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

The Record Vault – Bon Jovi From 2000 to 2009

After a very limited release schedule of new music in the 90s, Bon Jovi became a different beast at the start of the 2000’s releasing more frequently. Almost yearly.

Was it the Napster effect?

100% it was.

When fans of music could get their music fix for free or by cherry picking from the iTunes Store, it meant the old business model of living off the royalties of your past successes and releasing music every two to five years was challenged and a new way was needed. Suddenly not a lot of people wanted the album, just the “hits”.

And because of the internet, people moved on to different artists and sounds quicker than ever before. So in order to stay relevant and in the public conversation, artists had to release more frequently. Which Bon Jovi did.

There was no escaping “Crush” released in 2000. “It’s My Life” was everywhere and Bon Jovi had another Super Bowl title win with this song. It’s no surprise that the hitmeister of the day, Max Martin co-wrote the song, in the same way Desmond Child co-wrote a lot of the Jovi hits back in the 80s and early 90s. I even got “Collectors Edition 05686”, whatever that means.

And I got all the singles from this album because they had so many unreleased tracks on them. Check em out.

“One Wild Night Live 1985–2001” came out in 2001 and I purchased it, to hear Jovi, still firing on all cylinders.

“Bounce” released in 2002 is one of my favorite Jovi albums. There is a lot of Dropped D riffing, it’s heavy and it’s angry. It’s written post September 11 and everyone who saw those images of the planes hitting the towers could forget em.

And I purchased the singles because they had a lot of B sides to them. Something that Jovi was doing really well.

“This Left Feels Right” came out in 2003. Sambora went to town here, re-interpreting all the classics in an acoustic folky way.

“100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong” is one hell of a box set, released in 2004. This is the jewel in the Jovi crown. There is so much history on this.

“Have a Nice Day” came out in 2005 and it had some cool tunes on it as well. I’ve got the Aus Edition with bonus tracks and a DVD I haven’t played.

“Lost Highway” released in 2007 was interesting, because I liked it. I liked the ballsy change to country rock.

“The Circle” was released in 2009 and after the GFC so it had songs on it about the working man doing it tough. It was interesting how people took offense to Jovi even attempting to write an album like this while he was so far removed from the working man.

Regardless, it still had some cool tunes on it and I was still on board.

Coming up is my Jovi collection from 2010 to 2020.

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

Working Man

Alex Lifeson really gets to work on this song in the riffs and the guitar solos.

The opening riff could easily be used on a Metallica or Pantera album, it’s that heavy.

I get up at seven, yeah
And I go to work at nine
I got no time for livin’
Yes, I’m workin’ all the time

And when you add overtime to the mix which everyone would say yes to, as it added that little bit of extra in the pay, then there is zero time for living because you are working all the time.

But hey, you are thinking that the holidays are coming soon and you will have time for living then and you will go away with your family, but suddenly, you and your partner are disconnected because of all the time you spent away and your kids just don’t have that connection with you either.

It seems to me
I could live my life
A lot better than I think I am
I guess that’s why they call me
They call me the working man

Live to work or work to live. Jobs in the past provided security. It was the norm that someone would start and retire in the same job. My Dad did. These days it’s very different. There is a gig economy, part time work, casual work, full time work and most people have been in more than one job. Sometimes a lot of jobs.

The thing I like about music is when artists are creative.

From the 2 minute mark “Working Man” changes. That whole lead section and that riff from 3.10 is basically a song within a song. And it keeps going, so far removed from the pop formula of verse, chorus and bridge.

Then at the 5.20 mark the song comes back to the original music. After 7 plus minutes, the only option left is to press repeat.

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

Circle The Drain

The song started its life 13 plus months ago. It had a hook about “Treading Water” initially and that was probably going to be the title.

Robb Flynn then mentioned how the song title came about. He had a friend, who returned from Afghanistan only to have his relationship fall apart. His girlfriend messed around on him while he was gone, then she got paranoid about him messing around on her and drove him crazy. The title came from the words Robb’s friend said to him, “they were just circling the drain”.

Circling the drain means to be very near death and have little time to live. It is also used to describe a project or relationship that is on the brink of failure.

Robb also lost two long term band members who decided to leave Machine Head.

I don’t know if it was a relationship gone bad or if it was just time to move on, as nothing lasts ever, even the cold November Rain.

But when relationships do go bad, either romantic or band breakups, the people’s lives change forever. Suddenly, people/friends take sides, and you are not being invited to the events you used to go to and you are exposed to it all via social media and societies quest to showcase how great their lives are on it.

So artists channel this pain and anger and aggression into their music and their words.

Treading water, were just numbing the pain
Spinning round as we circle the drain

You know how it’s going to end, but you are too scared to move on and break ties. So we go around in circles, walking on egg shells and taking care to not hurt each other’s feelings, while our real feelings left the building a long time ago.

