Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – February 7 to February 12

4 Years Ago (2017)

Nothing was posted for a second week as i was still enjoying my Summer break and procrastinating about what to write about and if I should write.

And on February 10, Rag’N’Bone Man released the excellent “Human”. A mixture of soul, blues and a rock attitude, it quickly became a favorite.

8 Years Ago (2013)

Vito Bratta was on my mind as I was unboxing a lot of my Guitar World issues, which I hadn’t seen for a long time due to my house moves.

On the Guitar forum sites I was visiting at the time, there wasn’t much info on his gear and set up, and I had the info in a Guitar World article, so here it is.

Bullet For My Valentine also released their excellent Metal and Rock album known as “Temper Temper”.

40 Years Ago (1981)

Rush release “Moving Pictures”.

This was my entry into Rush and committing me to fandom, forever.

43 Years Ago (1978)

Van Halen release their debut album.

Enough said.

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

The Record Vault and Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Cog

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.

Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.

So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

Cog is one of my favourite Australian bands.

A band I was in used to play on the same bill as these guys between 2002 and 2005 when they used to hit my hometown.

It’s hard to explain their style, as it’s a mixture of so many different styles. But they have a mood and a groove in each song that takes me places.

For a three piece band, they sound like a five piece band. Their use of the fuzz and digital delay pedals to enhance their distorted or clean tone sound is reminiscent of Neil Young and U2. Some songs have hard rock in them, others a progressive groove, like Deftones and Tool.

Wikipedia mentions that the band’s music is influenced by Tool, Isis (the instrumental band), Nina Simone, Bob Marley, Leftfield, Deftones and Helmet.

Guitarist and eventual vocalist Flynn Gower and drummer Lucius Borich went to Bondi High School together. Around 1996, Gower formed a five-piece metal band called “The Hanging Tree” and Borich formed an alternative sounding band called “Juice”.

By 1998, they ended up forming a new band together and to round out the band for the live shows, Flynn recruited his brother Luke.

They did a residency at a Sydney venue, with no vocalist, asking people in attendance to send them demo’s. Eventually Flynn trained his voice to become the singer as the candidates weren’t that good.

These guys toured and man, they toured hard. They hit every corner of Australia and every inland place that would have them.

The “Just Visiting” EP’s were meant to be a single album but released as two separate EP’s. The single album was released in 2008.

“Just Visiting Part One” was released in February 2002 and “Just Visiting Part Two” was released in October that same year. The guys signed the copy of “Part One” at one of the gigs we played.

“Bondi” starts off with an off time bass riff and a guitar riff which acts as a counterpoint. And it’s a perfect way to start off their recording career, writing about their hometown.

“1010011010.0” starts off with a conversation about “big brother” and what’s in “room 101”, which is alluded as the “worst thing in the world”.

And in case you are wondering what’s going on with the song title, well, it’s the computer binary code for “666”.

“Pseudo” has a clean tone arpeggio style riff, an offbeat drum groove and an exotic vocal melody. “Stretch” has this fuzzed out digital delay riff which I like. The vocal melody is unique, early Muse/Radiohead style. And progressive.

From about 2.20, “The Truth and Other Lies” goes into overdrive, with a jazzy like bassline and the 3 minute mark the most fuzziest and heaviest riff comes in.

“Moshiach” has been their set opener from time to time and it’s a great song to get the amps cranking and the PA firing.

Those opening lyrical lines of “I’ve been waiting and watching and it won’t be long” are instantly recognizable and singable.

“Paris Texas” has a repeating vocal melody of “We’re all going to die”. It sounds unsettling singing it out loud at a concert, but its effective. And that bass riff, just rumbles along, as the song percolates until it explodes at the half way mark. This one is very Tool like.

“The New Normal” came out in 2005, produced by Sylvia Massy and recorded in Weed, California.

The sound is massive.

“Real Life” kicks off the album and it runs through a range of different emotions and moods. From about the 3 minute mark, the song moves into a clean tone groove, which percolates and builds until it explodes again for the last minute of the 6 minute song.

“Anarchy OK” is up next and you get a feel for the lyrical themes on this album by looking at the titles and the pictures in the CD booklet.

“Silence” tells us there is so much violence in the silence. “The Spine” has a musical feel and inspiration from “Bondi”.

“Run” starts off with a synth riff before the arpeggios kick in. It’s a different Cog, still progressive in how they structure the songs, and memorable.

