Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

2001 – Part 4-1: Aerosmith – Just Push Play

Aerosmith had a way of making the blues sound current and modern but for them to do that, they needed to jam.

But on “Just Push Play”, released in 2001, the majority of the album is co-written with Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson. It was recorded at eight different studios, so it would have been impossible to get all the band jamming and financially irresponsible to get the whole bands gear set up and then packed up and then transported and then set up again.

Joe Perry hates it. The Wikipedia entry for this album carries a 2010 quote from Perry which states;

I don’t think we’ve made a decent album in years.

Just Push Play is my least favorite.

When we recorded it there was never a point where all five members were in the room at the same time and Aerosmith’s major strength is playing together.

It was a learning experience for me: it showed me how not to make an Aerosmith record”.

From a sales point of view, Aerosmith was on a spiral down. The gaps between albums started to become every 4 years.

But not a lot of 70’s bands had a renaissance like Aerosmith when it came to album sales.

It started with “Permanent Vacation” released in 1987 and it has a 5x Platinum certification in the U.S.

“Pump” released in 1989 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Get a Grip” released in 1993 has a 7x Platinum certification in the U.S.

These two albums are the pinnacle of Aerosmith’s comeback.

“Nine Lives” released in 1997 showed a downward trend as it has a 2x Platinum certification in the U.S and “Just Push Play” only has a Platinum certification in the U.S.

Beyond Beautiful

It sounds heavy and exotic while Kramer is channelling John Bonham, with his Kashmir like groove.

And it doesn’t sound anything like the blues, but that verse riff is a bluesy groove. If you don’t believe me, check out that bluesy solo in the outro which is played over the verse riff.

Just Push Play

“Walk This Way” gets a rewrite.

Even in the Chorus, instead of saying “Walk This Way”, Tyler is singing “Just Push Play”. Replacing three single syllable words with three other single syllable words.

And I like it.

Jaded

Kramer lays down a groove, while Perry and Whitford bring out riffs that reminds me of bands like “The Foo Fighters”, “Filter”, “Matchbox 20” and “Tonic”.

Fly Away From Here

Piano ballads and Aerosmith go hand in hand.

While “Dream On” is my favourite, its “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” which is their streaming star, much to the disgust of Tyler and Perry.

While they were paid well for doing the song for the “Armageddon” movie, they didn’t think that it would become their most streamed song ever. Well they couldn’t have, because streaming didn’t exist back then.

For the numbers, “Dream On” is at 541.59 million Spotify streams and “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” is at 650.1 million Spotify streams.

And this one doesn’t have an Aerosmith member in the songwriting credits either.

But, there is this section which I call the Bridge, that reminds of a section in “Livin On The Edge”.

Trip Hoppin’

Its old school Aerosmith, jamming on a blues groove and writing about having a good time and getting laid.

With the addition of the horn section, the song takes on a Soul Rock feel.

Sunshine

I like this song.

The riff has this laid back feel which sort of reminds me of “Kings And Queens” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper” in the Verses.

And lyrically, Tyler is in his element here.

Under My Skin

Like the song “Beyond Beautiful”, this one is also a great example of taking the generic blues riffs and making em sound heavy and current.

The verses are my favourites here, how the guitar riff and the vocal melody are the same, and while they pause the horns mimic it.

In the Pre, there is a symphony, evoking memories of “Kashmir”.

Luv Lies

A ballad that reminds me of songs like “What It Takes” and “Crazy”. Perry is bringing out his repertoire of country licks here.

Outta My Head

Another attempt to recreate “Walk This Way” in the verses, with a more modern Alanis Morrisette style Chorus.

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Check out the groove that Hamilton and Kramer set up to allow Perry and Whitford to play blues/jazz like 7ths and 9ths triads.

But the vocal melodies are pretty average.

Light Inside

Electronica drums start it off, but as soon as the fast bass riff from Hamilton kicks in, the song is anything but electronica.

Its heavy for an Aerosmith song. The Modern Rock sounds are different and I like it.

Avant Garden

I think this is one of Aerosmith’s better ballads.

It has a chord progression that reminds me of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Werewolves In London” in the verses and a Chorus which has this Beatles feel.

Check out the Bridge, very ELO with the violins and the debop backing vocals.

And finally, Perry gets a chance to do a guitar solo longer than 5 seconds.

And Perry goes a chance to go again in the outro.

Press play on the album just to check out this track.

Overall, it’s Aerosmith trying to be modern, trying to be bluesy, trying to have Arena Rock choruses and trying to have a bigger ballad to rival the ballad that they didn’t write.

At times it comes across confusing, but it’s still Aerosmith and I’m okay when artists don’t stick to formula and try something different.

But it’s not an album I push play on a lot.

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The Record Vault: Dark Tranquility – Skydancer

Dark Tranquillity is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. They are considered one of the pioneering acts of the Gothenburg metal scene, which also includes bands such as In Flames and At the Gates.

The band was formed in 1989 and in August 1993, the band released this album.

And they never stopped releasing music.

But when you look at their catalogue of releases, it’s like this album doesn’t exist.

