Music, My Stories

Going Out

I asked my kids why they always stay home when they are not doing sports. And their answer was interesting. The older one wanted to relax, while the middle one and the younger one said they don’t need to go out, because everything they want, they have at home.

If they want to listen to music, I have a large CD/Vinyl collection, plus I pay for a family Spotify account, plus they have YouTube and I also have a large mp3 collection as well.

If they want to watch movies, I have a pretty decent DVD/Blu-ray collection, plus I pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

If they want to watch sport, I have a football channel subscription. If they want to read, I also have a decent book collection as I enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction writings.

Basically their entertainment needs are met.

And if those things don’t entertain them, they pick up the guitar and play it or the keyboard.

And if those things don’t tickle their interest they have their PS4 and online gaming.

And if all of these things don’t amuse them, they have their iPhones or iPads and their social media accounts.

Phew, I had to leave the house and go out to do any of these things once upon a time, like to buy a record, watch a concert, borrow a book from a library or a video from a video shop or find friends in the street to play a board game with and to get a job to purchase a guitar.

And at the same time, I saw a post over at Seth Godin’s website, called “Break The Lecture” in which he mentioned that “in 1805, if you listened to music, you heard it live. Every time. Today, perhaps 1% of all the music we hear is live, if that.”  And he compared that to  a lecture for school or work, and how you had to hear it live in 1805 and its still true today, which he found strange. Why didn’t the lecture move over to digital.

And it’s right, to listen to music, a person had to leave their home. Then came radio and television and home entertainment stereo systems that played vinyl, then cassettes, then CDs, then they became docking stations, then Bluetooth stations and the focus shifted from massive speakers to expensive headphones.

And who knows what’s next.

Microchips in our ears to capture soundwaves and Bluetooth waves. Suddenly we will all be like superheroes with advanced hearing, capturing concerts from miles away in our homes. Oh wait, that’s radio.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Arc

No artist is immune from the career arc, where you’re hot and then you’re not. Its happened to a lot of artists before in the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s and even more so in today’s internet world, where an artist can release something great and it can remain ignored in the marketplace.

Remember Motley Crue who sold out arenas in the 80s, then half filled theaters in the 90s and they came back in the early 2000s to sold out arenas again then went away and are now coming back again.

Remember Aerosmith.

A huge band in the 70s, disappeared towards the end of that era and it wasn’t until 1987 that they became relevant again. And that relevance kept on rising until the late 90s and suddenly they weren’t as hot as before.

Remember Iron Maiden. Sold out arenas in the 80s and then weren’t as hot after Bruce left, but took up the momentum again when he returned.

And there are many more who were hot, then not hot and then hot again, but bands normally break up when their career is not as hot as it was in the past like Twisted Sister or Skid Row. Twisted did reform and became hot again, while Skid Row refuse to kiss and make up.

And artists who have those royalties from all those old records can go on the road based on that music.

But some artists are even fucking this up with ticketing bundles and scalping their own tickets.

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Music, My Stories

Metal And Streaming

What does a metal head and a rocker need to do to play the music game, especially when streaming is dominated by hip-hop/pop?

Metal heads are not 100% into streaming. But a few years back Spotify shocked the world when it said that metal is most loved genre.

But metal doesn’t even exist when it comes to the weekly streaming charts Which are dominated by dance and hip hop tracks. But, when you combine the numbers from the different metal acts, metal music rules streaming because of fan loyalty.

Turns out, that when Spotify analysed the number of streams divided by the number of listeners per artist, the Metal genre is way ahead of hip-hop, country and even rock. It basically means that metal fans listen to their favourite artist over and over and over and over again, until we overdose on their music, while fans of other genre’s hop and pop all over the place.

And metal music still moves vinyl and CD’s, especially deluxe packages or limited edition packages. But the biggest thing that no one picks up is the regeneration of metals fan base. People who are not involved in the metal lifestyle believe it is an aging fan base, but that is so far removed from the truth. It is a fan base that regenerates with each generation and it keeps on growing.

