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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – The Butterfly Effect

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.

Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.

So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

“Final Conversation With Kings” is the third studio album by The Butterfly Effect.

On this album, the band moved into a more progressive style of writing, bringing in moods and different ways of organizing the songs structures. And the public liked it, as it went to number 3 on the Australian Charts.

But all was not well within the band.

The previous album “Imago” was completed with a lot of tension between the members.

On the “Imago” touring cycle, it got to the stage when Boge and band co-founder and guitarist Kurt Goedhart did not speak to one another for the entirety of their six-week American tour with Chevelle.

These tensions would resurface and affect the recording sessions for the “Final Conversation of Kings” album. Disagreements happened in relation to which songs to do, the limited budgeted time in the studio they had and the final song selection of the album.

The title is about conflict. The final conversation has happened and the Kings cannot resolve their issues, so the next step is war. The overall theme of the album is about conflict. The title is also a translation of a Latin phrase “Ultima Ratio Regum”.

The last minute of “Worlds On Fire” especially when vocalist Clint Boge starts singing, “I didn’t ask for this at all, when my back’s against the wall, and my face painted for war, I didn’t ask for this at all”.

It’s Brilliant.

And this song to be included as the opener caused tensions. Boge wanted it and the other members thought it was a closer.

“Final Conversation” is my favorite. It starts off slow and it just keeps building and when the section with the vocal line of “Just stay tonight and never leave, Cause in the morning we’re going home, Just stay here” is excellent.

“The Way” has a progressive feel to the song, there’s a sleazy sax on it and it feels like a crime noir soundtrack.

And those last two minutes.

You will notice a trend here, like a good novel that finishes each chapter in a cliffhanger making me want to explore further, TBE do the same with each song. They end em so powerful and so melodic, that I need to explore further.

In the “Window And The Watcher” that whole section from the minute thirty mark to the end.

Brilliant.

“…And The Promise Of The Truth” has this reggae rock feel in the verses with a memorable pre-Chorus and Chorus.

But the last 70 seconds of the song. Brilliant.

“In These Hands” kicks off with a pull off and hammer on lick before moving into a melodic lead which is like a riff.

The last 90 seconds.

Listen to it, from when it quietens down and rebuilds up.

The way “7 Days” starts off I was hooked straight away. That guitar riff, the volume swells and E-bow effects which also sounded reversed just add to the sadness the riff creates.

Like all the other songs, the last two minutes need to be heard. Boge on vocals uses his voice like an instrument, on some occasions it’s like a guitar lead.

“Rain” is more straight forward hard rock with a frantic drum groove.

And in the first chorus, Boge is more baritone in his delivery, hidden in the mix so when he sings “Let it rain down on me” when the chorus appears the second time, there’s impact.

There is this Muse and Tool like section as part of the interlude which gets the head banging.

Album closer, “Sum Of I” has a fast digital delay style riff. Vocally Boge is using his voice like an instrument, and when he starts to sing “how do we stop this again?”, well, it’s perfect.

Of course after this album touring cycle, the band broke up.

But they reconnected around 2017 and in 2018, they released their first new music in ten years, with the single “Broken”.

They went on tour around Australia and performed a run of sold-out shows. Their tunes and their style of music experienced a resurgence in Australia and The Butterfly Effect name was back in the spotlight.

And new music is on its way.

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

Escape Of The Phoenix

Release Day Friday and the new Evergrey album “Escape Of The Phoenix” dropped onto streaming services.

The line-up has been stable for almost a decade now and this sense of comradery is coming across in their music. While the subject matter is dark and serious and personal, I get a sense of fun and smiles when they are writing the riffs, like those “hell yeah” moments, when you come up with a good riff or an awesome lead.

Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the vocalist and guitarist. He is one of those unique voices that is instantly recognisable. His vocal phrasing moves between so many different styles. When he needs to rock out, he rocks out. When he needs to be aggressive, he gets aggressive. When he needs to be soulful, he gets a little bit of soul. And the dude can play that guitar at a maestro level.

And he has another maestro in Henrik Danhage as his co-guitarist. A true guitar hero if those words are applicable in 2021. If you don’t believe me, check out his lead break in “Eternal Nocturnal”.

Drummer Jonas Ekdahl lays down a solid foundation, while also contributing more than enough riffs for the songs as co-writer

I follow Evergrey on Twitter and during the recording of the album, they would mention when each stage was completed and then certain members would talk about their sound set up and other things. Bassist Johan Niemann spoke about his bass sound which was cool to see.

Rikard Zander has dramatically increased his scope within the band especially from when “Hymns Of The Broken” came out. Instead of following what other keyboardists do (which is play chords or follow the guitar lead), he’s taken to decorating the songs with sounds that take you places, from barren landscapes, to underground tunnels, to echoe’y’ church scapes and what not. In other words, the keys are unique enough that they are their own beast.

Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while second pre-single release “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.

