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

Rock Me

Great White began their career in the early 80’s with “Out Of The Night”. Then EMI signed em, released an album and didn’t really know what to do with the band, so they dropped em and then Capitol records got em on the books.

In 1987, “Once Bitten” their third album, got the platinum treatment and they went on tour in the U.S with Whitesnake. Then “Twice Shy” followed in 1989 and this led to more platinum sales and their own successful headline tour.

By 1991, most of the world was heading into recessions, and the hard rock public was getting a bit jaded with the same lyrical themes and sound-a-like chord progressions of hard rock. So “Hooked” didn’t really set the charts alight.

“Psycho City” came out in 1993, and by then band members had left, band members had marriages and divorces and illnesses. And hard rock was not a commercial force anymore, but bands who had success before, wanted the same success. And so did the record labels, but when this didn’t eventuate, it was goodbye to the record deal and hello to arguments within band members.

“Rock Me” came out at the same time as “Appetite For Destruction”, maybe it got lost in the noise, but it still got a lot of airplay in Australia, and I’m thinking its blues tinged hard rock definitely hit a note with the programmers and Australian audiences.

The bass boogie kicks it off.

The drums are simple, high hats for some time, slowly percolating until the right moment to explode in the chorus. And the guitars are just decorating, until it comes time for them to explode as well.

Rock me
Rock me
Roll me through the night

How good is the Chorus?

And when you think the song is about to finish, they pick it up and blast in to an outro solo for the last minute. At 7 minutes long, the blues boogie doesn’t gets boring.

Today, it has 7 million listens on Spotify and the 5 minute music video has 12 million views on YouTube. The song is forgotten compared to the numbers other songs have, but if you were alive during this period, it was a song from our youth.

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My Stories

COVID-19 – Day 10

Australia had their biggest rise in COVID-19 cases yesterday.

On March 12, we had zero new cases in Australia. Before that date we had small cases from travellers coming home.

And then it started.

Between March 13 and March 18, we started getting between 50-100 new cases. Then from March 19 to March 21, we started getting cases between 100-150 new cases. And then our big one yesterday, over 250 new cases.

This increase, was expected because on Friday, we had a hot day on the east coast of Australia and the “invincible” Aussies all congregated to the beaches with no social distancing in place.

And the pubs and nightclubs kept operating with no social distancing in place over the weekend.

And a cruise ship docked in Sydney, with people who tested positive for COVID-19 and everyone was allowed off, to catch trains, buses and interstate planes home.

As the cases kept increasing, the government constantly made announcements about stimulus packages and bailouts to corporations, like the airlines.

More like panic announcements.

And in the recent update from our government last night, the PM said the most important tool in our fight against the virus is social distancing. So pubs, clubs and casinos are all closed now.

But schools remain open however parents are allowed to keep their kids home. And State Premiers are saying to keep your kids at home.

Very confusing.

Because no one knows what is happening.

We are in uncharted waters, without a compass, and people are making decisions based on what history has taught us.

And for some reason the lyrics to “Sailing Ships” from Whitesnake come to mind.

About how the wind was with us when we left on the morning tide and we set our sails for an island in the sun. But on the horizon, dark clouds are up ahead, for the storm has just begun.

And the storm has just begun.

As a parent, I go with what I read.

I will read the government circulars, I will read what academics say and scientists say and doctors on the front line say. And I will analyze all of the information and make decisions based on that.

Because we are all strangers right now living in a strange world.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Unknown Heroes

For every guitarist that makes it, there are a lot of well-known guitarists who have a large impact on their development and style. And there are also a lot of guitarists who didn’t make it out of the club/pub circuit, who despite never attaining platinum albums, inspired a generation of guitarists to pick the guitar and rock like hell.

Dave Sabo and Scott Hill kept talking about several unknown musicians from New Jersey who inspired them to rock and roll. These hometown guitar heroes and the thousands of other gifted musicians who play in cover bands, one man shows, who teach, who jam in their rooms and once in a while break out the electric to inspire their kids or grandkids, these people we don’t know about are nothing short of legendary.

And the same goes to the blogging community who share their stories and experiences around the music they love. Even though they are unknown, they are all legendary.

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

Big Ten Inch Record

Nirvana broke through in the early nineties and so did Mariah Carey.

But there is no one on the TV singing shows who wanted to be like Cobain. Hell no one even wanted to be like Halford, Jovi, Tyler or Coverdale and if they did, they didn’t last long except for James Durbin.

