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

Al Pitrelli – 1990 to 1992

Let’s go back to when Pitrelli got booted or left Danger Danger in 1988.

Bruno Ravel and Steve West held a tight ship on the writing process. It was either written by Ravel/West or Pitrelli/Pont. On occasions Pitrelli and Ravel would write. But once Pont was booted, Pitrelli felt that he was getting squeezed out.

Danger Danger is seen as Bruno Ravel’s band, however it was Al Pitrelli’s to begin with. So he stayed, because like Ravel, he wanted a record deal. With the addition of Ted Poley, the demos the band recorded got the band its Epic deal, however it also got Pitrelli out of the band due to disagreements with the A&R rep.

The Alice Cooper touring gig was a massive opportunity moving from regional nickel and dime gigs to arenas.

Joining Cooper and Pitrelli was his old Berklee friend Derek Sherinian on keys. The other guitarist was Pete Friesen who did multiple stings with Cooper between 1989-91, 1998-2000 and 2002. In between those stints he became the lead guitarist in “The Almighty”, did a stint in Bruce Dickinson’s solo band and prior to joining Alice Cooper he was in VO5 with Sebastian Bach.

The bassist is Tommy Caradonna who did work with Lita Ford before Alice Cooper and the drummer is Jonathan Mover who also did work with Marillion. Although not confirmed, I did read stories that Caradonna was the bassist that Michael Bolton did not like back in 1985 when Pitrelli brought a fully formed band to Bolton to become his touring band.

How Al Pitrelli got the gig with Alice Cooper is told a bit differently in this RAW article. Although Matt Bissonette did recommend Pitrelli, it was Steve Vai again who sealed the deal.

“I called up Steve Vai (ex-Dave Lee Roth guitarist, now with Whitesnake) and said: ‘I know you’re taken, so tell me who the next best is’.

And he said Al Pitrelli (from Long Island, New York). So as soon as I got him Roth calls up and says: ‘Did you take that guy?’ Cos he wanted him, but I had him, ha!”

In a Guitar mag interview, Alice Cooper had this to say about Al Pitrelli’s involvement.

“I particularly picked Pete and Al for two different reasons, even though they look like they could be brothers. Al is a total free spirit.

I called Steve Vai up and said, “I know you’re taken. Tell me the next best guy.” He said, “Al Pitrelli. He’s very fluid. He can play anything. He has a ‘leader’ quality.” That’s what I was looking for.”

For Kiss fans, Mark St. John was also in the running for the Alice Cooper gig.

In relation to the Roth gig, the slot went to Jason Becker, however tragedy was around the corner for Becker, with a disease called Lou Gehrig’s, which would leave Becker paralysed completely and relying on machines and special communication devices based on eye movements and blinking to communicate.

And Roth’s career took a nose dive after Steve Vai’s departure. By the mid 90’s, Roth was out of the music business and working as an Emergency Medical Technician.

A few side notes here.

  • Going back to the Jason Becker and Roth connection, Pitrelli would be replacing Becker’s “Cacophony” guitar mate Marty Friedman in Megadeth at the start of the 2000’s.
  • During the Pitrelli/Alice Cooper audition, his Hotshot bassist, Teddy Cook was also auditioning for Dio as part of the “Lock Up The Wolves” era circa 1989/90. After Dio disbanded, when Ronnie re-joined Black Sabbath, Cook would go on to play with Great White, Virgin Steele and Randy Jackson’s China Rain.
  • Hotshot with new members who replaced Pitrelli and Cook, were still pushing the demo they did with Pitrelli and Cook. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee heard it and wanted to produce the band. At the time, the Toxic Twins were going to start their own label however the departure of Vince Neil changed all that and Hotshot was again without a deal.

