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

The Club

From Hot Metal magazine.

Would “Balance” have worked as “The Club”?

I suppose album titles never really sold VH albums. It was all about what was inside the album. The notes, the riffs, the licks, the beats, the rhythms and the melodies.

And Bob Rock producing.

It never happened because of management, but it makes me wonder what he would have brought to the table.

And Bruce Fairbairn is also experienced and methodical.

I guess it’s time to put “Balance” on.

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Influenced, Music

Angus Young Axology – Guitar World – March 1986

The below is from my March 1986 issue of Guitar World and since AC/DC is about to come back in our lives in a big way with a new album, let’s go back 34 years and see what gear the Young brothers are using.

AN AC/DC AXOLOGY from Angus Young

I have about fifteen Gibson SGs on the road, but I’ve only been playing three of them. People may find it hard to believe, but a lot of my SGs have gotten waterlogged.

I sweat so much during the course of a show that it manages to seep into the guitar. I’ve had many of them sealed off over the years, but when the varnish starts to wear, the moisture from the sweat manages to soak into the wood and the guitars become heavier and lose much of their tone. The only thing you can use them for is surfboards. Wood definitely has a lot to do with how your guitar sounds.

My main SG is a brown one from the late sixties. It s the best one I got. I went into a guitar shop years ago and fell in love with it.

The strings on it were like barbed wire and it had a very nice, thin neck. I’m a small guy, so the guitar sits on me perfectly. It has a great sound—not too toppy and not too bottomy—just perfect.

I’ve always said that when I got more money, I would buy me a better guitar, but I still haven’t found a better one yet. I broke it so many times already—just from touring and running around on stage. The neck is the only original part on it.

I’ve also been using a black SG on tour. One day I was fishing around in New York and I found one that I liked—it s a custom one with three pickups, but I took the middle pickup out. All my SGs have the original Gibson pickups, the same ones that the old Les Pauls used to come with.

Apart from the brown and black SGs, I also use a red one in concert; its one of the newest ones I’ve got. Gibson put it together for me; it’s a bit similar to my brown one, but the neck is a little heavier and fatter.

At home I have other kinds of guitars, some Les Pauls, a Fender Strat and a couple of Telecasters. Besides an SG, the only other guitar I feel comfortable playing is a Telecaster. In the old days me and Malcolm used to share one.

Malcolm just uses Gretsch guitars. He has about nine of them on the road and they re all basically the same. I think they’re the Jet Fire Bird model. Malcolm can get a great biting sound out of them. It’s a sound a lot of guitarists would love to have but could never get.

Neither of us uses any effects devices. We want our sound to be as pure as possible, so we don’t need to use them.

We both use wireless units, though. I use a Schaffer-Vega and Malcolm uses a Sony wireless.

I was one of the first guitarists to use a Schaffer. I started using it back when Ken Schaffer was with the company. He sold it to me and repaired it whenever something went wrong, it gets a lot of beatin’ around, so I pay to have a guitar tech take care of it to make sure it’s in proper working order every night. I have a few of them onstage at the same time, all hooked up and ready to go. This way, just in case something goes wrong, no time is wasted.

Malcolm uses a Sony wireless because he just stands onstage and bangs away on a guitar. The Schaffer has a Diversity System, so if I want to jump into the audience and play guitar, I’m able to do so without losing any signal. The Sony also has a Diversity System, but it’s very sensitive. If it takes a lot of beatin’ and knockin’ around, it can break down very easily. I tried it one night but when I bumped it, it cracked up.

We both use Marshall amps.

At the moment we each have six 100-watt heads hooked up. I also have a specially-made Marshall amp that the company put together for me years ago. I think it was the first one they ever made, so everyone was real excited about it. It can put out between three to four hundred watts. I can even switch it down to fifty watts, if I want to.

Malcolm’s amps sound pretty quiet compared to mine. He doesn ‘t play with as much volume. Malcolm likes a tough, clean sound with no distortion. I like to play very loud.
—As told to Joe Lalaina

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Music, My Stories

60 Years

My dad was telling me about his era in the 60s.

The US and USSR played Russian roulette with ships and nuclear bombs.

Aluminum cans were used for the first time.

White bread was heavily advertised as a health food.

Berlin Wall started to go up.

Newspapers carried the news as most people still didn’t have TV sets.

No one owned a home computer.

A long-distance phone call was expensive so people wrote letters, which took months to get to their destination.

Bottled water didn’t exist.

Milk came in fully fat only.

And 60 years from now, what will things be like?

One thing is certain. The cycle of change.

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

Sacred Groove

“Sacred Groove” from George Lynch came out in 1993. It is a solid album, combining instrumentals, with hard rock songs and different singers.

