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

July 2020 – Part 2

Love Become Law
The Cherry Truck Band

It’s a combination of Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck.

And the intro riff reminds me of “Conquistador” from 30 Seconds To Mars.

Stand for peace / if it takes everything

I don’t know if we really know what that means this days. The narrative has moved from evil countries to our own backyards and evil/corrupt politicians who are a threat to peace in the name of economics. And these politicians have realised that when people have money, they feel safe and the majority will be obedient little servants.

So are we willing to risk everything to stand for peace.

Iris
Diamante, Breaking Benjamin

A cover.

It’s okay and it got me interested to re-listen to the original from The Goo Goo Dolls, which is a lot better.

How huge was that song back in the 90s?

And the good thing about covers is that they re-introduce a classic song to a whole new audience.

Just ask Quiet Riot (their Slade covers) and Motley Crue (“Helter Skelter”, “Smokin In The Boys Room”, “Jailhouse Rock”) just to name a few.

The Unknown
10 Years

I really dig their brand of music which is a mixture of so many different styles I like.

“How did we end up here, sifting through our own ashes?”

Every event and moment that transpires in the now, is rooted to a past decision. That other place you purchased over the first place or the extra drink you had and the strings that came with that.

“No one can survive at the speed of light forever”

Life is fluid and fast. It’s so much faster today than ever before. As I type this, the explosion in Beirut was all over the news and 24 hours later it was done.

“Time moves on and carries us into the great unknown”

We don’t know what the future holds. As Sarah Connor said at the end of “Judgement Day”;

“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”

Come On Out – RAC Mix
The Airborne Toxic Event

This song sounds like a My Chemical Romance track mixed with “Heroes” from David Bowie. And I like it.

It’s About Time
Jefferson Starship

This one took me by surprise.

It’s just a good pop rock song. And I have no idea who is in Jefferson Starship right now, but don’t let the band name be a detractor.

Lions
Look Into Me
Winner Takes All
Tokyo Motor Fist

“The world is in chaos” is how “Lions” starts off.

And it sure is.

We are trying to live with the new normal, with restrictions and lockdown, then the COVID-19 numbers get better and we start to open up, only to see the numbers go up again and restrictions kick in. I’ve been working from home for six months, with no end in sight.

Eagle
Crazy Lixx

The bass groove is like “Heaven And Hell” but the guitar and synths decorations are pure melodic rock.

Always The Villain
Michael Grant And The Assassins

This album was mentioned over at 2Loud2OldMusic and because it’s a Frontiers release, I went to Spotify to check it out.

And I became a fan on the first listen.

So who is Michael Grant?

He plays all the instruments on this album except for 5 tracks, he calls in a different drummer.

So when you listen to the album, remember that Michael Grant is playing those riffs, the majority of the drum tracks, the bass lines, the lead lines and he does all the vocals.

“The Assassins” comes from his touring band, but they didn’t play on the album.

And before going solo, Grant was the founder, and lead singer/guitarist in the alternative melodic hard rock band “Endeverafter” between 2004 and 2012, who had a deal with Epic Records, and they released one album “Kiss Or Kill” in 2007.

From 2012 to 2018, Grant was the guitarist in LA Guns and also wrote and recorded “The Missing Peace” album with them, released in 2017. The LA Guns camp said he left the band to pursue his solo project, while Grant said he was fired from the band.

Anyway.

Every single song on this album is melodic, with good riffs, catchy AOR choruses and great leads.

“Nightmare” is my favorite today, because of the lead break that reminds me of Dave Gilmour but depending on the day or my mood, other tracks take over.

Ignite The Sky
Bloody Heels

This one also appeared on 2Loud2OldMusic as a new release coming out for the week, and like Michael Grant, it’s a Frontiers release, so I went to Spotify, pressed play and became a fan.

Because the album reminds me of Hurricane, Slaughter, Babylon AD, Tangier, Steelheart and Hericane Alice. All bands I like.

And I have no idea about the band members, place of origin or any histories. It’s just the music, leading me.

“Ignite The Sky” sounds like it could have come from Harem Scarem with a Mark Slaughter like vocal line. “Criminal Masterminds” is my favourite today as the lyrics tell us there is no difference between a man in a suit and tie and a man with a 45.

“Black Swan” reminds me of Def Leppard in the Chorus. “Stand Your Ground” has this harmony lead which connects. “Silhouette” has a clean tone arpeggio riff that reminds of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from Warrant.

“In Between”
Beartooth

I saw that this song got a certification in the US and I was like;

Who is this?