And if you’re in the metal game and you have a small but loyal fan base, then there’s absolutely no reason to sign with a major label. And if you need management, make sure you still own your tracks and pay management a percentage.

And metal acts sell tickets. They may not be big on the radio or streaming, but they’ve got live audiences, and that’s where the money is.

And metal music is going through another re-invention. There is a modern version of the old sound and there are artists who were around when the old sound was the new sound. Regardless, while metal music is not mainstream, it percolates, waiting for the time to rise up.

Like embracing streaming.

As mentioned above, it’s the main genre with the most loyal listeners.

In addition, streaming has removed the costly barriers to acquiring music. Prospective new fans can instantly access the whole history of metal music. And the metal head consumer decides what is popular to them. It’s a beautiful utopian democracy. But metal purists will point out that you don’t own the music you pay Spotify for and how you are basically leasing it. Sound purists will argue the low sound quality of streaming music. But in the end, the 320kbps setting will satisfy 99% of people.

And based on our listening habits, it satisfies us a lot of times.

Streaming Up Your Arse…

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

2019 – Part 1

A few years ago I stopped doing albums of the year lists and started doing “songs released that year lists”, along with the yearly playlist which Spotify generates for the songs I listened to in the year. These two lists (my lists and the Spotify list) are more precise for what is hot and what is cold in my life in 2019.

And those Spotify end of year lists always surprise me, because even though I didn’t think I listened to certain artists that many times, they still come up. Hey, who am I to argue with the AI counting and tracking my listening habits.

So here we go, here is the Part 1 list of my favourite songs, released this year (except for a few songs released last year that I really got into this year).

The whole playlist is here.

I Am Fuel
Panoptical
Sons Of War
The End Will Begin Again
From Days Of Jupiter

Yep, this album “Panoptical” came out last year, but I dug these songs so much that I kept listening to em this year as well.

And I have written about Days Of Jupiter before, another band from Sweden who is playing a brand of heavy rock which I like.

And I’m still confused as to why “New Awakening” their 2017 release is not on Spotify Australia.

Promised Land
Revolution In Black
We Are Here
Faith In Life
Homes In The Sky
Whats it To Ya!
Raise Our Voice
The World We Live In
From Free Spirits Rising

“Across the world we have grown up knowing, what it means to have terror touch our lives” …from “Raise Our Voice”.

“Our weapons are the way we choose to live, freedom of thought, freedom to love” …from “Raise Our Voice”.

From Australia, the themes of the songs got me interested and there is a lot of guitar in the songs and there is no album release, just a song a month and a very garage sound which reminds me of the 80s albums before MTV required each band to have polished harmony vocals and guitars all sounding sterile and the same.

“Promised Land” and “Faith In Life” deal with enjoying your only life, it’s here, it’s now and you are living in the promised land which you have created for yourself.

“I believe in, living the right way, I believe in, having a say” …from “Promised Land”

“We are here to right the wrongs, we are here to throw back the stones” …from “We Are Here”

“What’s It To Ya!”, “We Are Here”, “Raise Our Voice” and “Revolution In Black” are like the protest songs, about standing up for yourself and using your voice to speak up and try to make change happen.

“What’s It To Ya!” if I like my music loud, and “What’s it to Ya!” if I live my life proud”.

“The World We Live In” just sums up society, and how we like to fill our cups and look the other way.

“Freedom comes, when you have nothing left to lose” …from “Revolution In Black”

Crazy – Acoustic
How You Like Me Now
Hard And Loud
Paranoid
Adrenaline
Light Of The Moon
Devil With Angel Eyes
Be Original
From Royal Bliss

From the self-titled album.

The modern rock sound which combines elements of the 80’s with the Shinedown/Sixx AM style of rock chucked in, really hooked me in, and I became a fan instantly.

When I googled the band name, I found out they are from the US, have been around since 1997, had a major label deal once upon a time and that this self-titled album is number 10.

