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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Pseudo Echo

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”.

Pseudo Echo got worldwide traction with their energetic rock influenced cover of “Funky Town” in 87.

It reached No. 6 in the U.S, No. 8 in the UK, No. 1 in Canada and No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand.

But it’s their third studio album, “Race” which was issued in 1988 that really captured my attention. The New Wave influences were still there but the rock and metal guitars were turned up and louder.

And it solidified Brian Canham as a guitar hero for me. He riffed and shred with the best of em.

“Fooled Again” kicks off the album with a major key riff that reminds me of “Dance The Night Away” from Van Halen. The Chorus reminds me of Journey. And the lead break is short, but it’s got melody, some tapping and a bit of shred.

“Over Tomorrow” is AOR Melodic rock. That intro needs to be heard.

“Imagination” has a wicked guitar solo.

“Take On The World” feels like I’m driving on the highway, window down and music blaring from the car stereo.

And “Eye Of The Storm” is melodic rock at its best with a head banging intro riff, a hooky Chorus and a killer guitar solo.

But the album didn’t do as good commercially compared to the first two albums and the band disbanded in 1990 after the tour in support of the album. For Canham, it was the perfect time to go their separate ways.

But the demand was strong and they reformed in the late 90s and are still touring today.

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

Victims Of The Future

On 6 February 2021, it will be 10 years since Gary Moore passed away.

Once “Still Got The Blues” got traction and started selling, Moore did his best to distance himself from his 80’s output as he went to the blues.

“My favourite of those is Wild Frontier because it was made just after Phil [Lynott] died. I was thinking about him a lot at the time, hence its Celtic influences. It’s a reflective record, whereas this [picks up Victims Of The Future] is just one of my feeble attempts at heavy rock.”
GARY MOORE

Feeble attempt or not, “Victims Of The Future” is an excellent heavy rock record.

I picked this album up on LP via a second hand music shop in the 90’s. It was an interview with guitarist Al Pitrelli in 1992 that got me interested.

You see, back in 1992, Pitrelli was in Widowmaker. For those that don’t know, Widowmaker was Dee Snider’s second attempt to kick start his post – Twisted Sister music career. His first attempt, Desperado was pulled from release a week before the album was meant to hit the streets by Elektra boss, Bob Krasnow.

Snider missed out on the final glory years of MTV and hard rock music between 1988 and 1991.

Anyway, “Blood and Bullets” from Widowmaker hits the streets and the obligatory interviews follow. At that time I purchased an issue of “Guitarist” and Al spoke a lot about Phrygian mode scales in the interview. He referenced Gary Moore a lot as an example and his emotive lead in “Empty Rooms”.

So it was a no-brainer when I saw the album for $2 and the supergroup of musicians recording it. Apart from Gary Moore, you had, Ian Paice (Deep Purple) on drums, Neil Carter (UFO) on keyboards, Neil Murray (Whitesnake), Mo Foster and Bob Daisley (Rainbow, Ozzy) all contributing bass parts.

But the labels in 1983 still had no idea how to market metal/rock acts.

Virgin Records was originally known in the 70’s for signing progressive rock bands and by the late Seventies/Early 80’s, they had punk rock bands and new wave bands. It was only a matter of time before they started to accumulate hard rock and metal bands because no label wanted to be beaten by another label.

Gary Moore started off with MCA for “Back On The Streets” and changed to Virgin for “Corridors Of Power” and he remained there until 1997.

There was a label format for the single releases. A melodic rock/AOR type of song, a cover and a ballad. And like clockwork, Virgin decided the singles to be released as; “Hold on to Love”, “Shapes of Things” and “Empty Rooms”.

“Victims Of The Future” gave Gary Moore traction but no certifications. They came with the next album “Run For Cover” and the certifications continued well into the late 90’s.

“Victims of the Future”

It’s a brilliant song, written by Moore, Neil Carter, Ian Paice and Neil Murray.