And what do they sound like?

So I pressed play on the song and I was surprised.

And I like the vocal line, “it’s easy to lose yourself in between.” Because, when we are transitioning from one path to another, it’s easy to forget who we are in the in between.

Escape Artist
Rise Against

I really like this band. I’ve been a fan since 2005.

“It’s a lottery of life, we just play it”

I read somewhere about how the human body is fighting death from its first breath. Some make it to old age and some don’t.

And everything is a lottery. That story you write, could become popular or be ignored. That song you write, could become popular or be ignored.

But if you don’t play the lottery, you’ll never, ever know.

Colour and Shape
Joe Bonamassa

I am a fan of Bonamassa when he’s in that blues rock, heavy rock vibe. And sometimes, he pulls out soulful ballads like this one. It’s a fusion of blues, funk with a bit of 7th and 9th jazz chords chucked in. But it’s the lead break at 2.40 that made me become a fan of this song.

Lost
Friends
Arctic Rain

“I was lost in the middle of nowhere” is how “Lost” begins, before a melodic lead kicks off the intro.

And its melodic rock with huge choruses.

Part 3 of July is coming up.

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

July 2020 – Part 1

How Do We Want To Live?
Long Distance Calling

From Germany, its instrumental Pink Floyd style rock with Tool like grooves and a few vocal tracks. But it’s the moods they set that always hook me in.

“Hazard” has this palm muted riff from 1.42 and it morphs into this little melodic lick from about 2.25 to 2.56. Then its silence and an arpeggio guitar riff begins, while a female voice hauntingly talks about AI possessing a certain set of skills which could turn AI into a superhuman. And its silent for a brief moment, then I’m hooked again from 3.56, when the emotive lead kicks in. It’s a few notes, a few bends, but its impact is immense.

“Voices” and that riff from 2.30, it’s like a palm muted digital delay lick. “Immunity” has this riff/lead from 2.50 and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and from about 3.39 it morphs into a Muse like riff.

And if you want to hear just one track, then “Sharing Thoughts” is the track, especially that whole movement from 1.31 to the end. Then again, the section that starts from 3.05 is essential listening.

Night Demon

“Night Demon” does a new take on an old sound and I like it. “Vysteria” is their new single release and on Spotify, they combined various single releases into an EP. Since they came up with the word, they define “Vysteria” as “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement incited by the media, especially among a group of people during a pandemic”.

“Vysteria” is basically about COVID-19 and how our lives have been affected by restrictions and lockdown, with the conspiracy catch cry of “is it the end of the world, or the thinning of the herd”.

NOBODY IS SAFE
THE VIRUS HAS NO PREDJUDICE
NO BLACK OR WHITE
THE RICH AMONG THE POOR

“Are You Out There” feels like it came from “On Through The Night” and the self-titled Maiden debut. “Kill The Pain” has this “Where Eagles Dare” start before it morphs into a Judas Priest/Metallica cut. “Empires Fall” is “Hit The Lights” only faster. Then again the song is a cover from a NWOBHM band.

The Game Is Over – Evanescence

“The Game Is Over” has me interested to hear what will come next.

A bell tolls and a drum beat plays.

The bass kicks in and Amy Lee’s iconic voice starts telling us she’s had enough of the relationship.

Your sweet words they mean nothing, save your breath
The game is over

Empty Promises – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Kingfish can play that guitar. I was searching the various sites for new Blues Rock artists to listen to and Kingfish got some loving on a few sites, which got me interested. So I checked him out and I’m glad I did.

The arpeggios to kick it off get me interested, but it’s that lead that kicks in at the 35 second mark that seals the deal.

And the vocals start at 1.10, soulful and bluesy.

Dawn Of The Demos – Taking Dawn

I didn’t think I would like so many cuts from this. If you want to know what this band is like, they started off as “7th Son” in reference to their favourite Maiden album. So heavy metal the way I know it from the 80’s is what this band is about.

“Break”, “Still Breathing”. “Endlessly”, “Godless” and “Transcend The Trend” are favourites.

And if you want a track to check out, go for “Endlessly”.

My Body Is A Cage – Peter Gabriel

“My Body Is A Cage” appeared in the Netflix series “Dark”. It appeared in this crucial ending of an episode and the vocal line echoed the angst of the scene. So I was Shazamming it, because I wanted to know who sang it.

And it was Peter Gabriel. I presumed it was an old cut but it came out in 2010. So it’s relatively new.

Tiny Little Movies – Will Hoge

Will Hoge came into my headspace from the blog 2Loud2OldMusic.

