is a tickling melodic one two combination punch. It’s not a hard punch like “Blackened” and “Justice For All” from Metallica but a playful punch.

My more metal mates couldn’t understand how I could sit down to learn “And Justice For All” and “Under The Gun” in the same sitting. To them, it was sacrilegious to like Danger Danger and Metallica. Hell, even James Hetfield fostered this attitude, as he had a guitar that said “Kill Bon Jovi” on it. To me, I was one of those fans of the early 80’s who liked metal and rock before the crowd splintered into the different genres made up by the record label marketing teams. So as long as it got my head moving, my foot tapping, I was in.

Going back to Hetfield, he was a rebel and we connected with him. He had his acne problems (we all had similar problems) which is why he started to grow his beard and goatee and he wasn’t a pretty boy, even though Lars probably wanted the band to become cultural stylists, which he finally did with the “Load” albums.

And Hetfield put his views out. He laid into Lars for his drumming, he spoke his mind in interviews and even “the Kill Bon Jovi” writing on his guitar was a viewpoint at the commercialism of music. But money trumps everything, and it changes everything. Even James Hetfield.

Anyway, I digress again. Back to Danger Danger.

“Saturday Nite” takes “Blackout” from Scorpions and makes it even more mainstream. It sounds like a million other songs about getting out and partying on a Saturday night, but if you haven’t heard any of those, well then this one sounds original.

“Don’t Walk Away” is one of my favourite tracks. Maybe because it sounds like “Hysteria”. Maybe because of the way Rey decorates the stock chord progression with little guitar licks and motifs here and there. Maybe because of the guitar solo, and when it all comes together, it sounds great.

“Bang Bang” is a dumb song lyrically. The only saving grace is the lead break from Rey and the vocal melody. All they need is better words. “Rock America” could have been on a Bruce Springsteen album, or even a Night Ranger album. Even though the song is a good listen, and it has a “be who you want to be, this is your life” message, by 1989, America had been rocked for nearly 8 years, and it was looking for a different rock. Then again, it didn’t stop me from listening to this song over and over again. And the lead break from Timmons is excellent.  

“Boys Will Be Boys” was a single, but it didn’t connect with me as the lyrics were crap. By 1989, most boys were “smoking the sky” as Corabi sang in the self-tilted Motley Crue album a few years later, and doing the rattlesnake shake at home and hoping that the girls wanted to have fun with them, because the boys didn’t have the balls to make the move.

In “Live It Up”, Bruno Ravel and Steve West tell us if we work hard from 9 to 5, the tax man will leave us with just enough to survive, but we shouldn’t worry about that, we got to live it up.

So what’s the message today from these two bands. Live it up, be who you want to be and if that’s not enough, that JD bottle is waiting to be consumed.


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

Kingdom Come and White Lion

“In Your Face” is a better album than the debut, but it didn’t do nowhere near the same business in sales. It gets me thinking how a lot of the bands who got platinum sales couldn’t back it up a few years later.

Maybe that whole payola deal the labels got done for, played a part in getting acts “fake” sales. Maybe it was too much Kingdom Come saturation (as this album came out a year after the debut) or the stupid interviews they did, denying they even knew who Led Zep was.

Those years of 1986 to 1989 are also those magical years of when hard rock and metal took over the mainstream, which all began in 1983.

The opening track “Do You Like It” is asking me if I like the fire of rock and roll burning out of control and I couldn’t get enough of it. So I went into the next track and “Who Do You Love” comes up next, a combination between Euro Pop and British Rock.

“The Wind” is a classic track, combining AC/DC (intro and chorus) with Led Zep (verses) and Lenny Wolf’s unique Euro pop sensibilities crossed with Robert Plant. And the wind was going to blow regardless if you wanted it too. And that place in time, the paradise you had is gone as quickly as it began, like the careers of many bands classed as “hair bands”.

“Gotta Go (Cant Wage A War)” talks about a red sky and the sound of guns bringing pain and bloody rain in a war a person is fighting in but they don’t know why.

