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

1996 – Part 5.3: Michael Schenker Group – Written In The Sand

Every label head said Schenker was finished, washed up.

It’s 1991 and a supergroup called Contraband drop their debut album. And it keeps on dropping because it is so bad. The nice advance payment that Schenker got to be involved in the project didn’t do much to enhance or move forward his career. In fact his manager and ex-partner took most of it.

But he stays alive, because he’s a lifer. When you have been in the game for this long, the only thing you know how to do is play. And play he did. He jumped on board the unplugged bandwagon and released an album. He called up Robin McAuley and released another McAuley Schenker studio album.

Then he re-unites with Phil Mogg and they start writing. The songs got the labels interested and the “Walk On Water” album from UFO, released in 1995 surprised everyone. Suddenly Schenker was back on the agenda and he’s getting money thrown at him again. He had a lot of bad people in his life at this point in time, from managers and partners, so it was always going to happen that MSG would return.

I didn’t think it would be that quick. Because a year after “Walk On Water”, “Written In The Sand” is released, the eighth full-length studio album that falls under the MSG brand.

The only thing consistent with all of these MSG albums is the name and Michael Schenker himself. The other members are in a constant flux. For this album, Schenker is joined by Leif Sundin on vocals, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass. All the music is by Michael Schenker and all lyrics by Leif Sundin.

Ron Nevison is doing all the Producing, Engineering and Mixing.

It’s not on Spotify which irks me, but YouTube has it.

Brave New World

It’s got groove, swing and lot of rock and roll. And the first thing that grabs my attention are the vocals from Leif Sundin. His voice is very melodic, fluid and unique. I would say he’s up there as one of the best singers in MSG.

The lead breaks are impressive, with Schenker even soloing over a harmony solo which acts as a rhythm guitar.

Cry No More

Press play to hear the intro. Its heavy and a lot of acts who went alternative to survive weren’t doing riffs like this during this period. The song could have been on a Deep Purple album and it wouldn’t be out pf place.

I Believe

It’s a ballad that turns into a rocker. It’s not original, yet it is an easy listen.

Back to Life

No one was writing riffs like this in 1996. Its old school and I like it. Barry Sparks is massive on the bass here as well.

Written in the Sand

This track is essential MSG. It has a sleazy bluesy riff and a lot of melody. And Schenker delivers a tasty guitar-solo in the middle and for the outro.

Essenz

It wouldn’t be an MSG album without an instrumental. This one has an “Eruption” vibe before moving into a fast blues. Think of “Hot For Teacher” when it picks up.

Love Never Dies

Imagine “Finish What Ya Started” merging with the melodic rock genre. Well this is the outcome. Another close favourite with a killer Schenker lead break.

I Will Be There

Press play to hear the verse riff. Schenker makes it sound technical, yet it rocks so fluidly.

Take Me Through the Night

Its classic heavy metal while the singing is happening and the solo section is barroom blues brawling.

It wouldn’t be out of place on any metal album from the early 80’s.

Down the Drain

The album closer showcases how Schenker decorates in a creative way. You cannot ignore how good it is.

While Schenker’s North American career had stalled, he was still a big draw in Japan and certain European markets. And just like that, the whole “Contraband” affair was forgotten. That is if you heard the album. Which wasn’t easy to do.

Crank it.

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Music, Stupidity

1996 – Part 5.2: Manowar – Louder Than Hell

If the style of the artwork looks familiar, it should. Its Ken Kelly doing the cover. If you have “Destroyer” and “Love Gun” from Kiss, “Rising” by Rainbow, “Space Invader” by Ace and other albums by Manowar like “Fighting The World” and “The Triumph Of Steel”, then you would have been exposed to Ken Kelly.

Should be called “Duller Than Hell” and Motley Crue also want their title back. Or they should have used their war cry “Death To False Metal” as the album title as the songs themselves are too derivative of earlier Manowar and could be classed as false.

It’s their eighth album, released on October 1, 1996. After the expiration of their contract with Atlantic, the band did a big money move to Geffen Records and this is their first offering. For an album on Geffen Records, the production is lifeless. Stale. Which is strange as the album was anticipated. And it was a running joke, if the album would ever get released as they approached four years from the previous studio album. Back then four years was a long time. These days bands go decades without releasing anything new.

Formed in 1980, Joey DeMaio on bass, keyboards is still the head honcho and main songwriter. Eric Adams is still the vocalist. It is the first album to feature guitarist Karl Logan, as well as the return of drummer Scott Columbus.

Dee Snider once posted on Twitter, if people should listen to an artist if they did a crime that doesn’t sit well with you.

Guitarist Karl Logan was arrested in 2019 for child pornography offenses. I questioned myself if I should review this album or not review it. I decided to review it, since all the songs are written by kingpin DeMaio.

My opinion of the album still hasn’t changed.

It’s a parody of their former albums, like “Fighting The World”. The guitar playing is boring.

While former guitarist Ross The Boss played riffs, the new guy plays chords. They might as well have gotten Richie Sambora to play chords. He would have done a more livelier job. And maybe introduced a talk box into their sound.

I was always a Ross The Boss fan anyway and was pretty bummed when he was asked to leave the band he formed with Joey DeMaio by DeMaio himself circa 1988. At first, Ross the Boss was replaced by David Shankle, who left in ’94 after playing on “The Triumph of Steel”. I didn’t want to even listen to the album, but my cousin is a massive fan and he kept playing their new albums for me to check out.

Return of the Warlord

It’s very Judas Priest like. Think “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and “Heading Out The Highway”. Each song has a dedication in the CD liner notes, and this one is dedicated to Mary Hooton for all the years and all the tears.

Lyrically, its dumb and simple. While the musical climate in the 90’s started to get more introspective and introverted, Manowar was the opposite. They stayed big, bombast, epic and aloof.

Check-out lines like, “I got no money or big house just got life, I don’t like to save it’s more fun to spend, If you like metal you’re my friend, And that bike out in the yard well that’s my wife”.

Yep, I know the 90’s were hard on 80’s metal, yet Manowar survived writing stuff like this.