“The Beholder” is a melodic metal cut, with the keyboard riff from Zander giving it a dystopian and barren feel. That section from three minutes, when it quietens down and builds back up.

Brilliant.

“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive. The piano riff is memorable and it remains with me, long after the song finishes. When the choir voices begin, it gives the track this ominous feeling. But then the band kicks in, and it becomes a different beast. Progressive, but that Chorus, goddamn, it’s so good.

“Escape Of The Phoenix” has a melodic chorus over a ferocious double kick drum pattern. “You From You” has this Michael Schenker like vibe in the intro. It’s a slower song, it cranks and it’s a favourite. They’ve done songs like this on previous albums.

Check it out.

Finally, a rant to their German based label.

Surely it can’t be that hard to post the physical art book/CD I purchased a bit earlier, so it gets to me on release day, even if it arrives a day or two earlier.

But they won’t, because they are scared of piracy and leaks and whatever other phantoms they could come up with, plus there is no way they can get the album to the fans a day or two before the actual release date. What an absurd idea they say.

So the labels punish the real fans.

What the labels seem to forget is the fans support the band, but when it comes to hearing the physical product on release day, it never arrives on time, always after the release day and sometimes weeks later in Australia.

Thank god for streaming services which allow me to listen to it on release day, otherwise if I had to wait for my physical copy to come, it would be another 10 days at best. In relation to buying the album from a record shop in Australia, let’s just say that Evergrey is not that large of a commercial band that stores in Australia would stock.

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

Native Tongue

I was going through a few old mags today. This one takes me back to April 1993, Nuno Bettencourt and Brian May are on the cover and the magazine is “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”.

And reading reviews with the benefit of hindsight is always interesting.

In this case, its “Native Tongue” from Poison.

Here is the word for word review in italics by Vic Garbarini on page 150.

PERFORMANCE: Chliched and confused.
HOT SPOTS: “Bring It Home”, “Fire And Ice”
BOTTOM LINE: New axeman Kotzen breathes some life into faltering popsters

CC DeVille era Poison may have been nothing but ultra-light L.A pop-metal posing as glam and looking for a good time but they had one saving grace – they were fun.

Deville claims he wrote most of their catchiest material and his departure last year left the band without their linchpin just as the Seatle crew set off the alternative revolution. That left bands like Warrant and Poison sounding more marginal than ever.

“Native Tongue”, Poison’s first post DeVille effort, is a mixed blessing at best. The good news is that guitarist Richie Kotzen, when he manages to avoud the usual post-Eddie cliches, plays with a fluid volatility in the Jimi/Eddie/Randy tradition that lends desperately needed weight to the sound.

Unfortunately Bret Michaels posturing vocalsmake Joe Isuzu sound deeply sincer, whole the band’s cliched progressions and by the numbers choruses tend to disspiate Kotzen’s fiery eloquence. But when they hand the new guitarist the reins, as on the crunch’n’funk of “Bring It Home”, the band sounds fresh and renewed.

Who the fuck is Joe Isuzu?

That was the question I had after reading this review because I was buying this album regardless of whatever the review said.

I have Google today, but back in 93, all i had was this magazine and his name. So Google tells me that he’s a fictional salesman in a series of ads for Isuzu. In the ads, Joe Isuzu is a pathological liar who makes outrageous claims about the cars.

While Brett looked the pretty boy, he did have a blues soul voice and Kotzen’s blues rock playing definitely gets Michaels into gear on this album.

1993 reviews had a bias against 80s bands and were very unkind to 80’s artists known as glam metallers or hair metallers.

Case in point is the gospel influenced “Stand”. If U2 released it, the review would be glowing but Poison released it and its cliched.

This album is a must listen for any Poison fan. And since I’m a fan of Kotzen, and a fan coming into this album, his playing is excellent and I rate this album as one of the best guitar albums of that year.

This band didnt survive past this album and while Poison sold a lot of albums in the 90’s via their “Greatest Hits” release, they would be a shadow of their former glory, even after CC DeVille returned.

Make sure you check out the Hot Spots tracks first as I 100 percent agree, they are the best and then explore the rest.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music

The Ultimate Sin

The people who run the Ozzy Osbourne machine are trying their best to kill “The Ultimate Sin”.

By 1986, the legend of Ozzy Osbourne was growing. After telling the world he wrote the “Bark At The Moon” album with one finger on the piano, the metal community waited with anticipation as to what magic Ozzy’s finger would create for the follow up.

Ozzy was in rehab once again and the people that held it all together were Bob Daisley and Jake E Lee.

So coming into “The Ultimate Sin” album process, the Osbourne camp needed ideas. Jake E. Lee got burned on the song writing credits for the “Bark At The Moon” album, so he demanded a contract up front before he even started writing.

By the time Ozzy came out of rehab, Jake had already compiled 12 songs and half of em ended up on the album.

Apart from “Shot In The Dark” (which is credited to Phil Soussan and Ozzy Osbourne) all of the lyrics on “The Ultimate Sin” are written by Bob Daisley.

