A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – One Live Night

What do you do when you want to do an “unplugged” album but MTV doesn’t care for you?

In Dokken’s case, it’s simple.

Do a few unplugged shows, record em and release it. Now this CD was originally released for the Japanese market. It was successful there and it got an international release in 1995.

My CD version is a double and it was released in 1999 in Australia with the album “Shadowlife” attached to it.

But this review will be solely for the “One Live Night” album. “Shadowlife” is up next.

In the CD booklet, you open it up and see the cover to the Shadowlife album and lyrics to the live Album. It’s bizarre to say the least and I already had the “Shadowlife” album purchased separately.

Now it’s not all unplugged as Lynch does plug in for his solos.

Into the Fire

No one in the audience had any idea that the opening song was “Into The Fire” based on the opening strummed chords.

But when the arpeggios started, it was recognizable and the audience was on board.

I wasn’t sold on the plugged in lead break. I wanted Lynch to recreate a lead suitable for an unplugged setting.

“Who would have thought?”, said Don Dokken at the end of the song.

Yes, who would have thought.

Unchain The Night

Great song all round.

The Intro is excellent and I like the sinister acoustic verse riff.

But…

The electric leads over the verse riff detract instead of enhancing.

How powerful does the Chorus sound in this setting?

And the outro.

They are strumming Em to D to C and back to D and the vocal melody is hooky. The electric guitar comes in for the outro lead and it works. It’s restrained, but I still would have preferred an acoustic lead.

The Maze

Don introduces this song as one that Mr John Kalodner selected. For those that don’t know, Kalodner knew how to spot a hit.

But the 90s era was a different beast to the 80s era and a hit was harder to find especially when every promotion avenue ignored bands like Dokken.

Nothing Left To Say

Like the album version and Lynch delivers an acoustic lead like the album.

Perfect.

From The Beginning

The ELP cover works well here.

Tooth And Nail

They’ve rearranged it into a blues rock tune, almost Bad Company like with Wild Mick Brown on vocals who sounds like Jon Oliva from Savatage.

And it works.

But… why the lyric lead. An acoustic lead would have served this rendition well.

Just Got Lucky

You get to hear how poppy the Chorus vocal melody is in this setting.

I Will Remember

An instrumental from Lynch’s solo album “Sacred Groove”. It’s like a ballad with a lot of melodies and some super fast shred. A nice intermission.

Alone Again

How do you get the wall of electric sounds to sound so serene and haunting without losing the essence of the song?

They got it right on this one.

I like how the piano is the dominant instrument this time around. When you go unplugged, you need to be creative.

In My Dreams

This song works in any setting. The melodies are that anthemic it doesn’t matter if there distortion or acoustics.

Nowhere Man

I would have preferred a few Dokken cuts but everyone was trying to see if they could have a hit like Tesla and “Signs”.

It’s Not Love

It’s got that blues rock 70s vibe in the Intro. And the crowd has no idea the song title.

Then someone (I think its Mick Brown) yells 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the riff starts.

A perfect closer.

And no songs from “Back For The Attack” are on it. I guess they have their reasons.

This is the sound of Dokken fighting tooth and nail to stay alive in a hostile market place.

Crank it.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Dysfunctional

In 1992, three years prior to the release of “Dysfunctional”, George Lynch was still appearing in the Guitar mags I purchased like Guitar World, Guitar One and Guitar School.

But in 1995, he was nowhere to be seen. The album came out and there was nothing.

That’s how quickly the mags replaced Mr Scary with the dudes from Counting Crows, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Dave Matthews Band, Oasis, Rage Against The Machine and others.

I have a motto in life. To take care of what brings in my bread and butter. Anything else that I would want to do after, will be a spin-off from that.

And it looks like the guys in Dokken had a similar motto. Let’s focus on what brings in our bread and butter first.

But before we get to the album, you need to understand these guys.

The “Dysfunctional” album was pretty much written before George Lynch joined the project. Even George Lynch stated the same in an interview on the Guitar International website.

“Most of this record, “Dysfunctional”, was finished by the time I got there. In fact, everything but the guitar parts were pretty much done.