After 90 seconds of ambient noise, the 10 minute song and serious Meatloaf challenger for the longest song title, “The Doors (Now And Then My Life Feels Like It’s Going Nowhere)” kicks into motion with a digital delayed riff as its centrepiece. Just before the 5 minute mark it goes into overdrive.

And the album ends with another 10 minute song called “Naming The Elephant”. A clean tone single note riff starts the song off, which keeps repeating. Then the drums come in, it builds and builds and builds until it quietens down again.

The last 3 minutes with the “so long, I’ve been waiting” vocal line needs to be heard.

Two massive songs to bookend the album.

“Sharing Space” came out in 2008, again produced by Sylvia Massy. This one went Gold in Australia. A masterpiece for me. It starts off with “No Other Way”, one of my favourite songs from Cog. At 10 minutes long, it doesn’t get boring or repetitive.

Once you hear the addictive vocal melody of “Are You Interested” it will never leave you mind.

“Yes their making lists of people interested in this, anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist”

The democratic Governments have more power to spy on their own citizens than ever before. And our leaders keep telling us to trust them because they are the good guys while they do what all the totalitarian regimes do. Collect data.

And the album closes with “Problem Reaction Solution”, another 10 minutes monster and the lyrical message of “working our whole lives to pay for a cage we never really own”.

In December 2010, Cog played what many had believed to be their last show in Sydney. I think the lack of traction in overseas markets and the transition to relationships and parenthood, played a part.

But the story doesn’t end.

In late January 2016, the official Cog Facebook page was updated after a three year hiatus. And the unseen and rare photos kept on coming. Then the single, “The Middle” was released in 2018, their first new music in ten years. Since then, they have released two more singles titled “Altered States” and “Drawn Together” and in 2019, they toured again and did what they do best.

Smash the live arena to bits.

If you haven’t, crank em.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Again

I love Copyright.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving forever. Many years after the creators death, people who created nothing are still making money from it. And now we have investment firms buying the rights to songs from creators for large sums. And suddenly there is a new emperor in town when it comes time to discuss copyright terms at a political level.

One thing I know about hedge funds and investment firms; they don’t like to lose and they don’t like to give away what they have.

Bob Rock sold his shares in the Metallica “Black” album to Hipgnosis Song Fund, an investment firm, founded by Merk Mercuriadis a former label head, joining people like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Shakira, One Republic, Dee Snider and many others.

Music today, is like real estate, generating money on a consistent basis. Streaming has shown how much money can be generated if you own the rights to the songs.

Previously an album would be released, if it didn’t sell, it would be removed from shelves and replaced by something else and eventually deleted from production. Well today, nothing is deleted and storage space is infinite. Suddenly every song is available again. Well almost every song. But you know what I mean.

Remember there are two types of copyrights in music.

One for the songwriter of the song, which is known as “publishing” and the other for the sound recording, the final track which ends up on albums and streaming services.

For example, a songwriter like Steve Harris, will own this copyright or he might lease it to a publishing company for a limited term in exchange for a large up-front payment. The publisher will make their money back by collecting and keeping the royalties it collects on behalf of the artist.

The sound recording should always be owned by the artist/band who recorded the song, but in most cases, it’s the label who has it, because they paid the money to get the artist/band into the studio to record their songs and they will also own it for a larger time frame. And they will also collect royalties on this for an even longer time, still claiming they the artist hasn’t recouped.

In this Pitchfork article, it mentions that “Hipgnosis calculates that it will own the songs in its catalog for an average of 101 years before losing copyright protection.”

101 years.

God damn. That’s a long time.

So Bob Dylan’s songs released in the 60’s will be under copyright all up for about 160 years.

Think about that.

And even then, there is always a politician looking for a large hand out to write and introduce laws to keep copyright forever.

Meanwhile artists still can’t get their copyrights back from the labels, even though the law states they can.

Dwight Yoakam is another artist suing his label, this time its Warner Music, because they refuse to accept or acknowledge that copyright law allows the artist to reclaim their works after 35 years.

And if you are not aware, Universal and Sony are also in the courts because of the same thing; not allowing artists to reclaim their rights.

And the world just keeps creating money out of thin air, as Tik Tok now has a licensing arrangement with Universal Music Group, along with Sony, which it announced in November. So here is another revenue stream for the major labels.

How much of it gets filtered back to the artists?