Searching each day for the answers
Watching our hopes disappear
Set on a course for disaster
Living our lives in fear
Our leaders leave us in confusion
For them there’s only one solution

Caught in the fight for survival
Trapped with our backs to the wall
Are we just lambs to the slaughter?
Who wait for the axe to fall?
Our world is headed for destruction
Our fate is in the hands of fools

I plagiarized/stole the whole first two verses for my major art project as it was based on “War”. It was a mixed media project that involved making a miniature coffin and on top of the coffin, I had the two verses written there, sort of like an Eulogy. Inside the coffin, I had drawings of all things war. Of course, Rattlehead and Eddie made appearances in there as well.

Shadows of the past,
Victims of the future
How long will it last?
Victims of the future

You would think our leaders would learn from their mistakes or the mistakes from the past, but no, they don’t. Narcissists go into politics. It’s all about them and their viewpoint. They enrich themselves and their supporters.

Into the verbal arena,
Armed with the lies that they tell
They’re fighting for world domination

Nothing has changed over the last 100 plus years and nothing will change in the next 100 plus years. It’s all about dominance.

And Gary Moore was dominant as a hard rock guitar hero. If he liked it or not, hard rock gave him a few victory laps.

Check it out.

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

1985 – Part 9

Exodus – Bonded By Blood

I didn’t hear this until the Napster era. I wanted to hear it a long time ago because it was Kirk Hammet’s origin band, but every time it came to deciding what to spend my money on, this wasn’t it.

“Bonded by Blood” was originally titled “A Lesson in Violence”, but had its name changed when a suitable cover idea could not be found. The song “Impaler” was originally to be featured on this album, but it was abandoned when Kirk Hammett took the main riff with him to Metallica and used it for “Trapped Under Ice”. The song however was resurrected on the “Tempo Of The Damned” album released in 2004.

And the thrash metal acts which came from San Francisco, there was a lot of crossover of riffs, similar to the LA Sunset Strip crossover. The way the riffs flow on this album I expected to hear Hetfield’s or Araya’s or Mustaine’s voice. They are almost interchangeable.

Paul Baloff as a vocalist was different. He snarled, growled, spat and screamed his way through songs with his chainsaw like delivery. I got it, understood it, but I wasn’t a fan of it.

Anthrax – Spreading The Disease

I like Anthrax because they played hard and fast and had groove and melodic vocals. This is Joey Belladonna’s first album with them, having replaced Matt Fallon who replaced Neil Turbin.

After the blistering speed of “A.I.R”, its back to traditional metal with “Lone Justice”, my favourite track on the album. “Madhouse” continues the traditional metal vibe but with a lot of groove and at 32.5 million streams it’s their Spotify star.

“Stand Or Fall” is a speed metal track and with Belladonna’s delivery, it can be classed as the embryo to power metal. And it still sounds to me that they are singing “Sand The Floor” instead of “Stand Or Fall”.

The 1.18 minute intro to “The Enemy” is desk breaking stuff. “Armed And Dangerous” is armed with acoustic guitars and a tonne of melody for about 1.20 and then it explodes. “Medusa” has one of those head banging riffs which is synonymous with heavy metal.

Loudness – Thunder In The East

If you want your Loudness treatment, head over to mikeladano and read his reviews.

“Thunder In The East” is not on Spotify, so I had to head over to YouTube to hear it in full as I’ve only heard “Crazy Nights” from this album. It still amazes me how some music is missing from Spotify and other streaming services.

YouTube actually showed the labels and publishers what the people want when it started. Access to music and they also wanted to upload their catalogues, so others could listen and comment and so forth. And what we have is some bastardised version of that with Content ID.

This album from the outset reminds of Bonfire and their “Fireworks” album which came a few years after. Produced by Max Norman, it has all the bells and whistles of a quality production.