Everybody in management and in the band kept feeding me these horror stories of who they would get to replace me if I didn’t come back – you can guess the names.

Well, when I listened to the tracks, I could tell that Jeff [Pilson, bass] and Don [Dokken, vocals] had written a lot of the songs with me in mind. I mean, there were parts in certain songs that I had done on other Dokken records – and even Lynch Mob records- years ago.”

However Don Dokken has said that the album is written solely by him;

“Dysfunctional was a great album. I mean they (Lynch and Pilson) had nothing to do with that album. I wrote that album by myself. There wasn’t a George, Jeff, Mick effort. They joined Dokken at the last minute. And I basically wrote it, produced it.”

Don Dokken further described his experience in the following way;

“I felt guilty for bringing George back into the band for “Dysfunctional” & the money & the big record deal & I was just miserable & he was miserable, he made all of us miserable, it was just a very un-happy band”

In a separate interview on the Legendary Rock Interview website, Don Dokken further added the following;

I remember when we got back together in 95, we were in Japan and I thought we were older, wiser and could get on with our careers but the same old shit was happening, he was playing behind his amps and just screwing around and the band was just not playing good in general.

I asked George flat-out “What can I do to make you happy? What is the problem that you just can’t seem to get on board no matter how well things are going?” and I will never forget it, he just looked at me and pointed his hand up to our backdrop, this 30 foot backdrop that said “Dokken” and he said, “That’s the problem””.

This is the way George Lynch described the “Dysfunctional” reunion;

“There is a huge market for the band, mostly overseas, and since things collapsed over at Elektra, I needed to keep my options open if I still want to have my solo career. That was one of the things that brought me back into the band. It was kind of like, ‘You do this deal with Dokken for two records, and you can still go out and do solo records at the same time.’ In fact, I was told that I’d be in a better position to do solo stuff. John Kalodner [Columbia’s A&R chief] is passionate about Dokken, but he also told me that he wants us on Columbia. That aspect of the relationship makes me pretty happy.”

Dokken in 1995 was not an arena act.

Whether they wanted to be together or not, it didn’t matter to me as they delivered a great rock album worthy of being called a classic Dokken record.

Inside Looking Out

There was no escaping the influence of the Metallica self titled album, Soundgarden and “A Vulgar Display Of Power” from Pantera.

Those grooves became the norm. And when they got merged with the riff from Mr Scary, well that’s “Inside Looking Out” in a nutshell.

Hole In My Head

It sounds exotic, almost 70s like with a verse riff that Zakk would use for Ozzy.

Check out the lead breaks from Lynch.

The Maze

It’s like ELO merged with The Beatles.

Too High To Fly

It’s like a blues jam session and someone decided to press record.

Then when it starts to build from the 38 second mark, it’s desk breaking, head banging time.

And how good are the verses?

The bass and drums play, while Don sings and Lynch comes in when Don stops. Brilliant.

It reminds me of “Lost Behind A Wall” which then reminds me of “Turbo Lover”.

Nothing Left To Say

This is a great song. A hit. Better than acoustic songs like “More Than Words” or “To Be With You”.

The acoustic guitar solo is not long enough.

Shadows Of Life

What a riff and drum groove to start the song?

This is classic Dokken, but down tuned and heavy and how good are those backing vocals in the Chorus.

Long Way Home

It’s the Mr Scary riff again.

Check out the lead break from Lynch.

But my favorite section is that bridge section after the Chrous. It’s very Queensryche like.

And that head banging riff from 3.55. Tool would build a career on riffs like this.

Sweet Chains

It’s like the “Dream Warriors” intro merged with “Tangled In The Web”.

Lesser Of Two Evils

What’s this.

Lynch channeling EVH.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What Price

It’s hard to describe this one. So I skip it.

From The Beginning

A great cover from ELP.

After 56 minutes, I pressed play again.

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Australian Method Series – The Silent Deeds

From Perth, Western Australia, The Silent Deeds formed in 2014.

Singer and rhythm guitarist Corey Ranger and drummer Tom Filter were in a Foo Fighters tribute band called “White Limo”.

