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

The Record Vault: Dio – Lock Up The Wolves

The band changed. There was no one left except for Ronnie James Dio. 18 year old guitar wiz, Rowan Robertson was on guitars, Jens Johansson on keys, Teddy Cook on bass and Simon Wright on drums who left his AC/DC gig that he held from 1983 to 1989 to join.

Actually Robertson was only 17 when Dio announced to the world that he was the new guitarist in July 1989 after more than 5,000 guitarist submitted audition tapes.

“I saw an item in Kerrang! about Craig Goldie leaving Dio, so I knew they needed a guitarist. I sent in a tape just for the hell of it, you know, not expecting much, but figuring I had nothing to lose.

I was 16, learnt to play guitar in my bedroom by banging around to Bad Company records and the only stage experience I had was with a couple of pub bands that were going nowhere. I thought if I was lucky, maybe I’d get an audition”.
Rowan Robertson

I was surprised to see that Jimmy Bain was out. But he was fired (along with Claude Schnell) in mid-1989 and Vinny Appice was let go two weeks before work began on the album.

The production team also changed a little bit, with Tony Platt in the producers and engineer’s chair along with Ronnie. Suddenly the sound became better thanks to Tony Platt’s engineering experience.

According to guitarist Rowan Robertson and mentioned on Wikipedia, two more songs were written and demoed for the album but left off at the decision of Wendy Dio: “Hell Wouldn’t Take Her” and “The River Between Us”. Maybe she felt the songs were too personal.

In 1990, MTV still ruled.

It was simple. You get a music video in mass rotation and watch the album go Platinum. And the Dio camp tried. They really tried.

The photos of the band had them with a bit of a tease and hairspray in their hair. They spent some decent money on a clip for “Wild One”.

And MTV still avoided Dio, who at 48 years of age was seen as a relic of the past with nothing new to offer. My Dad turned 46 that year and I saw him as old.

Also Dio’s lyrics of jesters, clowns, gypsies and rainbows had run its course for the TV station but not for the fans.

While I ignored the “Dream Evil” album when it came out in 1987, I purchased this one.

It was a tab of “Wild One” in the “Guitar School” magazine which got me interested. I was playing along to the song before I even heard it and the guitar solo was a highlight. And I was like, “man, this dude is of a similar age and he’s smoking on the guitar, I need to get practicing”.

Wild One

Written by Dio and Robertson, it’s a great fast song to kick off the album and announce the new guy in town.

That Pre-Chorus, reminds me so much of Savatage.

And the lead break starts off as a blues-a-metal-thon, almost jazz fusion like. Then it goes into the super-fast tapping section. Another great way to announce the new gun slinger .

Check out the head banging outro. How can you not like it?

Lyrically, it was another “stand your ground and be who you want to be” message, although done in a very Dio way full of riddles.

Born On The Sun

A mixture of “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” and “Holy Diver” but with Rowan Robertson providing a more EVH approach to decorating simple grooves.

Check out the drumming on this.

The song is credited to Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice. It sounds like Appice wrote the drum parts but its Wright who plays em.

You can hide in a circle
It’s a way to survive
Be another number
At least you’d be alive

Great lyrics. So much truth in the words.

Scared to be different or speak our minds because of the resistance and the blowback. Especially these days, with social media and how a point of view can blow up and suddenly we have trolls and haters all spamming our inboxes.

Hey Angel

Written by Dio and Robertson.

The majority of stories I read when Grunge came, was how the lyrics from the Seattle bands were more deeper and darker, focusing on depression and anxiety and rooted in real life. It’s like the Seattle artists were the only artists doing stuff like that. Sort of like how the heirs to Marvin Gaye believe he was so original that they sue everyone to oblivion.

Well, heavy metal and hard rock artists did have songs dealing with isolation, loneliness, depression, conformity and being in dark places after a relationship breakdown.

How do you feel right now?
How does it feel to be alone?

My parents never asked me how I feel. These kind of emotions and questions are frowned upon when your ancestry comes from Eastern Europe.

I also grew up in life being told that angels are these all powerful beings that shine a bright light and can’t be hurt.

I suppose if you feel, you can get hurt. If you bleed, you can die. Or in the words of Schwarzenegger in “Predator”, “if it bleeds, we can kill it”.

The solo is excellent on this.

From just one album, Robertson was given a chance to do an instructional tape. His “Speed Picking” VHS tape is out there on the Net.

Between Two Hearts

Another song written by Dio and Robertson. It starts off with an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “Children Of The Sea”.

Then the slow groove kicks in, it’s almost like a blues dirge.

Check out the way Robertson plays the riffs in the second verse, combine palm muted arpeggios, diads and pedal tones.

Put on your party faces and come along
Join in the big parade
Here comes the camera
Do you look as good as your sister
Smile at the animals
They should be the ones in the cages
Turn the pages

A photo for Instagram before it was even invented.

Or a song about the paparazzi and the price of fame when we lived in a monoculture. These days, we live with many different sources informing us, and a person could be making millions from music and be walking the streets and shopping aisles with us and we wouldn’t even know.

Night Music

This one is written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

So open up your arms
Let the night time in
Say the word and it begins

I love the night. I feel the most inspired then and there was nothing better than listening to music at night, reading the lyrics and singing out aloud, like the lyrics to this song, “Night music, you’re singer and I’m the song”.

Lock Up The Wolves

Another song written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

The sound of a clock ticking. Its normal paced. Then it picks up in speed, almost frantic like. The music is ominous, giving the listener a feeling that time is running out. By the time the distorted guitars kick in, the ticking is relentlessly fast.

And the doom feel of the song reminds me of “Sign Of The Southern Cross”.

