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

Adrian Vandenberg Compendium. “It’s Hard To Reach The Sky When You’re On Your Knees”.

Adrian Vandenberg came to my attention from his tenure in Whitesnake. At first I saw him as an imposter.

Why?

Because John Sykes became like a mythical saint to me. How dare these imposters like Vivian Campbell and Adrian Vandenberg mimic Sykes’s creations?

But then I came across a Vandenberg LP in a second hand record shop. And that brought back a memory of an interview in which it was stated that Adrian Vandenberg was actually David Coverdale’s first choice for the lead guitar slot, however Vandenberg turned the gig down and John Sykes was given the gig instead.

1985’s “Alibi” was the last album from the Vandenberg group before Adrian Vandenberg was poached from his own group to join the MTV Friendly Line Up of Whitesnake. And you know what I was very pleasantly surprised at the “Alibi” album. It was also the first album I heard from original music that Adrian Vandenberg had created and suddenly he was cool.

“All The Way”

The way it starts off with the city noises and that clean tone guitar riff you can just picture a guitar player busking on a street corner. A great opener. How good is that lead harmony melodic line for the second verse? Brilliant.

Goin’ all the way, I’m goin’ all the way
Reached the point where there ain’t no way back
Goin’ all the way, gotta go all the way, I’m in this right up to my neck

“How Long”

This track and “All The Way” are the two tracks that really connected with me musically from the initial listen and I played them constantly on the LP. I was a master at dropping the needle in the right spot. The classical overtones in “How Long” are really subtle and connect. Lyrically it is a brilliant heartbreak song

And that lead break. Wow. I always love a lead break that paraphrases the vocal melody. That in itself is an art form. Vandenberg does a stellar job at it. If Spotify and YouTube was around back in the Eighties I reckon I would have cracked up some decent play counts on these two songs.

Used to spend my time, breaking hearts now I find that I’m paying my debt
Now it’s my heart that breaks and it hurts so bad

Words so true.

“Fighting Against The World”

Once I burned out on “All The Way” and “How Long” I started to give the other album songs a spin.  “Fighting Against The World” is a real good song and perfect for 1985. Again the Classical influences pound the headspace and that Chorus just kicks some serious arena butt. Love the phrasing of the vocal melody.

And as is the norm, Vandenberg puts all of his chops to good use for another outstanding lead break.

I don’t agree
With the way some people make all the rules, control society
No rules for me, I wanna live my life the way I want

By 1985, everyone was doing standing up for something. There are so many things in life that are worth fighting for and your dreams and desires are one of those things.

“Alibi”

Now that there is nowhere to run, need an alibi

The album polarised me because it covered so many different styles. “Alibi” is a song that I class in the Def Leppard style of rock. It shares a lot of similarities to “Photograph”.

The lead break. What can I say? It is unique enough to be original and it shows its influences enough to connect musically.

“Once In A Lifetime”

The song is way ahead of its time. “Once In A Lifetime” is the template that Def Leppard used for “Hysteria” a few years later. The similarities are striking. Musically the song is brilliant.

Yesterday in and out another town, suddenly saw your face
Right out there in the crowd
You said you were happy, you got someone who treats you right
And I recognize that fire in your eyes, oh girl you should be mine, ‘cos

So after being pleasantly surprised back in 1989 with the purchase of “Alibi” (albeit 4 years too late), I started to seek out more music from Adrian Vandenberg. A record store clerk told me that two other albums exist however it will be an import and imports to Australia were very expensive. So I added them to my list of LP’s to search out at second hand record shops and record fairs. It took a few years however I did manage to find them.

Isn’t it funny how today, we can YouTube or Spotify our favourite artist and we will have their whole history at our fingertips. Before it wasn’t like that.

“Friday Night”

It is from 1983’s “Heading For A Storm” LP by Vandenberg. It is very Eddie Van Halen in the verses ala “Dance The Night Away”. Lyrically the song doesn’t connect but musically it speaks to me. The lead break again is well thought out, well planned and perfectly executed.

