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

Candlebox – Sometimes

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to Candlebox. The 90’s didn’t feel that far away, but man the debut album dropped in 1993, which makes it 25 years old.

The truth is, Candlebox was so good on that debut album, that I gave other 90’s bands a shot.

The “Purple Rain” sounding “Far Behind” is the star of the debut album. Then you had “Don’t You” and “Change” that rock as hard as any 80’s band and I used to cover “You” in bands I played in. I love the B minor key for songs and to be honest, a lot of punters thought it was an original of mine.

And “Cover Me”, is hidden all the way at the back end of the album at number 10. Brilliant track and a great solo section.

I didn’t get the “Lucy” album until a few years after its release. And something was missing. You know the whole saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and you just write music that suits your tastes when you start out. Then your music breaks through into the mainstream and suddenly you feel like you need to write hits. I’m not sure if this was on their minds, but something definitely was. Because it was different. Maybe I just moved on. Who knows.

Anyway, “Happy Pills” came out and like “Lucy” I didn’t lay out money on it for a few years after it was released. Actually, by the time I got it, the band was already broken up.

They also tried to get out of their recording contract with their record label Maverick.

As you all know, bands sign crap deals when they are unknown, with the promise by the label to renegotiate if they break through. The band breaks through and label does not renegotiate, which means, the band is still in a crap contract with crap royalties while the label makes millions and the band still hasn’t recouped.

Anyway, I remember listening to the album, while I was working on lyrics for some songs and I’m nodding my head, not really paying attention, like it was background music and then “Sometimes” came on.

I stopped and listened.

When the song finished I pressed repeat and listened again, and then I just put it on auto-repeat. I don’t know how many times I listened to the song that day, but it was a lot. I just laid down on the couch and listened to the same song over and over again. I guess we do that sometimes.

Sometimes

The acoustic strumming and the little acoustic lead was enough to get me interested.

I wipe the night from my eyes
Block out the sunny day and I hide
Everything’s falling down around us
I’m just missing the rain

Man, hearing these lines when I heard them, they connected. I didn’t want to face the day. I was a few years into a marriage, and it was up and down, in debt and trying to have kids. I wasn’t talking to my brothers or my parents. The friends I had before the marriage, ended up not being friends with me afterwards. And I felt alone.

We change directions, we watch the tides
And we borrow too much
We form restrictions and we form lines
And we separate you from me

As you get older you realise how much truth is in the above lyrics, because we change our views, our friends and our relationships. Even our musical tastes change. We also change jobs and we do borrow too much, like money, emotions, peoples time and goodwill.

Sometimes,
Sometimes we carry more weight than we own
Oh but sometimes
Sometimes goes on

We’ve all been there, taking up the slack of others because we need to. We carry the fears of partners and our children and put out a defiant and emotionless front. And sometimes, we just go on, doing what we need to do, to keep the lights on, and life ticking along.

The lead break.

You can hear the emotion drip from the strings, enhancing the melodies from the Chorus.

And just like that, Candlebox was back in my headspace.

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

For The Love Of Metal

It’s basically metal music the way I know it, which is very different to how metal music is known these days with hard-core growls and scream vocals added to the mix. Hell, I even remember when AC/DC was found in metal sections of record shops, whereas now if you do find a record shop, AC/DC is in the rock section. Even Bon Jovi was classed as “metal” once upon a time. It was a broad classification, that’s for sure.

When it comes to Dee Snider and Twisted Sister, I blame my cousin Mega. Mega had two bands he worshiped. Twisted Sister first and then Megadeth. The messages and viewpoints of both Dee Snider and Dave Mustaine connected. So it’s no surprise that both bands and lead singers/main songwriters are also influences to me. Dee’s message of the outcasts standing together against oppression and censorship and authority resonated big time with me.

The area I grew up in had a lot of migration from Europe. Young families with young kids moved in to established neighbourhoods, invading the peace and quiet the current residents had. And the current residents didn’t like it. Nor did they like the different languages the new migrants spoke. But somehow, we got along in suburbia. But in the schools’ it was a different story. In the nightlife, it was even more different. There was a constant division between races and there was no “cool” teacher like there is nowadays.

Actually, all of the teachers I had were oppressive and they hated rock music.

If they saw a kid listening to music on their Walkman, they took the Walkman off them. It used to be just for the day, then it morphed for the week, then for the month, then for the school term, then for the whole year.

If a kid wore a hat from a rock band, they took it off them. If a kid wore a button or anything else that wasn’t school uniform, they took it off them. They just made up their own rules and the school’s Principal did nothing. Even when the kids parents came to the school and complained, these dudes wouldn’t give in. They enjoyed being in authority.

So you can see how “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”, “Come Out And Play” and “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” resonate.

Anyway, when Twisted disbanded in 87, Dee wasn’t in the news a lot, except for a few little paragraphs here and there in a magazine about his upcoming Desperado project. Then that project got killed by record label bosses, then Widowmaker got up and running, however Grunge came and suddenly it felt like the biggest voice in my life was missing during the “golden commercial years” of metal and rock music.

But Dee is a lifer. He battled tooth and nail to make it, so there was no way he was going to lay dormant. And like it was written in some holy book, Dee came back, more diverse than ever. He became a movie maker, a radio show host, a solo artist, an author and when TS reformed, he led them up front all the way to the last show.

And his solo music probably doesn’t have the same public acceptance as the Twisted music, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important or influential. As I’ve said before, a million sales of an album doesn’t mean you have 1 million fans. You just have a million people who purchased the album.