Daisley had a falling out and Ozzy fired him.

Of course, the Osbourne’s didn’t credit Daisley for his song writing contributions on the initial 1986 pressing of the album, though this was corrected on subsequent pressings. So there are 500,000 albums out there that don’t credit Bob Daisley.

Daisley and Lee are not their favourite people, but that doesn’t mean you screw em over for their royalties.

Then again, “Shot In the Dark” got the glory as the lead single and is probably the reason why the album is not available on CD anymore depending on who you believe. Overland brothers vs Osbourne, or Soussan vs Osbourne, or Overland vs Soussan.

At one stage in the late 90’s, this album was deleted and you couldn’t get any new copies. One of the Australian mags mentioned it’s because of Sharon Osbourne’s contract disputes with Bob Daisley and Jake E.Lee. Maybe it was the authorship issue of “Shot In The Dark”.

The Ultimate Sin

The drum intro from Castillo sounds like paper skins, but as soon as the riff kicks in from Lee, it’s head banging time.

Check out the solo.

Secret Loser
Killer Of Giants

Both tracks are from Ozzy Osbourne’s forgotten “Ultimate Sin” album released in 1986.

Who remembers the movie “The Wraith”?

Charlie Sheen stars in it, as a person who comes back to life to avenge his death at the hands of a car gang (who got away with the murder). He kills his murderers by racing each gang member to death. Well, “Secret Loser” appears during one such car race and it connected right away with me.

How good is the riff?

Trapped in a lonely body
I’m losing control
Can’t show my emotions
And I’m losing my soul
Could it be that I’m obsessed with feeding my disease
I couldn’t make it known the hidden things no one sees

Daisley was pretty good at writing autobiographical stories of Ozzy. I think this one is no different, especially the line about how Ozzy is obsessed with feeding the disease and in this case, the disease is the persona of Ozzy being constantly intoxicated, drugged out and doing something publicly embarrassing.

I can understand that what you see
You think is real
But underneath the surface is a wound
That cannot heal

It’s almost like being a fly on a wall in a shrink therapy session. Just imagine the big bad rock star with an image of decadence and debauchery breaking down within the confines of four walls and a chair.

“Killer Of Giants” is as good and as classic as “Diary of A Madman” in my view. Musically, it’s excellent. It’s got that acoustic introduction, social and political lyrics courtesy of Bob Daisley, a great chorus and excellent guitar playing from Jake E. Lee, plus a killer vocal melody from Ozzy.

If none of us believe in war
The can you tell me what the weapon’s for
Listen to me everyone
If the button is pushed
There’ll be nowhere left to run

Daisley, grew up with the threat of the button being pushed. For the generation of today, the threat of nuclear war is in the past, forgotten.

Killer of giants threatens us all
Mountains of madness standing so tall
Rising so proudly it has nowhere to fall
This killer of giants

At the moment our leaders are having a war of words with “rogue nations”. While sticks and stones hurt, a barrage of words can undo all truth.

“Lightning Strikes” borrows from Crazy Train and its instantly a favorite.

It’s 35 years old and no re-release has happened. But the fans don’t forget.

It was my entry point to Ozzy.

Play it loud.

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

The Record Vault – Casting Crowns

Once upon a time, in the early 2000’s, the area where I lived had some strange phenomena going on. A radio station frequency I used to tune in for pop rock was also used by a Christian station.

If the radio was at the front of the house, it played Christian music and towards the back of the house it played the normal pop rock.

For some reason, the same FM frequency was used for both stations, and the only way it was separated was via geographical means. But if you lived on that geo border like I did, you just got a blend.

And that’s how Casting Crowns came into my life.

There’s a lot of Jesus, a lot of Lord, a lot of Him and a lot of the Father. Sometimes too much, but hey, that’s their thing. Musically the band is excellent and singer Mark Hall, has one of the best voices from the modern times.

Casting Crowns

The debut, which I got after “Lifesong” and “The Altar And The Door”. Released in 2003 and super successful with double platinum awards from the RIAA for sales in the U.S.

“What If His People Prayed” kicks off the album.

“Voice Of Truth” is like a Journey piano ballad musically in the verse with lyrics derived from various Bible texts. But the Chorus is Arena Rock.

“Who Am I” is another piano like ballad that is basically a rock song. At almost 61 million streams on Spotify, it’s one of their hits.

“American Dream” is like those early 2000 US pop anthems, just think of “Teenage Dirtbag”.

His American Dream is beginning to seem
More and more like a nightmare
With every passing day
“Daddy, can you come to my game?”
“Oh Baby, please don’t work late.”
Another wasted weekend
And they are slipping away

Build your own dream, and don’t let the factories of school and universities condition you into believing that you are here just to get a job. You are here to expand your mind and live the life you want to live.

“Here I Go Again” has an addictive piano riff to kick it off.

“Glory” has an intro riff that could have come from “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

The vocals of Mark Hall are so underrated. Very Bob Seger like.