The best instrumental track by far on the album is “Tierra Del Fuego”. A six minute tour de force in Flamenco Hard Rock music.

Then you the D-tuned instrumental, “Love Power from the Mama Head”, which has all the trademarks riffs and licks that George Lynch is known for.

And, a nice little Western sounding number in “I Will Remember”.

The best vocal track is “We Don’t Own The World”, that has vocals by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. Prior to hearing this track, I really had no idea who the Nelson brothers where, however after hearing the track, I sought them out and I came across their excellent “After The Rain” album.

“Flesh And Blood” has Ray Gillen on vocals. This is a rare gem as Ray was to pass away that same year.

Glenn Hughes involvement with George Lynch goes back to the Lynch Mob days, when he recorded scratch vocals on the second album, so that new singer Robert Mason could follow. On Lynch’s first proper solo outing, he sings on two songs, “Not Necessary Evil” and “Cry Of The Brave”.

“The Beast” Part 1 and Part 2 has Mandy Lion on vocals. Can’t say I am a fan. Would have been better to not include these two songs and the opening track.

This was his final album commitment to Elektra Records and a return to Dokken was in the works.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Popular

I came across a post on Seths Blog about popular versus good.

This is what the post says;

They’re not the same.

We often strive to have both, but that’s unlikely. The price of having one almost certainly involves losing the other.  We often end up compromising something to get both and fail.

Better to have one than neither.

What are your thoughts when it comes to music?

Bands break through and become popular because they created a song or an albums worth of songs, which connected with enough people, to make those songs popular.

The labels had no idea what would become popular, because it’s a personal connection between fan and artist. So they kept putting money towards new content.

“Slippery When Wet” became a popular album.

Based on the post, does that mean it’s not good?

The label, the producers and management would have been happy if the album went Gold in the U.S.

But instead of selling 500,000 copies, it moved 12 plus million in the U.S.

Or does the post try to highlight the situation that after an artist becomes popular, it’s the follow up album which tries to recapture the zeitgeist and compromises on the good, in order to remain popular.

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

1977 – Part 8

Legs Diamond – Legs Diamond

The cover is a great piece of art, with an electric guitar resting on the back of a bullet riddled car boot. A perfect drawing for a band named after a gangster.

This is their debut album, released on Mercury Records with Derek Lawrence producing. I’m pretty sure it’s the same Lawrence who did Angel and Kiss albums on Casablanca. And Mercury records didn’t know how to promote the album, nor did they give the album any budget for promotion.

“It’s Not The Music” kicks it off and it rocks hard. “Stage Fright” starts off with a riff that sounds like something that Rush would use for “Limelight” and a vocal line that Robert Plant would be proud of. But the style of the song is more Deep Purple.

“Satin Peacock” has a riff which is instantly memorable. Rumour has it that Gene Simmons liked the song so much, he wanted to record it for Kiss.

“Rock And Roll Man” is an interesting song, with riffs, a flute (yes, a flute) and a solo that starts off with fast open string pull off licks before it goes into the usual pentatonic stuff.

“Deadly Dancer” has a bass riff which can sink ships. “Rat Race” is a blues groove rumble in the verses and a metal like cut in the Chorus with a nod to some Deep Purple.

“Can’t Find Love” has a two minute synth like intro before the distortion blasts out of the speakers.

And the album is full of cuts that move between rock, blues rock and progressive rock.

They only made three albums during this period, before breaking up in 1980 and then reforming in 1984 after their first three albums started to become cult favourites. But that re-formation failed to capitalise on any of the MTV success that other bands started to receive.

Nazareth – Expect No Mercy

The Frank Frazetta drawings just kept on making appearances on metal and rock albums. And Frazetta also inspired other artists to make their own derivative versions of his works.

This is Nazareth’s ninth album in seven years.

Nazareth at this stage had more in common with the soon to be NWOBHM than what they were known for. And this album is a weird amalgamation of blues, rock, country, funk and metal. In other words it’s a typical 70’s album, when bands had diversity and weren’t scared to try things out.

Guitarist Manny Charlton by this stage was also in the producer’s chair.

The original cut of this album was rejected by the label on two occasions because of its heaviness. And man, those label heads would have been thinking, “what did we do here, allowing these guys to self-produce”. The songs that got left off appeared on another album as bonus tracks. I can’t remember which one.

And what a frantic song the title track is?

As soon it starts, it’s in your face. Its part blues, part speed rock and it sounds like nothing else at that point in time.

Then “Gone Dead Train” kicks in and it’s like a 12 bar blues song with some Rolling Stones chucked in. Then again, it’s written by outside writers in Jack Nitzsche and Russ Titelman and appeared on The Crazy Horse albums with Neil Young. In other word, a country rock song which has been Nazareth’d.

“Revenge Is Sweet” brings back the energy of “Expect No Mercy”.

