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

July 2020 – Part 2

Love Become Law
The Cherry Truck Band

It’s a combination of Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck.

And the intro riff reminds me of “Conquistador” from 30 Seconds To Mars.

Stand for peace / if it takes everything

I don’t know if we really know what that means this days. The narrative has moved from evil countries to our own backyards and evil/corrupt politicians who are a threat to peace in the name of economics. And these politicians have realised that when people have money, they feel safe and the majority will be obedient little servants.

So are we willing to risk everything to stand for peace.

Iris
Diamante, Breaking Benjamin

A cover.

It’s okay and it got me interested to re-listen to the original from The Goo Goo Dolls, which is a lot better.

How huge was that song back in the 90s?

And the good thing about covers is that they re-introduce a classic song to a whole new audience.

Just ask Quiet Riot (their Slade covers) and Motley Crue (“Helter Skelter”, “Smokin In The Boys Room”, “Jailhouse Rock”) just to name a few.

The Unknown
10 Years

I really dig their brand of music which is a mixture of so many different styles I like.

“How did we end up here, sifting through our own ashes?”

Every event and moment that transpires in the now, is rooted to a past decision. That other place you purchased over the first place or the extra drink you had and the strings that came with that.

“No one can survive at the speed of light forever”

Life is fluid and fast. It’s so much faster today than ever before. As I type this, the explosion in Beirut was all over the news and 24 hours later it was done.

“Time moves on and carries us into the great unknown”

We don’t know what the future holds. As Sarah Connor said at the end of “Judgement Day”;

“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”

Come On Out – RAC Mix
The Airborne Toxic Event

This song sounds like a My Chemical Romance track mixed with “Heroes” from David Bowie. And I like it.

It’s About Time
Jefferson Starship

This one took me by surprise.

It’s just a good pop rock song. And I have no idea who is in Jefferson Starship right now, but don’t let the band name be a detractor.

Lions
Look Into Me
Winner Takes All
Tokyo Motor Fist

“The world is in chaos” is how “Lions” starts off.

And it sure is.

We are trying to live with the new normal, with restrictions and lockdown, then the COVID-19 numbers get better and we start to open up, only to see the numbers go up again and restrictions kick in. I’ve been working from home for six months, with no end in sight.

Eagle
Crazy Lixx

The bass groove is like “Heaven And Hell” but the guitar and synths decorations are pure melodic rock.

Always The Villain
Michael Grant And The Assassins

This album was mentioned over at 2Loud2OldMusic and because it’s a Frontiers release, I went to Spotify to check it out.

And I became a fan on the first listen.

So who is Michael Grant?

He plays all the instruments on this album except for 5 tracks, he calls in a different drummer.

So when you listen to the album, remember that Michael Grant is playing those riffs, the majority of the drum tracks, the bass lines, the lead lines and he does all the vocals.

“The Assassins” comes from his touring band, but they didn’t play on the album.

And before going solo, Grant was the founder, and lead singer/guitarist in the alternative melodic hard rock band “Endeverafter” between 2004 and 2012, who had a deal with Epic Records, and they released one album “Kiss Or Kill” in 2007.

From 2012 to 2018, Grant was the guitarist in LA Guns and also wrote and recorded “The Missing Peace” album with them, released in 2017. The LA Guns camp said he left the band to pursue his solo project, while Grant said he was fired from the band.

Anyway.

Every single song on this album is melodic, with good riffs, catchy AOR choruses and great leads.

“Nightmare” is my favorite today, because of the lead break that reminds me of Dave Gilmour but depending on the day or my mood, other tracks take over.

Ignite The Sky
Bloody Heels

This one also appeared on 2Loud2OldMusic as a new release coming out for the week, and like Michael Grant, it’s a Frontiers release, so I went to Spotify, pressed play and became a fan.

Because the album reminds me of Hurricane, Slaughter, Babylon AD, Tangier, Steelheart and Hericane Alice. All bands I like.

And I have no idea about the band members, place of origin or any histories. It’s just the music, leading me.

“Ignite The Sky” sounds like it could have come from Harem Scarem with a Mark Slaughter like vocal line. “Criminal Masterminds” is my favourite today as the lyrics tell us there is no difference between a man in a suit and tie and a man with a 45.

“Black Swan” reminds me of Def Leppard in the Chorus. “Stand Your Ground” has this harmony lead which connects. “Silhouette” has a clean tone arpeggio riff that reminds of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” from Warrant.

“In Between”
Beartooth

I saw that this song got a certification in the US and I was like;

Who is this?

And what do they sound like?

So I pressed play on the song and I was surprised.

And I like the vocal line, “it’s easy to lose yourself in between.” Because, when we are transitioning from one path to another, it’s easy to forget who we are in the in between.

Escape Artist
Rise Against

I really like this band. I’ve been a fan since 2005.

“It’s a lottery of life, we just play it”

I read somewhere about how the human body is fighting death from its first breath. Some make it to old age and some don’t.

And everything is a lottery. That story you write, could become popular or be ignored. That song you write, could become popular or be ignored.

But if you don’t play the lottery, you’ll never, ever know.

Colour and Shape
Joe Bonamassa

I am a fan of Bonamassa when he’s in that blues rock, heavy rock vibe. And sometimes, he pulls out soulful ballads like this one. It’s a fusion of blues, funk with a bit of 7th and 9th jazz chords chucked in. But it’s the lead break at 2.40 that made me become a fan of this song.

Lost
Friends
Arctic Rain

“I was lost in the middle of nowhere” is how “Lost” begins, before a melodic lead kicks off the intro.

And its melodic rock with huge choruses.

Part 3 of July is coming up.

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

July 2020 – Part 1

How Do We Want To Live?
Long Distance Calling

From Germany, its instrumental Pink Floyd style rock with Tool like grooves and a few vocal tracks. But it’s the moods they set that always hook me in.

“Hazard” has this palm muted riff from 1.42 and it morphs into this little melodic lick from about 2.25 to 2.56. Then its silence and an arpeggio guitar riff begins, while a female voice hauntingly talks about AI possessing a certain set of skills which could turn AI into a superhuman. And its silent for a brief moment, then I’m hooked again from 3.56, when the emotive lead kicks in. It’s a few notes, a few bends, but its impact is immense.