Lifesong

Released in 2005.

“Lifesong” starts off with a guitar riff that reminds me of The Edge.

But it was “Praise You In The Storm” and “Does Anybody Here Her?” that came across on the radio, that hooked me in as a fan.

“Love Them Like Jesus” and “Set Me Free” both have piano riffs in the intro which are memorable, as they go deep into a broken home and depression.

Make sure you check out the Chorus to “Set Me Free”.

It hasn’t always been this way
I remember brighter days
Before the dark ones came
Stole my mind
Wrapped my soul in chains

I always have doubt. I can even procrastinate forever because of doubt. But even those feelings change with time. But some don’t get out of the funk. Depression is a killer.

The Altar And The Door

Released in 2007 and the platinum run of albums continues. It was probably one of my favourite rock records for the year.

What a great opener “What This World Needs” is. It reminds of Bon Jovi and “Hey God” for some reason.

What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society

Even though the song is about the world needing a saviour, there is so much truth in the verses. The politicians peddling lies got even worse in a decade after this release.

What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can’t see the difference
And it’s the difference that sets the world free

Our society is built to make us all fit a stereotype, shave off our nice little edges that make us different. Same, same is good for business and governments. Viewpoints and different ideas aren’t good, until you change the world.

“Every Man” brings out a Beatles like riff. “Slow Fade” is excellent. “East To West” is also excellent.

Until The Whole World Hears

Released in 2009. And the platinum records continue.

The title track opens the album, with a boogie and a riff that wouldn’t be out of place on any modern rock album.

We’ll sing until the whole world hears

Amen to that.

There is a bit of Coldplay here in “Joyful, Joyful”. And there’s a bit of One Republic in “At Your Feet”.

“Holy One” rocks out of the gate, with a recognizable distorted riff.

Come To The Well

Released in 2011. This one is Gold and on its way to Platinum. It’s not on Spotify for some strange reason.

Like all the other albums, it starts off with a rocking anthem. In this case it’s “Courageous”.

“City On The Hill” sounds like the rock songs doing the rounds on the charts. “Already There” is another nod to their U2 and Coldplay influences.

“Spirit Wind” is like those songs from the heartland. “Angel” is one of those ballads they do so well and “My Own Worst Enemy” brings some rock and grunt and distortion to the mix.

Thrive

It’s a great cover.

Released in 2014. This one is also Gold and on its way to Platinum. With each album they kept adjusting their sound a little bit. This one has that country rock vibe along with some of that contemporary rock doing the charts like Imagine Dragons.

Stand out tracks are “Thrive”, “All You’ve Ever Wanted”, “Just To Be Held”, “You Are The Only One”, “This Is Now” and “Love You With The Truth”.

And my favourite is the Springsteen like “House Of Their Dreams”. It’s got that “My Hometown” vibe.

There are so many moods and emotions here around the music and the melodies.

They’ve released a few more albums after this, but like all things, you fall in and out with artists and I sort of lost track of them after “Thrive”.

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

1985 – Part 12

I was always on the lookout for bands that were not part of the mainstream magazine press when it came to metal and rock music.

Waysted – The Good The Bad The Waysted

It’s Pete Way from UFO but Paul Chapman on guitars steals the show. His riffs and leads are excellent. Fin Muir on vocals has a bit of UDO in his style and the grit he brings, works.

“Hang Em High” brings the heavy blues rock to the 80’s with a bit of a George Lynch style inspired verses. The vocals bludgeon their way and it’s the perfect anti-hero to the MTV stars of the day.

“Hi Ho My Baby” delivers the classic rock sound of the 70’s, more Free like, but people would say it’s more like AC/DC.

“Heaven Tonight” takes a bit of Journey from the piano department to deliver the songs foundation, but the song rocks away for a ballad, with a Rod Stewart like vocal and Chapman on guitar delivers the riffs and the melodic leads.

Check out the arpeggio intro to “Manuel” and when it kicks into overdrive, its melodic rock heaven and the last 90 seconds is a section which reminds me of the piano riff in “Love To Love” and the guitar solo. It’s perfect, allowing UFO to influence the new.

“Rolling Out The Dice” sounds like a song The Cult would write in a few years’ time.

“Land That’s Lost The Love” could be one of the best UFO songs that didn’t appear on an UFO album. Chapman delivers a verse riff straight from the gutters of the Sunset Strip, but the Chorus, is classic UFO, a vocal melody which is catchy over a guitar melody. Make sure you check out the lead break from Chapman.

Overkill – Feel The Fire

I liked the logo as it was a tweak on the Iron Maiden font. But I never got any of their stuff in the 80’s because my budget was limited, they virtually got no promotional push in Australia, which meant their albums wouldn’t be in stores and they had a lot of competition.

“Raise The Dead” is pure speed metal. The band is labelled as one of the earlier thrash pioneers, but thrash is a generic term.

Check out the main verse riff and see if you can name the song that inspired it?