Akira Takasaki brings out his metal riffs. “Crazy Nights” kicks it off, but “Like Hell” is so like Judas Priest’s “Electric Eye” that it quickly became a favourite. And in the lead break, Takasaki leverages Malmsteen for the fast shred and Rhoads/Lynch tapped solos from “Flying High Again” and “Tooth And Nail” for the tapping sections.

“Heavy Chains” starts off with a clean tone arpeggio riff with a melodic lead over it. I’m always a sucker for these kind of songs as they move from these clean tone intros into an aggressive epic song. The vocals from Minoru Niihara are excellent. And the song is more power Viking metal than the Nordic bands. The whole interlude and lead break is worthy of your attention.

“Get Away” blasts out of the gates and so far it’s a four punch knockout. Especially when Takasaki goes into his “Burn” from Deep Purple inspired solo.

“We Could Be Together” is traditional heavy metal with Niihara delivering a Steve Perry like vocal in the verses and then going all falsetto in the pre chorus and chorus. Perfect.

And the album doesn’t really let up on the high quality song writing, with “Run For Your Life” kicking off side B, especially that palm muted arpeggio riff in the Chorus and it ends with the ballad “Never Change Your Mind”.

Alcatrazz – Disturbing The Peace

Alcatrazz with Malmsteen was like Rainbow. Alcatrazz with Vai was like Rainbow with alot more fusion added.

“God Blessed Video” kicks off the album and you hear the old Rainbow influences with the Vai fusion in the music.

“Mercy” is excellent musically, but Bonnet’s lyrics are a mess with killing queens in Africa and India or something like that. But check out the lead break from Vai.

“Wire And Wood” has Vai starring in the first 30 seconds. “Desert Diamond” again has Vai starring in the intro, using the guitar like a sitar. Musically the song is excellent. “Stripper” is speed rock in the vein of “Highway Star”. “Painted Lover” has a riff that has appeared in a DLR song here and there.

Lee Aaron – Call Of The Wild

This album surprised me. It’s a brilliant piece of melodic rock.

Bob Ezrin is there as keyboardist and executive producer. Bob Halligan Jr has a co-write with Mark Ribler on the song “Line Of Fire”. The very underrated John Albani is on guitars and is one of the main songwriters on the album.

“Rock Me All Over” and “Runnin’ From The Fire” are a lethal 2 punch knockout.

And then there is “Barely Holdin’ On”. It’s written by a songwriter called Joe Cerisano and man the lyrics.

Growing up, you were taught to believe
That everyone was created equal in the master plan

Everything is about control. Go to school and study so you can memorise everything and pass the tests because you have a great memory. Then you get a chance to work. The higher your education, the better the pay. Well it’s a load of B.S

Oh I’m sick an’ tired of waiting for tomorrow
Promising me the world.. that I’ been hoping for..
Oh I wanna live, an’ I wanna feel
The things in my life, that I’ been searching, for.. so long….

Build your own dreams people and not someone else’s. It’s easier said than done.

The Bob Halligan Jr cuts, “Line Of Fire” and “Beat Em Up” are underrated songs.

“Paradise” is so Scorpions, its perfect. This track is written by Aaron, Albani with Dick Wagner. And those lead breaks after the solo, so Boston like and yet so Scorpions like.

“Danger Zone” continues with the melodic guitar leads and hooks.

Warlock – Hellbound

“Hellbound” is like a Motorhead meets Deep Purple “Highway Star” cut. Musically its ferocious and of course Doro Pesch on vocals is brilliant. And there is a “Burn” like solo which got me interested.

“All Night” is one of those fist pumping anthems. The embryo to “All We Are”.

“Out Of Control” has a traditional metal riff in the verses and a super melodic chorus with clean tone arpeggios over a distorted riff.

“Time To Die” sounds like “Stay Hungry” from Twisted Sister and I love it. And the good riffs keep on coming with “Shout It Out”.