Probably none.

That’s why they are selling their rights for a large upfront payment. Take the money and run.

A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

What Are You Willing To Do?

I saw a quote in reference to Tom Brady and his seven Super Bowls.

“If you want to be average, then just do average work. But if you want to be great, you got to do what the rest aren’t willing to do”.

I’m not sure which coach said it.

I am presuming they are talking from an effort and practice point of view. But after reading a lot on self-development in the last six years, is it really about doing something what the rest aren’t willing to do.

So much more goes into development than just doing more in practice. In the early years, the early maturers and those born at the start of the birth year are identified as “elite” only to be replaced by others once all the growing has finished.

But self-development is a billion dollar industry and the industry needs to keep the profits coming in, so the same message keeps coming out about mindsets, grit, deliberate practice, 10,000 hours, mental toughness, talent codes, culture codes and what not.

Applying that quote to music, I am sure there are a lot of artists who did things that others weren’t willing to do (from a practice point of view) and are still unknown. Hell, YouTube has shown me so many talented artists each day and by tomorrow they are forgotten, replaced by someone else.

“Black Sabbath” was a horror show to the establishment back in the days and the anti-heroes to the “flowers in your hair” hippie movement and the sugar sweet pop charts. Other artists would have existed at that time who put in a lot of hard work to be excellent musicians, but it was Sabbath and Purple and Zeppelin and Rolling Stones and ELP and The Doors and Yes and Pink Floyd and Kiss that kept on rising.

Maybe that bit of extra was the drinking and the drugs.

In 1981, there were a lot of musicians who were far better/superior than the Motley Crue guys, but hey, Motley Crue made it and the other artists didn’t. Maybe because the Crue had the gimmick of “the outcasts standing against society” plus they used the pentagram to its full effect with the “Satanic Panic” in full swing in the U.S and they had the words of the youth in their lyrics. Who didn’t want to take their fists to break down the walls and get on the prowl tonight.

This process of “artists with lesser technical ability” making it over “artists of higher technical ability” kept on repeating in cycles.

I guess it’s not all about technical ability and how good you play your instruments. It’s about those soft skills, the experiences and the ability to write songs with a message that is understood.

Because even these artists who do make it and reach the lofty heights of commercial stardom, struggle to write songs with the same message, as their ivory tower glasses are unable to see that far.

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

Rare “Glam Metal” Bands

I was looking for a quick and short podcast episode today and I came across an episode titled “Rare Glam and Hair Metal Bands” that was less than 10 minutes on the 80’s Glam Metalcast. Now the podcast itself is not a big production, it’s unpolished and garage like, but that’s why I like it.

So I’m thinking. A cool short and sweet episode on rare glam metal bands. Wham bam, Amsterdam.

And then I started to write down all the bands mentioned and suddenly a short podcast ended up as a long blog post.

Cold Sweat

From Ex-Keel guitarist, Marc Ferrari.

They only released one album, “Break Out” in 1990 on MCA Records, otherwise known as “No Idea Records” when it came to promoting rock and metal bands.

Produced by Kevin Beamish.

Oni Logan was the original singer and he left the band to join Lynch Mob, just as they were about to record the album.

Singer Rory Cathey was found from a lot of demo tapes to replace Logan. The band was rounded out by Erik Gamans on guitars, Chris McLernon on bass and Anthony White on drums.

The album didn’t get any traction and if you couldn’t find it in stores it’s because the label had already dropped the band.

Check out the 12/8 Blues groove of “Cryin’ Shame” and the great guitar playing or the power ballad, “Waiting In Vain” or the melodic rockers “Take This Heart of Mine” and “Let’s Make Love Tonight”.

“Killing Floor” is the usual “run of the mill” hard rock tunes. Then there is “Riviera/Long Way Down” which is an acoustic instrumental merging into a massive rock groove for “Long Way Down”.

Sweet F.A

They had Howard Benson producing them. For those who don’t know Benson, towards the late 90’s and onwards, Benson became like the new Tom Werman for me. I would gravitate to the records he produced.

Sweet F.A is another band signed to “No Idea Records” otherwise known as MCA Records.

The band is made up of Steven David DeLong (really, how long) on vocals, Jon “Lightning” Huffman and James Thunder (really, Lightning and Thunder) on guitar, Jim Quick (really, please stop with these names) on bass and Tricky Lane (they saved the best for last) on drums and percussion.

