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

2000 – Part 5

AC/DC – Stiff Upper Lip

Five years after “Ballbreaker” they return with the very underrated “Stiff Upper Lip”.

The title track starts off like blues band jamming at the local pub and then the romp and stomp kick in.

How good is “House Of Jazz”?

That riff groove is so sleazy and foot stomping.

And “Safe In New York City” has this E to G, E to A and E to B flat style chord progression that reminds me of the “Tommy Gunn” riff, but the song vibe is like “Let There Be Rock”.

“Satellite Blues” is an underrated gem in the AC/DC canon.

And its towards the back of the album that it gets bluesy and dirty with “Damned” and “Come And Get It” being excellent additions. Listen to those sharp 7 and flat 9 chords in the Pre Chorus.

“All Screwed Up” is 5 minutes of blues rock while “Give It Up” is a rewrite of “Highway To Hell” but it stands on its own.

Not as big as other albums in sales but it got em on the road again, which is the place that AC/DC rule.

Axel Rudi Pell – The Masquerade Ball

He was labelled a Malmsteen clone, but if anything, he’s more in the mould of German guitarists like Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth, along with Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker with a nod to the British rockers of the 70’s which involves, Paul Kossoff from Free, Jimmy Page from Led Zep, Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple and Rainbow and Mick Ralphs plus Jimi Hendrix who is from the US but went to the UK to make it.

Johnny Gioeli is on vocals as well.

And the album is not on Spotify Australia, but it’s on YouTube which pays less.

“Earls Of Black” and that intro lead break. Check it out.

“Voodoo Nights” sounds like “Big City Nights” from Scorpions. Plus Gioeli delivers a vocal performance.

“The Black Masquerade” at 10 minutes doesn’t get boring (especially the violins in the Chorus) while “Tear Down The Walls” reminds me of his other songs like “Warrior” and a melodic lead break after the Chorus.

Scorpions – Moment Of Glory

And this album is also not on Spotify Australia. It’s Scorpions with the Berliner Philharmoniker. It was meant to be Michael Kamen scoring it, but then left to pursue the Metallica project.

“Hurricane 2000” kicks it off, which is basically “Rock You Like A Hurricane” about a bitch being hungry and how Klaus is going to feed her inches and feed her well.

“Crossfire” really kicks in to overdrive when the “Crossfire” section starts. If your not ready to take up swords and go to war than you’re too uptight.

“Deadly Sting Suite” is also an instrumental merging the Scorpions songs, “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man” with “Dynamite”. And it’s done brilliantly.

And the concert ends with “Still Loving You”, “Big City Nights” and “Lady Starlight”. “Big City Nights” is pretty impressive.

The Berlin Philharmoniker really does a great job with it, and how good are the backing vocalists and the symphonic/choir vocalists.

Black Label Society – Stronger Than Death

The title alone makes me laugh and it reminds me of Motorhead’s “Killed By Death”.

Zakk Wylde wrote all the songs, played all the guitars, did all the vocals and also played the bass and piano. Plus he produced it as well. And mixed and mastered it.

“All For You” has basically a riff which the NuMetal movement “used to death”, but Zakk makes it sound “shiny metal fresh”.

“Phoney Smiles And Fake Hellos” is a favourite.

And he went back to the world of “Miracle Man” for the lyrical inspiration on “Counterfeit God” and when the verse riff kicks in, its down tuned and “heavier than death”.

“Just Killing Time” is those Zakk tunes on the piano and delivering a CCR like vocal.

“Stronger Than Death” is a slow dirge, full of grooves, but interchangeable with a few of the other tracks on this album and “Love Reign Down” closes the album, another groove riff laden cut

Mr Big – Get Over It

I heard this album many years after it came out. I was even surprised the band was still recording after “Bump Ahead” which was released in 1993. And I had to see who was still in the band, because I knew Paul Gilbert left to do Racer X again.

So Eric Martin still wails away and on this one, he is very bluesy, sort of like the Badlands second album. On guitars this time around is Richie Kotzen, with Billy Sheehan and Pat Torpey rounding out the rhythm section.

Songwriter Marti Frederiksen is called in and while the bluesy tunes are nice to listen to, they start to become repetitive. Interchangeable in fact.

I suppose I was over it by then.

Dio – Magica

Ronnie James Dio had enough goodwill in my book to warrant eternal fandom. But I didn’t really get into his 90’s output after “Dehumanizer”.

But many years later in the 2000’s (and after Heaven And Hell released “The Devil You Know” album) I started to listen and “Magica” was first because I was always a sucker for a concept album.

The band is a good one for the release with Simon Wright on drums, Jimmy Bain on bass and Craig Goldy on guitars.

“Lord Of The Last Day” is classic Dio, merging his Sabbath time with the dirgy “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” groove.

“Fever Dreams” instantly became a favourite because its riff reminds me of “Dream Evil” and “Long Live Rock N Roll”.

“Challs” is one of the characters in the story and the song is a blues rock groove blended with melodic rock and it’s one of my favourite songs on the album. Maybe because it also sounds like the songs from “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line” album, like “Rainbow In The Dark” mixed with “Dream Evil”.

“As Long As It’s Not About Love” has this Hendrix “Little Wing” style intro and a haunting vocal line from Dio before it gets into the dirge like groove similar to “Sign Of The Southern Cross” from his Sabbath days.

“Losing My Insanity” is pirate metal and I like it.

“Otherworld” has this Middle Eastern riff, distorted and fuzzed. The riff makes me want to pick up the guitar to learn it. And Dio is telling his stories.

If you like Dio in the 80’s, then you will like this album. There is enough there to keep you interested.

Off to 1985, for Part 5.

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

1985 – Part 4

Kiss – Asylum

My son asked me yesterday, “what decade of Kiss do I like for new music released?”