Before Pitrelli got the Alice Cooper gig, he needed to make some fast career decisions. He left Danger Danger because he didn’t have proper opportunities to compose songs with Ravel and West. In Alice Cooper he wouldn’t have those opportunities either. But in Hotshot, he had the creative freedom to write what he wanted and Hotshot was getting a lot of attention. Alice Cooper while successful in the past, was also known as having his ups and downs. On top of that, Pitrelli’s home life was doing guitar lessons, earning about $400 a week, married and with a son.

Pitrelli selected Alice Cooper.

In the end, Pitrelli was Alice Cooper’s guitarist and musical director from 1989 until 1991 on the “Trashes The World” tour. Shows from this tour were captured on tape and released on VHS in 1990.

There was a full dress rehearsal gig before the tour started. Steve Vai and Gregg Bissonette attended. Pitrelli was thankful of the two and hugged Bissonette for a long time.

Once the gig with Alice was over or in downtime between Alice shows, Pitrelli re-joined with Randy Coven and drummer John O’Reilly as a formal member of the Randy Coven Band to release “Sammy Says Ouch!” in 1990. On top of that, he also did some session work for Donny Osmond and that album “Eyes Don’t Lie” was also released in 1990. The lesson he learnt from the Michael Bolton days was to play with whoever and wherever.

His session work didn’t end there with albums from Kathy Troccoli called “Pure Attraction” and Henry Lee Summer called “Way Past Midnight” seeing releases. His skills to adapt to various musical styles was on par with Steve Lukather, who was a go to session guru as well. A song he wrote with Jimmy DeGrasso called “City” would also end up on the album “Ten” by Y&T.

Y&T by this time had Stef Burns in the band after Joey Alves left and Alice Cooper history shows that Stef Burns would replace Al Pitrelli within his touring band. And DeGrasso would leave Y&T to join Cooper as well.

In 1992, one my favourite albums was released.

The band was called Widowmaker and the album was “Blood And Bullets”. This was Dee Snider’s post Twisted Sister band 5 years after Twisted Sister broke up and two years after the failed Desperado project with Elektra. The band was aggressive, crunchier and the musicians a step above.

The band name was suggested by producer Ric Wake because he liked the song called “The Widowmaker”.

Snider even contacted bassist Bob Daisley (Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne), who played in the original Widowmaker, about using the name and got a “who cares if you use the name” reply.

Rick Wake as Producer was an interesting choice as his experience at that time was purely pop artists like Taylor Dayne, Mariah Carey, Diana Ross and Sheena Easton.

It’s also worth noting that there are songs on this album from the Desperado project written with Bernie Torme (RIP) which Snider had to buy back the rights to from Elektra. The songs “Calling For You”, “Gone Bad” and “Emaheevull” got re-done in Widowmaker. Other songs like “Hang Em High” and “Cry You A Rainbow”, would be released on other Dee Snider’s solo album “Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down”.

“Reason To Kill” is from the debut album. Snider is angry here and that anger is directed at Bob Krasnow, the head of Elektra Records and the person responsible for killing off the Desperado project and then not allowing Snider to take his songs elsewhere.

So you used me
Then threw me away

That is the slogan of the Label Run Music Business. Actually it still is, especially to the ones who still chase major label gigs.

All my life it seems
Been spent building’ dreams
I knew would be broke by you

Dee left Twisted Sister in 1987 and spent three years writing, demoing and recording the Desperado album, only to have it pulled from release in 1990. The band splintered apart and he was left in no man’s land. Three years out of the public eye in the music business is a life time, and prior to Desperado, Dee spent his whole life building up Twisted Sister only to have that broken as well, by label and management pressure.

Dee was also upset with Atlantic when the label announced it was putting together a best-of Twisted Sister album, which was released a few months before the Widowmaker album. It was typical of the labels. Releasing music as best offs. The maths are simple. Zero Cost = Pure Profit.

Dee Snider wanted to play bigger places with Widowmaker and he wanted similar commercial success to his Twisted Sister days, but it never happened. A loyal core fan base would be there to support the band when it made the trek to play the Clubs it had booked.