Wikipedia describes “Skydancer” as a “very weird album and there really isn’t anything else like it – for good and bad. Most of the songs contain 20+ riffs that never are repeated in the same way, and the integration of clear vocals and acoustic guitars were extremely unorthodox for its time, as were the advanced use of counterpoint and recurring musical motifs”.

And I agree.

If you got into the band, post 2010, the debut album would be very strange to your ears and you would be questioning if it’s the same band.

The recording process was stressful. They only had a budget for 10 days of studio time, and working with studio engineers who were clueless about extreme metal. Which tells as the production is definitely demo like.

The band for the album is Anders Fridén on lead vocals, Niklas Sundin on lead guitar, Mikael Stanne on rhythm guitar, backing vocals, Martin Henriksson on bass and Anders Jivarp on drums.

Vocalist Anders Fridén either left or was fired after this album as he joined In Flames and was replaced by then rhythm guitarist, Mikael Stanne on vocals.

And recording history would have it that Mikael Stanne was the lead vocalist on the first In Flames studio album, “Lunar Strain”.

And for all the accolades of being a melodic death metal band, this album is part of the death metal genre.

Nightfall by the Shore of Time

Well it starts off with a guttural scream of the word “Nightfall”. And for the almost 5 minute song, the riffs move between fast thrash riffs, tempo changes and melodic Maiden like riffs.

With guttural singing.

Crimson Winds

It’s mid-tempo rock intro has a sing-a-long melodic lead. Then at the 1 minute mark it goes into a progressive like riff reminding me of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden and the guttural vocals kick in.

The interlude/solo section is so Maiden like.

A Bolt of Blazing Gold

It has an acoustic intro that sounds like it came from a Spaghetti Western. At about the minute mark, distortion guitars kick in. And 90 seconds in, guttural vocals kick in. At approx. every 30 seconds there is a change in music or tempo or time signature and that’s how this song progresses.

At 2.40, it goes back into a slower doomier tempo and we get clean tone vocals along with the guttural vocals.

In Tears Bereaved

This one is fast. Blast beats everywhere, tempo changes, time changes and guttural vocals.

Musically, there are some cool bits but overall, it’s a skip.

Skywards

Its relentless, with riffs crashing into each other, guttural vocals everywhere and hard to follow.

Through Ebony Archways

It’s a classical guitar piece at the start, almost waltz like. The acoustic riff changes as the song moves into clean tone vocals.

Shadow Duet

There’s some good riffs in this and the singing moves between growling and melody.

My Faeryland Forgotten

Chaos is how I describe this song.

Alone

A slower more doomier groove for the album closer.

However the release I have has the 1994 EP, “Of Chaos And Eternal Night” added to it. And the sound is remarkably improved than the debut.

Of Chaos and Eternal Night

You can hear the fast melodic metal riffs more prominent in this track.

With the Flaming Shades of Fall

This one is a mid-tempo track and the riffs are excellent.

Away, Delight, Away

Press play just to hear the intro as the guitars play an open string lick in harmony that reminds me of “Wasted Years”.

Alone ’94”

An updated version with better production.

If you like melodic vocals, then you will hate this, as the vocals are more growling than singing.

If you want to hear youthful enthusiasm and creativity by putting in as many riffs as possible into a song, then press play.

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

4 Years Ago (2017)

DIARY OF A MADMAN

Back in the 80’s, when songs from the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio, I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old.

Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995.

More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 40 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end.

And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album.

Check it out.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

Back in 2017, during this week I was listening g to;

Sweet And Lynch – Unified

Babylon A.D – Revelation Highway

Shakra – Snakes & Ladders

These three artists had my attention back then. Tomorrow it would have been someone else. They might come back at another time and get my attention. Maybe they won’t.

But if they are not releasing new product on a regular basis, they become forgotten.

So heading towards the end of 2021;

Sweet And Lynch are reading a new album.

Babylon A.D haven’t released any new music since 2017.

Shakra released “Mad World” in 2020 which I missed and they dropped a new single this year which I also missed.

8 Years Ago (2013)

WHO IS THE STAR (The Band Name Or The Personnel In The Band)?

When Metallica started on the scene, I dont recall anyone walking around saying that they got into Metallica because James Hetfield was such a cool cat or Lars Ulrich was the man.

People get into a band for multiple different reasons.

Like being a fan of genre and looking for similar artists of that genre or the songs connected or the album cover connected or the artist was getting a lot of word of mouth and people wanted to be part of the conversation and so on.

Of course some outliers do exist and some people become a cultural influence that transcends their music. In other words, they become institutions themselves like Ozzy.

Slash also comes to mind but it took him almost 14 years from when he left Gunners to re-establish and re-brand himself as a force to be reckoned with.

But he’s back with Gunners.

Because the band name is the star and it always will be.

That is why Axl Rose went all legal to claim the name.

That is why Tommy Lee returned to Motley Crue.

That is why James Hetfield returned to Metallica after rehab. That is why Lars Ulrich never contemplated anything else except Metallica during this period.

That is why Dave Mustaine resurrected Megadeth after he disbanded the band towards the end of the 90s.

That is why David Coverdale resurrected Whitesnake after he disbanded it.

That is why Dimebag didn’t want Pantera to end. He knew that Pantera was the star.