When this project ended, they went looking for musicians to form an original band. Melodic lead guitarist Clayton Brown joined soon after, along with bassist Adam Quigley.

I’ve seen in various press releases their sound described as “Tom Petty meets Foo Fighters meets U2 meets Pearl Jam meets Hoodoo Gurus.” I wouldn’t disagree with that. I would add Choirboys, AC/DC, The Screaming Jets and Jimmy Barnes to that.

Their latest EP “Down With Me” came out in 2020. It features two previously released singles “The Race” and “Come Alive” with two new tracks “Down With Me” and “Ghosts”.

The band has said it is their “heaviest, catchiest and funkiest set of songs”. And I wouldn’t disagree with that as well.

Ghosts

If AC/DC and U2 had a love child, this would be it.

Come Alive

You can feel the funk from the bass but it’s a hard rock song to me, more Stones like.

The Race

The riff is a common one but I still like it.

Foo Fighters comes to mind but so many hard rock and classic rock artists had these kind of riffs.

Down With Me

More funky bass lines and a heavy Fuel modern rock feel.

They have me interested. Let’s see what comes next.

P.S.

When I was in bands, we decided to do three sets. The first set would be 10 originals. The second set would cover 70s and 80s songs. The third set would cover 90s and above. It was hard work but also rewarding and it paid good. Plus we were the only band on that night.

I’ve read that “The Silent Deeds” also do three hour gigs involving covers and originals.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Beast From The East

“The thing I will never understand about the management and that tour and the band was that in their insane thinking, the management called a meeting before the tour started and informed the band that Don was gonna be breaking the band up and trying to just hire us as musicians on the band.

Or else, if that didn’t work, we didn’t agree to that, he was just gonna leave, keep the name and kick us out. Before the tour started — literally days before it started.”

George Lynch

The band was unraveling. I was happy to be out there on that stadium tour, but I was totally depressed. I was just miserable. To see your guitar player on stage in front of 100,000 people walk behind his amplifier in the middle of the solo and snort coke, I mean, fuck, man. It drove me crazy. So, that just broke us up. That’s the way it goes. Shit happens.

Don Dokken at Songfacts

Somewhere in between, the truth is there.

And drugs or no drugs, this album known as the “Beast From The East” captures a band at the peak of their creativity and mastery of their instruments in 1988.

Unchain The Night

It was a weird choice to open with, especially when the album they were promoting, opened with “Kiss Of Death”.

But.

It was perfect.

After the taped (I think) Intro plays, the band kicks in and all hell is breaking loose. And my speakers are rumbling, because the guitar tone from Lynch is excellent.

Don is sounding good. And I’ve heard the vocals got juiced up later on by Michael Wagener, but hey it still sounds live and I’m all in.

And I still go nuts for the Chorus after the solo. Then there is another solo from Lynch and the Chorus comes back in again.

Tooth And Nail

They play it even faster and I didn’t think it was possible to chuck in fills during the verses at that speed, but Lynch delivers while Pilson and Brown keep it grounded and rocking.

Dream Warriors

The clean tone in the verses. Check it out.

Kiss Of Death

It’s faster than the studio and I like it.

And the solo break. I can listen to it all day long and play air guitar to it.

When Heaven Comes Down

I didn’t expect this to resonate as good as it did.

How heavy does that Intro/Chorus riff sound?

And I still go nuts over the mood they set, with the guitar riff and drum build up just before the solo.

Into The Fire

The clean tone sections sound wicked because Lynch puts bends and legato into his arpeggios.

And I like how the outro is loaded with guitar leads.

Mr Scary

Pilson and Brown need a special mention here for holding down the fort. Great playing. And of course, Lynch excels, coked up or not.

Heaven Sent

I love the bluesy swagger of this one.

The way it starts off with the crowd participation and just high hats, then the clean tone riff and then the beat.

It sounds great on the album and great live especially the improvised lead break. It’s fast and furious and scary.

It’s Not Love

They jam it, they get the crowd to sing along with em and I’m singing along with em as well.

Alone Again

I like how the little Intro flows, it throws a curve ball. Your thinking, is it “Alone Again” or not.