Brothers of Metal Pt. 1

It’s from 1986, so they must have had writers block. The lyrical themes of “Fighting for metal, that is real, brothers of metal standing together with hands in the air” was a running joke in 1996. The song is dedicated to Jeff Bova.

More lyrical Shakespeare with “Our hearts are filled with metal and masters we have none, and we will die for metal, metal heals, my son

The Gods Made Heavy Metal

Judas Priest again comes to mind, circa “Screaming For Vengeance” era. With lyrics that will either make you take up the fight for Heavy Metal or laugh at the parody of Heavy Metal.

We are treated to biblical lines like “the gods made heavy metal and they saw that is was good, they said to play it louder than Hell, we promised that we would”.

It’s dedicated to a person called Rainer Haensel, for always being ready for anything crazy and for never letting the band down.

Courage

Another song that was demoed in 1986, it’s a piano ballad in a major key. Very Queen like and on this album it is in memory of Anthony John Columbus III.

But it’s a skip for me.

Number 1

One more song that was demoed in 1986 which is dedicated to Tom Miller for believing in the band no matter how crazy it seemed.

And Sylvester Stallone should of used lines like these in a “Rocky” or “Creed” movie. “Today is the day all the training through, we have come for the number one not the number two, let the contest begin play hard fight to win, immortality victory and fame”.

Outlaw

More of the same like the previous songs, the song is for the Manowar fans around the world who stand, shout, live and breathe MANOWAR METAL. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Manowar Metal” becomes a new genre in the years to come.

King

It’s another piano major key ballad for the first 90 seconds before it kicks in to more of the same. “Fighting The World” comes to mind here.

It’s dedicated to John Kalodner, their friend, brother and King. And they do him proud, with the lyrics, “Fight for the crown, fight for the ring, We’re fighting the world, we fight for the king”.

And if you grew up in the 80s you would have seen John

Today Is a Good Day to Die

A 9 minute instrumental that could belong in a Clint Eastwood Western.

They pull no punches in the CD notes when they say this song is dedicated to all the losers in the world who have tried to put Manowar and the Manowar fans down. As the Indians fought and died for their way of life, so shall Manowar. Great Spirit, they only wish to live long enough to urinate on the graves of their enemies.

The Power

Probably the best song on the album as it’s pace is frantic. And the Power is dedicated to artist Ken Kelly.

Manowar’s style is 80bpm chugging along rhythms. Most of their music is the key of Em. They celebrate heavy metal the way we knew it in the early 80’s, before it splintered into so many different categories. They make no apologies for it either. They do it their way, they have their core audience who are devoted to them and sustain them.

“Back In Black” from AC/DC is simple and it keeps you interested. “Louder Than Hell” is simple but it doesn’t keep me interested. Not like the earlier albums from Manowar.

Eric Adams on vocals is underrated and never spoken about when it comes to great vocalists. But they should talk about him a bit more. If you talk about Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, then Eric Adams should be in the same conversation. This album doesn’t do him justice, but check out the 80’s material.

Check it out if you want to hear a band carrying on the flag of 80’s Heavy Metal in the wastelands of Grunge, Alternative and Industrial.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 18 to July 25

2018 (4 Years Ago)

ANEW REVOLUTION

Whatever happened to Anew Revolution?

I was a fan back in the day and I still enjoy cranking their tunes. They released two official albums that I am aware off, in “Rise” (2008) and “iMerica” in 2010. There was an “Unplugged EP” in 2012 and a Kickstarter project that release new songs to the backers only in 2014.

I hope Anew Revolution make more music. They have fans. We probably won’t make the band millions, but we will listen.

Check out my review of “Rise” here?

WITHHOLDING MUSIC FROM STREAMING

Once upon a time, it used to cost a lot of money to record. Very few acts, got signed and even less acts got a chance to record and get distributed. Getting inside the record label machine was hard, however if an act could penetrate, they could have a long career even if they never had a hit on the charts.

The label did have good intentions to keep you in the business and the label would promote you. All at your cost of course. But the truth is, it was harder to keep a record deal than to get a record deal. Especially if you didn’t sell. And even more so, once MTV came out and you didn’t sell.

Kiss benefited from this business model. They relied on the label putting some money upfront for the recording of the album, for the film clips and for tour support.

Then Napster came, then torrents, the iTunes store and streaming and Gene and Paul just kept on shouting it loud to everyone about how there is no music business, while they toured non-stop and made money from the music business.

In the process they recorded two albums during this period.

Yep, two albums. “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. But for all of the complaining about streaming they did, the Kiss catalogue was on Spotify Australia. Then half of it was off. Then it was back on after a few weeks off. Madness.

I’m against bands withholding their music from a service that people legitimately pay for.

It’s all about consumption. Funds are tight, but Google and Spotify is not the problem. The artists are getting squeezed by the consumer. The consumer either listens or doesn’t want to listen to your music.

For any artist thinking of withholding their music from a streaming service, don’t do it. Don’t hold back progress. Because if you look at the past, you will see people who said the internet would kill the incentive to make music. Wrong, there’s so much more music than ever before. People said streaming would kill the business. Wrong, revenues are up and streaming is seen as it’s saviour.

Think forward, not backwards.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA

What can I say, there is something about TNFO and the music they create that hits a nostalgic spot for me. And I’m digging it.

Album number 4, “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” is full of massive sing-along choruses and derivative versions of some of the best pop songs ever written.

For example, if you like Deep Purple, Supertramp and Rainbow, then you will like the opening track “This Time”.

And that’s how the album flows. A road trip down memory lane, done in a new way.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

I was preparing for my European holidays.

A day before our flight, the news doing the rounds was the MH17 disaster. Then our flight got changed to an earlier time. But no one told us until the last minute.

And I had questions.

Because the new schedule would give us an 8 hour stopover in Bangkok instead of the normal 2 hour stop over.

And holidaying is meant to be relaxing and easy.

Thanks for reading folks, that’s another wrap of DOHistory.

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

Australian Method Series: Lord – Set In Stone

2005.

A band called Dungeon is opening for Megadeth in Sydney. I knew of the name, but never heard any of their music. The band name just didn’t do it for me. It was my mistake. I listened with my eyes instead of my ears. Well that was to change.