That is why David Lee Roth worked with Van Halen again. That is why Sammy Hagar wanted to work with Van Halen again.

That is why Alex Skolnick returned to Testament.

That is why there was a fight over who owns the right to the Queensryche name.

That is why Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters went all legal for the Pink Floyd name and the rights to “The Wall”.

That is why Benjamin Burnley went all legal for the right to use the Breaking Benjamin name.

That is why Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden.

That is why Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest.

That is why Black Sabbath reformed with three of the original members and released ’13’.

That is why bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Poison and Skid Row are still continuing with very different line ups and in some cases no original members.

To finish off with the immortal words of Ronnie James Dio “And on and on and on and on it goes….”

COPYRIGHT

For all artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright.

And guess what the labels are pushing for.

Even longer copyright terms. Because their is value in copyrights for the corporate entity holding it.

GREED

Greed from the major record labels could end up killing streaming services.

Back in 2013, musicians from Sweden were threatening to sue major labels Universal Music and Warner Music over streaming royalties.

These artists had identified that the problem lies with the major record labels rather than the streaming service and they took action to get royalty rates that better reflect the costs involved in digital production and distribution.

Even the UK Government did a review of streaming paymnets in 2020 and found that the labels are at fault.

Spotify is just one streaming service and they pay 70% of its revenues to music rights holders. Apple is similar and Tidal as well.

And Spotify, as at 2020 has paid $23 billion to the rights holders. When you add the numbers from the other streaming services, it’s a prettty massive profit the labels are making.

Once upon a time, the artists had the power.

Then in the Eighties, the labels stole it back. With the rise in revenue due to the CD, it made the labels mega rich powerhouses.

Well it’s time for the artists to take back the power. Basically the labels without any artists are worth nothing.

But there’s a new player in town. Hedge Funds and Investment firms. And they have cash and artists are cashing in.

TIME

It’s 1992.

The labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre while at the same time they are dropping hard rock and heavy metal bands left, right and centre. This is the power the label had. Not only could they make an artist famous, they could also destroy an artist.

Because the labels controlled all the points of distribution.

But in 2013, things had changed dramatically.

But the power is still with the major record labels. They gathered enough of it during the Eighties and Nineties to be a force to be reckoned. Then in the Two Thousands the massive mergers and takeovers happened, further enhancing the power of the labels. Then in order to allow digital start-ups, the labels did one of three things; charge high licensing fees or litigate the start-up to bankruptcy or negotiate a large ownership stake in the start-up.

So even though the internet has lowered the barriers of entry, without the money and power of the label behind the artists, there is a pretty good chance, the artist would probably go unnoticed.

One thing is certain in 2013.

We move on fast.

Look at the Top 10 lists of pirated movies that TorrentFreak publish each week. It’s always changing and very rare for the same movie to be at number one spot for two weeks in a row.

Look at the Top 10 of the streaming Charts published by each country. The artists in the list are always changing.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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Australian Method Series and The Record Vault: Dragon – Bondi Road

The “Body and the Beat” album and the song “Rain” kept Dragon in the Charts between 1983 and 1986.

In 1986, they released the hard rock sounding “Dreams Of Ordinary Man” album which was certified Platinum in Australia and kept their comeback alive.

In 1987, they dropped a cover song, “Celebration” from Kool And The Gang. And it went to Number 1 on the Australian charts and stayed in the Top 10 for quite some time.

I’m not a real fan of that song but it made business sense to cover it because of it’s cross over appeal. It was played in night clubs, parties and everywhere you went in Australia, you heard Dragon’s version.

And then in April 1989, they dropped “Bondi Road”, their ninth studio album.

And no one knew it at the time but it was to be the last album of new material to be released during singer Marc Hunter’s lifetime, who passed away from throat cancer in 1998 at 44 years of age.

Bondi Beach is listed as a place to visit in Sydney for tourists. It’s also the place where the reality TV show, “Bondi Rescue” is filmed which shows the lifeguards basically saving tourists from the waters.

With a title that involves the word “Bondi”, summer always comes to mind, however they dropped the album in April, which in the Southern Hemisphere, is the second month of Autumn.

But by the time October rolled around (the second month of Aussie spring), the album had grown in momentum and really became a summer album for the months of December, January and February.

Young Years

It’s one of their best songs, a hard rock classic. And it’s not even written by the band, written by keyboardist Alan Mansfield and his partner, vocalist Sharon O’Neill, who as a songwriting team have written other songs for Dragon which became fan favorites.

The song also had a massive resurgence in popularity following Marc Hunter’s death in 1998.

And on guitar they have the great Tommy Emmanuel. Apart from being an accomplished solo artist and an amazing guitar player at that, Emmanuel has amassed a lot of session credits here in Australia and in the U.S.

Plus a special mention to the awesome backing vocals of Mary Azzopardi and Wendy Matthews.

It’s a great opener and then I felt lost listening to the next songs.

“Blue Blue”, “Book of Love”, “Here Am I”, “Ice in this Town” and “Gold in the River” failed to capture the intensity and fire of the opening track.

Bondi Road

Then the Intro riff started for “Bondi Road” and I was back in. It’s all in clean tone but it’s got this rock blues funk groove which I like.