And then it begins.

By the end of it, everyone is singing “alone again without you”.

Just Got Lucky

It sounds full of energy.

Breaking The Chains

I’ve always liked the main riff and there’s no way you can’t enjoy it live.

In My Dreams

It’s powerful live. A great closer.

And I like how they jam out the ending.

Walk Away

The final studio cut.

A fitting title to signal the end of the 80s Dokken era. As the outro played, I didn’t want it to fade out.

By the end of it, the “Beast From The East” (the album, not the recent European snow storm) cemented itself as one of my top 5 live releases behind “Live After Death” and “Tribute”.

And of course, I got in on vinyl first. Then on CD. And then again on CD as part of a box set.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Back For The Attack

Released in November 1987 on Elektra Records. By January 1988, it was certified Gold and Platinum. Then again, everything released in 1987 was certified platinum in 1988.

And they had momentum.

The single “Dream Warriors” was released in February 1987 as the theme song for the horror film “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”. The single was still selling and video was still doing the MTV rounds when the album was released.

The title of the album comes from the song “Back for the Attack”, which was recorded during the sessions for “Under Lock and Key” in 1985 and released as the B-side to “Dream Warriors”.

Dokken is Don Dokken on vocals. George Lynch on guitars, Jeff Pilson on bass and Mick Brown on drums. And Jeff Pilson again has a hand in every song.

KISS OF DEATH

As soon as the opening notes are played I was hooked. The riffs in this song are aggressive and very thrash like.

How good are the pinch harmonics in the verse riff?

For the solo, Lynch did numerous takes however they ended up using his first take as it was the best and the most emotive. And if there was any question about his prowess, listen to this.

It’s basically one of the best metal songs ever made.

PRISONER

Melodic anthemic heavy rock at its best with a cheesy chorus about being a prisoner, chained by love.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s one of my favorite cuts.

And check out the leads from Lynch in the Intro/Chorus and his normal solo break.

NIGHT BY NIGHT

a strange mix of hard, heavy, melodic, and dark alike, and stands as one of the strongest cuts featured here as a result.

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS

It’s very AC/DC-esque.

HEAVEN SENT

It’s bluesy and I like it.

Make sure you check out the lead break.

MR. SCARY

It’s known as the instrumental which showcases George Lynch, but it also showcases Jeff Pilson as a very capable bassist.

How heavy is the Intro/Main riff?

SO MANY TEARS

It’s got this Tom Petty vibe in the Intro/Chorus riff, before the normal power chord to flat 5 riff kicks in.

BURNING LIKE A FLAME

Musically they are trying to write their own “Summer Of 69” but…

LOST BEHIND A WALL

One of my favorites.

I feel like “Turbo Lover” inspired the Intro and verses.

It’s just bass and drums, then the vocals and then the guitars crash in.

Listen to it cranked.

STOP FIGHTING LOVE

Another melodic rock classic, hidden deep in the album.

The Chorus riff is a great example of metal like riffing in a pop song setting.

CRY OF THE GYPSY

Check out the rhythm and lead work on this one?

It’s basically what Lynch Mob would sound like in a few years time. Actually am I allowed to write that name these days.

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

Too many songs with similar themes like this. “Sleepless Nights”, “Up All Night”, you get the idea. Cliched yes, but Lynch does his best to shred all over it.

DREAM WARRIORS

The movie company wanted us to write a song that they had already decided would be called “Dream Warriors” [for the 1987 film A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors]. So, it wasn’t like we came up with it. They said, “Can you write a song with the title ‘Dream Warriors’?”

And again, Jeff, Mick, and George wrote a version, and I wrote a version by myself. Mine was more uptempo, more of a rock song.

So, I wrote a version, they wrote a version. It’s kind of funny. They said, “We actually like your version better Don, but we’re going to use our part.” [Laughs] It was just ego – there was a lot of ego in my band in the ’80s.

Don Dokken – Songfacts

The Intro. How good is it?

The lead break is excellent and how good is the riff in the verse after it.

And of course, I purchased it on CD as well via the box set that mimicked the vinyls.