April Wine – Walking Through Fire

It’s not on Spotify but it’s on YouTube.

A contractual obligation to the band’s record label, to whom they still owed one album. The album is a mixture of AOR melodic rock gems, hard rock and blues rock because of the different songwriters involved.

“Wanted Dead Or Alive” is written by Jeff Cannata and Michael Soldan. It has a keyboard riff which is AOR Heaven. Cannata and Soldan released this song with their own band, Arc Angel back in 1983. The U.S press dismissed the band as Boston/Kansas clones, while Europe took to em.

And then CBS dropped em.

The AOR Rock continues with “Love Has Remembered Me” which is written by vocalist/guitarist Myles Goodwyn.

“Open Soul Surgery” is written by Jim Vallance and it has a Robert Palmer “Addicted To Love” feel in the verses crossed with “All Right Now” from Free. “All It Will Ever Be” is written by Goodwyn and it sounds like a pop song that I cant remember right now but nevertheless I like it.

And just like that, the album came out and the band was done.

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

2000 – Part 9

Before some craziness happened in my life towards the last two months of 2020, I was on a roll posting about 2000, 1985 and 1977.

I have a lot of hard rock friends who really hated the 90’s (from about 95 onwards) and the first five years of the 2000’s.

For me, the start of the 2000’s gave rise to so much music.

The labels kept dishing out the new genres. Hard rock releases still kept coming. And we had Nu-Metal, Rap Metal, Rap Rock, Industrial Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Glam Metal, Alternative Rock, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Art Rock, Math Rock, Math Metal, Djent, Industrial Rock, Acoustic Rock and so on.

It was different but still rooted to rock and metal.

Tool – Salival

It’s an 8 track CD made up of live songs and cover songs, and a 4 song VHS which had the film clips. There is also a 56 page booklet. It was a limited edition release. When it came out, I couldn’t get it, but a few years later, I picked this up in New Zealand when I visited there in 2003.

Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory

This album was introduced to me by a singer from a band I was in at the time and I became a fan instantly, in awe of the talent of Chester Bennington on vocals and the prowess of Brad Delson on guitars. And the unsung hero in metal and rock circles is co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda.

The drums kick it off, but as soon as the riff comes in for “Papercut” I was all in.

And that interlude/bridge/outro section when Chester starts singing “when the sun goes down”.

How good is it?

Then Shinoda starts singing over it in a rap fashion and it’s perfect.

“One Step Closer” has a head banging groove riff to kick it off.

That intro to “With You”, is heavy as lead. So is “Points Of Authority”. “Crawling” and “Runaway” are super melodic.

Check out the Chorus section in “By Myself” when Chester starts singing, “I can’t hold on”… The angst. You can feel it.

And then you have “In The End”. It’s sitting at 898 million streams on Spotify at the moment. The piano riff is iconic, as good as any riff by a guitarist.

This is the song when the tandem singing and rapping of Bennington and Shinoda came full circle. Just listen to those verses.

“A Place For My Head” starts off with a riff that could have come from a Mariachi band before it explodes with the distortion. “Forgotten” moves between clean tone U2 like verses into an aggressive pre-chorus and a melodic chorus.

One of my favourite songs is closer “Pushing Me Away” because its foundations are basically hard rock. It has that U2 delay like intro and verse riff, and a melodic chorus. It could even be a derivative version of “In The End” with the piano riff replaced by a digital delay guitar riff.

Limp Bizkit – Chocolate Starfish

The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park also introduced Limp Bizkit.

Wes Borland on guitars is a very unique individual. He has a unique way of decorating the songs. His distorted tone is fuzzed out and so defined, it sounds huge. Then his clean tone riffs with delays and palm mutes add the perfect contrast to the chaos of the distorted riffs.

Check out the syncopated riffs on tracks like “My Generation”, “Full Nelson”, “My Way” and “Take A Look Around” (which is their take on the “Mission Impossible” theme).

