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

Forgotten 80s List Part 3

Here is the playlist.

Forgotten songs from the Eighties are still on my mind. Here is another list of songs that should end up on your playlist one way or another.

The problem with the below songs is they were dwarfed by other “MTV” single songs or just bad promotion from the record label.

Out On The Streets
King Of The Fools

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister knew which road they needed to take to make it. Now that they made it, what was next? Which road should they take? Bob Ezrin was approached to produce the album and after hearing the demos he didn’t hear a hit, so he passed. Hindsight and the passage of time points to Dee losing his way and anger at the world, but to me, the songs on “Come Out and Play” (except for “Leader” and “Be Cruel”) are as strong as the songs on “Stay Hungry”.

I believe it was poor record label decisions to release “Leader of the Pack” as the opening single. And to be honest “Be Cruel to Your School” is one of the weaker tracks on the album for me and never should have been a single.

“Come Out And Play”, “The Fire Still Burns” and “I Believe In Rock’N’Roll” are favourites of mine from the album and they got played live. “Out On The Streets” and the bonus track “King Of The Fools” do not get any love, hence they are on this list.

I’ve always dug a song that starts off with bass and drums. Then the vocal melody kicks in and then the guitars. “Lost Behind A Wall” from Dokken also comes to mind.

Searching for something in this human zoo
Kaleidoscope of faces, maybe, it might be you

I had to look up “kaleidoscope” in the dictionary. I had no idea what it meant. After I digested the meaning, it made the lyric even better.

Someone listen to my prayers
Can’t help feeling no one cares

The biggest fear is loneliness. We want someone to care for us, even more so for people who reached the top in their chosen field.

You’re out on the streets, living on your own

I’ve always taken this lyric to mean; away from home and the comforts of our loved ones. Look at any lyric from a rocker who spends a lot of time on the road touring and you will see how much it pains them. They turn to drugs as a supplement and sometimes when they are alone in their hotel room, away from everyone, their thoughts get the better of them.

My cousin Mega is a huge Twisted fan. He even tattooed the logo on his shoulder. So Mega had the album upon release, plus the VHS video. So I dubbed the LP on cassette and I also dubbed the VHS video onto a blank video tape until I had enough funds to purchase the original. So a few months after release, I purchased the LP. Many years later, well into the 90’s I came across a CD version of “Come Out And Play” via the second hand record shops. The almost faded sticker of “Bonus Track” was enough incentive. And “King Of the Fools” is that bonus track and man what a track it is.

The harmony guitars to kick it off, remind me of “Bringin On The Heartbreak” by Def Leppard. They sound epic, grand and they set the tone for a monster of a song that for some reason, the guys in the band nor the record label didn’t see fit to put on the normal album release. Sort of like how Bon Jovi left “Edge Of A Broken Heart” off the “Slippery When Wet” album and left “Social Disease” on it.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

We strive to make it, to be successful. And when we get there, we suddenly have people waiting to see what our next word will be, our next song and so forth. Suddenly doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. We turn to addictions to numb the pain. We want to be on the road, we want to be adored, we want to play shows, yet we don’t want to be away from our families.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (the institutions, the government, the mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the institutions. If the institutions see us as fools, then our idols are our Kings’.

Fight For Your Rights
Motley Crue

Sometimes it makes you wonder how a band with so many addictive personalities can get it together to churn out an album. “Theater of Pain” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” have a certain reputation as the “more filler” albums in Motley Crue’s 80’s output. It comes as no surprise that these “more filler” albums occurred at the height of the bands addictions.

But putting aside people’s viewpoints, each album has a few cult like gems. On a previous “Forgotten” post, I sang the praises of “Dancin On Glass” from the “Girls” album. On this post, “Fight For Your Rights” from the “Theater” album gets some love.

How good is the intro/verse riff?

Who wrote the Bible?
Who set the laws?
Are we left to history’s flaws?

We live in a world created by the religion institutions’ and the ones who control the wealth. And throughout the ages of times, documents got produced on how people should live. Eventually those documents became important to the detriment of any other document that challenged it.

