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

Hands In The Sky Big Shot – Great Music Will Live On Forever

I have been on a Sons Of Anarchy binge lately. Just recently I finished Season 2 and the final episode had an unbelievable piece of music that complemented and enhanced the desperation of the final scenes. You need to see it, to understand what I mean.

Of course I wanted to know more about this piece of music. So I Google “Sons of Anarchy Season 2 Music”. I come across a WIKIA page that shows me each episode and the songs that played on each episode. I click on the final episode of Season 2 and I see that the last song listed is from a band called “Straylight Run” and that the song is called “Hands In The Sky”.

So I go onto YouTube, type in the band name, and there it is. I came across 16 videos with a combined play count of 1,498,818. Spotify streams have the count as 110,507.

I want to go deeper, because that is what we do, when we come across something that connects with us.

The song was released on an EP, called “Prepare To Be Wrong” from 2005. God damn. I am hearing this song in 2013. That is 8 years after its release.

The audience (both legal and illegal) who watched “Sons Of Anarchy” on December 1, 2009 heard the song for the first time. If you dig deeper you will see that the actual song hit YouTube from December 4, 2009, which is right after the “Sons Of Anarchy” episode.

By February 2010, the band went on indefinite hiatus due to money complications. This is strange, especially when “Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)” was doing the rounds courtesy of the TV show.

Of course, with Victory Records being the label that released the EP, it would be safe to assume that Victory Records would have kept their reputation intact by pocketing handsomely and not giving a cent to Straylight Run.

Straylight Run started off on Victory Records due to a contract that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper had with the label courtesy of their other band “Taking Back Sunday.” That contract was fulfilled with the EP release in 2005. Then Universal Republic picked them up for their 2007 release “The Needles The Space” only to be dropped when vocalist, guitarist and pianist Michelle DaRosa left. They went all independent for their next two EP releases and then called it a day after that.

Great music will always be found. “Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)” will live on forever. It is now a part of pop culture. It really captured the desperation of the scenes and now I can’t stop playing the song, along with Neil Young’s “Hey, Hey, My, My” which was used to close Season 3.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Going Back to 2005 with the City Of Evil

The new Avenged Sevenfold album got me into a A7X mood, so i went back to 2005 and cranked “City of Evil”. The “City of Evil” album from 2005 was my first introduction to A7X and it became one of my favourites back then as I only had a few albums that I really liked from 2005 like Disturbed – Ten Thousand Fists, Dream Theater – Octavarium, John Petrucci – Suspended Animation, Coheed And Cambria – Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Thirty Seconds To Mars – A Beautiful Lie, Alter Bridge – Alter Bridge, Trivium – Ascendancy, Cog – The New Normal and Bullet For My Valentine – The Poison

Then came the self-titled 2007 album and after that it was the 2010 album “Nightmare” and now I am into another listen of “Hail To The King”.

That lead break on the song “Afterlife” from the 2007 album is insane x infinity. Synester puts so many different styles into it and those sweeps are killers. It is a far cry from the neoclassical sweeps of Yngwie.

“M.I.A” from City of Evil is another great tune. Great music on it.

I sure miss the Dream Theater and the cabaret progressive influences from “The Rev” (RIP).

I was reading a lot of articles on A7X last night and I even went back to some of the Guitar World issues I have. Man, talk about polarizing. They are either loved or hated. There is no in between.

Even from way back in 2006, there are articles on the web that call A7X, Guns N Roses and Metallica rip offs.

Then Black Veil Brides are accused by A7X fans of ripping off “Unholy Confessions” for the BVB song “Knives and Pens”.

I couldn’t stop laughing. This world has gone to hell….

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

Cog – Are You Interested? (Classic Song Waiting To Be Discovered)

I just finished reading an article from TorrentFreak about databases that store everything we do online. In light of the N.S.A surveillance scandal in the U.S, it is a timely reminder of issues that should matter to everyone.

On the one hand we have the entertainment companies moaning and complaining about piracy and the need for everyone else to do something for them in order to prop up their dated business models.

On the other hand, we have other IT companies taking up government contracts to COLLECT and STORE data on its own citizens. The observations range from web browsing habits, emails, Facebook activity, phone activities and text messages. All of this totalitarian overheads in the name of democracy and protection.

As I was finishing reading this article, a song from the super excellent Australian band COG came on. The song is called Are You Interested? and it more or less tells the listener that personal privacy in today’s society doesn’t exist. It was released on the excellent Sharing Space album from 2008. I loved this album back in 2008 and five years later I still love it. That to me equals a GREAT album.

I still can’t believe it has been 5 years. I remember watching them at Waves in Wollongong, on the Sharing Space tour.

Cog had their own groove going and a massive big sound for a three-piece. Lucius Borich was on drums, Flynn Gower on guitar and his brother Luke Gower on bass. It is a dead set shame that they never got a higher level of international recognition. I am sure they still had some of their best work to come.

On the album Sharing Space, Cog really went to town on the politics, especially around governments that do the bidding for the Corporations.

Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And they’re scanning all their databases
Hunting terrorists
Yes they’re making lists of people interested in this
And anyone who speaks their mind is labelled anarchist

So we know that the NSA collects and stores information from U.S. internet and telephone companies. All of the data goes to different data centres. As mentioned in Wired Magazine, these data centres will “intercept, decipher, analyse, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks.”

Sure sounds like a big list to me. I am just curious as to how many bad people the NSA/Prism scheme actually captured or prevented from doing anything nasty.

Barcodes and fingerprints
Obedience identikit

It’s like the book 1984. Actually one of my favourite movies, Equilibrium, is influenced by the concepts in 1984. Who is to say that the Government will not expand their data collection to medical data.

Yes, they’re making lists are you interested?
Yes, they’re making lists but maybe they’re the terrorists

It looks like the terrorists have won. America and other “democratic” nations have done a great job of destroying themselves in the aftermath of 9/11. Democracy is now a Police State.

The vocal style of Flynn is so unique, it makes the song remain in my head space for a long time after it is finished.

A bit of back story in relation to Cog. The band I was in during the time period between 2000 and 2004, opened up for Cog. This was the period of the Just Visiting Part 1 and Part 2 EP releases. As a live band, they killed it.

They knew which songs to open a set with so that they could pump everyone up. For the Just Visiting EP’s it was Moshiach, for the New Normal it was Doors and for Sharing Space it was No Other Way.

Another thing they did really well was their light show. For an independent band, they put a lot of effort into their live show. It changed for all three albums;
· Just Visiting had the Chinese lanterns
· The New Normal had the lasers and the spotlights
· Sharing Space had the strobes, traffic light and heater like lights

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

Music Is A Long Road – A Trip Down Memory Lane with Fates Warning, Tom Petty and Dream Theater

For any artists these days, be it Bon Jovi or Metallica or Dream Theater or Motley Crue or Imagine Dragons or Shinedown or Machine Head or any new band starting off right now, they all need to understand one thing. We are living in the generation of kids born from 1997 onwards. This generation wants to consume music. Their sense of community is all online. Anyone that says they don’t have a Spotify account is not living in the modern age. These kids weren’t alive when the Record Labels ruled the day, so they have no desire for yesterday, they are all about today and what lays beyond.

For any artist these days, their whole career is about relationships. If you want an audience to invest, you need to establish a relationship. You need to make the effort. The days of touring a city based on the record sales figures for that city are long gone. Ask Dream Theater or Iron Maiden how many albums they have sold in South America? Then ask them how many people came to their shows in those countries.

Mike Portnoy stated in the linear notes on the released bootleg recording of Dream Theater’s Santiago, Chile show from June 2005 that they didn’t know what to expect from South America due to the low number if records they had sole there. They even went to the show with a cut down stage set to save money. In the end, they played to their biggest headlining audience ever.

It’s all about roots. If an artist doesn’t have any, the audience is not interested. Experience moulds the artist, it influences them. Music is an end unto itself. When done right, the sound and the feel is enough. It doesn’t need the videos, the PR sell and all the pyro that comes with the rock n roll show.

Tom Petty sang that Love Is A Long Road. That is the aim of every artist. To foster the love of the audience into a sustainable career. To paraphrase Tom Petty, Music is A Long Road. The same way that a relationship with a partner has its ups and down, so does the relationship between artist and fan. The same effort that an artist puts into a loving relationship is basically the same effort they need to put in to their music career.

The music community has shifted to being a song centric community. We just dont know it yet. The album format that used to make the most money for the record labels is almost a dead format. However artists still go back and release a collection of songs as an album.

In order for the album format to work for you, you need to create an album that is playable throughout. You need to create an album that needs to be heard over and over again. You need to create an album that stands up years after its release.

Fates Warning released an unbelievable album called Disconnected in 2000. However talk to anyone these days and it is like the band never existed. It’s been years since I’ve heard Disconnected and to my amazement, it sounds as fresh and innovative today as it did 13 years ago. Jim Matheos is the pure definition of the progress is derivative statement. He has the ability to take good things from songs that came before and mould them into something great, unique and innovative.

In the Year 2000, progressive music was at opposite ends of the spectrum. You had the Dream Theater style of progressive music on one side and the Tool style of progressive music on the other side. In between you had a band like Porcupine Tree, merging Tool like aggression with Pink Floyd like atmospherics. The mainstream was ruled by Nu-Metal bands. The missing link was Fates Warning.

With Disconnected, Jim Matheos merged the Tool and Porcupine Tree progressive elements with the Dream Theater progressive elements and put them through the Fates Warning blender.

Disconnected is a fusion of all the best progressive elements at the time into a cohesive piece of work that can be listened to over and over again from start to finish. It is a tragedy that this album is so overlooked these days. In the same way that each lick and melody from Images and Words by Dream Theater sticks in my head, Disconnected from Fates Warning does the same.

I am looking forward to hearing “Darkness In A Different Light” when it comes out on September 27. Nine years is a long time between albums. Nine years in the music business is an eternity. So much has changed. Love is a long road. Music is a long road.

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