In the houses of the holy
To the middle of the mystic sea
At the cradle of the world

Its back to his fantasy places, about wolves, screaming for sanctuary and how there is no back door to heaven, just a front door to hell. I guess we’ll meet again.

Evil On Queen Street

Written by Dio, Robertson and Cook. It’s like a 12 bar blues dirge with another killer solo by Robertson.

Walk On Water

Written by Dio, Robertson and Johansson, it reminds me of “Stand Up And Shout” but while “Stand Up And Shout” screams rebellion, “Walk On Water” tells ya to not even try because you can’t “Walk On Water”.

The lead break is guitar hero worthy.

Twisted

A Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice cut.

And when I told the truth
They were sure it was a lie

What would you do if no one believes you?

When your truth is seen as a lie.

Why Are They Watching Me

A Dio and Robertson cut.

It’s confusing lyrically, about being ready to rock and someone watching.

My Eyes

A Dio, Robertson and Johansson cut.

I’ve seen it from heaven and hell
I’ve seen it from the eyes of a stargazer

Great song titles to drop into a song.

Rock and roll eyes
Tell rock and roll lies
And rock and roll lies
Never end

I guess what happens in rock and roll stays in rock and roll.

“I think obviously, my defining moment is the “Lock Up the Wolves” album, and I feel very fortunate for it. It was a good album…it captured excitement and I played really well on it.”
Rowan Robertson

From memory it’s Robertson’s only album.

As soon as the album was released it was met with mixed reviews. Early sales were positive in the U.S and then the album spiralled down the charts as it disappeared altogether.

But it had longevity in the European markets as Dio’s brand was still big business there. So it was no surprise that the first leg of the tour was in Europe.

And Black Sabbath was a just a phone call away, and when that call came, the “Lock Up The Wolves” band was put on ice and never re-awakened after the Sabbath gig fell apart.

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1976 – Part 2.1: Rush – 2112

Released in 1976.

The album cover captured my attention immediately.

The “Red Star” was easily associated with the Communist governments of the time. Kids these days would have no idea, but in 1976, Eastern Europe and parts of South East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America were under Communist governments or military dictatorships. And these kind of governments like to control everything and everyone.

Coming into 2112, Rush was in a predicament. D

o they stay true to themselves and their art or do they give in to what the label wants?

In the Guitar Legends magazine focusing on Rush, Neal Peart said the following;

“Caress didn’t actually do any worse than the albums before it, at that point, all three had sold about 100,000 copies a piece in the U.S.

But if our record company hadn’t been in such turmoil I don’t think we would have been able to keep our recording contract.

By the end of that year we were unable to pay our crews salary or even our own. Things were dire and we were getting a lot of pressure.

Polygram had written us off before “2112” had come out. We’d seen their financial predictions for 1976 and we weren’t even on the list!”

In the same magazine, Alex Lifeson said the following;

“The Fountain Of Lamneth” on “Caress of Steel” was really our first fill concept song and “2112” was an extension of it.

That was a tough period for Rush because “Caress of Steel” didn’t do that well commercially, but we were really happy with it and wanted to develop that style.

Because there was so much negative feeling from the record company and our management was worried, we came back with full force with “2112”. There was a lot of passion and anger on that record. It was about one person standing up against everybody else”.

History shows that they made the right decision.

And for all the hate “Caress Of Steel” got from the label, it was the album that bridged the first era of Rush albums to “2112”.

The entire Side One is all “2112”. Which is broken up into 7 sections.

I. “Overture”

An instrumental that acts as a summary in which you get to hear all of the melodic pieces which appear on the song.

II. “The Temples of Syrinx”

A sombre melody with the words “And the meek shall inherit the Earth” is sung before the distorted guitars kick in for “The Temples of Syrinx”.

This is a future where individualism and creativity are outlawed and the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temples of Syrinx.

And the way copyright law is going, creativity can be outlawed as every single melody known to the human race has been used and corporations are doing their best to lock them up under ridiculous terms, like life of the creator plus 90 years after death. But they seem to forget that creativity is based on influences.

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you read, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes

The schooling system is designed for conformity, a one size fits millions approach. The schools are factories for degrees later on. You can’t even get an Administration role in a Company without a Uni/College degree. And Masters Degrees are the biggest scams ever. A pure profit making product for the colleges.

III. “Discovery”

A classical acoustic guitar announces the arrival of “Discovery”, found inside a cave and the founder rediscovers the lost art of music.

I can’t wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see its light
Let them all make their own music
The Priests praise my name on this night

Creativity and imagination is progress. Without it, we stagnate.

IV. “Presentation”

This is like Zeppelin Rush which tells the story of how the guitar is presented to the priest of the Temple of Syrinx, who then proceed to destroy it and banish the man who found it.

Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There’s something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

But the Priests didn’t want to know about his ancient relic. It was the downfall of The Elders. The emotion and escapism that comes from listening to music.

Just before the song finishes, they go into the “Temples of Syrinx” riff and Lifeson solo’s over it. Check it out, its guitar hero worthy.

V. “Oracle: The Dream”

A shimmering chorus guitar kicks off the song in which the man who found the guitar dreams of another world in which creativity and individualism is allowed and full of song and laughter.

VI. “Soliloquy”

We are back to the sounds of water running down, like how we heard in “Discovery”. But the lyrical theme is heavy. The man who was filled with joy at finding the guitar, is now in despair at living a life that’s cold and empty. So the only way for him to be with the world in his dream is for his life’s blood to spill over.

Make sure you check out Lifeson’s solo. So bluesy, full of bends and emotion. Brilliant.

VII. “Grand Finale”

Major key chords kick off the “Grand Finale”. And it’s up to the listener to decide what happened.

When I first heard the lines “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation, We have assumed control” I presumed that the “Solar Federation” put down some uprising and assumed control again.

