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

Australian Method Series: Screaming Jets – Living In England (EP)

They got their name from a Johnny Warman song called “Screaming Jets”. Peter Gabriel also appears on the song, delivering a haunting vocal. It was a hit in Australia and singer Dave Gleeson was singing it when the rest of the band said, “that’s it. That’s the band name”.

I saw The Screaming Jets live on Friday, July 29. They celebrated the 30 Year Anniversary of their debut album, “All For One” and played it in its entirety. You can read my review of that album here. I got tickets for the concert last year, when it was actually the 30th Year Anniversary, however due to the Delta wave and our third lockdown, the show was postponed.

All I can say is that bassist Paul Woosen is a beast on the groove. His bass rumbled and rocked at the gig, laying down the foundations for the rest of the band to roll.

But let’s go back in time here to 1992.

Following the “All For One” album release, the band relocated to the United Kingdom, which they called home for two and a bit years.

They remained unchanged from the debut album, with Dave Gleeson on vocals, Grant Walmsley and Richard Lara on guitars, Paul Woosen on bass and Brad Heaney on drums. But this would change once the album that carried these songs came out in October 1992. However that is for another post.

“Living in England” was released as an EP, in June 1992. The band was hot and still selling good numbers from their “All For One” album in Australia. So the label thought, why not make some extra cash by offering up an EP before the album “Train Of Thought” is released.

And I was all in.

I love this EP.

It’s got three original songs which would appear on the album, and cover versions of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and AC/DC’s “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)” which haven’t appeared anywhere else expect on this EP release.

Actually a live version of “Folsom Prison Blues” appeared on another EP in 2017.

Tunnel

Written by vocalist Dave Gleeson and guitarist Richard Lara.

The riff from Lara is excellent. And the horns in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus enhance the song. Think “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob.

Musically it’s a cross between The Angels, Bad Company and AC/DC.

Meet Anybody

Written by guitarist Grant Walmsley.

It has a vibe from The Angels, but man, the verses sit in the LA Sunset Strip style of writing. Then when the Chorus kicks in, it’s got that Albert Productions sound.

And you know which bands I am talking about when I mention Albert Productions.

There is this bridge section which reminds of how Vita Bratta plays. Press play and just enjoy.

Living in England

Also written by Grant Walmsley, its two minutes of relentless punk speed metal power. It’s heavy and it has a Lemmy/Motorhead vibe all over it. I guess that’s what “Living In England” means to them. You just become influenced by Lemmy. And Brad Heaney on drums is a powerhouse here.

Folsom Prison Blues

Written by the great Johnny Cash. It was my first time hearing this song and yes, it made me a fan of Johnny Cash. The Jets version can be labelled “speed country” if there is such a thing.

Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)

Young, Young, Scott. Own any AC/DC album pre “Back In Black” and those were the names that you would see as songwriters.

They could have covered the bigger songs, but they selected an obscure album track and made it there’s, performing it live as well.

Crank it.

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Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Live Scenes From New York

Released in 2001.

They play the whole concept album in its entirety (with some improvisation) and cast extras join the band to do the voiceovers of the characters.

They are very precise in their playing, but they also leave room for jamming and improvisation, which is something a lot of acts don’t do. Go watch a Metallica or Iron Maiden concert and you don’t get a lot of improvisation during the songs. The songs are more or less played the same way they are recorded. But if you watch Dream Theater, you will get a lot of jamming.

Some of Petrucci’s best solo moments are from live recordings. Like the solo on “Hollow Years” from the “Live In Budokan” release. He takes the normal solo with a bit of improvisation and then they extend it, to go into a hard rock “guitar hero” solo for about two minutes as part of the song. If you like guitar playing at its finest, then you will need to check this moment out.

On this album, his improvised solo on “Through Her Eyes” is exceptional.

James LaBrie cops a lot of hate for his vocals.

One thing about live performances and when I say live, I mean live, (not a live album sold as a live album with the instruments and vocals recut in a studio) is that it is really difficult to be consistent vocally.

A vocalist will always be pitchy live due to the volumes and how the noise of the other instruments and the crowd bleed into the ear pieces, making it hard to hear if they are hitting the right pitch all the time.

There are a few “what the” moments here.

One that comes it mind is when Mike Portnoy screams out “who wants to cum” at the climax of some love making samples which segues into the solo section of “Home”.

“The Dance Of Eternity” is seen as the definitive Dream Theater instrumental. It has all the trademarks of what makes Dream Theater unique and that whole “swinging 20’s show tunes” section from 2.30 minutes shows growth and diversity. Hearing it back today, it amazes me how effortlessly they just fused different eras and genres.

A highlight for me is the ballad “The Spirit Carries On”. The solo on the recording was a “Guitar Hero” moment and Petrucci delivers a masterclass here.