I grew up on the 80’s Kiss, with the exception of the “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” albums. So my go to albums from Kiss are the 80’s albums, along with “Revenge”.

My first proper “Alive” experience was “Alive III”, then “IV” and then I went back to listen to “I” and “II”. But I like “III” better.

In the last 20 years, Kiss haven’t really set the world alight with new music (“Hell Or Hallelujah” will beg to differ and it’s up there as one of the best tracks for me), nor have they really dug into the vaults. Then again, Gene Simmons did raid his vault and from the reviews I read over at 2Loud2OldMusic, Simmons did a pretty good job at it.

Now in Australia, Kiss was larger than life. They always had an interview on TV or a music video clip on TV or a song played on radio. And they had their loyal following, plus any fly by nighters who would fall in and out of fandom with the band.

This album has Paul Stanley pulling quadruple duty on song writing, guitar playing, production duties (which even though Gene is listed as co-producer, Stanley did 90% of it) and bass playing. And I gravitated to the Stanley tracks, because they were just better.

This album also sticks out because it’s part of the era of bad jackets. Like very bad glam like jackets. If you’ve seen posters or press photos of bands during this era, you would know what I mean.

And it needs to be said, that Bruce Kulick is a guitar hero. He doesn’t get the “shred cred” he derserves, maybe because he played with Kiss. But his solos, from “Animalize” to “Revenge” are nothing short of guitar hero shred.

“King Of The Mountain” is written by Stanley, Kulick and Desmond Child and it gets the album off to a good start.

“Tears Are Falling” is a Stanley cut and although generic, it proved very popular for Kiss on MTV. “Who Wants To Be Lonely” is another cut that sticks around, this one being a co-write with Stanley, Child and Jean Beauvoir who would become well-known with the song, “Feel The Heat” from the Cobra soundtrack.

And let’s not talk about “Uh! All Night” even though some brain dead label rep thought it was a good idea to also release it as a single.

White Lion – Fight To Survive

I didn’t hear this until the 2000’s post Napster era was happening.

It wasn’t available at all in Australia and I didn’t know anyone who had a copy of it.

And it’s a forgotten album but it shouldn’t be, because it showcases Vito Bratta. While Bratta didn’t get back into the music business once White Lion broke up, his recorded output and musical legacy is down to the four White Lion albums and the backroom label dealings and stabbings which would affect Bratta.

They got signed to Elektra in 1984 and they record the album. Elektra refuses to release the album and terminates the bands contract. So now they have an album recorded, which they can’t access as its owned by Elektra and they have no deal.

Then a Japanese label releases it in Japan, and another label in the US release it under license to Elektra and the band tours on it, but the label in the U.S goes bankrupt. And the band is going through changes in the bass and drum department.

They did get singed to Atlantic in 1987, but that’s another story for another year.

Stand Outs with Great Bratta Moments

“Fight To Survive” is brilliant musically. Lyrically it’s about street life and fighting to be alive each day.

Great tapping intro that breaks down into the bass groove for the verse, with the volume swells and then it picks up for the big chorus and I love the delay in the solo section.

“All The Fallen Men” is influenced by “Rocking in the Free World” in the verses. Then again this came before Neil Young, and it’s a pretty generic chord progression, so..

“El Salvador” is the best song on this first album. The flamenco intro moving into the distortion riff is brilliant. You can hear Al DiMeola’s “Mediterranean Sundance”. And once the song kicks it’s all Thin Lizzy. Phil Lynott would be proud.

Clichéd Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Broken Heart” has typical 80’s lyrics from Mike Tramp. Bratta shreds in the solo section with finger tapping and tap bends.

“All Burn In Hell” reminded me of Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell”. Musically it is typical of the 80’s. But the syncopated interlude before the solo. Brilliant.

There is a modern alternative rock metal vibe. And the solo section to me is a song within a song. A great Bratta moment.

Bad Songs with Great Bratta Moments

“Where Do We Run” – reminds of a 100th rate AC/DC song in the verse. Tramps lyrics and melodies are lame. It’s a shame because it has a killer solo, very much in the vein of Randy Rhoads – “Flying High Again” and George Lynch – “Tooth and Nail”.

“In The City” – up until the interlude and solo section, where Bratta wails, the song sounds like a Y&T rip off lyrically.

Firehouse also did a song, where the vocal melody was similar.

Does anyone remember “The Dream”?

Actually does anyone remember Firehouse the band?

Filler Songs

“Cherokee” – The lyrics are tacky, “Cherokee, riding free”. Maybe because I heard it after Europe’s “Cherokee”, which I also didn’t like.

“Kid of a 1000 Faces” – the less said about this song the better.

“The Road To Valhalla” – with that title I was expecting something epic.

AC/DC – Fly On The Wall

I love the cover art. I drawed it in Art Class. I wish I still have my art journals. The teacher hated it, as he was anti-rock/metal.

Malcolm tried really hard to remove AC/DC from the overproduced and super focused Lange albums. And although their worldwide sales especially in the U.S market didn’t set the world on fire post Lange, in the land of Oz, they couldn’t do no wrong.

We lapped up the 7 inch singles, their songs got played on radio and the music video clips for “Shake Your Foundations” and “Sink The Pink” got played relentlessly.

See me leaning, on the bar
I got my head in a whiskey jar

It’s the Australian way of life to be leaning on the bar, intoxicated. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And maybe it’s a big reason why the music videos resonated with Australian fans. They are both filmed in a bar/pub and people are playing pool while drinking. It’s the Australian way of life.

ZZ Top – Afterburner

How do you follow up “Eliminator”?

By continuing on with using synths, sequenced beats and midi samples with their blues boogie riffs.

A new take on an old sound.

I called it “New Wave Blues” (NWB). And I meant it as a compliment.

How good is the cover?

It was enough to hook me in.