Then I thought it meant that the “Solar Federation” was overthrown by someone and they are alerting all the planets that there is a new government in control.

“A Passage to Bangkok”

It kicks off Side 2.

A great riff to start a song about all the places in the world that grow the best weed. The track names a number of cities and countries, including Bogotá, Acapulco, Morocco, Bangkok and Kathmandu, Nepal.

I just finished watching “The Serpent” on Netflix and how the main character preyed on tourists who came to Bangkok and Kathmandu in the late 60s and 70’s to experience those weed highs, kidnapping them, robbing them and then killing them.

“The Twilight Zone”

I like the harmony guitars to kick off the song.

How good is the music in the section, when Lee sings, “you have entered the twilight zone”?

Use the key, unlock the door
See what your fate might have in store…

I never watched “The Twilight Zone” on TV. I’ve read some short stories on it and in the 80’s a documentary was aired on Australian TV’s about strange phenomena and they called it “The Twilight Zone”.

“Lessons”

It’s Lifeson expressing his love for Led Zeppelin. It’s got hard rock distorted chords and clean tone strummed verses.

“Tears”

This is a great song.

How good are the verse riff arpeggios?

“Something for Nothing”

The acoustic guitar intro gets me interested. And the way Lee and Peart come in, they change the groove completely.

The song is about freewill and decision making, a topic I write about regularly on this blog when I’m putting my point of views out there on certain songs and the lyrical message.

You don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free

In the end “Freedom isn’t free”.

If you don’t believe me, why does it cost so much to live in a free country.

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your own song

The lyrics are prophetic. Rush didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do. They did what they wanted to do and they wrote their own story. In the end, it was a backs against the wall album. If it bombed commercially, they would go down in flames. But it didn’t.

They stuck to their guns, did what was important to them and built a career from it.

3x Platinum in the U.S and 2x Platinum in Canada.

Press Play, relax and “Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation. We have assumed control.”

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Sacred Copyright

I thought I’ll go with a Dio title for this post since I’m on a Dio kick at the moment.

Ahh, Copyright. A right created for creators to have a monopoly on their creations for a limited time, which was hijacked by corporations (Record Labels, Movie Studios and Publishers) and recently Investment funds.

I’m not a fan of “The Jesus and Mary Chain” but like so many artists before them, they are going to court because their label Warner Music doesn’t want to give them back the rights to their debut album, “Psycho Candy” released in 1985, even though the law states that they should.

This got me thinking about John Waite, who also went to court, because UMG wouldn’t give him back his rights.

And he didn’t win, because on the contract he signed, it was his “loan out company” on the paperwork and not him. Loan out companies are set up by the creator to employ themselves. This gives the artists a lot of tax benefits and when organisations make agreements with the artists, it is via their “loan out company”.

Read this post on CopyrightLately.com for an excellent explanation.

So UMG took the position that Waite didn’t grant them the copyrights, his company did and a company is not eligible to terminate a copyright.

Now for the triple smack down.

Are you ready?

The termination clauses in the Copyright Act, only allow natural persons and the heirs to terminate a copyright, so individuals benefit and not corporations. Yet, it is a corporation like Warner Music and UMG who benefit if the copyrights don’t revert back to the creators.

What a mess?

Waite’s tax-planning vehicle has crashed his termination rights and he had no idea that would be the case when he formed his loan out company.

And while creators are fighting to get back their songs, other creators are fighting to get back control of their brand. The estate of Chris Cornell, which is run by Vicky Cornell, has been controlling Soundgarden’s website and social media accounts. The surviving members of Soundgarden have asked previously for access, but they have been denied and they have not been happy about it.

Vicky Cornell sued the remaining members in 2019, accusing them of withholding royalties to force her to hand over recordings that Chris Cornell worked on before his death. And at the start of 2021, she sued them again over money and then offered to buy out the other members so she could control the Soundgarden brand.

But the change of ownership is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Gene Simmons from KISS has become a lobbyist, making his prophetic lyrics in “Cadillac Dreams” come true. Instead of recording new material, he is meeting with members of Congress to get laws passed so streaming services pay them more.

From the lips of Gene Simmons, “most people don’t realize every time you download a song, the songwriter is making minuscule amounts of one penny”. Umm is he talking about downloads or streams. Two totally different things there. And he goes onto a rant that there will be never be another Lennon, etc., but when you live in an ivory tower, you’re so out of touch, you have no idea what is happening and how much money new artists are making.

New Organisations which come from the labels or the publishers are still rooted in the same crappy innovation ideals of those organisations. So when Congress passed a law to create a new arm to match the unpaid royalties to artists, the first thing the new organisation did, called MLC, is nothing.

Their claim portal for artists to log in and search through unmatched songs and claim the ones they own is still not up and running.

Someone should tell Gene, to lobby this corporation to get the Claim Portal up and running.

So potentially, the unpaid royalties will now sit with MLC for at least 5 years and maybe more, before they even get a chance to be distributed.

But in all honesty, this will be a disaster, because there are a lot of conflicts of interest present when it comes to songs. Ex band members will claim songs out of spite, not because they wrote them.

Meanwhile, Gene’s punching bag, YouTube, paid over $4 billion to the labels and publishers over the last year. How much of that found its way back to artists or songwriters remains to be seen?

And the Federal Court of Australia made Clive Palmer pay even more money back to Universal Publishing, for his recreation of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” into the song “Aussies Not Gonna Cop It”, which he then used in all of his campaign videos across the nation. So instead of paying $150K for a 12 month licence to use the proper song, he has ended up paying $1.5 million in damages plus lawyer fees and what not.

What a dickhead?

And on the topic of dickheads, the major record labels (Sony Music, UMG and Warner) along with the music publishing companies are doing their best to own the title.