Acts like The Black Crowes, Bon Jovi, Metallica and Pantera were selling out larger venues. Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Nirvana would join them soon. But the biggest thing with Widowmaker was the lack of promo. No one knew that Dee Snider was even in the band.

Pitrelli meanwhile was still in demand as a session player.

The Asia band featured three original members in keyboardist Geoff Downes, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Carl Palmer. It’s debatable how much Howe and Palmer actually played on the album.

Joining them for 1992’s “Aqua” release is Al Pitrelli on guitars and bassist vocalist John Payne. However, Pitrelli and Palmer never toured on this album as per the agreement, with their spots going to Vinny Burns on guitar and Trevor Thornton on drums.

Also in the same year, Coven and Pitrelli did a different project called Coven, Pitrelli, and Reilly (CPR). The album was simply titled “CPR” after the band.

He also was a writer on the “Hey Stoopid” album which came out in 1992. The song “Burning Our Bed” made it to the album (a co-write with Alice Cooper, Bib Pfeifer and his old Hotshot/Danger Danger buddy Steve West, while a few other songs remained in the demo stages.

He also did some session work for the act Expose. Their self-titled third album was released in 1992. The album’s music style has more pop and less Latin than their previous albums. Pitrelli plays guitar on two songs written by Diane Warren called “As Long As I Can Dream” (a co-write with Roy Orbison) and “In Walked Love”.

More to come as the 90s proved to be a big breakout year for Pitrelli.

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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: The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Eight hazy days is all it took for the band to record album number 2, released on May 12, 1992. Having done the pre-work, the band was ready to capture their live sound onto tape.

The band of Chris Robinson on vocals, Rich Robinson and Marc Ford on guitar, Johnny Colt on bass, Steve Gorman on drums and Eddie Harsch on keyboards are on fire. And the jam live spirit drips from the speakers.

Wikipedia tells me that it was the first time an album featured four album rock number-one hits. The previous record was set by the great Tom Petty in 1989, with three number-one rock hits. The album itself reached the top spot of the Billboard 200 album chart, propelled by the success of these singles.

The album’s name comes from an influential 1835 hymn and tune book compiled by William Walker. While I never knew that at the time, I did think the title was unique.

Sting Me

We needed rock and roll to reset from the glamorized rock and metal that did the rounds in MTV.

That’s what “Sting Me” is about. It shows the bands intention and confirms that the first album, “Shake Your Moneymaker” was not a fluke.

“If you feel like a riot, don’t you deny it” are the opening lines and man, with all that was happening in LA, it could have been the protest song of the rioters, when the shitty verdict was handed down to the four white policemen in their beating of African-American Rodney King.

And the Chorus is so Rolling Stones like, I love it.

Remedy

This song deserved to be a smash hit everywhere. It was the perfect amalgamation of blues rock and pop rock.

And I love the lead break on this from Marc Ford. It reminds me of the leads that Slash does with GNR and it’s something which Slash doesn’t get enough credit for, being a great blues rock player in the vein of Jeff Beck. And Marc Ford is up there as well, so underrated.

And how good arethe female backing vocals.

But the song is forgotten on streaming services, compared to the debut album songs like “Hard To Handle” at 132 million streams on Spotify and “She Talks To Angels” at 78.6 million streams, “Remedy” pales at 27.3 million streams.

I guess all the fans already have the album, and we’ve overdosed on it, so the last thing we want to do is to play it again on a streaming service.

Kind of like playing “Wanted Dead Or Alive”, “Enter Sandman” or “The Final Countdown” or “Kick Start My Heart”. Then again, people are playing those songs in the millions each week.

Thorn in My Pride

The acoustic guitar playing is so Led Zep like and the lyrics of “my angels and my devils being the thorn in my pride” are favorites of mine. And Marc Ford brings it again in the lead department, with a very accomplished SRV like shred.

Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye

I like these kind of slow blues songs, like “Little Wing”, “Since I’ve Been Lovin You” and “Black Magic Woman”.

Actually Poison with Richie Kotzen wrote a killer track like this called “Until You Suffer (Fire and Ice) from the “Native Tongue” album, but no one purchased that album. So did Richie Sambora, with “Stranger In This Town”.

Sometimes Salvation

It’s a slow maybe mid temp blues rock song, about lessening your troubles, by hanging with less vultures, and wishing you had a nickel for every time you were tricked by some miracle.

Hotel Illness

It’s got this Beatles and Rolling Stones blues rock vibe and I like it.

Black Moon Creeping

I like the groove on this.

No Speak No Slave

The opening riff reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks”. It could easily be interchanged with a Corrosion of Conformity song.

My Morning Song

This should have been another hit off the album, but “Remedy” was so big that nothing else could measure up.

Time Will Tell

A Bob Marley cover, with acoustic guitars and gospel like backing vocals, as the band takes the reggae feel to the muddy waters of the Mississippi Delta and turns it into an acoustic blues rock track.

We loved the album in Australia. It charted as high as Number 6 on our ARIA charts and it earned a Gold Certification.

In the U.S market, it went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts and earned a 2x Platinum certification.

For a long time I called it “The Great Southern Harmony Musical Corruption”. So put it on and let it corrupt you.

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The Record Vault: Arc Angels

In August 1990, Blues Rock Guitar Hero, Stevie Ray Vaughan was killed in a helicopter crash. His Double Trouble rhythm section of Tommy Shannon (bass) and Chris Layton (drums) were devastated and with SRV’s death, out of a gig.

They dealt with the pain by jamming. They called in guitar prodigy Charlie Sexton and another guitarist in Doyle Bramhall ll. Bramhall’s father, Doyle Bramhall, Sr. is also steeped in the blues, playing drums for Lightnin’ Hopkins and Freddie King. And Bramhall, Sr. also collaborated on songs with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan, who he knew since childhood.

The jam sessions took place at the Austin Rehearsal Complex. This is how the “Arc” in the band name is derived.

I heard “Living In A Dream” on Letterman and I thought it was Badlands via the sound, but the look definitely wasn’t Jake E Lee and Ray Gillen (RIP). But I couldn’t get their album, even though it was on Geffen Records. I suppose the year of 1992 didn’t help either.

“Arc Angels” is the self-titled debut album released in 1992.

Production is handled by Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul.

Living In A Dream

What an opening cut, with a feel of “When The Levee Breaks” and just think of “Stormbringer” played in a blues based way.

It’s written by Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton. They both share vocal duties and they put their guitar skills on display, riff wise and lead wise.

‘Cause there’s nothing wrong here
I’m just living, living in a dream

And sometimes we don’t want to escape that dream.

Paradise Café

Written by Charlie Sexton and Tonio K, this song reminds me of the Roadhouse movie. You can imagine the band playing the song behind a Perspex cage to protect them from glass bottles.

Well now everything is rosy
And the money’s so well spent
This kind of education
Is worth every cent
When your momma pays the tuition
And your daddy pays the rent
You could learn a lot in college
Although you never went

Sometimes the silver spoon is not enough to satisfy.

Sent by Angels

Written by Doyle Bramhall II.

I like the Bad Company vibe on this. Black Crowes also comes to mind.

Sweet Nadine

Written by Charlie Sexton and Tonio K.

The acoustic guitar riff reminds me of “Little Suzi” from Tesla. Even the titles are similar. The drum beat is more surf rock and Iggy Pop like than Blues Rock.

Sweet Nadine
That ain’t her real name
But you know what I mean

I suppose every artist has a “Sweet Nadine” somewhere.

Good Time

Written Doyle Bramhall II and Sammy Piazza, it’s got this Stevie Wonder “Superstition” funk rock happening, with a bit of “Play That Funky Music White Boy”.