“Finally Free” is more or less a forgotten track when it comes to Dream Theater lore, but musically it is one of their best. Most of it is in 4/4 timing and very easy to digest. Plus it has an ending where Portnoy unleashes some unique and technical fills in the studio recording. Hearing him do that live and also improvising a little bit, without missing the beat is what live music is all about. And at 9.30, they go into a familiar section that wasn’t part of the studio recording, but is part of the live show at this point in time. Again, this is what live music is all about.

After the “Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory” album is played, they begin the other songs.

And is starts with “Metropolis – Part 1: The Miracle And The Sleeper”. The audience knows it and they cheer it. The guitars from Petrucci sound so much more heavier than the studio recording of a decade before. Rudess was not even part of the band then, but the keyboard parts sound like they are his. The Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir” first verse is still my favourite part of the song.

They go into “The Mirror” and I am a fan of how Petrucci employs the 7 string here, more Tool like in its rhythms. “Just Let Me Breathe” is my least favourite from the “Falling Into Infinity” album so I don’t really care for it here. “Acid Rain” from The Liquid Tension Experiment appears. This is from the side project that Portnoy put together after the “Falling Into Infinity” album, which involved, Petrucci, Rudess and Tony Levin on bass. From this side project, Rudess ended up joining Dream Theater.

While Petrucci and Portnoy did “LTE”, bassist John Myung did Platypus with ex Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian and guitarist Ty Tabor of King’s X (who also sang lead vocals) and drummer Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs/Winger fame.

Singer James Labrie also did Mullmuzzler. The record company would not allow LaBrie to use his own name, so he created the name of MullMuzzler and defined it as: “to gag or silence an individual’s thought before it can be expressed in any manner”. Joining Labrie in this project was future Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini, guitarist Mike Keneally who did time with Frank Zappa, Dweezil Zappa and Steve Vai. Bryan Beller was on bass and his background includes Dweezil Zappa. Matt Guillory played the keys and wrote a lot of the songs with Labrie.

“Caught In A New Millennium”, “Another Day” and a 6 minute Jordan Rudess keyboard solo (which the show didn’t really need) closes out disc 2. “Another Day” is such a good song and it should have been a massive hit. They probably should have shopped the song around to other artists to redo. For the live version, they even bring out a saxophone player.

Disc 3 is like the encore of the show.

It begins with “Erotomania”, “Voices” and “The Silent Man”. This trilogy of songs is known as the “A Mind Beside Itself” a three-part song cycle first released on their 1994 album “Awake”. When the separate songs are combined, the Trilogy clocks in at 22 minutes.

“Erotomania” is an instrumental. There is a section in the song which was originally written for “Pull Me Under” but removed before recording took place. So it got added to this instrumental. It’s a guitar hero moment with a lot of string skipping and fast alternate picking. Petrucci has no issue doing this live. Another masterclass.

The lead break in “Voices” is so bluesy in origin and of course Petrucci spices it up with some fast alternate picked runs between soulful bends.

“The Silent Man” starts off a bit different and I like it. If you want to hear Dream Theater Unplugged then press play on this. The solo section is extended and the whole band is in. It moves between ragtime and country leads.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is why I go to the live show.

“Learning To Live” which clocks in at 14 minutes is next. It’s my favourite track from the “Images And Words” album. The song originally is about 11 minutes long, so they improvise for an additional 3 minutes. There is a reggae like section in the solo section that is added. And the outro is extended. You should actually press play on this outro. Myung lays down the groove on the bass and the rest of the band builds on that, decorating it to a crescendo.

Their encore so far, is at 36 minutes.

They close the show with “A Change Of Seasons”, which at that point in time was their longest song at 24 minutes. Bringing the total encore to 60 minutes. A lot of metal and rock bands just do a 90 minute show (80 minutes and a 10 minute encore), or a 120 minute show (100 minutes and a 20 minute encore). Dream Theater delivered a 180 minute show.

In a case of Nostradamus clairvoyance, the original album cover had the Dream Theater logo over a burning New York skyline with the World Trade Towers on fire. It was all printed and packaged for its release date of September 11, 2001.

You can guess how that went down.

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Music, My Stories

1996 – Part 5.8: Pearl Jam – No Code

I got into Pearl Jam late.

I heard “Even Flow” and “Alive” but didn’t really gravitate to those songs. Then I heard them play “Jeremy” at the MTV Awards and it was intense. Then they delivered a drugged up smashing version of “Rockin In The Free World” with Neil Young and I became a fan.

And when I finally got “Ten”, it was the song “Black” that really made me a fan.

So the fourth album was heavily anticipated. Because of this anticipation, it debuted at Number 1, but it started to spiral out of the charts pretty quickly, because we didn’t really like it, so we didn’t spread the word on it like we did on the earlier albums.

And the band was not a happy band. They had legal issues hanging around with the Ticketmaster boycott on the last tour. Because of that they couldn’t play the venues they wanted.

They couldn’t get along in the same room so they did their parts separately. Bassist Jeff Ament, even walked out on the sessions due to Eddie Vedder’s growing control of the creation process.