And although not all of the songs connected, the ones had that this country blues soul rock vibe did, like “Midway Motel”, “The Overthrow” and “Even When The River Runs Out Of This Town” are my favourites.

High And Dry – Slade

This came on my radar via Traci Guns who shared a clip of himself playing the vinyl to Dee Snider and he asked Dee to guess who. Dee guessed the artist but he didn’t guess the song.

So I went to Shazam it, while it was playing on TG’s account and I found out it’s called “High And Dry”.

And it came out in 1983 on the album “The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome” which was re-released in the U.S in 1984 as “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply”.

And the section he shared is that melodic lead break which immediately hooked me in. It’s never too late to discover something new that’s old.

Part 2 of July 2020 is coming up.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

Streaming x3

Did you see the numbers at Universal?

For the first half of the year, recorded-music revenue reached €2.77 billion ($3.27 billion, up 3.7%), boosted once again primarily by a rise in streaming revenue (€1.81 billion/$2.14 billion, up 12.4%) that offset declines in physical sales (down 22.4%) and digital downloads (down 23.1%).

$2 billion in streaming revenue went to Universal Music Group for the first six months. That’s a lot of coin.

You know who is the labels biggest customer.

It’s Spotify.

If Spotify is the enemy, why have recorded music revenues increased?

How much of those streaming monies went to the artists, well that’s another story?

Only Universal has the answer for that?

Blabbermouth and Loudwire have seized on the tweets from artists and are running with it. It always gets eyeballs and people commenting which sells ads on those sites. But Blabbermouth or Loudwire don’t take a stance either way on the issue, which is shit journalism. Or it’s basically PR journalism.

For a different view, Bob Lefsetz summed it up nicely here and here. And he’s a music fan like all of us who owns physical and likes to stream.

Streaming tells us how big the artist really is and if people are really listening to their music.

And music is a lottery. No one is entitled to make a living from it or to keep making a living from it.

And for the ones who claim no one is buying physical anymore, Taylor Swift just moved 600K in the US of her recent album for one week. So people are buying, but their just not interested in what other artists are selling.

And let’s put some context around what’s happening .

Queen is Number 1 on the list of artists for the Top 40 Most Streamed Artists in the Hard Rock/Metal/Punk, Etc. for the period July 24, 2020 – July 30, 2020 from the site StreamNDestroy..

Queen has 22M streams for “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The data is compiled from a Rolling Stone list which features all genres.

On that list, Queen is actually sitting at Number 63. A long way away from number 1. And the 22 million streams from Queen are dwarfed by Taylor Swift at 300 plus million streams for a week.

What I see is a 44 year old song still earn a lot of coin when once upon a time it was only earning monies from radio plays. And this song will keep earning monies forever and a day, as long as people listen to it.

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

The Record Vault – Cinderella

I’ve written about these albums previously on this blog and I’ve also written about individual songs from these albums. So in other words, these three albums complete a perfect trilogy.

Night Songs

The debut album.

It was released August 2, 1986.

A few days ago it had its 34th birthday and it’s stood the test of time. It came out and competed with Bon Jovi, Europe, Ratt and Poison.

“Nobody’s Fool” hooked me in because it reminded me of “Bringing On The Heartbreak” from Def Leppard. “Night Songs”, “Shake Me” and “Somebody Save Me” are all favourites. So is “Hell On Wheels” and “Back Home Again”. The whole album is a favourite depending on my mood.

And there is a cast.

Jon Bon Jovi does backing vocals on a few tracks, drums are played by someone else and even the guitar leads are played by someone else on a few tracks. Recording took place at 5 different studios with Andy Johns in the producers chair. For a debut album, it was an expensive product.

I called this album “AC/DC on glam steroids” back in the day, but hearing it back throughout the decades its more Aerosmith and Bad Company.

Long Cold Winter

The follow up.

The blues rock riffage is amped up.

Andy Johns was back again in the producers chair and he still didn’t let Fred Coury play drums on the album, with Cozy Powell and Denny Carmassi providing the drum tracks this time around.

Keifer brings out the slide on “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams” setting up a barroom Thorogood style of song.

“Gypsy Road” is built around a repeated blues lick turned into a riff and “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” is an excellent song.

And my favourite is the bluesy “Long Cold Winter” which also paved the way for more artists to experiment with the old blues style to great success. Black Crowes built their business playing the blues, while Gary Moore had his biggest success with “Still Got The Blues”.