Rage Against The Machine – Renegades

The singer who introduced me to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit also introduced me to RATM.

It’s a covers album, but each song has been Ragefied, for the lack of a better word. The only thing left from the original recordings is just the lyrics.

All the vocals are rapped/spoken and the music is by Morello, Commerford and Wilk and it takes the form of their blues based pentatonic grooves with a few chromatics chucked in here and there.

“The Ghost Of Tom Joad” is so far removed from Springsteen, but give it a listen as the intro riff is so similar to “Cochise”, which came a few years after. “Street Fighting Man” starts off with the guitar making a police siren sound with the Digitech Whammy Pedal and its nothing like The Rolling Stones, but still a very interesting listen. “Maggies Farm” begins with a haunting lick before the blues like grooves kick in.

A very interesting way to do covers.

Coldplay – Parachutes

They had a decent promo budget thrown their way by the label and there songs kept appearing everywhere.

A few of the tracks like “Don’t Panic”, “Spies”, “Yellow” and “We Never Change” resonated. But overall, I was interested to see what came next and still not a fan.

Orgy – Vapor Transmission

As far as I’m concerned, Orgy is basically a hard rock band with new wave and grunge influences and they got all the newest production bells and whistles added to their sound by the producers of the day.

“Fiction – Dreams In Digital” is the star of this album. Other songs on the album like “Opticon” and “Suckerpunch” have some cool riffs.

Deftones – White Pony

This album was introduced to me by a bass player I had in a band.

And I kept “Change (In The House Of Flies) on repeat for a long time. The bass riff, the drums, the moods between the verses and the chorus and the angst in the vocals.

And the next star is “Digital Bath”. Like “Change” it’s the different moods that capture me, as the song moves between slow and melancholy to angst like aggression in the chorus, with soaring vocals.

“Rx Queen” also follows the same template as “Change” and “Digital Bath” as it moves between melancholic verses and angst ridden choruses.

I didn’t notice this before, but I guess I gravitated to these songs.

And “Knife Party” follows the same pattern of clean tone verses and an aggressive Chorus.

Then there is “Passenger” which has Maynard from Tool guesting on vocals. And what a song it is. Its progressive, moody, atmospheric and metal. One of my favourites still to this day.

I still don’t really know what the lyrics or the messages in the songs are.

It didn’t matter because Deftones is all about the different moods and textures.

Switchfoot – Learning To Breathe

How good is “Dare You To Move”?

It just rolls along with the acoustic guitar and a melancholic vocal melody in the verses, with a soaring melody in the Chorus.

The song was re-recorded for “The Beautiful Letdown” album three years later and it started to appear in movies.

And at 60.6 million streams, it’s their Spotify hit.

Radiohead – Kid A

How do you follow up some great albums in “OK Computer” and “The Bends”.

In the case of Thom Yorke, he just threw out the sound canvas of the previous albums and started fresh. This album is classed as a rock album, but it’s a rock album without the six strings of a guitar blaring out of the speakers. Guitarist Ed O’ Brien picked or strummed only a few notes on this.

“Everything In Its Right Place” has a keyboard synth lick that works well as a guitar riff.

“Kid A” has a riff that you can re-create on the TonePad app on your iPhone. It’s not a favourite, but the attitude to do something like this is what I like. As Thom Yorke said. “Kid A will be the name of the first human clone.

“The National Anthem” has a dominant bass riff and a drum riff. I don’t hear any guitars, but a lot of electronica. And then a brass band kicks in with a sax playing a melodic lead that would have sounded sweet on guitar. It starts to get more chaotic, but it’s all hanging in. It all still makes sense and sounds good.

And we are only 4 minutes in with another 2 minutes to go.

By the end of it, the song was so weird and it pushed the boundaries of what rock is or should be, it became a favourite.