And while “Sleeping Bag” kept in that NWB department, “Stages” is a melodic rock gem that I didn’t see coming.

“Rough Boy” has some of Billy Gibbons most melodic and emotive lead breaks. Check out the intro lead break and the outro lead break. He brought long guitar solos to the mainstream.

“Can’t Stop Rockin’” is “Got Me Under Pressure” a 12 bar blues boogie with sequenced drum beats. “Planet Of Women” rocks out of the gate, and man, this song has Gibbons putting in some serious playing in the riffage department.

The album is a product of its time and era, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gary Moore – Run For Cover

It was the mid 90’s when I heard this album. And it’s one of his best albums.

“Empty Rooms” and that lead break is one of his best lead breaks, better than “Parisienne Walkways” and “Still Got The Blues”. “Military Man” has Phil Lynott singing, while “Out In The Fields” is a duet between Lynott and Moore.

The mighty Glen Hughes sings on “Reach For The Sky”, “Nothing To Lose” and “All Messed Up”, while Moore sings on “Run For Cover”, “Empty Rooms”, “Once In A Lifetime” and “Listen To Your Heartbeat”.

And Moore also has Lynott, Hughes and Bob Daisley playing bass on the album. Four different producers in Andy Johns, Peter Collins, Beau Hill and Mike Stone. In other words it’s an expensive album, but it did nothing sales wise in the U.S, while in Europe, it did a lot better.

But the piece d’resistance is “Empty Rooms”. The lead break from Moore was talked about a lot in guitar circles. And it’s a re-recording. He released it on “Victims Of The Future”. A longer version of 6 plus minutes. This one is more concise at 4 minutes.

And the way “Run For Cover” starts off, you know that Moore means business,. There isn’t a bad song on this album. The cuts that Hughes does vocals on are favourites and I need to do a playlist of songs Hughes has done over his career, like how I did with Ronnie James Dio, covering Rainbow, Sabbath and his solo career. The only album missing on that list is the “Heaven And Hell” band album from the two thousands because it’s not on Spotify Australia.

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

His voice is one of the best.

It’s like Soul Rock and I like Collins when his also bluesy with a touch of rock.

The “hit songs” on this album are not my favourites. The brass instruments are just too much for me on those. But with any Collins release, there is always something to sink your ears into.

“Long Long Way To Go” is a favourite. It’s the mood and the repeating guitar/synth lick.

Then there is “I Don’t Wanna Know” which is a melodic rock masterpiece, with a great outro guitar solo.

“Don’t Lose My Number” reminds me of Marillion for some reason. It has a feel that Marillion would explore later on when they changed vocalists.

“Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” has this driving beat to kick it off before it subdues in the verses, but the drums still roll on.

And there’s so much more music to get through for 1985, but that will be for other posts.

So into the time machine we go and I’ll see ya at 1977 for Part 4.

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1977 – V1

All of these albums I got many years later. Actually all of my 70’s music came well into the 90’s

AC/DC – Let There Be Rock

I knew the songs before I even heard the album. There was no way you could escape AC/DC.

“Dog Eat Dog”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Bad Boy Boogie”, “Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” were always on in car stereos and jukeboxes. The only tracks that were new to me, were “Go Down”, “Overdose” and “Crabsody In Blue” (which was substituted by “Problem Child” for the North American market.

And some of favourite AC/DC riffs are on this album, along with the lyrics, especially the social conscious themes of “Dog Eat Dog”. Plus for a blues based rock band, “Let There Be Rock” is an early precursors of speed metal.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell

In Australia, this album was still massive in the 80’s and it got even bigger in the 90’s when Meatloaf dropped Part 2. Like 25x Platinum like massive for Australia. And my favourite track (apart from the title track) is the ballad, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”.

It was also weird for me to read that another songwriter who is not part of the band solely wrote all the music.

I believe that the success of this album around the world is also down to the resilience that Steinman and Meat Loaf showed to get the album recorded, the band signed and eventually the album released.

Because the project started in 1972 and the songs got rejected because the label heads wanted to hear the typical “verse – chorus” arrangement, which as we know, Jim Steinman didn’t really abide by. Instead he relied more on the theatre/opera style of arrangements and the rest is history. In the US alone, the album is 14 x Platinum.

Queen – News Of The World

How do you follow up two successful albums with multi-tracked harmonies?

You go back to basics and rock out, which is exactly what Queen did with “News Of The World”.

There was no escaping “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” but my favourite track on this album is the John Deacon penned “Spread Your Wings”.

And a bonus mention for the Roger Taylor penned “Fight From The Inside”. Listen to it and you will hear how groovy and hard rock Queen could be. “American Woman” also comes to mind when I hear it. Slash said the guitar riff on this song is one of his favorites and it’s not even played by Brian May, but by drummer Roger Taylor, who also plays bass on the track.

Kansas – Point Of Know Return

I picked up the first five Kansas albums all in one swoop for less than $10. The covers got me interested and all I knew about the band was a few mentions by other artists in interviews from the progressive rock family.

That was it.

I had no idea about “Carry On My Wayward Son” and “Dust In The Wind”. And I played “Point Of Know Return” first because the cover was the best of all em and the song titles interested me.

So I dropped the needle and listened and read the credits and lyrics and became a fan.

Musically it’s a fusion of so many styles, blended in with the distorted sounds of hard rock and a band in top form.

Without Wikipedia or any form of internet to guide me, I had no idea how successful this band was or how their songs became radio staples in America. But it didn’t matter to me, because it these kind of discoveries when you go record hunting that remain.

Rush – A Farewell To Kings

After I was exposed to “Exit Stage Left” I was hooked and I started to seek out the Rush records I could find at the used record shops as CD’s in Australia, were still selling for $30. At one stage they got to $38. Seriously, the recording industry really over estimated their value.