The question any artist should be asking is, how many people actually listened to the album from start to finish?

In a sale, this will never be known.

How many people listened to the album, more than a hundred times is never known in a sale.

The difference between now and 1984 is not piracy or streaming or YouTube. It’s obscurity.

With hundreds of releases coming out each day, compared to the 50 odd each month in 1984, each artist is fighting against the same tide. Fans can spread the word and make the new release rise above the waters.

Furthermore, back in 1984, people didn’t have the history of music at their fingertips. So the albums we purchased, we played em, because we spent money on em and we didn’t have any more funds for a few weeks, so we played it a little bit more. But today, any new release is competing against the history of music. And that’s huge competition for a person’s time.

In saying all that, “For The Love Of Metal” deserves to be in the public conversation and credit Jamey Jasta in challenging Dee to make this record, as well as produce it with Nick Bellmore and write music/lyrics for it.

Lies Are A Business

As soon as the up tempo and energetic double kick drums kick off the song, I was hooked. It reminds me of “Overkill” from Motorhead, crossed with “Painkiller” by Judas Priest. But god damn, I can’t shake the powerful feeling of “Emaheevul” from the Widowmaker album “Blood and Bullets”. It’s the same power.

And that solo section is brilliant. It starts off as a single lead and then it becomes a harmony lead, before it breaks out into a triplet pull off lick.

Then the breakdown section at the end.

They won’t say it, lies are a business too.

Fake news is huge. People cannot tell the difference anymore. Hence the reason to read far and wide. Find stories that support your viewpoints and find stories that don’t. Somewhere in between, is the truth you are looking for. Make your own decisions, instead of other people making them for you.

Tomorrow’s No Concern

The first pre-release single for the album.

I gave you yesterday, tomorrows no concern
I gave you yesterday, you can keep it, because today is mine.

Be proud of your past people, but remember that today is still a day to be lived and for glory to be attained.

And that galloping verse riff, is brilliant.

I Am The Hurricane
Roll Over You
Running Mazes

All of these are the middle finger salute, “I will win, you cannot stop me, you cannot oppress me or defeat me” type of songs.

I am a force of nature
Destroy your great design
I am a warning
You will never heed in time….

From “I Am The Hurricane”

Change happens from places and people you least expect it from. It relation to technology, if Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Reed Hastings, Daniel Ek, Steve Jobs and others listened and allowed people to suppress them or stop them, the world wouldn’t have Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and iPhones.

You got no heart and were not the same
You got so far but you never came
No heart, there’s no one you can blame
You tried to slow me down but ill roll over you….

From “Roll Over You”

It’s a brutal middle finger to people who try to control you. Some of those people come across as friends, but are really locusts, sucking the essence of what is you, before moving on to another person to destroy.

Not today I still got fighting left….

From “Running Mazes”

It’s simple and brilliant. While you breathe, while you stand, keep pushing forward.

American Made

This could be called <<insert country name>> made. Because regardless of the divisions within, when it comes to sticking together in the face of adversity, we seem to unite.

That opening foot stomping riff with the drums is a call to arms.

No talk just action now
Push forward don’t care how
Fight til the end that’s how I’m made
American Made

Everyone can relate.

I’m Ready

Jamey Jasta penned this for Dee’s mum, who got hit by a car, suffered brain damage, and after 2 months of fighting for life, she passed away.

Death leaves a sorrow no one can heal
Love leaves a memory no one can steal

It’s a great lyric, with so much truth.

And that lead break just kills it. It starts off with a harmony lead that for some reason reminds me of Y&T and then it starts to burn as it goes into a thrash like lead break.

Mask

That intro riff hooks me in right away.

The face you see is not our own
It hides our tears and shades our eyes
The heart you touched has since grown cold
We wear the mask that grins and lies

We live in a world of suppression. We suppress our true feelings, our emotions because of a fear of rejection or embarrassment. And for a lot of us, this is okay. And for some, it’s much deeper and it leads to depression.

Become The Storm

It’s just knockout punch combinations all the way. Dee took a stance against bullies on Twitter and it continues in his music. And the song is not using words to stop bullies, it’s saying you need to show force and a lot of it. Basically, become the storm and destroy all the others that get in your way.

We are not here to suffer
What we get through makes us tougher

Life is tough, but navigating society and suburbia and relationships is even tougher. As much as  you want everyone to like you, it’s impossible. There will always be haters. And these haters will try their best to get you down, so they feel powerful. Remember, experiences makes the person.

And those lead breaks by Charlie Bellmore deserve attention from the guitar community.

The Hardest Way

Howard Jones does some vocals on the Chorus.

Some people do things easy and some people do it hard. I know in my life, I’ve gotten this far, the hard way. I’ve made more dumb decisions than smart decisions, but somehow I find ways to correct them and move on. And the smart decisions have been perfect so far.

With courage taking the first step

It’s what’s lacking today. People have grown up in comfortable environments, where servitude to a system of work, pay taxes, pay loans is taught from when the kids start school. All of this conditioning, takes away our courage to try new things out, because it could lead to disappointment, a drop in income and a change in comfort levels.

Dead Hearts (Love Thy Enemy)

Another anti-bully song, but with the bullied person’s final note showing empathy towards the bully, while the bully showed no empathy to their victim. Alissa Gluz-White from Arch Enemy does guest vocals on this one.

We all hear what they say
Heavy has the weight
Like words filled with hate
We all hear what they say
As hard as it could be
Love thy enemy

Another great lead break in this song.

For The Love Of Metal

The title came first and then the song was built.