“Time Will Tell”

Pedal point riffs merged with the AC/DC style of power chords merged with Def Leppard pop sensibilities. A great mix.

As is the norm, the lead break from Vandenberg is brilliant.

“Heading For A Storm”

A good title track musically. Like a lot of the songs from the Eighties, musically they connected with me however the choice of words or topics left a lot to be desired.

This is very similar to what early Europe would sound like. Lots of Michael Schenkerism’s in the lead breaks, even the main riff could have come from a MSG or UFO album. Always blown away by the lead guitar compositions.

“Waiting For The Night”

Again the acoustic guitar comes to the fore as a prelude and then the Deep Purple “Highway Star” rhythms kick in with a lead break tour de force. The very definition of Euro Metal.

“Burning Heart”

Going deeper into the debut Vandenberg album from 1982, this is the first song I dropped the needle on because it was the single. And the other reason why I wanted to hear this song is that I read in an interview back in the early nineties that Vandenberg and Coverdale where working on a Whitesnake version of the song for the “Slip Of The Tongue” album. However when Vandenberg was suddenly confronted with a wrist problem, the song got put on the shelf.

And you know what. On hearing “Burning Heart”, “Sailing Ships” came to mind straight away.

“Nothing To Lose”

This is the best song on the debut album and it comes in at track number 7.

“Too Late”

The Judas Priest influence connects. Even the vocal melody is phrased very similar to what Rob Halford would do. And the Randy Rhoads influenced lead break showed some serious chops.

1990’s “Slip Of The Tongue” should have been Vandenberg’s pinnacle however the final script said otherwise. No offense to Steve Vai but the decorating he did over the bluesy hard rock riffs from Vandenberg was never a good fit for Whitesnake. Granted it is still an enjoyable listen but man seeing the making off DVD just highlights how blues rock the album originally was.

Fate would have it that a hand injury prevented Vandenberg from playing on the album which was the culmination of physical tension caused by his playing posture over the years and further aggravated by a series of wrist exercises Vandenberg started doing to fix the previous problem.

At one stage the working title was “Liquor and Poker”.

“Slip Of The Tongue”

Bring out the Zeppelin’isms. One listen and I was floored with a one two.

“Judgement Day”

Bring out the Zeppelin’sims Part II. Or in other words say hello to “Kashmir”.

“Sailing Ships”

The best song on the album. The big hit that wasn’t given a proper chance.

“Kittens Got Claws”

Blues Rock from start to finish. Coverdale delivers a simple Blues vocal line with all of his gutso. Classic Whitesnake.

“Wings Of The Storm”

A metal masterpiece.

“Cheap An’ Nasty”

AC/DC would be proud.

“Now You’re Gone”

Coverdale and Vandenberg tried to re-write “Here I Go Again”.

“The Deeper The Love”

A chorus that Coverdale had for a long time finally gets turned into a song.

“Sweet Lady Luck”

A B-side but how good is that intro.

It’s like Manic Eden and its music have been forgotten. You can’t find them on Spotify, however YouTube has the whole album.

Manic Eden came about during the Coverdale-Page project. Apart from Adrian Vandenberg on guitar, Manic Eden also included Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge on bass and drums, while vocals were provided by Ron Young. Their self-titled debut came out in 1994 at the height of the grunge movement and the start of the industrial movement. Manic Eden features some of the best blues rock playing from Adrian Vandenberg.

“Ride The Storm”

It’s a derivative version of Led Zeppelin’s “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You” in the verses and it is very good. Ron Young delivers a Rod Stewart-esque like performance and Vandenberg owns the song on the guitar.

It’s your turn to fly on your own

“Do Angels Die”

Why does this sound so good?