I was hangin’ out with some friends of mine
Down in Hollywood just a-wastin’ time
I knew right then nobody could get me down
‘Cause I’m takin’ myself out on the town
We’re gonna have a good time

See What Tomorrow Brings

Written by Doyle Bramhall II and as soon as the opening arpeggio chords started I was interested.

At 6 minutes long, it’s hard to explain the song, a mixture of “Little Wing”, “Free Bird” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”, the Joe Cocker version. And when slow blues ballads are done right, they leave their presence with you. This song does just that.

Wait just long enough
See what tomorrow brings

What a great line. Patience is hard to attain, because its original meaning is “to suffer”. So to ask someone to “wait” is to ask them to be “patient”.

Always Believed in You

Written by Charlie Sexton and Tonio K. the cut could be interchanged with songs on a John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams or Don Henley album.

I was born back in the sixties
I was born and raised to win
We had beaten, beaten back the darkness
But somehow the darkness slipped back in

Truth right there. People thought that we had broken through the injustice and prejudice however people just doubled down into their echo chambers, percolating until they exploded again.

The Famous Jane

Written by Charlie Sexton and Tonio K.

It’s a mid-tempo rocker about heroin.

She was probably born in Hollywood in the era of the King
She hitchhiked Highway 61 and got elected Queen
She ended up on Bleeker Street down in the underground
And then somebody there called her sweet, and the story got around

The lyrics more or less sum up its possible introduction into Hollywood.

Spanish Moon

Written by Doyle Bramhall II, Charlie Sexton and Chris Layton. This is a great song with a similar riff and groove to “Living In A Dream”.

Everybody’s looking for a little bit of love
Not a lot of love being given

No one wants to be alone, but people associate companionship with love. But if love doesn’t happen, having a circle of friends to talk with, laugh with and go out with, is every bit good enough.

Carry Me On

Written by Doyle Bramhall II who brings out the Southern Classic Rock.

Shape I’m In

They bring out the Chuck Berry “Johnny Be Goode” feel on this cut, written by Doyle Bramhall II, Charlie Sexton and Marc Benno.

I tried so hard to get back in the race
I’d just be satisfied if I could place
There’s so much competition but the best don’t always win
I’m doing pretty good for the shape I’m in

Be you and don’t let the rat race dictate to you who you should be.

Too Many Ways to Fall

Written by Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, Charlie Sexton and Tonio K.

This is another of those percolating blues rock tunes.

‘Cause there’s just one way that we can stand
Too many ways to fall

Truth right there.

The outro reminds me of what Pearl Jam would do.

The band didn’t last long. Geffen jumped into bed with Seattle, Bramhall’s heroin addiction was out of control and by 1993, the band broke up.

But we have this album.

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

The Record Vault – Def Leppard – Make Love Like A Man (CD Single)

Single #2 from ADRENALIZE – “MAKE LOVE LIKE A MAN” is our tongue in cheek look at a significant facet of human existence.

Take note!

Meanwhile we’ve got a couple more unreleased tracks for you. “MISS YOU IN A HEARTBEAT” is a Collen song of somewhat recent vintage, first recorded by Paul Rodgers’ group, The Law.

“TWO STEPS BEHIND” is an Elliot composition performed totally acoustically bass, 2 guitars and voice. Our first recorded acoustic performance.

And finally a version of a song by a group Joe really wishes he could’ve been in “ACTION” by Sweet. For those too young to remember, go listen to Sweet’s “Greatest Hits”.

A revelation and for those who remember the original, let me say that our efforts to duplicate every part recorded by Messrs Connolly, Priest, Scott and Tucker, we discovered some very interesting bits.

Don’t worry guys, we won’t let on.

It felt like they were giving us insights into their thinking with these little extra blurbs on the back. I always felt starved of information from my favourite artists.