If you want to know how many metal song titles can fit into a song, check out, “For The Love Of Metal”.

I once was under the blade
I once was the last in line
I was a victim of changes
You can stop rock and roll

And we do it for metal, the community and the togetherness.

If you like remember how metal music was in the 80’s, the you will like this album. If you like the way modern metal sounds today, you will like this album.

As Dee screams at the end, We are All Fucking metal.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Lies Are A Business Model

What comes first, the words or the music?

The answer always is, “listening to the words and music of other artists”, however it’s rarely said. Even more so today, for fear of a court case.

Being inspired by artists, story tellers and sounds is how we learn. From the day a child is born, they are listening to the sounds of the voices and learn how to talk from it. They watch people walk and decide to try it themselves. We basically copy what others do. But when big business gets involved and hijacks a law designed to protect artists, well this isn’t what Copyright should be and it shouldn’t be up to any court to decide.

Any musician starting out learns to play the songs of others before writing their own. This builds their style and forms a large part of their song writing. Led Zeppelin just made songs or riffs they had heard from other artists, sound better.

However, lawyers these days along with the heirs of deceased artists are trying to turn this into a pension fund, because the current length of copyright terms (which the labels lobbied hard to get in the 60’s and 70’s and 90’s) allow them to do so. But if you look at any guide to becoming great in any field, they all say to copy the greats.

Artists do not operate in a vacuum. They assimilate what is happening around them to create music. They create because they want to create. It’s a human need that needs to be satisfied within. No artist sits down and says to themselves, “geez, lucky for me that Copyright law is for my life plus 70 years, so I have an incentive to create.”

However, the recording industry constantly spews the same rhetoric about the need for stronger copyright enforcement and longer copyright terms, because piracy is killing the industry and if there is stronger copyright enforcement, then artists will get paid, and if artists get paid, more art will be created.

Are they serious?

The true purpose of copyright, is the progress of arts and science.

And while piracy ran rampant, and recording industry revenues went down, there was still plenty of creative output. Artists create because they want to create.

And for getting paid, if you have some traction and are not seeing any coin, redo your contracts with the middle parties. Otherwise if you are an artist who has no traction, obscurity is your enemy, so keep on creating.

There is an article over at Torrentfreak which talks about copyright and how more money leads to less creative output which challenges the bullshit put out by the labels and their stooges.

It’s because overpaid artists don’t work harder; they work less. Jimmy Page is a perfect example. Look at his recorded output since Led Zeppelin finished up.

So Copyright was originally designed to give a creator a short term monopoly on their works so they create more works. However Copyright over the last 50 years has become a scheme which encourages our superstar artists to work less. And this is the opposite of the true purpose of copyright; to facilitate the progress of arts and science.

And what is even more opposite of the true purpose of copyright is this stupid “Blurred Lines” case.

Remember how the Pharrell/Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” infringed on Marvin Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” because it had a similar feel/groove. No actual music was copied. And what makes it bizarre, “feel” or “groove” is not protectable subject matter under copyright law. But we have a court deciding differently. It’s not like Marvin Gaye’s song was so original and free from influence of other songs from the same era.

Based on this ruling, The Night Flight Orchestra cannot exist at all, because they pay homage to artists who influence them. God damn it, every band that I know off, pays homages to other artists. This is a stupid court decision. Paying homage to other artists, or writing a song in the style of another artist is how musicians first learn to create songs. It does no harm to the original artist, and often introduces more people to the original work.

And, similar lawsuits are rapidly being filed. Ed Sheeran is dealing with one over his song “Thinking Out Loud” and if it is too close to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” The songs do have the same chord progression, but are pretty different.

As the Techdirt article states “having the same chord progression allowed Sheeran to sometimes easily perform a mashup of the two songs at concerts. But again, that’s a tribute, but it’s now being used against him.”

The scope of copyright is creeping into other things. And it’s wrong.

And because of how far gone Copyright is gone, we have a war in the EU over a perceived “value gap” of what YouTube pays versus what those songs would have earned if people had the chance to buy them.

Seriously, the recording industry might as well bring back dial up internet or the telegram.

The truth is, songs are streamed more on Spotify than they are on YouTube these days. And when are people going to understand we are living in a new era. Any person can make music. It’s cheap, you can do it from home and you can release it from home. But the biggest difference is consumption. It’s the listeners who hold the power now, not the labels.

The old model was you needed a major label. They would put some money into the recording and then promote you. Artists felt like they could have a career, even if they never became mainstream or had a hit. Now, there is so much music available, the majority of music fans don’t care about acts. The streaming platforms are not robbing the artist, it’s the fans. They have decided how they want to access music. Revenues are up for the labels, but maybe not for the artist, especially the ones on crappy record deals.

But somehow, the recording industry finds ways to put longer and stronger copyright terms into the discussion. Which is disappointing. And lawyers who represent the heirs of dead artists are waiting to sue. Which is disappointing.

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

Anew Revolution

I was clearing out my C Drive on my work computer and I came across my tunes folder. It was 30 gigs worth of music I had on my work PC and in the mix was the two albums from Anew Revolution, “Rise” and “iMerica”. So I called em up on Spotify and started to click save all over again with each song.

Whatever happened to em?

I was a fan back then and I’m still a fan today. The lyrics resonated with me. I could relate.

The following tracks are from “Rise” released in 2008.

Done

You wanna try me you might be the one who goes down
I’ve had it up to here with your rule
You’re such a two face it’s too late to take back those words

We have all dealt with people like this. One thing life has taught me is nothing is forever, and that means relationships.