Fight (fight) for your rights

Dee Snider turned up to the hearings against censorship, others wrote songs about it.

Martin Luther
Brought the truth
The color of our blood’s the same

So true. We all bleed red.

So break the chains
And solve the pains
And we all become one race

It’s easier said than done. These days it’s everybody against everybody. People of the same colour are against people of their own colour as well as people of different races. Then you have people against people because of religious beliefs or relationship preference. Then you have people against people because of social status. In my view, money is a bigger evil today.

Waiting For Darkness
Ozzy Osbourne

Even though Ozzy Osbourne is listed as the only songwriter, it’s well known that Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics and Jake E. Lee along with Daisley wrote the music. The guitar playing is what hooked me onto this song. The palm muted staccato lines in the verses from Jake over a syncopated bass/drum groove is just brilliant. So once I unpacked the riffage, I started listening to the lyrics and the vocal melodies.

Waiting for darkness
Why doesn’t anybody see now?
Deafened by silence
Why doesn’t anybody hear?

It’s easy to place this lyric with the lifestyle of Ozzy. Due to his addictions and constant toxic state, you can imagine many days and nights spent in a drug induced darkness. Deafening silence means a lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm from those who surround you or love you. So you have Daisley writing about a darkness to come, and everybody is too busy to care. Sort of like how people don’t care how their private data is gathered and sold by the large internet corporations. Sort of like how people don’t care about net neutrality. Until it’s too late.

We’re hardwired to believe and understand the things we experience, so we experience the internet and we like it. But there is a battle happening over the control of the internet and people just don’t care.

I know what they’ll find
It’s in their mind
It’s what they want to see
Spare me from the light
Here comes the night
And here I’ll stay waiting for darkness

This is all about people who don’t care to see the truth. What they’ve been told from birth and from their tribe is what will remain with them forever.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how free I’m not. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”, “New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”.

That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘ N’ Roll
AC/DC

From 1988’s “Blow Up Your Video” album. It was released as a single, however “Heatseeker” was doing a decent job taking all the limelight, this little ditty got ignored.

Party gonna happen at the union hall
Shaking to the rhythm ’til everybody fall
Picking up my woman in my Chevrolet
Glory hallelujah, gonna rock the night away

The scene is set. We have Brian picking up his woman, to take her to a party at Union Hall and rock the night away until they fall.

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 “We’re Not Gonna Take It” call to arms. We will not be used and we will not allow the people in power to control us.

Young Lust
Aerosmith

Like “Permanent Vacation” before it, “Pump” had some monster songs that stole all the glory like “Love In The Elevator”, “Janie’s Got A Gun”, “The Other Side” and “What It Takes”. And when that happens, it’s easy for songs to get lost or become forgotten. But “Young Lust” is the opener. In the minds of Tyler and Perry, it was good enough back then to open the god damn “Pump” album and today it gets no listens. To me, it’s just a pure party rock and roll anthem and Joey Kramer again goes to town on the drums, with his double kick underpinning the groove and tempo of the song.

A little bit o’ nasty
You look a little sleazy
But don’t get any on you

Is that what Bill said to Monica?

Young lust
Once you had it you can never go back

It’s totally wrong this lyric.

Checkin’ out the ladies
Who didn’t bring their boyfriends
Who love to get in trouble
I got to say I’ll see you later, meet me in the elevator

Tyler’s elevator fetish gets a prequel.

Young lust
I’m a-pushin’ and a-shovin’ it

Only Tyler can get away with lyrics like these.

One In A Million
Guns N Roses

This one is from the “Lies” EP released I think in 1989. I can Wikipedia it, but screw it, I’m running on fumes at the moment. I remember reading the stories about the “controversial” lyrics, especially the lines around “Immigrants and faggots” and “police and niggers”. But really, are the lyrics that controversial. There is always someone who gets upset at something. Basically, there is just no way one person/artist can make every single person in the world love them. It’s impossible.

Police and Niggers, that’s right
Get out of my way
Don’t need to buy none of your
Gold chains today

Is Axl a racist?