“Voices” and that riff from 2.30, it’s like a palm muted digital delay lick. “Immunity” has this riff/lead from 2.50 and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and from about 3.39 it morphs into a Muse like riff.

And if you want to hear just one track, then “Sharing Thoughts” is the track, especially that whole movement from 1.31 to the end. Then again, the section that starts from 3.05 is essential listening.

Night Demon

“Night Demon” does a new take on an old sound and I like it. “Vysteria” is their new single release and on Spotify, they combined various single releases into an EP. Since they came up with the word, they define “Vysteria” as “exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement incited by the media, especially among a group of people during a pandemic”.

“Vysteria” is basically about COVID-19 and how our lives have been affected by restrictions and lockdown, with the conspiracy catch cry of “is it the end of the world, or the thinning of the herd”.

NOBODY IS SAFE
THE VIRUS HAS NO PREDJUDICE
NO BLACK OR WHITE
THE RICH AMONG THE POOR

“Are You Out There” feels like it came from “On Through The Night” and the self-titled Maiden debut. “Kill The Pain” has this “Where Eagles Dare” start before it morphs into a Judas Priest/Metallica cut. “Empires Fall” is “Hit The Lights” only faster. Then again the song is a cover from a NWOBHM band.

The Game Is Over – Evanescence

“The Game Is Over” has me interested to hear what will come next.

A bell tolls and a drum beat plays.

The bass kicks in and Amy Lee’s iconic voice starts telling us she’s had enough of the relationship.

Your sweet words they mean nothing, save your breath
The game is over

Empty Promises – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Kingfish can play that guitar. I was searching the various sites for new Blues Rock artists to listen to and Kingfish got some loving on a few sites, which got me interested. So I checked him out and I’m glad I did.

The arpeggios to kick it off get me interested, but it’s that lead that kicks in at the 35 second mark that seals the deal.

And the vocals start at 1.10, soulful and bluesy.

Dawn Of The Demos – Taking Dawn

I didn’t think I would like so many cuts from this. If you want to know what this band is like, they started off as “7th Son” in reference to their favourite Maiden album. So heavy metal the way I know it from the 80’s is what this band is about.

“Break”, “Still Breathing”. “Endlessly”, “Godless” and “Transcend The Trend” are favourites.

And if you want a track to check out, go for “Endlessly”.

My Body Is A Cage – Peter Gabriel

“My Body Is A Cage” appeared in the Netflix series “Dark”. It appeared in this crucial ending of an episode and the vocal line echoed the angst of the scene. So I was Shazamming it, because I wanted to know who sang it.

And it was Peter Gabriel. I presumed it was an old cut but it came out in 2010. So it’s relatively new.

Tiny Little Movies – Will Hoge

Will Hoge came into my headspace from the blog 2Loud2OldMusic.

And although not all of the songs connected, the ones had that this country blues soul rock vibe did, like “Midway Motel”, “The Overthrow” and “Even When The River Runs Out Of This Town” are my favourites.

High And Dry – Slade

This came on my radar via Traci Guns who shared a clip of himself playing the vinyl to Dee Snider and he asked Dee to guess who. Dee guessed the artist but he didn’t guess the song.

So I went to Shazam it, while it was playing on TG’s account and I found out it’s called “High And Dry”.

And it came out in 1983 on the album “The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome” which was re-released in the U.S in 1984 as “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply”.

And the section he shared is that melodic lead break which immediately hooked me in. It’s never too late to discover something new that’s old.

Part 2 of July 2020 is coming up.

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The Record Vault – Cinderella

I’ve written about these albums previously on this blog and I’ve also written about individual songs from these albums. So in other words, these three albums complete a perfect trilogy.

Night Songs

The debut album.

It was released August 2, 1986.

A few days ago it had its 34th birthday and it’s stood the test of time. It came out and competed with Bon Jovi, Europe, Ratt and Poison.

“Nobody’s Fool” hooked me in because it reminded me of “Bringing On The Heartbreak” from Def Leppard. “Night Songs”, “Shake Me” and “Somebody Save Me” are all favourites. So is “Hell On Wheels” and “Back Home Again”. The whole album is a favourite depending on my mood.

And there is a cast.

Jon Bon Jovi does backing vocals on a few tracks, drums are played by someone else and even the guitar leads are played by someone else on a few tracks. Recording took place at 5 different studios with Andy Johns in the producers chair. For a debut album, it was an expensive product.

I called this album “AC/DC on glam steroids” back in the day, but hearing it back throughout the decades its more Aerosmith and Bad Company.

Long Cold Winter

The follow up.

The blues rock riffage is amped up.

Andy Johns was back again in the producers chair and he still didn’t let Fred Coury play drums on the album, with Cozy Powell and Denny Carmassi providing the drum tracks this time around.

Keifer brings out the slide on “Fallin’ Apart At The Seams” setting up a barroom Thorogood style of song.

“Gypsy Road” is built around a repeated blues lick turned into a riff and “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” is an excellent song.

And my favourite is the bluesy “Long Cold Winter” which also paved the way for more artists to experiment with the old blues style to great success. Black Crowes built their business playing the blues, while Gary Moore had his biggest success with “Still Got The Blues”.

Heartbreak Station

I’m including this because I had the CD but with all of the house moves it was in a box that got lost or stolen.

The title track got me hooked immediately and it completes a perfect 4 track opening.

“The More Things Change” was a carbon copy of “Fallin Apart At The Seams” as that same slide riff appears at the same time in both songs.

“Loves Got Me Doin’ Time” brings out a bluesy single note riff like “Gypsy Road” but it’s all funked up. “Shelter Me” is one of those tracks that resonates regardless of style or genre because its theme of trying to find a love to shelter us and keep us warm is universal. Like most of the songs that David Coverdale wrote for Whitesnake.

