Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Disruption

When something new happens, the organisations who don’t want to change at first ignore it, then they protest against it and eventually they accept it.

But it takes time.

Remember Kodak, who had a billion dollar business selling film for cameras, and didn’t really want to cannibalise those sales and by 2012, when all of their digital patents expired, they filed for bankruptcy, to emerge a few years later, a much leaner and smaller company.

Well, today, cinema complex owners are refusing to screen movies created by Netflix, because they believe Netflix cannibalises their business. Film festivals are refusing to consider Netflix films because the festival organisers don’t want to upset their main sponsors, which are the traditional movie studios and cinema organisations.

Read the story, about how “The Irishman” from Martin Scorsese, is being ostracised because Netflix picked up the financing when no movie studio wanted to do it, and gave Scorsese free reign to film it how he wants to. In the process, Scorsese, according to critic reviews has delivered a 5 out of 5 movie.

The cinema experience will not disappear, but if the film industry wants to run the cinema’s the same way it did back in the 50’s, then they will die a painful death the same way Kodak did.

Being flexible to change and being able to adapt is the key to survival.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1983

1983.

What a year?

It gave us so much and it set the paths for things to come in the future.

“Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages” from Def Leppard came out and rolled all over the charts, setting in motion the seeds to “Hysteria” and “Adrenalize”. And it also put Steve Clark onto a path that he wouldn’t return from tragically and Rick Allen with the help of MIDI technology would revolutionize how to play the drums with one hand.

“Cold Sweat” from Thin Lizzy was also released, which wrote the final chapter to Thin Lizzy’s recording career and in a few years’ time, Phil Lynott joined all of the other rockers in the sky. But this album also introduced John Sykes to the mainstream, as his bit part in Tygers Of Pan Tang was still unknown.

And as we know, John Sykes would go on to join Whitesnake and then co-write the best guitar heavy album of 1987, only to get booted before the album came out and then to see his new band Blue Murder get stiffed by record label politics.

“Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Bang Your Head” from Quiet Riot hit the charts, all the way to number 1. The success of this cover song made Kevin DuBrow a star, and his ego, loaded with his big mouth, would end up hurting the band, as he constantly got into verbals with band members, other bands, media and record label executives. And even though he got a multi-million dollar deal to be a solo artist in the mid 80’s, the label must have been on some serious juju because DuBrow’s two biggest hits were covers.

“Meanstreak” and “Midnight In Tokyo” from Y&T, appeared on an album that would go on to cement their status in Europe, however they still struggled to break into the US market at a higher level, even though the band’s music was very influential to a lot of wannabe musicians, especially the riffage and melodies from Dave Meniketti.

“Rainbow In The Dark” and “Holy Diver” from Dio came out, which cemented Ronnie James Dio as a bonafide star, after he delivered on the triple throwdown somersault, with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and now Dio.

This album also unleased a new guitar hero in Vivian Campbell, who would go on to leave the band bitterly, to then dis Dio off in the press, then join Whitesnake as a touring guitarist, then leave Whitesnake when David Coverdale told him he doesn’t want to write with him, only Adrian, then join Shadow King and then join Riverdogs, before grabbing the Def Leppard gig in the 90’s.

And for Dio, he did the quadruple backward somersault with “The Last In Line” a year later and by the time “Sacred Heart” came out, the love for dragons and magic wasn’t as great as it was a few years before.

“Looks That Kill” and “Shout At The Devil” from Motley Crue hit the streets and the baddest boys from LA started to rise to the top. With it came destruction and mayhem, which involved car crashes, homicides, drug overdoses and everything else that comes with a lifestyle that’s out of control.

And for all the cash they started making with this album, they spent it on products for the veins and the nose. So eventually when their bodies crashed and burned on the “Girls, Girls, Girls” tour, it set the tone for “Dr Feelgood”, the one album that the guys had to be sober/clean, up to a certain point.  

“The Warning” from Queensryche hit the streets and a new anti-hero was created, who would blend the NWOBHM sounds, with progressive overtones and hard rock to an irresistible ear candy blend and call it “Operation Mindcrime”.

Where do I sign up to be indoctrinated by Dr X?