Maybe.

Is he trying to address some social ills with the verse above about a class divide?

Maybe.

You need to remember, this song came out in 1989 and there is a good chance the lyrics were written sometime in the 80’s. The L.A police during this period made a name for themselves as being pretty heavy when it came to dealing with citizens. And from the stories we kept seeing on the news, the police in L.A didn’t do themselves any favours. NWA wrote a cult classic about doing something with the police in LA. All of this bubbled to the surface when a video was released of the police beating Rodney King with clubs. What happened after that? Riots in L.A. A “Hooligan’s Holiday”. The nigger part is playing to a stereotype and a better word could have been used, but Axl was never about conforming.

You’re one in a million
Yeah, that’s what you are
You’re one in a million, babe
You’re a shooting star
Maybe someday we’ll see you
Before you make us cry
You know we tried to reach you
But you were much too high

The Chorus didn’t make much sense due to the extreme nature of the verses, but many years later it does. It’s basically saying, if you want to be a star, you are one of many in this world. And if you want your 15 minutes of fame, you are in competition with all of the problems of the world for people’s attention.

Immigrants and faggots
They make no sense to me
They come to our country
And think they’ll do as they please
Like start some mini Iran,
Or spread some disease
They talk so many goddamn ways
It’s all Greek to me

What a verse?

Talk about moving a conversation forward. I remember reading how ignorant Axl is and what not because of this verse, but in the end he was speaking a truth that he saw.

Isn’t that the artists credo, to knock down doors and be yourself.

I am sure millions will agree with what Axl meant about “starting a mini Iran”. Each race has a small faction of people who are so far removed from the conversation, their ideology is the only way. The problem is when that race has 100 million people worldwide, 10% is a small faction as a percentage, but in people numbers it’s large. And I always wonder. People come to democratic countries to escape the horrors of their own home and then they try their best to turn the streets of the democratic country that took them in, into the war torn streets of their homeland.

Radicals and Racists
Don’t point your finger at me
I’m a small town white boy
Just tryin’ to make ends meet
Don’t need your religion
Don’t watch that much TV
Just makin’ my livin’, baby
Well that’s enough for me

If we want a better future, it helps to be able to see the world as it is. Watching a news program is seeing the world as the news program wants you to see it. Reading a news article is seeing the world as the writer of the news article wants you to see it. Seeing a Travel video is seeing the world as the people who made the travel video want you to see it. You need to get out and see with your own eyes the world. Just don’t get run over by a mad man in a van.

Mine All Mine
Van Halen

I know it was a single, but in all seriousness, a lot of the singles from “5150” were still on the airwaves along with “When It’s Love” and “Finish What Ya Started” from “OU812”. “Jump” and “Panama” also had traction. So “Mine All Mine” just percolated outside the Van Hagar Halen hit factory.

The drumming is frantic, making a clichéd keyboard riff sound heavy as hell.

Oh, you’ve got Allah in the east
You’ve got Jesus in the west
Christ, what’s a man to do?

The problem with the world summed up in three lines. And it all boils down to a belief system.

Stop lookin’ out, start lookin’ in
Be your own best friend
Stand up and say, “Hey! This is mine!”

There it is in a nutshell. Stop looking out and start looking in. Don’t worry about what the person next door does or what they have. Focus on what you have and focus on what you can control. In the end, if you don’t like the state of the world, with the whole world at your fingertips, you will be able to find other voices to stand up with you when the time comes to raise your voice.

How good is the guitar solo from EVH?

Sometimes he goes all crazy and plays leads with reckless abandonment and sometimes he delivers melodic gems within his own theatrical style.

Standing In The Shadow
Guilty Of Love
Kittens Got Claws
Wings Of The Storm

Whitesnake

Is there a more broken hearted person than David Coverdale?

“Standing In The Shadow” is from 1984’s “Slide It In” album and it’s written by Coverdale.