And problems existed, which the fans didn’t know about. Keifer had vocal throat issues which would require a few surgeries, the label guys who signed them did not work for the label anymore and the new guys just didn’t seem interested. Another album would come out, “Still Climbing” but it never really came out in Australia as the stores didn’t stock it.

Then I read a Metal Edge news roundup story that they had a deal with John Kalodner’s label which Kalodner got up and running to specialise in Hard Rock in the 90’s when most labels abandoned the genre. But spending almost 2 years writing and recording led to a bitter ending between the band members and the label.

They reunited for a few tours here and there, with no new music.

And Keifer eventually resurfaced as a solo artist with new music and I’m glad he did.

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1985 – Part 4

Kiss – Asylum

My son asked me yesterday, “what decade of Kiss do I like for new music released?”

I grew up on the 80’s Kiss, with the exception of the “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” albums. So my go to albums from Kiss are the 80’s albums, along with “Revenge”.

My first proper “Alive” experience was “Alive III”, then “IV” and then I went back to listen to “I” and “II”. But I like “III” better.

In the last 20 years, Kiss haven’t really set the world alight with new music (“Hell Or Hallelujah” will beg to differ and it’s up there as one of the best tracks for me), nor have they really dug into the vaults. Then again, Gene Simmons did raid his vault and from the reviews I read over at 2Loud2OldMusic, Simmons did a pretty good job at it.

Now in Australia, Kiss was larger than life. They always had an interview on TV or a music video clip on TV or a song played on radio. And they had their loyal following, plus any fly by nighters who would fall in and out of fandom with the band.

This album has Paul Stanley pulling quadruple duty on song writing, guitar playing, production duties (which even though Gene is listed as co-producer, Stanley did 90% of it) and bass playing. And I gravitated to the Stanley tracks, because they were just better.

This album also sticks out because it’s part of the era of bad jackets. Like very bad glam like jackets. If you’ve seen posters or press photos of bands during this era, you would know what I mean.

And it needs to be said, that Bruce Kulick is a guitar hero. He doesn’t get the “shred cred” he derserves, maybe because he played with Kiss. But his solos, from “Animalize” to “Revenge” are nothing short of guitar hero shred.

“King Of The Mountain” is written by Stanley, Kulick and Desmond Child and it gets the album off to a good start.

“Tears Are Falling” is a Stanley cut and although generic, it proved very popular for Kiss on MTV. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” is another cut that sticks around, this one being a co-write with Stanley, Child and Jean Beauvoir who would become well-known with the song, “Feel The Heat” from the Cobra soundtrack.

And let’s not talk about “Uh! All Night” even though some brain dead label rep thought it was a good idea to also release it as a single.

White Lion – Fight To Survive

I didn’t hear this until the 2000’s post Napster era was happening.

It wasn’t available at all in Australia and I didn’t know anyone who had a copy of it.

And it’s a forgotten album but it shouldn’t be, because it showcases Vito Bratta. While Bratta didn’t get back into the music business once White Lion broke up, his recorded output and musical legacy is down to the four White Lion albums and the backroom label dealings and stabbings which would affect Bratta.

They got signed to Elektra in 1984 and they record the album. Elektra refuses to release the album and terminates the bands contract. So now they have an album recorded, which they can’t access as its owned by Elektra and they have no deal.

Then a Japanese label releases it in Japan, and another label in the US release it under license to Elektra and the band tours on it, but the label in the U.S goes bankrupt. And the band is going through changes in the bass and drum department.

They did get singed to Atlantic in 1987, but that’s another story for another year.

Stand Outs with Great Bratta Moments

“Fight To Survive” is brilliant musically. Lyrically it’s about street life and fighting to be alive each day.

Great tapping intro that breaks down into the bass groove for the verse, with the volume swells and then it picks up for the big chorus and I love the delay in the solo section.

“All The Fallen Men” is influenced by “Rocking in the Free World” in the verses. Then again this came before Neil Young, and it’s a pretty generic chord progression, so..

“El Salvador” is the best song on this first album. The flamenco intro moving into the distortion riff is brilliant. You can hear Al DiMeola’s “Mediterranean Sundance”. And once the song kicks it’s all Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott would be proud.

Clichéd Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Broken Heart” has typical 80’s lyrics from Mike Tramp. Bratta shreds in the solo section with finger tapping and tap bends.

“All Burn In Hell” reminded me of Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell”. Musically it is typical of the 80’s. But the syncopated interlude before the solo. Brilliant.

There is a modern alternative rock metal vibe. And the solo section to me is a song within a song. A great Bratta moment.

Bad Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Where Do We Run” – reminds of a 100th rate AC/DC song in the verse. Tramps lyrics and melodies are lame. It’s a shame because it has a killer solo, very much in the vein of Randy Rhoads – “Flying High Again” and George Lynch – “Tooth and Nail”.

“In The City” – up until the interlude and solo section, where Bratta wails, the song sounds like a Y&T rip off lyrically.

Firehouse also did a song, where the vocal melody was similar.

Does anyone remember “The Dream”?

Actually does anyone remember Firehouse the band?

Filler Songs

“Cherokee” – The lyrics are tacky, “Cherokee, riding free”. Maybe because I heard it after Europe’s “Cherokee”, which I also didn’t like.

“Kid of a 1000 Faces” – the less said about this song the better.

“The Road To Valhalla” – with that title I was expecting something epic.

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall

I love the cover art. I drawed it in Art Class. I wish I still have my art journals. The teacher hated it, as he was anti-rock/metal.

Malcolm tried really hard to remove AC/DC from the overproduced and super focused Lange albums. And although their worldwide sales especially in the U.S market didn’t set the world on fire post Lange, in the land of Oz, they couldn’t do no wrong.

We lapped up the 7 inch singles, their songs got played on radio and the music video clips for “Shake Your Foundations” and “Sink The Pink” got played relentlessly.

See me leaning, on the bar
I got my head in a whiskey jar

It’s the Australian way of life to be leaning on the bar, intoxicated. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And maybe it’s a big reason why the music videos resonated with Australian fans. They are both filmed in a bar/pub and people are playing pool while drinking. It’s the Australian way of life.