Finally, this Guitar World issue with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee on the cover introduced the new Dokken album.

Check out Lifeson. So 80s and so not flattering.

And why not.. A photo of some of his iconic guitars.
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1996 – Part 2.3: Tonic – Lemon Parade

Tonic (for this album) is Emerson Hart on vocals and guitar, Jeff Russo on guitar, Dan Rothchild on bass and Kevin Shepard on drums.

The band was formed in 1993 and three years later they had a massive debut album on the back of one song. In the U.S, it has a Platinum certification. Then again, there is a saying that everything went platinum in 1996.

And for the ones who purchased the album, they would be surprised that there is a lot more to Tonic, than just the one “hit” song.

“Open Up Your Eyes”

It feels like a Collective Soul song, heavy and it opens the album, but it isn’t the song that sold it.

“Casual Affair”

It feels like a Pearl Jam song. Actually, this is the style that Nickelback would use and sound like on “Silver Side Up”.

“If You Could Only See”

This is the song that sold the album. In Australia, it was all over radio and it pushed the album to Number 12 on the ARIA charts.

And at 87.3 million streams on Spotify, it’s also the song that will keep paying em for a long time. Nothing else comes close. “Open Up Your Eyes” is at 6 million streams and “Lemon Parade” is at 1.2 million streams.

The simple light intro strummed chords of Am, C, G, F hide the heaviness to come. I used to cover this in the bands I played in and it always got a reaction.

“Soldiers Daughter”

The first 40 second opening is excellent, almost country rock like as they employ an open D tuning D-A-D-F#-A-D.

The vocal melodies from Hart are emotive, about a certain someone who is there to support a hurting little girl.

The first four songs are all killer.

“Lemon Parade”

This one could have come from a Rolling Stones album, as the riffs smell on Keith Richards. And the lead section harmonies could have come from a Thin Lizzy album.

“Mountain”

There is 40 second acoustic guitar “around the campfire” intro, which reminds me of the 70’s blues rock sounds before that sound returned again with a vengeance in the 2000’s, rebranded as country rock.

And when the vocals start, it feels like a “Live” track.

“Mountain” isn’t throwaway pop music. It’s a career song. After the quite of the acoustics, it amps up.

Like a fire I’m drawn to her lust
I can’t run from her, but lord I must
Like a demon I’m drawn to her flame
I’m gonna burn calling her name

The guitars are preaching religion and the words are preaching truth about love and desire.

And then it gets quiet again, with the acoustic guitars. And then explodes again, with a lead break. Reminding me of the British blues rock bands.

“Mountain” is as fresh today as it was yesterday.

“Thick”

It reminds me of a Led Zep track in the first 30 seconds, before it moves into a groove similar to “If You Could Only See”.

“Wicked Soldier”

It’s back to the rock of “R.E.M” merged with “The Tragically Hip”.

“Mr. Golden Deal”

It’s back to the feel of “Soldiers Daughter”. More ballad country blues rock like.

“Bigot Sunshine”

It’s got a wah wah infused main riff, which scratches and wheezes its way into my brain. There are these jangly open D like chords which remind me of Rush and the great Alex Lifeson.

“Celtic Aggression”

It’s a track that’s more filler.

“My Old Man”

Hart brings the emotion to this one, a slow blues rock closer that takes you back to those 70’s albums that pushed boundaries.

If you like the rock music of the 70’s then you will like this album. Give Tonic a go.

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Arrows In Words From The Sky

This October, Machine “Fucking” Head will make 30 years!

In the early 90s, Robb Flynn decided to quit the band he was in, to start Machine “Fucking” Head, so he could call the shots and not have to answer to anyone.

Throughout the years he’s had different versions of the band with “The Blackening” line up being the most favored and then the “Burn My Eyes” line up.

Over the last three years, Robb’s motto is simple. If he has a song, or two, he’s going to get it recorded and released. And he’s still calling the shots.

Jared MacEachern on bass is still there, a dedicated right hand man.

In 2019, “Do Or Die” was released.

In February 2020, “Circle The Drain” came out.

In June 2020, the “Civil Unrest” single, featuring the tracks “Bulletproof” and the Jesse Leach collaboration “Stop The Bleeding” came out.