After the gig, Dungeon was definitely on my radar and I did purchase a few of their albums. And as soon as I got into them, they called it quits.

Sort of.

You see, Lord was originally started as a side project for Dungeon guitarist/vocalist Tim Grose, which was meant as something different from his main band sound. Lord’s first album was released in 2003 and it wasn’t so different from Dungeon. After Dungeon disbanded in 2005, Lord just became a continuation of Dungeon’s sound with new members. You could even purchase Dungeon albums at shows Lord did.

“Set in Stone” is the third album released in September 2009 by the band’s own label Dominus in conjunction with Riot! Entertainment. The album was recorded in my home town of Wollongong, Australia. A small foot note in history, is that a band I was in at the time opened up for Lord when they played Wollongong touring on this album.

The band is Tim Grose (also known as Lord Tim) on vocals and guitars, Tim Yatras on drums, Mark Furtner on guitars and Andrew Dowling on bass.

Spectres of the Ascendant

48 seconds of sound effects to introduce “Redemption”.

Redemption

Written by Tim Grose and drummer Tim Yatras, who would depart the band after the album was completed.

Its face melting speed metal.

100 Reasons

Another Grose and Yatras track.

It’s hard rock, with a major key Arena melodic rock Chorus.

Eternal Storm

Co-guitarist Mark Furtner gets a co-write with Grose and Yatras.

Fast, Malmsteen like from the “Marching Out” album. The solo is very Vinnie Moore like, running through different scalar patterns.

Set in Stone

Another track written by Grose and Yatras.

My favourite song on the album. The intro riff is a brilliant mix of Classic NWOBHM and American metal. Judas Priest and Maiden come to mind, with vocals bordering between a cross between Dickinson and Tate at their classic metal best.

There is this “wo-oh-oh” chant after the solo. I can imagine thousands of people chanting it at a gig.

Someone Else’s Dream

Written by the band.

An 80’s sounding synth and a syncopated guitar line set the foundations. At stages it feels like it’s a song from the Gothenburg metal scene, but the Chorus is huge and melodic.

Forever

It’s almost Maiden like with a lot of musical influences from the “Fear of The Dark” album.

I play air guitar to the harmony guitars.

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and Andrew Dowling.

The lyrical theme is pretty clear. Boy falls in love, gets rejected and goes all Michael Douglas “Falling Down” on the girl and the world.

The guitar playing in the lead break is brilliant.

Beyond the Light

Written by the band.

Judas Priest and UFO “Lights Out” era comes to mind, vocally and musically. It’s a great song to sing along to.

The End of Days

Written by Grose and Yatras.

It’s like a thrash metal song, with the vocals being a cross between Rob Halford and Tom Araya (in the verses).

Staying true to its title it ends with a nuclear bomb going off.

Be My Guest

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and ex Dungeon bassist Brendan McDonald.

This is like “Stars” on guitar with a lot of guest solos.

It’s an instrumental track featuring guest solos from Craig Goldy of Dio, Glen Drover from Eidolon, Olof Mörck of Dragonland, Yoshiyasu Maruyama of the Japanese thrash band Argument Soul, Angra’s Felipe Andreoli, the former Enter Twilight member Richie Hausberger, Chris Porcianko from Vanishing Point, Chris Brooks and former Dungeon members Stu Marshall and Justin Sayers.

New Horizons

Written by Grose and Yatras. It’s your typical power ballads.

Pete Lesperance from Harem Scarem plays a solo on this.

On a Night Like This

A Kylie Minogue cover as the bonus track.

The fact that the band would attempt such a cover shows the versatility of the members.

Reviews for Australian artists are difficult to do as I want to highlight influences of their sound without making them sound like copyists, and if people from other continents want to check them out, my aim is to give them a reference point as well.

If you haven’t dabbled in the power metal genre, then let Lord be your entry point.

It’s easy really.

Just press play on the melodic rock tracks first like “100 Reasons” and “Beyond The Light”.

If you like em, then press play on the classic metal track, “Set In Stone”.

If you like that, press play on the more ambitious tracks like “The End Of Days” and “Forever”.

Then you are at the fast speed metal with “Redemption” and “Eternal Storm”.

Enjoy.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

1996 – Part 5.1: Van Halen – Best Of – Volume 1

Roth’s Return Was Welcomed But I Was Cynical.

In 1996, Sammy Hagar left Van Halen. Both camps tried to set the record straight as to why things happened like they did. It made for great reading, the press had a field day and the fans just wanted new music.

Enter an old flame.

David Lee Roth re-joined briefly and recorded two songs with the band for the 1996 compilation “Best Of – Volume I”. There is a story about this saga as well, but other sites on the web cover it better. As is the norm, Roth and Eddie clashed again and Roth was out, eventually replaced by Gary Cherone from Extreme.

However we got a “Best Of” album. And it sold well. I guess the public’s appetite to hear Roth with Van Halen again was sky high. I know in Australia it got a Platinum certification and in the U.S it was 3x Platinum.

The album was released on October 22, 1996. I basically purchased it for the two newly recorded Roth songs, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic” plus “Humans Being” which did appear on the Twister soundtrack, however my first hearing of the song was on this compilation.

And this review would focus on those three songs.

Can’t Get This Stuff No More

I got so used to Sammy Hagar and his melodies.

So I wasn’t totally enthused to hear Roth deliver his vocals about a “date with a super model and how he doesn’t need so much to remember”. But Roth is Roth, and it’s why I am a fan. He never conformed nor did he change his style. And the Chorus is as good as any Van Roth chorus.

Eddie was also getting a lot more progressive with his song writing and bro Alex, did a great job to put a beat and feel to it all.

Check out the lead break rhythms and EVH talk boxing his way before he breaks open the gates of shred. For progressiveness check out the outro that just came from left field as it’s a unique piece of music on its own.

Wikipedia also tells me that the music for this song was based on a track called “Backdoor Shuffle” which was originally part of the sessions for the “Balance” album.