Heartbreak Station

I’m including this because I had the CD but with all of the house moves it was in a box that got lost or stolen.

The title track got me hooked immediately and it completes a perfect 4 track opening.

“The More Things Change” was a carbon copy of “Fallin Apart At The Seams” as that same slide riff appears at the same time in both songs.

“Loves Got Me Doin’ Time” brings out a bluesy single note riff like “Gypsy Road” but it’s all funked up. “Shelter Me” is one of those tracks that resonates regardless of style or genre because its theme of trying to find a love to shelter us and keep us warm is universal. Like most of the songs that David Coverdale wrote for Whitesnake.

And problems existed, which the fans didn’t know about. Keifer had vocal throat issues which would require a few surgeries, the label guys who signed them did not work for the label anymore and the new guys just didn’t seem interested. Another album would come out, “Still Climbing” but it never really came out in Australia as the stores didn’t stock it.

Then I read a Metal Edge news roundup story that they had a deal with John Kalodner’s label which Kalodner got up and running to specialise in Hard Rock in the 90’s when most labels abandoned the genre. But spending almost 2 years writing and recording led to a bitter ending between the band members and the label.

They reunited for a few tours here and there, with no new music.

And Keifer eventually resurfaced as a solo artist with new music and I’m glad he did.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Streaming Continued

I posted a few days ago about Streaming and some comments from Daniel Ek about what artists should be doing based on the data provided to him.

For example, releasing an album every 2 to 4 years is not a viable solution these days based on the data, and the data tells Spotify that a continuous engagement with fans with frequent releases is more viable.

Spotify thrives if content is delivered, so you need understand that Ek is also playing the role of a sales person in his quarter earnings speech.

And I’ve been following the reactions of artists on Twitter since Spotify quarter results, just to see what their view is, because the reason why we have Spotify accounts is that we like music and we want to listen to music.

Spotify grants access to music, along with the other streaming providers.

Dee Snider as usual is at his best.

Before streaming providers, consumers had, iTunes, pirate sites, cyber lockers and physical purchases. Artists got paid on a transaction once the label recouped.

But does that one sale equal a true fan.

Most of my record collection is from second hand record shops and market fairs of used records. So the person who purchased the record from a shop is listed as a fan via Soundscan metrics, but in reality, they are not a fan as they sold their record to a second hand shop who then resold it to me. And this sale is not captured as a Soundscan metric. So artists didn’t have any idea who their fans were.

Then came YouTube.

An uproar started there, when music became available on the service. YouTube got traction and to this day it is still the number 1 streaming service. The labels eventually negotiated a license deal and artists got rorted again. And pirate sites never went away.

Then came Spotify. The labels took ages to license the service as they wanted a stake in the company and a profit share arrangement with the service and so many other wonderful ways for the label to make money from the service.

First the labels and the publishing houses get a fee for allowing the service to license the music they hold the copyrights for. And this fee goes straight to the labels/publishers without any distribution to the artists.

And everyone is trying to do the math of how much does an artist get paid per stream?

But it’s the wrong train of thought to have.

Whoever holds the rights, the monies are getting sent there. But, the labels and publishing companies also have a profit share arrangement with the streaming service (and it’s not just Spotify, all streaming services have this arrangement, especially Tidal who have a lot of artists involved with it as investors) where they split the monies between each other.

And are the people at Tidal complaining?

Eventually the streaming market will fragment like the movie and TV streaming market and the streaming companies will start to make their own content and will become labels themselves.

Then we’ll have a different conversation.

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

The Record Vault – David Coverdale

Into The Light



I wasn’t sure why David Coverdale needed to release a solo album. Whitesnake is more or less his band and it’s basically a solo artist hiding behind a band name.

And solo artists operate in two extremes, they either keep the same band members (or 70% of em) around for a long time or they could keep changing em. Bryan Adams kept the majority of his band around and so did Pat Benatar.

Then again, bands also operate on the same premise, with members leaving and coming back. The different Deep Purple bands are known as Mark I, II, III, etc.

So his trusty group is Denny Carmassi on drums, Marco Mendoza on bass for all the songs, except “Don’t You Cry” which featured Tony Franklin. John Sykes would have been pacing his house in rage at Coverdale using his old bass player and current bass player on this project. And Mendoza would also jump ship from the Sykes camp to the Coverdale camp as well.

Guitar is handled by Earl Slick and Doug Bossi with Coverdale making a recorded appearance. Reeves Gabrels and Dylan Vaughan also appear on some guitar tracks. Earl Slick was known to me from his excellent instrumental “In Your Face” album released in 1991. It’s a fusion of blues, funk and rock with guitar hero like playing.
 