“How to Disappear Completely” has a nice acoustic strummed riff, with a walking bass line and Yorke’s brilliant vocals. It’s melancholic and sad. Just listen to when Yorke sings “I’m not here”.

“Optimistic” has a strummed clean tone electric with a bit of a dirt in its sound.

“In Limbo” has this progressive arpeggio single note riff which I like.

If you want the Radiohead sound from the previous albums, forget it. The band abandoned that sound and started to experiment. They played the songs live before the album was released and encouraged their fans to bootleg it.

Collective Soul – Blender

“Blender” is the fifth and last album for Atlantic Records. It’s their most pop sounding album and in relation to sales, their least commercial. But it’s one of their most surprising, because it pays homage to their past and it also brings in some newer references.

“Why, Pt. 2” is the best song on the album. It’s got all the pop gloss, but it rocks along. “Boast” wouldn’t be out of place on the “Disciplined Breakdown” album.

“Turn Around” is classic Collective Soul.

“You Speak My Language” divided some of the fan base because of its heaviness and speed rock in the Chorus.

Elton John duets with Ed Roland on “Perfect Day” and it’s one of those iconic ballads from the band.

“After All” continues with the mid-tempo rockers and the album closes with the heavy, “Happiness”.

Overall, another solid effort from the band even though the sales didn’t come. Then again, it was up against some cultural defining albums for sales.

Like “Parachutes” from Coldplay. Or “The Marshall Mathers LP” from Eminem . Or “Hybrid Theory” from Linkin Park.

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

Alexi Laiho 1979 – 2021

Dead at 41.

Alexi Laiho picked up the guitar after seeing the clip for Steve Vai’s “For the Love of God” on MTV. And along with Zakk Wylde, Jake E. Lee, Randy Rhoads, Dimebag, Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, these are the guitarists he looked up to.

I’m not a fan of the extreme vocals but the music always had me interested. Steve Vai on his Twitter tribute to Alexi credits him for introducing a brand of “hi octane, intense Metal at its most brutal and beautiful.”

Laiho and Vai even shared a Guitar World cover together.

Extreme melodic death metal is not the o everyone’s liking so here are a few selections in which the riffs and the lead breaks showcase his talent.

“Punch Me I Bleed” from the “Are You Dead Yet?” album released in 2005. The riffs remind me of the Pantera groove metal and the lead breaks from Alexi showcase his ability.

“Angels Don’t Kill” from the “Hate Crew Deathroll” album is like a traditional metal cut in the music department. But the solo is a must listen.

“Triple Corpse Hammer-blow” is also from the “Hate Crew Deathroll” album and it has a solo section that came from “Over The Mountain”.

“Not My Funeral” from the “Relentless Revkless Forever” album released in 2011 is one my favourite solos. Go to the 3.30 mark to hear it.

To me, he’s basically an 80s guitar hero in the 2000’s and he will be missed.

Check out this ESP Guitars 2 minute short on YouTube. If you haven’t heard his riffs and leads, you will hear em on this video and some cool stories.

Did you notice the style and look of his guitars.

Or this from the EMG YouTube site.

Another guitar hero gone too soon.

Rest In Peace.

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

Evergrey – Eternal Nocturnal

Those lead breaks from Henrik Danhage.

Wow.

So many Guitar Hero moments here, full of melody, emotion and when required, putting the foot to the floor and shredding.

And those tapping licks and legato taps over multiple strings. I’m smashing my guitar right now.

The “Eternal Nocturnal” is that help/support or voice or friend that you need in certain times.

As the lyrics in the Chorus state, it will be the hope when you fall, the shelter when you need a home and in the end it will be there when the time has come.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – Jan 1 to Jan 9

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about the labels and the publishers meeting with newly elected President Trump on Copyright issues under the pretense of helping artists.

We all know that when these organizations meet with government officials it’s for their benefit only and maybe some small change to the artists to keep em quiet.

