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

The Record Vault – David Coverdale

Into The Light



I wasn’t sure why David Coverdale needed to release a solo album. Whitesnake is more or less his band and it’s basically a solo artist hiding behind a band name.

And solo artists operate in two extremes, they either keep the same band members (or 70% of em) around for a long time or they could keep changing em. Bryan Adams kept the majority of his band around and so did Pat Benatar.

Then again, bands also operate on the same premise, with members leaving and coming back. The different Deep Purple bands are known as Mark I, II, III, etc.

So his trusty group is Denny Carmassi on drums, Marco Mendoza on bass for all the songs, except “Don’t You Cry” which featured Tony Franklin. John Sykes would have been pacing his house in rage at Coverdale using his old bass player and current bass player on this project. And Mendoza would also jump ship from the Sykes camp to the Coverdale camp as well.

Guitar is handled by Earl Slick and Doug Bossi with Coverdale making a recorded appearance. Reeves Gabrels and Dylan Vaughan also appear on some guitar tracks. Earl Slick was known to me from his excellent instrumental “In Your Face” album released in 1991. It’s a fusion of blues, funk and rock with guitar hero like playing.
 
“…Into the Light” should have been fleshed out into a bigger song. It’s first minute sounds like an epic song is about to begin.

And it goes into the blues rock flavoured “River Song”. I saw a YouTube comment as to how the riff sounds similar to “Midtown Tunnel Vision” by Rainbow and to “I Can’t Dance To That” by Gillan and Glover. But DC did say in an interview that it’s a homage to Jimi Hendrix.
 
And that Outro of the song just keeps rolling, reminding me of songs like “Looking For Love” and “Don’t Turn Away” from the Whitesnake 87 album. After 7 minutes, the song is over.
 
“She Give Me…” sounds like it came from a Coverdale/Page session or the “Trouble” album from Whitesnake or even a Led Zep session. As I am hearing this song, I am thinking of “Jelly Roll” from Blue Murder. And this song appeared again on the recent Whitesnake “Rock” album release
 
“Don’t You Cry” is one of those ballads that reminds me of Eric Clapton and his song “Wonderful Tonight”. The intro lead break is memorable and worthy.
 
While the first four tracks are all DC cuts, “Love Is Blind” and “Slave” are written by Coverdale and Earl Slick. “Love Is Blind” is like a Goo Goo Dolls like tune with the music, and lyrically, well its DC, the most broken hearted vocalist ever. “Slave” is a Southern Rock tune like Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even the Chorus chords remind of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
 
And the album follows the vibe set with the first six songs, moving between ballads and rockers. Even “Too Many Tears” from the “Restless Heart” album appears.
 
If you are looking for the grand epicness of the Sykes and Vai Whitesnake albums, then you will not find it here. But if want to hear an artist going back to his roots and putting his life into the words of the songs, then this album is for you.

And it’s probably why DC went all solo on this album. It’s personal.

And the other DC albums in the 70s before Whitesnake, will be listed with the Whitesnake Vault edition.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories

Streaming

“Gone are the days of Top 40, it’s now the Top 43,000,”

Daniel Ek

Those 43,000 artists account for the top 10% of the streams on the service. Last year it was a Top 30,000. As the user base grows on streaming services so does the fragmentation. And if artists are thinking that they will dominate in the same way that artists dominated in the MTV monoculture, then they need a mind reset.

“The real thing is that there are more relationships being formed to more artists”

Discovery is happening. You can start off listening to Metallica and end up becoming a fan of a Swedish Rock band in the months ahead. For a consumer, streaming services are enablers, as long as the music of the artist you want to hear is on there.

But there are a limited set of artists as Ek puts it, that are negative.

“Obviously, some artists that used to do well in the past may not do well in this future landscape, where you can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough…

The artists today that are making it realise that it’s about creating a continuous engagement with their fans. It is about putting the work in, about the storytelling around the album, and about keeping a continuous dialogue with your fans.”