Me Wise Magic

As soon as I heard the intro I was picking up the guitar to learn it. Not sure what came first. “Test For Echo” or this. I can Google it, but who cares, as the intro does remind me of Rush. Roth moves between spoken verse to a frantic pre chorus and a killer Chorus with Michael Anthony nailing the backing vocals.

Both of the Roth tracks were produced by Glen Ballard who had a renaissance of some sort in the mid 90’s thanks to Alanis Morissette and “Jagged Little Pill”.

The way the song started is how it ends.

An example of what I meant with EVH being progressive in his writing. You don’t hear the Intro riff again in the song, until it appears in the Outro.

EVH’s working title was “The Three Faces of Shamus,” for its three sections with “completely different vibes going on”.

Roth was also asked to work with Desmond Child on the lyrics after he discarded (or rewrote) the words that Ballard wrote. But Roth is Roth, and no one tells him what to do.

Humans Being

Produced by Bruce Fairbairn.

The intro Em riff (E to G to A) hooks me instantly. It’s almost Metallica like, but also like Alice Cooper (think “I’m Eighteen”).

My favourite part of the song is when Sammy sings “Shine On”, and of course EVH chimes in with a quick melodic lead, which quietens down and then builds up again, full of octaves, whammy bar manipulations, superhuman bends over a droning E note and legato slides. And none of it would work if it wasn’t for the time keeping of AVH.

And there is a story around this song’s creation, but Wikipedia covers it pretty good.

The only thing left to say, is to crank it.

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

THE COPYRIGHT SWINDLE

WILL IT EVER BE FIXED TO REWARD THE CREATOR MORE THAN THE ORGANISATION?

I thought Stallone owned the “Rocky” franchises. Otherwise why would he be involved (by writing, directing and acting) in six movies and three spin offs. He did get paid to write the script but the power balance equation back in the 70’s meant Stallone had to keep his mouth shut or never work again. MGM created movies, and when they did so, it also created work for agents, lawyers and managers. No one wanted to upset anybody.

But today, everyone is upset and litigation is an all-time high. That hit song, has a writ. That hit movie, has a writ. Artists are even putting in bogus copyright claims against rival artists.

And just like that, a song from an artist is taken down on Spotify without any repercussions to the person making the false claim. And there is no counter notice. As the Torrentfreak article states; “The problem with Spotify’s system is that it’s relatively easy to flag a track and have it removed. However, there is no official option for the accused party to appeal the takedown. Instead, they have to resolve the matter with the accuser directly. If the accuser doesn’t respond, the artist is simply out of luck”.

And this puts the power back into the big labels who would find it easier to address wrongful takedowns than smaller independent artists, which creates an unfair situation.

I’m not sure if people remember Hipgnosis Songs Fund. They had a pretty big acquisition period in the first six months of 2021, which led them to acquire a lot of music catalogues. Well, by the end of March 2022, their 65000 song catalogue was worth almost $2.7bn. In one year, their revenues grew by $200m, on the back of streaming revenues.

While the artists cashed in once when they sold their rights, Hipgnosis is cashing in, over and over and over again. And since the Copyright Term in the U.S, lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years after their death, this will be a long time return as long as the music is still listened to. And our neighbours New Zealand just extended their terms by 20 years to make it 70 years from release date otherwise their free trade agreement with the EU couldn’t happen.

One artist who still controls their copyright is Kate Bush. And if you have watched “Stranger Things”, you will know that her song “Running Up That Hill” is back in the charts and getting streamed a lot, earning her over $2.3 million in music streaming royalties alone. And that number will keep on rising.

And of course, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” is also enjoying a nice wave of streaming revenue, courtesy of “Stranger Things”. And they also own their copyrights.

Those who own valuable copyrights will be banking.

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

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Falling Into Infinity

The “A Change of Seasons” EP from 1995, closed a chapter for Dream Theater that went back to those dark days without a deal.

After a short tour to promote the EP, they started writing songs in early 1996 for the follow up album to “Awake”. Derek Sherinian was a full-fledged member and was an extra addition to the song writing team.

Their label East West Records had folded into Elektra. Sylvia Rhone was now the President. Her interest in hard rock music was minimal. Nikki Sixx was also very anti-Sylvia, calling her from the stage on her mobile during Motley Crue concerts and getting the fans to scream “F U Sylvia Rhone.”

As written in the book, “Lifting Shadows” by Rich Wilson, Rhone wanted to drop Dream Theater or to transfer the contract to Warner International, however their success in Europe and Japan was bringing enough dollars to the label, so Elektra decided to keep them. However, they had to come up with more shorter tracks that radio could get behind.

Little did they know, that they would be in development hell for almost a year. Most of the songs they submitted to the label for approval, were met with the request to write more songs. Progressive songs like “Lines In The Sand” and “Trial Of Tears” got a muted response from the label, while songs like “Hollow Years” and “You Not Me” got the label excited.

On top of this was the dissolution of their management team, which had the band divided. Petrucci picked one manager and Portnoy picked the other. Eventually, Petrucci’s choice Rob Shore was selected as the manager and Portnoy’s choice Jim Pitulski went to court to recoup some of his losses.

Further to this, their friend in label hell, A&R Rep Derek Oliver left and his replacement, Josh Deutsch was already fed up with the band. As far as he was concerned, the band was selling enough to not be a liability to the label, so as long as he could get the new record out, they would make numbers.

12 plus months passed before Deutsch gave the go-ahead to record the new album, in March 1997. The list of producers the band submitted was ignored and Kevin Shirley who just did Aerosmith’s “Nine Lives” was hired. Shirley also recommended that the band work with Desmond Child to re-write “You or Me”, resulting in Petrucci being flown down to Florida to work on the song with Child. Following the sessions, the song became “You Not Me”. This infuriated Mike Portnoy as he didn’t like how Desmond Child would re-write one of the songs with just one band member.

Originally, Petrucci and Portnoy wanted to call it “Stream of Consciousness”, but the rest of the band rejected the name although the phrase “Stream of Consciousness” is found in the song “Lines in the Sand” and would later become the title of an instrumental song on “Train of Thought”. Its eventual title was proposed by Petrucci, and its cover art was designed by Storm Thorgerson.

When you write for that long, there is enough material for a double album, but Elektra said the approved budget is for a single album.