And based on how all of these investment houses are buying the rights to songs from artists, expect to see a new player in the meetings with government over copyright and its terms.

8 Years ago (2013)

The site was still young and new and I had a few posts in the month of January but none during this period.

But… I’ll cover a bit of history.

Jason Newsted flirted as a band called Newsted and released the underrated “Metal” EP. Interest was high, they played smaller venues and they sold out on the physical CDs for “Metal”.

The plan was for three EPs.

But that got canned and the same year they also released the album “Heavy Metal Music”.

The band was costing Newsted money. He was the investor for the tours and what not. And it was on a tour of Australia that Newsted ended the band for personal reasons.

And Black Veil Brides released the excellent album “Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones” which gave rise to their biggest song. “In The End” currently stands at 99.299 million streams on Spotify.

Check em out.

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

Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Cold Chisel

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”.

“East” is the third studio album by Australian rock band Cold Chisel, released in June 1980 and produced by Mark Opitz.

The album was a massive success in the Australian market and it was the only Cold Chisel album to chart in America via its release on the Elektra label.

They did a 5 week tour in the North American market during this album run and never went back. A certain A&R guy called Tom Zutuat was given an ultimatum from the label, if he wanted to sign Motley Crue he had to let Cold Chisel go.

The band at this stage weren’t a successful recording band although their shows would sell out so the album was a deliberate attempt to write hits but in the way that they write.

The beauty of Cold Chisel is the variation.

Vocalist Jimmy Barnes is the soul, blues rock guy. Pianist and main songwriter, Don Walker is the Springsteen/Dylan storyteller. Ian Moss is the heavy rock guy ala Blackmore from Purple. Drummer Steve Prestwich is the prog rock dude and bassist Phil Small brings the pop rock.

Put it all together and the sounds which come out is Cold Chisel.

“Standing On The Outside”, written by Don Walker kicks of the album in rocking fashion.

“No amount of work’s gonna buy my way to Freedom”

We have been sold the dream that if we work hard enough, we will be somebody. But that’s not the case for everybody. For every person who makes it there are millions who don’t.

The themes of the “working class man struggling financially” would appear on a lot of songs from Chisel and even on songs when the members went solo. Because even though Australia is seen as the “lucky country”, it sure costs a lot to live in it.

“Never Before” is written by Ian Moss and its progressive, a fusion of so many different styles, almost Police like.

“Choirgirl” is a Don Walker cut and he writes about abortion and the rights of a woman to choose, which at the time was part of the national debate.

“Rising Sun” from Jimmy Barnes romps it’s way through the 12 bar blues as he references his brief relationship with his future wife which ended at the time when she went back to Japan, hence the lyric of the rising sun stealing his baby away.

“My Baby” from bassist Phil Small is my favourite. That vocal melody lead played on the guitar by Ian Moss during the intro deserves to be listened to.

The killer cuts continue with “Tomorrow”, which is another Don Walker track about a person who comes out of jail, can’t catch a break trying to make it legit and ends up on the wrong side of the law again.

“Cheap Wine” is a classic in Australia.

Cheap wine and a three-day growth

When you’re on the booze, tidiness and keeping appearances go out the window.

I’m sitting on the beach drinkin’ rocket fuels

Australia is surrounded by beaches and there’s nothing more Australian than going down the beach and having a few.

“Star Hotel” is written about the riot that took place there on the night it was closing up for good.

And the most underrated star of the album is Mark Opitz.

Finally the band had a producer who allowed them to do what they best, which is to play and he wanted to capture that live sound and energy on record. Bob Rock had the same ideals for the “Black” album from Metallica.

The album sounded fantastic on any system or format.

Check it out.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Bob Lefsetz – Tom Werman Interview

Here is the Spotify link.

His first production credit was a co-production on a Ted Nugent album, because he remixed the album with the engineer to make it sound great in radio.