I know the album cycle works for a lot of people, because its quantifiable. Release an album and go on tour. Vandenberg released their best album and they can’t tour on it because of COVID-19.

So what’s next for the band to keep the engagement going?

Acoustic releases, some covers of their old stuff or from other bands or another new track in between.

Keep the engagement going. Because that 40,000 artists who make up the top 10% of streamers, will become 50,000 in the next year and then 60,000 and then 70,000.

“I feel, really, that the ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released”

That’s fine to do so if you’re happy with that old school release cycle and there is a percentage of your fan base which is also okay with it. But with so much choice, fan devotion to a single artist is not as strong as it was in the past. And even in the past, when the record labels controlled everything pre-Napster, people had hundreds of records and from different artists.

Then again, Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ had 98 million streams in a day. A Spotify streaming record.

The good old day of sales are non-existent and with Copyright terms lasting forever, the person or corporation who holds the rights, will get paid forever for people listening.

This is just on Spotify. The other streaming providers will also have similar numbers and will be paying the rights holders similar amounts for their Top 40,000 artists who make up 10% of the most streamed tracks.

And music is a lottery. No one knows what will stick and break through. Simple economic theory entails that no one is entitled to make a living in music, the same way that every person who sets out to be a professional sports player, doesn’t get there. There are limits to what succeeds and what doesn’t. But at least in music, there is no barrier and everyone can play.

So start playing.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Snider and Palmer

It was Al Pitrelli, his Widowmaker guitarist that pointed out to him (in the early 90s) that every time he heard “We’re Not Gonna Take It” back in the 80’s, it reminded him of the Christmas song “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

Then of course, Twisted Sister did a Christmas album In the two thousands and they re-did the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” music with the words of “O Come All Ye Faithful”.

So fast forward a decade and bit later from that Christmas album and you have one of the most hated business people in Australia, deciding that his “Australia’s Not Gonna Cop It” is based on the Christmas Carol.

Umm no.

It’s based on “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

But like other business people in the world, he lies. Clive Palmer just continues to lie. Nothing is his fault, he can’t admit any wrong doing nor does he know how to apologise. But to lie and not pay his workers, god damn it, Palmer is good at it. Very good at it.

And I hate Copyright lawsuits, but I’m all in with the Snider camp on this one, because Palmer’s camp asked to use the song from Twisted Sister but they didn’t want to pay the license fee for it. So it all comes down to Palmer not paying for something, again. Sort of like how he didn’t pay his workers.

It’s a showdown in August.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Standard
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.

Standard
Music, My Stories, Stupidity

The Trolley Dilemma

This whole mask argument reminds me of the trolley dilemma.

There is a runaway train, coming down the tracks towards five workers who cannot hear it coming and if they do spot it, it will be too late to save themselves. But as disaster is coming close, you realise that you can choose to divert the train from the main track by pulling the lever. You will save five people on the track, but you will also kill the lone worker on the other track.

Killing one to save five.

An alternative variation, is that two people are standing on a bridge above the train tracks. And you see the large man standing next to you. You are thinking that his size would be able to stop the runaway train. So would you push him off the bridge, killing one to save the five further down the track.

In the alternate version you are actually responsible for the death by pushing the person and in the original dilemma, you are responsible for diverting the train towards that person.

So Dee Snider is asking one of his detractors, a person called “HairMetalGuru”, who has an issue wearing a mask because it encroaches on his freedom, which the dude doesn’t really know, is already restricted.

The Government has laws to spy on you and gather data on you. The banks are allowed to get a credit history on you, and decide to give you credit. And if you don’t repay it, well, they have the right to close in on you and bankrupt you or foreclose on you.

Then there laws that further restrict your freedom from the utility companies, which they use to suspend your services if you don’t pay on time. Plus all of the laws around how fast you can drive, how much you can drink before you can drive, how old you can be to actually drink and how old you can be to actually drive. I guess living in a free country means giving up freedoms to be secure.