Written by Johanna Pigott and Todd Hunter, who also wrote “Rain”, however this time around vocalist Marc Hunter also has a songwriting contribution.

Summer

You couldn’t have an album called “Bondi Road” without having a song called “Summer” on it.

This one is written by David Hirschfelder, Marc Hunter and Wendy Hunter.

It’s major key riff, rocks hard but the way it’s delivered, it feels like I’m on the beach, soaking in the summer rays.

Then came “Family Man” and the album lost me again.

Runaway

It rocks out of the gate with a hard rock riff.

Another track written by the team of Alan Mansfield and Sharon O’Neill.

Good Time Girl

Mansfield and O’Neill contribute another song.

The rock sounds of Free and Bad Company start the song, and it moves into a riff similar to “Young Years”.

Stick around for the Chorus.

Celebration

And yes the stand alone single was given an album as well.

The album was Certified Gold in Australia, a bit lower than the previous albums and a sign of the changing times.

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The Record Vault: Drivin N Cryin – Smoke

“Smoke” is album number 5 from Drivin N Cryin, released in February 1993 on Island Records.

I got it a few years after as I was trying to get my hard rock fix circa 95/96.

And it was a purchase based on the song titles. When Grunge hit, a lot of the song titles had just one word as the title.

As soon as I saw titles like “Back Against The Wall”, “Turn It Up Or Turn It Off” and “Whiskey Soul Woman”, I was curious. Then I saw that Geoff Workman (RIP) is the producer and engineer so I purchased.

For those that don’t know Workman has been involved in either producing and engineering some massive albums for The Cars, Queen, Journey, Foreigner, Toto, Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister.

I knew nothing about them and for quite some time, I presumed this album was their first.

But the band was formed in 1985 and had a deal the following year.

Kevn Kinney on vocals/guitar, Tim Nielsen on bass and Paul Lenz on drums are the original members.

The band’s name, Drivin’ N Cryin’, was chosen because it reflected the two directions of the band’s music. Good for driving and good for crying.

In 1987, Lenz left and was replaced by Jeff Sullivan. And rock history would have it that Sullivan was the drummer for a certain band called Mr. Crowes Garden, which later would became known as The Black Crowes.

Afterwards Rhythm Guitarist Buren Fowler joined the trio and this is the band as I know it.

While they released albums in the 80’s, it was “Fly Me Courageous” released in 1990 and with Geoff Workman as Producer, which is seen as “the album” from the band. Certified gold, the album is hard rock the way it should be, without zero hairspray and make up and no label interference. However I didn’t know this at the time.

And three years later, “Smoke” follows in the same direction with Geoff Workman behind the boards again and the same sound.

Back Against The Wall

It feels like a derivative version of “Ace Of Spades” with a “Wipeout” drum groove in between certain sections. And I like it.

She Doesn’t Wanna Go

One of my favourites, especially that Chorus riff.

Smoke

This one has a Van Halen feel in the Intro riff, but as soon as the Verse kicks in, it’s like Thin Lizzy and in the Chorus its AC/DC.

What is there not to like.

When You Come Back

It sounds like a cut from the “Lies” EP by Gunners.

Patron Lady Beautiful

At 7 plus minutes, it’s a jam out 70’s style cut, slow blues rock with a lot of guitar solos. Another favourite.

1000 Swings

It’s a blues rock tune with a metal like Chorus riff.

1988

It feels like some of the early Sabbath recordings when they just jammed the blues.

Whiskey Soul Woman

The Cult comes to mind when I think of this song.

And it’s got the “Strutter” beat which I like. I call it the “Strutter” beat, because the Kiss song was the first song I heard with that snare/high-hat and bass drum all at same time.

What’s The Difference

It’s very Petty/Dylan and I like it.

It’s just a light dirty electric and a vocal melody.

Eastern European Carny Man

It’s like a Bad Company meets Boston track.

All Around The World

Its sleazy in the riff department, very 80’s Motorhead like.

Turn It Up Or Turn It Off

It feels like a merge between “Do Ya” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”. Vocally, the melodies feel very Tom Petty like.

Once this track finishes there is 30 seconds of silence and “Can’t Fall Off the Mountain,” a hidden track begins like an acoustic camp fire tune.

And I enjoyed this album.

But I lost sight of em as I started getting into bands like Collective Soul, Tonic, Matchbox 20, and some of my 80’s and early 90’s favourites started to release some great recordings circa 97 and onwards.

So if you like hard rock with bluesy overtones and some Petty/Dylan/Lemmy/Lynott influenced like singing, call up Drive N Crying.

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The Record Vault: The Darkness – One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back

“One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back” is the second studio album from The Darkness. So much for all the talk about diminishing recording budgets, as this album cost £1 million to make.

Released in November 2005.

They even got Roy Thomas Baker, best known for his work with Queen, who is a major influence on The Darkness to produce.

And a change was happening within the band as well.

Bassist Frankie Poullain left the band during the early stages of production on the album, with most bass parts on the album played by guitarist Dan Hawkins.

So the musicians for the album are Justin Hawkins on Lead Vocals / Guitars and Piano,
Dan Hawkins on Guitars and Bass and Ed Graham on Drums.