Neil Young – American Stars ‘N Bars

The song, “Like A Hurricane”.

It’s deep in the album. I’m glad I stuck the course because the first few cuts didn’t get me interested.

As soon as the fuzzed out lead break started, I was hooked. And then Neil Young started to sing that lead break as the vocal melody. It’s in a minor key and so sad, while the Chorus is in a major key, providing some contrast.

Then the lead break starts and Young is bleeding the emotion out of the guitar, bending notes, missing notes, skipping strings, raking strings, making mistakes and then repeating small little three note licks. He’s in the zone and I don’t want the lead break to stop.

But.

It comes back again, as an outro solo. And at 8 minutes long, I never got bored.

Jackson Browne – Running On Empty

Maybe it was The Eagles or a comparison to Bob Seger that got me to check out Jackson Browne.

This is a live album, not sure how much of it is live or re-recorded in a studio or how much crowd noise got added in the mix. Regardless, it’s a cool listen and if Jackson Brown and his band sounded like this live, then it was worth the price of admission. Then again, tickets went pretty cheap back in those days.

As soon as the first chords started to “Running On Empty”, I could hear what Springsteen would become in a few years’ time. Take a simple groove, jam it, embellish it with different vocal melodies and you have a song that you can’t get out of your head.

As soon as the fingerpicked notes started for “The Road” I was interested. There is just a lot of good guitar playing in this song.

Then there is a cover song. “Stay”. It brings back memories of watching those movies set in the 60’s and early 70’s.

Eddie Money – Eddie Money

Eddie Money came on my radar via interviews with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in the late 80’s. His name was dropped a fair bit.

The opening track “Two Tickets To Paradise” just rolls along uneventful and then the Chorus comes crashing in and I’m hooked. 70’s melodic rock is so different to what came after as it’s rooted more in blues and country rock. This track could have been on a Bob Seger album and it would have worked. It could have been on an Eagles album and it would have worked.

Then the chords start to “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” and the groove gets me interested. “Shandi” from Kiss comes to mind.

The feel is different to the opening track because it’s a Motown cover (originally released in 1962 by Smokey Robinson) and done in Money’s bluesy soul vibe. The Beatles even covered this song on their second album, “With The Beatles”.

“Save A Little Room In Your Heart” continues the blues soul ballad vibe.

“So Good To Be In Love Again” has a vocal melody that is memorable, a piano riff that brings a Spanish like feel and guitar licks and leads to decorate the song nicely.

The riff to kick off “Baby Hold On”, if you just add distortion, some metal phrasing, you get a monster. If you add the feel to “Lose Yourself” from Eminem, you get that Eminem song.

How good is the intro riff and groove to “Don’t Worry”?

If it doesn’t get your foot tapping, check for a pulse.

“Got To Get Another Girl” sounds like the cuts that Richie Kotzen and Joe Bonamassa would end up writing many years later. A bluesy guitar riff with a blues soul rock vocal.

Jimmy Lyon on guitar is a star on this song and on the album overall. And it’s funny how Lyon and Money came to work together. Both were discovered by a Columbia exec and paired together by the same exec.

“Gamblin Man” closes the album, a typical blues rock song in the vein of Free and Bad Company. And for a debut, there isn’t much wrong with it.

Peter Gabriel – 1: Car

It’s not actually called “Car” but given that nickname because of the Strom Thorgerson cover that features a car.

Produced by Bob Ezrin and he knew how to get the best out of the musicians.

One song sent this album out into the world.

“Solsbury Hill”. It’s perfect.

The acoustic riff is instantly recognisable, the synth lines the same and that vocal melody from Gabriel, wow.

And it’s no surprise that Ezrin called in Steve Hunter who he used for Alice Cooper on the Welcome To My Nightmare album for the acoustic guitar playing. Robert Fripp from King Crimson also plays guitar on the album, while future Crimson band member Tony Levin is on bass.

“Modern Love” also rocks out of the gate.

“Slowburn” feels like a Sweet song. The solo hooks me and it’s no surprise that its done by Steve Hunter.

“Down The Dolce Vita” has a horn movie like section for the first 40 seconds, but then a rock funk cut explodes out of the speakers before it morphs back into the cinematic orchestral hits and back to the rock funk. There’s no way you can’t like it. Its progressive in the sense that it incorporates different sonics and genres.

“Here Comes The Flood” percolates until it explodes into a solo section from about 3.30.

And then that outro chorus section. Massive and powerful. These are techniques here that Ezrin would use for “Comfortably Numb” in a few years’ time.

Davie Bowie – Heroes and David Bowie – Low

Two albums in a year.

Of course, “Heroes” is a stand out here, and on Spotify it has reached close to 232 million streams. But I prefer the cover from “The Wallflowers” in the 90’s which isn’t on Spotify.