Werman was an A&R guy for six years at Epic. Epic wasn’t big on rock music and the label during the time passed on a few bands that Werman brought to them like Kiss, Rush and Lynyrd Skynyrd but he was allowed to sign Reo Speedwagon.

So Werman was really looking for an artist to deliver a platinum album so he could justify his A&R existence. The Ashboy Dukes just broke up and Nugent was available. He was the artist that Werman wanted and he convinced the label to sign him.

The debut self-titled Ted Nugent album went platinum and suddenly Werman was known as a producer.

Then the Cheap Trick project came along. Werman signed em based on a recommendation by producer Jack Douglas to see em perform live in a packed strip club.

Douglas produced the first Cheap Trick album and Werman did the second one “In Color” as Douglas was busy with Aerosmith.

Werman was focused on getting a pop sound that would translate well on to the radio. That was his thing. Because if the band got radio play, they would sell a lot of records.

He spoke about the Cheap Trick “In Color” album and how the band had a lot of material which is typical of a band in the early stages of a record deal as they’ve had their whole lifetime to amass a catalogue of songs.

He missed out on being involved on the “Budokan” album because he was working with Ted Nugent at the time. And the last album he produced “Dream Police” was put on hold for 8 months because of the good business the “Budokan” album was doing. And then the relationship ended and the band went with George Martin, to release an album that didn’t do great business compared to the Werman albums.

Werman at the time was at CBS and when he asked for a pay raise, he was turned down and he left to work with Elektra.

Krasnow (the Elektra head) wanted to drop Motley Crue, as he saw them as an embarrassment, but then “Shout At The Devil”blew up and that was that.

Werman enjoyed working with Mick Mars, a highly underrated guitar player. He went out for sushi with Nikki Sixx the day after he was pronounced dead. He also said that Nikki produced some nice fiction with “The Heroin Diaries”.

“Tooth And Nail” from Dokken was the other album he did at the time.

Two platinum albums to start off his Elektra career.

He got a call from Doug Morris (the president of Atlantic) to work with Twisted Sister. They had success in Europe with the “You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll” album and Atlantic wanted a new album to be unleashed on the US market.

That album of course is “Stay Hungry”.

But after the album was done and approved, Werman and Snider fell out. And still to this day, they are at odds.

He saw the writing on the wall at the start of the 90s. His production values were not liked by the new breed of bands and getting production gigs with these bands didn’t lead to any success and traction because he was known as the producer of Motley Crue and Poison.

He still gets paid from all the albums he produced. He said the payments were healthy up until 1999 and then the payments went down and kept on going down up to 2009 and since 2010 the royalty payments started to increase and they have been increasing ever since.

Streaming has increased the amount of royalties and he gets paid enough to not care if the labels even skim a bit on the royalty.

He hasn’t done any production since he checked out of the music business but if there was an artist that would have gotten him in the chair, it would have been Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters.

Werman produced records are all over my collection and his production values played a big part in the soundtrack of my youth.

Thank you.

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

John Sykes – Dawning Of A Brand New Day

If the album ever gets released remains to be seen, but what we have here is a 5 minute song of heaviness and melody.

Tony Franklin shared it on Twitter and I clicked on it. Franklin also mentioned that he didn’t play on the recording but has jammed the song with Sykes.

And the riff to kick it off.

Brilliant.

The Chorus riff and melody.

Brilliant.

The lead break is memorable.

That outro riff.

Brilliant.

And the track was recorded four years ago, for the solo album, “Sy-Ops”, which is way overdue but scheduled for release later this year.

The thing with Sykes is his variation.

There are metal songs with big riffs like this track, hard rock songs with big riffs, blues rock songs, sleazy rock songs and of course big guitar ballads.

And in case you are not aware, “Out Alive” and “Gates Of Hell” also got a YouTube release over the last three years.

“Out Alive” captures his Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest influences while “Gates Of Hell” continues his epic songwriting style from “Valley Of The Kings”.

2021 is already better.

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