So what do ya get when The Long, Lightning, Thunder, Quick And Lane get together?

The debut album “Stick To Your Guns” came out in 1989.

And it did nothing commercially and of course, they got dropped by their label and then released another album “Temptation” on another label a few years later and that also did nothing commercially and the band was done.

The title track is very Led Zepplenish with a bit of Bad Company and “Shooting Star”. And I like it. The hair metal tag doesn’t really suit a cut like this, but then again, these terms weren’t meant to be complimentary.

“Whiskey River” is worthy and “Breaking The Law” is sort of like a Badlands tune. Maybe with a bit of “Hot For Teacher” chucked in for good measure.

But the rest is the usual “this track bleeds into this track and this track bleeds into this track”.

Silent Rage

I’m surprised this one didn’t do greater based on its cover. You know the one, a buffed bod, six pack showing, wearing tight leathers with the album title “Don’t Touch Me There” just over the crotch.

I guess Silent Rage and their label RCA forgot that males made up the majority of the record purchases in 1989 when it came to rock and metal releases.

And I was thinking why would a band who formed in 1976 and who finally got a chance to release an album 13 years later go with that cover. Because the stupid cover hindered the chances of the album doing anything.

Because I didn’t but it because of the cover.

But I should judge an album by its cover.

As soon as I pressed play I was a fan of the music.

“Runnin On Love”, “I Wanna Feel It”, “Tonight You’re Mine” and “Rebel With A Cause” is a four punch knockout combo.

I guess whatever Gene Simmons touched, turned to black. There’s a story there as well. Paul Sabu started producing the album and then Gene took over. I guess when you’re a band on Simmons Records, the boss takes precedence.

Most of the songs are written by E.J. Curse on bass, Mark Hawkins on guitar and Jesse Damon on vocals.

Producer Paul Sabu assisted on “Tonight You’re Mine”, Joe Lynn Turner assisted on “I Wanna Feel It” and Bruce Kulick assisted with “All Night Long”. There is a cover song from ELO called, “Can’t Get Her Out Of My Head”. Then there is “Don’t Touch Me There” written by Bob Kulick with Adam Mitchell. Album closer “I’m On Fire” is one of those fast paced hard rock songs that rhymes fire and desire.

It’s an arena rock album. But they never got to em.

Kik Tracee

It’s 1991, the third wave of L.A Metal (now known as Glam Metal or Hair Metal) is in full force and “No Rules” comes out, produced by Dana Strum from Slaughter on BMG Records.

Kik Tracee’s metal and hard rock sound is mixed with some alternative. Even the Hugh Syme cover is different.

An old steam train has arrived in a cityscape environment, and there is the same person walking out of it multiple times, dressed in old clothing and a hat, with a badge on his chest that states “No Rules”. It’s like the train is a time machine, entering our current lives to bring about a little chaos and anarchy.

Rolling Stone even had this album at 46 of the 50 Best Hair Metal Albums, which was a surprise. Even the great Martin Popoff who is normally tough on bands known as hair metal gave it some nice words on his “Collectors Guide” book.

“Big Western Sky” was called “the centrepiece” in the same Rolling Stone review. It’s one of those tunes that moves between acoustic and distortion.

It’s hard to escape the comparison to Guns N Roses. Tracks like “Soul Shaker” even starts off with that “Mr Brownstone” feel. “Tangerine Man” has an intro that could have come from Zakk Wylde’s fingertips. “Lost” feels like a Neil Young cut with a bit of The Beatles chucked in. “Velvet Crush” reminds me of Van Halen with an Axl Rose style vocal.

And by the end of the album, I didn’t feel like I listened to a “glam metal” album. Just a solid rock album. One review described it as Gunners meets The Cure meets The Beatles meets Paul Simon meets Neil Young meets Van Halen. I think that sums it up.

But being part of the third wave of acts, they were part of the first wave of acts to be dropped by the labels.

Singer Stephen Shareaux auditioned for the lead singer job in Motley Crue, losing out to John Corabi and in the late 90’s he also auditioned for Velvet Revolver, losing out to Scott Weiland.

Sleeze Beez

I didn’t like the band name at all.

“Screwed Blued And Tattooed” came out in 1990 on Atlantic Records. They are from the Netherlands formed in 1987.

“Stranger Than Paradise” was a hit on U.S MTV because of its melodic rock chrorus and a riff influenced by “Kashmir” but it’s the hard rocking tracks that get me interested.