This is album number 5 and the follow up to “2112” which was their make or break album. This fertile period of Rush would last to “Moving Pictures” in 1981 and then the synths would take over for about six years before they brought back the three piece sound.

And as a prog fan, I am always into songs which have sections, so “Cygnus X-1” was on my radar, but I was surprised by “Closer To The Heart” and that arpeggio guitar intro.

Foreigner – Foreigner

No one knew Mick Jones until this album dropped. No one knew the pipes on Lou Gramm until this album dropped.

Released in 1977, no one was sure if disco was ending or rock was starting.

And the album has some songs which are forgotten, but they rock as hard as anything I have heard.

A song like “Starrider” would work on any Deep Purple/Rainbow/Whitesnake album. Even on an Y&T or Scorpions album.

“The Damage Is Done” has this outro solo ending that reminds me of Santana or even “Winds Of Change” from Y&T. “At War With The World” could have come from a Rush album. There is so much variety on this album. It’s a shame that the first two cuts ruled everything.

Did I mention that “Cold As Ice” is also on this album?

Check out the debut.

That’s it for 1977 Part 1 and now we go back into the future for 2000 Part 2.

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Back In Black

By early 1980, the band’s hard work ethic and songs about life had them on the summit. The next album was crucial. Bon Scott was living the dream with women and booze, Angus Young was getting married and the band started writing the follow-up to “Highway To Hell”.

Bon Scott was involved in early sessions (as a drummer) for songs that would become “Have A Drink On Me” and “Let Me Put My Love Into You”. After those sessions, Bon said to meet up in a weeks’ time as that would give him time to write some lyrics, however that next session never eventuated.

By mid-Feb, 1980, Bon Scott was found dead in his car, and depression set it on the Young brothers. By mid-March, and on the back of words said by Bon’s father, Malcolm called Angus to start working again, just the two of them, no one else. In these sessions post Bon’s death, “Back In Black” would be written.

They finally auditioned some singers and Brian Johnson was hired. With the band complete, they went to the Bahamas to start writing and recording in stormy weather. And as much as the storms come to disrupt our lives now and then, they also clear the path. The bad weather led to “Hells Bells”. “Rock And Roll Aint Noise Pollution” was the last song written.

For the lyrics, a lot of ideas, choruses and melodies were already written by Malcolm and Angus before Brian joined. Stories exists that the brothers took the lyrics from Bon Scott’s notebook, which Angus denied in a Guitar World interview, saying, that all of Bon’s notebooks went direct to his parents.

Released in July, 1980, it was certified as Gold and Platinum in October, 1980 in the U.S. 

And these U.S certifications continued as AC/DC kept on releasing albums in the 80’s which no one bought, because everyone was still buying “Back In Black”.

By October, 1984, it was 5x Platinum and by October 1990 it was 10x Platinum. 10 million in sales. By June, 2004, it was 20x Platinum. The period between 1990 and 1999 is the” CD’s replacing vinyl/cassette’s period”, so it’s hard to quantify the real fans.

And now in December, 2019, its 25x Platinum.

I think it’s important to recognise the commercial and cultural impact of “Back In Black”. 

The cover.

All black, to signify a band in mourning due to the passing of Bon Scott. The opposite of the white album from The Beatles, and it’s funny how another band would use a similar black cover for their biggest selling album. And the label didn’t want it all black, so the grey outline on the logo was created.

Acca Dacca weren’t the first, as Pink Floyd employed a similar concept for “Dark Side Of The Moon” and so did Black Sabbath for “IV”

Even though the album isn’t a heavy metal album, it is still seen as an influential metal album. But it’s the crossover appeal which sent the album to the stratosphere. Guitarists who don’t normally play rock or metal, would still learn the songs from “Back In Black”. There is no escaping the title track, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells” and “Shoot To Thrill”. Actually there isn’t a song on the album that I would skip or not wanna play.

Mutt Lange’s production on the album is still seen as the go to sound for how hard rock should sound and he did it in six weeks, which is short for Lange’s standard.

And how hard rock should sound, Lange style, is the same as Bob Rock’s production on “Dr Feelgood” and the self-titled “Black” album and how those albums are seen as the heavy rock/metal standard.

Lange’s focus on perfection for each breath, each note, changed the way bands would record in the 80’s, and his attention to detail, pushed recording budgets into the millions. Good for him, as he got paid well and bad for bands who didn’t sell what the budget paid for. And Lange, brought his methods to the mainstream in a super big way on the backs of AC/DC, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and Shania Twain albums.

And AC/DC is still doing its victory lap on the back of this album. They kept working, put their emotions towards creating and in the process delivered an album for the ages.

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The Pirate Vault #5

The Pirate Vault box keeps on producing some great memories.

Richie Kotzen – Fever Dream and Cacophony – Metal Symphony

I was in a shred mindset between 1989 and 1992 and I was buying CD’s and albums from Shrapnel artists. And I got these albums dubbed a few years after they came out and i picked em up on CD and LP not soon after.

I heard about Cacophony from interviews I read about Jason Becker and Marty Friedman, who of course at the time had gigs with David Lee Roth and Megadeth. And the music world only got to see a brief appearance of an unbelievable musician in Jason Becker, who still writes music via his eye movements and a system his dad has set up for him due to Lou Gehrig’s disease otherwise known as ALS.  

And of course, Richie Kotzen had the Poison guitar slot, in which he co-write a brilliant blues, rock and soul album called “Native Tongue” (which could have been his solo album) and the busy man he was, he also took Ricki Rockett’s fiancé mid tour. “Layla” from Eric Clapton comes to mind right now.

Dinosaur Jr – Without A Sound and Hand It Over

I was in a hard rock band with a drummer who was into grungy sounding bands, so while I exposed him to Dream Theater, he told me to sink my teeth into Dinosaur Jr.