And nothing huge came from “Low”.

“Always Crashing In The Same Car” has this quirkiness which I like.

“Be My Wife” is excellent musically, so don’t let the terrible title mislead you. “A New Career In A New Town” feels like a country rock song, with a bit of 60’s pop chucked in. There is no singing, just music and the mood it creates.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Bowie, but man, when he wrote songs that crossed over, didn’t they capture the zeitgeist. If not by him, by the people who covered them. And his quirkiness and experimentation led to other artists taking inspiration from that to create their own special.

Well we go back to 2000 for part 9.

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

1985 – Part 8

UFO – Misdemeanor

I was always on the fence when it came to UFO in the 80’s without Schenker, however I always tried to get access to their music.

It’s studio album number 12 and no one really expected the band to return after they called it quits during the disastrous tour supporting “Making Contact”.

But music is a lifers game and Phil Mogg is a lifer. He spent some time in LA and through his association with Shrapnel boss Mike Varney, he came across guitarist Atomik Tommy M. His real name is Tommy McClendon and after UFO he spent time with Brian Wheat and his band Soulmotor plus a few other LA bands.

So Mogg decided to form a NEW band, with Atomik Tommy M and bassist Paul Gray, who played on the “Making Contact” tour. Another UFO bandmate in Paul Raymond joined on keys and drummer Robbie France completed the line-up.

They started writing and Chrysalis Records was interested to sign them. But the catch was, they wanted to sign them as UFO and not as a new group.

Experienced producer Nick Tauber was tapped to produce. Thin Lizzy and Marillion are two bands that come to mind when Tauber’s name is mentioned. And of course problems came about during the recording process over contracts and payments. Drummer Robbie France left before the recording started and was replaced by former Magnum drummer Jim Simpson. And Paul Raymond quit the band during their US tour in support of this album.

One thing that really stands out is the synths in the songs, which makes this sound like a modern album, more in the vein of a couple of Canadian acts like Loverboy and Honeymoon Suite. And that’s not a bad thing. Also each lead break from Atomik Tommy M reminds me of Bruce Kulick and how he got a lead spotlight on the synth heavy Kiss songs in the mid to late 80’s and totally nailed each spotlight.

I remember the website Ultimate Classic Rock rating this as the second worst UFO album. This is what they said;

“By 1985’s ‘Misdemeanor,’ UFO, like many of their classic-rock peers, had been tragically infected by ‘80s studio disease: a grotesque but common affliction that covered its victim in sonic warts like synthesizers, triggered snare drums and squeaky guitars. At the time, UFO’s prognosis was bleak (unless you were a Starship fan!) but the band recovered from these ailments in due time.”

A Mogg and Gray cut called “This Time” starts the album with a memorable synth riff and a solo section which reminds me of Boston at the start and then some shred kicks in.

“One Heart” and “Night Run” are written by Gray, Mogg and Tommy McClendon. They are your typical AOR style of songs. So far removed from UFO’s 70’s sound and output, but artists do grow and change and sometimes they change because they are trying to fit in and remain relevant and sometimes they change because the members change.

“Mean Streets” is a song in which the guitar takes centre stage and its totally worth the wait. That riff is nasty, there’s a sense of danger to it. And it’s a co-write with Tommy McClendon.

“Name Of Love” is another co-write with McClendon, so it’s no surprise that it kicks off with a hard rock guitar riff, before it morphs into a Honeymoon Suite style of song. And how good is the lead break?

“Blue” and that outro with the finger tapped solo. It’s the shining light for me on a Mogg and Gray cut.

“Heaven’s Gate” has a crazy intro (which is brought back into the song in the outro) and a guitar solo which is guitar hero worthy. It has melody and it has speed and Bruce Kulick comes to mind. It’s also written by McClendon and Mogg.

This album is often ignored or despised or it’s a cult favourite. I enjoyed the mainstream AOR rock approach and even though it was meant to be a NEW band, there are still some classic sounding riffs in here.

The Alan Parsons Project – Stereotomy

Named after a word from an Edgar Allan Poe book, which means “the cutting of existing solid shapes into different forms”, and on this track its used as a metaphor for fame and how artists are shaped and cut to meet the demands of fame.

I like TAPP because AP uses different singers and his albums have a playlist/mixtape feel.

And how good is the title track?

It’s a cross between The Police, Journey and Loverboy. Lead vocals are handled by John Miles, who already had a successful progressive rock career up to this point.

“Beaujolais” is basically The Police with vocals by Chris Rainbow nailing that Sting vibe.

“In The Real World” has John Miles on vocals again and musically it could have come from an Autograph album.

“Where’s The Walrus?” is an instrumental that could have come from a Beverly Hills Cop movie.