“You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll” from Twisted Sister showed what could happen to the “Loud Police” if they are exposed to loud music. They put wigs on and became metal heads.  And while TS was on the ascendancy, it was this album and the title track video clip that put them into the scoring zone. And as we know, it also started the spiral that would end the band in 4 years’ time.

“Bark At The Moon” from Ozzy Osbourne was released and another new guitar god from LA was unleashed in Jake E. Lee however Ozzy takes all the credit for writing all of the riffs, words and melodies with one finger and a piano.

“Rebel Yell” from Billy Idol came out and a different technological guitar god was released with Steve Stevens.

“Every Breath You Take” from The Police came out, with Sting listed as the songwriter, but Andy Summers interpretation of how to play a basic “Stand By Me” progression is what hooked people in. And the song became well known with rappers, who overused it, which led to millions into Sting’s bank account.

“Balls To The Wall” from Accept came out and basically the band couldn’t capture the aggression, anger and attitude ever again because they were still laughing so hard at the cover of the album.

“Flight Of Icarus” and “Revelations” from Iron Maiden hit the charts, only so the band could hit the road again, while they planned their biggest album and biggest stage show the following year. And it is from these albums, that Iron Maiden still does victory laps on.

Kiss showed their faces without their make up for the first time on MTV only to realise a decade later that people wanted to see them with the make-up. “Lick It Up” also introduced another guitar hero in Vinnie Vincent. But just for a short time, as he proved to be a better song writing partner than a band mate.  

“Tell Me What You Want” from Zebra hit the charts and the band was told to write more hit songs like that. Which they never did, because the band just wrote songs. The similarities to Robert Plant vocally and some songs musically to Led Zep set the tone for what would be Kingdom Come.  

“Legs” from ZZ Top showed how Texans at one point in time liked women and synths more than guns, which led to multi-platinum sales.  

“Rising Power” from AC/DC showed how dirty and anti-mainstream AC/DC could get while “Sister Christian” from Night Ranger introduced eight finger tapper Jeff Watson and shredder and temporary Randy Rhoads fill in Brad Gillis.

Dave Mustaine is fired from Metallica and a small step is made by Lars and James, towards the mega selling self-titled album 8 years later and as a by-product a new progressive technical thrash band is formed called Megadeth which would go on to inspire a host of progressive metal bands.

Also, Metallica dropped “Seek And Destroy” but the “Kill Em All” album was largely ignored until history was rewritten after the mega explosion of the “Black” album in the 90’s.

Judas Priest was still selling their 1982 release on the backs of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” while inspiring thousands of bedroom singers to bring in the Halford wail.

Yngwie Malmsteen left Sweden and set sail for L.A, to usher in a new era of shredability and fury.  

Compact Discs went on sale in the US, which would change the album format, with more filler, and also change the profit lines of the labels, only for Napster to blow the greed away 16 years later.

Not all countries or fans would have heard these songs in 1983. Some would hear them in 1984 and others much later. It’s just the way it was back then. Music spread differently and geo-restrictions ensured that it was contained within borders.

It was quite a year.

Maybe the most revolutionary year since the 60’s and The Beatles invasion of the US and other parts of the world.

It’s also the year that metal and rock music started to become a commercial influence.

Culture changed dramatically when MTV transported the music stars from the live arena and into our lounge rooms. And 1983 was the year it started to get traction.

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Music, My Stories

Keep Telling The Story

Everyone and everything will be forgotten. And it will be because we stop talking about it.

Elvis Presley was always in the conversation with documentaries and public sightings.

People purchased his memorabilia. And the prices went high. Then those people got old and died. Their adult kids now have all this memorabilia in their possession and they are selling it all off. But the price has gone down, because the same people who would purchase the Elvis memorabilia are also dead and their heirs are also trying to sell it all off.

Seen any sales of Larry Bird jerseys or David Beckham jerseys recently.

It takes about 20 to 30 years to forget. But not if we keep telling the stories. Stories keep people alive and stories keep the music alive.

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

The Record Vault – AFI and Audrey Horne

When I unboxed some of the CD’s, I saw a few bands that start with A that I have missed in my Record Vault stories.

So here is a double post on AFI and Audrey Horne. And if you are interested in the previous Audrey Horne post, click here.