Plus they recorded this album in between touring. This meant after doing a run of three hours shows, they would then have to find some energy and inspiration to be creative.

Looking at the Spotify counts, the highest is 20.6 million for “Off He Goes”. This pales compared to the 300 plus million that other songs have from the more popular albums.

The band is Jeff Ament on bass, Stone Gossard/ Mike McCready on Guitar and Eddie Vedder on vocals who were joined by new drummer Jack Irons.

Who You Are

Written by Stone Gossard and Jack Irons.

This could have appeared on a “Tea Party” album and it wouldn’t be out of place.

In My Tree

It reminds me of Joy Division and Depeche Mode.

Off He Goes

Written by Eddie Vedder. The song could have been on the “Desperado” album from The Eagles or a Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album and it wouldn’t be out of place.

Present Tense

Written by guitarist Mick McCready, it’s my favourite track on the album. Slow and introspective.

From the many tracks on offer the above four are my favorites.

The album was varied with a lot of different soundscapes.

I like it when an artist experiments. The issue artists have is how much of that experimenting should end up on the album. If they get it right, it’s genre defining. If they get it wrong, it’s their worst selling album.

The tour in North America was short because of their refusal to play venues controlled by Ticketmaster.

Fans also didn’t like it, as the services of the venues that were not controlled by Ticketmaster left a lot to be desired, with purchased tickets never arriving in time, or tickets just proving too hard to get with the “not Ticketmaster” services crashing frequently.

All artists have an album like this. From this point on I was still interested in what came next for Pearl Jam but it was a try and buy approach.

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Music, My Stories

Missing In Action

It all started with trying to find 20 tiles to match the existing tiles in the bathroom and ensuite. This led to putting tiles up, tearing the new tiles down, finding different tiles and different designs, putting up those tiles and then deciding I should be painting the whole house and then sanding/polishing the floorboards.

It was basically chaos. Four weeks of chaos.

I’m not a big fan of spending time on home renovations. And while I did have tradies come in and do some of the painting and floorboards polishing, I still had to move everything out of the house for it to happen (including my music) and then I had to move everything back in, with extra care to not scratch or damage any of the newly minted surfaces.

And I still have work to do, like the wardrobes in the kids rooms and the linen cupboards in the hallway. I’m not sure why my wife had to gut the wardrobes for the walls to be painted. All I’m gonna do is cover the newly painted walls.

During it all, I was listening to music.

Machine Head’s new album “Of Kingdom and Crown” and Long Distance Calling’s new album “Eraser” got a lot of spins. Both will be in my Top 10 albums. And while Ozzy’s best years are behind him, I enjoyed listening to “Patient Number 9” and the different textures the guest guitarists added to it.

One of my favourite Australian artists, “The Butterfly Effect” dropped a new album called “IV”. Their first since 2008. And it’s good. I also gave “Darker Still” from Parkway Drive a few listens and there are a lot of anthemic riffs in this. I just need to sit down and start learning em. And the album is written from what works live for them. They have spent a lot of years on the road, so they know what kind of riffs and leads resonate live.

It’s the same deal with “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead” from Megadeth. Musically, Mustaine and crew nail the old school thrash feel with a bit of technicality added to it. It’s another album that has a lot of cool riffs and melodic leads to unpack and learn.

Slowly I am returning to things I like. Like blogging and commenting on blogs.

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

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory

From disillusionment with the “Falling Into Infinity” saga, Mike Portnoy got an opportunity via Mike Varney’s “Magna Carta Records” to assemble a supergroup of progressive rock musicians in 1997. The Liquid Tension Experiment was born, consisting of Portnoy on drums, John Petrucci on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, who had finished his commitments with the Dixie Dregs.

Portnoy and Petrucci used this little get together to keep on convincing Rudess to join Dream Theater. If you remember, Rudess was asked to replace Kevin Moore, however he declined that offer and Derek Sherinian was brought in. But in 1999, he accepted the offer to become the third full-time Dream Theater keyboardist, replacing Sherinian.

With Dream Theater assembled, the band would enter the studios with complete creative control for the first time.

They assembled an inspiration corner in the studio, made up of concept albums from The Who (“Tommy”), Genesis (“The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”), Roger Waters (“Amused to Death”), Radiohead (“OK Computer”) , Queensryche (“Operation: Mindcrime”), The Beatles (“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”), Marillion (“Misplaced Childhood”) and Pink Floyd (“The Wall” and “The Final Cut”).

The band began by revisiting a song called “Metropolis – Part II”, which had been partially written during the “Falling into Infinity” sessions but not completed or used on that album.

At 21 minutes in length as a demo, they decided to expand the song into a complete concept album.

The album was originally mixed by David Bottrill, but only a few of his mixes made it on the final album. After playing the mixed album to Kevin Shirley, Petrucci kept asking Shirley for his opinion. Shirley kept telling Petrucci that the mixes are fine, however Petrucci did not believe him. Eventually Shirley said that the mixes could be better and suddenly Shirley had a job to remix the album. This of course was of a concern to Elektra who felt that the band was just throwing money away.