Opener “Rock In The Western World” is a mixture of ZZ Top (Eliminator/Afterburner era), Van Halen and AC/DC. It’s perfect and one of the most underrated tracks from 1990. “House Is On Fire” is basically a rewrite of an AC/DC song called “This House Is On Fire”.

The title track “Screwed Blued N Tattooed” is a Van Halen like cut, similar to the hard rocking tracks from “5150”. Lyrically by know I had heard all of the “kids in a candy store” and “dog without a bone” references.

“When The Brains Go Down To The Balls” is pretty self-explanatory and it’s the most AC/DC sounding track on the album.

Guitarists Chriz Van Jaarsveld and Don Van Spall are excellent and they are virtually unknown. And the band is rounded out by Andrew Elt on vocals, Ed Jongsma on bass guitar and Jan Koster on drums.

They released one more album in 1992 on Atlantic called “Powertool” and that was the last I heard of em.

Salty Dog

This band deserved better as their blues rock still sounds fresh today as it did back then.

“Every Dog Has Its Day” came out in 1990, on Geffen Records.

Tom Werman mentioned in his interview on Lefsetz, that he produced the band and he liked their blues, funk, rock vibe, which was different and removed from the glam hair metal they got marketed with. So sonically, the album is great.

Formed in L.A in 1986 by guitarist Scott Lane, bassist Michael Hannon, and drummer Kurt Maier. Later, they were joined by lead singer Jimmi Bleacher. Founding guitarist Scott Lane was replaced by Pete Reeven in 1987 and with this version of the band they got their Geffen deal.

The cover for a generic “Every Dog Has It’s Day” title, is pretty cool with the great Biblical flood consuming great empires and cities, as they are the “dogs” having their “day”. It’s a pretty cool piece of early Photoshop art.

According to Wikipedia, the record was recorded in Wales, and the band was reportedly not told by the label they had to pay back the recording costs. Artists are naïve when they get their first deal and find out the hard way when the label starts to claim it back from money they’ve earned in sales or on the road.

Check out tracks like the bluesy AC/DC “Cat’s Got Nine”, the swinging blues of “Ring My Bell”, the alternative bluesy sounds of “Where The Sun Don’t Shine”.

“Spoonful” has this blues riff that sounds like something James Hetflied used on “Load” and “Reload” or Zakk Wylde on his Black Label Society band.

“Just Like A Woman” is like a southern rock ballad. “Keep Me Down” has this Led Zeppelin and Peter Frampton style groove. “Heave Hard” is an excellent Cinderella cut.

And the album doesn’t really have a bad tune if you are into blues rock.

Other bands mentioned are Beau Nasty, London (the same London that had Nikki Sixx and Blackie Lawless in it), Shotgun Messiah and my favourite, Hericane Alice which I have already posted about in the past.

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

The Record Vault – The Beatles

I don’t own a lot of music from The Beatles.

This single was passed down to me from my brothers. I have this and an expensive guitar book (for the times) which my 80s guitar teacher asked me to buy. He then proceeded to photocopy it while teaching me some stuff here and there. I guess I got duped.

I’m not sure how it all worked but there was the parent LP, also called “Beatles For Sale” and then separate EP’s released.

Cash grab. Maybe.

Regardless it’s a great 4 song knockout combo.

“No Reply” is a great pop song and “I’m A Loser” would work well in Metal circles, purely for its lyrics and how people viewed Metal heads as losers.

“Eight Days A Week” is another pop rock song.

Now this EP has a different song list to the one mentioned on Wikipedia.

On my one, it’s a Buddy Holly cover with “Words Of Love” while on the other versions it’s a Chuck Berry cover with “Rock And Roll Music”.

Both are great songs.

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

Killers At 40

I saw a Twitter post about “Killers” turning 40, so I did what every Iron Maiden would have done or should have done. Call it up on a streaming service and press play, or find the CD/Vinyl/Cassette, put it in the tray/turntable/deck and press play.

While the album is 40 years old, I didn’t really hear it until the early 90’s. And I didn’t listen to it a lot, so if you asked me to name the order of tracks from start to finish, I would stuff it up.

“Killers” sits in that purgatory state for me, between the end of the DiAnno era and the start of the Dickinson era. Thinking about it, I became a fan of Maiden during the Dickinson era, so I heard Dickinson sing “Wrathchild” before I heard the original DiAnno version.