As a side note, Portnoy released the double album, when he did the Ytse Jam Records Demo series for the “Falling Into Infinity” demos release. It also got a re-release with Dream Theater’s “Lost Not Forgotten” Archives releases.

If you are a fan of the band, the demo releases are must haves, as you get to hear songs like “Raise the Knife”, “Where are You Now”, “Cover My Eyes”, “Speak to Me”, “The Way It Used to Be”, and “Metropolis Pt. 2”, which was later expanded into its own album and the rest being included on the 1999 fan club CD “Cleaning Out the Closet”.

New Millennium

As soon as the King Crimson inspired intro kicks in with the keys and guitars in harmony, I was hooked. John Myung comes in with a bass riff which is very Tool like and I like the way John Petrucci decorates, very Adam Jones/Tool like.

Mike Portnoy is the lyrical writer here, as he looks at the music industry.

Press play for the Verse Riff. Its heavy, its melodic and its influenced by the times, but it doesn’t sound dated as there is funk and there is groove.

James Labrie cops a lot of flak from fans and I am one of them, but he shows his versatility moving between Peter Gabriel like vocals, to Maynard James Keenan vocals, to Bluesy Paul Rodgers style vocals and yet he makes it all sound hard rock in his own LaBrie way.

Derek Sherinian on the keys is more like Kevin Moore in style.

For an opening track it got my attention.

You Not Me

Musically it’s written by Dream Theater and lyrically it’s done by John Petrucci with small additions from Desmond Child. After hearing the demo of this song, I think Child’s additions are more like Holly Knight’s addition to change the title of “Rag Time” to “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith. The original demo is called “You Or Me”. After Child was involved, it changed to “You Not Me”. The vocal melodies are there on the demo.

The riff is nu-metal before nu-metal was even a thing.

And I like its big Chorus and simple Verse/Chorus structure. I am a hard rock fan first who likes progressive music, so this song is right up my alley.

Peruvian Skies

When they play this song live they go into “Enter Sandman” from Metallica as there a bits in the song that sound like they came from “Sandman”. If you get a chance to check out one of their live performances of this song, do it

Lyrics are written by John Petrucci. He is trying to tell an abuse story of person called Vanessa.

Musically, it’s got the dreamy arpeggios of Pink Floyd, with the metal crunch of Metallica. It’s a potent mix. And I like it.

Hollow Years

The “Live At Budokan” version is “the” version to listen to. This is where the solo is extended to include some shredding from Petrucci and the outro is also extended. One thing that is guaranteed when you watch DT live, is you don’t just get the studio version of the song. Which is a good thing. It irks me when bands play the studio version of a song live. There are no musical conversations happening on stage. For some bands it works, like Metallica and Iron Maiden, as their song structures are very rigid.

It was released as a single and you can tell why. It moves between flamenco-classical style acoustic guitars to a melodic soft rock Chorus. Petrucci wrote the lyrics to the song.

Burning My Soul

Mike Portnoy’s lyrics were inspired by his frustration at their A&R man, Derek Oliver. Once seen as a supporter who got them signed was now seen as a roadblock, a gear in the label machine pushing the label “sign em and drop em” agenda.

Overall, it’s a great song. It’s metallic, with a lot of groove. Metallica wasn’t this heavy during this time.

It also marks the beginning of an excellent middle section of the album, that involves “Burning My Soul”, “Hell’s Kitchen”, and “Lines in the Sand”.

Hell’s Kitchen

Producer Kevin Shirley made the decision to take out the middle section from “Burning My Soul” and turn it into a separate instrumental track.

Which I thank him for as “Hell’s Kitchen” is a 3 minute rollercoaster of emotions. Press play to hear John Petrucci at his melodic best.

Lines in the Sand

Lyrics are written by John Petrucci and press play to hear his guitar lead along with the verse/bridge section after the solo break.

King’s X’s Doug Pinnick also appears but James LaBrie stars here, twisting and morphing his voice across many different musical styles and genres.

At 12 minutes long, it didn’t feel boring at all.

Take Away My Pain

This is Dream Theater doing U2 while U2 was doing electro-techno rock.

Lyrically, John Petrucci writes about the death of his father and he decorates the song like “The Edge”.

And for people who said they sold out by writing a song like this, well they seem to forget that “Another Day”, “To Live Forever” and “Lifting Shadows Of A Dream” are very similar to this. So it was nothing new for Dream Theater to have songs like this on the album.

Just Let Me Breathe

Portnoy is throwing missiles at the music industry with his lyrics here. It deals with the media and how they purely exist to over report and sensationalise tragedy, like the deaths of Shannon Hoon and Kurt Cobain.

The drum and bass intro segues into the guitar riff kicking in. It’s heavy and groovy. Very “Liquid Tension Experiment” like which would come after this album.

Derek Sherinian solos here with Petrucci kicking in some harmonies. Then they trade off each other. Overall, I like the song musically but the vocal melodies didn’t resonate with me, although I do like how Portnoy wanted to try something different with the melodies.

Anna Lee

James LaBrie has a lyrical contribution to a Dream Theater album. The song is a ballad, with a nice piano riff as its centrepiece but it wasn’t a favourite back then nor is it a favourite write now.

Petrucci does deliver a nice solo.

Trial of Tears

I wrote a whole blog post on this song. You can read it here. It’s in three sections but played as one complete 13 minute song. Bassist John Myung is the lyrical writer.

Section I is called “It’s Raining”, Section II is called “Deep in Heaven” and Section III is called “The Wasteland”.

James LaBrie again steals the show with the various vocal styles he exhibits here. And Petrucci is on hand to deliver some nice emotive lead breaks.

As mentioned in the book, “Lifting Shadows” by Rich Wilson, the album was considered a commercial failure, failing to break any new ground for Dream Theater or increase their sales despite its more commercial direction. As a result of the creative and personal tensions experienced during the album’s production phase, it has been described as the band’s “most difficult album”, and eventually led to their demanding to be free from record label interference for all future albums.

Regardless of commercial expectations, I go back to this album on a regular basis. Crank it.