And the funniest part of their history is that, vocalist Neal Middleton audition for the second season of “The Voice”, but no judge turned their chairs, so he was eliminated. However the eventual winner of “The Voice”, a person the judges felt they needed to turn their chairs for, has more or less disappeared from the music scene, while Royal Bliss and Matt are still at it, releasing albums frequently.

You can’t keep a good rock and roller down. \::/

Never Surrender
West Bound

It came up on a release radar, and the “give it what you got” message with its arena rock chorus and hard rock guitar riffs got me interested.

So I looked em up and Blabbermouth tells me it’s a rock band on Frontiers featuring vocalist Chas West and guitarist/producer Roy Z. And I was interested because Roy Z did a few albums with Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford that I enjoyed.

The song “Never Surrender” is about going through struggles in life and never giving up on your dreams as the tough times can help you define your true character.

Bringin On The Heartbreak
From Matt Nathanson

Matt Nathanson released an acoustic Def Leppard covers album called “Pyromattia” last year. I saw it on a fellow bloggers EOY list for 2018 and I was interested. I checked it out and loved this cover version of one my favourite Def Leppard songs.

Stalfagel featuring Alissa White-Gluz
You Aquiver
Bleeder Despoiler
The Nurturing Glance
The Ageless Whisper
From Soilwork

To me “Verkligheten” (the Swedish word for “Reality”) is Soilwork’s best album. A combination of their aggressive, abrasive and melodic sides. It’s a metal rock album.

Plus, I am a fan of the work that Bjorn Strid and guitarist David Andersson do with Soliwork and The Night Flight Orchestra.

Live Or Die
Shame
From Reach

The album “The Great Divine” came out last year but I really got into these songs in 2019.

Again, it was an EOY list from a fellow blogger that got me interested to check out this release.

And “Live Or Die” with its Muse like vibe resonated straight away, especially that soaring Chorus vocal melody.

The Ending
Problems
From Papa Roach

“Who Do You Trust?” is a weird album for me to digest.

It’s not one of my favourites from Papa Roach but it’s not a bad album either.

Just weird at this point in time and over the last few albums there has been a shift in the sound to the current popular rock train sound.

“The Atlantic” Album
From Evergrey

What can I say?

Evergrey delivers. I have already written my review on this album here.  

And Tom Englund is keeping himself busy with various projects, like his vocalist stint with Redemption and now a melancholy soundtrack like project called “Silent Skies

Check out the song “Horizons”.

You will not be disappointed.

Part 2 coming up.

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

The Record Vault – Bon Jovi LPs

I more or less have these same albums on CD.

Bon Jovi

The debut album which gave us “Runaway” and “She Don’t Know Me” along with some ball squeezing falsettos from JBJ.

But my favourite songs on the album are “Shot Through The Heart” which I have written about before and “Burning For Love” which I have also written about before.

7800 Degrees Fahrenheit

It’s the temperature to melt a rock and its virtually ignored in the canon of Bon Jovi, sort of like how all of the Star Wars books pre Disney got taken out of the canon timeline.

It’s the album before “Slippery When Wet” and it’s a melodic rock gem to me.

Songs like “The Price Of Love”, “Only Lonely”, “To The Fire” and “Always Run To You” bring the melody and tracks like “In And Out Of Love”, “Tokyo Road”, “King Of The Mountain”, “Secret Dreams” and “The Hardest Part Is The Night” bring the rock. The only weak track is “Silent Night”.

And I did have this album on tape, however the tape got mangled by the cassette deck, which was a risk “tape owners” faced. I didn’t rebuy it on cassette, I just got a blank tape and dubbed it off a friend (without “Silent Night”) along with “Under Lock And Key” from Dokken.

Slippery When Wet

Coming into the album, the band was a million dollars in debt to the label (bizarre, but hey, label creative accounting is bizarre) and Jon Bon Jovi along with Richie Sambora wanted to write songs for other artists, sort of like how Bryan Adams was writing songs for other artists. But the songs Jovi and Sambora wrote with Desmond Child, ended up as keepers.

And if you want the low down, I’ve already written numerous stories about Bon Jovi during this period here.