ZZ Top – Afterburner

How do you follow up “Eliminator”?

By continuing on with using synths, sequenced beats and midi samples with their blues boogie riffs.

A new take on an old sound.

I called it “New Wave Blues” (NWB). And I meant it as a compliment.

How good is the cover?

It was enough to hook me in.

And while “Sleeping Bag” kept in that NWB department, “Stages” is a melodic rock gem that I didn’t see coming.

“Rough Boy” has some of Billy Gibbons most melodic and emotive lead breaks. Check out the intro lead break and the outro lead break. He brought long guitar solos to the mainstream.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’” is “Got Me Under Pressure” a 12 bar blues boogie with sequenced drum beats. “Planet Of Women” rocks out of the gate, and man, this song has Gibbons putting in some serious playing in the riffage department.

The album is a product of its time and era, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gary Moore – Run For Cover

It was the mid 90’s when I heard this album. And it’s one of his best albums.

“Empty Rooms” and that lead break is one of his best lead breaks, better than “Parisienne Walkways” and “Still Got The Blues”. “Military Man” has Phil Lynott singing, while “Out In The Fields” is a duet between Lynott and Moore.

The mighty Glen Hughes sings on “Reach For The Sky”, “Nothing To Lose” and “All Messed Up”, while Moore sings on “Run For Cover”, “Empty Rooms”, “Once In A Lifetime” and “Listen To Your Heartbeat”.

And Moore also has Lynott, Hughes and Bob Daisley playing bass on the album. Four different producers in Andy Johns, Peter Collins, Beau Hill and Mike Stone. In other words it’s an expensive album, but it did nothing sales wise in the U.S, while in Europe, it did a lot better.

But the piece d’resistance is “Empty Rooms”. The lead break from Moore was talked about a lot in guitar circles. And it’s a re-recording. He released it on “Victims Of The Future”. A longer version of 6 plus minutes. This one is more concise at 4 minutes.

And the way “Run For Cover” starts off, you know that Moore means business,. There isn’t a bad song on this album. The cuts that Hughes does vocals on are favourites and I need to do a playlist of songs Hughes has done over his career, like how I did with Ronnie James Dio, covering Rainbow, Sabbath and his solo career. The only album missing on that list is the “Heaven And Hell” band album from the two thousands because it’s not on Spotify Australia.

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

His voice is one of the best.

It’s like Soul Rock and I like Collins when his also bluesy with a touch of rock.

The “hit songs” on this album are not my favourites. The brass instruments are just too much for me on those. But with any Collins release, there is always something to sink your ears into.

“Long Long Way To Go” is a favourite. It’s the mood and the repeating guitar/synth lick.

Then there is “I Don’t Wanna Know” which is a melodic rock masterpiece, with a great outro guitar solo.

“Don’t Lose My Number” reminds me of Marillion for some reason. It has a feel that Marillion would explore later on when they changed vocalists.

“Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” has this driving beat to kick it off before it subdues in the verses, but the drums still roll on.

And there’s so much more music to get through for 1985, but that will be for other posts.

So into the time machine we go and I’ll see ya at 1977 for Part 4.

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The Record Vault – Coverdale/Page

The album came out in 1993.

The guitar work on it from Page is exceptional. Which was needed, as his 80’s projects “The Firm” and his solo album “Outrider” didn’t really set the charts alight or have people talking about him again.

But on this album they did talk about Page again.

The opening string pull off lick for “Shake My Tree” is an oldie from his Zep days. Simply, yet effective and Coverdale follows the riff with the vocal lead. Then when it gets heavy, it’s a cross between “Still Of The Night” and “Communication Breakdown”.

The lead break on “Waiting On You” is simple and effective and the riffs groove behind it.

“Take Me For A Little While” is one of Coverdale’s best songs. Jimmy Page breaks out one of his best lead breaks and that little lead lick in the Chorus, makes me press repeat on this song.

“Pride and Joy” could have come from Led Zep III, as Jimmy Page brings his open string tunings to David Coverdale. And while it rocks acoustically, it’s the heavy open string verse riff which connects, and when it goes back into the open tuning acoustic bit, it’s just perfect.

Four tracks in and I’m on the floor.

When “Over Now” kicks in, I am digging the psychedelic nature of the vocals and the exoticism of the music.

Page doesn’t follow the typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus. “Over Now” has no real structure as it moves between verses and something which resembles a chorus and an outro which feels like a cool jam.

You talked to me of virtue / And sang a song so sweet / But all I know is I could smell / The perfume of deceit / And it’s over now

Coverdale is referencing his break up with the Jaguar dancing Tawny Kitaen. And there are quite a few songs on the album which reference the relationship.

“Feeling Hot” is the sped up child of “Johnny Be Goode” crossed with “Hit The Road Jack”.

And the comparison to Led Zep is always going to happen, because Jimmy Page is Led Zep’s main musical writer and it doesn’t matter with who he works with, his riffs will always sound like Page and Page’s career is held within his work with Led Zep.

Like “Easy Does It”.

It is one of the best Led Zeppelin tracks that Led Zeppelin didn’t write. And when it morphs into a rocking track from about 2.40 mark, it’s so cool to hear Coverdale steer away from the typical verse and chorus format.

It’s these kinds of songs that get me to commit. For Whitesnake, it was “Still Of The Night” which got me to commit, because it didn’t follow the conventional verse and chorus format.

“Absolution Blues” has David Coverdale delivering a near perfect Led Zep vocal line in the verses.

Come the dawn of judgement day / I’ll get down on my knees and pray / The Good Lord don’t send me away / I’ll never ever go

No one wants to leave the land of the living. They realize then how much living they really need to do.

“Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” is one of my favourite songs on the album. That dropped D intro riff is excellent. Even System Of A Down used a very similar style riff for their awesome song “Aerials” from the mega selling “Toxicity” album.

Also the idea of the song happened back in 1982-83 as their is an acoustic demo of the song on the “Slide It In” Deluxe reissue.

And when you combine the various wars for lyrical inspiration and Jimmy Page”s dropped D riff, you get a classic.