“Highway 6” starts off as this country bluegrass twangy song, before it morphs into a fast rocker and for some reason I feel like I am listening to the Joe Lynn Turner version of Rainbow.

The lyric line “I lost a friend of mine who took the road, he felt the world had turned and left him cold” remains with me.

More so today than ever in the history of human existence, do people feel left out in the cold. They go to social media to see people enjoying what they don’t have and then they try to mimic that enjoyment themselves, all in a fools game to be like someone else.

“Perfect O” is pretty self-explanatory and “Just Like A Wild Rose” is all bluesy Led Zep in the verse, but when the Chorus kicks in, its brilliant.

And the lyric line of how the storm comes and goes slow, she will love him and go, just like a wild rose works.

“Overrated” sounds like it came from the pubs of Australia. “Mean Dirty Joe” has excellent music, an excellent vocal melody but terrible lyrics and a terrible title.

Finally the piece d resistance is “Stargazer” (I even did a whole blog post just on the song) and Lenny questioning, is there something more when it comes time to meet our maker.

“Big Game” from White Lion came out the same year, and it didn’t sell as much as “Pride” so the band went on the defensive and said that the label made them rush an album to capitalise on the success of “Pride”. To me, sales define if the album reached critical mass, however it doesn’t define the quality of the work.

While Kingdom Come sang about “Mean Dirty Joe” and a “Perfect O” in some songs, White Lion (and many say to their detriment) sang about Greenpeace, apartheid and domestic violence.

So “Big Game” is a big record with a big statement and it’s still relevant today than anything that appeared on “Pride” except for “When The Children Cry” and “Lady In The Valley”.

From the opening major key intro of “Goin Home Tonight” I felt part of the vinyl grooves. And “Dirty Woman” has music which is excellent, but the lyrics and the title let it down.

The piece d resistance in this case is “Little Fighter” and like the message in the song, every single soul who has been wronged, broken, abused or knocked down, has to rise again and show the world who they really are. If Mike Tramp never told anyone it was about the sinking of the “Rainbow Warrior” Greenpeace boat, it would have been the hit that made the album. And the message is still relevant today, but since we are surrounded by echo chambers, the rising up part is happening on all sides of left and right and centre whether you like it or not.

“Broken Home” doesn’t need explaining, except how good is the music from Bratta.

But like all 80’s hard rock acts, they kept on moving between subject matter about loneliness, broken homes, saving the planet to relationships and dirty women. And I struggled taking bands seriously when they moved between so many different topics lyrically. “Baby Be Mine” is a perfect example of great music, great guitar playing and terrible lyrics and a terrible title.

But when they go to “Living On The Edge” they nail it again. The lyrics resonate straight away. I had a pair of 501 blue jeans that had seen better days, and who didn’t want to pack their bags and ride into the sunset once upon a time. Then again, these days, kids want to live with their parents, and stay comfortable. And how many people graduated with degrees, but couldn’t get jobs for what they studied for.

“Hot For Teacher” got a re-write in “Let’s Get Crazy”. And I can live with this song and the lyrics, because it’s got a cool party vibe, a lot better than “Dirty Woman” and “Baby Be Mine”.

I can also live with “Don’t Say It’s Over” as a cool relationship gone sour song, and a guitar solo which needs to be heard. “If My Mind Is Evil” has one of my favourite riffs and vocal melodies to match, along with a guitar solo which is a song in its own right. But those lyrics are just dumb, dumb, dumb.

“Radar Love” as a White Lion song works perfectly and “Cry For Freedom” is brilliant and effective in its simplicity.

After the sales didn’t meet expectations, the band told the label to give them time and let them make the album they want. They did that with “Mane Attraction” and it didn’t even make a commercial dent, and the band splintered and when they walked away from each other, no one from the label called to see what happened.  