Everybody wanted to be Carey, Sheeran and for the ones who had the guts, to be their own self. And hard rock music never translated well to the TV screen. Everything sounds distant and small. And you don’t feel the energy, the thumping of the bass drum in your heart.

MTV cashed up the labels and the labels finally had the power. They could make or break a career in the same way Harvey Weinstein could. It used to pissed the labels off, how the artists would withhold music or not go in the studio when the label head requested it.

Artists signed deals, got the advance money, blew it on things, and then realised that they had to use that advance money for the recording. So the label gave them a little bit more, controlled the process, told them to keep on writing, racked up the bills and suddenly the artist is a million in debt before the first album is released and when a song became a hit, they also realised how they signed away their rights, when the signed on the dotted line.

All in the name of putting out a TEN INCH RECORD.

And I am thinking of Aerosmith right now.

If you got into the band in the 80’s because of the songs written with outside writers, then you would hate this little 12 bar bluesy and jazzy cut from “Toys In The Attic”. This is a track that diehard fans would know.

And the band kicked off their Grammy MusicCares performance with this song and the industry people thought Tyler was singing “suck on my big 10 inch”. That’s why I love rock and roll. The middle finger attitude.

Off to Spotify and I’m calling up “Toys In The Attic”.

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

June27, 1992 – Top 20

The war was on, as rock bands, especially hard rock bands who got classed as hair bands started to fight for survival against the flannelette armies of Seattle and the changing A&R personnel at the labels who wanted to cash in on the Seattle tide.

To understand how quickly the support for hard rock music was abandoned, White Lion was given a million bucks to record “Mane Attraction” and after it was released, some more money was spent on a few music videos and the album didn’t set the charts alight and when the band decided to call it quits, there was nothing from the label. Not even a phone call. Except for Vito, who got an offer for a new project, but after demoing some material, the offer also disappeared.

But there was rock music. It wasn’t as polished as some of mid 80’s albums, but the roots of this rock music was with the classic 70’s.

Number 1
Remedy
The Black Crowes are still at Number 1. The chorus lyrical message of looking for a remedy to fix our worries resonated with everyone on the planet old enough to remember this song, even though the verse lyrics are pretty silly about a dead bird from the window sill and why can’t his girl sit still.

And their Grateful Dead jam ethic had them record this album over a weekend, and you can hear the fun and the love in the notes and the space and the performances.

Number 2
Under The Bridge
The Jimi Hendrix influenced guitar intro got a lot of people, like me, interested and the lyrical message of addiction and homelessness under an catchy vocal melody, took this song to the top. Actually, it took me a while to get used to the voice of Anthony Kiedis and I’m glad I did.

By the way, John Frusciante is also another underrated guitar hero. You don’t need to play solos with your head looking at the heavens to be a good guitarist. You need to be able to write riffs, memorable ones at that, and this dude could do that with the Peppers.

Both of the songs have gospel like backing vocals, which enhance em nicely.

Number 3
Road To Nowhere
Ozzy and Zak are still riding high on the back of the “No More Tears” album, with their Southern Rock anthem sitting pretty. I like this song more than “Mama I’m Coming Home”. The opening arpeggios and Zack’s pentatonic Skynyrd solo is brilliant.

And those opening lines;

When I was looking back on my life
And all things I done to me

If we just did the same abuse to someone else’s body that we gave to our own bodies, we would be locked up as it would be borderline criminal.

The wreckage of my past keeps haunting me
It just won’t leave me alone

Sometimes our past deeds supersede our current deeds. There is no redemption from them, even though people say there is.

Because it’s impossible to be liked by all.

And for the haters and the ones who believe they were wronged, the past is never forgotten.

Number 4
Make Love Like A Man
It’s not the best Def Leppard track, but they had enough goodwill because of their first four albums that we still gave them a lot of love for “Adrenalize”.

I think they tried to re-write “Pour Some Sugar On Me” with this one.

Musically the song works, but I can’t say I am a fan of the lyrics. But then again Def Leppard was allowed to get away with this kind of cheesiness because of the first four albums.

Number 5
Sting Me
To show how powerful a jam album became in the charts, The Black Crows have another song in the Top 5.

The album showcases a band in love with the blues, grooving and jamming their way to the top of the charts and our minds and our hearts.