Nme

I can’t believe I finally see the enemy in you

Yes, that best friend, might scheme and lie. Yes, that great love, might scheme and lie. Eventually all the lies come down like a house of cards and those people you trusted suddenly become untrustworthy. And it’s hard to take when it first happens. There is anger, a feeling of being wronged and disbelief that it’s happened for so long.

But, humans are resilient and we rise again, better and stronger than before.

Generation

We are the voice of our lives,
But no one’s listening.

Eventually people will listen. It just takes time, effort and commitment. We give up too easily.

And how long, how long,
Can I fake this?

How long can we really fake our lives?

We have so many tools at our disposal to connect with people and we remain even more isolated.

Rise

Hey you
Stand the truck up and rise
I’m not afraid

It’s pretty simple. Stand up, don’t be afraid. Easier said than done, because of what could come after. Life is always a struggle. People in power versus the ones who work for them. Some abuse the power they have and others are more utopian.

I can’t fake the way I feel inside
Every one of those eyes judging me
It’s funny how things change
I redefine how messed up this life can really be

There was a time when every action and every word that came from me was so thought out because I didn’t want to be judged or questioned for my actions/words. As I got older, I ceased to care about those kind of social arrangements. Life is too short for me to care and there are too many other things I care more about now.

Saddest Song

And all you are, are to me.
The saddest song that I’ll ever sing.

It’s over. Gone. Never coming back. It hurts, but you move on. It takes time, but you get back into the game again.

Let Go

And if I let go,
Will you let go of me?
Cause I can’t keep holding on.
I’ve given everything
And if I let go
Know that you can’t hold on
You can’t hold on to me

There’s history there and no one wants to let go, even though it’s over. The thought of starting over again is too frightening. So you hold on to each other, playing games, blaming each other even more and eventually you both stop trying to save what can’t be saved anymore.

The next songs are from “iMerica” released in 2010. This album is like Slipknot on melodic steroids.

Broken Bones

The way it starts, it’s heavy metal as prescribed by Lemmy himself.

You live, you learn, but all your left with is broken bones

I can relate. Once upon a time, big life events for me ended with fists. It felt like it was the only way, like there had to be a winner and a loser.

Head Against The Wall

It’s a great song, reminds me of Slipknot and it’s the one that has over a million streams on Spotify.

I feel the weight of all the world across my chest.
Like a cigarette it burns and stings with every breathe
I grind my teeth to stone I bite my tongue to hold every word that I’m thinking.
I lost my head in a hole I lost my heart and my soul with every word that I’m bleeding

It’s the antithesis of social media and all the likes and happy pics. Pressure is real. Financial pressure, work pressure, family pressure, health pressure and relationship pressure.

I keep banging my
I keep banging my head against this wall

But we persist, we go on, banging our head against the same wall, every single different day, until those small one percenter changes we made weeks ago start to compound and things change.

Social Suicide

Broken in pieces and sold off today
This American dream has been rigged

The GFC hurt a lot of vulnerable people, while the people who caused it, got away with college speaking tours, a government bailout and jobs with the firms who caused it.

Ashes From Stone

All I can see is ashes falling from the stone

It’s a fiery song. There are a lot of wrongs in life, and when things don’t go to plan, we seem to blame others for our own failures. We don’t take responsibility for our decisions. It’s always someone else’s fault. I used to be like that. Once I took ownership of my choices, man, what a difference. It really is like seeing the light. But until then, all I was seeing was ashes falling.

Take Me Over

I’m waiting for the sun to rise
But darkness is the only light
I’m waiting for the dark to
Take me over, take me over

It’s dark and life is dark sometimes. It’s hard to even talk about darkness in life, because of people’s reaction towards you. Some want to avoid you and some want to help and others want to help you too much that it gets bothersome. One thing is certain. We only have one life. It’s precious. Don’t throw it away. There is always a better way.

Life

I see the bottom of the bottle everyday
I keep on crawling for another inch, but an inch still seems so far away
All I can do is pretend

I don’t drink as much as I used to, but I still enjoy my vino and beers, especially in social gatherings. I do know people who cope with life in the bottom of the bottle. It’s not easy and all of us look for something to dull the pain or the fear.

Why does life keep getting harder
Constantly pushing me under

It’s our choices and our relationships that keep us from excelling. A toxic choice in a toxic relationship leads to more toxicity. A positive choice in a positive relationship leads to some more goodwill and different paths, with more choice.

I need Anew Revolution to make more music. They have fans. We probably won’t make em millions, but we will listen.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Removing Music From Spotify

Once upon a time, it used to cost a lot of money to record. Very few acts, got signed and even less acts got a chance to record and get distributed. In other words, getting inside the record label machine was hard, however if an act could penetrate, they could have a long career even if they never had a hit.

The label kept you in business and the label promoted you to get you fans. However the truth is, it was even harder to keep a record deal than getting a record deal. Especially if you didn’t sell. And even more so, once MTV came out and you didn’t sell.

Kiss was one of those bands who benefited from this business model. They relied on the label putting some money upfront for the recording of the album, for the film clips and for tour support.

Then Napster came, then torrents, the iTunes store and streaming and Gene and Paul just kept on shouting it loud to everyone about how there is no music business, while they toured non-stop and made money from the music business.

In the process they recorded two albums in this period. Yes, you read that right, since Napster came out, Kiss have put out only two albums, “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. But for all of the complaing about streaming, the Kiss catalogue was on Spotify Australia. Then when I looked at the Kiss catalogue a few days ago to listen to the “Lick It Up” album, it was gone. Actually, Kiss took off half their catalogue from Spotify Australia.