I’m not a huge fan of “Make Love Like A Man” but I do get it that others like it as “Adrenalize” was their entry point into the band, while “Pyromania” was for me.

Miss You In A Heartbeat

I had to call up the track on Spotify to re-acquaint myself. Def Leppard has an electric version, an acoustic version and a revised version doing the rounds.

The electric version is classic Def Leppard. It could be a leftover from “Hysteria”.

The revised version has the piano as the dominant instrument and I like the gospel feel the piano gives it.

The acoustic version also has the piano as the dominant instrument and the Chorus doesn’t have those ohh, oh oh.. And the acoustic solo is a press play moment for me.

I also pressed play on the version done by The Law. And this one is close to the electric version that Def Leppard did, but Paul Rodgers is a bit more soulful with his vocal delivery.

Action

Def Leppard are on fire with this track. I always liked this track from Sweet, and the Lep’s do it justice.

Two Steps Behind (Acoustic Version)

Written by Joe Elliot, it feels like a camp fire track, very Bryan Adams like.

By the end of it, I pressed play again, because I liked the variation.

It’s a shame that the art of the single is lost within the current world as Def Leppard, Metallica and Bon Jovi really knew how to deliver a killer single release.

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The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked (CD Single)

You hold on your hands the first single from our new album, ADRENALIZE. A simple little ditty, LET’S GET ROCKED just about sums up our feelings about life.

Also check out ONLY AFTER DARK, a Mick Robson song we’ve always liked. Mick’s been I’ll and this track is our acknowledgment of his microphone.

It sure feels good to be back. Play it LOUD!

I should have written about the CD single first if I was chronological with my posts on Def Leppard.

Well “Let’s Get Rocked” is part of pop culture at this point in time. It’s Chorus is massive and instantly recognizable in the same way “We Will Rock You” from Queen is.

Only After Dark

Their tribute to Mick Ronson.

If I had to pick between the original and the cover I would go for the original Ronson version. It just feels loose, raw and fun.

Def Leppard stays faithful to the original, so what we hear with the Def Lep version is an updated sound and Joe Elliot vocals.

Women – Live

Now this sounds massive.

Each snare hit and pulsing bass note is perfect.

And check out the Chorus riff with those extra pinch harmonics added. The beauty of playing live and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

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The Record Vault: Def Leppard – Adrenalize

“Adrenalize” came out on 31 March 1992 through Mercury Records.

I was a first day buyer because of Steve Clark (RIP). I heard it a couple of times and put it on the shelf. It stayed there for a long time. I wanted to like it but my bias and loyalty to Steve Clark was making me not like it. And I kept telling anyone who listened to me that it was missing the special melodic decorations that Clark was well known for.

Many years later, I did come across various interviews in which Phil Collen stated that he recreated Clark’s parts from the demos because Collen was there with Clark when he played his original ideas for the songs.

And “sort of gone” from the ship was Mutt Lange as he decided it was time to drive Bryan Adams crazy. After three albums, AC/DC didn’t want to work with Lange again. Malcolm Young hated him because he felt his methodical studio takes sucked the life out of the music. Foreigner stopped working with him but Def Leppard still wanted to work with him, and they did the pre-production with him as Lange is there in the song writing department as the fifth member.

I’m not sure what the point of the above is. Is it an eulogy or a “hey, we tried to save him but couldn’t”?

The recording band was Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Savage and Rick Allen. Interesting to note that backing vocals includes a certain John Sykes who was heavily rumoured by the magazines to be the new guitarist.

Let’s Get Rocked

I couldn’t shake the “Pour Some Sugar On Me” vibe in the verses. And I liked the cleverness in the lyrics, like “I suppose a rock’s out of the question”.

Heaven Is

The music is derivative of Def Lep songs that came before, like “Photograph”, “Armageddon It” and “Let It Go” and I like it.

