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

The Pirate Vault #1

Remember when the Recording Industry spent money on advertising stating that “home taping would kill the industry” and they wanted cassettes removed from sale, only to realize that once they started producing music onto cassettes, another revenue stream became available.

Sound familiar. Streaming is bad. Let’s ban it. Wait a minute, let’s work with it and wow, look at our profit lines.

Cinderella – “Night Songs” and Pearl Jam – “Vs

There was another band on Side 2 which I overdubbed for Pearl Jam’s second album. I can’t even remember the name of the band.

And I couldn’t have overdubbed Cinderella because I didn’t buy the “Night Songs” LP until the 90s, via the second hand shops.

“Night Songs” came from my cousin Mega around 1987 and “Vs” came from a drummer in a band I was in.

WASP – “The Headless Children” and Twisted Sister – “Ruff Cutts”

My cousin Mega was again my point of reference here. “The Headless Children” is a massive album from WASP, one of their best.

And Mega has the TS logo on his arm.

At this point in time he also found the very rare and hard to find “Ruff Cutts” from Twisted Sister so it was a no brainer to tape that, purely for the rawness of the sound.

And the beauty of a 90 cassette meant that I had 45 minutes available on each side.

Which I filled up by other artists at separate points in time.

In this case I added “Out In The Fields” by Gary Moore, then at some point I added “Anybody Listening” the band version by Queensryche and “Seasons” from Badlands.

Tesla – Mechanical Resonance And Kansas – Point Of No Return

I taped these ones myself from the LPs so I could play the cassette on the Walkman. Remember those.

And I added a couple of Kansas tracks from the 80s at the end.

Standard
Music, My Stories

Apple

Isn’t it weird how Apple decided to became a Movie/TV company first and not a Music Label.

It’s in music that Apple has a long history.

Normally when you start to do a little bit of everything, it ends in failure. Remember when Apple tried to compete with Microsoft instead of innovating.

Tech history has shown that one brand gets the majority of the market. It’s Google for search, it’s Amazon for shopping, it’s Facebook for social media, it’s Netflix for steaming and it was Apple for innovations/distribution, which it still does for news.

Standard
Music, My Stories

The Live Show

For some, it’s a place people go to have a good time.

For some, it’s a place people go to say that they went, take a selfie and post it online, especially for the bigger bands.

For some, it’s a place people go to hear the studio songs replicated exactly as the studio recordings.

For me, I go to the live show to hear the songs with a touch of something different, like an extended solo or longer intro or crowd sing along and what not.

If I want the music perfect, I will listen to the studio recordings.

And I think it’s a forgotten art form, how to make a song last a little bit longer especially if the energy is there.

Kiss tries to replicate the recording in a live setting.

Motley Crue from the shows I’ve seen, just try to play the album songs, while Bon Jovi likes having an extended outro solo here and there in some of the songs, plus a medley of different songs.

Bruce Springsteen jams out his songs and Black Crowes just jam the whole night. The Black Crowes is still one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Dee Snider has the mid song banter down pat.

Bands like Maiden and Metallica really don’t have room to jam as their songs are written in such a way that fans know what part is next and they anticipate it and are ready to chant along with it. So they make it special via the stage show.

And as we evolve, the reasons why we go to the live show will change again. And the price of tickets will play a big part in it.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Creating

The first song you write and release will probably be ignored.

The tenth one maybe not.

The twentieth will probably do something commercially.

The thirtieth, will probably be ignored.

What is clear is that each song, creates more demand for other songs. Each song released gives you the power to release better songs. And better songs create more demand for other songs.

So in order to survive creating, you need to do something creative.

Simply begin.

And then don’t stop.

Standard
Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault – Backstreet Boys

Yeah, I know, it’s not hard rock or metal, but hear me out on this okay.I picked up these albums because my wife liked the band. I heard the albums and when you take away all the pop sounds, the different singers, the songs are basically hard rock songs that would have appeared on hard rock albums if hard rock was still in the mainstream. Also, some of the writers used on the songs have worked with hard rock bands.

Max Martin is all over “Backstreets Back” and Mutt Lange also has a song writing and production credit for his song on the album.

On “Never Gone”, Max Martin is there again, John Shanks (who did the Van Halen comeback album, plus Bon Jovi albums) produces a track, plus artists from other bands like Five For Fighting are writing songs for the band.

Max Martin wrote songs with Bon Jovi (“It’s My Life” and “Complicated”), with Def Leppard (“Unbelievable”), with Apocalyptica (“Worlds Collide”, with Daughtry (“Feels Like Tonight” and with Bryan Adams (“Before The Night Is Over” and “Cloud Number Nine”). Plus he wrote songs for Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Pink, Maroon 5, etc. He’s like the Desmond Child from 1998.

And of course, Max Martin’s real name is Karl Martin Sandberg, from Sweden and before he took over the charts writing songs for other artists, he was a singer in a hard rock metal funk band called “It’s Alive”.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Marketing

Growing your brand and spreading the word of your art is a marketing problem.