Excuses don’t mean anything when tears run down our eyes

No one said break ups are easy. And totems of the relationship are left behind everywhere, like a song or a movie that you don’t like anymore, because it brings back memories of that person.

And if it’s not tears running down the eyes, its blood. For all of our advancements in science and technology, we still can’t control our lizard brain, that small section of the brain that controls everything once it’s activated. It’s dangerous and on occasions deadly.

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

Revelation (Mother Earth)

So Ozzy gets fired from Sabbath because he’s apparently more wasted than the rest of the other guys in the band, and while he is wasted in L.A, all the people around him, manage to put a band together which involves Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake.

And this separation between Ozzy and Sabbath wasn’t just tied to this band.

All of the bands that had success in the 70’s went through this. Aerosmith was experiencing their own dramas amongst wasted members, along with Kiss, UFO, Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Eagles and Styx. Deep Purple was already done, while Rainbow already experienced a turnover of musicians.

The record labels were always looking for their next cash cows and so many bands had artists in there, that could be successful on their own, so the sway of the dollar was causing a huge turnover of personnel. Ronnie James Dio is a perfect case, from Elf to Rainbow to Black Sabbath to Dio.

And from all of these movements of personnel, the Blizzard Of Ozz band came to be and man, they created some memorable masterpieces.

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” appeared on the “Blizzard of Ozz” album from 1980. But the definitive version is from the “Tribute” live album released in 1987 as the tempo is increased a little bit, plus you get the fake crowd noises added which weren’t really there and you get recut vocals from Ozzy.

Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics about how we are destroying our own planet. I guess not much has changed since 1979. Forty years later, the planet is definitely on a highway to hell and we keep finding ways to fuck it up. Some of the lyrics reference the book of Revelations in the bible and the word “Mother” in the title came from a John Lennon song called “Mother”.

The intro/verse riff from 0.00 to 1.24 is just pure Randy Rhoads. A classical piece, it can be a little song within a song. It’s timeless and it doesn’t sound dated at all.  

Mother please forgive them
For they know not what they do
Looking back in history’s books
It seems it’s nothing new
Oh let my mother live

How much more can Mother Earth forgive and forget?

In Australia we have just come out of fires and endless days of smoke haze and poor air quality only to enter into severe rain and flooding.

Heaven is for heroes
And hell is full of fools
Stupidity, no will to live
They’re breaking god’s own rules
Please let my mother live

Everything is a balance. Screw up the balance and things change.

Father, of all creation
I think we’re all going wrong
The course they’re taking
Seems to be breaking
And it won’t take too long

As a society, people are trying to move to more sustainable models, but nothing is easy when big business is involved. And people’s livelihoods are at stake here as well, who work in these industries. Then you have other countries who just don’t care, who will just burn their rubbish. If you travel, you would have seen it.

Children of the future
Watching empires fall
Madness the cup they drink from
Self-destruction the toll

Every great empire has fallen. Alexander’s Empire disintegrated, the Roman Empire fell, the British Empire is no more and currently, some of the large democratic countries are showing similarities to the Empires of the past, just before they crumbled.

I had a vision, I saw the world burn
And the seas had turned red (seas had turned red)
The sun had fallen, the final curtain
In the land of the dead

Those pictures from Australia got traction all around the world. There was no need for Photoshop to enhance the destruction as mother nature’s fury was enough.

Mother, please show the children
Before it’s too late (before it’s too late)
To fight each other, there’s no one winning
We must fight all the hate (must fight all the hate)

It’s too late. All the different races and colours still hate each other. All the ones who seek profit over nature, will lie and scheme to get their way.

Then 03.03 to 3.21 just before the acoustic interlude.

Then from the 5 minute mark to the end is just brilliant. It is a merge of heavy riffing and classical / baroque influenced lead break that twists and turns into each other.

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

All My Love

Led Zeppelin became the biggest rock act in the world. If there was any doubt about their status after “IV”, then “Physical Graffiti” put all doubt to rest. In over a decade, Jimmy Page went from being an unknown guitarist in “The Yardbirds” to a rock god, a guitar hero, a songwriter and producer.

When something reaches critical mass, what is next?

The only highs left are the ones that narcotics provide and “In Through the Out Door” is the album in which Jimmy Page went missing from the song writing department, sort of like how James Hetfield wasn’t really into Metallica and “St Anger” was the result.  

Wikipedia tells me that the album is a reflection of the personal turmoil that the band members had been going through before and during the recording. Robert Plant and his wife had gone through a serious car accident, and their young son then died from a stomach illness. All four band members also felt weary of dealing with record companies and other associates. Jimmy Page was strung out on heroin and John Bonham on booze.