The album is seen as a sequel to the song”Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper'”, but the “Part I” was added by Petrucci as a joke and there was no intention to make a “Part II”.

But in 1999, “Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory” was released on Elektra Records. While it didn’t set the Billboard Charts on fire, it is seen as the bands masterpiece and it did exceed the sales target that Elektra had for it.

The story follows a character called Nicholas, who has recurring dreams, so he visits a hypnotherapist. During the sessions, he discovers that he is the reincarnation of Victoria Page, who was murdered in the 1920’s. The story takes place in the 1920’s and the 1990’s as all the characters are still in each other lives. For example, the person who killed Victoria is called Edward and in his reincarnation, he is the Hypnotherapist treating Nicholas.

Scene One: Regression

A ticking metronomic clock.

“Close your eyes and begin to relax” are the first words you hear. The voice of the Hypnotherapist is Terry Brown (yes that Rush producer Terry Brown) although he is uncredited.

“Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Concentrate on your breathing. With each breath you become more relaxed.”

There is a story here as well. Terry recorded his voice as a rough guide. Instead the band put it on the album, didn’t give him credit and then used it in the live setting. This didn’t impress Terry, so he lawyered up and set em a bill for using his voice. The band paid the bill and then had to get a new Hypnotherapist voice for the tour.

As the Hypnotherapist counts down, the acoustic guitar of John Petrucci starts up and gets louder as the countdown gets lower.

Then James LaBrie comes in with the vocal melody.

Safe in the light that surrounds me / Free of the fear and the pain / My subconscious mind / Starts spinning through time / To rejoin the past once again

Scene Two: I. Overture 1928

An instrumental, with a lot of cool riffs and some nuggets from the first Metropolis song.

I like the way it starts off but the best part is the George Lynch influenced tritone riff that cames straight after.

Check out the small lead section at 2.32.

Scene Two: II. Strange Deja Vu

“Overture” segues into “Strange Déjà Vu”.

“In her eyes – I sense a story never told / Behind the disguise – There`s something tearing at her soul”.

Nicholas learns that Victoria was murdered, and that he was actually Victoria in a past life. He believes that he needs to solve her murder.

Check out the “Carry On My Wayward Son” influences at 2.40.

Scene Three: I. Through My Words

The piano riff is haunting and I like it.

“We’re sharing one eternity / Living in two minds”

Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy

“This fatal tragedy was talked about for years” / Victoria`s gone forever / Only memories remain / She passed away / She was so young”

The last 40 seconds of the song has this cool open string harmony solo section which I like.

And it ends with the voice of the Hypnotherapist;

“Now it’s time to see how you died. Remember that death is not the end but only a transition.”

Scene Four: Beyond This Life

The opening riff is wicked. Heavy almost grungy in sound yet progressive. And the fast downstroke picking gives way to a single note variation.

“Murder, young girl killed. Desperate shooting at Echoes Hill. Dreadful ending, killer died. Evidently suicide”

The lyrics are written like a newspaper article.

Vocally it feels like a Tool/Maynard vocal melody in the verses. Really focused on the correct syllables.

Scene Five: Through Her Eyes

I’m learning all about my life
By looking through her eyes

Petrucci knows how to construct an emotive song and to nail an emotive lead.

Almost countryish in its acoustic strum and Portnoy’s restraint drumming, its Petrucci and LaBrie that shine here.

This is the part of the story where Nicholas realises that he is unable to get on with his life until he solves the murder of his past life.

Scene Six: Home

My favourite song on the album because its Dream Theater taking something contemporary like Tool and making it their own. If you want to press play on a track, this is the one.

The city – it calls to me
Decadent scenes from my memory
Sorrow – eternity
My demons are coming to drown me

From a story point of view, Julian is giving in to his cocaine and gambling addictions, which drives Victoria away from him. Edward feels guilty about deceiving his brother, but decides that his love for Victoria is greater than his guilt, and he seduces her when she is vulnerable following her breakup.

Scene Seven: I. The Dance of Eternity

It’s an instrumental, seen as their best.

Scene Seven: II. One Last Time

Are these her memories
Awakened through my eyes

A ballad with lyrics by James LaBrie.

Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On

I used to be frightened of dying
I used to think death was the end
But that was before
I`m not scared anymore
I know that my soul will transcend

The guitar solo on here is excellent and the gospel choir afterwards (orchestrated by Rudess) gives me goose bumps.

Scene Nine: Finally Free

It begins with the voice of the Hypnotherapist.

“You are once again surrounded by a brilliant white light. Allow the light to lead you away from your past and into this lifetime.”