“…Into the Light” should have been fleshed out into a bigger song. It’s first minute sounds like an epic song is about to begin.

And it goes into the blues rock flavoured “River Song”. I saw a YouTube comment as to how the riff sounds similar to “Midtown Tunnel Vision” by Rainbow and to “I Can’t Dance To That” by Gillan and Glover. But DC did say in an interview that it’s a homage to Jimi Hendrix.
 
And that Outro of the song just keeps rolling, reminding me of songs like “Looking For Love” and “Don’t Turn Away” from the Whitesnake 87 album. After 7 minutes, the song is over.
 
“She Give Me…” sounds like it came from a Coverdale/Page session or the “Trouble” album from Whitesnake or even a Led Zep session. As I am hearing this song, I am thinking of “Jelly Roll” from Blue Murder. And this song appeared again on the recent Whitesnake “Rock” album release
 
“Don’t You Cry” is one of those ballads that reminds me of Eric Clapton and his song “Wonderful Tonight”. The intro lead break is memorable and worthy.
 
While the first four tracks are all DC cuts, “Love Is Blind” and “Slave” are written by Coverdale and Earl Slick. “Love Is Blind” is like a Goo Goo Dolls like tune with the music, and lyrically, well its DC, the most broken hearted vocalist ever. “Slave” is a Southern Rock tune like Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even the Chorus chords remind of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
 
And the album follows the vibe set with the first six songs, moving between ballads and rockers. Even “Too Many Tears” from the “Restless Heart” album appears.
 
If you are looking for the grand epicness of the Sykes and Vai Whitesnake albums, then you will not find it here. But if want to hear an artist going back to his roots and putting his life into the words of the songs, then this album is for you.

And it’s probably why DC went all solo on this album. It’s personal.

And the other DC albums in the 70s before Whitesnake, will be listed with the Whitesnake Vault edition.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

Streaming

“Gone are the days of Top 40, it’s now the Top 43,000,”

Daniel Ek

Those 43,000 artists account for the top 10% of the streams on the service. Last year it was a Top 30,000. As the user base grows on streaming services so does the fragmentation. And if artists are thinking that they will dominate in the same way that artists dominated in the MTV monoculture, then they need a mind reset.

“The real thing is that there are more relationships being formed to more artists”

Discovery is happening. You can start off listening to Metallica and end up becoming a fan of a Swedish Rock band in the months ahead. For a consumer, streaming services are enablers, as long as the music of the artist you want to hear is on there.

But there are a limited set of artists as Ek puts it, that are negative.

“Obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough…

The artists today that are making it realise that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”

I know the album cycle works for a lot of people, because its quantifiable. Release an album and go on tour. Vandenberg released their best album and they can’t tour on it because of COVID-19.

So what’s next for the band to keep the engagement going?

Acoustic releases, some covers of their old stuff or from other bands or another new track in between.

Keep the engagement going. Because that 40,000 artists who make up the top 10% of streamers, will become 50,000 in the next year and then 60,000 and then 70,000.

“I feel, really, that the ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released”

That’s fine to do so if you’re happy with that old school release cycle and there is a percentage of your fan base which is also okay with it. But with so much choice, fan devotion to a single artist is not as strong as it was in the past. And even in the past, when the record labels controlled everything pre-Napster, people had hundreds of records and from different artists.

Then again, Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ had 98 million streams in a day. A Spotify streaming record.

The good old day of sales are non-existent and with Copyright terms lasting forever, the person or corporation who holds the rights, will get paid forever for people listening.

This is just on Spotify. The other streaming providers will also have similar numbers and will be paying the rights holders similar amounts for their Top 40,000 artists who make up 10% of the most streamed tracks.

And music is a lottery. No one knows what will stick and break through. Simple economic theory entails that no one is entitled to make a living in music, the same way that every person who sets out to be a professional sports player, doesn’t get there. There are limits to what succeeds and what doesn’t. But at least in music, there is no barrier and everyone can play.

So start playing.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Snider and Palmer

It was Al Pitrelli, his Widowmaker guitarist that pointed out to him (in the early 90s) that every time he heard “We’re Not Gonna Take It” back in the 80’s, it reminded him of the Christmas song “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

Then of course, Twisted Sister did a Christmas album In the two thousands and they re-did the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” music with the words of “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

So fast forward a decade and bit later from that Christmas album and you have one of the most hated business people in Australia, deciding that his “Australia’s Not Gonna Cop It” is based on the Christmas Carol.