Make Love Like a Man

It was only a matter of time before a song title would come about to challenge “Dude Looks Like A Lady”. And this one is it. While the song lyrically does nothing for me, the song is great to jam along with.

Tonight

One of my favourite tracks as it has a feel from “High N Dry” and “Pyromania”.

White Lightning

The tribute to Steve Clark.

It’s long droning guitar intro gives way to a “Billy’s Got A Gun” style groove.

Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)

How good is the start?

It reminds me so much of “Hysteria” and I like it.

And press play to hear the lead break.

Personal Property

It’s back to the AC/DC style riffage on this but the track could have been interchange with any Bryan Adams cut during this time.

Press play to hear that section from 2.17 to 2.38. its classic early Def Leppard.

Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad

Lange is rewriting, “Everything I Do” here. And it’s a big reason why I was off this album. Like how much Mutt Lange can we really have in our lives. According to the charts and sales of Adams and Twain in the 90’s, a lot of Lange.

I Wanna Touch U

Typical Lange style of song, with a clichéd un-inspired riff that mimics AC/DC.

Tear It Down

My favourite song on the album and it’s an oldie, a B-side from “Hysteria”. It rocks hard and I like the simplicity of the Chorus, which reminds me of “Let It Go”.

In Australia it went to number 1 and to a Platinum award. In the U.S, it went to number 1 and its 3x Platinum. In Canada, it also went to Number 1 and a 4x Platinum award. In the U.K, it also went to number 1 and a Platinum certification. And the trend continued in other countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand and France.

The tour for “Adrenalize” went for 18 months, beginning in April 1992 and finishing in October 1993. After it, we got the excellent “RetroActive” in 1993 (a collection of unreleased tracks to close off the Steve Clark era) and a Greatest Hits package in 1995 called “Vault”. And the music scene kept changing but we didn’t think that Def Leppard would change that much. Then they dropped “Slang” in 1996 and man, they changed. But that’s another story.

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The Record Vault: Diamonds – The Best of Dio

“Diamonds – The Best of Dio” was marketed as a “greatest hits” collection. I remember the ads. But the title says, “best off”. I guess marketing people don’t know the difference between “greatest hits” and “best of”.

And Ronnie James Dio is one of those artists who didn’t sit don’t to write hits. He just wrote songs that he liked.

It was released internationally in 1992, and never released in the U.S. And there was no effort with the CD. Just check out the no frills booklet.

I got this compilation because of the track “Hide In The Rainbow”, which was never released on a Dio studio album before. A rare EP called “The Dio E.P” (original title) was released in 1986 with the song, but like all things physical, it wasn’t readily available.

Back then no one was really sure who played on the track.

Was “Hide In The Rainbow” Vivian Campbell’s last studio recording with the band or did Craig Goldy play on the track?

The booklet states Craig Goldy.

But, history and the benefit of hindsight has shown that the CD booklets notes and credits are not a good source of truth sometimes.

In relation to the album, it covers the well-known songs in chronological order based on year of release.

“Holy Diver”, “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” are from the “Holy Diver” album, released in 1983.

“We Rock”, “The Last in Line” and “Evil Eyes” are from “The Last In Line” album, released in 1984.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Children”, “Sacred Heart” and “Hungry for Heaven” are from the “Sacred Heart” album, released in 1985.

“Hide in the Rainbow” is from “The Dio E.P” released in 1986.

Listen to the intro. I wish they continued it a bit longer.

And is it just me, or does the Chorus riff remind you of “No More Tears” from Ozzy. Then again this is 5 years before “No More Tears”, so maybe young Zakk was listening. Anyway, all music is derivative. Take what came before and make it a bit different.

“Dream Evil” is the title track, released in 1987.

“Wild One” and “Lock Up the Wolves” are from the “Lock Up The Wolves” album, released in 1990.

You could argue that “Stand Up And Shout”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, “All the Fools Sailed Away” and “Born On The Sun” are better songs and should be included.