But even if Jimmy Page was missing mentally on this album, Robert Plant had things to say and man, “All My Love” is just one of those songs that connected with me from the first time I heard it. It’s written by Plant and Jones.

And that vocal line from Plant is emotive as he references his loss in the same way Clapton did in “Tears In Heaven”?

Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind

I didn’t really know what Plant was singing about when I first heard this song, I just knew that it was sad because of the minor key chord progression, which is interesting because the verses have this Am, G, Dm, Am, G, D major chord progression (with the major key giving the tone a hopeful vibe) and on the chorus it goes to a C, G/B, Am, F – G chord progression, so it has this major key hopeful vibe but with the minor chord in the centre, it remains sad.

And chasing that feather in the wind is like chasing that dream or the spirit of someone you think about a lot.

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim

Knowing that the song is about Karac Plant, these lines have a different meaning, but my initial views are about chasing a dream and because all our dreams are grand, you are questioning yourself and questioning if you have the same passion and desire to keep going on.

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind, oh
Time heals the heartache but the memories never fade.

And it’s no surprise that Led Zeppelin would break apart a year later and for Jimmy Page, he didn’t set the mainstream on fire again until he hooked up with David Coverdale in the early 90s and then with Plant again afterwards.

Meanwhile Robert Plant was focused, driven and he just kept on writing and recording and releasing.

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

Overkill

It’s 1975.

Punk music is taking over in England and rock music made famous by Sabbath, Purple and Steppenwolf was fading. And Motorhead was there to bridge the gap.

In 1979, “Overkill” and “Bomber” come out, charted well and suddenly the band was making some coin, which they put into the stage production. And bands like Motorhead started to appear all over England, as the disenfranchised youth from the projects and housing developments took up arms in denim and leather and started supporting this bludgeoning new sound.

Lemmy is the definition of a person loaded with GRIT. After so many false starts, Motorhead finally started rolling with “Overkill”.  Labelled as Heavy Metal, Lemmy rejected that label from the outset and said they are just a rock and roll band. Lars Ulrich even credits “Overkill” as his first introduction to double bass drumming and when Metallica ruled the business pre-Napster, people listened to Mr Ulrich.

Only way to feel the noise is when its good and loud

Fast Eddie Clark is no slouch on the guitar, bring his speed blues rock into the mix, which allows him to wail, while the Lemster and Philthy lay down the foundations. And its loud and its fast and there is no commercial expectation.

On your feet you feel the beat, it goes straight to your spine
Shake your head you must be dead if it don’t make you fly

Line credits to vodka, amphetamines, bikers and roadies and groupies. Shake you head and keep flying.

Know your body’s made to move, feel it in your guts
Rock ‘N’ Roll ain’t worth the name, If it don’t make you strut

All of the 70’s acts started off playing rock and roll/blues covers and somehow they ended up as metallers. But don’t tell Lemmy that. He will still kick your arse even from the afterlife.

And how good is that outro for the last 30 seconds.

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

January 2020 – Part 2

Here is the Spotify playlist that covers both posts.

The January 2020 Part 1 post is here.

There’s a worldwide revolution happening to the ears of music consumers and it’s all because of the internet.

You see, when the music distribution chain was decimated by Napster and not dominated by the US labels and their affiliates, suddenly everyone could play in this new world. But this new world didn’t really take off until Spotify started. This streaming tool and all the different digital distributors that have appeared in the last 10 years made this new world a reality.

And artists are coming up from every corner of the world to play.

My previous 2020 list had an artist from Mongolia on it. The list below has bands from Finland, Mexico, U.S, Sweden, England, Wales, Italy and Canada. And as a fan of music, it’s a great time to be alive because a lot of the music below would probably have been available via import in Australia.

Poets Of The Fall – King Of Fools

These dudes from Finland can rock but this is an acoustic piece from a Theatre session album released on Spotify.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Mettal EP

I love this EP and the work these two do.

They cover “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” from Megadeth, “Battery” from Metallica and “Season In The Abyss” from Slayer.

How can you not like it?

Especially the way Gabriela percussively lays down a rhythmic foundation and flamenco’s her way through it all. The true star of this duo.

Khymera – Walk Away

I love me a dose of melodic rock Euro style. Nothing earth shattering original but a great listen and excellent musicianship, plus a keyboard lick that’s addictive like sugar.

H.E.A.T – Come Clean

Another melodic rock gem and the Frontiers label is cleaning up in this era. They have kept the style alive for so many years.

Asking Alexandria – Rise Up

This isn’t a January 2020 release song, but it came into my life this year via a Spotify “Rise Up” playlist. And I like it.

Pop Evil – Divide

Same deal with this song. It didn’t come out in January 2020, but it came into my life via the same “Spotify “Rise Up” playlist.