Umm no.

It’s based on “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

But like other business people in the world, he lies. Clive Palmer just continues to lie. Nothing is his fault, he can’t admit any wrong doing nor does he know how to apologise. But to lie and not pay his workers, god damn it, Palmer is good at it. Very good at it.

And I hate Copyright lawsuits, but I’m all in with the Snider camp on this one, because Palmer’s camp asked to use the song from Twisted Sister but they didn’t want to pay the license fee for it. So it all comes down to Palmer not paying for something, again. Sort of like how he didn’t pay his workers.

It’s a showdown in August.

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

1985 – Part 4

Kiss – Asylum

My son asked me yesterday, “what decade of Kiss do I like for new music released?”

I grew up on the 80’s Kiss, with the exception of the “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” albums. So my go to albums from Kiss are the 80’s albums, along with “Revenge”.

My first proper “Alive” experience was “Alive III”, then “IV” and then I went back to listen to “I” and “II”. But I like “III” better.

In the last 20 years, Kiss haven’t really set the world alight with new music (“Hell Or Hallelujah” will beg to differ and it’s up there as one of the best tracks for me), nor have they really dug into the vaults. Then again, Gene Simmons did raid his vault and from the reviews I read over at 2Loud2OldMusic, Simmons did a pretty good job at it.

Now in Australia, Kiss was larger than life. They always had an interview on TV or a music video clip on TV or a song played on radio. And they had their loyal following, plus any fly by nighters who would fall in and out of fandom with the band.

This album has Paul Stanley pulling quadruple duty on song writing, guitar playing, production duties (which even though Gene is listed as co-producer, Stanley did 90% of it) and bass playing. And I gravitated to the Stanley tracks, because they were just better.

This album also sticks out because it’s part of the era of bad jackets. Like very bad glam like jackets. If you’ve seen posters or press photos of bands during this era, you would know what I mean.

And it needs to be said, that Bruce Kulick is a guitar hero. He doesn’t get the “shred cred” he derserves, maybe because he played with Kiss. But his solos, from “Animalize” to “Revenge” are nothing short of guitar hero shred.

“King Of The Mountain” is written by Stanley, Kulick and Desmond Child and it gets the album off to a good start.

“Tears Are Falling” is a Stanley cut and although generic, it proved very popular for Kiss on MTV. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” is another cut that sticks around, this one being a co-write with Stanley, Child and Jean Beauvoir who would become well-known with the song, “Feel The Heat” from the Cobra soundtrack.

And let’s not talk about “Uh! All Night” even though some brain dead label rep thought it was a good idea to also release it as a single.

White Lion – Fight To Survive

I didn’t hear this until the 2000’s post Napster era was happening.

It wasn’t available at all in Australia and I didn’t know anyone who had a copy of it.

And it’s a forgotten album but it shouldn’t be, because it showcases Vito Bratta. While Bratta didn’t get back into the music business once White Lion broke up, his recorded output and musical legacy is down to the four White Lion albums and the backroom label dealings and stabbings which would affect Bratta.

They got signed to Elektra in 1984 and they record the album. Elektra refuses to release the album and terminates the bands contract. So now they have an album recorded, which they can’t access as its owned by Elektra and they have no deal.

Then a Japanese label releases it in Japan, and another label in the US release it under license to Elektra and the band tours on it, but the label in the U.S goes bankrupt. And the band is going through changes in the bass and drum department.

They did get singed to Atlantic in 1987, but that’s another story for another year.

Stand Outs with Great Bratta Moments

“Fight To Survive” is brilliant musically. Lyrically it’s about street life and fighting to be alive each day.

Great tapping intro that breaks down into the bass groove for the verse, with the volume swells and then it picks up for the big chorus and I love the delay in the solo section.

“All The Fallen Men” is influenced by “Rocking in the Free World” in the verses. Then again this came before Neil Young, and it’s a pretty generic chord progression, so..

“El Salvador” is the best song on this first album. The flamenco intro moving into the distortion riff is brilliant. You can hear Al DiMeola’s “Mediterranean Sundance”. And once the song kicks it’s all Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott would be proud.

Clichéd Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Broken Heart” has typical 80’s lyrics from Mike Tramp. Bratta shreds in the solo section with finger tapping and tap bends.

“All Burn In Hell” reminded me of Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell”. Musically it is typical of the 80’s. But the syncopated interlude before the solo. Brilliant.