The narrative moves between different perspectives, revealing that Edward wished his romance with Victoria was more than a simple affair. As Victoria begins to reconcile with Julian, Edward confronts the two of them, murders them, then stages the scene and assumes the role of the witness for the newspaper column. The flashback includes Edward telling Victoria to “open [her] eyes” before killing her, echoing the same choice of words the hypnotherapist used to wake Nicholas from his hypnotic trance.

In the present, Nicholas arrives home, followed by the Hypnotherapist. Nicholas is startled by another request to “open [his] eyes”, before the album cuts to (and concludes on) phonographic static. You don’t hear the killing, but the hypnotherapist is Edward’s reincarnation, and he has killed Nicholas to complete the cycle yet again.

The drumming of Mike Portnoy on the last three minutes of this song is essential listening for any drummer on how to add texture and technicality and still sound accessible.

The World Tour to promote the album was their biggest. The whole album was played in its entirety along with actual footage on the big screen.

A show was filmed and released as a DVD in 2002. Even Kevin Moore was invited to participate in this show, to perform “Space Dye Vest” and “Learning To Live”. But he declined the offer and every other Dream Theater offer since his departure.

Crank it.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 1 to August 14

4 Years Ago (2018)

Dee Snider

Dee Snider released “For The Love Of Metal” and it’s basically metal music the way I knew it. Which is very different to how metal music is known these days with hard-core growls and scream vocals added to the mix. I even remember when AC/DC was found in the Heavy Metal section of the record shop, whereas now if you do find a record shop, AC/DC is in the rock section. Even Bon Jovi was classed as “heavy metal” once upon a time. It was a broad classification, that’s for sure.

Dee’s message of the outcasts standing together against oppression and censorship and authority resonated big time with me in the 80’s. I didn’t care about the look. I never got into a band because they looked cool. The music is always the entry point.

The area I grew up in had a lot of migration from Europe. And the residents didn’t like it. Nor did they like the different languages the new migrants spoke. But somehow, we found ways to get along in suburbia. But in the schools’ it was a different story. There was no “cool” teacher like there is nowadays.

Actually, all of the teachers I had were oppressive and they hated rock music. It’s probably why songs like “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”, “Bad Boys (Of Rock N Roll”, “Come Out And Play” and “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” resonate.

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. Some would have liked it and played it over and over again, some would have heard it once and never played it again.

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.

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.

For the love of metal, check out my review here.

Candlebox – Sometimes

The 90’s didn’t feel that far away, but man the Candlebox debut album dropped in 1993, which makes it 29 years old. The truth is, Candlebox is so good on the debut album, I decided to give other 90’s bands a listen.

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.

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. I was listening to the album, while I was working, not really paying attention, like it was background music and then “Sometimes” came on.

I stopped and listened. And just like that, Candlebox was back in my headspace.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

Nothing…… No posts. Zero. Zilch.

The European trip I was on, was for a total of 10 weeks all up. The way I see it is easy. The distance from Australia to Europe is massive. So if I am going to pack up my family and go, it needed to be worth it.

To get to any part of Europe from Sydney, will take about 22 hours of flying, plus waiting times at stop overs. For this trip we used Austrian Air, so the path was Sydney to Bangkok (with 8 hour wait at Bangkok), Bangkok to Vienna (with a 4 hour wait at Vienna) and from Vienna you can go to any part of Europe.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1996 – Part 5.7: Sepultura – Roots

Sepultura means grave in Portuguese. It all came to Max Cavalera when he was translating the lyrics from the song “Dancing On Your Grave” by Motorhead. It doesn’t matter where you look, Lemmy’s influence is everywhere.

I met the brothers, Max and Igor Cavalera at a Utopia Record Store Signing in Sydney. My cousin Mega is a huge fan. Mega turned up with his bashed in snare skin which the guys gladly signed and Mega also gave me a poster which they signed for me and I then gave the poster back to Mega.

Sepultura built up to this moment with their three previous releases in “Beneath The Remains” released in 1989, “Arise” released in 1991 and “Chaos A.D” released in 1993.

“Roots” is their sixth studio album released at the start of 1996. It’s also their biggest. The line-up is the classic line up as I know it. Max Cavalera is on lead vocals and he plays a 4 and 6-string guitar. Andreas Kisser is on lead guitar. Paulo Jr. is on bass guitar and Igor Cavalera is on drums and all things percussion related.

Produced by Ross Robinson, so don’t expect to hear any guitar leads as Robinson has openly stated how much he hates guitar leads.

Roots Bloody Roots

The groove metal riff is so much fun to play. There is this dissonance section in the middle which is chaotic and unsettling before the groove riff kicks in.

It carries the message to believe in yourself, be proud of your heritage and be proud of where you come from.

Attitude

There is a syncopated riff in the intro which is cool. The rest is run of the mill, Pantera like groove riffs.

The lyrics to “Attitude” were co-written by Dana Wells, Max Cavalera’s stepson, whose death (in part) led to the events which caused Max to leave the band.