Richie Edwards would join on Bass for the tour.

One Way Ticket

A flute and a choir starts it all off and then a riff inspired by “Highway To Hell” kicks in.

And the song is an amalgamation of the big hits from the debut, like “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and “Growing On Me”. A perfect opener.

But the solo felt like a bit of a joke. And it feels like that was the intention.

Knockers

It’s got this Pink Floyd feel in the Intro and Verses and I was waiting for Justin Hawkins to sing “We don’t need no education”. But that never happened.

And the Chorus has this Gospel Country Rock feel.

Is It Just Me?

The riff is similar to “Too Fast For Love” and other blues rock classics like “Peter Gunn” with a Chorus riff that reminds me of Rick Springfield and “Jessie’s Girl”.

Dinner Lady Arms

Musically, it’s a Def Leppard “Hysteria” like riff, just more up-tempo.

But the Chorus lacks lyrically, because the title is stupid and the hook doesn’t resonate.

Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

A hard rock ballad with a title to challenge Meatloaf.

Hazel Eyes

It starts off with harmony guitars, which feel like they have a backwards effect on em. Then the strumming starts and the song begins. There’s bagpipes, a vocal melody and some high falsettos, which the guitar mimics as a harmony lead.

But it felt rushed and it ends abruptly.

Bald

The intro is brilliant, ominous and it builds nicely, until the guitars crash in with distorted chords and lead breaks. Musically, this is my favourite song, even though the Chorus vocal melody is a ball squeezing contest in falsetto highs.

Girlfriend

The riff has got that Status Quo 12 bar blues feel. But it’s not a favourite.

English Country Garden

I get what they are trying to do on this by bringing in the weirdness of Queen but it’s a skip.

Blind Man

Another skip.

Wanker

It’s the B-side to the “One Way Ticket” single and its Rolling Stones groove smashing against AC/DC and Status Quo works for me.

There are horns which gives it a soul rock feel, and Hawkins moves between normal singing in the verses to his falsetto in the Chorus which he even harmonises as a backing vocal.

It’s insane.

Grief Hammer

It’s the other B-side to the “One Way Ticket” single and the Intro gets me interested right away. Musically its pretty good.

And this album while good in certain parts lost me as a fan for almost a decade.

Because at times it felt like a Jack Black “Pick Of Destiny” soundtrack. And I like that soundtrack because it’s Jack Black.

And I guess it a big recording budget doesn’t lead to quality.

I more or less ignored them until “Easter Is Cancelled” in 2019.

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The Record Vault: The Darkness – Permission To Land

Released in 2003. But I didn’t buy it then.

The debut album “Permission To Land” took everyone by surprise. No one was ready for The Darkness. Their look, their vocal chops, their style of music was all “anti-what’s in vogue”.

Justin Hawkins is on vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, synthesizer and piano. His brother Dan Hawkins is on rhythm and lead guitar.
Frankie Poullain is on bass and Ed Graham is on drums.

I saw the clips and I watched em perform on various TV shows. I was a fan but I didn’t feel the need to buy. I wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick or the real deal.

Anyway a few years later I actually purchased their product.

Black Shuck

I was hooked from the AC/DC inspired intro. Very “Dirty Deeds” like.

Once the singing started, I was like WTF.

In a simple verse you hear operatic falsettos, Meatloaf like “Bat Out Of The Hell” style vocals, Freddie Mercury extravagance and NWOBHM throaty spitfire vocals. Almost theatre like. King Diamond also comes to mind.

It felt like a train wreck and I liked it. So I stayed on the train to see how far it would go before it crashed.

Get Your Hands Off My Woman

Then this started, with a bass riff that reminded me of The Police. The operatic falsetto is all over the verses and the Chorus.

And I like the “Hit With Me Your Best Shot” inspired Chorus riff.

The train crash was still on the rails.

Growing On Me

Very Cheap Trick like in the Intro/Chorus and when the Verse kicks in, check out the Rick Springfield “Jessie’s Girl” riff.

And I like it.

Finally we get a solo in the middle of the song and in the outro, but it’s the riff before the solo which I like.

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

At 159.4 million streams on Spotify, it’s their “hit”.

What else can be said about this. The riffs are very Sweet/ELO like and the Chorus vocal delivery has become iconic throughout the years. I remember in the early days of the “Idol” shows, there always was a singer who auditioned with this song.

And how good is the Outro, with the lead first and then that head banging riff to close.

So far, so good. A four punch knockout combo so far.

Love Is Only A Feeling

A mid-tempo like ballad more Poison like. And by now, my ears had acclimatised to the falsetto and normal singing voices.

Givin’ Up

Musically, it’s AC/DC in attitude and spirit.

Stuck In A Rut

The intro riff is “Thunderstruck” played ala Malcolm Young. Vocally it’s everywhere and not my favourite, but it doesn’t take away from the power of the music to me.

Friday Night

More Cheap Trick like influences.

Love On The Rocks With No Ice

I like the music. Its hard rock the way I like it. It has that AC/DC style of rock, with all of these other influences throughout, like ELO, Bad Company and even Judas Priest.

And this song has their best solo moments in the mid-section.