If you have the albums mentioned above, there is no need for this compilation. But if you didn’t have any of those albums, this collection is an excellent addition.

At the time I was still buying Dio product to keep my collection up to date, however this ended up being the last purchase for my CD/Vinyl/Tape collection.

The studio albums which came in the 90’s and 2000’s were not available easily in Australia and had to be imported in at a higher price. So I ignored em, but my mate “Nick The Stick” is a massive fan, so he had em and he burned em on a CD for me.

I did buy a couple of DVD’s in the 2000’s called “Holy Diver Live” and “We Rock”. Those reviews will be coming soon.

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

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

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

Here is the Singles List.

Number 1
Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

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

Number 2
To Be With You – Mr Big

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

Number 3
Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

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

Number 4
Alive – Pearl Jam

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

Number 5
Let’s Get Rocked – Def Leppard

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

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

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

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

Number 7
November Rain – Guns N Roses

You get three emotive Slash solos.

What more could you want?

Number 8
Viva Las Vegas – ZZ Top

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

Number 9
Dream Alone – Killing Time

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

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

Number 10
Sister’s Crazy – Candy Harlots

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

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

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

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

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

June27, 1992 – Top 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those opening lines;

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

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

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

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

Because it’s impossible to be liked by all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

Number 8
57 Channels And Nothing On
Bruce Springsteen

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happened to Tom Cochrane?

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

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

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

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

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

But that was many years later.

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

Number 12
Now More Than Ever
John Mellencamp

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

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

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

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

Now more than ever
The world needs love

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

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

Now more than ever
I can’t stand alone

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

Number 13
Tangled In The Web
Lynch Mob

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number 18
Every Time I Roll The Dice
Delbert McClinton

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

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

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

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

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

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Hot Metal June 1992 – Issue 40

Let’s get into the time machine and go back to 1992.

In the magazine, it was announced that Vivian Campbell joined Def Leppard.

White Zombie was in the “Fresh Flesh” section even though the earliest incarnation of the band had been doing the rounds since 1985. It’s a long way to a major label deal and an even longer way to mainstream success.

“Invincible she devils from the fifth dimension, living aliens and warped sexual experiments” was how “La Sexorcisto: Devils Music Vol. 1” was explained/promoted.

The “Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert” got a five skulls out of five skulls review.

Kiss was promoting the “Revenge” album by saying “We’re Kiss and That’s The Revenge” which got a four skull out of five review. So did “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion” from The Black Crowes who also had a tour on the cards.

Meanwhile Slaughter’s “The Wild Life” and Twisted Sister’s “Big Hits And Nasty Cuts” both got three skulls.

And Body Counts self-titled album and Iron Maiden’s “Fear Of The Dark” both got five skulls.

I guess you know which albums I got during this period. Anything with three skulls and above.

Geffen Records was hedging it’s bets by promoting Guns N Roses, Nirvana, White Zombie and Roxy Blue all on one ad, with the slogan “HIT someone you love with metal”.

And the HM editor spent six days on the road with Metallica and the best quote from the interview came from James on Lars traveling drum kit:

I find it silly. As much as he wants to be in the spotlight, he also gets to move around. He’s basically a front man on drums.

Speaking of drummers, Motörhead sacked Philthy Phil (again) and hired Mikkey Dee from Don Dokken’s solo band. Dee was also helping out World War III because Vinny Appice left to rejoin the revamped Black Sabbath.

Wayne’s World became part of popular culture and L7 was getting heavily promoted in Australia.

Motley Crue still hadn’t announced their vocalist. Maybe because Sebastian Bach was still auditioning. This is what John Corabi’s Scream band mates had to say:

I guess the dedication from Corabi didn’t come through and those cool cats on vocals to replace John Corabi also didn’t come through for The Scream.

And the song “Young And Dumb” from The Scream appeared on the Encino Man soundtrack, but it was Vince Neil who took top billing. How fitting.

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