So how good is that bass riff to kick off “Wrathchild”?

While “Killers” doesn’t have my favourite Maiden songs, each song has a riff or a musical section that just hooks me in.

Steve Harris wrote the whole album except for the song “Killers” and he got a chance to try out his progressive way of song construction. Instead of sticking to the verse and chorus formula, he would have a verse and then music for the chorus. Or verse, verse, interlude solo section.

He experimented on this album and we got to hear better versions of those experiments with each subsequent release.

“Murders In The Rue Morgue” is a Thin Lizzy cut through and through, just a little bit faster. If you don’t believe me, listen to those verses.

“Genghis Khan” has this harmony section from about the 2 minute mark and while that harmony pattern is being played, another harmony lead starts over it, with just a few notes and bends.

“Innocent Exile” has two sections that hook me. The musical Chorus between the verses and that whole interlude/solo section. “Killers” has the intro with the David Lee Roth like wails and then it morphs into the verse riffs.

“Prodigal Son” always stands out for me, because it reminds me of “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll” from Ozzy Osbourne in the arpeggio intro. They both came out the same year.

The strumming part also reminds me of another song, but I just can’t remember it. And the solo, its brilliant, with its Clapton like bluesy lines.

The intro/verse riff in “Purgatory” is speed/thrash metal heaven. And how good is that harmony section when DiAnno sings “Take me away”?

Clive Burr never got his dues when it came to his drumming skills. The dude could play so many styles and merge them all into one song. He definitely set a standard for the Iron Maiden drum position which Nicko McBrain elevated.

Happy 40th Killers. \::/

Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – 31 January to 6 February

4 Years Ago (2017)

Nothing was posted on the site during this period. I was chilling in the sun and detoxing from technology.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was overdosing on “Be Somebody” from Thousand Foot Krutch.

And “Teaser” from Tommy Bolin.

10 Years Ago (2011)

We lost Gary Moore at 58 to a heart attack.

11 Years Ago (2010)

A judge found that Men at Work ripped off a 1932 children’s song called “Kookaburra” for the flute riff of “Down Under”.

This decision still shocks people in Australia, especially how a corporation which owns the copyright to the song reaps the benefits.

As the artist who created “Kookaburra” has been gone for a long time.


23 Years Ago (1998)

We lost Tim Kelly from Slaughter who died in a car accident at age 35.

62 Years Ago (1959)

Don McLean said it was “the day the music died” in his 1971 hit “American Pie”.

The event he was talking about were the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson in a plane crash in 1959.

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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – The Superjesus

Here is the usual prologue.

My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.

Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.

Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.

So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series”.

The Superjesus are an Australian rock band formed in Adelaide in late 1994.

Their debut album, “Sumo” released in 1998, peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart. They received high rotation on national youth alternative music radio station, Triple J and the album got a Platinum certification in Australia.

It was recorded at Triclops Sound Studios, Atlanta, with Matt Serletic (Collective Soul) producing and Jeff Tomei (Smashing Pumpkins, Hole) as audio engineer.

Guitarist Chris Tennent and vocalist Sarah McLeod wrote the songs and what you get is a rock album with some nu Metal influences and melodic vocals. It’s a shame this songwriting partnership ended when their personal relationship ended and Tennent also left the band.

And Tennent more or less disappeared from the music business after his departure but he left a legacy of some great riffs.

The other members in the band on the album are Paul Berryman on drums and Stuart Rudd on bass. Berryman also had success with the band Faker in the 2000’s.

It starts off with “Down Again” and a head banging bass and drum groove. The guitar plays some arpeggios to decorate before exploding into the main riff.

Then the verse riffs. Heavy and brilliant while McLeod sings about wasting a lot of opportunities.

I was alone ’til i thought it was better that way

You spend too much time alone, then there is nothing else but being alone.

“Saturation” is a interesting mixture riff wise, combining a lot of blues ideas with a Beatles/Oasis like progression.

“Now And Then” is an acoustic like romp merging bits that could have come from a Collective Soul or Jewel album.

“Ashes” has great riffs throughout. One of my favorites.

“I’m Stained” has an instrumental intro that goes for about 90 seconds and feels like those driving kind of songs, hitting the open road with the window down and a main riff that reminds me of “Shine” from Collective Soul.