I was hooked from the opening arpeggios and single note lines in “Feel The Pain” from the “Without A Sound” album released in 1994. And the heaviness of opening track “I Don’t Think” from the “Hand It Over” album released in 1997.

Fuel – Sunburn and Santana – 3

Fuel had significant chart success in Australia with “Shimmer”, however I didn’t commit financially until the second album came out. Another band member did commit, so it was a no brainer to copy this album from them, while another band member really enjoyed the jam aspects of Santana – 3, so in order to understand what they meant at band practice, I had to dub this album.

And it’s funny how in the early 2000’s, I was experiencing a new release and a release more than 30 years old. The beauty of music is that everyone forms a connection at different times.

And the songs “Taboo” and “Toussaint L’Overture” have some of the best and emotive guitar solo work Carlos has recorded on tape. They still make the hairs on the back of my neck rise.

AC/DC – Bon Scott compilation

My mate, Mick is a mad ACCA fan. When he lived in NY for about 12 years, he saw them on every tour, every night. When they come to Australia, he sees the Sydney shows.

One day in a suburban street in Australia, at a time far away sometime in the 80s, I asked him if he was keen to make our own Best Off compilation of Bon Scott material while we polished off a box of beer.

So off to work we went, debating which song should make it and which song shouldn’t. And a few hours later the holy grail of Bon Scott material that we classified as essential was ready to be blasted in the car stereo.

And I still hold that view to this day.

We were meant to meet and eventually do a Brian Johnson compilation, but life got in the way and we never did.

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1978 – Part 3 – Power To The Rock N Roll Outlaws

Australian artists had a certain sound which seemed to connect with the world.

Being oceans apart from the many other continents aided this sound as music didn’t travel that fast to get to the land down under, which meant we had to listen to our albums with the same songs a bit more longer, or listen to the same songs on radio a little bit more longer or watch the live pub shows with the same songs a little bit more longer.

And when you went to a pub show and heard a certain sound/style rocking the joint and getting people into it, well it was a no brainer that if you formed a band, your style would have some of those elements.

And here my folks is Rose Tattoo.

Rose Tattoo – Rose Tattoo

The real Bad Boys of Rock N Roll, cut from the cloth of Heavy Metal Thunder and various pub brawls in Australia. And they had a singer called Angry Anderson, who didn’t mind spilling blood on stage either. At their Reading performance, he kept banging his head against the amp head until he spilt blood.

I saw a picture of the band once and I thought they would motor in on their Harley’s and bash everyone they saw.

Rose Tattoo is tied to biker culture the same way “Born To Be Wild” is. Maybe it’s got to do with Angry’s up bringing and how his Uncle was a biker.

Motley Crue and the Gunners have nothing on these guys. And Gunners covered “Nice Boys” on their live EP, which Rose Tattoo introduced as a Gunners song when they opened up for them on the “Use Your Illusion” tour down under in the early 90s.

“Rock N Roll Outlaw” starts off with the opening lyrics of “I don’t need lots of people telling me what to do”. Defiance and rebellion encapsulated in just a few words.

“Nice Boys”  don’t play rock and roll and “Remedy”is “Long Way To The Top” on steroids. 

AC/DC – Powerage

The ascendancy to world domination is almost there.

Who would have thought that in almost 2 years time, Bon Scott would be dead?

“Rock N Roll Damnation” is a great opening track. Musically, its typically AC/DC and Bon Scott lyrically, is growing into a beast of a writer.

Especially in the section when he sings; “Damnation, left a happy home, Damnation, to live on your own”.

And it continues in that vein, with Bon Scott singing “Damnation” and then something else after it, like “you got dollars in your eyes” or “chasin’ that pie in the sky”.

Life is about taking risks. You can stay at home and be comfortable or you can live.

“Down Payment Blues” has some of the best lyrics about life.

“Living on a shoestring, a fifty cent millionaire, open to charity, rock n roller welfare”

Life is not easy trying to make end meets as a rock and roller.

“I’ve got holes in my shoes and im way overdue, down payment blues”

One thing you can’t escape in Australia is repayments. Miss one and you get a letter. Miss two and you are on notice. Miss three and the whole world is coming down.

“Get myself a steady job, some responsibility, cant even feed my cat on social security”

Government welfare payments, which are less than the minimum wage are there, but if you can’t find a job in time, these payments are not really there. It’s spent on day one and then you have to wait 13 days for the next payment.

“Gimme A Bullet” has this awesome guitar groove which just gets your head nodding and foot tapping. And to my ears, it’s the embryo to what would become “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

“Riff Raff” and “Sin City”  make it a perfect five-0.

“Riff Raff’ is basically a re-write of “Let There Be Rock” and it has riff that Motley Crue used in “Rattlesnake Shake”, a decade later. And the lyrics,  man, Bon Scott was onto climate change.

“See it on television every day, hear it on the radio, it aint humid but it sure is hot, down in Mexico, boss man tryin to tell me, beginning of the end.”

Is there a better song that “Sin City” and that verse riff?

“Ladders and snakes, ladders give, ssssnakes take, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief”.

The sin city always win, its why it has survived and everyone who has ventured there has turned to dust.

“Kicked In The Teeth” is another re-write of “Let There Be Rock” and I love the lyric, “kicked in the teeth again, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Relationships are try and try again.

Songs like “What’s Next To The Moon”, “Gone Shootin’” and “Up To My Neck In You” are good songs, but the ones mentioned above are my go to songs.

UFO – Obsession

If only the band spent the same amount of time creating as they did partying and taking narcotics, who knows how big they would have been.

Because while a lot of the 70’s bands got a second chance in the 80’s on the back of MTV, UFO didn’t and neither did Michael Schenker, although the label tried and ex-partners and managers did their best bankrupting them.

There are no hits on this album, but a band following their muse and creating.