Live On Tour

A record label “LIMITED EDITION” release (that would cost the label nothing, but they would still charge the band for it) to capitalise on the sales success of “Slippery When Wet”.

And fans purchased it, as we believed we needed it.

This one hit the streets in Australia, just before they hit our shores for their Beatles like reception with thousands of fans outside their hotel, singing their songs and going nuts.

New Jersey

Like “Slippery When Wet” you can get the various posts here.

Bad Medicine – 7 inch single

You take away the synth sound and add a honky tonk piano sound and the song could have come from a Rolling Stones or Bad Company album.

Jon Bon Jovi – Young Guns II Soundtrack

“You hoo, I can make you famous.”

JBJ caught everyone by surprise with this release and the immediate success which followed on the back of “Blaze Of Glory”.  

But my favourite songs on this album is the blues ballad rock of “Santa Fe” and the Pink Floyd style intro of “Justice In The Barrel” before it morphs into a rock song.

Bon Jovi Tour Book for Keep The Faith

The show was excellent, a band in great form and very jam orientated. Each song had an extended outro solo or an extended interlude sing-a-long.

Plus they played “Dry County” in its entirety.

Next up is my CD collection.

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Soaked – Evergrey

A vocal line, three heavily distorted palm-muted chords and then the next vocal line.

An intro which gets your attention from the outset.

My chest is open
My heart’s on the ground
My bare feet soaked in my blood
As I leave you without a sound

When you enter the depths of a relationship (friends, family or lover) argument, there is no winner, just a lot of bad blood. And you might smile and pretend that everything will be okay when you make up, the truth is, nothing is the same.

There will always be the words said, and the hurt that came with them. Each make up is a reset and a recalibration.

No one to reach for
Even though I stretched too far

It’s an empty feeling, when you are in the depths of loneliness and your thoughts are getting the better of you.

No one sky to warm me up

There are days like this, when you don’t want to get out of bed and face the different situations the day has in store for you or to see the people you need to see.

As darkness clouds the blue

The darkness of the mind and the thoughts that live there, the thoughts that you are scared to confront or seek help for.

I’m leaving
I couldn’t live with the shame
No more denying
I’ve stopped the search for blame

Leaving and making the choice to leave, is the most difficult decision a person can make. And once it is made, nothing can stop it.

Even at the basic level of leaving a job, a home or a school. Once the decision is made, it’s made. There is nothing that can stop you.

Twenty-seven years of falling
Twenty-seven winters slave
Twenty-seven years of dreaming
And this is all the strength life gave
Twenty-seven summers weaker
And the autumn’s just the same
Twenty-seven years…

When I first heard the song, I associated the 27 years to the years given to a relationship. But then I read an interview and this is what Tom Englund had to say about it;

SOAKED is about a friend of mine who killed himself.
Tom Englund

And suddenly all of my interpretations and meanings took on a different light. And 27 is in that zone which the media reports so frequently when celebrities take their lives. It’s the zone of having lived long enough to decide if their life is worth it.

Because from young, people are conditioned to believe that life is an upward trajectory. And when it doesn’t pan out like that, with more lows and disappointments than highs, well….

And if you’d ask then I’d deny that
I didn’t have the strength to fight that drowning weakness
And I buried all signs to cover what I feel underneath
The hollow remains of me

You basically give up. You portray one side of yourself to people and another side, within the four walls of your room. Even if people asked “are you okay?”, you would smile and say “yes”.

And the outro solo from Henrik is impressive in its melodicism.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

The Pirate Vault #6

Electric Nights Mix Tape

Before playlists became an iTunes sensation, people who grew up before the internet called em “Mix Tapes”. One thing I enjoy is listening to different artists when I am cruising, and this is just one of those kind of mix tapes.

And I have no idea why I called it “Electric Nights”. It feels like a pretty lame title.