“Rotten To The Core” blasts out of the gate like “The Four Horsemen”. A classic and still part of their live show today.

Check out the lead break to “There’s No Tomorrow”. Its guitar hero worthy from Bobby Gustafson.

“Hammerhead” has a riff in it, that Metallica would use on “Disposable Heroes”. And the lead break again from Gustafson is shred’a’licious. The title track “Feel The Fire” is another favourite. It’s got riffs and leads and it will get you playing air guitar. There is a section which is almost “Over The Mountain” like.

Nasty Savage – Nasty Savage

It’s funny how metal musicians got labelled as drunks, drug takers, anti-social and what not. But everyone seems to forget that most of the musicians of bands who had deals but never made it big were serious players.

Nasty Savage live in some weird world of speed metal, hard rock and technicality.

1985 was probably the last year when genres didn’t matter and artists incorporated so many different musical elements into their music. Afterwards, labels would hear bands like Nasty Savage and tell them to change their style to suit a genre which they created and could market.

On Metal Blade, signed by Brian Slagel after their 1984 demo “Wage Of Mayhem”, started doing the rounds on the underground circuit.

“No Sympathy” has this dramatic ominous symphonic music for 50 seconds, before the intro riff kicks in. It’s more technical than the speed metal of early thrash metal. Mercyful Fate comes to mind immediately.

“Gladiator” is more of a hard rock tempo, with a head banging riff. Vocally, Nasty Ronnie is more theatre like, mixing, King Diamond falsetto’s with baritone chainsaw barks. If you like polished hard rock style vocals, then this isn’t for you.
I read a live review in which Nasty Ronnie even smashed a TV set on his head.

At 2 minute the song changes feel before it moves into the solo.

Other tracks are “Fear Beyond the Vision” (listen to the ball busting falsetto’s in the Chorus) and the garage sounds of “Metal Knights”. Check out the lead break in this one. Guitarists Ben Meyer and David Austin have shown, four songs in that they are ambitious and progressive in their song writing.

“Dungeon Of Pleasure” has a great intro riff. “Psycopath” has an intro which is just bass and drums before the harmony melody of the guitars comes in. And then it goes into this demented and chromatic riff.

Lizzy Borden – Love You To Pieces

I judged Lizzy Borden on their logo that they would be like Venom. I know it’s a terrible comparison. So when I pressed play and I heard the hard rock and heavy metal riffs with a vocal style which was more hard rock than anything, I was like goddamn, I’m never judging things by their cover again.

Lizzy Borden is maybe the pre-cursor for Ghost.

Check out tracks like “Council For The Cauldron” for the Iron Maiden like riffs and the melodic lead breaks.

“Psycopath” has this “Friday On My Mind” style feel, just a bit more metal like and some extra additions to make it different. “Love You To Pieces” is a heartfelt ballad about you know, ripping up your loved one into pieces.

And the piece d’resistance is “American Metal”. It more or less sums up the different types of guitar riffs from the metal bands. There are riffs influenced by EVH, Rhoads/Lee, Crosby/DeMartini and Tipton/Downing.

220 Volt – Mind Over Muscle

I heard these guys well into the first 2000’s decade. I really like their merge of early Scorpions, NWOBHM and acts like UFO, Deep Purple and Rainbow. Think of how Europe sounded on their first two albums before “The Final Countdown” merged with Malmsteen’s metal opus “Marching Out”. It’s melodic, its metal, its rock and it works.

This album continues the great work set up on their self-titled debut in 83 and its follow up, “Power Games” in 84 and the song “Power Games” appears on this album and its one of my favourite tracks on this album.

Stand out tracks apart from “Power Games” are “Electric Messengers”, “Secret Dance (Xymania)”, “Blessed By The Night”, “Halloween” and “Mind Over Muscle”.

Crank it and check out the guitar playing.

Faith No More – We Care A Lot

How good is that bass and drum groove from Billy Gould and Mike Bordin to kick off “We Care A Lot”?

Then the keys from Roddy Bottum come in and Mr Jim Martin brings in riffs, here and there to decorate. Vocalist Chuck Mosley does his street rap and street singing style which works for me, over the progressive song structures created by the rest of the band.

Then Mr Martin wrote a nice acoustic classical/flamenco piece called “Jim”.

“Why Do You Bother” also has those drum and bass grooves with the keys over it, which makes the unique Faith No More sound.

“Pills For Breakfast” has a metal like riff and groove which gets me to pick up the guitar and learn it. They didn’t have time to write lyrics. So the music takes it away. And tracks like “As The Worm Turns” and “New Beginnings” have some great musical moments.

And this brings to end the 1985 series after 12 posts. I am off to the year 2000, for the thirteenth and last post of that series.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – February 13 to February 19

4 Years Ago (2017)

It was busy during this period as I got my mojo back for writing.

I started writing a series of “Score Card” posts a few years before this and within three years I rechecked in with some of the artists I wrote about to see what was happening with them.