The suffocating heat of jungles, burning desert sands / Where everything reminds you, you’re a stranger in a strange land

There is a whole generation of people who wouldn’t even know about the Vietnam War or the Gulf War. And when leaders from around the world decide to send in their troops to a place, well those troops already have a target on their back, as strangers in a strange land.

Machine gun, battle cry / You pray to God when the bullets fly / The bombs fall like black rain / And all your dreams take you home again

At the end of the first Gulf War, the Iraqi forces set an oilfield alight, which burned black toxic smoke for months. And when it rained, all those black toxins came back down as black rain. And the ones who survived, are struck with PTSD.

You try to carry the heavy load / Walking down Armageddon road, oh, Armageddon road

In reality what did all of the Wars achieve?

Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia and all the democratic countries rushed to the Saudi aids so their young Prince could grow up and order the dismemberment of a journalist who spoke out against him. And Iraq along with Afghanistan is still a hotspot of violence and extremism.

And as soon as this project got traction, Page jumped ship to work with Robert Plant again, who suddenly wanted to work with Page again.

Funny that.

And Coverdale went back and reformed Whitesnake, with Adrian Vandenberg and Warren DeMartini on guitars, Rudy Sarzo on drums and Denny Carmessi on drums.

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The Record Vault – The Cult

It’s going to be a long road to go through the record collection. All the A’s and B’s are done. This involves, Vinyl LP’s, 12 inch singles, 7 inch singles, CD singles, CD LP’s, Cassettes, Tour Booklets and DVD’s of the artists.

Now we are up to C.

First up is “The Cult”.

This band was heavily played in Australia. I had their video clips recorded on various VHS cassette tapes plus live in studio appearances which they did for the various music channels.

But I only have a few physical products from The Cult.

Wildflower (12 inch single)
From the “Electric” album, released in 1987.

As soon as I heard the AC/DC like riff and groove I was in.

And the vocal melody of Ian Astbury sealed the deal.

Love Removal Machine (12 inch single)

Also from the “Electric” album.

How can you not like it?

It starts off like “Start Me Up” from The Rolling Stones and even the Stones song is a nod to “All Right Now” and that song is a nod to the whole British Blues Explosion from the 60’s that merged blues and folk.

And how good are the covers?

Sonic Temple

This is the album that made me commit.

The singles I heard continued in the hard rock direction set up with the earlier “Electric” album.

And producing is Bob Rock.

He wasn’t the famous producer he would become after “Dr Feelgood” hit the streets, as that album was still a few months away from being released (“Sonic Temple” came out in April 1989, and “Dr Feelgood” came out in September 1989), but he was still known to me from the credits of the “Slippery When Wet” album and the Loverboy albums.

There isn’t a song I don’t like.

“Sun King” could have come from any 70’s Rock album. It’s drenched in that psychedelic vibe.

“Fire Woman” rolls through like a fire storm. It’s hard rock but nothing like the LA hard rock otherwise known as Hair Metal.

“American Horse” has this “Mississippi Queen” feel in the verses which gets me interested and that melodic riff in the Chorus/Intro gets me playing air guitar.

How good is that sleazy groove in the outro?

The acoustic intro to “Edie” is simple, but effective.

“Sweet Soul Sister” was close to being my favourite because of that Intro riff.

But the piece d-resistance is “Soul Asylum” with that Kashmir drum feel and staccato guitar riff. And I would have been happy if the album ended here.

Then the riff started for “New York City” and my foot was tapping again as Astbury delivers a vocal line that’s Aerosmith worthy while “Automatic Blues” has Astbury and Duffy channelling Led Zeppelin. “Wake Up Time For Freedom” channels Alice Cooper and “I’m Eighteen” in the verses.

“Medicine Train” closes the album, the slide guitar acoustic and harmonica in the intro is a diversion for the rawk and roll coming on the horizon.

Pure Cult

Astbury and Duffy thought no one would be interested in this collection of tracks, but a lot of us where, because although we liked the bands singles and taped the music videos, we didn’t really want to fork out on all the earlier albums that most reviewers said, “had a lot of filler”.

So when this collection dropped, it was the perfect compendium.

And they could tour with Aerosmith, Metallica and Soundgarden. Their music was smart enough and timeless to transcend genres in people’s minds. You can like Slayer and still like The Cult. Because Astbury didn’t come across as a cock rocker. Vocalists like Astbury and Glenn Danzig built their careers on that whole Morrison vocal vibe and it never dated.

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

2000 – Part 4

A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms

This album became a favourite of mine. It was metal, but different. It was hard rock, but different. It was progressive rock, but with shorter songs and based on moods and grooves. It was atmospheric rock, but different. It was like soundtrack music but it wasn’t.

This project is the brainchild of guitarist Billy Howerdel, who did his time as a guitar techie for countless musicians and tours. On down time, he wrote songs on his computer, which Tool vocalist Maynard heard and wanted to write lyrics to. And APC was born.

It was a 5 skulls out of 5 skulls review in the Hot Metal mag I used to buy, which at this time became known as “HM” as the term “Metal” was uncool to use.

“Judith” has a groove riff which gets the head banging. And that pre – chorus;

Fuck your God
Your Lord and your Christ
He did this
Took all you had and
Left you this way
Still you pray, you never stray
Never taste of the fruit
You never thought to question why

“Orestes” is my favourite track on the album.

The vocal melody from Maynard is like a lead guitar and the drumming in the song, especially in the outro by Josh Freese is a testament in its own right. And when the lead from Billy Howerdel comes in, it’s like a vocal melody as well.

Gotta cut away, clear away
Snip away and sever this
Umbilical residue

“Renholder” has a “Diary Of A Madman” like intro which hooks me. Actually, the band used to merge “Diary Of A Madman” with “Love Song” from The Cure in live settings.

“Brena” which when sang is “Brenya” is another one of those atmospheric songs in the verses with a crashing chorus and a vocal line that sounds like a lead instrument. And again, those outros make you want to press repeat.