So the message for the day, from Kingdom Come and White Lion is “Life is short, so keep getting back up when relationships go bad or the family dynamic breaks down and don’t let people get the better of you and take away the freedom you have. Always test yourself with new horizons because when it’s time to meet your maker, you are out of time”.

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

Y and T and Hurricane

It was rainy outside and I needed some tunes, so I went to my trusty Spotify app.

And when I went to the home page Y&T’s “In Rock We Trust” album was staring at me to press play.

And when the opening F#m chords started, I felt the same way I did back in the day when I first heard “Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World”.

I believe it will happen. While most artists now say yes to everything and that involves playing private shows for corporations or oil sheiks, music will one day be the saviour. Wait, its already happened in “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure”, and how “God Gave Rock and Roll” to everyone.

Then again when Dave Meniketti started singing about kings and queens and presidents and Arab sheiks trying to take the world in hand, and fighting over chunks of sand, I wasn’t sure if it was 1984 or 2019. Not much has changed except that you don’t need to fight when you’re rocking right.

But the lines that resonated with me, are how we have the power to lift our voices up and scream.

So why aren’t we doing it?

Our ABC Newsroom got raided today by the Federal Police all because they didn’t like a story the station ran a few years ago on Afghanistan and our military abuses. And no one has raised an eyebrow. By tomorrow, its forgotten news. We cycle through things so fast that nothing lasts.

Then the drum intro starts for “Life, Life, Life” and bands like Slaughter built their career of writing songs like this. But Y&T were first. They were first at everything except mainstream success. And you can tell they wanted it, because they started chasing the mainstream between 1987 and 1991.

The lyrics of a bloody scene as a missile rushes in and the sound of the world coming to an end could have come from a thrash metal release. But this is Y&T.

That pre- chorus lyric of “it’s too late” captures the melody and the urgency of the era perfectly because even though the politicians are voted in by the people, they don’t work for the people. They work for whoever pays them.

Meniketti also told us to “Pull our head out of the sand” and “Break the chain of command”. 35 years later, we still haven’t listened. The chain of command has gotten even more out of reach, while we took the lies hook, line and sinker and spiralled into debt and became enslaved into the system. And so many of us will just say, well I guess that’s life, life, life.

“Masters and Slaves” continues the trend.

That harmony lead in “I’ll Keep On Believin” gets me coming back to the song, just to hear it. And Great White took the music from “Break Out Tonight”, changed the lyrics and  called it “Rock Me” to platinum success.

And while side one was political in nature to a certain degree, side two kicks off with bondage and relationships at the forefront in “Lipstick and Leather”. Personally, the music is rocking and heavy and more serious lyrics would have suited it a lot better.

But when the riff from “Don’t Stop Runnin’” kicks in, I was re-hooked. Although I don’t relate to the lyrics that bassist Phil Kennemore wrote, the chorus got me hooked and I transposed my own message to the song, to just keep on going, chasing my dreams and living my life on my terms and not anyone else’s. Of course the song, is not about that, but hey, we all form our own unique connection.  

And side two continues the theme about relationships, with “(Your Love Is) Drivin Me Crazy” (has a great intro/verse riff), “She’s A Liar” (forgettable) and “This Time” (a great ballad which was a big hit in the City Of Thunder Bay) .

For the record, “This Time” has got some pretty cool guitar playing, from the intro arpeggios to the lead breaks and how can you not like the big major key chorus.

And then I was “Over The Edge” with Hurricane, the band which featured the younger brothers of Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo from Quiet Riot in a role reversal. Robert Sarzo played guitar and Tony Cavazo played bass. I really liked this album. It’s got a perfect blend of rock, metal overtones and pop like sensibilities to connect.

“I hope tomorrow I will be stronger than today” is the lyric line which connected. Bravado is a big thing in male culture. We can’t show weakness, we can’t act like a sissy, we need to be strong and life has a funny way of making sure we are in situations we’re we show weakness.

And that harmony lead from Robert Sarzo nails it and then he goes into shred like mode.