“Light Of The World” reminds me of Marillion, like those synth led ballads. It has Graham Dye on vocals, from the English progressive rock band Scarlet Party.

And the album closes with “Stereotomy Two” with John Miles on vocals again.

Molly Hatchett – The Deed Is Done

This album is way to underrated.

Like the UFO or Phil Mogg solo album, this is a band bringing in contemporary and modern sounds of the time into their music. It would have upset the hard core fans but that doesn’t mean it didn’t rock. And one band comes to mind listening to this album, ZZ Top and their albums, “Afterburner” and “Eliminator”.

“Satisfied Man” sounds like it came from those ZZ Top albums and a certain song called “Sharp Dressed Man”. Regardless, I like it.

“Backstabber” could have been written by Gene Simmons for a Kiss album.

“She Does She Does” has the riffs, the brass sections and it’s party time, about a baby who has the looks and the moves.

I feel like “Stone In Your Heart” might have influenced Desmond Child or Desmond Child might have influenced Molly Hatchett, as I hear his song writing style with Bon Jovi.

“Good Smoke And Whiskey” is another track that could have come from the “Eliminator” album. It’s perfect.

“Heartbreak Radio” is back to their traditional Southern Rock and Blues sound but it’s a Frankie Miller cover who is one of the best soul rock blues singers ever.

“Straight Shooter” is dripping in blues rock attitude and a favourite. And album closer “Song For The Children” is probably one of the best Led Zep III instrumental cuts that Jimmy Page didn’t write, with its acoustic arpeggios, strumming and delicate medieval like lead.

Tear For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

I hated the album cover. It’s a picture of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. My metal and rock brain couldn’t compute how I could like the tunes made by these dudes. Talk about a bias, hey. I didn’t even want to hold it in my hand at the record store because it was gonna lose me some street cred with my mates.

But the songs.

Man, they could write songs. And that’s what is important to me.

“Shout” kicks it all off and then it’s followed by “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. The lyrics touch on everything that is real and topics that are still relevant today.

Nikki Sixx even took inspiration from “Shout” for “Primal Scream”.

There is some fluff on here, but “Head Over Heels” redeems the album, which makes up the holy trinity of songs to push this album into the stratosphere.

All up, 8 songs and most of em don’t follow your average pop formulas, with extended intros or interludes or outros.

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

There was no escape from this album.

Mark Knofler delivered on this one, staying true to his bluesy rock and roll pop influences to satisfy his core and bringing in some contemporary and modern sounds and riffs to pull in a whole new generation of fans.

“So Far Away” doesn’t really forecast the monster that would invade the airwaves and MTV. That track is called “Money For Nothing”.

Did he write it as a sledge to Motley Crue and he even called em, Yo-Yo’s?

That riff, the only way to play it is with your fingers. Don’t even attempt to use a pick, because it doesn’t even come close to capturing the feel, sort of like “Smoke On The Water”. Blackmore plays that intro with his fingers.

And if “Money For Nothing” didn’t grab ya, the sweet sounds of the 60’s boardwalks would with “Walk Of Life”. But that’s not all, the sweet notes of the saxophone kick off “Your Latest Trick” and I couldn’t turn it off. If the album ended here, I would have been happy.

Then “Ride Across The River” begins and the groove just hooks me in. Hearing this song again today, reminds of the songs that Gotye created. It has these kind of grooves. Just listen to all of the midi key riffs.

The closer and title track, “Brothers In Arms”, how good is it?

The feel, the guitar licks, the folky feel and the way it percolates. This is writing to please oneself and not to please a chart. And when this kind of writing happens, it crosses over and translates to many.

Aerosmith – Done With Mirrors

According to legend, this album did huge numbers in Thunder Bay. In Australia we didn’t even know it existed as Aerosmith’s comeback was tied with “Permanent Vacation”.

“Let The Music Do The Talking” kicks off and it’s loud, it has groove, it has slide guitar and Steve Tyler is bringing out his rock and roll blues. Plus it’s a re-recording from Joe Perry’s solo album released a few years before.

“My Fist Your Face” has an intro that sounds like it belongs on a 70’s Sabbath album, but from the verses it’s your typical Aerosmith song.

“She’s On Fire” is my favourite. That slide acoustic guitar riff is excellent, and while Kramer and Perry and everyone else claim the record is uninspired and terrible, there is no denying the quality of the riffs here. Then again, when you a have history of guitar store riffs in your discography, these ones might seem like off cuts.

And since Led Zeppelin wasn’t making any new music, then its Zep sounding cuts on albums from other artists that would satisfy the Led Zep fans. Like this one.

Well that’s a wrap for another 85 post and over to 77 we go for Part 8.