This one is a derivative version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and Rolling Stones ‘Wild Horses”.  And as with “Ride The Storm” it is a damn good song. The track is atmospheric and then so powerful, one of my favorite tracks ever. It’s also got one of the best lyric lines ever.

“It’s hard to reach the sky, when you’re on your knees”.

This is what music is all about. If you’re sitting at home believing you deserve attention? Listen to this and make sure that what you are doing is just as good!

Then David Coverdale came into the picture again. When Coverdale let Vandenberg go, the reasons given range. The one that is most consistent is that Vandenberg presented Coverdale with a selection of songs that Coverdale described as “more suited to Chicago or Poison!”

The funny thing is that one of those songs got turned into a killer blues number called “Too Many Tears” many years later.

So after putting the past to bed, Coverdale and Vandenberg still needed a band. They immediately called Rudy Sarzo for the bassists position who then recommended Warren DeMartini from Ratt as the other guitarist. Denny Carmassi came from the Coverdale/Page project and a former crew associate suggested Paul Mircovich for the keyboardist position.

This is the version of Whitesnake I saw when they played the old Horden Pavilion in Sydney for their Australian tour.

“Restless Heart”

Then in 1997, the “Restless Heart” album dropped. It was originally intended to be more of a Coverdale-Vandenberg project but EMI insisted that it be released as a Whitesnake album. Regardless of people’s views, three songs stand out as worthy additions to the Whitesnake body of work. They are the title track, “Too Many Tears” and “Crying”.

“Too Many Tears”

The emotion hits the mark and Vandenberg shows what an accomplished guitarist and songwriter he is.

“Crying”

A derivative version of the song “Mistreated” from the David Coverdale era of Deep Purple of the David Coverdale. And what a dirty rocking guitar sound!

“Breathing”

2014. The return this time with Vandenberg’s MoonKings after his former Vandenberg bandmates refused to allow Vandenberg to use the Vandenberg name.

This is an album from an artist who wants to show that he can still rock and that he can still deliver live. Because in 2014, sales don’t mean shit. What matters is if people are listening to the music.

Vandenberg does ballads at a 1000 percent. So intimate and uplifting.

“Line Of Fire”

Vandenberg is famous for his Eighties output however this song sounds like it was written in the Seventies.

“Out Of Reach”

A personal song for Vandenberg that deals with his daughter who has lived with her mother since she was 12 years old. “Out Of Reach” means that he doesn’t get to see her as often as he would like.

“Sailing Ships (Acoustic)”

Vandenberg also intended for this song to be more laid back and acoustic orientated. In the end if I had to pick whose return was better between Jake E. Lee and Adrian Vandenberg, than Vandenberg wins without any competition.

“Lust And Lies”

Another brilliant addition to Vandenberg’s body of work. It’s Led Zeppelin meets Humble Pie.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1991 – The Year Of Disruption

1991.

What a year of disruption. I was reading two Hot Metal magazines from October and November 1991 and it got me thinking about 1991. Hard Rock, Power Metal, Glam Rock and the pedal point Heavy Metal that we got used too was facing obliteration. The smarter acts started building their Ark’s. They saw the warnings. The rest all drowned in the flood. Castle Donnington in August had AC/DC, Metallica, Queensryche, Motley Crue and Black Crowes. All of those bands survived the flood, however Queensryche managed to commit hara-kiri many years after.

Guitar Heroes Looking For Work

Jimmy Page
He announced that he was working with David Coverdale. The media reported it as White Zeppelin and Led Snake. The band was filled out with Denny Carmassi (Heart) on drums, Ricky Phillips (Bad English) on bass with Johnny and Joe Gioeli from the band Brunette rounding out the band. Fast forward to March 1993, “Coverdale/Page” finally came out. The wheels of motion in the recording business travelled slowly once upon a time.