Holding My Own

“Purple Rain” from Prince and “Faithfully” from Journey come to mind when I hear this.

Makin’ Out

More AC/DC style of rawk and roll to close out.

Check out the open string lick after the solo, very “Thunderstruck” like.

By the end of it, I hoped they would stick around, but had a feeling that the labels would use them and spit them out. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”.

But I was wrong, as they have shown the same resilience from when they started.

Doing it their way and “anti-what’s in”.

In Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the album was certified Platinum. In the U.K, it was 4x Platinum.

In Denmark and the United States it’s certified Gold.

And I guess you know which review is coming tomorrow.

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

1976 – Part 3.7: Journey – Look Into The Future

Journey did exist before 1980 and before Steve Perry joined sometime in 1977/78. But it was a different Journey, more progressive rock and jazz fusion than the pop rock behemoth they are known for. But it’s those pop rock songs which game them a career. “Don’t Stop Believin” has 1.1 billion streams on Spotify. That equates to $3 million in royalties. Just for one song. And they have a lot of songs from that era in the hundred of millions.

But nothing from the early days.

“Look into the Future” is their second album, released in January 1976 on Columbia Records.

While the debut album was flavoured with a lot of progressive rock and Latin rhythms, the second album had a more standard song approach, with the progressiveness made to fit the song structures.

Guitarist George Tickner left the band after having co-written two songs for this album, leaving members Gregg Rolie (lead vocals/keyboards), Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), and Aynsley Dunbar (drums) as the recording members.

On a Saturday Nite

It’s very Doors like in style and vocal delivery.

It’s written solely by Gregg Rolie, so it’s no surprise that the piano leads the way to set the rock groove.

It’s All Too Much

A cover of a Beatles song written by George Harrison which appeared in the “Yellow Submarine” film and soundtrack.

Anyway

It’s like those 70’ mid-tempo songs that groove and rock and border on being like a heavy ballad but are not. Another Rolie composition which the band brings to life.

She Makes Me (Feel Alright)

Neal Schon makes an appearance as a songwriter along with Alex Cash and Rolie, with a super-sized Hendrix meets Sabbath like riff.

You’re on Your Own

Written by Rolie, George Tickner and Schon.

A piano riff and a melodic sing-along solo from Schon starts things off. Very Santana like.

And the song rocks and rolls.

Towards the end, Schon is shredding away over a Beatles like vocal melody in which Rolie is singing, “Trying to make up your mind”.

Look into the Future

Written by Diane Valory, Rolie and Schon. The start reminds me of “Free Bird” and the song retains that “Free Bird” feel.

At 8:10, it was the longest song Journey had recorded until 1980, when “Destiny” from the soundtrack album “Dream After Dream” took its place but no one would know it as the album is ignored, released the same year as “Departure”.

If there is a track to listen to on this album it’s this.

Especially when Schon starts to wail. His note selection, phrasing and emotive bends just needs to be heard. And the outro section has an open string like lick which Schon repeats while Rolie is singing, “it’s just around the corner” and then Schon breaks loose again, wailing away to close out the song.

The only thing you can do is press play again.

Midnight Dreamer

Written by Rolie and Schon, this one is funk rock fusion, very Hendrix like even in the vocal delivery.

But at the 2 minute mark it goes into a Doors like jam, with the piano leading the way and the drums playing a fast “Riders On The Storm” like shuffle.

And once the synth solo starts, its more ELP and Yes like than rawk and roll.

I’m Gonna Leave You

Written by Rolie, Schon and Tickner.

The intro riff is familiar because John Sykes used the exact same riff in the song, “Blue Murder”.

But then again, it’s a riff that is from the 70’s, one of those riffs that just can’t fall under copyright because it’s so derivative. Even “Carry On My Wayward Son” has this riff.

The title might not sound very metal like, but this cut is a Heavy Metal cut.

The Metal that I grew up on, before it became unrecognisable with guttural like vocals throughout.

Check it out.

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

The Record Vault: Dirty Americans – Strange Generation

Formed in December 2000, they come from an area outside Detroit, Michigan. And since Kiss told me that Detroit is a Rock city, the Dirty Americans well then had to rock. And they sure do.

They got the attention of Roadrunner Records a few months after forming but were kept in limbo hell by the label. They recorded demos and albums worth of material for the label, but the label kept holding them back.

After a few false starts to release an album, “Strange Generation” was finally released in Europe, Japan and Australia in March 2004. The band was also then released from their contract with Roadrunner Records, and the debut album was later released in the US by Liquor & Poker Music. I had to google the name of the label to see if David Coverdale was running it, since Whitesnake had a song called “Liquor and Poker” written for the “Slip Of The Tongue” album and even the tour in support of the album was called the “Liquor and Poker”.

I purchased the album because of its retro psychedelic looking cover and the fact that Roadrunner was the label behind it.

Like many bands during this era, it was lucrative to have your songs on video games.

The song “Car Crash” is featured on the soundtrack for the PlayStation 2 video game Gran Turismo 4 and “Burn You Down” is featured in the main menus to ATV Offroad Fury 3 and Gretzky NHL 2005.

From an Australian point of view, they had the same sounds that Wolfmother and Jet had. That throwback to the 70’s retro sound. Good old classic rock.