Cut-Throat

“Cut Throat” is about Epic Records who gave the band no love during their previous album “Chaos A.D.” The last words in the song are “Enslavement, Pathetic, Ignorant, Corporations”.

Ratamahatta

It features David Silveria on drums and Carlinhos Brown on vocals, percussion and a lot of other unique native Brazilian instruments.

The song is a celebration of life in Brazil’s favela slums, which tells the stories of people like Coffin Joe and Lampiao, the leader of an early 1900s outlaw gang from north Brazil, whose head was put on public display after he was captured.

Breed Apart

Written by Andreas Kisser and Max Cavalera, it starts off with a military like snare which morphs into a Tool like breakdown before Tool was known to do these kind of breakdowns.

I have no idea what Max is singing, but I don’t really care as the music gets me interested to pick up the guitar.

Straighthate

There is no way you can’t listen to the start and say that doesn’t sound like Tool on the “Aenima” album, which came after.

I also hear a lot of the Nu-Metal like riffs from acts like Slipknot, Spineshank and Mudvayne on this album. Then again Korn was doing something similar as well.

Spit

The riff has a hard rock like swagger, something that bands like Buckcherry and Orgy would do in a few years’ time.

Lookaway

It features guest appearances by Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis, then-Korn drummer David Silveria, House of Pain/Limp Bizkit turntablist DJ Lethal, and Faith No More/Mr. Bungle vocalist Mike Patton. The track alone could appear on a Korn or Mr Bungle album. It’s chaotic.

Dusted

Written solely by Andreas Kisser, it’s more of that Korn and Deftones vibe.

Born Stubborn

It’s got this industrial like vibe. Like all the songs, I have no idea what Max is singing.

It features an Xavante Tribe chant which also appears on the song “Itsari”.

Jasco

An instrumental by Andreas Kisser which feels like a tribute to someone.

Itsári

An instrumental with the Xavante Tribe chants and an acoustic guitar riff that reminds me of Led Zeppelin’s “III” album.

Ambush

I like the intro on this. It reminds me of stuff that Machine Head would do. It’s “a tribute to murdered South American rain-forest activist Chico Mendes”.

Endangered Species

It addresses environmental destruction. Musically it is brutal.

Dictatorshit

It’s about the 1964 Brazilian coup d’état. It’s fast, punk like and angry.

I would say that “People = Shit” from Slipknot is similar.

Canyon Jam

A hidden track on the album. It’s a 14 minute native drum instrumental.

The album was massive in Australia, reaching number 3 on our ARIA charts and a Gold certification to go. In Austria it reached number and a Gold certification. Gold certifications followed in Canada, France, Netherlands, the U.K and the U.S.

On top of that it charted in the Top 10 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.

The small subtle change from fast speed metal to groove nu-metal worked. It is the bands biggest album and the last studio album to feature founding member, main songwriter and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera. The offers rolled in for Max to do something on his own. Soulfly would be the answer.

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

1996 – Part 5.6: Yngwie Malmsteen – Inspiration

After battling to make a name for himself on the small Polydor label, Yngwie Malmsteen finally got the big label deal in 1992 with the release of “Fire And Ice” on Elektra. While the album did great business in the Japanese and Eastern/Northern Europe market, it failed in the U.S.

The million plus dollar advance from the label was classed as “unable to be recouped” and he was dropped from Elektra.

One door closes another one opens. A Japanese company called Pony Canyon signed Malmsteen. “The Seventh Sign” came out in 1994, achieving a Platinum certification in Japan, followed by “Magnum Opus” in 1995 which received a Gold Certification in Japan.

“Inspiration” is the ninth studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 14 October 1996.

Malmsteen was back to releasing an album a year, in order to remain relevant and in the public conversation during the hostile 90s. If he didn’t do that, obscurity was not too far away. Artists these days whinge about Spotify and how they believe that the service is making them release constant product. It’s not the service, it’s the market. The market demands constant product. It always did.

Yngwie Malmsteen on guitars/bass and Anders Johansson on drums play on every track. The rest is a cast of artists like Jeff Scott Soto, Joe Lynn Turner, Marcel Jacob and various keyboard players.

Carry On Wayward Son

Written by Kerry Livgren.

It shows the reach Kansas had, so that a kid from Sweden would consider the band as an influence.

Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here and his Talisman buddy, Marcel Jacob is on bass. David Rosenthal is on keyboards. During this same period, Malmsteen also appeared on a Talisman release. A sort of, “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” type of agreement.

Malmsteen makes the song sound like an over-indulgent Malmsteen song with his over the top soloing on any part of the song that doesn’t have vocals.

Pictures of Home

It wouldn’t be an influence album for Malmsteen if there was no Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen’s poses and looks are straight from “The Look Of Blackmore”. This is the first of four Blackmore songs. Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here, who also sang on Malmsteen’s most successful album “Odyssey”. Mats Olausson is on the keys.

The lead breaks are Malmsteen lead breaks full of legato runs and of course, sweep picking. A lot of sweep picking.