Of course the following month, it was also announced that Neal Schon along with Deen Castronovo signed a band to MCA. The band at the time didn’t have a name however it featured Johhny and Joe Gioeli from the band Brunette, whom Schon discovered when he started dating their sister. The bands line up was completed by Todd Jensen (DLR) on bass. Of course that band would go on to become “Hardline”.

Vinnie Vincent
It was announced that he was writing songs with Gene and Paul. Most of those songs would end up 1992’s “Revenge” including the excellent “Unholy”.

John Sykes
Rumours started circulating that he joined Def Leppard to replace Steve Clark and those rumours started to earn some credibility when Carmine Appice and Tony Franklin quit Blue Murder. Then the rumours started that he would be a touring guitarist for them, as Def Leppard had plans to bow out at the top. Of course we all know how that panned out.

Adrian Vandenberg
Was out of a gig after David Coverdale disbanded Whitesnake. Rumours started circulating that he was forming a project with
John Waite as Bad English was more or less over. Then he had a solo deal with Victory Records. Then rumours persisted that he was tapped to join House Of Lords who also had a deal with Victory.

Of course, Adrian Vandenberg went on to be involved in the supergroup “Manic Eden” that had Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge as well as Little Caeser vocalist Ron Young. Of course, the House Of Lords connection was there in the early incarnation of the band, as James Christian was the original vocalist.

Steve Stevens
Another guitar hero in between employers. He was also on the radar to fill the guitarist slot with House Of Lords and then he was working on a solo record and then he was announcing plans to work with Michael Monroe. Of course the Monroe project went on to become Jerusalem Slim.

Randy Jackson
He spent almost 5 years working on the “China Rain” project, assembling a brilliant band that included Brian Tichy on Drums, Ronnie Snow supporting Randy on guitar and Teddy Cook on Bass. Then the label decided to not release it.

Lita Ford
Released “Dangerous Curves” which got her a Grammy nomination. However it was a big price to pay to have that all-star backing band for a tour that didn’t take off. The band included Myron Grombacher (Pat Benater) on drums, Dave Ezrin on keys, Matt Bisoneette (DLR) on bass and Joe Taylor on guitars. Joe Taylor suffered the indignity of being fired by Jim Gillete, Lita’s husband at the time because Jim wanted to cut Taylor’s pay.

Dave Navarro
Rumours at the time stated that he was asked to replace Izzy Stradlin in Guns N Roses as rumours started circulating that Janes Addiction was more or less over as Perry Farrell and Eric A started to hate each other over their views on drugs.

Vivian Campbell
Was in a new hard rock band called Shadow King, with Lou Gramm of Foreigner, Bruce Turgon on bass and Kevin Valentine on drums. Eventually went on to become a Def Leppard main stay.

Vito Bratta
At that point in time it was known that Bratta had tied down a solo deal with Atlantic. Of course in 2014, we know that nothing panned out.

Jeff Watson
Was rumoured to be in a project with Carmine Appice, Bob Daisley and Derek St Holmes. That project ended up becoming “Mother’s Army” and the final line up consisted of vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, guitarist Jeff Watson, bassist Bob Daisley and drummer Carmine Appice. Again this news was out in 1991 and it wasn’t until 1993 that the self titled debut hit the market.

Neal Schon
Along with Deen Castronovo signed a band to MCA. The band at the time didn’t have a name however it featured Johhny and Joe Gioeli, whom Schon discovered when he started dating their sister. The bands line up was completed by Todd Jensen (DLR) on bass. Of course that band would go on to become Hardline.

Richie Sambora
He didn’t know if Bon Jovi would continue and released a solo album based on the blues infused with a little bit of pop and rock. He never achieved the platinum sales that he got with Bon Jovi, however he got to show a side of himself that could never have been shown in Bon Jovi.

Cemented Their Guitar God Status In An Hostile Environment

Zakk Wylde
Cemented his status as a guitar god with “No More Tears”. Every track is rock solid.