There hell bent nuclear strategy to go after internet service providers (ISPs) for the actions of a few users, these organisations have found a way to cut people off from the internet based on a mere accusation of copyright infringement.

A recent court decision in the U.S, has given these organisations unprecedented power and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) is doing their best to get this bad decision overturned due to the incorrect instructions the judge had given the jury.

Basically these organisations claim for damages when people use the songs they have the rights for and then they get the courts and the law and the politicians to fight their battles.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the labels, publishers and independent copyright holders have teamed up with the ISP’s to block sites without the need of a court approval.

Each Copyright complaint by a label or TV producer is reviewed by a committee made up of retired judges. Streaming services make up 55% of revenue in Germany and piracy has reduced significantly. However people still seek out P2P services hence the reason why they want this kind of power.

But web-freedom activists are not happy as they believe this kind of power restricts internet freedom. The method here is to attack the services that offer illegal content rather than the users.

As the article in Billboard stated: “In Germany, the legislative environment is heavily weighted against censorship and attacks on internet freedom. Having lived under the Nazi Third Reich and communist East Germany, Germany considers privacy a hard-won freedom.

The power granted to corporations for Copyright Infringements is a form of censorship and for the German people, censorship will never happen again.

Meanwhile Twitch is getting hit with thousands of copyright infringement claims on a daily basis. So the entertainment corporations close down or take down or shake down people and services from trading in pirated works, and then when they use music in their live streamed videos, these same bodies issue infringement claims to take it all down.

Maybe a conversation between Twitch and the entertainment corporations would have resulted in a better outcome.

But that’s too difficult.

Talking, that is.

And remember when Steven Spielberg was trying to destroy streaming services and Netflix in general and he didn’t want Netflix movies nominated for Oscars because the movies that Netflix makes are shown on TV screens. Well Netflix won seven Oscars at the recent Academy Awards and that was more than any other studio.

Well good old Steve knows a good deal, and he just signed up to make movies for Netflix. I guess reality is a slap in the face.

Thank you for your cooperation. A copyright complaint is just around the corner.

And I feel like listening to “2112” from Rush right now.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 19 to July 25

4 Years Ago (2017)

All death is tragic.

David Z, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington passed away. Ivan Moody was in a dark place at the time.

So many people make money from artists, and some make way more than the artists. The vicious cycles that artists are on from labels and management is borderline negligence.

The show must go on but there is no show when there is no artist.

The Jungle Giants is a band that plays a form of pop rock with dance/techno elements. I’m not a huge fan but in 2017 they were an unsigned artists that racked up over 50 million streams on Spotify. Those stats are impressive and a lot more than artists who actually have label deals.

It’s hard work controlling your own destiny. But you have the freedom to decide what path to take.

And Album number 4 just came out.

When is inspiration/influence just that and when is inspiration/influence copying? 

It is possible to borrow without “stealing”. When ideas appear in ones mind, quite often they are unconsciously inspired by a piece of music the artist has heard.

And it’s perfectly okay and very common to take an existing idea and turn it into something new. 

According to manager Barry McKay, Steve Harris stole an idea. I don’t know how you can steal an idea, but hey it happens.

Legal streaming music at the time was hurting.

Streaming companies need to license music from the legacy players for a substantial fee and then pay royalties to these organizations when the songs are listened/viewed.

And these organizations like the labels and publishers keep the bulk of these payments and pay cents to the artists they represent. 

Then they remain silent when Spotify gets sued for having music on their service.

But.

It was these organizations that approved Spotify to license their catalogues.

And I compared music streaming to Netflix who at that time had no problem growing its subscriber base and making profits, however it produces its own content, which earned it over 90 Emmy nominations.

And it’s monthly fees are identical to music subscription services, even though it costs a lot more to create a TV show or a movie than a song/album.

So how is Netflix profiting and Spotify losing?

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Australia.

Corporations and Unions run this country. The Courts have been compromised by money. The mainstream media is all about half-truths and likes. No one reports with any substance or an opinion anymore as they had served whoever paid them the most.

Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show in the world, with Australia leading the way.

Why?

Unless we pay $300 plus for a PAY TV subscription, we couldn’t watch it.

Nine years later nothing much has changed. We’re still a mess. We can’t get our population vaccinated and we have a leader who just looks for the photo opportunity and has best friends who run QANON sites.

I’m an Amazon Prime Video subscriber and due to a deal they have with another PAY TV provider in this country, I couldn’t watch Bosch S7 on Amazon.

So I downloaded it.

Imagine that. I’m a paying legal subscriber and I couldn’t watch a show that the service created on their platform.

Why did guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Alex Skolnick, John Petrucci and Paul Gilbert rise above all the other shredders of the era that came on the scene between 1984 and 1994?

Guitarists like Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe and Vinnie Moore are all great guitarists, however they are still relatively unknowns outside of their guitar instrumental niche market.

Someone like Vinnie Moore played with Alice Cooper and is holding down the fort with UFO. He’s been there since 2003, 18 years. Michael Schenker only did 11, his first stint between 1973 and 78 was only 5 years.

But a lot of people still don’t Moore.

Jon Bon Jovi seemed to be pissing off his fans.

Perseverance is a massive skill. Especially when it comes to life as a musician in an internet era with information overload each day.

And success happens when you contemplate giving up.

Dream Theater almost called it a day, between 1988 and 1991, when months rolled by and no suitable singer appeared.

Quiet Riot during the Randy Rhoads years, couldn’t get a U.S deal. After Randy left to join Ozzy, Kevin Dubrow persevered under his own surname, only to resurrect the Quiet Riot brand after the death of Randy Rhoads and turn it into a Number 1 act.