And it also shows an audience who was sick of the over polished sounds of hard rock and the generic sound-a-likes.

If you feel like a riot, then don’t you deny it
Put your good foot forward
No need for heroics I just want you to show it
Now’s the time to shine

I have no idea what the overall song is about, but the opening four lines connected immediately especially the call and response vocal line, where Chris Robinson sings the first and third lines and the backing singers sing the second and the fourth lines.

And that verse riff which moves between the G chord, to the F, to the C and back to the G chord is excellent, as it doesn’t follow the usual power chord route, and instead it moves along with single notes and arpeggios.

Number 6
Living In A Dream
Arc Angels
They made no dent in Australia.

Nothing.

Which was strange for a Geffen act, as Geffen was renowned for its scorched earth marketing policy.

Especially for a group that was sort of like a super group. It had two individual guitarists/singers fronting who had decent solo careers and the rhythm section of SRV’s “Double Trouble”.

This song has that “When The Levee Breaks” feel in the music and of course, the singing is a cross between Robert Plant and Chris Robinson.

Number 7
Come As You Are
Another Geffen act, Nirvana already smashed the charts with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and they starting coming for a little bit more.

For me, it’s that dropped D, chromatic riff, over a ringing A pedal point which sets the ominous feel.

Number 8
57 Channels And Nothing On
Bruce Springsteen

I’m not a fan of the song, but I do like the message, that we pay to surround ourselves with crap.

The song starts off with two people buying a large place in the Hollywood Hills and connecting a Pay TV service to the house.

I know when I had my Pay TV subscription, I would scroll through the “scheduled” programming and I couldn’t watch anything.

Imagine if I had the choice to select what I could watch, instead of waiting for the allocated timeslot. But innovation was too hard for the Pay TV corporations and then they cried foul, when Netflix came and blew away their business model.

Number 9
Life Is A Highway
Tom Cochrane won big with this song. He is still doing victory laps from it, as it’s licensed everywhere from commercials to movies to TV shows.

When I googled “life is a highway lyrics”, it came up with the Rascal Flatts version.

What happened to Tom Cochrane?

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone

No road trip is ever the same and no day you live is ever the same. What is certain, is that the day comes and then it goes. You can’t get it back.

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long

It was the message of freedom. That is what getting a drivers licence meant. A ticket to travel wherever you wanted to.

Number 10
Even Flow
I didn’t like “Alive” and “Even Flow” in the beginning. For me, “Jeremy” and “Black” sealed the deal. Afterwards I went back to listen to the other songs.

But that was many years later.

Number 11
Girlfriend
Matthew Sweet
I’m not a fan.

Number 12
Now More Than Ever
John Mellencamp

The song is nothing like the classic Mellencamp songs, but the message in the lyrics resonate. And people were looking for these kind of messages.

If you believe
Won’t you please raise your hands
Let’s hear your voices
Let us know where you stand

Remember when artists used to take stands on issues, like Dee Snider standing against the PMRC and censorship. In the process, he got ostracised by the metal community for being a glory seeker.

And MTV cashed up the labels, and the labels used that cash to sway the artists and in the process, the artists became further slaves to the machine. The days of Roger Waters or Jim Morrison, telling the label to go and shove it, became a page in history.

Now more than ever
The world needs love

This was relevant back in 1992 and 28 years later, it’s still relevant today. I am working from home because of COVID-19.

I’m not panic buying and I’m trying to do my best to help. But I put on the news and I’m not seeing the same.

Now more than ever
I can’t stand alone

We live in tribes. No one wants to be ostracised. So that scaffold support network is super important. And we need to remember that others feel the same way, so you are not alone.

Number 13
Tangled In The Web
Lynch Mob

This song is one of George Lynch’s best songs.

His guitar tone, which isn’t as heavily distorted like his Dokken days, is quality, the Gm riff is bone crunching and swingy at the same time and those brass instruments just add to the quality.

And Keith Olsen (RIP) did a stellar job in the production, even bringing in the brass instruments.

Number 14
Make You A Believer
Sass Jordan
It made no dent on the Australian charts and the first time I heard this song was today, when I put it on the Spotify playlist.

Number 15
Love Is Alive
Joe Cocker
His abrasive yet melodic vocals are really good and this bluesy rocker works.

You can see quite a few songs on this list have lyrical messages of love, loving each other, finding love and what we need is a little bit of love to share around and make the world a better place.