Because three years in the music business is a long time.

Bands like Vanishing Point, Harem Scarem, Rev Theory, Adrenaline Mob, Lizzard, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Audrey Horne, Stryper, Nonpoint, Breaking Benjamin, Sound Of Contact and Kingdom Come all got mentioned.

I wrote about how fast we move on to other things. The BlackBerry was “the phone” with emails and phone capabilities and then iPhone’s launch with apps in 2007 changed the game.

People wanted to do more with their phones and that more came from apps which put tools into the hands of their users. Developers and companies rose up all around the world, to create apps for the iPhone. But they couldn’t do the same on the Blackberry.

In 2007, Blackberry was number 8 in global smartphones sold. By 2017 it had zero market share. The speed at which people abandon one thing and move on to another is huge. Remember MySpace. Remember Yahoo. Remember dot-matrix printers. Remember film cameras.

The Pirate Bay (TPB) was about to turn 14 years this year. From its inception, it was a facilitator, spreading the disruption caused by Napster years earlier to even larger audiences. It showed the entertainment industries how they needed to change.

But they didn’t change and it took companies like Netflix and Spotify to make this happen. And they did it by using the same technology made famous by The Pirate Bay. While Netflix realised that the money is in producing your own content, Spotify and other streaming providers have not.

Licensing content from someone is not a satisfactory business model. Just ask HBO, formerly known as Home Box Office. Their early business model was all licensed content and they lost money year after year, while the movie studios got richer. It wasn’t until HBO went into original content, that they started making some serious cash.

TPB stood strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. It has stood firm against government officials (loaded up in lobbyist dollars) trying to prosecute it. It was taken down, raided and it still survives. And it keeps on innovating even when court orders become the new normal, requesting ISP’s to block the web address or domain registries to deny any applications for TPB domains. Even in it’s home country of Sweden, court appeals and cases are still ongoing. Google was even pressured to alter (in my view censor) its search algorithm, so TPB doesn’t come up.

But TPB is still alive. It has become a vessel for people to access content they normally wouldn’t have access too. In the process, it has made the world a better place.

Metal music in general has grown to all corners of the world. Suddenly, every country has a metal scene and the larger metal bands that have the means to tour are suddenly hitting markets they’ve never hit before.

The high rates of software piracy in Eastern Europe caused an IT skills explosion.

The high rates of music creation software piracy led to the electronic dance explosion coming out of Europe.

The Pirate Bay spread via word of mouth. It didn’t embark on a scorched earth marketing policy. Maybe there’s lessons there for all.

And I went down memory lane for a post called “In The Name Of Metal”, writing about the record shop days and how all the bands I like got labeled as Metal.

If you wanted to find their music, you had to go to the heavy metal section of the record shop. Even Bon Jovi could be found in the metal section.

And I wrote about Metal history and how it was to be a metal fan, in the 80s.

8 Years Ago (2013)

The labels were trying to destroy radio by getting it to pay more. And if listeners went to streaming services, that would be okay for the labels because they get most of the streaming money, pus they have a percentage stake in these organizations.

I was cranking the Journey catalogue and I couldn’t resist not writing about how similar “Seperate Ways” and Measage Of Love” are similar in the Chorus.

I went 2000 plus words on a Mane Attraction review from White Lion that covers some back story, the year 1991, the competition, some hindsight views from artists after 1991 and the album review itself.

And what it means to be the main songwriter in a band and other band members wanting a songwriting credit for doing sweet fa.

And finally I was pissed about CDs.

Lyric booklets became non existent and if they did come with lyrics it would be something like fitting the lyrics of 12 songs on two pages.

We still had those stupid FBI Anti Piracy Warnings.

Did the labels and the FBI seriously believe that these labels work or deter people from piracy?

You couldn’t even skip those ads on DVDs.

Well that’s my DoH history for the week?

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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – The Angels

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.

Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.

So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

I’m sure you’ve all heard their song “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Fave Again”. If you haven’t the live version of the song has the following words;

Am I Ever Gonna See Your Fave Again
No way, get fucked, fuck off

It came out in 1977, but it really became it’s own beast in the 80s and when it appeared on their live album “Live Line” released in 1987, it’s legendary status within Australia was certified and it re-entered the charts.

Their earlier albums had production from Young and Vanda. The same dudes who worked with AC/DC and the same dudes from The Easybeats and of course George Young is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm.

After the success of “Live Line”, the Australian market was primed for a new album.

“Beyond Salvation” was released in Australia in early June 1990 and reached No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

The first single “Let the Night Roll On” came out six months prior to the album’s eventual release.

The second single “Dogs Are Talking” had tracks from young bands who would be touring in the support slots as the B Sides. What a brilliant idea to promote other acts. That’s how I came across Baby Animals.

The U.S. version of the album, released under the name “The Angels From Angel City” (seriously I never understood why US label reps would do that to Aussie bands), featured a vastly different track listing.