No Rest

It explodes like a fuzzed out Sabbath crashing into the Rolling Stones.

Car Crash

It’s like The Doors meets Molly Hatchett.

Can love be like a car crash?

I suppose you need to be in both to really know.

Strange Generation

For some reason, “Generation Swine” keeps coming into my headspace when I see this title. But it’s more similar to early Cheap Trick than later Crue.

Burn You Down

The combination of Cream like riffs in the Verses with a Blue Oyster Cult “Don’t Fear The Reaper” style Chorus is great to listen to.

Time In Space

The start reminds me of AC/DC. Musically that is.

Give It Up

A blues rocker ballad, more in sync with Grand Funk and Lynyrd Skynyrd than anything else.

Deadman

My favourite song.

It’s got this Tea Party sound and feel, which is basically like Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” sound.

And some sections remind me of Bush in the vocal delivery.

If you need to press play on a song from this album, then this is it.

Deep End

It could have appeared on Led Zep III and fitted perfectly with the style of that album.

Way To Go

The Chorus is addictive on this.

We Were Young

It’s got a Collective Soul feel, like “The World We Knew”.

The whole album just rocks and grooves.

I didn’t skip a song when I got it and listening to it again, today, I still didn’t skip a song.

But.

Afterwards it was hard to describe or sing or hum any of their melodies.

But.

When I pressed play again, for the second time, it was all familiar again, only to disappear a few hours later after I finished listening to it.

And I’m thinking that’s why they didn’t break on through to larger things, like other retro sounding bands. They didn’t have that “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” or “Joker And The Thief/Woman” tune.

Plus it was very hard to find any information on em back then.

Checking Spotify out right now, it does have two EP’s in “Jet Black Holy Water” and “Detroit S.O.B” and an album called “Black Feather” released in 2011.

In the end, they are largely unknown to the masses. Do yourself a favor and press play.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – October 32 to November 6

4 Years Ago (2017)

NIKKI SIXX

Love him or hate him, one thing is certain. Nikki Sixx is a lifer in the music business and once he and Allen Kovacs got back control of Motley’s catalogue in the late 90’s, they went about reinventing his image and persona, until he became bigger than the rest of the Crue guys combined.

Crue was my favourite band in the 80’s. Their attitude, their pop choruses, the street life lyrics and their simple but effective riffage all connected with me.

Crue showed the world that you don’t have to be the most gifted musicians to write effective songs that connect.

The 10th year anniversary edition of “The Heroin Diaries” came out during this period.

And you know what; it still is a pretty good album.

And 10 years is a long time in music. You could be here and then you could be gone.

Think about it.

In 1989, the Crue released “Dr Feelgood”. Their first ever Number 1 album. At the peak of their powers. By 1999, the Crue was creatively non-existent. By 2009, they had released a new album and had a massive tour. By 2019, they had retired from touring and then announced a comeback, which was derailed by coronavirus.

THE EARLY 90’s

By the early 90’s, the remnants of the dominant 80’s rock movement was looking for ways to fit in and get back people’s attention.

A lot of the acts signed towards the late 80’s had already splintered. Some got dropped and tried to get a new deal or they just left the recording business for good. And you had a lot of acts from the early 80’s, who had platinum success and somehow were still together and looking for ways to survive in the 90’s. You also had the 70’s acts that re-invented themselves in the 80’s thanks to MTV and were looking to keep the momentum going well into the 90’s. Aerosmith and Kiss come to mind here.

Meanwhile, the recording business was in a race to the bottom with a winner take all mentality. Label after label started to get sucked into the vacuum of the larger label.

Changes in personnel happened so fast that once an artist was signed, a few weeks or few months later, the people who signed the artist would no longer be working at the label and the interest to develop and promote the artist disappeared.

So the artist was in limbo.

But the label is not letting the artist go, just in case the artist makes it with another label. It’s one of the big no-no’s in the recording industry.

A record company in the 80’s would get you on radio, music television, magazines and they would push the album hard enough to achieve platinum sales.

If it didn’t “sell”, they would put you in the studio again, get you further in debt and if you failed again, you would be dropped.

A record label in the 90’s would sign you and then drop you before you even released anything or had a chance to get your message across.

And in today’s world it’s getting even harder to get your message across. It’s weird, because everyone has smartphones and everyone is connected however this great digital era also means that the users are the product.

WHITESNAKE 30th ANNIVERSARY

I was listening to the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the 1987 self-titled album from Whitesnake.

Coverdale might have racked up a $3 million plus debt recording it, but Geffen Records recouped their investment and Coverdale got to make some coin himself.

To show the obscene amount of money thrown at artists, Sykes was hired in 84 with a million dollar sign-on fee, which would turn out to be another amount Coverdale had to pay back.

Because, labels recoup everything before they start to pay anything out.

And the “Evolution” demos are gold.

Pure Gold.

The way Coverdale and his team edited them together to demonstrate the evolution of each song is something that no other artist had done at that point in time.