Are they serious? Is their label serious?

Talk about a slap in the face to the fans who actually pay for a premium account. Didn’t they get the memo that distribution is king and Spotify is the medium. It’s like taking your records out of record shops. If people cannot get access, they will just move on to something else.

Yeah, I know you can get the “classic” songs or the “hit songs” on one of the many compilations still available on the service, however those compilations don’t contain the more obscure tracks which are my favourite. I have no issue bringing out the CD or the LP as I have most of the Kiss stuff on both formats, but that’s not the point in this day and age.

Even my cult favourite band, Evergrey are hit and miss on Spotify. You don’t know what part of their catalogue will remain on the medium with each passing year. I’m against it. I’m against bands withholding their music from a service I pay for.

We are in a new era, where it’s all about consumption. Funds are tight, but Google and Spotify is not the problem. The artists are getting squeezed by the consumer. The consumer either listens or doesn’t want to listen to your music.

Stupid misguided artists bitch about streaming but it’s saving the recording business. Revenues are moving upward. And for the labels, streaming is the best, because it means less costs.

For any artist thinking of withholding their music from a streaming service, don’t do it. Don’t hold back progress. Because if you look at the past, you will see people who said the internet would kill the incentive to make music. Wrong, there’s so much more music than ever before. People said streaming would kill the business. Wrong, revenues are up and not it’s seen as it’s saviour.

Think forward, not backwards.

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

The Night Flight Orchestra

I’m suffering from World Cup fatigue and the typical Australian problem of watching games held in Europe between midnight and 7am. Add to this fatigue, another weeks worth of football in the Australian Capital for the Kanga Cup for my U13 boys and I’m ready for a holiday.

Being a coach is not easy and on occasions I just need to make time for some feel good music, which is fun and so departed from the tense societies we live in.

What can I say, there is something about TNFO and the music they produce that hits a nostalgic spot for me. And I’m digging it.

Album number 4, “Sometimes The World Aint Enough” came out a few weeks ago and it’s full of massive sing-along choruses and derivative versions of some of the best pop songs ever written.

Actually each album has usually 4 to 6 songs that stand out and when the mood is right, they get cranked on repeat.

This Time

It was the first single dropped in the promotion run to release day and it was actually written for the “Amber Galactic” album. Somehow it didn’t fit the flow of the album. Maybe because it sounded too similar to “Midnight Flyer”.

Regardless it made this one. If you like Deep Purple, Supertramp and Rainbow, then you will like this song. And it’s been on repeat since it came out.

Turn To Miami

This is one of those songs that will also get cranked on repeat. The track by track review on YouTube from the band, mentions a Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac influence.

Also with its “Flashdance” film clip and arena rock chorus, how can you not like it. The other thing I like about TNFO is they write about places that have affected them. The city of Miami pops up on the first album via “West Ruth Ave” and “Miami 501”.

Paralyzed

This is another song to be cranked on repeat. The groovy and melodic intro riff does enough to hook me in while the disco beats and silky bass lines get the feet tapping and the body moving.

Sometimes The World Aint Enough

Yep, add this one to the list of repeats. The keyboard riff in the intro sets up the melody, and when one of one of the most simplest drum beats (yes, it reminds me of Kiss “Deuce”) starts grooving in the Chorus, the song is elevated. As the band has mentioned in interviews, the song is about escapism.

Moments Of Thunder

The track by track YouTube videos has the TNFO guys talking about the song reminding them of Yes and how 44 different snare drums got used. Yep, it’s moments of thunder.

Speedwagon

I think the title gives away it’s influence. REO Speedwagon anyone. Maybe, but not according to Bjorn Strid, as it was just a working title which stuck to the end. According to Bjorn, the song reminds him of Swedish pop bands from the 80’s and 90’s.

Lovers In The Rain

The second singled dropped in the promotion run. It reminds me of Survivor and Def Leppard, however the track by track breakdown mentions it’s like a rock version of Ultravox. Regardless, it’s pretty cool.

Can’t Be That Bad

Seriously the riff to kick it off is so addictive, I am hooked and when the Kiss “Deuce” style drumming comes in, it’s perfect.  And that Chorus reminds me of those Desmond Child choruses from Alice Cooper’s “Trash” album crossed with Belinda Carlisle “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”.

The beauty of these tracks is hearing or reading what the TNFO guys think of it. In the track by track breakdown, it’s mentioned that the song is the output if Alan Parsons hooked up with Kiss for a song writing session.

Pretty Thing Closing In

It’s got this disco drum groove that reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall”. TNFO reckon it’s a great song to listen to when you are driving in Italy.

Barcelona

Man, the riffs are addictive.

“How I need you Barcelona”

Having been to Barcelona and being really taken by the beauty of the city I can easily relate. And like “Turn To Miami”, this is TNFO writing about cities which have had an impact on them.

Winged and Serpentine

Rick Springfield influence according to the track by track breakdown as the guys watched all of his videos before they entered the studio.

The Last Of Independent Romantics

With album number 2, TNFO started to have a longer and progressive track as the closer. “The Heather Reports” appeared on “Skyline Whispers” and “Saturn In Velvet” appeared on “Amber Galactic”.

The processed electronic drums at the start underpin the “You Give Love A Bad Name” vocal melody in the verses. Yes, you read that right. They took one of Jovi’s biggest choruses and used it for a verse.