George Lynch auditioned for Ozzy’s band on two occasions, losing out to Randy Rhoads once and then to Jake E. Lee. One of his earlier bands “The Boyz” had a showcase gig organised for Gene Simmons to attend. Van Halen opened the show and the rest is history. Gene even said to Lynch, to consider changing his name as he will never make it.

Ronnie James Dio spent 18 years paying his dues before finding success with Rainbow in 1976.

How many musicians starting out today, would put in 18 years of service to music?

Don’t chase trends because what is here today will be gone tomorrow.

The Record Labels aren’t worth much if they don’t have acts. And Artists really don’t need a label deal anymore.

Of course it’s more difficult going your own way, however that is the future. If you are successful you will get label interest and a deal that suits you, because without an artist, there is no profit from music for the labels.

But.

The major labels want radio hits so they find artists that are easy to sell and easily expendable.

The Heat” with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy was one of the funniest movies I had seen that year.

I provided my thoughts on the Metallica “Death Magnetic” DVD which included footage on the making of the album. It came with the Coffin Edition of the album.

James Hetfield still rules. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. Bob Rock once said that the problem with “St Anger” was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for “Death Magnetic”.

And they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the “Six Feet Down Under” EP’s part 1 and 2.

When that died down, they orchestrated the “Big 4” shows and the “Orion” festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.

Then they celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. When that died down they released the “Beyond Magnetic” EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut. Then they released “Quebec Magnetic” and at that point in time they were doing the “Through The Never”movie.

So did anyone remember the debacle of “Lulu”?

It was old news, history. It’s like it never existed.

What a difference two years make?

“The House of Gold and Bones” by Stone Sour was becoming a favorite so I posted my review here and a review of a song “The Uncanny Valley” here.

At the time I was reading about how artists deserve to be paid for their creations because they put their blood, sweat and tears into those works.

Once upon a time, artists created music and that Record Labels looked to profit from this relationship with the artists. It didn’t always happen as making money in any occupation is a tough business.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Record Vault: Dio – Sacred Heart

“Sacred Heart” is album number three.

By know Vivian Campbell was an unhappy camper. From his point of view he was promised a larger piece of the pie and that wasn’t forthcoming. Plus he had an issue with the publishing. So it’s no surprise that this is the last album to include Vivian Campbell, who Dio fired midway through the tour, replacing him with Craig Goldy.

Released on August 13, 1985, almost a year after “The Last In Line”, it wasn’t just competing against all the other new releases from other artists, it was competing against the previous two Dio albums. It wasn’t a smart decision from Warner Bros.

The band for the album is the classic line up, known as Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass, Claude Schnell on keyboards and Vinny Appice on drums.

The King Of Rock And Roll

How can you not like this song, fake crowd noise or not?

Campbell’s riffs are excellent to play, Dio’s melodies rock, Bain rumbles and Vinny Appice powers all over this.

Bad boy always on the cover gettin’ the story told

It could have been about anyone in the rock business. By 1985, a lot of bad boys graced the cover of magazines.

He’s got the midnight madness / he’s got a soul
’cause he’s the king of rock and roll / king of rock and roll

I used to keep my own book of rhymes before I realised that a rhyming dictionary existed. Well, Dio albums and most hard rock and metal albums provided plenty of source material.

Sacred Heart

The riff sounds epic on this and the keys from Schnell enhance it. But its Vinny Appice on the drums that turns this song into a powerhouse. The mix is perfect and I’m drawn to the groove of the drums.

Plus the lead break from Campbell is different from his earlier albums, better phrasing.

Oh running into nowhere turning like a wheel and a year becomes a day

Truth right there. Without a plan, the days just slip away.

Whenever you dream you’re holding the key it opens the door to let you be free yeah

Infinite possibilities when you let your imagination run wild. Why do you think mindfulness and meditation is so massive?

Another Lie

Its more blues rock but Campbell decorates a simple blues groove with pedal points and diads and suddenly it sounds like heavy metal.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Children

Does anything else think that “Shot In The Dark” from Ozzy sounds like this?

Anyway, it’s a melodic rock anthem with a killer Campbell lead break.

Rock ‘N’ Roll children alone again
Rock ‘N’ Roll children without a friend but they got rock’n’roll

Damn right.

As much as rock and roll lyrics are about parties, most fans of the music spent a lot of time alone with it, and the music was a form of escapism.

Hungry For Heaven

The solo break from Campbell on this is excellent.

So just hold on
You can make it happen for you
Reach for the stars and you will fly

It’s the same message as in other songs. You are responsible for your success, so what are you waiting for.

Like The Beat Of A Heart

It’s an inferior re-write of “One Night In The City” but still a good listen, especially the outro riff and groove.

There’s a beast that lives inside you and it’s screaming to get out

Just Another Day

Its “King Of Rock And Roll” part 2, and I like it. The riffs are excellent, while Bain and Appice hammer out an energetic foundation.

The guitar arpeggios after the solo.

Fallen Angels

The blues rock riffs on this just don’t get the credit they deserve.

Remember that the evil will rule / it’s waiting outside / bringing’ pain / for you fallen angels

Shoot Shoot

An AC/DC style cut.

Yes you know the feeling all alone your back to the wall
And all the doorways are starting to close in front of you

It’s more of the same that we are responsible for our own journey and that it all starts with us.

The high points on the album are definitely “Sacred Heart”, “King Of Rock And Roll”, “Rock N Roll Children” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

But like all Dio albums there is a little bit of everything in the other songs.

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Joel Hoekstra 13 – Running Games

I was interested to hear this but I didn’t think I would have liked it as much as I did.

It’s excellent.

I am a Russell Allen fan. I knew of Allen long before I heard of Joel Hoekstra. Allen has a voice which can suit power symphonic bands, metal bands, melodic rock bands, hard rock bands, nu-metal bands and blues rock bands.