In November 2020, the stand alone “My Hands Are Empty” was released, a collaboration between Robb Flynn and Logan Mader from the “Burn My Eyes” version of the band.

And on 11 June 2021, the 3-Song digital single, “Arrows In Words From The Sky” dropped.

In total 8 songs have been released. They could represent an album that came out today, but we all got to spend time with these songs when they came out and make em special at that particular point in time.

On his blog, Robb said that, “these three songs represent Machine Head better than anything I could ever try to explain here.

The way these songs grew and took shape over time, tells us our future is more exciting than even we would like to admit.

Being able to corral all the chaos, pain, confusion, and yes, hope, into music has never made me feel more alive. These songs will hopefully do the same for you, after all, that’s who they were written for.

Arrows In Words From The Sky

As soon as the droning open string tones and natural harmonics kick in, I was hooked.

It sounds sad and when the vocal melody comes in, it’s mournful. But all of this is the calm before the storm.

Centuries of pain, under a paper sword
Arrows in words from the sky

When the distorted section with the vocal melody “breaking down (I am reborn)” kicks in, it’s desk breaking stuff. It hits a raw nerve and unleashes a lot of emotions.

Listen to the lead break.

It’s guitar hero stuff from Robb Flynn. His lead work is so underrated.

Check it out.

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The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 7 to June 13

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was writing about streaming services and how all of those little streams add up.

Remember when Taylor Swift and Neil Young removed their music from Spotify. The narrative was very strong about poor artists vs big bad faceless tech giving the masses inferior sound quality and not paying enough. Then their music returned to Spotify and there was crickets.

In the end streaming is king. The sales charts had to amend their formula to include streaming and suddenly an artist can controlling the whole Top 10. And artists from the past have now returned to the Charts.

The old certification awards now include streaming in their formula and guess what, artists are getting platinum awards on streams alone. That’s right, no sales. Just listens. What a brilliant concept.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal” is the saying. We can paraphrase it to “Good artists try to sound original by hiding their influences”, while “great artists let their influences show”. It’s how the language of music is learned. We imitate our influences.

If you don’t believe me, what is the first thing a person does when they are learning an instrument?

They start by learning songs created by other artists.

Inspiration is not theft. Theft is taking something and the person who has it, does not have it to use anymore,

So I showed a few examples of artists being inspired.

8 Years Ago (2013)

A new release called “Evolution” from an Australian band called “Burnside” had my attention.

I just checked Spotify and they released an EP called “Rise Pt.1” in 2016, which I haven’t heard yet and a post on Twitter from 2018 had them writing new music, which still hasn’t seen a release.

The lyrics from Brent Smith (Shinedown) had me inspired so I wrote about em. At the time was doing these kind of appreciation series called “What Do Ya Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics?”

The title was inspired by the verses from “Peace Sells” from Megadeth.

And I was coming across so much good music at this point in time, like Burnside, Tesseract, The Night FlightOrchestra, Polution and Vaudeville. I was thinking what could these bands do differently to get their brand and music out there.

Well in the case of TesseracT and The Night Flight Orchestra, they kept writing and releasing frequently and for TNFO it certainly helped that the band members had other successful projects.

Anyway I put my thoughts out there in a post called “The New Artist Lesson”.

“13” from Black Sabbath was out. The problem that I have with it, is that it tries too hard to recreate the first four Black Sabbath albums.

Which isn’t a bad thing if that’s how you defined your career. Like AC/DC.

But Sabbath was more progressive minded and pushed boundaries. For an act that was considered “extreme” in the 70s, they played it really “safe”.

However, one thing I do like is that they have stayed away from the Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Solo – Chorus structure.

Which led me to write a post called “Risk Management”. The message of the post was basically this;

If you are not on the bleeding edge of society, you are just part of the fabric of society. You want to be a rock star, you cant do it working a nine to five job. You cant do it if you are beholden to your employer. You cant do it if you are beholden to the family.

The only way you can do it is if you throw all thoughts of risk management out the window.

Prime Circle from South Africa had my attention as I had just heard the 2012 album, “Evidence” and I felt the need to write about them.