I also try to sequence my playlists/mix tapes like how I would like an album to be sequenced. My rough guide is;

  • TRACK 1 – The Killer Opening Track with Serious Riffage
  • TRACK 2 – The Fun Track
  • TRACK 3 – The Meant To Be “Big Hit” Track
  • TRACK 4 – The “Ballad Song” or “Experimental Song” or “We Dont Know What to Do With” Song
  • TRACK 5 – The Killer Side 1 Closer
  • TRACK 6 – The Killer Side 2 Opening Track
  • TRACK 7 – The Song That Will Not Be Played Live
  • TRACK 8 – The Cover Song or The We Are Running Out Of Ideas Song or The Melodic Rock Song We Are Not Sure Our Fans Will Like
  • TRACK 9 – The We Ran Out Of Time Song
  • TRACK 10 – The Killer Speed Metal Closer or The Killer Epic Power Ballad Closer
  • TRACK 11 – The Bonus Track

SIDE A

    Black Hearted Woman – Blue Murder

John Sykes brings the riffage to kick off the imaginary album with the killer opening track.

    Jet City Woman – Queensryche

Then Eddie Jackson brings the bass for track number 2 and we have lift off.

  • Fantasy – Project Driver

The supergroup project of Tony MacAlpine, Tommy Aldridge, Rob Rock, Rudi Sarzo bring the melodic rock for the track which was meant to be the big hit on the album.

  • Had Enough – Tesla

And those Sacramento rockers bring the bar room brawls with our experimental song.

  • You’re All I Need – The Scream

John Corabi and his Scream buddies bring the ballad.

    Hold The Line – Toto

I used to cover this song in bands and to this day, I can’t turn it off whenever it comes on. Steve Lukather decorates the songs tastily with power chords and melodic leads.

  • Tell Me Why – The Scream

A blues rock track with Corabi showing his vocal chops.

  • I Can See It In Your Eyes – Project Driver

Another melodic rock gem from this supergroup.

  • Freedom Slaves – Tesla

The intro of the bass and the military style marching beat is enough.

  • Nobody Rides For Free – Ratt

The palm muted guitars with the bass and drums building. A perfect closer for the perfect imaginary album.

SIDE B

  • Bad Boys – Whitesnake

And another John Sykes cut to bring the riffage.

  • Look What The Cat Dragged In – Poison

Shoot me but I dig the main riff from CC DeVille in this song.

  • For A Million Years – Lynch Mob

One of my favourite cuts from “Wicked Sensation” with Lynch riffing and rolling, while Oni Logan delivers a stellar vocal performance.

  • This Time – Y&T

I always enjoyed the ballads.

  • The Morning After – Ratt

The riffage from the real Ratt and Roller, Robin Crosby cements this song.

  • Temptation – Y&T

Harmony guitars, a melodic rock chorus and Meniketti’s brilliant voice.

  • You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again – Whitesnake

At this point, the imaginary album needed to be picked up with some serious riffage, so off to John Sykes I went.

  • Dust In The Wind – Kansas

One of my favourite acoustic pieces.

  • Too Late To Say Goodbye – Richard Marx

Marx is a rocker to me, and when he rocks, he does a good job.

  • Run For Your Life – Twisted Sister

One of my favourites from “Under The Blade”.

  • Lightning Strikes Again – Dokken

And we close off the album with some serious riffage from George Lynch and Don Dokken screaming, Lightningggggggg, Lightning strikes again.

Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind and Eric Clapton/Metallica/Maiden Mix

Yeah what a tape.

An awesome Maiden album (which I have already written about in my 1984 year posts, plus will revisit when I get to my Record Vault collection of Iron Maiden), along with some Clapton songs from various albums, plus some live Metallica and Maiden stuff which would have appeared on B sides of CD singles.

Magellan – Hour Of Restoration and Impending Ascension

When I look at the song titles, I cannot even remember a lick or a word or a vocal melody. But once upon a time, it felt important to copy this from my cousin.

Aerosmith – Get A Grip

My mate, Mofartin had it, and I copied it and it served its purpose at the time, until I purchased the CD which I have covered in my Aerosmith Record Vault post.

Bad News

One of the best albums from the worst ever Rock and Roll band that ever was. Spinal Tap has nothing on these guys…

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