AFI

“December Underground” was released in 2006 and the album is a masterpiece in progressive pop song writing structures.

But if you don’t like the screamo style vocals, then you need to train your ears to ignore them in some songs, so you can appreciate the music and the song writing.

The eerie “Prelude 12/21” is a cool introduction, with “kiss my eyes and put me to sleep” being the catchcry as it morphs into the punk screamo rock of “Kill Caustic”. And when the hit single, “Miss Murder” comes up, it jars me, with its pop like vocal and addictive bass riff.

“Summer Shudder” is real cool to play on guitar, and that vocal melody for the lyric, “under the summer rain” remains with me long after the song is finished. “The Interview” is driven by a bass riff as it rolls through so many different emotions, until a brief pause and then the Chorus crashes in. And let’s chuck in a church organ for the last minute, that doesn’t make pop sense but makes musical sense.

“Love Like Winter” sounds like it came from “The Rasmus”. 

“The Missing Frame” and “Kiss and Control” have little riffs here and there which are cool to jam and they are enjoyable listens. And the haunting vocal melodies.

“The Killing Lights” sounds like it came from The Cure and New Order.

Audrey Horne

I purchased “Lo Fel” after overdosing on the self-titled album, “Youngblood” and “Pure Heavy”. So I went back looking for some of Audrey Horne’s earlier stuff. The album was released in 2007, but with all things related to music, access happens much later.

The opening track “Last Chanse For A Serenade” sounds like a Brides of Destruction track, full of attitude and industrialism. But from the outset, I was enjoying the progressive tone in the song writing. The songs don’t follow a particular formula like verse and chorus.

“Jaws” is a favourite. The vocal melody is like Tool especially in the Chorus, the riffs are progressive metal/rock, the production is top notch and the performances get me playing air guitar.

“Threshold” is a perfect blend of all the modern rock tones and song writing, with a touch to their 70’s and 80’s roots. “Monster” has a Chorus about the world closing in and everyone who was around is not around anymore.

“Afterglow” has this riff which feels progressive. “In The End” is full of different movements. “Pretty Girls Make Graves” sounds like it came from Soundgarden. “So Long, Euphoria” closes the album and after hearing the 6 minute song, I press repeat. The groove and how it builds is satisfying.

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Music, My Stories

Heavy Metal

Steppenwolf was seen as an Heavy Metal act once upon a time. Black Sabbath was more extreme. Led Zeppelin was never heavy metal, however when the 80’s MTV metal wave came, most of the acts referenced Led Zeppelin as an influence and suddenly, the Zep is metal.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter how many times the labels and the media outlets tried to kill it, mainstream it or commercialize it, Heavy Metal has remained consistent from when it began. Whenever pop music became pretentious, heavy metal was the alternative. Well at least it was it my truth.

But something changed in the late 80’s. Metal music was in the Top 10 of the Billboard charts and suddenly Hip Hop was proving to be the alternative, talking about social issues. But metal kept evolving, become even more extreme, the antihero to the mainstream hero.

When heavy metal and hard rock dropped off the mainstream, it was never gone for long. Grunge ruled the airwaves, until Industrial Metal became a thing, with NIN and Ministry. Then Nu-Metal became a thing. The lifestyle and attitude of Metal is the answer to all things corrupt. It is the soundtrack.  

Typically most metal fans come from working-class homes or changed family dynamics. The mainstream always ignored metal music, seeing it as too dumb. Of course, when a band breaks through, the mainstream are the first to jump on the wagon.

And metal music is known as so many different things.

There is Classic Metal/Rock, Thrash/Groove Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Black Metal, Death Metal, Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal/Rock, Progressive Metal/Rock, Math Rock/Metal, Shock Metal/Rock, Symphonic Metal/Rock, Power Metal, Folk Metal and Stoner/Sludge Metal.

Seriously do we need that many categories.

Music is music. You either like it or not.

And the term heavy metal has become synonymous with a lifestyle more than anything, of being free, having a voice, questioning everything, living within a community spirit and living the way you want to live and not the way others want you to live.

Of course elitists will always have their own truths, but hey we don’t serve them.

And in the words of Rob Halford.

When the power chords come crashing down, they go tearing through my senses. It’s for the strong, not for the weak, in a light and dark dimension.