Godsmack – Awake

Their brand of Groove Metal, a band name from an Alice In Chains song and Sully Erna’s voice (being different to what I was used to) is what interested me.

While I gravitated to it, a lot of people didn’t. I remember reading reviews that said the band “puts out average boring metal” and I’m like, what the hell does that mean.

And this album is the in between sophomore slump. You know the one. The first album, it has your whole life’s worth of song writing ready for consideration, but on the second album, you only have a few months to come up with tunes. And artists write consistently, but sometimes, they need to go back and revisit tracks. Time makes them great.

Stand out tracks on this one are “Awake”, the closer “Journey/Spiral”, “Trippin” and “Greed”.

The next album, “Faceless” is the album that really put Godsmack on the map.

Papa Roach – Infest

“CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES, THIS IS MY LAST RESORT!”.

The lyrics are from “The Last Resort”, which has a Bruce Dickinson/Gers riff from “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” hooked me in to this band.

Other worthy tracks are “Broken Home” and “Between Angels And Insects”.

And it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, Papa Roach might have broken during the Nu-Metal phase but they are a hard rock band with some serious mileage on the board.

Twenty years’ worth of mileage.

Lifehouse – No Name Face

All of my hard rock friends ignored Lifehouse because they got labelled “post-grunge”. And I was like, what the hell does that mean.

They are just a rock band.

Anyway, Lifehouse just seems to hang around in my life. Maybe it is because my wife played the “No Name Face” album to death at home and in the car when it came out in 2000.

While “Hanging By A Moment” had the traction, it was album cuts like “Cling and Clatter”, “Quasimodo” and “Everything” that hooked me in. And if you do listen to any track, make sure its “Everything”. That last 90 seconds feels like a spiritual awakening, a perfect end for the melancholic beginning.

“No Name Face” is the winning season, the championship, for everything that came after.

Three Doors Down – A Better Life

“Kryptonite”, “Be Like That” and “Loser” got a lot of air play, but this album has some good album cuts, a bit heavier, like “Duck And Run” and “Better Life”. Especially, the lyrics in “Duck And Run”.

To this world I’m unimportant
Just because I have nothing to give
So you call this your free country
Tell me why it cost so much to live

There was always winners and losers but it was never amplified the way it is today, with social media. The endless “death scroll”, as people see the happiness that other people are supposably having. Covid-19 has changed it up a bit, as a lot of people would normally put up holiday shots at scenic places, but these are on hold for the next couple of years.

And I live in a free country as well, but man, I am budgeting my way through life, because to live is expensive. And that’s just to keep a roof over our heads.

All my work and endless measures
Never seem to get me very far
Walk a mile just to move an inch
Now even though I’m trying so damn hard

Ever tried to lose weight. You bust your ass dieting and working out, only to drop a few grams each week, but within a week of stopping, you have put on a kilo.

And when I’m putting plans in place to try and create a better life, there are times, when it feels like I’m operating with an unseen life anchor, which likes to keep me in the same place. It’s at this moment, I ask myself, do I give up or do I change tact or do I re-evaluate and re-calibrate.

And I won’t duck and run, cause
I’m not built that way

As John Cougar Mellencamp said, you need to stand for something or you would fall for everything. Stand for what you believe in and say your truth. People might disagree or people might agree or people might offer different advice. That’s all part of life.

Powderfinger – Odyssey Number 5

They played a brand of rock that music writers said “moved between Post Rock, Hard Rock, Folk Rock and Pop Rock”. And Australian audiences loved em. To me, they are simply a hard rock band.

Bernard Fanning is one hell of a vocalist, who had this voice that could rock as hard as Scott/Johnson from AC/DC, be all Robert Plant like when it needed to be and yet, he could produce the baritone vocals of Eddie Vedder, all tied in with his own unique tones.

“Waiting for the Sun” opens the album with a jangly minor chord and it’s all systems go.

“My Happiness” was the big single.

My happiness is slowly creeping back,
Now you’re at home.
If it ever starts sinking in
It must be when you pack up and go

Whatever your job might be, the worst is when you have to say goodbye to loved ones for a period of time. Going on a tour, going interstate or overseas or being deployed with the military.

“The Metre” starts off with just an acoustic guitar, a vocal and some strings. It was rejected as sounding too similar to their other stuff, but yeah, this is Powderfinger, so you would expect them to have songs similar in style. AC/DC built a 50 year career on it.

And I like the Beatles like chorus melody with the lyrics “Welcome to the saving grace / There’s a sunset on the road / reappearing as we go”.

Time moves forward, and we need to move forward with it.

Sunsets and Sunrises are part of life.

What we do with each one is up to us?

“Like a Dog” has a dig at the Australian Government of the time and their treatment of Indigenous Australians, with an AC/DC like Chorus and a sleazy bluesy single note riff to underpin it.

“Now we’re trying hard to reconcile a history of shame/ But he reinforced the barriers that keep it the same.”

“Up and Down and Back Again” is one of my favourite tracks.

If everybody knows just who you are
When your walk on role becomes a major part
Have you ever attempted to be yourself?
When everybody wants you to be someone else?

You see it a lot when it comes to art, especially art that starts to make money. Because once art starts making money, people who create nothing want a cut, so they enforce their expectation onto the artist. It even happens in the workplace, when it’s hard to be yourself or to express your views.

“My Kind Of Scene” has a rolling single note guitar line, a subdued drum beat, with a haunting vocal line from Fanning.

Tell me where I’m supposed to begin
an unhappy life working, some kind of dead end job

Is this the scene you want?

And Covid-19 has shown the world, that nothing is stable. So people are queuing up for unemployment benefits, while Governments foot the bill.

Which they should?

“These Days” has one of the most simplest and effective vocal intros ever.

This life, well, it’s slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned

So it’s time to re-evaluate and re-calibrate. The destination is never a straight line from here to there. It’s got its bumps and roundabouts and back to starts.

See ya at 1985 for Part 4.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

When Does Good Art Stop Being Good Art?

Dee Snider asked this question on his Twitter page.

Should an artists personality or world views change your perception of his or her art?