And they are still pretty active, releasing studio and live albums.

Check em out as their brand of modern rock is anthemic and infectious.

That’s another wrap of DoH history.

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Australian Method Series – Dead Letter Circus – Dead Letter Circus (2018)

There first EP released in 2007 is also called Dead Letter Circus. Hence why I put 2018 in the title of this LP.

Dead Letter Circus is a well loved prog rock band. To me their music is hard to describe as the songs are all in the 3 to 5 minute range, something that bands listed as prog don’t really do. They don’t have a million notes per minute sections either. It’s all music and vocals. And awesome drumming.

The band is Kim Benzie on vocals, Clint Vincent and Luke Palmer on guitars, Stewart Hill on bass, and Luke Williams on drums.

The Armour You Own

The bass and drums set the groove and the guitar locks in with em. It’s familiar and I like it, in the same way AC/DC play it safe within their blues rock style, DLC do the same in their prog alternative rock style.

You will reach
You will fall down
Every time you fail you will change

Truth.

It’s how we learn.

At 2.50 it quietens down before it builds up again. You need to hear it, to feel it.

The Real You

Hey you there
Show me the real you
Here in the physical
Because I see right through

Social media allows us to portray an image that is fake. Take a photo from above your head and suddenly you look slim and with deep fake photos and videos doing the rounds, no one can tell what is real anymore.

People need to get back to what was real. F

ace to face communication. And we can’t even do that in 2021 because of social distancing and lockdowns.

Change

Another song with a familiar sound from the earlier albums.

You alone the reason
The architect of all this time
Now you own this life
Build it
Fill it

It starts with you and no one else. Don’t blame others. It’s your life, own it and if something is not right, you have the power to change it.

It starts with you.

Running Out Of Time

How good is the Intro?

It’s an anthem. This is the band at their best.

Hoping maybe one day everything you want will fall into your hands
You don’t need to try

Life doesn’t work that way. Being a good student and then getting a job to pay bills and a mortgage will not give you what you want. You need to seize it.

We Own the Light

After four rockers, this one is almost ballad like.

No one else can understand my headspace
I’ve been slipping from my happiness
This whole time

We can only fake it for so long before we hit the wall. And we are not alone. So many others experience the same.

Heartline

The vocal melodies are memorable and hooky. This song just needs to be listened to, so it can be fully understood. one of my favorites.

Ladders For Leaders

Another song that lives in ballad like territory. It percolates and simmers.

Somehow they defeated us with no one even bleeding
No resistance or debate
They just covered our eyes
Villains created, become ladders for leaders
To keep us from asking who’s holding the strings coming from their backs

A brilliant verse.

We like to be comfortable and that means we like to have a stable income to get us through life. And for a lot of us, stability is good and we are happy building someone else’s dream while we believe we are building ours.

But for a small percentage of us, stability is not what we desire and we change the world.

Trade Places

This song would not be our of place on their debut album “This Is The Warning” released in 2010.

Yeah if you and I and them trade places
Make our stand in generation
Let the truth collide

Say It Won’t Be Long

This is the best track on the album and it’s deep in the album order.

The way it percolates and builds towards the end, it needs to be listened to.

Now I feel my confidence is growing
My sense of self worth is unfolding
I am now fearless facing forward
So I start crawling

The mental awakening when you stop pretending to be someone else.

Home

I love the grooves and riffs on this one.

I know I’m chasing something I can find home in
Think of all that I’ve been through
Every scar that I’ve grown through
There is nothing to fear now
I am ready for change now
To find my soul in it

What a great message to end the album with.

Lay back, crank it and have the lyric sheet or the lyrics via the net in front of you.

Let the album intoxicate you.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dokken – Under Lock And Key

Album number three, released in 1985. “In My Dreams” had MTV circulation, and it pushed the album to a Platinum certification in the U.S.

Neil Kernon and Michael Wagener are on hand to produce, engineer and mix. Don Dokken had a certain fondness to work with Wagener on his vocals. He met Wagener when he did a club tour of Germany in 1979.