It stimulates and regenerates, it’s therapeutic healing. It lifts our feet up off the ground and blasts us through the ceiling.

Heavy metal, what do you want?

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Bee Gees

“Living Eyes” released in 1981 is a good album but the Bee Gees were never going to top “Staying Alive”, not because the song is that fantastic, but how it was packaged within a movie and released during the disco period, capturing a period of time that people resonated with worldwide.

My brothers picked this album up, a loose change pick up from the discounted stock. And then they gave it to me. And I listened to it a few times, but I didn’t like it, because it was missing big distorted riffs and it was too full of helium vocals. So it just went into the collection.

But hearing it later in the 90’s, I could relate to the acoustic rhythms, the layering of the vocals and the laid back structures. Suddenly, songs like “Paradise” and “Be Who You Are” stood out. Neither of them are hits, but good songs don’t need to be hits to be good songs.

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

The Record Vault – Babylon AD

The self-titled album released in 1989 on Arista Records is a favourite of mine. The songs, the performances, the production and the sounds all hit the mark.

I had friends who hated it because it sounded so much like Skid Row’s debut, but for me, I was cool with it.

“Bang Go The Bells” and all is well, alright especially that E minor riff. “Hammer Swings Down” keeps the tempo going, while you can hear Jack Ponti’s style of song writing in “Caught Up In The Crossfire” and “Desperate”. From memory, I think “Desperate” was a song written for/with Baton Rouge.

It’s a four punch knock out to kick off the album.

Then “Billy went driving on a Saturday night, heading for trouble with a bottle of wine” and “The Kid Goes Wild” kicks off, bringing the story of Billy The Kid into suburbia, as an angry, young teen, who is under the gun, and eventually goes wild. And “Sam Kinison” makes an appearance, telling the cops, he aint going down, because this is his life.

“Shot O’Love” has this little acoustic piece to kick it off like how “Love Song” has an acoustic piece. After about a minute and 20, the song kicks in. And its six from six.

“Maryanne” makes it 7 from 7 with its “Piece of Me” style riff in the verses. “Back In Babylon” sets the groove for a tale about getting back to the city of sin and living on the edge on the east side.

I normally skipped “Sweet Temptation” because my favourite track is “Sally Danced”. The swampy acoustic blues with the slide guitar and the vocal melodies, hook me every single time.

And that Chorus section from about 2.18 is brilliant.

Throughout it all, the guitar work of Dan De La Rosa and Ron Freschi is top level. Derek Davis on vocals delivers the goods on every track. While bassist Robb Reid and Jamey Pacheco are the unsung heroes, holding down the fort and grooving all the way.

“Nothing Sacred” came out in 1992.

But the opening track “Take The Dog Off The Chain” didn’t grab me in the same way, “Bang Go The Bells” did and neither did “Bad Blood”.

However, “So Savage The Heart” although generic, did hook me and without looking at the credits, you can hear Jack Ponti’s song writing style over it.

“Sacrifice For Love” asks to share the bed of fire, and the album is rocking now to my liking. “Redemption” is a cool song, and lyrically, it deals about abuse, as it was a common theme back then, with Skid Row dropping “In A Darkened Room” which covered a similar topic.

“Down The River Of No Return” works with the swampy acoustic guitars merged with some slide guitar and a vocal performance worthy of top spot on the Billboard charts.

“Psychedelic Sex Reaction” sounds like it was written for Alice Cooper’s “Hey Stoopid” album. “Dream Train” sounds like it came from Aerosmith’s “Permanent Vacation” album. “Blind Ambition” sounds like “All Right Now” from Free merged with Poison’s “Nothin But A Good Time”. The pre chorus sounds like it came from the “River Of Love” Chorus by Lynch Mob.

“Of The Rose” starts of as an acoustic instrumental and should have stayed that way, as the electric guitar solo didn’t work for me. “Pray For The Wicked” is a throwback to the debut, with its sleazy and loose attitude.

And while the debut is a blast from start to finish of sleazy attitude driven rock and roll, the follow up tries to deliver but misses.

I didn’t get “American Blitzkrieg” but I really enjoyed their comeback album “Revelation Highway” released in 2017.

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