Anyway this is Dee’s post;

On the outside chance that by you wearing a mask might prevent another human being from getting sick or dying, you can’t find it in your heart to compromise your freedom and put one on. Personally I can’t deal with that thought. Just askin’.

To me it feels like the trolley dilemma. Wear a mask so you don’t infect people but you might infect yourself if you don’t handle it properly.

What’s your view?

And the same arguments on masks are held everywhere. It’s like a worldwide echo chamber.

The main one against wearing masks which gets traction is that you can get sick by bringing the virus home with you on the mask if you don’t dispose of it.

So that means single use masks should be used.

But most of the masks that people are wearing are reusable masks, which means, people are wearing them, then putting them in their pocket or their bag and then wearing them again and then putting them in their pocket or their bag and then washing them.

The arguments of people that they will not wear a mask because it restricts their freedom is BS. In order to be secure, we all give up freedoms.

If you don’t believe me, don’t go home tonight to your fixed address. Use your imaginative freedom, to go and make your bed where you want tonight. A U.S citizen did that in a parking lot of a fast food joint and got shot by police because of it.

Standard
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.

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

Friday Rambles

Another Dokken track was released today from the album is known as “The Lost Tapes” which is more or less modern day re-recordings of these songs, instead of the original tracks re-mixed and mastered.

So far it’s a zero from two strike rate.

And of course, Don Dokken’s ex band mate, is also Re-Imagining his early works, in this case, George Lynch is redoing “Wicked Sensation”. Its him and Oni Logan, with the help of Robbie Crane on bass and Brian Tichy on drums.

“The term ‘re-record’ makes me cringe, this is not that. We re-invented the wheel on this record. It’s really a different animal than the original! Fans won’t be disappointed!”
George Lynch

Interesting to hear what reinvention he’s talking about. I remember a Lynch Mob album called “Revolution” in which Lynch reinvented some Dokken songs with different grooves. It’s not something which I have played a lot since I purchased it.

Since I have every single thing Lynch has released on my shelf, I would probably buy this, but I will wait to hear it on Spotify.

You see, when a different artist does a song from another artist, it’s known as a cover, but for some reason, when the same artist re-does their earlier stuff, it was always seen as a forgery.

The only time a forgery was done to an excellent standard was with the 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album. John Kalodner cracked that whip and David Coverdale along with Sykes on “Crying In The Rain” and Sykes/Vandenberg on “Here I Go Again” or Dan Tuff on the radio friendly version delivered in gold. Because two years later, the Steve Vai version of “Fool For Your Loving” didn’t cut it.

Then again, every artist from the 80’s who has a deal with Frontiers is encouraged to re-record their successful 80’s music for the label.

Even Def Leppard did it them selves while they had that ongoing dispute with their label over what they should pay the band to have their music on digital services.

And in relation to payments and digital services, Don Henley wants the U.S Government to pass laws so that anyone who plays his music, pays money for the use of his songs.

Regardless.

He mentioned how his label, Universal has over 60 people patrolling the internet to take down unauthorised uses of his songs. On occasions these automated takedowns, take down legitimate uses as well.

And I’m thinking, their wages are paid by the monies the label receives from exploiting record music. Shouldn’t those monies be paid to the artists who create the music.

Then there is the other side of the debate, people who actually use music from artists to promote the artists music on YouTube.

What is fair use, and when should their popular YouTube video earnings be handed over to the label?

A site I follow, made mention of another site called totalfollowers.com, which I checked out. Since I was writing about Dokken, Lynch Mob And Def Leppard, I thought I should check out their reach.

I typed in Lynch Mob and there are 240,313 followers.

I typed in Dokken and there are 552,280 followers.

I typed in Def Leppard and there are 11,571,109 followers.

I guess that’s the difference between having diamond certifications to platinum certifications to no certification.

Standard