Allen/Olzon – Worlds Apart

Russell Allen is a great vocalist and so is Annette Olzon and this is another cool Frontiers project full of melodic metal.

“Worlds apart, no matter how close we are”

What a great line.

Because it happens, you can be in the same room and be worlds apart, even more so these days with our tech devices giving us access to communicate with people from all over the world, instantly.

Those Damn Crows – Never Win

From Wales and their new album “Point Of No Return” came out this year.

A solemn piano riff kicks off the song and I was interested.

Then the vocal melody starts and I pressed like.

If I worked to the bone, pay for all we own, would you let me in?

Sometimes the expectations of others is a chain around the neck. How can we measure up when the rules are made up every day and are constantly changing?

There’s no more I can do, I have proved to you, I will never win…

Relationships are a compromise. How much people are prepared to compromise determines how the relationship goes.

I know we were far from perfect but I fought so hard for you

I’ve had friends who told me they never argued, until they did and separated. Arguments are a part of life and relationships are littered with them. At first it’s towards each other and why things got said. Then when children come, the arguments are about them. And there is financial pressure and suddenly someone is suffering in the relationship.

I can never win

It’s better to walk away than stay.

Breaking Benjamin – Aurora album

I’m a fan of this band and have been since the “Phobia” album.

My friend once described their music as depressing, but it’s exactly why I like this band, because life is not perfect. If you want to hear Breaking Benjamin do some of their classic songs in acoustic format, then “Aurora” is a perfect album.

Dirty Shirley

How dirty can Shirley get and how many more projects can George Lynch be involved in?

“I Disappear” is heavy foot stomper, “The Dying” sounds like it came from George Lynch’s “Sacred Groove” album and “Siren Song” sounds like a “Tooth N Nail” cut with just a mild distorted sound.

And its cool how the Frontiers label is getting people from different countries but with similar tastes, to write and create.

Dino Jelusick is one hell of a vocalist and from Croatia. There are YouTube videos of him doing “The Last Time”, a Badlands cover and his band “Animal Drive” released a covers EP of some hard rock gems along with a full length album.

But this dude needs more exposure and George Lynch is always up for a project because he knows that to survive in the current market it’s all about creativity. And once they added Will Hunt on drums Dirty Shirley became to be.

And the jury is out if these little projects are actually working or just a copyright grab from Frontiers to secure as many copyrights as it can, so they have a better negotiating position when it comes to streaming deals.

But like Revolution Saints, I would like to see Dirty Shirley get a few more chances to record albums on Frontiers.

British Lion – Last Chance

Do we listen to British Lion to hear Steve Harris recreate Iron Maiden or do we listen to this to hear Steve Harris do something different?

“Last Chance” is a good track. It starts off with an apreggiated riff which reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. At 55 seconds the song kicks in and Steve’s bass is rolling along.

How good is that lick from the 1.15 mark?

The verse riff is brilliant.

And the vocals are an acquired taste.

If you listen to this and expect Dickinson style vocals, then don’t bother.

I read a live review that blasted the vocals in a live setting and how the vocalist lacked any charisma and stage presence. Maybe so, but from the sound of the voice, the vocalist sounds more like an acoustic melancholic singer than a rocker. Even the debut had that same vocal vibe.

“Is this the end of me and you?”

Not really, I will give British Lion another chance.

Storm Force – “Age of Fear” album

This album surprised me and made me press like on a lot of songs and thanks to the Thunder Bay blog for sharing their music with us.

Opening track “Because Of You” has the symphonic keys for about 50 seconds before it goes into a “Won’t Get Fooled Again” style riff from The Who and once the verses kick in, I felt like I was listening to a seventies act.

“I heard on the news today, it’s all about to change, but I think well be okay”

The human spirit sees hope in all situations, because our DNA coding is to survive and we find that strength in ourselves and because of others.

“Age Of Fear” is a foot stomper of a title track with Scorpions like harmonies in the intro.

“It’s the age of fear, where you spread your made up stories”

It’s a sign of the times when everyone surrounds themselves in their own echo chambers and the people in power are trying to influence others by spreading fake stories.

“Breathe – Words” starts off ominous and the opening lyric sets the tone of depression.

“You’ve got nothing to live for, nothing to wish for, nothing to hold on”

There is always something to live for, something to wish for and something to hold on to. Resilience and survival go hand in hand.

“Breathe with me, just let it all go”

That’s all we want in life, someone to talk to and breathe with.

“Breathe with me, just take control”

Take control, let the past die and embrace the day, for you have everything to live for.

“Ride Like Hell” makes me want to jump in the car and speed 55. And there a lot other good tracks on this, so it’s worth the check out.

And this is a wrap for January 2020.

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