Art is usually created by very imperfect human beings. It’s their issues that motivate them. Case in point, Bill Cosby put out some of the funniest comedy records of all time. Are they no longer funny because of his criminal acts? Funny is funny.

The question I believe was in relation to Dee’s views on Trump.

A lot of large artists are keeping quiet on this front so they don’t alienate their fan base. Their corporation is too big so they don’t risk putting their view points out there in case the dollars get less. Artists like Jovi and Metallica come to mind. Even Dave Mustaine is quiet on this front.

Which is bizarre for me as I grew up on the anti-corrupt-Government lyrics written by Megadeth and Metallica. But as they say, the pains that bother you when you have nothing to lose don’t exist when you have something to lose.

Meanwhile artists like Dee Snider, Nikki Sixx and Robb Flynn are not keeping quiet. And there supporters who also support Trump are not happy with them for expressing their views.

And when people questioned Snider and told him to keep his mouth shut, Dee fired back with;

And you support that Russian/North Korean ass kissing commie draft dodger rich boy in the White House?

And discussion centered around Ted Nugent, Michael Jackson, the Trapt lead singer, Eddie Murphy, Gary Glitter and everyone else where a person did something wrong,

And this was Dee’s answer to his original question;

FOR THE RECORD…I don’t have the answer. It’s one that plagues me. I myself have turned on art I’ve loved because I discovered something I found distasteful about the artist. But why does that make the song/painting/book/movie less great?

I will turn on the art of an artist if they did something repulsive. Then again I was never a Cosby fan nor a Lost Prophets fan nor a Gary Glitter fan.

I would never turn on an artist because for their political views.

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11th May 1992 Australian Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Charts Snapshot

I posted last week about the albums that made up the Top 20 in Australia back in 1992.

Here is the Singles List.

Number 1
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

The Hendrix “Little Wing” inspired intro from Frusciante converted a lot of rock heads to the RHCP. Their album was on top and their single was on top.

Number 2
To Be With You – Mr Big

Their worst song by far, but it cashed in on the Unplugged acoustic craze. It worked for Extreme and it worked for Mr Big. But those ballad fans who cross over for the song are fly by nighters.

Number 3
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

The variety on the self-titled “Black” album is a big reason why it sold. There was enough there to please metal heads, rock heads, thrash heads, country heads and pop heads. And this song is a perfect example of it. Plus it has a killer James Hetfield lead break.

Number 4
Alive – Pearl Jam

I get why it was popular, but I didn’t like it when it came out and after I purchased the album, I preferred a lot of the other tracks to this.

Number 5
Let’s Get Rocked – Def Leppard

So you wanna get rocked…. I guess we still wanted to get rocked.

Number 6
Thought I’d Died And Gone To Heaven – Bryan Adams

This is from the “Waking Up The Neighbours” album that went to number 1 everywhere.

Adams has a lot of fans down under, so it’s no surprise his songs chart well. And what a run he had between 1983 and 1999. And he made some big choices, like moving from Jim Vallance to Mutt Lange and the momentum just kept getting bigger.

Number 7
November Rain – Guns N Roses

You get three emotive Slash solos.

What more could you want?

Number 8
Viva Las Vegas – ZZ Top

It’s a cover song, but at this point in time there was nothing that ZZ Top could do wrong. This is one of the two new tracks, the other being “Gun Love”. Like Adams, they were on a winning plus decade.

Number 9
Dream Alone – Killing Time

An Australian hard rock band, which had a band name, the same as the U.S hardcore band and after this single release they would change it to Mantissa.

They supported bands like Janes Addiction, Baby Animals and Pantera on National tours but they had a constant turnover of musicians which felt like a momentum killer.

Number 10
Sister’s Crazy – Candy Harlots

This band story is a combination of Anvil and Motley Crue.

They had a deal offered in 1987 but their manager refused to sign it, because he wanted a bigger cut and then signed the band to a four year management deal, which suppressed the band from signing the record deal themselves. No other label wanted to get involved in this legal mess. They finally did sign a deal in 1991.

They had a massive Club following like Motley Crue. There was tragedy when one of their main songwriters Ron Barrett died before they even got their deal. In the 90’s, Barrett’s death was reported as a drug overdose, while these days, its reported as an asthma attack. And the evolving door of musicians just kept on happening, with drummer Tony Cardinal being the only founding musician in the band when they got their deal.

And as soon as they released their “Five Wicked Ways” album in 1992, within a year it was over.

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The Pirate Vault #10

The Angels – Live Line

There was a period in Australian music when “The Angels” ruled. Their brand of punk rock, merged with New Wave and hard rock, connected with all kinds of audiences.

I never owned any of their music, just the video clips which I taped from the music TV stations and a few taped cassettes. I taped this cassette from one of my brothers friends who was a DJ for parties and most of the parties back then played hard rock songs.

Coming in 1987, its sandwiched between my two favourite albums, 1986’s “Howling” and 1990’s “Beyond Salvation”.

In Australia, it charted high and The Angels did a massive tour to support the live album with a three hour, An Evening With concept.

Alice Cooper – Raise Your Fist And Yell
King Diamond – Fatal Portrait

“Freedom” and “Time To Kill” are two songs which stood out for me. They had that blend of Alice Cooper 70’s Anthems and 80’s MTV Hard Rock. And what a band Alice Cooper had, with future Winger bandmates Winger and Paul Taylor on bass and keys, future House Of Lords drummer Ken Mary, and Kane Roberts on guitar.

For King Diamond, I was on an Andy LaRocque phase. This is the debut solo album for King Diamond and it has Michael Denner from Mercyful Fate as well on guitars.

Blank Title Mix Tape

This tape was done to get me out of a musical rut. My line of thinking went something like this;

  • Put all these different style of songs on a tape.
  • Listen to it and my song writing will change.

So there is some variation in the song but it’s all still rock and metal.

Side A

Boston – Amanda

This song took me by surprise and made me realise, what a good song it is.

Judas Priest – Blood Red Skies

From the “Ram It Down’ album, it’s my favourite cut.