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

2000 – Part 8

Fuel – Something Like Human

Like Matchbox 20, Fuel became my fix for hard rock music. I don’t know why they still aren’t around. Listening to this album I just assumed they would be doing the rounds 20 years later.

“Something Like Human” is the second album, released on Epic Records. It did great business in sales, double platinum in the U.S and Gold in Canada. In case you don’t know who Fuel are, its Carl Bell on guitar. Brett Scallions on vocals, Jeff Abercrombie on bass and Kevin Millar on drums.

On this album, 9 of the songs are just written by Carl Bell and two of em are Bell and Scallions co-writes.

The “Last Time” kicks it off with a memorable Chorus melody and guitar riff. “Haemorrhage (In My Hands)” is an 80’s rock song all dolled up for the 2000’s. Just listen to the verse arpeggios and you’ll know what I mean.

“Empty Spaces” is a metal like cut with a grunge like Chorus. And its cuts like this that bridged the gap between the 80’s hard rock scene and the 90’s grunge scene. Then “Scar” kicks in and the “Scar” intro riff has got groove and sleaze. Listen to it, it wouldn’t be out of place on a GnR record.

“Bad Day” is a favourite. It’s a ballad, with that C-Am-F-G chord progression (in a different key for this song). Its memorable and hooky.

“Slammed the door and said, sorry, I’ve had a bad day again”

And after 5 Carl Bell penned tracks, I’m on the floor. He is one hell of a songwriter.

The song “Prove” feels like it came from a Gunners album and it gave the album its title with its lyrics and “Easy” is probably the best song that Stone Temple Pilots didn’t write. It’s got that “Plush” vibe.

“Innocent” is my favourite cut. That sombre clean tone electric strumming gets me interested and the lyrics.

Satan, you know where I lie
Gently I go into that good night

All of us sinners are reporting for duty Mr Satan, because our innocent smiles from young are replaced with lies and hidden truths and some backstabbing along the way, because that kind of shit happened to us before, so we need to pay those people back.

All our lives get complicated / search for pleasures overrated

Status became a thing. Reagan and other leaders in the 80’s told our parents they need two cars in the driveway and investment properties and suddenly, people started to outdo each other with possessions.

Never armed our souls for what the future would hold / when we were innocent

Truth in these words. Youth doesn’t bring wisdom and we rarely practiced what we wanted our future selves to be like. And as we got older, we got smacked down by life, society and the rat race and the grind of making a living to keep the lights on.

Never were we told we’d be bought and sold, when we were innocent

More so today. Hell, we didn’t even get bought out to hand over our online activities to Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest. We are giving it all away for free, while these companies make billions selling it to advertisers.

On the special edition, there are two cover tracks in “Going To California” from Led Zep, which Fuel nails and “Daniel” from Elton John and I can hear how the acoustic riffs for “Patience” came about.

Spineshank – The Height Of Callousness

A bass player from the band I was in, recommended Spineshank to me. And they got me out of rut.

A lot of the songs have that hard core style of vocals that Slipknot and Mudvayne brought to the table, with some of the electronics that Disturbed brought and some good ole head banging.

Tracks 1 and 2 lost me, and then the intro to track 3, “Synthetic” exploded out of the speakers. And I was hooked with the intro riff which reappears in the Chorus. The song is delivered with a clean tone like vocal which is probably why it stuck with me.

And that clean tone vocal trend continues with “New Disease” and its these two songs that got me interested in the band.

The rest of the album while great for others was lost on me melodically, but each song had little riffs here and there that proved interesting.

Pearl Jam – Binaural

After the first couple of albums and their project with Neil Young, Pearl Jam had enough goodwill in my book to warrant listens of all subsequent albums after.

“Nothing As It Seems” is the song here that gets me interested, with its strummed acoustic guitar riff, some distorted guitar embellishments and Vedder delivering a hypnotic vocal.

Halford – Resurrection

“Reeeeeeeee-surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-rectionnnnnnnnnnnnnnn” screams Rob Halford and then it’s all guns blazing again once the music kicks in. And just like that, heavy metal was back in my life, exactly the way I knew it.

This is the best way to re-announce your return to the fold which by this time the metal I grew up with was known as traditional heavy metal as heavy metal in 2000 proved unrecognisable to me.

Then “Made In Hell” kicks off with its harmony guitars, and lyrics about 1968 and how metal came to be from foundries and coalmines.

The head banging continues with “Locked and Loaded” and “Night Fall”. Even though it’s a Halford album, it’s the best Judas Priest song that JP never released.

“Silent Screams” starts off with acoustic guitar arpeggios and a vocal line about “tempting fate, losing friends along the way, but still standing tall with no regrets” and then that Chorus kicks in for Halford to deliver a classic heavy metal track. The song morphs into a metal cut around the 3 minute mark before returning to its melancholy.