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2001 – Part 5.7: Black Label Society – Alcohol Fueled Brewtality

Did Zakk Wylde have enough material for a live Black Label Society album so early in its career. Well, yes if you include his Ozzy and Pride and Glory output with Black Label Society and no, if you just include his Black Label Society output.

“Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live!! +5” was recorded on October 28, 2000, at The Troubadour in West Hollywood and released in January, 2001.

Low Down

You get some rowdy yells of “Zakk”, “Zakk” and an air raid siren starts ringing.

Then the band crashes in with a trademark Zakk riff, downtuned, syncopated and loaded with pinch harmonics and single note melodic motifs. And Zakk sounds great live, his voice made up of an Ozzy influence and his brewtal lifestyle.

13 Years of Grief

I didn’t even know they went into this song as there was no stop/start in the performance. It was all fluid.

Stronger Than Death

Zakk was doing Pantera better than what Pantera was doing at this point in time.

These kind of titles make me laugh. “Killed By Death” from Motorhead is another title that falls in this category.

There is this break down riff towards the end (which is changed up a bit from the main intro riff), which is head banging material.

All for You

Great riffs in this song.

Super Terrorizer

After the heavy intro, there is a brief pause and Zakk screams “Limp Bizkit sucks dick”, the crowd cheers and into the verse they go, which reminds me of “Bleed For Me” from “1919: Eternal” which came out a few years later.

And there is some fine shredding here in the solo. So press play to hear it.

Phoney Smiles & Fake Hellos

Yep I’ve come across some people in my life that sum up the song title.

Some more great riffage. It’s like Zakk took the best of “No More Tears” and just amalgamated it with Iommi/Dimebag and what you have is Black Label Society.

Lost My Better Half

Zakk is going down low here with a Drop A tuning: low to high – A,A,D,G,B,e.

Just think about it. The low E is not D or C# or B but A. God damn.

Bored to Tears

More Zakk riffs to play along to that won’t leave you bored but it’s sounding same same.

A.N.D.R.O.T.A.Z.

It’s the guitar solo moment of the gig.

Born to Booze

The intro riff on this is excellent. It deserves more attention.

World of Trouble

And without a breath or break, it moves straight into “World Of Trouble”.

No More Tears

He made it sound like a Pantera track.

The Beginning… at Last

And it’s more of the same, with another fast heavy rocker to finish the gig.

The next songs are all studio cuts. Zakk Wyle plays everything on these except the drums, which are handled by drummer Craig Nunenmacher.

Heart of Gold

A Neil Young cover done right.

Snowblind

The mighty Black Sabbath gets a Zakk cover. And I like it.

Like a Bird

Zakk can pen a great acoustic song. This one is classic Zakk. Almost”Blue On Black” and “Days Of The New” and “Changes” from Sabbath.

Blood In The Well

More of the same infectious acoustic rock.

The Beginning… at Last

An acoustic version of this heavy rocker. Think “Fade Away” from Pride And Glory but acoustics.

Overall, the the last five studio cuts are must saves for any Zakk fan and the live recording is a snapshot of a time when Zakk was doing Pantera and Corrosion Of Conformity better than those bands.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 20 to July 17

Time just ran away from me.

In Australia, the End Of The Financial Year is 30 June 2022. And man there is a lot of work to be done a few weeks before that date and a few weeks after that date.

And some things just get priority over others.

2018 (4 Years Ago)

This time 4 years ago was very light on posts. I had a second part review of the year that was 1984.

Coming into 1984, hard rock and metal bands started popping up everywhere in the mainstream. Magazines moved their reporting from different styles of music to cover only hard rock. The labels even started promoting rock music as different genres. Eventually, the heavy metal section of the record store would be divided to include hard rock, speed metal and extreme metal. In a few more years after that, glam metal and melodic rock would also be listed as categories. But in 1984, regardless of what “genre” a band got labelled with after, we still found the albums in the heavy metal section of the record shop.

Judas Priest still had the world in the palm of their hands with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” and then they dropped “Defenders Of The Faith”. “The Sentinel” is my favourite track on the album. I could listen to it over and over again.

The debut album from the “guys from Jersey” is tiny compared to the albums that came after, but it still has some worthy riffs to talk about. So press play on Bon Jovi’s debut.

The fury known as Yngwie Malmsteen dropped his debut album “Rising Force” and neo-classical got an adrenaline shot.

The Fish led era of Marillion dropped “Fugazi”. It was an acquired taste and I enjoyed the music more than the vocals.

When I first heard “Ride The Lightning”, I didn’t even know what kind of music it was. I felt like a chainsaw assaulted my earbuds. It didn’t sound like the hard rock mixes I was used to, as my ears were conditioned to enjoy the Tom Werman, Keith Olsen, Bruce Fairbairn produced albums.

It was original, progressive and it set the track list running template for the future albums which followed.

I didn’t know it then, but Y&T would became one of my favourite bands ever. Their big money Geffen move didn’t happen until the late 80’s and A&M was the wrong label for their classic era. Regardless, Y&T’s is part of my DNA. “In Rock We Trust” I say.

From a copyright point of view, how the hell would David Coverdale do the accounting for the “Slide It In” album. There are the songwriters who would deserve their royalty and then there are the two versions of the album, with different members who would get a performance royalty.

The final Cold Chisel album “Twentieth Century” came out months after they played their final show in December of 83.

And it had three classics in “Saturday Night”, “No Sense” and “Flame Trees”. It’s also hard to believe that “No Second Prize” from Jimmy Barnes solo album that followed this, was submitted and rejected from this album.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

Stronger Copyrights

I absolutely support that musicians should be paid for their work.

What I don’t get is how the record labels and misguided artists feel entitled to push for stronger copyright enforcement as a way to guarantee an income which is contrary to the foundations of what copyright was designed to do.

The song “Happy Birthday” goes all the way back to 1893 and it was under Copyright protection until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. Then there was outrage and then it was part of the public domain.

Copyright protectionism is about protecting old business models. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about supporting thriving new industries. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about finding new ways of doing things.

And people do pay for music.

Metallica’s self-titled Black album is still moving on average 2000 units a week. And it is doing this even though millions of copies of the album are available to be downloaded for free. It is doing this even though it is available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.