Don then got a deal with Carrere Records in 1981 with the songs that Lynch and Dokken wrote and he did the Don Dokken “Breaking The Chains” album.

Fun fact, it was Gaby Hauke Hoffmann aka Deaffy who did the lyrics for those Accept records who got Don the record deal. There was another bass player who didn’t work out and Peter Baltes from Accept took over.

George Lynch and Mick Brown came over to Germany and did their bits and the album was re-released. It did good business in Germany and Cliff Burnstein from Q Prime picked the album up on import and liked it.

Burnstein then signed Don to a management deal. After a small tour in Germany with Juan Croucier on bass, they came back to the U.S. Lynch left the band and Croucier joined Ratt. It was just Don and Mick.

Don signed a deal with Elektra and Warren DeMartini was in the band for a short period before Lynch decided to come back in.

“Tooth And Nail” came out and the guys went back to their day jobs. But the album blew up. It started selling, “Alone Again” was in the charts and the label decided to put the band into the studio again.

According to Don, he wrote 80% of the songs for “Under Lock And Key” but got dipped on the credits as the band wanted the credits to state “all songs written by Dokken”. Lynch and Pilson also wrote a lot of music and A&R exec, Tom Zutaut had the most dangerous job in the world. To pick the songs to go on the record.

It was a time of excess. The album cost $150K to make and they then spent $250K on video clips.

Unchain The Night

The guitar intro immediately had my attention.

And Don was lost in the middle, running around in circles and unable to touch someone who had a knife in their heart.

Confused. Me too. Even the title confused me as I couldn’t understand how someone could chain something that isn’t an object.

But I didn’t care.

The music was excellent and the Lynch lead.

Wow. Its fast and shredalicious, but it’s got feel and emotion and melody.

And the outro, when the intro riff comes in, the power chords crash down around you and Lynch gets a chance to wail again. He’s playing for the song, its restrained and beautiful. Then the singing is back in and I don’t want to song to end. And they didn’t fade it out. They ended it like how they would end it live.

So I picked the needle up and replayed the song.

The Hunter

Lynch brought in the music and he wanted it to be his instrumental on the album. Don thought otherwise and he took the jam session home with him and wrote the lyrics. The instrumental then became “The Hunter”.

Don wrote a memorable hook for the Chorus and how good is the guitar lead from Lynch?

In My Dreams

According to Don, he wrote most of the riffs and lyrics for this song. With the opening vocal hook, this song was going to crossover into the mainstream. MTV loved it, played it and it pushed the album.

And for all its commercialism, you cannot take away the power of the metal lead break.

Slippin’ Away

After the first three songs, this was a letdown. The shining light here is Lynch’s “Journey – Neal Schon” like solo break.

Lightning Strikes Again

But they made up for the small slip previously.

This is my favourite song on the album and along with “Kiss Of Death” some of the most heaviest riffs committed to tape.

From the interviews I have read, this song is a collaboration.

The intro riff is part of the “One Riff To Rule Em All”. Just think “Power And The Glory” from Saxon and “2 Minutes To Midnight” from Iron Maiden.

And if you think the riff sounds similar to another Dokken song, it does. Check out “Unchain The Night”.

And also check out Lynch’s call and response lead break.

It’s Not Love

Don refers to this song as “their” song.

It’s got the Lynch like power chord to devils tritone kind of riff. The intro riff always gets me thinking of the “Warriors” movie.

And those street gang like vocals in the Chorus.

Jaded Heart

How good are the verses?

The acoustic riff, the vocal melody, everything.

Don’t Lie To Me

As soon as I heard this song, I thought of “Rock You Like A Hurricane”.

Will The Sun Rise

It’s like “The Hunter”. More mellow and subdued, about liberty, fighting to be free and how one mistake, could make it all go to hell.

Til The Livin End

It retains the metal edge of “Tooth And Nail” and “Turn On The Action”. If anything it’s a speed metal track. And I like how it finishes, like a live track. There’s no fade out.

P.S.
Pilson likes this album, but in a recent interview he said that “Tooth And Nail” is his favourite.

P.S.S
I also like this album a lot that I have it purchased it on three occasions.

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