And I’m also a Jeff Watson fan, so I wasn’t too thrilled with any Night Ranger version without Watson. Then again Watson hasn’t done much being away from the band and I still want to hear new Night Ranger music.

So I still listened and Hoekstra impressed but I felt he was restrained within that band as Blades and Keagy are the alphas.

And with Whitesnake, Coverdale has two great guitarists to write tunes with but they need to comply with what Coverdale desires.

Which means that Hoekstra 13 is the true Joel Hoekstra.

“Running Games” is album number 2 for his Frontiers label.

The musicians for the album are Russell Allen on vocals, Tony Franklin on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards with Jeff Scott Soto doing backing vocals. Yep, you read that right, the great JSS is doing backing vocals.

It feels like the 70s ethos, when you see so many guys from different bands jamming together and releasing music.

I was reading some of the interviews Hoekstra did when the album come out and fuck there are some shit interviewers out there, who just do the simple Wikipedia style of interview without even listening to the album.

But the one at “The Rock Pit” is what an interview is about. The interviewer actually listened to the album, liked it and wanted to know more about it. And you get exactly that.

“Finish Line”

“We Rock” from Dio is merged with “I’ll See The Light Tonight” from Malmsteen for the Intro riff and I’m all in.

And that Chorus. Wow. What a hook!

Make sure to check out the lead break as Hoekstra is doing his eight finger tapping.

“I’m Gonna Lose It”

I like the Intro lead. It reminds me of Thin Lizzy.

And just before the Chorus, there is a little snippet of a riff that gets me thinking of “A Touch Of Madness” from Night Ranger.

The lead break again. Wow.

Over at Glide Magazine, Hoekstra said He came up with the song out at Hook City at the Whitesnake studio.

“Hard To Say Goodbye”

The Chorus feels like a Joe Lynn Turner Rainbow Chorus.

“How Do You”

It’s slower and groovy, more in the vein of Adrenaline Mob in the verses with a Euro classical inspired Chorus.

“Heart Attack”

It is a bluesy groovy cut.

“Fantasy”

It feels like ZZ Top added some Metal to their sound in the Intro, and the verses are massive, Kashmir like.

Their is a keyboard solo and then Hoekstra breaks loose.

“Lonely Days”

What a melodic rock Chorus. I’m a sucker for these.

“Reach For the Sky”

Cliched and overused song title.

In an interview over at The Rock Pit, Hoekstra mentions how he wrote the riff on the Whitesnake Tour Bus. Inspiration strikes all the time.

“Cried Enough For You”

It feels like a Y&T cut from the “Black Tiger” album in the acoustic sections before it moves to an Iron Maiden like old school groove.

“Take What’s Mine”

The fast guitar lead and machine gun riff to start off the song gets me to pay attention, but it’s the verse riff that makes me pick up the guitar and bang my head to.

And there’s another anthemic Chorus.

“Running Games”

It feels like a Toto cut.

“Lay Down Your Love”

It feels like ZZ Top has come to town.

Overall Hoekstra’s songwriting is top level and the performances from the guys are excellent.

Check it out.

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The Record Vault: Dio – The Last In Line

The Vinyl Cover
The Cassette Cover.

Did anyone else think that the Dio logo upside down spelled Devil?

I did.

“The Last In Line” was my first Dio purchase and I played the cassette a lot. There isn’t a song I don’t like on it and if you want an introduction to Dio, then this is the album to sink your teeth into. Vivian’s guitar work also became very influential to me.

To this day, I still have the original cassette.

But I cannot locate the LP and the CD which I purchased much later on. As part of my many house moves I lost a lot of music.

The band is the same as the “Holy Diver” album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass and Vinny Appice on drums.

We Rock

How good is the Intro?

Appice is working away on that snare while Campbell plays the A minor pedal point riff.

And that solo from Vivian Campbell is perfect. It’s fast and melodic and it has a bluesy feel with doublestop bends and pentatonic licks.

The best part is the outro chorus when Vivan is playing the Am pedal point riff and the chords change from Am to F under it via Jimmy Bain whole Dio is ad libbing his vocals and Appice is driving the song home.

You can’t get better at that.

On Spotify it’s got 22 million streams.

The Last In Line

Sitting at 33.2 million Spotify streams.

That fingerpicked intro.

How good is the section when Dio holds the “home” vocal note and the band comes crashing in around him with an epic “Kashmir” like groove.

And the stop start music in the verse so the vocal melody is the centerpiece, goes to show how a strong melody can carry a song.

“Well know for the first time if were evil or divine” is one of the best lines Dio has put to paper.

For so many of us we live a life which we think we’ve done good and when it comes to judgement at the pearly gates, the almighty one might have other views.

Breathless

If the sound of a person being breathless in the intro isn’t enough to get you interested, then that groovy riff that kicks in will do it.

Dio’s strength (apart from his voice and good business sense) was the addition of a young guitarist that resonated with the youth and all the new young shredders who wanted to make their mark in Hard Rock and Metal.

Even though they parted ways bitterly, the three albums Dio did with Vivian set up Dio’s solo career, in the same way the two albums Ozzy did with Randy Rhoads set up Ozzy’s solo career.

Check out Campbell’s solo on this and the snare work from Appice to come out of the solo.

One other thing that I always enjoyed with Dio songs is Dio’s ability to ad lib in the Outro.

I Speed At Night

A speed metal song before speed metal became a thing or a genre. If you don’t believe me, then press play on this song.

If the riff sounds familiar, it should. It’s “Stand Up And Shout” re-imagined.

And that solo again from Vivian. It’s perfect.

One Night In The City

The music is head banging material for a song that introduces a dark child called Johnny, who was promised but seemed to get into trouble and then found some form of love.