“Milk” closes the album with a clean tone riff inspired by Seattle bands like Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam.

After the success of “Sumo” and the departure of guitarist Chris Tennent, the band went in a more radio rock friendly sound, victims of their own success to deliver a success-conscious follow-up, with “Jet Age” in 2001 and “Rock Music” in 2003.

But it was “Sumo” that gave them the victory lap.

A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Working Class Man

It’s about Jimmy Barnes and his life from leaving Adelaide in the early 70s with Cold Chisel and his solo career.

“Working Class Boy” is the book the covers his childhood in Scotland, the trip to Australia and growing up in a broken and violent home. This one was a tough and uneasy read because of the stories he told.

Chisel like all bands of that era started off as a cover band. They introduced originals for one gig and the audience was disappointed. Back to covers they went.

Jimmy Barnes left the band early on to fill the Fraternity vocal spot left vacant by Bon Scott joining AC/DC.

But it didn’t last long and he was back with Cold Chisel albeit a more focused singer courtesy of the tutelage given to him by Fraternity bassist Bruce Howe who was the taskmaster in that band and he wanted the singer to sound a certain way. Barnsey reckons that Howe also assisted in Bon’s singing prowess.

Like all bands of the era they gig and get crowds and they get managers who promise things and deliver nothing and they kept changing them with the hope that one of em would push the band with the labels.

And a post party gathering at a posh apartment involving sex and drugs which Don Walker attended, ending up being the event that sealed the deal for them in relation to management.

Rod Willis was at the party and he was bemoaning the lack of great managers in the Australian business. Walker was listening and after watching the band play live, Willis became their manager for 32 years.

And in Willis, main songwriter Walker had an ally when it came to implementing new music into their sets. So they started rehearsing.

And all of this is up to 1976.

They got their deal in September 1977. And got a crash course in copyright. There are two copyrights for each song.

The first belongs to the artist who recorded the song, which the record label controls as they paid the money for the recording and they are meant to keep it for a limited time before returning it back to the artists.

The second belongs to the writer/s. And this is controlled by the music publisher.

Barnes sums up his first recording experience in the best way.

“Recording was making something in a dark room with no one to bounce things off, and then waiting three months until it was finished, and then another three months until it came out – only to listen six months later and say to yourself, “Oh, I wish I’d done this or that”.

He wanted to put the producers head in his hands for the second record “Breakfast at Sweetheats”.

Live music television was unmasked as miming to a recording version of the song and Chisel did that for their first appearance but the higher they got the more power they had and when it came to the Countdown awards Chisel was allowed to play live so they upped the ante by walking on with half a bottle of Vodka, and then proceeding to play a song which they changed halfway to slag off the Awards and then smashed their instruments and everything else. .

The more popular Chisel got, the more wilder Jimmy Barnes got. And you need to read his recollection of their North American tour starting with the first show in San Diego, opening up for Loverboy, and ending with their last show in LA in which their Elektra label rep didn’t even turn up for, because it was his Djs friends dog birthday.

The US tour put the writing on the wall. Chisel then imploded and he went solo. His first release “Bodyswerve” went to number 1 in Australia.

And while he’s doing songs in the U.S with Jonathan Cain and other writers for what was hoped what be his break through album in the North American market with Geffen Records, Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman paid him a visit, asking him to audition for the vacant singers spot in Van Halen.

According to Barnesy, EVH mentioned it’s gonna be a new band and their gonna do ballads.

He said “no”.

“For The Working Class Man” came out in 1985 and Barnesy became a legend in Australia. It was everywhere and it debuted at Number 1. But it bombed in the U.S.Apparently it sounded too Australian.

Whatever that means.

Eventually the Geffen deal went bad when Barnes took the masters for the “Freight Train Heart” album back to Australia because he wasn’t happy how Jonathan Cain was producing it.

In Australia, he could do no wrong and his manager organized another US deal with Atlantic this time. In the space of 12 years, Barnes had deals with Elektra with Cold Chisel and Geffen and Atlantic as a solo artist.

Like Ozzy and Black Sabbath, the more records Barnesy sold as a solo artist and singing a few Chisel songs live, generated to a lot of sales of their former bands catalogue.

Black Sabbath and Cold Chisel grew during the 80s and 90s because of the deeds of their singers.

But for all his successes, by 1994 he was almost bankrupt. And he was still out of control.

A lot of rebuilding commenced.

Read the book to find out.