Paul Gilbert
Guitar players knew him from Racer X, however it was “Lean Into It” that brought him to the mainstream. Shame that it was a ballad that did it. Regardless the album is guitar heavy.

Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill
They came into their own on “Slave To The Grind”. Fusing rock, metal and blues with a shitload of groove. Add to that Rachel Bolan, the Nikki Sixx type persona of Skid Row.

James Hetfield
The whole “Black” album. Enough said.

Frank Hannon and Tommy Skeoch
They ramped it up on “Psychotic Supper”. Check out “Song and Emotion”, “Freedom Slaves” and “Had Enough”.

The New Winds

Nirvana dropped “Nevermind”. Earache Records had the big three in Napalm Death, Morbid Angel and Massacre.

Pearl Jam gave us “Ten” and it started to get some traction.

Soundgarden dropped “Badmotorfinger” and NIN was slowly rising in the background with “Pretty Hate Machine”.

Smashing Pumpkins released “Gish” to little fanfare and Prong released the critically acclaimed “Prove You Wrong.”

Alice In Chains sure did it tough, appearing on a few tours were even the people said “WTF”. Clash of The Titans saw them get pelted with rubbish and the Van Halen shows had people saying “What The”.

A Band Ahead Of The Times

Galatic Cowboys
Showed that diversity didn’t belong in the music business as at 1991. Mixing gospel, thrash, punk, bluegrass, rock and metal with a touch of prog and signed to Geffen. What could go wrong????

Tours

“Clash Of The Titans” did terrific business in major cities and dismal turnouts in rural cities and even cancelled a few gigs due to terrible advance sales.

“Operation Rock N Roll” with Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Dangerous Toys and Metal Church earned the reputation as the biggest travelling failure of the summer.

GNR and Skid Row operated on a 70% of tickets sold tour.

Lollapalooza blitzed all comers.

The shift was happening.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Vince Neil – Exposed

A few of my favorite albums from back in the day are having anniversaries this year.

Let’s start with the Vince Neil release, Exposed.  As a massive Motley Crue fan, let’s say that I wasn’t impressed with the ousting of Vince Neil.  For some reason, I always took Vince’s story as the source of truth.

Back in 1992, it was hard to get current information.  So I hear that Vince was fired from Motley, and next I am seeing his Exposed album in Utopia in April 1993.  Without question I purchased it, took it home and put it on the CD player.  Before I pressed play, I took out the booklet and I see that Phil Soussan is credited with writing quite a few songs.  This got me even more interested.

For those that don’t know, Phil Soussan was responsible for writing Shot In The Dark when he was in Ozzy’s band.  Shot In The Dark appeared on the Ultimate Sin album, released in a time where Hard Rock and Metal was starting to hit its commercial peak.  To give some back story to Shot In The Dark, Soussan had this song written years before he joined Ozzy’s band.  It was inspired by the Pink Panther movies.  Ozzy loved the lyrics, but wanted Soussan to make the song darker, while trying to keep with the original idea.

Then Jake E. Lee left the band.  Soussan and his best friend Randy Castillo (RIP) who was also the drummer in Ozzy’s band, started to hold auditions to find a new guitarist, while Ozzy went out to promote the Tribute album.  That is where a young Zachary Weilandt came into the picture based on a recommendation from Mark Weiss (this is the guy who photographs everything to do with rock n roll). That is how Zakk Wylde was born.

Phil Soussan was just another talented musician and songwriter that had to leave a band he wanted to be in because of  business disagreements with Sharon Osbourne regarding future publishing arrangements.  I am sure Jake E. Lee was also forced out in this way.

To get back on track, I am a fan of Phil Soussan.  So I find out that many of the songs that he had written for Ozzy’s next album, ended up on Exposed.

I then find out that it was Soussan that was responsible for putting together the Vince Neil band.  The original band line up was Vince Neil on vocals, Phil Soussan on bass, Adrian Vandenberg (from Whitesnake) on guitar, Vik Foxx (Enuff Z’Nuff) on drums and Robbie Crane on guitar.