“The One You Love To Hate” continues the head banging with a riff that reminds me of “Lightning Strikes Again” from Dokken. It can be interchanged with the next track “Cyberworld” with Halford referencing his “Electric Eye” lyrics as inspiration.

How good is that harmony solo?

And to make it better, Halford sings a vocal melody which acts like an extra guitar lead over the harmony lead. I skip “Slow Down” and then we are into “Hell’s Last Survivor” which is another cut you can interchange with “The One You Love To Hate” and “Cyberworld”.

“Temptation” is one of those more mainstream cuts that Judas Priest has been known to do. “God Bringer Of Death” has this “Gates Of Babylon” feel from Rainbow.

The Wallflowers – Breach

Their 96 album, “Bringing Down The Horse” was everywhere in Australia and their cover of Bowie’s “Heroes” kept em in the news.

Then they dropped “Breach” and I was on the fence with it. “Sleepwalker” has some Springsteen like influences which I liked. “I’ve Been Delivered” has a synth lick which is memorable. “Mourning Train” has a drum pattern with handclaps and foot stomps with an acoustic guitar and a vocal line which I like, but that’s it.

The Offspring – Conspiracy Of One

They had momentum coming into this album with the “Smash”, “Ixnay On The Hombre” and “Americana” albums. I was in various bands that covered “Pretty Fly”, “Gone Away” and “Come Out And Play”.

So coming into this album, it was no surprise that some of the songs sounded like part 2 of previous successful songs.

For example, “Original Prankster” sounds like part 2 of “Pretty Fly”. But opening track “Come Out Swinging” is fast as punk can be with metal like riffs and picking.

“Want You Bad” sounds like those major key 80’s hard rock songs, which work so well with the power punk rock of The Offspring. “Million Miles Away” is another singalong anthem.

How good is that intro riff to “Dammit, I Changed Again”?

John Petrucci used it for “Happy Song” on his recent “Terminal Velocity” album.

And if the album could had ended after this track and I would have been okay with it as the next few tracks proved skipable.

Then “Denial, Revisited” started and it had my attention again. “Vultures” then kicks off with a riff that reminds of BoC, “Don’t Fear The Reaper”. And the title track, “Conspiracy Of One” closes the album with its “Blitzkrieg” style riff.

Zebrahead – Playmate Of The Year

It’s not on Spotify Australia, which irks me, but hey, we still have YouTube, even though the labels are fighting hard to kill off the free ad supported version of it.

That clean tone digital riff to kick off “I Am” is excellent. Then there is a bit of hip hop in the verses as that same clean tone riff plays.

“Playmate Of The Year” is now a go to song for all things to do with “Playmate” even replacing “Centrefold”.

“Go” is a hard rock cut. “Now Or Never” has an intro riff which is heavy, a hip hop verse and an anthemic melodic chorus. “Wasted” has that riff which John Petrucci brought back into our lives via “Happy Song”. A similar riff appeared on The Offspring album.

“What’s Goin On?” is one of those cuts that sums up the pop punk movement between 1998 and 2004. “All I Need” is a sneaky derivative version of “Run To The Hills” in the intro. Check it out. Then it morphs into a Nu-Metal cut.

And now we move to 1985 for part 8.

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

The Record Vault – Corrosion Of Conformity

They came onto my radar from various interviews other artists did and they mentioned how CoC is one of the current bands they are listening to. The guys from Pantera, Bach and Hetfield come to mind.

Deliverance

It came out in 1994, but I didn’t get into it until I came across a guitar tab for “Albatross” from the Guitar mags I purchase. As soon as I sat down and attempted to play it, I was all in. It’s heavy, it has groove and it’s probably the best Sabbath riff that Tony Iommi didn’t write in the 90’s.

“Heavens Not Overflowing” is a great title and a great way to open an album with.

What a concept.

Let’s merge our love of Southern Rock, Delta Blues and Black Sabbath into a track.

And the lyrics.

“I’ve seen your rising son fall in your mama’s eye / and now the cops got a medal but he calls it a prize”.

Doesn’t it sum up the state of the world, when the police who are meant to protect the citizens take em out like a hunt.

“Clean My Wounds” is more like Thin Lizzy in the verses and I like it.

“Help me Jesus, help me clean my wounds / He said he cannot heal that kind”

Even the mighty Lord has biases. The final juror to pass judgement.

“Without Wings” is a nice short acoustic piece with synth strings, similar to the little acoustic songs that Black Sabbath would incorporate on their albums.

Now “Broken Man” is the song in my opinion that crossed over between the sounds of Pantera and the heavy sounds of Seattle from Soundgarden and Alice In Chains and CoC’s normal groove sludge rock. Because if you liked Pantera, there was no way you could ignore CoC. If you liked Alice In Chains or Soundgarden, there was no way you would ignore CoC.