Then the riff from 2 minutes, that’s the power of music and the power of this project known as The Night Flight Orchestra.

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Music

1984 – Ep 2

the playlist

Coming into 1984, hard rock and metal bands started popping up everywhere in the mainstream. Magazines moved their reporting from different styles of music to cover only hard rock. The labels even started promoting rock music with glam metal, hair metal, glam rock, heavy rock and melodic rock suddenly becoming genres. And regardless of what “genre” a band got labelled with, we still found the albums in the heavy metal category of the record shop.

Part 1 is here.

Judas Priest still had the world in the palm of their hands with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” released two years before. And then they dropped “Defenders Of The Faith”.

Judas Priest – Defenders Of The Faith

Before Judas Priest there was metal music, but the mighty Priest woke us all up and got us addicted. With “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin”, they infected television, radio and the jukeboxes around the world. So the world was waiting with what they would unleash next.

“We’ve always maintained that albums are important from year to year, but especially after topping the platinum mark in the States, we knew that we had to come up with a follow-up which was going to carry on from there and take us to even greater heights.”
Rob Halford, Heavy Duty official biography, 1984

What an album.

Rising from darkness where hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian… Master of all metal.

Freewheel Burning

How good is this song?

The speed, the lyrics, the riffs and those lead breaks. It’s all break neck stuff. I am pretty sure a few members from a band called “Helloween” were listening intently.

Fast and furious / Look before you leap has never been the way we keep / Our road is free / Charging to the top / And never give in never stops the way to be

The words that leap off the vinyl instantly capture the essence of the metal spirit of never giving in and dealing with whatever comes our way. And it sets the tempo for what the album is, fast and furious all the way.

Jawbreaker

There are no radio hits on this album, just songs made for the artist and the fan.

Rock Hard Ride Free

That guitar intro and harmony lead is enough to hook me in. And the lyrics sum up the 80’s movement to a tee.

No denying we’re going against the grain
So defiant they’ll never put us down

By this stage, rock and roll wasn’t becoming part of the grain and by 1986 it was the grain. But we still loved the “us versus them” lyrics.

Rock hard, ride free
All day, all night
Rock hard, ride free,
All your life

It’s what we wanted to do all day, to rock hard and be free.

The Sentinel

My favourite track on the album. I could listen to it over and over again.

This is music made for the sound system and not the earbuds. I would crank it up and the whole room would be filled with the sound. And it felt good. Halford sets the scene along deserted avenues with figures primed and ready for a quick surprise.

Sworn to avenge
Condemn to hell
Tempt not the blade
All fear the sentinel

It’s an arena rock chorus but it’s lyrical message is so far removed from the pop charts and the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “Cum On Feel The Noize” type of messages.

And how good are the riffs underneath the Chorus vocal melody.

Some Heads Are Gonna Roll

If the man with the power cant keep it under control
Some heads are gonna roll

So relevant today as it was back in the 70’s and 80’s. Especially with so many men in power with ego’s to match.

The power mad freaks who are ruling the Earth
Will show how little they think you’re worth

And these power mad freaks are not just the leaders in charge, they are the giants in control of the biggest global corporations we have ever scene.

Heavy Duty/Defenders Of The Faith

The simple drum intro reminds me of “I Love It Loud” from Kiss and then the riffs come crashing down. Brilliant. It sounds heavy and it suits the title to a tee.

And prove to all the world
Metal rules the land
We’re heavy duty
So come on let’s tell the world

And for a brief moment in time in the 80’s metal did rule the world.

Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi

The debut album from the “guys from Jersey” is tiny compared to the albums that came after, but still has some worthy riffs to talk about.

Runaway

The keyboard riff and the synchonrised drums and guitar all work together.

As much as Jovi hates playing this song or any song from the first two albums live because of the silly lyrical themes, “Runaway” has become a favourite amongst the “Slippery” fans who purchased the back catalogue once “Slippery” exploded.

And yeah, the lyrics are clichéd, but no can deny it’s catchiness.

Roulette

I actually dig the riffs on this, hence the reason why it’s on here.

She Don’t Know Me

It’s a cover song, and it’s perfect for Jovi’s first album.

Shot Through The Heart

Funny story, when I heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” on the TV music channels, I came in halfway through, so I thought the song was called “Shot Through The Heart”. So when I went to purchase the album, I saw the “Slippery When Wet” album first and it didn’t have a song on it called “Shot Through The Heart”. I picked up the debut album and saw it on there, so I purchased that instead.

“Shot Through The Heart” is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Jack Ponti and the track has this infectious piano riff in the intro and Sambora goes to town in this song, showing his melodic chops in decorating the song.

Burning For Love

It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. As with all of the earlier stuff, Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder.

Come Back

It’s got some cool riffs and the lead break is very different.

Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force

For some insane reasoning, this album is not on Spotify Australia. It still blows me away how artists or the label/corporation who hold the copyright believe that geo-restrictions are a good thing in a world where we are all connected to each other. But it’s on YouTube, which pays less. Yep, it sure sounds like good business logic.

Marillion – Fugazi

The Fish led era of Marillion was an acquired taste and I enjoyed the music more than the vocals. Actually, certain sections of music, which I even used as templates for interludes for my own songs.

Punch and Judy

How good is the start from 0.00 to 0.22? Yep, those 22 seconds hooked me. That’s all it took.

Emerald Lies

Again, the intro hooks me in from 0.00 to 0.42.

Cinderella Search – 12” Version

And again, the intro hooks me.