It’s made up of 4 songs from this album, “Dogs Are Talking”, “Rhythm Rude Girl”, “Let the Night Roll On” (the only 3 songs to also appear on the Australian edition), and “Junk City” (Australian single B-side to “Let the Night Roll On”).

And re-recordings of 5 classic Angels songs, “City Out of Control” (Night Attack, 1981), “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” (The Angels, 1977), “I Ain’t the One” (Face to Face, 1978), “Who Rings The Bell” (The Angels’ Greatest, 1980), and “Can’t Shake It” (No Exit, 1979).

But the album that survives today is the Aussie edition.

But the album divided the fan base.

Lyrically they switched to writing about loose women and the rock and roll spirit, which was a far cry from their more political/social consciousness and punk style lyrics from earlier albums.

For me, they filled the void in between AC/DC albums.

And if you want to hear rock in the vein of AC/DC then check out “Let The Night Roll On”, “Back Street Pick Up” and “Dogs Are Talking”.

“Rhythm Rude Girl” still has that pub rock spirit but it’s a bit more mature musically within the blues. There is this bass and drum groove in the song with some slide guitar licks. Its excellent.

The band still does the rounds these days with Dave Gleeson from The Screaming Jets on vocals after Doc Neeson passed away in 2014.

Check em out.

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

2000 – Part 12

Wow, 12 posts on the Year 2000. And one more to come after this.

Sammy Hagar – Ten 13

I was just listening to his “Lockdown 2020” album released with “The Circle”. Cant say I’m a fan. It’s not the album I wanted to hear from him.

Then again, how can you not listen to a record featuring Sammy Hagar?

Check out “Let Sally Drive”. The riffs, the vocal melodies and that Acca Dacca vibe.

Then “Serious JuJu” kicks off with a Tool like vibe/feel in the riffs and the variety between the songs is intoxicating.

“All politicians speak in jive, they lie to keep the lie alive”

It’s not just the politicians these days. A lot of people are trying to get ahead by putting down others.

“The Message” is one of those slower type rockers. Think of “Right Now”. It still rocks as hard as it rolls.

“Little Bit More” has Sammy showing all those Alt Rockers how it’s really done.

“Protection” is “Humans Being”, with a bit more soul and boogie instead of the fast paced rocker that Van Halen delivered. And Sammy is singing about how we all need “protection from the system”.

Check it out.

U2 – All You Can’t Leave Behind

It was the perfect time for a comeback and they delivered.

“Beautiful Day” is classic U2. Musically, they had returned to the well of rock, after dabbling in electronica, techno and dance synths previously. It came out in Australia, just after the Olympics finished and it was a beautiful time.

I know a lot of us sang it as “it’s a beautiful day when you got bills to pay”, smiling and laughing while we sung it.

“Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” sounds like one of those soul blues rock tunes that hangs around for a while. It’s slower in tempo, almost ballad like, but it still rocks for me.

“Elevation” continues the knockouts and “Walk On” makes it four from four. “Kite” at track 5 and its melancholic mood captures me. Five from five.

And this album was a high peak for the band.

“All That You Can’t Leave Behind” went to number one in 32 countries and won seven Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Album.

Bono kept on saying in interviews how U2 was “re-applying for the job of ‘biggest band in the world'” with this album. And in my view they succeeded.

Oasis – Standing on the Shoulder of Giants

It still did good business in Australia, coming in at number 6 on the ARIA charts.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing for Noel Gallagher, who didn’t want to make the album as he was devoid of inspiration, and had no reason or desire to make music, but Liam kept pushing him to write as the band needed a new album to go on tour.

And for an album which Noel sees as uninspired, I think it’s pretty good.

“Put Yer Money Where Yer Mouth Is” has this “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheep” riff and a “Roadhouse Blues” vocal line, which connected with audiences. It’s one of my favourites from the album. “Go Let It Out” wouldn’t be out of place on earlier Oasis album.

“Gas Panic!” is an underrated gem, exotic and progressive in feel and atmospherics. At almost 7 minutes long, its anti-pop.

“Where Did It All Go Wrong?” could have crossed over onto the country rock charts. Hell, I will even call it Southern Rock. “I Can See A Liar” starts off with an AC/DC style riff before it moves into the psychedelic rock from The Beatles.

The album closes with the six minute and thirty seconds “Roll It Over”, another melancholic track which percolates slowly. Make sure you stick around for when the guitar solo starts and the gospel singers kick in. It’s worth it.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Machina/The Machines of God

All albums that came after “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie” would be compared to those albums instead of standing on their own. Regardless, the album still did good business in Australia and most major music markets. But poor business when compared to the other albums.

“The Everlasting Gaze” is a bloody good song. Listen to that intro riff, which re-appears in the verses and don’t tell me it’s not metal.

“Stand Inside Your Love” is different, more Brit Pop like The Cure and “Heavy Metal Machine” has this massive blues rock groove, all fuzzed up and heavy as lead.