Soussan and Neil also put the Warner Bros deal together along with Vince’s manager Bruce Bird who passed away in 1993.

Then it all went sour when Steve Stevens (Billy Idol and Atomic Playboys) was asked to replace Vandenberg. Stevens already had a personal issue with not having written the songs and it looks like Stevens held a grudge against Soussan for working with Billy Idol, who was Stevens former employer.  So all hell broke loose after the death of Bruce Bird.  

Soussan started to be on the outer, especially when Stevens wanted to play bass and eventually Soussan had no option but to leave again.  Imagine his dismay, when his manager showed him a draft sleeve of the album where Stevens had tried to put his name as the songwriter and remove Phil Soussan’s credit from his own songs.  Songs that Soussan wrote all the original demos and titles from back in the Ozzy days.  

The matter was addressed and legally resolved, in favor of Soussan.  So much drama and the album hasn’t even come out.  Isn’t that just the nature of Rock N Roll.    

Look in Her Eyes is the opener and it is listed as being written by Vince Neil, Steve Stevens and Phil Soussan.  Other songs written by this combination are The Edge, Gettin’ Hard and Forever.

Look In Her Eyes is a classic. The intro riff has that Euro Metal vibe, the verse has that Dr Feelgood vibe and the Chorus is melodic and catchy as hell.  You can hear that Phil wrote this song with Ozzy’s style in mind.  Steven Stevens contribution to this song, was to make the lead break a centerpiece and it goes for well over a minute and a half.

An ocean of temptation
With every drop of wine
Shadows meeting face to face
The tentacles entwine
One look from the jezebel
Phony valentine
Now you see the wanderer
Frozen in the corridors of time

 

For some reason I love the way that second verse is written.  Maybe it is the Medusa reference, done in such a rock n roll way.  That is why the song has that big epic classic rock feel.  Men are creatures of temptation, from the Garden of Eden to now.

The Edge is another uptempo riff fest of a song.  From its flamenco intro, to its pedal point driven verses and its climbing arpeggio choruses.  This song is a dead set classic.  It reminds me of Red Hot from the Crue for some reason.  It reminds of Deep Purple. It reminds me of Scorpions.  The lead break is pure class, breaking down into the acoustic flamenco passages again, before building up again, with the orchestra strings in tow into a wah shred fest of a lead break.

There is no tomorrow i live my life today
Luck is my religion to the lady i will pray
I fail to see the black in every tinsel town
They can try and take my pride
But they can never take my crown

Listen to the phrasing of the vocal line.  It’s done the same way Ozzy sings.  It was meant for Ozzy.  Of course Vince has a totally different voice, so it sounds unique.  It’s totally different to what Vince did in Motley.  Living your life on the edge of time, is what the song is saying.

Fine, Fine Wine is written by Vince Neil and Phil Soussan.  This song would fit perfectly on Dr Feelgood.  It is classic Motley Crue.  The lyrics, the riffs, the sex and the sleaze.  Vince is in his element here.

Baby’s long and tall man she’s got it all she’s alright
alright
Hips have got a sway shakin’ it my way it alright
alright
Full bodied curves with her legs she serves oh yeah
oh yeah
Lips that say it all turn and hear her call oh yeah
oh yeah
Ain’t no cheap and nasty liquor dripping down her vine 
Taste of golden honey sweet as candy money
Bottle it up and make her mine

Give me a taste of your fine fine wine

The bass line just rolls the song along, keeping it low and dirty.  Steven Stevens delivers another great solo on this song.  Even though he was a dick to Soussan, he still played his arse off on this album.

Sister of Pain and You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come) was written by the Vince Neil, Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw combination.  It is steeped in the blues hard rock vibe that Damn Yankees brought back to the charts.  The same blues hard rock vibe made famous by Free, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent and many others.  Again both songs would not be out-of-place on a Motley Crue album.  