And then from 3 minutes onwards, the piano starts playing a riff that is addictive, as the drums and guitars start to pick it up and I am hooked all the way to the end, while Fish is singing, “Welcome To The Circus”.

Assassing – Alternate Mix

Dream Theater have used this song as influence for quite a few DT songs. I think it’s one of Marillion’s best songs, combining a lot of influences and genres into one song, as it moves from Pink Floyd like grooves into more progressive adventures and new wave pop.

Three Boats Down From The Candy

Again the first minute of the song gets me interested and then when that guitar melodic lead comes in at 2.49, I am all in.

Metallica – Ride The Lightning

When I first heard the album I was blown away lyrically. Musically I didn’t even know what kind of music it was. I felt like a chainsaw assaulted my earbuds. Because it didn’t sound like the hard rock mixes I was used to, it took me a while to get used to it. What can I say, my ears were conditioned to enjoy the Tom Werman, Keith Olsen, Bruce Fairbairn produced albums.

And I still contend that “Ride The Lightning” is the album that should define Metallica. It was original, progressive and it set the track list template for future albums which followed.

Fight Fire With Fire

Man, those acoustic guitars at the start is the calm before the storm. Because once the chainsaw riff starts, it’s circle pit time and James Hetfield’s vocal delivery is bordering on death metal.

And it ends with a nuclear bomb going off, just before the harmonies of “Ride The Lightning” kick in.

Ride The Lightning

The harmony guitars and the drums in the intro hook me straight away.

For Whom The Bells Toll

A bell tolls. And there is a pause.

A bell tolls again. And there is another brief pause.

Then the staccato F#5 power chord comes crashing down, before it goes to the E5 power chord to ring out. Then the bass solo . Then the descending chromatic riff which mimics the bass solo. And when you think the first verse is about to come in, a harmony guitar lead happens, which is repeated over and over again, until the riff which underpins the Chorus comes in.

And then the first verse happens. 2 plus minutes after the song started. The approach to song writing is progressive and impressive, especially when you take into account the ages of the members.

Fade To Black

It’s a game changer song. The intro is influenced by the intro in “Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd from 1979. The start of the outro when James is singing is influenced by the intro from Black Sabbath’s, “A National Acrobat” from 1973. And from all of these influences, the song still sounds original.

By the end of Side 1, I was floored by a four punch knock out. The needle went back to the start and I had to turn over the LP to side 2. But I played Side 1 again and again and again, until I basically overdosed on it.

Then I switched to side 2.

Trapped Under Ice

This song doesn’t get any love, but it’s a tribute to their NWOBHM roots. Kirk also provided the verse riff, which originally appeared in the Exodus song “Impaler”.

I don’t know how to live through this hell
Woken up, I’m still locked in this shell
Frozen soul, frozen down to the core
Break the ice, I can’t take anymore

Yeah, it could be about being trapped under ice or could be all metaphors. The “ice” is the home and the “frozen soul” is a life controlled by others.

Escape

The intro is excellent.

For the “fans” who criticised the “Black” album, they should really not forget tracks like “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “Escape” and “Leper Messiah” from “Master Of Puppets”. Slower tempo songs that would not be out of place on the “Black” Album. The theme of control and manipulation will come up again in “Welcome Home”, “Dyers Eve” and “The Unforgiven”.

Feed my brain with your so called standards
Who says that I ain’t right

Creeping Death

So let it be written that I loved covering this track with the bands I was in. It’s a classic metal song for the ages. “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg” are covers that ended up as B sides to the “Creeping Death” single, but still worthy additions to be included here as people believed these to be proper Metallica songs.

The Call Of Ktulu

Another game changer track, a progressive 7 minute instrumental track. It’s got a bit of everything, written when Mustaine was still in the band and it’s got the embryonic riff of what will become “Hanger 18” in Megadeth many years later.

Y&T – In Rock We Trust

I didn’t know it in the Eighties, but Y&T would became one of my favourite bands in the Nineties, as I managed to pick up all of their albums up to “Ten” from a second hand record shop. Their big money Geffen move didn’t happen until the late 80’s and A&M was the wrong label for these classic albums. Regardless, Y&T’s music goes through my brain on a regular basis. They’re embedded there, part of my DNA.

Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World

Y&T always started off with a strong cut. This was even more important in the CD era as there was only one side and a lot of people never made it to the end of the album.

Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand

The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.

Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll

We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.

Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away

It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.

Life, Life, Life

It’s a bloody scene
Hear the population scream
As the missile rushes in
Can’t you feel the flames of hell?

What’s changed in 2018 from 1984? Missiles are still rushing in and for people living in these war zones, it is hell. And for all of our technological advancements to integrate and socialise, we are even more divided.

We let the insane play their fools game
They’re runnin’ a race for death

These lyrics might have referenced a dictator, however democratic leaders today are no better.

It’s time to make a stand for
Life, Life, Life
It’s time to break down the chain of command

We are the only ones who can make change happen, but we choose to opt out so we don’t upset other people.

Masters And Slaves

What a song and how good are the lyrics.

It’s such a dirty game
That it fills you with rage
There’s only kings and queens
And you’re a pawn in their game

Truth in these words. If you don’t believe me, name me the one thing keeping you up at night. Money, security, safety. Kings and queens don’t have that problem. And if you borrow money, guess what, you become even a bigger pawn in the game.

Of masters and slaves
We’re divided that way
Are you a master or slave?
Do you rule or obey?

We are born, our parents rule and we obey. We go to school and our teachers rule, while we obey. We go to work and the boss rules, while we obey. We get married, and the other partner rules while we obey.