The first version of “I’m Eighteen” I ever heard was here, on this album. “I get confused every day” is the lyric which I like, because, as you get older, you need to start making real choices, and I didn’t have enough information to make those choices, but I still made them, and man I was confused. But as the song goes, I’m eighteen and I like it.

“I’m On To You” has a simple groove and riff which gets me. The lyrics, don’t really do anything for me, but hey, this was the thing with 80’s bands that irked me; they would move between songs of rebellion, to songs about relationships and it wouldn’t flow. But the lead break was enough to get me listening and pressing repeat and the vocal melodies in the Chorus, you got to admit deserved a higher spot on the charts.

“Messin’ With A Hurricane” rocks melodically and I like the lyric line about scratching for what I got and how no one is going to take it away, cause if they mess with me, they are messing with a hurricane.

“Insane” showed how insane the band was to include it, but “We Are Strong” made up for it with its Boston like influences.

“Life is tough sometimes and it tries to get you down” and it always will, because from our first breath, we are fighting to stay alive. And that guitar solo from Sarzo, mimics Sambora’s “You Give Love A Bad Name” guitar solo and even the chord progressions are all pretty similar to songs which had a co-write by Desmond Child.

That palm-muted, fast picked opening line was enough to get me interested in “Spark In My Heart”. ‘I’ve got to be myself, learn to be a man”, along with “pack up my fears and leave them all behind” are the lyric lines which connected.

It’s a coming of age of when you need to separate from the family, the comforts of home and walk your own path. Hell, my Dad, didn’t talk to me for months when I moved out, yet, it was okay for him to cross an ocean and come to another country in order to “walk his own path”.

“Shout” should have been the closer. “You got to shout out to the world” and “don’t let anyone stand in your way” is the message. It was brilliant, and deserved to be heard.

Kelly Hansen on vocals is excellent and his talents have taken him all the way to Foreigner, a gig he has held since 2005. Robert Sarzo nailed it on guitar on this album, but was replaced by Doug Aldrich for the next album (which I purchased, but was pissed off because Sarzo was not on it) and is part of the band in its current incarnation. Tony Cavazo is underrated and in the shadows of his more famous brother, and Jay Schellen at that time was one of the finest hard rock drummers around and very underrated.

And the message for the day folks is don’t get comfortable and keep on running to find your own path, your own voice and to use that voice when you need to.

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

The Record Vault – A Perfect Circle

It was a 5 skulls out of 5 skulls review in the Hot Metal mag I used to buy, which at this time became known as “HM” as the term “Metal” was uncool to use. And since I’ve always agreed with that reviewer in the past, I forked out the $24 for the debut CD.

Also before I purchased, I knew that Tool vocalist, Maynard Keenen was doing vocals and how guitar technician to the alt-rock bands, Billy Howerdel had all the music written.

“The Hollow” starts the album and the first thing that hooks me is the vocal melodies of Maynard over the soundtrack like music from Howerdel and a song structure which doesn’t really follow convention, like the verses have different music in each verse, while the melody remains the same.

“Judith” has a groove riff which gets the head banging, and when the riff is repeated in the lower registers for the verses, I was ready to break desks. Then when the pre-chorus and chorus kick in, I was trying to break desks, but somehow my kung-fu skills deserted me. And that pre – chorus;

Fuck your God
Your Lord and your Christ
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
Still you pray, you never stray
Never taste of the fruit
You never thought to question why

“Orestes” is my favourite track on the album. The vocal melody from Maynard is like a lead guitar and the drumming in the song, especially in the outro by Josh Freese is a testament in its own right. And when the lead from Billy Howerdel comes in, its like a vocal melody as well.

Gotta cut away, clear away
Snip away and sever this
Umbilical residue that’s
Keeping me from killing you

“3 Libras” has this outro vocal line where Maynard sings “you don’t, you don’t see me” and the octave guitars from Howerdel support it, while drummer Freese continues his improvisation in outros.