There is a modern alternative rock metal vibe. And the solo section to me is a song within a song. A great Bratta moment.

Bad Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Where Do We Run” – reminds of a 100th rate AC/DC song in the verse. Tramps lyrics and melodies are lame. It’s a shame because it has a killer solo, very much in the vein of Randy Rhoads – “Flying High Again” and George Lynch – “Tooth and Nail”.

“In The City” – up until the interlude and solo section, where Bratta wails, the song sounds like a Y&T rip off lyrically.

Firehouse also did a song, where the vocal melody was similar.

Does anyone remember “The Dream”?

Actually does anyone remember Firehouse the band?

Filler Songs

“Cherokee” – The lyrics are tacky, “Cherokee, riding free”. Maybe because I heard it after Europe’s “Cherokee”, which I also didn’t like.

“Kid of a 1000 Faces” – the less said about this song the better.

“The Road To Valhalla” – with that title I was expecting something epic.

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall

I love the cover art. I drawed it in Art Class. I wish I still have my art journals. The teacher hated it, as he was anti-rock/metal.

Malcolm tried really hard to remove AC/DC from the overproduced and super focused Lange albums. And although their worldwide sales especially in the U.S market didn’t set the world on fire post Lange, in the land of Oz, they couldn’t do no wrong.

We lapped up the 7 inch singles, their songs got played on radio and the music video clips for “Shake Your Foundations” and “Sink The Pink” got played relentlessly.

See me leaning, on the bar
I got my head in a whiskey jar

It’s the Australian way of life to be leaning on the bar, intoxicated. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And maybe it’s a big reason why the music videos resonated with Australian fans. They are both filmed in a bar/pub and people are playing pool while drinking. It’s the Australian way of life.

ZZ Top – Afterburner

How do you follow up “Eliminator”?

By continuing on with using synths, sequenced beats and midi samples with their blues boogie riffs.

A new take on an old sound.

I called it “New Wave Blues” (NWB). And I meant it as a compliment.

How good is the cover?

It was enough to hook me in.

And while “Sleeping Bag” kept in that NWB department, “Stages” is a melodic rock gem that I didn’t see coming.

“Rough Boy” has some of Billy Gibbons most melodic and emotive lead breaks. Check out the intro lead break and the outro lead break. He brought long guitar solos to the mainstream.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’” is “Got Me Under Pressure” a 12 bar blues boogie with sequenced drum beats. “Planet Of Women” rocks out of the gate, and man, this song has Gibbons putting in some serious playing in the riffage department.

The album is a product of its time and era, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gary Moore – Run For Cover

It was the mid 90’s when I heard this album. And it’s one of his best albums.

“Empty Rooms” and that lead break is one of his best lead breaks, better than “Parisienne Walkways” and “Still Got The Blues”. “Military Man” has Phil Lynott singing, while “Out In The Fields” is a duet between Lynott and Moore.

The mighty Glen Hughes sings on “Reach For The Sky”, “Nothing To Lose” and “All Messed Up”, while Moore sings on “Run For Cover”, “Empty Rooms”, “Once In A Lifetime” and “Listen To Your Heartbeat”.

And Moore also has Lynott, Hughes and Bob Daisley playing bass on the album. Four different producers in Andy Johns, Peter Collins, Beau Hill and Mike Stone. In other words it’s an expensive album, but it did nothing sales wise in the U.S, while in Europe, it did a lot better.

But the piece d’resistance is “Empty Rooms”. The lead break from Moore was talked about a lot in guitar circles. And it’s a re-recording. He released it on “Victims Of The Future”. A longer version of 6 plus minutes. This one is more concise at 4 minutes.

And the way “Run For Cover” starts off, you know that Moore means business,. There isn’t a bad song on this album. The cuts that Hughes does vocals on are favourites and I need to do a playlist of songs Hughes has done over his career, like how I did with Ronnie James Dio, covering Rainbow, Sabbath and his solo career. The only album missing on that list is the “Heaven And Hell” band album from the two thousands because it’s not on Spotify Australia.

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

His voice is one of the best.

It’s like Soul Rock and I like Collins when his also bluesy with a touch of rock.

The “hit songs” on this album are not my favourites. The brass instruments are just too much for me on those. But with any Collins release, there is always something to sink your ears into.

“Long Long Way To Go” is a favourite. It’s the mood and the repeating guitar/synth lick.

Then there is “I Don’t Wanna Know” which is a melodic rock masterpiece, with a great outro guitar solo.

“Don’t Lose My Number” reminds me of Marillion for some reason. It has a feel that Marillion would explore later on when they changed vocalists.

“Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” has this driving beat to kick it off before it subdues in the verses, but the drums still roll on.

And there’s so much more music to get through for 1985, but that will be for other posts.

So into the time machine we go and I’ll see ya at 1977 for Part 4.

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

The Record Vault – Coverdale/Page

The album came out in 1993.

The guitar work on it from Page is exceptional. Which was needed, as his 80’s projects “The Firm” and his solo album “Outrider” didn’t really set the charts alight or have people talking about him again.

But on this album they did talk about Page again.

The opening string pull off lick for “Shake My Tree” is an oldie from his Zep days. Simply, yet effective and Coverdale follows the riff with the vocal lead. Then when it gets heavy, it’s a cross between “Still Of The Night” and “Communication Breakdown”.

The lead break on “Waiting On You” is simple and effective and the riffs groove behind it.

“Take Me For A Little While” is one of Coverdale’s best songs. Jimmy Page breaks out one of his best lead breaks and that little lead lick in the Chorus, makes me press repeat on this song.

“Pride and Joy” could have come from Led Zep III, as Jimmy Page brings his open string tunings to David Coverdale. And while it rocks acoustically, it’s the heavy open string verse riff which connects, and when it goes back into the open tuning acoustic bit, it’s just perfect.

Four tracks in and I’m on the floor.

When “Over Now” kicks in, I am digging the psychedelic nature of the vocals and the exoticism of the music.

Page doesn’t follow the typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus. “Over Now” has no real structure as it moves between verses and something which resembles a chorus and an outro which feels like a cool jam.

You talked to me of virtue / And sang a song so sweet / But all I know is I could smell / The perfume of deceit / And it’s over now

Coverdale is referencing his break up with the Jaguar dancing Tawny Kitaen. And there are quite a few songs on the album which reference the relationship.

“Feeling Hot” is the sped up child of “Johnny Be Goode” crossed with “Hit The Road Jack”.

And the comparison to Led Zep is always going to happen, because Jimmy Page is Led Zep’s main musical writer and it doesn’t matter with who he works with, his riffs will always sound like Page and Page’s career is held within his work with Led Zep.

Like “Easy Does It”.

It is one of the best Led Zeppelin tracks that Led Zeppelin didn’t write. And when it morphs into a rocking track from about 2.40 mark, it’s so cool to hear Coverdale steer away from the typical verse and chorus format.

It’s these kinds of songs that get me to commit. For Whitesnake, it was “Still Of The Night” which got me to commit, because it didn’t follow the conventional verse and chorus format.

“Absolution Blues” has David Coverdale delivering a near perfect Led Zep vocal line in the verses.

Come the dawn of judgement day / I’ll get down on my knees and pray / The Good Lord don’t send me away / I’ll never ever go

No one wants to leave the land of the living. They realize then how much living they really need to do.

“Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” is one of my favourite songs on the album. That dropped D intro riff is excellent. Even System Of A Down used a very similar style riff for their awesome song “Aerials” from the mega selling “Toxicity” album.

Also the idea of the song happened back in 1982-83 as their is an acoustic demo of the song on the “Slide It In” Deluxe reissue.

And when you combine the various wars for lyrical inspiration and Jimmy Page”s dropped D riff, you get a classic.

The suffocating heat of jungles, burning desert sands / Where everything reminds you, you’re a stranger in a strange land

There is a whole generation of people who wouldn’t even know about the Vietnam War or the Gulf War. And when leaders from around the world decide to send in their troops to a place, well those troops already have a target on their back, as strangers in a strange land.

Machine gun, battle cry / You pray to God when the bullets fly / The bombs fall like black rain / And all your dreams take you home again

At the end of the first Gulf War, the Iraqi forces set an oilfield alight, which burned black toxic smoke for months. And when it rained, all those black toxins came back down as black rain. And the ones who survived, are struck with PTSD.

You try to carry the heavy load / Walking down Armageddon road, oh, Armageddon road

In reality what did all of the Wars achieve?

Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia and all the democratic countries rushed to the Saudi aids so their young Prince could grow up and order the dismemberment of a journalist who spoke out against him. And Iraq along with Afghanistan is still a hotspot of violence and extremism.

And as soon as this project got traction, Page jumped ship to work with Robert Plant again, who suddenly wanted to work with Page again.

Funny that.

And Coverdale went back and reformed Whitesnake, with Adrian Vandenberg and Warren DeMartini on guitars, Rudy Sarzo on drums and Denny Carmessi on drums.

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