“Glass And The Ghost Children” feels like a Neil Young song, when he went electric and all fuzzed up and experimented. “This Time” is one of their signature ballads. “Blue Skies Bring Tears” percolates at a slow tempo.

Overall, “Machina” at that point in time was the second lowest-selling Pumpkins album. Their label made sure they told them the same. Maybe it was the reason why they broke up.

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who returned to the band for this album, said it was like watching your kid get straight A’s for ten years, and suddenly flunk out of school. Billy Corgan, said the album wasn’t heavy enough or alternative enough to compete with Korn and Limp Bizkit, plus it was a concept story which nobody understood.

But their viewpoints are based on sales, not art.

For “Machina”, Billy Corgan delivered a piece of musical theatre, that is still waiting for the massive double album reissue in the way it was always meant to be.

Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R

As soon as the bass groove starts of for “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer”, I was hooked. Of course a certain Dave Grohl used that same pattern for the Foo Fighters.

“Better Living Through Chemistry” feels like a cut from “The Tea Party”. And I like it. Make sure you check out the riff in the middle of the song. “Tension Head” is another that has a riff that gets me to pick up the guitar. “I Think I Lost My Headache” is a lost cut from Black Sabbath.

Porcupine Tree – Voyage 34

Only four songs are on the album. Each one at least 10 minutes or more. Phase 1 kicks it off and Phase 4 ends it. You can guess the song titles of the other two songs.

And after the spoken intro which mentions participants eating sugar cubes laced with LSD, the Pink Floyd inspired single note echo riff kicks off. And the themes of experimenting on humans while they consume drugs continues. It’s not the album I wanted from em at this point in time, but I am a fan of the courage Steve Wilson had to experiment and push boundaries.

Catherine Wheel – Wishville

“Sparks Are Gonna Fly” has this wah wah tremolo riff to kick it off, before it explodes without any effects. Its blues rock and its foot stomping. “What We Want To Believe In” has a fuzz wah drenched intro lead to kick off the song, and I like.

“All Of That” is a favourite. So is “Idle Life”. They are both slower tempo, ballad like.

Spiritual Beggars – Ad Asra

The retro looking cover and band name graphic was good enough to get me interested. Like QOTSA and other acts that brought back the heavy rock from the 70’s, Spiritual Beggars did it Euro style.

And Michael Amott on guitars and founder of the band after he left Carcass, is a true guitar hero when it comes to riffs and leads.

If the name sounds familiar, he also founded Arch Enemy and if you read his interviews he talks very highly of his influences like Ritchie Blackmore, Glenn Tipton, Adrian Smith, Tony Iommi, Frank Marino, Michael Schenker, Kerry King, Dave Mustaine, and Uli Jon Roth.

Opener “Left Brain Ambassadors” is a heavy blues rock tune.

“Wonderful World” has a verse which drips Sabbath and a Chorus that comes from Swedish pop and a solo section which is brilliant.

The outro solo section in “Sedated” needs to be heard, if you haven’t heard it already.

“Angel Of Betrayal” is your typical 70’s Hard Rock tunes, more like Blue Oyster Cult.

And there isn’t a bad song on the album.

There are the fast riffs (“Save Your Soul” comes to mind as I type this), the melodic riffs (“Per Aspera Ad Astra”) and the slower heavier than lead riffs (“Until the Morning” comes to mind, which has an acoustic opening and then a big heavy riff that reminds me of Sabbath. The vocals are distorted and perfect.)

And for a closer, check out “Mantra” is it plods along acoustically with an eerie keyboard before it explodes like “Stairway To Heaven” explodes.

Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes – Live at the Greek

Chris Robinson said he “didn’t have fun doing it”, but regardless of what he thinks, the team up of Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes is brilliant. And Robinson actually does a wonderful job on the vocals. Even though he didn’t have fun doing it.

It’s a shame that contractual issues stopped a lot of The Black Crowes songs from being released officially, so what we get are a lot of Led Zep classics and some standard blues songs.

“Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is still a favourite for me.

Check it out.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Crooks Continued

The “playing live” income stream is non-existent at the moment. But it’s not just artists who are losing out.

Venues also make money by having live music and collection agencies also make money by charging venues a license fee which allows the venues to have live music.

But the collection agencies feel they should be making more money in a pandemic from live performances.

PRS is an organisation in the UK which collects and distributes artists’ royalties. And they thought it was a great idea (a lot of sarcasm here) to introduce a new fee for livestreams because “hey how could they miss out and not get a slice of the pie”.

As the Vice article states;

Livestreams with a revenue below £250 will need to pay a flat rate of £22.50 for this licence, which doubles to £45 for revenues between £251 and £500. This means that for those hosting an online event with a revenue of £250 or less, a minimum of 9 percent will go to PRS.

So do you reckon the independent artists are happy about this cash grab from PRS.

And what makes it worse, artists need to wait at best, six months before they receive any royalties less admin fee from these collection agencies.

And the new tax is basically a punishment to the grassroots artists who would have a small turnover.

Standard