It shows how a good chorus or a vocal melody evolves into a song. In some of the demo’s Coverdale is lost for words, but he’s hearing the melody and he repeats the same lines so he has something on tape to go back to later on.
Sykes on those jam versions; solo’s and riffs like hell. He’s unrefined and spontaneous and just trying stuff out, seeing what sticks and connects. The beauty of demos are the mistakes. There are no maps or directions but the artist sort of knows where they are going.

For example, in “Still Of The Night”. In the first minute, Coverdale is drumming on his legs, singling and adlibbing while Sykes is playing a riff over the normal F#5 chord. Then the phone rings and the next bit you hear from the minute mark to 1.45, I believe is from another song writing session. Then it evolves into a band rehearsal. And it just keeps on evolving from there. The evolution.

It’s best to invest time and check em out yourself. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MILLION AND SEVEN MILLION

While it’s great to see David Coverdale celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album.

Dokken and the work Lynch did with the band is another favourite of mine during this period and Lynch’s guitar work is a huge influence on my guitar playing and style.

But “Back for the Attack” released in 1987 gets no anniversary treatment. It gets no attention and is rarely part of the conversation.

But back in 1987 it was everywhere. The momentum started with “Dream Warriors” which was released to promote “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”.

For nine months, Elektra Records flogged “Dream Warriors” to death over a staggered windowed release.

Then the album dropped and people purchased.

So what does 1 million sales in 1987 mean in 2021.

Using Spotify stats, 1 million sales in 1987 leads to 7.1 million streams of “Dream Warriors” in 2021.

Compared to how big Dokken was in the 80’s, these numbers are anaemic.

“Is This Love” has 181 plus million streams, while the “Here I Go Again” 1987 version has 204.8 million streams.

The “Here I Go Again” version from “Saints and Sinners” has 110 plus million streams and when you add the 68 million streams from the 1987 radio edit version, “Here I Go Again” combined 382 million streams.

The difference between a million seller and a seven million seller.

8 Years Ago (2013)

GUITAR WORLD

Once upon a time getting on the cover of a magazine was a sign of success. For the musical fan, the magazine was the only way that we could get any information from our favourite artists. The heyday for the metal and rock movements was the Eighties. Hundreds of different magazines appeared that covered certain genres and information was plentiful.

I started purchasing Guitar World magazines from January 1986. Any magazine that had content of bands/artists that I liked I devoured.

Circus, Faces, Metal Maniacs, Rip, Metal Edge, Hit Parader, Guitar For The Practicing Musician, Hot Metal, Metal Hammer, Kerrang, Guitar School, Guitar One, Total Guitar, Guitar Player and Guitar.

So how important is it to an artist to be on the cover of Guitar World today?

Back in 2013, I still subscribed to the magazine and I had all the issues for the year mapped out in front of me.

This was the cover roll for 2013.

December – Nirvana – In Utero Anniversary
November – John Petrucci
October – Synester Gates / Zacky Vengeance
September – Ultimate Prog Roundtable/Asking Alexandria
August – Jeff Hanneman Tribute
July – Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne
June – Dave Mustaine / Chris Broderick
May – Brad Paisley
April – Orianthi
March – SRV “Texas Flood” Anniversary
February – The Who / Pete Townsend
January – Led Zeppelin Rides Again

Guitar World likes to play it safe. Sort of like a record label in the current environment. Not a lot of new artists in the list because they don’t sell advertising.

Each issue is still enjoyable and the lessons, plus the tabs are the reason why I still subscribed to it.

However, with user posted tabs on the rise in greater numbers on the internet (along with peer reviews and edits), plus YouTube videos of guitarists covering their favourite songs, in addition to the artists themselves delving deep into the “how to play” department, does a magazine like Guitar World still have a relevance in today’s market?

SCORE SHEET

STREAMING
Everyone talks about the money that isn’t filtering down to the artist however streaming is too entrenched to be replaced.

ALBUM
Everyone talks about the money that is lost due to piracy.

Remember that 20% of the tracks on Spotify have never been played.

SALES
Are not the best metric to measure a bands reach and pull.

PIRACY
Is not that large of a problem as the majors and the RIAA make it out to be.

LIVE
Remember the excitement and the buzz of going to the show. It was uncontrollable. Everyone waiting in line to get inside, to watch a band that rules, in an era that music ruled. By 2013 standards, it was too expensive to take kids to a concert and with a pandemic/endemic happening right now, it’s not even safe.

MUSIC IS DERIVATIVE

All the music we love is an amalgamation of music that has come before. In a lot of the cases, this amalgamation involves some serious copying.

In other words, the history of music as I know it involved a lot of “stealing.”

MUSIC IS DERIVATIVE 2

Since the Copyright industries have grown into Corporate monoliths, it is suddenly uncool for an artist to use previous works as influences for further works.

But.

Those artists who “steal” are the most successful. Those who “imitate” are the most successful. Those who “copy” are the most successful.

Led Zeppelin built a career on copying blues and folk standards.

Metallica built their career by copying their NWOBM influences and many others.

Oasis built a career on copying from “The Beatles”.

The Beatles built a career on copying from blues and rock standards.

It is a shame that we have a generation of people that have grown up with a belief that music is created in a vacuum and they decide that legal threats is the best way forward.

When Balance Sheets are affected, these industries will do anything to hold on or maintain their profits.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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