Can’t Change Me is a Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw composition, very similar to Damn Yankees, the super group project they had with Ted Nugent.

Can’t Have Your Cake and Living Is A Luxury is written by Vince Neil and Steve Stevens.  I don’t really rate these two songs.

Finally there was a Sweet cover in Set Me Free, that is written by Andrew Scott.

The album was produced by Ron Nevison.  That is why it has that AOR feel, very radio friendly, arena rock feel and the performances are top-notch.

Ron was coming off multi platinum success with Heart, Survivor, Bad English, Europe and Ozzy’s The Ultimate Sin.  Actually Ron played a part in getting Phil Soussan to depart, as he started to support Steve Stevens in the decision-making.

1993 was a year of big change in the music business.  Vince Neil delivered an album that didn’t get the promotion it deserved.  The only way I could have purchased the album was from Utopia Records, which was a hard rock/heavy metal record store.  Utopia records is located in the Sydney CBD and back then they where on Clarence Street.  I had to take a 90 minute train ride from my country town to the Sydney CBD.  

The usual major stores back then didn’t even stock it.  Makes it hard to compete if the fans can’t find it.  It can be found today, by everyone.  

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Thin Lizzy – Cold Sweat – Classic Song to be discovered

I am a big fan of John Sykes.  It was the Whitesnake 1987 album that had me converted.   It was very guitar heavy and I loved it.  I was dismayed when I found out he got fired from the band before the album was released.  I couldn’t even stand to watch Adrian Vandenberg and Vivian Campbell pose around like they where the creators of the music.

So I started to ask people about John Sykes and no one could answer me.  This is in 1988.  There was no Google.  There was no internet.  You had to find out this information by yourself.  I then picked up a magazine of Metal Edge and I saw the information I needed.  Metal Edge was sold in Australia for $10, so it was an expensive purchase.

The article spoke about John Sykes and his new band, Blue Murder.  It also mentioned his beginnings.  Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy.

The record shop was next door to the newsagent.  I went in and of course in the hard rock / heavy metal section there was no Thin Lizzy album that had John Sykes playing on it.  Nor did it have any Tygers of Pan Tang.  Regardless I was on a mission to find out more.  That is how super fans are made.  We needed to know more about the artists we liked, so we went searching, we asked people, we spread their name.  I asked the lady at the counter if she can tell me what albums John Sykes played on with Thin Lizzy and Tygers of Pan Tang.  She gave me this look.  Was I speaking a different language apart from English.  I mentioned the album, Whitesnake.  I pulled it from the hard rock section to show her the guitarist.  She answered back, “who cares, he is only the guitarist.  He doesn’t even matter.”  Doesn’t matter.  I go to her, “what instrument makes music”.  She answers back “the guitar”.  Enough said.  I knew I was going to get anywhere with her.

Imagine my surprise when my cousin Mega called me to tell me he picked up Tygers Of Pan Tang – Spellbound and Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning for me for $5 each from a second-hand record shop and that John Sykes plays on those albums.  I was on the train to Sydney (a 90 minute journey) in a heartbeat.

Cold Sweat.  It’s written by John Sykes and Phil Lynott.  It’s the only one on the album that has a John Sykes co-write.  The riff is heavy and sleazy.   Phil Lynott’s vocals reek of desperation.  It was like he really owed some money to a mafia style bookie.  The lead section from John Sykes, confirmed my suspicions.  He wasn’t plucked from out of nowhere by David Coverdale, he was paying his dues.    He nails so many different styles, and also makes it sound human.

Stone cold sober and stone cold sweat running down the back of my neck.  

The Thin Lizzy influence on John Sykes would re-surface in later years, especially the Phil Lynott style of lyric writing and vocal line delivery.  We All Fall Down from Blue Murder’s – Nothing But Trouble comes to mind immediately.

Here it now.  Revisit a classic song.

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