Number 16
One
U2
This is a big song and the way “The Edge” just keeps decorating the song is brilliant.

Plus Bono with his vocal melody and the message of one life, one love and how we need to care for it, share it and make the world a better place.

Number 17
What You Give
It aint whatcha give, it’s how you live is the catchcry here. And Tesla was on their way to another successful album and tour, against the grain of the market forces.

Number 18
Every Time I Roll The Dice
Delbert McClinton

Never heard of Delbert, but his derivative version of “Old Time Rock’N’Roll” which is also a derivative version of standard blues is cool to listen to.

Number 19
Mama Im Coming Come
Ozzy Osbourne
I really like the music written by Zak Wylde here. That whole Southern Rock crossover with Heavy Metal works and Lemmy really nailed the lyrics on this one.

Plus did I mention that the guitar solo is pretty awesome.

Number 20
You’re Invited But Your Friend Can’t Come
Vince Neil
What does Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades and Vince Neil have in common?

It’s a killer song title, as good as “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “I Love Rock And Roll” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. And the song is probably the best Motley Crue song that wasn’t written and released by Motley Crue that featured Vince Neil on vocals in the 90’s. Then again, I am a fan of “Primal Scream” and “Angela”.

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Music, My Stories

COVID-19 Saga

COVID-19 is not of this lifetime. It’s like a comeback world tour that keeps hitting cities and countries, but this one will change a lot of things, after it ends.

For me, all football activities in the state are suspended up until the 14th April. Which is the school holidays and the kids don’t play during the break so in reality, these activities are suspended up until 1 May.

I’m also working from home for the next two weeks so the people in the office can spread out and practice social distancing.

And we’ve all received emails in our inboxes from the businesses we’ve subscribed to telling us what they are doing to contain the virus. Like those poor cinema complexes who kept complaining about streaming services and lobbied hard to have streaming services banned from the Oscars.

And if you follow entertainment news, you’ve probably read how Universal will put their latest release movies on a pay-per-view while they’re still in theatres. And Universal was very vocal against Netflix. You don’t hear Netflix having issues with COVID-19.

Funny how the need to make money removes the imaginary barriers the movie studios always put in place. Because when there are hardly no cinemas open to show movies, and people are thinking of their lives and health first, movies at cinemas become forgotten. But movies on streaming services don’t become forgotten.

Maybe virtual concerts is the way to go but loud distorted music never really translated well on the small computer speakers.

And you can’t make money from these concerts but you can indulge your fans, who will find ways to support you.

Either way it’s unprecedented and we wait each day for what comes next.

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

Lazy Days, Crazy Nights

It pisses me off that “The Great Radio Controversy” has been removed from Spotify Australia but “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights” is still available via the “Gold” compilation album. But so many other good songs are not available.

How good is the intro?

It’s a simply Amadd9 to Cmaj7 chord progression over a static and ringing fretted E and open B note. It sounds heavy, because of its dirgey groove. Bands like Alice In Chains built a career with grooves like these.

I’m feelin’ so much better, but not quite feelin’ fine

We are unique creatures. overwhelmed by choice. The internet keeps us connected forever. We see a feed or a post on social media and we think someone is having or living a better life than us. So we sit down, set goals for ourselves and we feel great. And then we achieve what we set out to do and then set new goals. The cycle keeps repeating and we think we are so much better, but we still feel a bit uneasy.

Now, I’ve got to get my shit together,

Do we ever get our act together?

We like to think so, but in reality all we do is replace one thing with another. One paid debt is replaced by another. One relationship is superseded or replaced by another. One addiction is replaced by another. Knowledge we accumulated 10 years ago is replaced by new knowledge from now.

Then the Chorus riff rolls around and it’s a 101 lesson in how to write hard rock riffs, as it boogies between the A to G notes that so many songs of the era used.

But I love those lazy days and crazy nights, It’s my way, it’s my life.

I like the night. I am in my element and I feel creative when night rolls around. When I was unemployed, I used to sleep in. It’s why Slaughter’s “Up All Night” resonated with me.

The problem for me now, is that my days are not so lazy anymore. They are so crazy that my nights start to become a snooze fest because of tiredness. Getting older it’s more like “crazy days and sleepy nights, it’s my way, it’s my life”.

Regardless, hearing those lines when I was younger, it made me want to sing-along and scream those words at the top of my lungs.

I love those lazy days and crazy nights, It’s my way, it’s my life.

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