Volbeat has been selling records on a weekly basis in the U.S since 2011. They are doing these numbers even though their album/s are available to be downloaded on peer-to-peer networks. They are doing these numbers even though their albums are available for streaming. Same deal with Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Skillet. Still selling, regardless of the state of piracy.

So what is it. Do artists need stronger copyright laws or better business models and terms that pay them a fair days pay for a fair days work?

Asphalt Ballet

What a great band name, using a police slang term for a motorcyclist crashing and skidding along the road at high speed. Their so called overnight success was 14 plus years in the making that began in different states and different cities, far removed from the Sunset Strip of LA.

Vocalist Gary Jeffries has a huge story to tell. He put in a lot of time playing the bar circuit and his origin story dates back to the Seventies. Eventually he came to L.A in the mid Eighties to audition for QUIET RIOT after original vocalist Kevin DuBrow left. He didn’t get that gig, losing out to Paul Shortino from Rough Cutt.

Start with the debut album. They wanted to call the album “Mood Swing” and once you sink your teeth into it, that is exactly what you will get.

It was produced by Greg Edward who paid his dues as an engineer on big albums like “Scarecrow” from John Cougar Mellencamp and “Like a Rock” from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Virgin Records released the album and it looks like they had no idea how to promote the band or the album in a changing musical landscape.

DR FEELGOOD

Dr Feelgood had to be number 1.

It was a million dollar blockbuster and the mythology around Motley Crue by 1989 supported and underpinned this blockbuster movie. The drug overdoses, the return from death, the crashed cars, the women, the drugs, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.

It is their first album with Bob Rock, who Nikki found via Ian Astbury from “The Cult”. Remember that music is a relationship business. That is how we are meant to roll. It was recorded in Canada at Little Mountain Studios at the same time that Aerosmith was recording “Pump”. Both of the biggest party bands had committed to a healthy lifestyle, going on jogs together.

The piece de resistance is “Dr Feelgood”. Musically, it is a Mick Mars composition, that he had completely mapped out on his own. He had to take the song to the band a few times before they started to pay attention to it and it was the song that started the ball rolling with Bob Rock, after the band sent him a demo.

Can you imagine Vince Neil singing for a whole day and only having one line of a lyric that was deemed usable?

Yep, that was the standard set by Bob Rock. Of course a million dollar budget didn’t hurt. And didn’t they come a long way from the seven days recording session for “Too Fast For Love”. Album number five left no loose ends.

“Dr Feelgood” set a new standard for hard rock and a lot of the bands like Dokken, Great White, Firehouse, Poison, Ratt and so many others just didn’t take that next step. And of course, shortly after the album was released, Metallica went to Bob Rock and said that they want their own “Dr Feelgood”.

We all know how that turned out.

THE KINDRED

“Today I Caught the Plague” was first. I thought the band name was crap but the debut album “Lore” was a real stand out for 2011. I came across the band by sheer luck when I saw a tour poster from “Protest The Hero” and it had “Today I Caught The Plague” as one of the supports.

While “Lore” was an independent release, “Life In Lucidity” is on Sumerian Records. A label that is perfect for them. Because labels are still the answer to get your name out to the masses. As much as the internet was meant to level the playing field, the labels have more power than ever. So if you want to be on a label, you need to be on a label that specialises and deals with bands that are of similar styles.

The first song I listened to was “Heritage” and I bought the album on iTunes not long after, ordered the CD from Amazon and put it as a favourite on my Spotify playlist.

The band name is also changed to The Kindred.

IF GAME OF THRONES WAS A ROCK BAND

If Game Of Thrones was a rock band and the band had the levels of piracy that the TV show had, expect their shows to sell out in minutes.

If Game Of Thrones was a rock band and the band is doing a free show like the GOT exhibition then expect pandemonium to ensure.

ZAKK WYLDE COMPENDIUM

A very long post covering Zakk’s long career with Ozzy, Pride And Glory, Ozzy again and Black Label Society up to 2014. Check out what I think are essential songs that people should listen to from Mr Berserker Wylde.

And I just kept talking about “Angel Of Mercy”, spreading the gospel on the song from Black Label Society.

Great music must contain emotion. That is why “Angel Of Mercy” connected with me. It hits me emotionally and it makes me feel something. All the great songs do? And because I care for the song, I can’t stop sharing it and talking about it with people who want to listen. And when music is done right, it sells itself.

And that’s a wrap for a month’s worth of DoHistory. Let’s get back to reading blog posts and posting some more content.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 6 to June 19

4 Years Ago (2018)

As much as I try to have a buffer of posts, sometimes life and other events get in the way so my days become a matter of priorities.

And 4 years ago, my blogging suffered. Sort of like how it is suffering around this time again.

WHAT’S NEXT

You paid your dues from hotel to motel, got ripped off on the pay from the promoter, had some fights and some good times and maybe, just maybe, you might have gotten a recording contract.

Which didn’t guarantee success, but it gave you a chance to play in the field of dreams.

Suddenly, MTV made people believe that if they got a recording contract, success was guaranteed. And the live show became a clone of the recordings, because artists took their time to get the recordings perfect.

Music is cultures greatest invention and the record labels signed artists based on the music more than the commercial potential. With some A&R development, smart marketing, an audience would come and a career is built. But streaming put the public in control. It took away the power of scorched earth marketing tactics from the labels.

Songs that go nuts on streaming happen months before the rest of the mainstream picks up on them. And every so few years something new comes along that becomes mainstream. Classic rock gave birth to prog rock to punk to metal to hair rock to grunge to industrial to nu metal and so forth.

What’s next.

8 Years Ago (2014)

HEY STOOPID

Alice Copper had a string of hit albums in the Seventies. Towards the end of the decade and in the early Eighties his output was of a lesser standard while he dabbled in new wave rock. Then he started to gain some momentum with two underrated hard rock/metal releases in “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell”. But the massive mainstream comeback happened with “Trash”, his Eighteenth studio album. Yep, Alice’s career was eighteen albums deep.

So when it came time to record the follow-up to “Trash”, another star-studded cast was assembled.