“Only You Can Rock” is rooted within the Free/Bad Company/ELO roots.

“Pack It Up (And Go) is heavily influenced by “Immigrant Song” and a perfect UFO song which gets no attention.

“Arbory Hill” should have been made into a song instead of a short minute instrumental. It sounds like something from a Genesis album with Peter Gabriel singing.

“Cherry” has a bass riff in the verses, that I swear appeared on a “Joy Division” or “New Order” album a few years later. It’s like the seed of the New Wave movement.

“Hot N Ready”, “You Don’t Fool Me” and “One More For The Rodeo” are songs from UFO we know and they would have served the existing fanbase well, but for me, it’s those songs that had a few things just a little bit different that really connected with me.

Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute

I have to admit, I dig the song “What A Fool Believes” and those ball squeezing falsettos in the Pre-Chorus and Chorus.

The Police – Outlandos d’Amour

As soon as they appropriated the reggae and put it into the mix, it was a different ballgame.

Because while the opening track “Next To You” is rooted in blues rock and roll, the second track “So Lonely” is a cross between reggae and rock and roll.

So when “Roxanne” kicks in as the third track, its mix of reggae guitars over a flamenco bass guitar riff in the verses, and a pop rock Chorus, well, you can hear something special was in the air.

So it’s no surprise that the biggest songs on the album had that reggae feel, like “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “Roxanne” and “So Lonely”.

But “Truth Hits Everybody” is my favourite. It’s a melodic rock song.

Joe Walsh – But Seriously Folks

“Tomorrow” and “Shandi”.

What came first?

And with the Kiss reference to close of Part 3, Part 4 will begin with a Kiss-a-ganza.

Part 1 can be found here.

Part 2 can be found here.

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

The Record Vault – AC/DC

You didn’t need to own an AC/DC album to like them or to be a fan. If you went into a pub, the jukebox played em. If you watched live bands, they would cover em. If you watched music television, they would be on it. If you went to a mates home, they would be playing em. If you went driving in a car, they would be on the stereo. In other words, AC/DC was everywhere in Australia.

AC/DC tickets would be snapped up by fans who didn’t even own an AC/DC album. So the next time you hear a label boss or a musician who had a deal pre-Napster say, “sales of recorded music = fans”, call them on their bullshit.

I’ve had mix tapes of my favorites from their Bon Scott and Brian Johnson eras on TDK cassettes.

I’ve had full albums dubbed on cassettes and VHS tapes with their video clips. All recorded from friends and relatives and TV.

Flick Of The Switch

It’s a solid album, coming out after their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” album in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”.

Personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair but Phil Rudd played on the album, Mutt Lange was also out as Malcolm felt the band was getting over produced and their manager Peter Mensch was also out.

So when the band takes back some control, what do you get?

A live and raw version of AC/DC. There are no classic songs or hits on the album. But there is a lot of groove and swagger. The slower tempo’s make it sound HEAVY. Hell, bands like Corrosion of Conformity built careers off these kinds of grooves. But the songs don’t get played live, so the album remains largely forgotten to the masses.

Here is a review I totally agree with from BuriedOnMars.

And here is another review I agree with from Deke over at Thunder Bay.

Let There Be Rock

I know “Back In Black” is the highest seller in the catalogue, but man, this album and “High Voltage” are victory lap recordings. Look at any set list and you will see these songs on it.

Go Down

Bon Scott is singing about Ruby and Mary licking that licking stick.

Dog Eat Dog

Bon Scott always had a social and political angle in his lyrics.

Business man when you make a deal
Do you know who you can trust
Do you sign your life away
Do you write your name in dust

Dealing with people in the music industry is like signing your life away. If you make it, these business people will then make money of your songs, your image and when all the crowds move on, they leave you in the dumpster to pick up the pieces.

Dog eat dog
Read the news
Someone win
Someone lose

These days, the news is the social media feed. We are surrounded by people with the best holiday shot, the best party shot, the best beach shot, lunch shot and so on. Everyone portrays an image of being a winner. And if someone is watching a winner, it must mean they are a loser.

See the blind man on the street
Lookin’ for somethin’ free
Hear the kind man ask his friend
Hey, what’s in it for me

We are more wealthy today than ever before, but 70% of that wealth is with the top 1%. So while you get people living from pay to pay helping out and volunteering, the ones who have the means to make a difference, do nothing, create their own charity as a tax dodge and make it look like they are doing something.

Let There Be Rock

That riff that kicks it off. It’s speed rock, it’s simple and I love it.

In the beginning
Back in nineteen fifty five
Man didn’t know ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive
The white man had the schmaltz
The black man had the blues
No one knew what they was gonna do
But Tchaikovsky had the news

Bon is framing a picture of a time when rock and roll was born and referencing Chuck Berry and his track “Roll Over Beethoven”.

And it came to pass
That rock ‘n’ roll was born
All across the land every rockin’ band
Was blowin’ up a storm
And the guitar man got famous
The business man got rich
And in every bar there was a superstar
With a seven year itch

Bon is capturing the essence and excitement of rock and roll when it came to the youth of the 60s.

One night in the club called the shakin’ hand
There was a 42 decibel rockin’ band
And the music was good and the music was loud
And the singer turned and he said to the crowd
Let there be rock

And there was rock alright. I remember every album I purchased in the 80s had a song title in the list that mentioned rock.

Bad Boy Boogie

On the day I was born the rain fell down
There was trouble brewin’ in my home town
It was the seventh day I was the seventh son
And it scared the hell out of every one
They said stop
I said go
They said fast
I said slow
They said yes
I said no
I do the bad boy boogie

Religion and belief in the Bible as truth is massive all over the world. Bon knew how to frame his lyrics with enough rebellion for it to connect with a generation who more or less had similar devout upbringings.