And how good is the exotic sounding lead break?

“Now I’m a broken man in a broken land… / And don’t they wish they were blessed like you”

If you think that person is winning or popular, behind the surface they are probably troubled or lonely. Read any rockstar bio and you see why they turn to drugs and alcohol.

Time away on the road leads to loneliness and then they get those highs on stage which they try to keep going after the show and drugs end up being found in abundance because everyone is preying on them, to make a dollar and to leech from their success.

“Senor Limpio” is basically ZZ Top all metalled up. Just listen to the riffs.

It moves into “Mano De Mono”, another short instrumental that is sad and heartfelt with a bit of blues and Mexicana chucked in.

“Seven Days” plods along like a person carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Then there is another short instrumental, “#2121313” before “My Grain” kicks in.

And how good is that interlude/solo section in “My Grain” inspired by “The Real Me” from The Who. As soon as the chords kick in and the bass solo starts, you know straight away which band inspired it.

Then the title track kicks off with a nod to “Back In Black” before the sleazy riff kicks off.

And how good is “Shelter” a sombre acoustic ballad with some country licks thrown in. The closer “Pears Before Swine” reminds me of the band, Sanctuary. It’s perfect.

Overall “Deliverance” is a perfect hard rock and metal album. And here is a post from Mike Ladano that I totally agree with.

Wiseblood

It came out in 1996 and it kicks off with the excellent titled “King Of The Rotten” and the vocals on this one are very James Hetfield influenced. Track 2, “Long Whip / Big America” reminds of ZZ Top “La Grange” era. Its got that spirit.

“Wiseblood” and “Goodbye Windows” sound like the influences to Black Label Society. And how good is that harmony solo section in “Goodbye Windows” with the vocals over it.

And the bluesy Sabbath like tunes continue, along with the excellent song titles, like “Born Again For The Last Time”, “Drowning In A Daydream” and “The Snake Has No Head”.

Then there is “The Door” and “Man Or Ash”, cuts that would not be out of place on a Metallica “Load” or “Reload” album. And if the vocalist sounds familiar on “Man Or Ash”, it should, it’s none other than James Hetfield.

Then there is the excellent titled “Redepmtion City”.

“Fuel” is a thrash-a-thon and I had to keep telling my friends at the time that it’s not a cover of the other “Fuel” that appeared on “Reload” even though this one came out before.

And post “Wiseblood”, the band got dropped from Columbia Records because “Wiseblood” was seen as a commercial failure and Sanctuary Records picked em up.

In 2000, “America’s Volume Dealer” came out and disappointed the new label in sales. They went on hiatus and reformed, releasing another three more albums, a couple of EP’s, a live album, worked on side projects like “Down” and an compilation album, the most recent album being “No Cross No Crown” in 2018.

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Streaming And Theaters

There will always be just a few.

Facebook and Twitter control social media at the moment. Snapchat is there and TikTok is rising until Donald Trump got his government to pass a law to suppress it. Regardless who comes, in the end, only a few will remain. Google has search and Trump doesn’t like their dominant market position, so they have an Anti-Trust hearing happening. But no one is rushing to use the other search engines.

Netflix controlled visual streaming, but COVID-19 has shown how versatile Disney can become, pivoting their company to focus on Disney+ within a matter of months. It’s a big F.U to all the theatres who overcharged anyway and Disney has positioned the company as a proper streaming rival to Netflix. They have seen how much money they have left on the table by not being involved in the streaming market. Even Apple and Amazon have seen how much money is to be made by creating original content. And let’s not forget the biggest one, YouTube.

And the only ones who made money and released new content when COVID-19 hit, were the streaming services.

Of course there will always be other players popping up here and there, but they don’t last forever.

Quibi is one that comes to mind, the 10 minute or less mobile video streaming service created by people who watch documentaries on the History channel and suddenly they thought they knew what the young wanted.

Short episodes to watch on your mobile, while you walk.

And they convinced a lot of entities to invest. Well, it’s dead and buried, taking the $US1.75 billion from investors to start up and then shutting up shop, six months later.

The big labels are down to a few when once upon a time it was many.

Music streaming started off with YouTube.

Then others came like Pandora, Grooveshark, Spotify, Tidal, Apple and Deezer. There are others, but only a few will remain in the end. Pandora is entrenched and so is YouTube. Spotify has decent market share and is continuing to expand. The next step for them would be to produce new music themselves, like a label.

Apple is all about their gadgets and streaming is a means to an end. Grooveshark was found guilty of copyright infringement and closed while Tidal is there for the owners Jay Z and other artists to cash in.

Like the movie Highlander, there can be only one. Maybe two.

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