A lot of cash was thrown at every body. It was a who’s who of hard rock royalty.

Listen to it and re-evaluate.

COMPLICATED COPYRIGHTS

I don’t understand why people go to a rock show or a metal show to film the whole thing on a smart phone.

I have also been known to break out my iPhone and capture some footage or a few photos for posterity. But I’ve never gone back and referred to my amateur filming or photography.

The reasons are simple, those captures can never accurately reflect the concert as I witnessed it.

Once upon a time it was a big thing to go to a concert and talk about it, but these days it’s no big deal.

So is videoing a concert with a phone a violation of an artist’s copyright. Don Henley says it is, however he also said that he doesn’t want the shows posted on YouTube because it spoils it for people who are going to come to a show in the future and that he doesn’t want to see Eagles content out there that sounds horrible.

Some use it as a form of a diary record, to remember or relive that moment when their favourite song came on. Some do it to share the moment and their love for the artist. Some do it because they simple can. A smart phone or an iPad or Tablet, allows us the convenience to do so.

BANDS

The years of practicing and writing do not prepare you for the realities of the music business.

To me the big one is the sense that bands just can’t get along. The odds of success are so rare no one wants to give an inch just in case that inch was their chance at making it.

It got to the point where fans of other bands were told to wait outside while the other bands played, just in case some record label rep was in the audience and saw people having a good time.

INVASION OF THE SWEDES

Sweden is a massive exporter of cultural content. Most of the bands I like are from Sweden and one of the biggest Pop songwriters over the last 25 years is also from Sweden.

Isn’t it funny how the home country of Spotify also has one of the most vibrant rock and metal scenes in the world. But wait a second. I am sure I have heard the RIAA and their proponents scream that because music has been devalued, no one will create anymore.

Well it looks like someone forgot to tell the Swedes, a country that has embraced streaming and guess what, their musical scene is flourishing.

KAMELOT

I don’t mind my fix of Power Metal. Here is my own 10 second wrap up of a whole genre beginning from the Seventies.

It started with Deep Purple, Rainbow and Iron Maiden. Then Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween came along. They both increased the tempos and Yngwie Malmsteen exaggerated the classical elements which led to the current Power Metal movement which is just a higher tempo version of the beast that Yngwie Malmsteen and Helloween inspired.

The thing with power metal at the moment is that there are so many acts out on the market that are just not good enough to be there. They think by playing at break neck speeds it makes them good enough.

Kamelot is not one of them. Because Kamelot is not all about higher tempos. There is more variation in their music. Credit Thomas Youngblood, one of the bands original founders.

I’m listening to “Silverthorn”, Kamelot’s tenth studio album and their third concept story.

It’s the song “Veritas” that connected with me. And the connection comes in the form of a band called Savatage, who I am a big fan off, especially the era of Criss Oliva. Because it sounds like something that could have been recorded for a Savatage album.

I can’t say that I like everything that Kamelot has put out, however they have done enough on each album to keep me interested to come back and invest my time to hear each new album. And that is what matters today.

DAYBREAK EMBRACE

I really enjoyed Daybreak Embrace’s 2010 EP “Tomorrow Awaits”. From that EP “Thirty–Six” is a dead set classic and “Sanctuary” is not that far behind. This is where people should start.

So I was curious as to what new music they had released since then.

I go to Spotify, type in their name and I see that they have new music. The “Mercury” EP was released in 2013. Damn, how did I miss that. The Modern Rock scene in the U.S is a very crowded marketplace. With all the beautiful things that the Internet has brought us, one thing hasn’t changed. It is still difficult for a band to get attention and the odds of success are still very low.

GEORGE LYNCH – SACRED GROOVE

By 1993, everything changed. The Record Labels threw their lots in with the Grunge movement, abandoning the majority of the hard rock and heavy metal bands they had on their roster. But, hard rock and metal releases still kept on coming. The only issue was that they became harder to get in Australia.

And “Sacred Groove” from George Lynch would probably never get booted out of the Top 10 list for that year. It’s an album that has guitar instrumentals with hard rock songs featuring some of the best singers. Slash did something similar with his Solo album a decade later.

The best instrumental track by far on the album is “Tierra Del Fuego”. A six-minute tour de force in Flamenco Hard Rock music.

The best vocal track on the album is “We Don’t Own The World”, that has vocals by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. But the song is actually written by George Lynch and Don Dokken. Dokken was supposed to sing on the track, however he failed to show up at the studio. So Lynch got the Nelson twins who were in the studio next door recording their ill-fated “Imaginator” album, which got rejected by Geffen and John Kalodner.

“Flesh And Blood” is written by George Lynch and Jeff Pilson and Ray Gillen is on vocals. This is a rare gem as Ray was to pass away that same year. That awesome groove sets it up and Lynch owns that solo.

Glenn Hughes involvement with George Lynch goes back to the Lynch Mob days, when he recorded scratch vocals on the second album, so that new singer Robert Mason could follow. On Lynch’s first proper solo outing, he sings on two songs, “Not Necessary Evil” and “Cry Of The Brave”. Both of the songs have music written by Lynch and lyrics by Hughes. This period of Hughes’s career is the one I like the most. He was everywhere with his own solo project, with George Lynch, with John Norum, with a Blues project and many more.

THAT 1994 MOTLEY CRUE ALBUM

I had mixed feelings when I heard that John Corabi was the new Motley vocalist. Twenty Eight years on the album has survived the test of time. Darker, bluesier, ballsier, kick-ass rock and roll.

It has some of the best playing the band had and has ever done. And it was so ahead of its time that the record label just didn’t know what to do with it and how to market it.

People said they ripped off Alice In Chains because it packed serious groove. Umm, listen to the Girls and Feelgood albums. They also grooved.

People said they jumped on the grunge bandwagon because they down tuned. For most of their career Motley Crue down tuned.

What about all the scattered Zeppelin and Beatles influence all over the record? Nikki Sixx said that he was trying to write his own Physical Graffiti. And he succeeded.

It’s a great record with the unfortunate truth that it was released by Motley Crue and the album remains hidden from any new fans connecting with it.

And that’s a wrap for the fortnight that just passed.

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