“Thomas” is okay, but when that outro comes in from about the 2.49 mark, it elevates the song. “Renholder” has a “Diary Of A Madman” like intro which hooks me. Actually, the band used to merge “Diary Of A Madman” with “Love Song” from The Cure.

“Brena” which when sang is “Brenya” is another one of those atmospheric songs in the verses with a crashing chorus and a vocal line that sounds like a lead instrument. And again, those outros make you want to press repeat.

And the debut album was huge.

Then in 2003, came “Thirteenth Step”. And it was different, even more experimental and progressive. While the debut had the songs nice and concise and around the 4 minute mark, this one had longer songs.

Even the writing was different. The debut album had all the music done, and Maynard just added vocals. On this album, Howerdel was sending music ideas to Maynard while he was on tour with Tool for the excellent “Lateralus” album and they collaborated in that fashion.

“The Package” at 7 minutes in length kicks the album off and it’s a subdued opener, building on drum patterns each minute at a time. It was like a Tool song.

And I’m thinking, where is this all going?

And it’s not until the 4 minute mark that the distortion guitars come crashing in.

When artists follow their own path, and write what they want to write and not what a label A&R rep tells em, well, it’s what I love about music.

After been taken on a different journey with the opener, the “Weak And Powerless” track brings back some familiarity, as it’s a throwback to the debut album.

“The Noose” brings it back to feel of the opening track. But the chorus vocal melody from Maynard gives me goose bumps and sets it apart from the opening track.

“The Outsider” is my favourite track. I used to cover it, in a band I was in, between 2004 and 2005. Musically it was fun to play and the heaviness in the second verse, is head banging stuff.

I also like “Pet” purely for its heaviness in the intro and chorus and the quiet of the verses. And that lyric, “slave to the rhythm of a new world order”.

Then came eMOTIVe, a covers album, but done in a way which is unique to A Perfect Circle.

Like the opening track “Annihilation”, which is a cover from a hardcore band called “Crucifix” however it’s played very quietly via a piano and the vocals are whispered. Then they cover “Imagine” from John Lennon and it stands on its own as A Perfect Circle song.

Elvis Costello’s “Peace Love and Understanding” is unrecognisable by the “APC reinterpretation morphing” machine. Even “Whats Going On” from Marvin Gaye, gets the APC morph.

But the best song on the album is “Passive” which is an original and a co-write with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails.

And since then, it was a long gap between albums.

Billy Howerdel released a solo album under the band name, “Ashes Divide” which was excellent. Maynard was part of another Tool release in 2006 and then the long wait for a new Tool album started as well (which is scheduled for this year). In between, Maynard had another side project called “Puscifier”.

And the next APC album “Eat The Elephant” came out in 2018 and a few songs stuck out like “The Doomed”. But I havent committed too much time to it.

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

The Record Vault – Art Of Dying

I downloaded the “Vices and Virtues” (released in 2011) album via torrents and it connected with me straight away, so I had to have it in my collection.

If I can get through this I can get through anything

It’s a brilliant simple lyric from the song “Get Thru This”. The situation in front of you seems to get the better of you and not in a good way sometimes.

At the time, I had wrecked my foot in an accident and had surgery to put in screws and pins. I had a lot of swelling, limping and physio.

Then all the cartilage grew back, I was walking fine and suddenly the screws and pins started to cause problems. So I was under the blade again to get the pins and screws taken out and again I had more swelling, more limping and more physio.

To top it off, I had an ex band member put in claims with the publisher that they wrote songs which I wrote and somehow the onus was on me to prove it, not on the ones who put in the fake claims. Go figure.

And for some good news my wife told me she was pregnant with our third child.

I am doing the best I can with everything I am, Don’t you know nobody’s perfect,

Do you understand how hard I’m trying to do the best I can

From the song “Best I Can”.

I fear that social media is changing how people act. Facebook either has someone having fun with friends or on a holiday or out and about in town. And the people sitting at home feel they need to respond to that with their own posts of doing the same thing.