Problem Child

What I want I take
What I don’t I break
And I don’t want you
With a flick of my knife
I can change your life
There’s nothing you can do
I’m a problem child, yes I am

Scott lived for the moment.

Overdose

I overdosed on you
I overdosed on you
Crazy but it’s true
Ain’t nothin’ I can do
I overdosed on you

If a current pop artist had the above lines in a Chorus it would be a hit.

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

Spends my money
Drinks my booze
Stays out every night
But I got to thinkin’
Hey, just a minute
Somethin’ ain’t right

If Bon was a problem child, what about the women in his life, who spent his money and drank his booze.

Whole Lotta Rosie

What hasn’t been said about Rosie, about a whole lotta woman who knows how to rule the bed. But it’s the call and response of the intro riff which hooks me.

For Those About To Rock

For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

The way the guitars start it off, man, what can I say. It’s perfect.

Stand up and be counted for what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We’ll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
Cos rock has got the right of way
We ain’t no legends ain’t no cause
We’re just livin’ for today
For those about to rock, we salute you

And that’s how Rock was, a lifestyle of living for today, going to the show and allowing the music to surround you.

I Put The Finger In You

Again, I love the intro musically. The lyrics about fingers on fire being out of control is whatever, but the music…

Evil Walks

It’s got that “Hells Bells” influenced intro. And a verse riff from the chorus of “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Ball breaker 95 Tour Booklet

I didn’t own the album. A friend of mine had it on CD and I copied it off him.

And when the tour rolled into town, it was a no brainer to go.

They kicked off with a 1-2-3 knockout combo with “Back In Black”, “Shot Down In Flames” and “Thunderstruck”.

“Girls Got Rhythm”, “Hard As A Rock”, “Shoot To Thrill” and “Boogie Man” came next.

“Hail Caeser”, “Hells Bells”, “The Jack”, “Ballbreaker”, “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “TNT” and “Let There Be Rock” finished the set off.

For encore, they did “Highway To Hell” and finished off with “For Those About To Rock”.

Fire.

Blow Up Your Video

“Heatseeker”, the video clip was everywhere on music television, in the same way “Who Made Who” was still doing the rounds and “Sink The Pink” was also doing the rounds, along with “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

It’s one of the main reasons why we didn’t need to own the albums. We felt like we heard enough of em. And music television in the 80’s had the ability to reach a lot of people and as a by product make a lot of money for the labels.

“That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll” was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Told boss man where to go
Turned off my brain control
That’s the way I want my rock and roll

There it is again, the call to arms of “no one can tell us what to do”. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us. But the people in power and with wealth do control us.

“Two’s Up” has a super melodic Chorus riff and a tapping guitar solo by Angus.

High Voltage

Bon Scott wrote lyrics that resonated with his audience and this album is full of great lines.

“It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”

Ridin’ down the highway
Goin’ to a show
Stop in all the byways
Playin’ rock ‘n’ roll
Gettin’ robbed
Gettin’ stoned
Gettin’ beat up
Broken boned
Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks

Australia is huge. To travel east to west in a plane, it will take 5 hours. By car, a lot longer. AC/DC didn’t just conquer their region, they conquered all of Australia, by playing shows in every state and city. They even played Tasmania, which is a state everyone ignores.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll
If you think it’s easy doin’ one night stands
Try playin’ in a rock roll band
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll

Remember it, and to add that rock and roll is a lifers game.

Hotel motel
Make you wanna cry
Lady do the hard sell
Know the reason why
Gettin’ old
Gettin’ grey
Gettin’ ripped off
Under-paid
Gettin’ sold
Second hand
That’s how it goes
Playin’ in a band

Getting ripped off and being a musician go hand in hand. There are always people looking to make a buck from the hard work of artists.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer

My Daddy was workin’ nine to five
When my Momma was havin’ me
By the time I was half alive
They knew what I was gonna be
But I left school and grew my hair
They didn’t understand
They wanted me to be respected as
A doctor or a lawyer man
(But I had other plans)

It’s the rebellion against authority which hooked people in. Back then, your parents didn’t hang with you. They were your enemy.

Parents always have plans for their children and I’ve seen first hand, how those plans have broken their children, mentally and emotionally. I’m a parent and all I have for my kids is support and guidance if they want it.

Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
I’m gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll,
A rock ‘n’ roll star

Some wanted to be a rock and roll singer once upon a time and when MTV brought the rock starts into the lounge room, then everyone wanted to be one.

These days, kids are gonna be a tech billionaire, or a sell n trade broker. Imagine the lyrics with those words.

Gonna be a sell ‘n’ trade broker
Gonna be a tech billionaire
Gonna be a sell ‘n’ trade broker

It just doesn’t have the same rebellion as rock and roll. In fact, being a broker and a techie is following the status quo and confirming to what the current corporations in power want.

Well I worked real hard and bought myself
A rock ‘n’ roll guitar
I gotta be on top some day
I wanna be a star
I can see my name in lights
And I can see the queue
I got the devil in my blood
Tellin’ me what to do
(And I’m all ears)

There’s nothing else except the dream. From reading the bios of rock stars it’s a lonely journey in reality. As you ascend the ladder, people who were there at the beginning are replaced by different people with questionable motives.

Well you can stick your nine to five livin’
And your collar and your tie
You can stick your moral standards
‘Cause it’s all a dirty lie
You can stick your golden handshake
And you can stick your silly rules
And all the other shit
That you teach to kids in school

There are no moral standards in Corporations and Governments. Everyone is on the take. And kids these days are taught by people who just read from a curriculum, and are not interested to go the extra to ensure that what they are teaching is understood. And those curriculums are changed regularly to suit a certain interest group.

Did you know that the RIAA and MPAA lobbied hard to get Copyright and how breaking Copyright is stealing to be taught at primary schools?