Gates of Babylon

From Rainbow and Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here. His voice and tone is perfect for the song. David Rosenthal plays the keys here.

The song would not be out of place on a Malmsteen album. The riffs are already what Malmsteen plays and as soon as he throws in his sweep picking and fast classical legato lines, it’s basically a Malmsteen song.

Manic Depression

From Jimi Hendrix and like his idol, Malmsteen is on lead vocals. I suppose for all the shredding, Malmsteen doesn’t get credit for being a pretty crazy blues player. Vocally, he doesn’t have the swagger of Hendrix.

In the Dead of Night

From the band U.K., the song is written by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. Mark Boals is on lead vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. And for those who don’t know John Wetton, he’s appeared in King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash and Asia.

But the reason why this track is here is due to Allan Holdsworth being the guitarist. Holdsworth was an unknown name to me until Eddie Van Halen started mentioning him in his interviews in the mid 80’s, which led me to seek out his solo recordings.

Ty Tabor also mentioned in an interview (which can be found on the Wikipedia entry of the U.K album) that the self-titled U.K album is in his “5 Essential Guitar Albums” list, stating that he “had never heard anybody think about playing guitar the way that Holdsworth plays on that record.”

Holdsworth never got mainstream attention. Producers and label heads called his music “without direction”, however to guitarists he was like a god.

You can hear the melodic rock side of Malmsteen here with a bit of progressiveness and how songs like “You Don’t Remember” and “Judas” with the keys and guitars playing great riffs that complement each other.

The solo break groove is excellent, however Malmsteen this time is just too much on the speed, and it just doesn’t fit the groove.

Press play on this track first.

Mistreated

From the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple.

This is the third Blackmore track to appear on this.

Would Malmsteen have covered this, knowing that Coverdale wrote the main riff?

Regardless, the song is perfect for soloing and Malmsteen uses that opportunity to do just that. But if I had to pick a cover version, it is the Whitesnake version with Reb Beach soloing. That solo just hits all the right notes.

Jeff Scott Soto is on vocals here with Mats Olausson on keyboards.

On this version, press play to hear the solo that comes in at the 4.20 minute mark. Malmsteen harmonises, its bluesy like “Still Got The Blues” and I like it.

Also stick around for the ending. It’s excellent. Soto really shines here, as he adds in backing vocals that sound like Gospel vocals and while they are happening he is ad libbing his main vocal while Malmsteen is throwing every lick he knows to the Master Tape.

The Sails of Charon

Another guitar player that influenced Malmsteen heavily was Uli Jon Roth, so it’s no surprise that his most classical sounding metal song with the Scorpions is covered.

Mark Boals is on lead vocals here and does a great job on the vocals, however Malmsteen just solo’s way too much here.

Demon’s Eye

Joe Lynn Turner is on vocals here with Jens Johansson on keyboards. I like how Malmsteen included bluesy Deep Purple here and still added his classical licks with bluesy Chuck Berry’isms.

Anthem

From Rush and Mark Boals sizzles on lead vocals here.

The pace of this song screams energy and I like it. And goddamn it sounds so heavy.

Child in Time

Mark Boals does an excellent job on lead vocals again with David Rosenthal on the keys.

The keys actually take the lead here (i.e. they basically sound like Malmsteen is playing them), carrying the intro and verses. Malmsteen cranks in right when the ohh’s start.

Overall there are six main guitarists that serve as inspiration to Malmsteen. Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Uli Jon Roth. Alex Lifeson, Kerry Livgren and Alan Holdsworth. Pretty cool inspirations if you ask me.

While the massive North American market still had its back turned to Malmsteen along with the U.K and parts of Western Europe, the Japanese, Scandinavian Countries and Eastern Europe markets kept sustaining him.

If you want to hear two songs from this album, press play on “In The Dead Of Night” and “Mistreated”.

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

1996 – Part 5.5: Stabbing Westward – Wither Blister Burn & Peel

It was their 2001 self-titled album that made me a fan and I went backwards. “Darkest Days” was consumed next and then “Whither Blister Burn & Peel”.

Before writing started for this album, main songwriter and guitarist Stuart Zechman departed the band after the “Ungod” tour due to “personal differences”.

So the band for this album is Christopher Hall on lead vocals, guitar and drum machine programming. Jim Sellers is on bass and guitar. Walter Flakus is on keyboards and programming. Andy Kubiszewski is on drums, guitar and keyboards.

Kubiszewski was actually new as well, and when it came to song writing for this album, he played the band dozens of demos he did. Songs like “What Do I Have to Do?”, “Haunting Me,” “Sometimes It Hurts,” “Crushing Me,” “Slipping Away,” “Desperate Now,” and “Goodbye.” These song would appear on this album and the “Darkest Days” albums.

The band thought about finding another guitarist however they went into the studio without any guitar player and decided to play the guitar parts themselves with Sellers and Kubiszewski taking on most of the guitar duties.