So if that perfect album you spent months writing and months recording is nowhere to be seen, it’s because it’s not marketed properly.

And I am thinking of all of those hard rock and metal albums released between 1992 and 2005, which got released and didn’t really set the charts alight. It’s not because the music was crap, it’s because the labels didn’t care enough to put the money behind the artist to market them. But really was it the fault of the labels. It’s what the artist tells us.

Bands I support have spoken out about the label and the labels lack of enthusiasm at marketing their album. But the label did have the enthusiasm at one stage to put money into the demoing and recording of the album.

So is Geffen responsible or David Coverdale responsible for Blue Murder’s self-titled debut being killed or is the band responsible for not telling a story that connects with people or agreeing to that pirate look?

Is Elektra responsible for Motley Crue’s self-titled 1994 album doing poor numbers after they spent over 2 million dollars on the recording and marketing, or is the band responsible for not telling a story which connects with people?

Is EMI responsible for Queensryche’s “Hear In The Now Frontier” not doing better commercially?

Is Atlantic responsible for White Lion’s “Mane Attraction” disappearing from the charts?

Because marketing isn’t about putting a poster or an ad in a record store or internet site, it’s about telling a story that connects with people. As humans we make choices and the choice to invest in art is made together with other choices. Telling us that this is your best work, or that you put in your blood, sweat and tears is not really a story that connects. It’s a stupid PR spiel that doesn’t resonate at all.

And marketing isn’t about going all nuclear with ads and posters on every website and every print magazine either. It doesn’t equal advertising. Marketing is to spread ideas, serve the fans and satisfy their needs. And you do it by being authentic, respectful and truthful.

Artists need to tell us the story.

They need to own it.

They need to be truthful.

So if you have a marketing problem, you can’t solve it by simply repeating what you did yesterday.

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

The Record Vault – Boston

Boston was one of those bands who are loved by many and you can’t say anything bad about them. However to me, I really enjoyed a few songs on each album and others not so much.

Boston – Boston

If you want to know the power the artist had, you need to know the story of Boston’s self-titled debut.

Produced by Tom Scholz, the band had received numerous rejection letters from major record labels in the early 1970s, and by 1975, a demo tape had fallen into the hands of CBS-owned Epic Records, who signed them.

Epic wanted the band to record in Los Angeles with a record producer, but Scholz was unwilling and wanted to record the album in his basement studio, so he hired another person to run interference with the label. Scholz tricked the label into thinking the band was recording on the West Coast, when in reality, the bulk of the album was being tracked solely by Scholz at his home.

Basically there was no compromise from Scholz on his vision.

And that vision came out in 1976 to platinum sales. Then again platinum is very misleading for back in those days, a platinum album was given on the backs of how many records got shipped not sold. Regardless it’s stood the test of time.

“More Than A Feeling” is a great song to play on the guitar. Even Kurt Cobain took the main riff and called it “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. But my favourite song is “Piece of Mind” because of the harmony lead breaks in the intro, during the solo and the outro.

Boston – Don’t Look Back

The follow up, released in 1978 on Epic Records and the beginning of the band’s legal fight with Epic.

As mentioned previously, Tom Scholz didn’t compromise on his vision. But this time around he claimed that Epic executives pushed him and the band into releasing the album before they felt it was ready.

How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?

“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus and “Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.

Their next album, “Third Stage”, was not released for another eight years, by which time the band and record label had parted ways and were fighting a courtroom battle that Boston ultimately won.

Third Stage

It finally came out in 1986.

Like all of their previous albums, there are always a few songs which just grab me and make me press repeat.

“Amanda” has a vocal melody which hooks me and that harmony solo which mimics the vocal melody seals the deal.

“Were Ready” has got so many bits and pieces of 80’s song writing in a concise 4 plus minute song. There is no way you cant like.

Clean tone arpeggios. Check.

Harmony Solo check.

Pedal point riff. Check.

Big backing vocals. Check.

And yeah, I know that Boston did these things before, but in “We’re Ready” they got it all MTV ready. Even Vito Bratta must have been impressed because I swear he took some of the riff and called it “Little Fighter” for the intro.

“The Launch” makes me feel like I have won Gold at the Olympics.  And then it morphs into “Cool The Engines” which is a throwback to their 70’s albums. 

“Cantcha Say You Believe In Me/ Still in Love” has a pretty big arena rock chorus as it moves between a ballad and a rocker. But then it moves into the “Still In Love” section, with clean tone arpeggios and little lead licks. For a pop rock album, its pretty progressive in the songwriting department. And then “Still In Love” builds into a lead section which copies the “Cantcha Say You Believe In Me” chorus melody.

 Brilliant.

“Hollyann” is full of harmony leads and what not.

And after that, I’m not sure what happened with Boston. The only thing I do know is that it was years before the next release.

Standard