That acoustic intro, it brings back memories of Scorpions, Accept and Crimson Glory. Halford vocally and melodically is brilliant.

Then at 1.44 it goes into this “Turbo” feel. Which is not surprising as the song was meant to be part of the Turbo double album that the label stopped.

Heart – All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You

I had a Mutt Lange phase.

I couldn’t believe the amount of hits this dude was writing or involved in, so I was trying to listen to em as much of em as possible.

He wrote this song in the 70’s as a normal love song for Don Henley and it was recorded by a different artist called Dobie Gray. He then updated the lyrics about “an affair to conceive a baby” in the 90’s and this is Heart’s version, released in 1994.

Heart have abandoned the song, refusing to play it live as vocalist Ann Wilson hated the message in the song, but the band were under pressure by the label to do it.

Asia – Only Time Will Tell

From their 1982 debut album, written by John Wetton and Geoff Downes.

MSG – I’m Gonna Make You Mine

From “Built To Destroy”, released in 1983, written by Andy Nye, Michael Schenker, Gary Barden and Ted McKenna.

Tygers Of Pang Tang – Mirror

This is a John Sykes cut from “Spellbound” released in 1981. It closes side 1 and it’s one of those cuts that makes you press repeat.

Europe – Ninja

Released in 1986, it closes Side 1.

The same side which has “The Final Countdown”, “Rock The Night” and “Carrie”.

The lead guitar melody in the intro and in the Chorus is what hooks me.

Keel – The Right To Rock

Released in 1985 and produced by Gene Simmons.

Ron Keel did everything at ten, but it’s the AC/DC like riff in the intro that gets me to pay attention. And then I heard the first two lines of the 1st verse, “all my life I’ve been fighting for the right to make my stand”.

And I was in.

MSG – Desert Song

One of my favourite Schenker songs, with the carbon copy riff from “Love To Love”.

Keel – United Nations

Released in 1987 and produced by Michael Wagener. Ron keel did everything at ten take 2 but it’s that harmony guitar intro which hooked me in again.

And the label they were on, just didn’t know how to market the band and this album would be the last to feature both Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay on guitars.

Side B

WASP – The Real Me

It’s a cover from The Who and WASP do an excellent job, capturing the craziness of Moon on the drums and Entwistle on the bass.

Scorpions – Don’t Stop At The Top

From 1988 and their “Savage Amusement” album.

A great intro and a brilliant first verse.

“You never take the easy way, the wind is blowing straight into your face” is covering the resilience self-help industry.

“There’s no risk that you’re not taking, not a mountain that’s too high, spread your wings, you’re gonna make it to the best time of your life” covers the perseverance self-help industry.

Why buy a 300 page book from an Harvard grad, when the Scorpions have it all for you.

And the lead breaks from Rarebell are the breaks of guitar heroes.

Black Sabbath – Children Of The Sea

From 1980 and the excellent “Heaven And Hell” album.

The many different movements from the acoustic intro to the doomy guitar riff about humanity being the lost children of the sea.

Whitesnake – Blindman

It appeared on a Whitesnake album called “Ready An’ Willing” in 1980, but it was released on David Coverdale’s solo album, called ”The White Snake” in 1977.

One of my favourite Whitesnake songs, done as a power ballad but the way power ballads were done in the 70’s.

Heart – Who Will You Run To

From “Bad Animals” released in 1985 and written by Diane Warren. It was overshadowed by the power ballad “Alone”,

Lita Ford – Falling In And Out Of Love

Released in 1988 on the “Lita” album and co-written with Nikki Sixx. The music, the vocal melodies and the guitar leads are all perfect.

And I was all in.

MSG – Follow The Night

This was the last throw of the dice for the label.

The album “Perfect Timing” was released in 1987. The production was a typical 80’s glam/hair metal production, instead of his normal UFO/British production from the previous albums. The Choruses were all big AOR attempts so the songs could chart.

But I am a Schenker fan because of his guitar playing and when he has a song that makes me pick up the guitar to learn it, I am in.

RUSH – Afterimage

From “Grace Under Pressure” released in 1984. Apart from the music capturing me, the lyrics from Peart about the death of a friend sealed the deal.

Sanctuary- Future Tense

From 1990.

A monster of a song.

It starts off doomy like Black Sabbath, before it builds into a metal tune.

And the lyrics. Check em out.

What do you see on the news when you watch T.V.
War in the name of God, or a playground killing spree

Has anything changed since 1990.

Politicians promise you the world, and a preacher cries
All he ever wanted was your money, and a bitch on the side
What went wrong? Did society twist him?

There is a saying that society does twist everyone as no one is born to hate, steal and lie. Those seeds are implanted. It’s like the saying, everyone is born to win and raised to lose.

What do you see in the centre of the public eye
Rock stars on smack, and a serial killer fries

The media reports what will get eyeballs. Feel-good stories don’t get eyeballs like the train wrecked lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Radicals blame suicide and murder on our form of art
Brainwash the youth, you know they claim we all play a part
What a shame that they can’t think for themselves

Remember that 80’s Satanic Panic and all the court cases that came out of it. Judas Priest and Ozzy got taken to court because of it.

And the band was pressured to change their musical style from metal to grunge by the label. But bassist Jim Sheppard and vocalist Warrel Dane did not agree and they would go on to form Nevermore, which they kept running for 17 years plus before they returned to Sanctuary.

And they released the excellent “The Year The Sun Died” in 2014.

And then Warrel Dane died from a heart attack in 2017, while he was recording a follow up to his first solo album, “Praises To The War Machine” which was released in 2008. This album “Shadow Work” came out in 2018 but it wasn’t done properly, as it was completed using vocals from various studio and pre-production sessions.

Keel – The Final Frontier

Released in 1986 and produced by Gene Simmons. Remember Ron Keel operates at an intensity of 10.

Magellan – Test For Wills
Angra – Fireworks

My cousin who was into Death Metal, was also in Thrash Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Rock/Metal.

Basically he was into everything distorted and he had the dollars to purchase.

So he was my filter.

He recommended these two albums to me, but I don’t recall anything from em.

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