I Don’t Believe

Any song that starts off with the words “I’m such an asshole” and “I just keep fucking up” means business. While rooted in the Industrial sounds of NIN, it has a certain arena rock vibe when the Chorus kicks in which the hook “I don’t believe I could be so stupid and naïve”.

Shame

The big song from the album. The intro riff is infectious, instantly making me pick up the guitar to learn it.

What Do I Have to Do?

The electronic keys riff with the sound effects is unusual and I like it. My favourite song, which shows a real rock vocal.

Press play to hear how the second verse riff crashes in. Brilliant.

And the hook, is so desperate with the words, “what do I have to do if you don’t want me”

Why

The main music is sound effects, electronics and the keys providing a riff. It all feels so desolate and haunting. But I like it.

Why can’t you see that everything is broken?

These kind of artists got blasted by rock audiences at the grim nature of their lyrics, but as a fan of metal bands and thrash metal in particular, these kind of lyrics are nothing new. All of our heroes have fears and doubts.

Inside You

It’s like soundtrack music with a vocal melody over it.

Falls Apart

The album does fall apart with this song. It has a Ministry like riff which starts off the song full of energy, however the verses really let it down.

So Wrong

This could be on a metal album or a rock album and it wouldn’t be out of place because of the main riff.

Actually Fates Warning have a similar song on their “Disconnect” album from 2000.

Crushing Me

It’s like a long lost song from Kurt Cobain. Press play and check out the intro riff. But there are a lot of sections with sound effects, electronics and keys which just take away the good from the intro riff.

Sleep

There is a cool riff in this song, but you would need to listen through a lot of soundscapes and electronics. But when it comes it around the 2.10 mark, it’s worth the wait.

Slipping Away

This one just slipped away from me as the title states, with too much electronica.

The album was a success and supported by the singles “Shame” and “What Do I Have to Do?” they got themselves a Gold certification in the U.S and some heavy MTV rotation. The band also recruited Mark Eliopulos to handle the live element of the main guitar parts.

This is how it was for me between 1995 to about 2005. I would buy an album from a hard rock band I knew and I would be buying albums from so many different artists that looked like they had distorted guitars and played something that could be influenced by metal and rock bands.

I was just looking for something to get into it.

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

Australian Method Series: Airbourne – Boneshaker

The method is simple.

Listen to an AC/DC album and write songs that have the vibe from that album. It’s been “Airbourne’s” template for the first four albums, so why change it for album number five.

But on the album, I would like to add a few other Australian bands like Rose Tattoo, Screaming Jets and The Angels to that list of influences.

“Boneshaker” was released on 25 October 2019, produced by Dave Cobb which was a surprise choice, considering his big production credits involve Chris Stapleton and “The Star Is Born” soundtrack. But the band wanted to work with Cobb based on an album he did for a small obscure band called “Black Robot”. Check out their 2009 album to hear a pretty cool slab of AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Airbourne is still underpinned by brothers Joel O’Keefe on Vocals/Lead Guitar and Ryan O’Keefe on drums. Justin Street is on bass and new dude Matthew Harrison is on guitar.

Boneshaker

This track wouldn’t be out of place on an early Y&T album. Maybe because they have the lyric, “Earthshaker” after “Boneshaker”.

Burnout the Nitro

It has a country twang to it, but played through a distorted amp, in sounds rock and roll.

“Racing down the highway” instantly brings back memories of “Long Way To The Top”. And that’s basically the vibe of the song, a cross between “Long Way”, “Shoot To Thrill”, “Let There Be Rock” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. If you are going to be influenced by AC/DC, you might as well be influenced by some of their biggest songs.

This Is Our City

“This is our city, lets rock and roll”. And the live show is summed up in a simple line.

Sex To Go

Great title and perfect for the fast paced social media lives we live in. At 2 minutes and 34 seconds, it’s probably just enough time to have fast food take away sex. And how can you not go past a lyric like “all I want is your apple pie”.

In the words of Sammy Hagar in “Good Enough”, I’ll have some of that.

Backseat Boogie

“Long Way To The Top” makes another comeback. And I like it

Blood In The Water

A groovy “Whole Lotta Rosie”.

She Gives Me Hell

Being on the wrong side of a toxic relationship sets up the lyrical foundation over a musical influence from “Highway To Hell”.

Switchblade Angel

The speed rock and roll is back and I like it.

Weapon Of War

The slow blues grit and groove is back for a song about war vets.

Rock ‘n’ Roll For Life

The fast “Let There Be Rock” vibe is back.

Rock and Roll along with all things Metal is a life style. Once you are in. you are always in. You might dabble in other genres but you’ll always come back. Because Rock N Roll is for life.

After 30 minutes and 36 seconds the album is over like fast food. Music on the go. Concise and straight to the point, there is no confusion as to what Airbourne is. A highly efficient and lean rock and roll band.

With no ballads.

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