Did you get that?

Cool. I’m still confused.

And what about the drum fills from Appice after the solo and into the outro.

Who said drummers are not important?

I can even air play the fills.

Evil Eyes

They promise you treasure if you fly and fly Dio did. It’s a perfect combination of fast blues and metal.

And Campbell again steals the spotlight with his guitar hero solo.

Mystery

It’s in the key of Dm and it moves between major and minor keys throughout like F major in the chorus and D minor in the verses.

The Intro has moments of “Rainbow In The Dark”.

And Vivian is on form again in the guitar solo department.

Eat Your Heart Out

In the key of Em and Vivian is all over this one. From a guitar point of view there is a lot to unpack in the riffs department.

And for the guitar solo, what can I say. Vivian kicks it off with a tapping lick before blazing into some arpeggios and finishing it all off with some pentatonic lines.

It might not be Dio’s most famous song but it’s a guitar players delight.

Egypt (The Chains Are On)

The best track on the album for me and the drumming from Vinnie Appice is excellent under the epic and groovy guitar riff.

The verse riff is basically the feel of “Heaven And Hell” and Dio references his singing style from the same song in the verses.

I love the lyric line, “when the world was milk and honey”. Dio puts it out there that the world was nice and sweet once upon a time and so far removed from the warmongering, greed and ills that came after. For singer well known for introducing the Devil horns salute, his lyrics are influenced by the Bible.

Did I mention that Appice lays down some serious groove?

Well he does. It’s so effective, so simple and fucking frightening.

And in the outro, Vivian plays the intro riff and the Jimmy Bain changes the chords under it, like in “We Rock” and it’s brilliant.

This is a band in form and on top of their game. Vinny Appice on the drums is an unsung hero on this.

For such an influential album in hard rock and heavy metal circles it’s certifications are at platinum for US sales.

By the end of the album I was doing the Devil horns. \::/

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 12 to July 18

4 Years Ago (2017)

When I was growing up there’s like a half a dozen or 10 big giant great bands that are super groups you know. Now it’s like there are thousands of bands. Picking through everything is hard. It’s stressful trying to find all the right music you know.
George Lynch

It’s a good time for an artist to get their product out and streaming has moved distribution further away from the labels. And it pissed em off because their power came from controlling the distribution. Then the millions started coming in from streaming and suddenly their powerful again. And all they did was moan and complain.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was writing about my fandom of Tesseract, who just released the excellent “Altered State”.

And it reminded me of an Australian band called Karnivool.

Tesseract also liked Karnivool as they had a few of the Karnivool songs in the Spotify playlists they created to promote the album.

Trivium was also doing the usual PR interviews about their new upcoming album called “Vengeance Falls”, produced by David Draiman from Disturbed.

And from the interviews, the theme was, “Bigger Melodies, Bigger Hooks, Bigger Riffs.”

And in 2021, I can say that the album proved just that, giving us the concert favorite “Strife” with its Judas Priest “Sentinel” Intro.

And the lyrics from Dave Mustaine seemed prophetic to me during this period.

I was questioning why artists would spend a lot of time putting together 12 tracks just to sell them as a packages for $10. It’s an old business model. In 2021, that business model is 55 plus years old.

I can’t recall a lot of companies doing the exact same thing they did 55 years ago and surviving.

But it looks like the album won’t go away anytime soon.

When Zoltan Bathory was putting together a new band in 2004, his vision was to bring metal back to the masses.

And I think he’s done that. Every FFDP album has a certification. It’s because of the songs, which Bathory said, a song needs to be there for anything else to be added.

And I think my final douche post was written and I was asking the question if having Portnoy in your band is a good thing or a bad thing due to the many projects.

As James Hetfield once said that he is anti-side projects because it dilutes the quality of the main product.

And in the end it is quality that the people want.

I was trying to be a sociologist with the post, “The Old Rock Star Is Dead, It’s Time To Create A New Rock Star”,

You don’t want to be an artist that becomes who others want them to be. It’s okay to not be liked by everybody.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Two Fires

“I’d been caught between two fires for a long time. One was the inferno that I had built with my success and addictions. The other was the fire that burned for my family”

It’s how Chapter 33 called “out of control like a bushfire” started from the “Working Class Man” book.

“Two Fires” is his fourth studio album released in 1990 and his first United States release for Atlantic Records.

This was the last proper attempt to break Barnes to the U.S market, as previous label partnerships with Elektra and Geffen for the earlier records fell apart due to various reasons.

It was also the first step away from the AOR sounding “Freight Train Heart”. Most of the song writing credits this time are shared by the band and unknown writers instead of Desmond Child, Jonathan Cain and Diane Warren.

“Lay Down Your Guns”

The album gave Barnesy a chance to work with some great players like Brian Setzer from The Stray Cats who plays guitar on this.

A sinister crime noir “Peter Gunn” style riff kicks it off. The song is written by Jimmy Barnes and Rick Nowels.

Nowels was still in his early days of becoming a huge songwriter. His credits now include Adele, Lana Del Rey and many more. Just go to his Wikipedia page.

Lay down your guns and surrender

“Let’s Make It Last All Night”

Very Foreigner sounding, the Chorus is massive as you would expect from a song written by Barnes, Diane Warren and Desmond Child.

It was also a hit in Australia and it’s a staple of his live show.

Let’s make it last all night
This could be the last time I make love to you

“Little Darling”

A Barnes composition with Setzer on guitar again bringing some rockabilly to a soul rock tune.

Well I get to your house
Like the rest of the band
But somehow these things don’t always turn out as planned
You called me a cab and yeah I walked out that door

Barnesy talks about this event in his book. he thought he messed up his chance with his future wife.