When they tell you it’s the home of the free
Well, they must be insane

Who would have thought that living in a free country would be so expensive?

‘Cause it’s dog eat dog from morning ’till night
And only the strongest survive
It’s the law of the jungle, only winners have rights
The losers relinquish their lives

There is no story about the losers. Only the winners. And they re-write history to suit their point of view.

So, you think you’re made
When you have your fortune and fame
But don’t you realize
Oh, someone’s running the game

These lyrics reference life, experience, skin in the game. It’s not all about being a red hot live wire, wanting to feel the noise. How many artists lost all the money they made when their career and the public acceptance of their music started to fade.

I’ll Keep On Believin’ (Do You Know)

I’ll keep on believin’
I won’t let our love slip away

Again, words of life, about being out on the road for long periods, leaving relationships and friends behind, only to find out when you come back home, they have moved on.

Break Out Tonight

The streets are misty in the mornin’ light
The fog hides everythin’ from view
It’s time to make a move to change my life
I gotta make my dreams come true

The song is simple, like the band just rolled the tape in the studio and when Dave Meniketti opens his mouth, truth comes out (courtesy of the lyrics written by bassist, Phil Kennemore). If you want to make your dreams come true, it rarely happens when you are sitting in the comforts of your hometown. You need to break out.

Don’t Stop Runnin’

Ahh, yes a song about being with someone as you are rising up the ladder of stardom and suddenly when you hit a rough patch, that person leaves, and as soon as your fame star starts to rise again, they want to come back into your life.

Umm, no.

When I had the world in the palm of my hand
You never looked at another man
But when I started to slip, you said bye, bye, bye

With you one day, gone the next.

Well you heard I got my big break
So now you’re sayin’ that you made a mistake
And you wanna come back for the ride, ride, ride

Does it really happen like this? I’m still not convinced. Once it’s over, it’s over. For me there are no second chances.

Well the word is out all over town
You’re not the only girl that’s chasin’ me down
Take your place at the end of the line, line, line

It’s a cool revenge song.

This Time

I always dig a good power ballad with cool music. And this one has got some nice guitar playing with clean tone apreggios and distorted chords crashing together to create a cool foundation to build the melodies on.

Darling, I’ve been so afraid
To share what’s on my mind
But I believe you’re just like me
And I can trust in you this time, this time

Safety is what connects us and when you find someone with similar values, you feel connected and by default you feel safe.

The past is full of fallen stars
Of love that I’ve denied
But somehow I know we won’t make
The same mistake this time

Oh, all those missed chances or words unsaid.

Whitesnake – Slide It In

From a copyright point of view, how the hell would David Coverdale do the accounting for it. There are the songwriters who would deserve their royalty and then there are the two versions of the albums, with different members and because those members played on the album, they would get a performance royalty.

The remixed US version of the album had John Sykes replacing the guitar parts of Mel Galley and Micky Moody, while Neil Murray replaced the bass parts of Colin Hodgkinson.

Good luck in working out the percentages.

Gambler

This little bluesy rocker opens the UK edition of the album, but not the U.S one. It’s written by David Coverdale and the very underrated and not very MTV friendly looking Mel Galley.

Slide It In

The Free/Bad Company style of blues rock influences this Coverdale composition about sliding a knife in butter right to the top. The lead breaks are different between the US and UK versions. For me, I prefer the UK version lead break as its more melodic and more sing-along.

Slow an’ Easy

The heavily influenced Led Zep “Slow an’ Easy” is written by Coverdale and Micky Moody. Lyrically it deals with a superstitious woman who will be taken down slow and easy. The US mix has a few pinch harmonic screams that the UK version doesn’t have.

Love Ain’t No Stranger

This classic is written by Coverdale and Galley. I liked the way Coverdale, had a slow intro before the whole band crashes in.

Give Me More Time

Another Coverdale and Galley cut that takes its cues from AC/DC in the verses. And the lead break is excellent and very reminiscent to the “Slide It In” lead break.

Standing in the Shadow

Another Coverdale composition. Seriously, is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?

I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can

It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.

Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.

Spit It Out

Another Coverdale and Galley composition, which is basically saying if she doesn’t like it, she can “Spit it Out” while Kiss was singing, “Lick It Up”. I guess people just couldn’t make up their minds.

Guilty of Love

How cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by the very underrated guitarist known as David Coverdale.

Cold Chisel – Twentieth Century

The final studio album for Australian band Cold Chisel before they went their separate ways in the 80’s. Hell the album even came out months after they played their final show in December of 83.

Side 1 had three Chisel classics in “Saturday Night”, “No Sense” and “Flame Trees”. Hard to believe that “No Second Prize” from Jimmy Barnes solo album that followed this was rejected from this album.

Saturday Night

Piano player and band founder, Don Walker wrote it about his views of Sydney’s King Cross district, with vocals shared between guitarist Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes.

“The band I’d been in for ten years was breaking up. I think it’s just a ‘kissing all that goodbye and moving on into the unknown’ song.”

Don Walker

No Sense

A Jimmy Barnes composition, with a very reggae feel about people that make no sense at all.

Flame Trees

Drummer Steve Prestwich co-wrote the music on a bass and Walker added the lyrics, about growing up and his dreams of leaving his birthplace behind.

The Game

It’s the only track I like on Side 2, written by bassist Phil Small and lyrics by Walker, about losing your place in the game, which to me, the game could be life, a relationship, a workplace or even a gambling table.

Well that’s it for Part 2, stay tuned for Part 3.

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