Yep they did and not one parent even blinked an eye, as they fired up their uTorrent and kept breaking Copyright.

The Jack

But how was I to know
That she’d been dealt with before
Said she’d never had a Full House
But I should have known

She’s got the jack, she’s got the jack

This is classic Bon, using a deck of cards analogy for a sexually transmitted disease.

But how was I to know
That she’d been shuffled before
Said she’d never had a Royal Flush
But I should have known

Brilliant. Even comedic. How many did she have?

T.N.T.

Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi

A street alley chant is a great way to start. And when you add the simple Em to G to A riff, it’s perfect.

Cause I’m T.N.T., I’m dynamite
(T.N.T.) and I’ll win the fight
(T.N.T.) I’m a power load
(T.N.T.) watch me explode

High Voltage

Well you ask me ’bout the clothes I wear
And you ask me why I grow my hair
And you ask me why I’m in a band
I dig doin’ one night stands
And you wanna see me do my thing
All you gotta do is plug me into high
I said high

High voltage rock ‘n’ roll

There ya go folks, get into a band, fuck a lot and play live.

Family Jewels DVD

This is a great DVD package, a bonafide best off.

And my “Back In Black” LP and cassette is also missing, suffering the same fate as “Disturbing The Peace” from Alcatrazz and “Permanent Vacation” from Aerosmith.

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

INTERESTING: In A World Of Free, Metal and Rock Music Still Continues To Sell

There is a great article over at the Metal Insider website.

If you are too lazy to click on the link, the article covers the biggest selling metal and rock albums for 2015.

From the results, it’s pretty obvious that metal and rock fans like to purchase music. There is still a collectors mindset there. What’s even more fascinating is that a lot of the albums that have sold a decent amount in 2015 were not even released in 2015.

NOTE: The figures are based on U.S sales.

“Master of Puppets” was released in 1986 and in 2015 it sold 107,800 units. The self-titled “Metallica” album released in 1991 has sold another 77,100 units in 2015. It is well on its way to 17 million units sold in total.

Now think about for a second.

All of Metallica’s music is available on streaming services for paid subscriptions and for free. All of their music is available for downloading via legal options and illegal options. And they still continue to sell.

A band’s longevity is based around the need to replenish their fan base year after year. If you are not doing that then expect to play smaller venues. Dokken and Ratt are two bands that come to mind who haven’t replenished their fan bases from the Eighties. Both bands in the Eighties had platinum sales and played arenas. Today, they have almost no sales and play clubs.  Of course, not having the main creative forces in the current version of the band plays a part, however, even if Lynch and Pilson or Pearcy and Croucier did rejoin Dokken and Ratt respectively, it doesn’t mean that millions of people would be interested.

Metallica,  however is doing a good job at replenishing their fan base based on their selected live performances in new markets and in markets that have high rates of piracy.  They basically have a whole new generation of music fans who more or less consumed the music of Metallica for free and in most cases illegally. However, that still hasn’t stopped them from selling music and concert tickets.

As business people, the move to their own label “Blackened Recordings” was a no-brainer.

The record is how it all starts. It hooks the audience in. Anyone born in the Nineties, will know Metallica as the conformist poster artist for the labels in the Napster case. Anyone born in the Seventies and early Eighties know Metallica as a non-conformist band that pushed boundaries.

The whole Napster kerfuffle in the end just showed why it was not a good idea for Metallica to get in the way of people experiencing their music. However, they have learnt that by making their music available everywhere, they see better returns in other areas.

As an artist, it is a privilege for people to listen to your music. Respect that.

“Back In Black” from AC/DC was released in 1980. In 2015 so far, it has sold 110,000 units in the U.S.  The new album, “Rock Or Bust”, released in 2014, has sold 143,400 units in 2015.  Put it down to the band being on the road and building awareness of the new album. It just goes to show that the blanket marketing campaigns before the album release date, the Grammy appearance and all of the other medical issues/jail issues in the media meant nothing in 2015.

You see, when the music eco system was controlled by the record labels, the marketing blitz by the labels meant something. In 2015, it means nothing.

From the 2015 releases, Breaking Benjamin’s “Dark Before Dawn” has sold 209,000 units so far, Marilyn Manson’s “The Pale Emperor” has sold 124,200 units so far and Halestorm’s “Into The Wild Life” has sold 114,500 units so far.

From the 2014 releases, Foo Fighters “Sonic Highways” album has sold 87,800 in 2015, for total sales in 480,000 so far. Slipknot’s “5: The Gray Chapter” has sold 84,000 units in 2015, for total sales of 344,000 units. Nickelback’s “No Fixed Address” album has sold 101,000 units in 2015. Like the Foo Fighters it is approaching Gold status.

Led Zeppelin continues to be a selling machine, so why would they create new music when Copyright grants them and the owners of their songs, rights for the next 110 years to exploit the works.

In case you are wondering “Led Zeppelin 4” sold 75,000 units and “Physical Graffiti” sold 112,400 units in 2015.

Kid Rock’s debut “Devil Without A Cause” is still selling. For 2015 alone, it has moved 86,000 units. Add that to the other 10 million units it has sold so far.

So what is all of the above telling us.

Eventually people will pay, however if a piece of music that people want to check out is not available for free, they will turn away until it becomes convenient. Don’t expect people to pay just because you want them too.

And for all of those critics saying the new bands cannot attain the same level of success as their Seventies and Eighties counterparts, well have a look at some other stats.

 

As influential as Black Sabbath was to metal music, they are being outsold by Linkin Park, Korn and even Limp Bizkit.

Also for all of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s comments about rock being dead because no one is buying recorded music, well, Kiss has never really been a big seller of recorded music anyway. Their 21 million is pretty tame compared to Metallica’s 62 million. In the end, the live show is where it’s at. Deliver there and make that show a cultural event, the sky is the limit.

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