So the cycle of being perfect starts and when does it end. Because no one can be perfect forever.

“Die Trying” has a lyric line, “I would rather fail than not know”.

Don’t be scared people to try and fail. It’s the only way you grow and learn and become the person you should be.

An acoustic album came out in 2012, and then there was a four year wait between original music which is way too long in the current market because I lost the band in the noise and in the plethora of releases I was sinking my ears into.

But I did reconnect with the “Nevermore” (Acoustic) EP. I’m interested again, what comes next is up to the band.

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

Whitesnake – Flesh And Blood

David Coverdale has been releasing music for 45 years. And not just rehashes or remixes of old music (which he is also doing and doing a brilliant job at it, with all the demos and works in progress recordings), but new music as well.

I didn’t think I would enjoy “Flesh And Blood”, as I didn’t really get into “Forevermore”, expect for the title track and I can’t really remember a track from “Good To Be Bad”. But on “Flesh And Blood”, Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra deliver, and along with Coverdale, they wrote some good tunes.

Now if you are picking this up to hear Coverdale sing like he did in the 80’s, it ain’t gonna happen. His voice has aged and he sings to his constraints.

“Shut Up And Kiss Me” has got some serious riffage (the song is written by Reb Beach and David Coverdale) and as I mentioned, DC’s vocals are changing as he gets older, he still delivers a sleazy bluesy verse and an anthemic chorus. But it’s the music which hooks me in, and that section with the lyric line “when you stand close to me” is perfect.

“Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” also has some serious riffage. This one is written by Reb Beach, Joel Hoekstra and David Coverdale. The verses have this “When The Levee Breaks” groove which is addictive and DC’s vocals sound psychedelic as he builds up into another anthemic chorus. And the lead break on this one, is as good as any lead break from the 87 album.

“Always and Forever” is written by David Coverdale. The harmony guitars and the vocal delivery remind me of Thin Lizzy, and the connection to another artist, elevates the song straight away in my book.

“When I Think Of You (Colour Me Blue)” reminds me of “Wonderful Tonight” from Eric Clapton. And again, the connection to a previous song, elevates this song. Kudos to David Coverdale for letting his influences shine through.

“Trouble Is Your Middle Name” is written by David Coverdale and Joel Hoekstra and the opening riff is enough to hook me in, while police sirens scream in the background.

How much trouble could this woman be?

And that guitar solo in the song. You need to hear it to appreciate it.

“Flesh And Blood” reminds me of “Don’t Tread” from Damn Yankees and the riffage is brilliant and the lead breaks are AAA rated.

One thing that a lot of people probably don’t know is that Coverdale is a good guitarist who has created some of the most iconic riffs ever.

You know that main riff in “Mistreated” from Deep Purple, well that was David Coverdale. You know those riffs in “Crying In The Rain”, yep, that’s David Coverdale as well. And there are many more.

“Well I Never” is another tune written by Coverdale and Hoekstra, which sounds as good as any pop song out these days.

“Heart Of Stone” is written by Coverdale and it’s a modern sounding ballad.

“Sands of Time” is written by Reb Beach and Coverdale and it’s Arabic sounding influence will draw comparisons to “Kashmir” from Led Zeppelin, but man, this song is its own beast and one of the best Whitesnake tracks out there.

Lyrically, DC does what he normally does, talking about love and relationships.

But it’s the band that rocks, and the song writing that DC does with just Reb Beach, then with Joel Hoekstra and then with both and also by himself is what makes this album a varied and enjoyable listen.

I remember reading that Vivian Campbell left Whitesnake, because he saw that DC was only interested in writing with Adrian Vandenberg for the “Slip Of The Tongue” album. Then when Doug Aldrich joined, the “Good To Be Bad” and “Forevermore” album had song writing just by DC and Aldrich.

For this one it’s back to 1984 and before versions of Whitesnake, with DC writing songs on his own as well and with DC writing songs with the other members, like the good old days.