“Love Is Enough”

It’s got a feel like “Every Breath You Take” in the verses, just more rockier.

“Hardline”

It’s a hard rock track and one of the best on the album.

Well it’s late at night something just ain’t right
I can tell by the look in your eye
You don’t say two words
You got a stare that burns
It’s gonna be a long long night

“One of a Kind”

Another rocker with hard rock lyrics.

Tight skirts, like a flirt
She don’t stop till it starts to hurt
She’s sweet, what a treat
Got to get her into my back seat

Mmmm. Flirt with skirt with hurt and sweet with treat and backseat. Overused terms but I would not have it any other way.

“Sister Mercy”

Cause a woman’s got the power
To take control of me
Well she can wrap me round her finger
And make a damn fool of me

The blues songs from the 1930s had lyrics like this. That’s how much staying power the blues medium had.

“When Your Love is Gone”

A great ballad. The sound is dated as it uses a lot of 80s sounding midis.

Well, I missed all the signs, never read between lines

And the Barnesy kids make an appearance in the outro.

“Between Two Fires”

A track written by Barnes and Holly Knight.

As you would expect, it’s anthemic and melodic rock.

The Intro and verses riff remind me of “Rocking In The Free World”. And the Chorus soars.

Caught between two fires
Losing control since I first met you

“Fade to Black”

This is a great rock song. Forgotten behind the hits.

When day fades to black
I won’t look back, of that I’m certain

When you just want to escape the rat race for the night.

I wanna get of this one way street
Don’t want to be among the faceless

“Hold On”

It sounds like a track from “Out Of This World” by Europe. With a bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.

Like most albums of the time, the labels held the power, so they made artists write and write and write.

Barnes wrote over 30 tracks for the album with a lot of em still unreleased and some as B-sides to the singles.

And the fans rallied behind him once again, sending the album to number 1 on two separate occasions and making it 6x Platinum.

And that elusive break through into the US market still remained elusive.

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Durbin – The Beast Awakens

James Durbin’s covers of Judas Priest on American Idol got me interested. The YouTube videos got some traction here in Australia. His debut album released in 2011, “Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster” rocked hard and I was a fan. “Celebrate” in 2014, lost me as it went way to poppy.

Then he hooked up (surprisingly) with Quiet Riot and he made me a fan again with the very underrated and forgotten “Road Rage” album released in 2018. “Space Cowboys” came out a year later but shit was going down in the Quiet Riot camp, as Durbin left the band before the album was released and drummer Frankie Banali was fighting for his life but we didn’t know it at that point in time.

And here we are with Durbin.

Joining James Durbin who does all vocals and guitars, is Mike Vanderhule on drums and Barry Sparks on bass. And from what I have read, different guitarists appear for the lead breaks.

The album came out in February, 2021 on Frontiers.

The Prince Of Metal

A perfect title to introduce his “Metal” album.

It’s like “Phantom Of The Opera” from Iron Maiden in the first few minutes and I’m all in.

James Durbin is killing it vocally and the guitar lead is also excellent. After the solo there is this slower “Heaven And Hell” groove and I’m banging my head to it.

The prophecy says / Raise Thy Horns / Bang Thy Heads / The Prince Of Metal

A QR reference. Perfect.

Kings Before You

Phil Demmel and Fozzy guest on this very Savatage sounding track, ala “Edge Of Thorns” in the verses.

I’ve always enjoyed Demmel’s playing in Machine Head and he delivers another guitar hero lead on this.

From the sky descends the wizard – As he spreads his hands apart / Manifesting right before me – Holding out the sacred heart

A Dio reference.

Into The Flames

It feels like it’s inspired by “Dance Macabre” from Ghost BC and I like it. Then again the riff is an overused riff from the 80s.

If anything the embryo of that riff can be traced back to “Don’t Fear The Reaper” from Blue Oyster Cult.

The Chorus is anthemic.

Now break the chains / Release the spell that you are under / This darkness will pass & give way to the light

The Sacred Mountain

It’s inspired by Dio and Sabbath’s “Heaven And Hell”. Durbin, Sparks and Vanderhule are firing on all cylinders here.

The vocal melody from Durbin is memorable and the guitar lead is fast and excellent.

The Beast Awakens

Great title track. More Metallica and Judas Priest like.

Killer vocals and killer leads.

Demons drawing nearer / Is your life forsaken / Time to face your fears / For The Beast Awakens

Evil Eye

Malmsteen has a song with this title.

Great riffs and the lead break is guitar hero worthy.

I’ll walk through hell alone & swear as long as I’m still breathing / I’ll live to overthrow the hellion & blind the Evil Eye

A Judas Priest and Malmsteen reference.

Necromancer

A power metal cut.

Riders On The Wind

One of my favorites, buried deep in the album.

It’s got Dio and “Heaven And Hell” influences all over it and I’m all in.

Check out the lead break as well.

Riders On The Wind / Searching for the sacred night

Calling Out For Midnight

It’s speed rock, Saxon like with a typical Durbin anthemic chorus.

Battle Cry

After the supercharged tracks, we get a slower tempo track, but don’t call it a power ballad. Because it’s not.

And the lead break is so Gilmour like with a bit of Michael Schenker added for spice.

By The Horns

It’s almost Megadeth like, a more rockier version of “Symphony Of Destruction”.

Rise To Valhalla

The closer and a cut for all those power metallers.

I’m ready to ride out and fight for Durbin.

Great lead playing and harmonies.

Also the bass playing from Barry Sparks is excellent on this song and throughout the album.

Durbin possesses a great vocal range and his prowess on the guitar is evident on this album. As a songwriter, all songs are written by Durbin.

If this is his first entry into the realms of Metal, then I will eagerly await his next.

Check it out.

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