I’m running away from a feeling
Hiding my face in the sand
I’m scared to love and lose again
I don’t know if I can

It’s that moment in time after a relationship has ended. You are hurting and you feel betrayed. Then you come across someone who rekindles the fire. But you are still hurting and after being burned once, you are fearful to jump in, just in case it leads to another broken heart.

Life is short, so you need to live it. And that means, putting the fear away.

Too many people
Standing in the shadow
Standing in the shadow of love

It’s like sitting on the sidelines and assessing the situation for the right time to re-join the game.

“Guilty Of Love” is from the same album and how cool are the guitar harmonies at the start, which again are written by Coverdale.

I believe my love for you
Is a love that will last forever?
And I’m here to testify
I’m a prisoner of your heart

When you fall in love, your heart becomes a captive to the other half. And when the relationship ends, it hurts.

Baby, don’t you believe when I tell you I love you
That I really mean it
Don’t you walk away?
Don’t you turn your back on me?

I guess we don’t really know what we got until it’s gone.

“Kittens Got Claws” is from “Slip Of The Tongue”, the follow-up to the mega 1987 self-titled album. Coverdale selected Adrian Vandenberg as his co-writer for this album. It would have been interesting to see how the songs would have sounded if Coverdale used Vivian Campbell as well, but it was not to be. Regardless, Vandenberg as co-writer is involved in some epic songs. Let’s not forget the title track “Slip Of The Tongue”, “Judgement Day”, “Sailing Ships”, “Now You’re Gone” and “The Deeper The Love”. But to me “Kittens Got Claws” is just a fun track to listen to and tap your foot to.

Walking down the street
You’re the center of my universe
You got the world in your pocket,
My manhood in your purse
You ain’t a bad girl, honey,
No matter what the neighbours say,
It’s just that you were those skin-tight dresses
With your G-string tuned to “A”

How good is the “G-string tuned to A” line?

Brilliant.

“Wings Of The Storm” is another little gem largely forgotten. It’s heavier and speedier and far removed from the blues based Whitesnake but man it’s a pretty good listen. It’s pedal point heaven for a guitarist.

On an’ on, the road goes on,
An’ it’ll go on forever,
Time will show if you and I
Will walk that road together

Almost 6 years later, Coverdale is still in a spot of bother when it comes to his love life.

It’s unfortunate that Geffen Records became a label that focused more on the results, totally ignoring the community and what customers of their artists could like. David Coverdale built a community around Whitesnake and a trust with the fans. And the labels just abandoned the artists at will. To me community and trust is more important than results, hence the reason why Whitesnake still rolls today.

Rock Me To The Top
Before My Eyes

Tesla

“Rock Me To The Top” is written by vocalist Jeff Keith and estranged guitarist Tommy Skeoch. The riff is foot stomping hard rock to a tee.

I’ll take command, take control
Now I see you comin’ back for more
I see you like it, but you don’t need it
Ooh you wanna feel it

Yep, I’m pretty sure Jeff Keith is singing about the original meaning of rock and roll and not the musical form.

“Before My Eyes” is written by guitarist Frank Hannon, along with Jeff Keith, Tommy Skeoch and drummer Troy Luccketta. To me, it’s the feel of the song that captures my attention more so than the lyrics. It reminds me of Y&T and it feels sad and spacey. Lyrically I’m not a fan, but musically I am all in.

Tomorrow
Naked City
Exciter
I’ve Had Enough
King Of The Mountain
My Way
Silver Spoon

Kiss

Kiss didn’t sell a lot of recorded music product compared to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other large 70’s acts. But they are still seen as one of rocks biggest groups in the 70’s and maybe the entertainers of that decade. But by the end of 70’s and the start of the 80’s they got eclipsed by Disco, New Wave Pop, the NWOBHM and the L.A scene. Suddenly it looked like the band was in the rear view mirror. Original band members “officially left” even though they really left recording new music with the band a long time again. But with each album they dropped in the 80’s, they continued their evolution. “Lick It Up”, “Creatures Of The Night”, “I Still Love You”, “I Love It Loud”, “Crazy Crazy Nights” and “War Machine” are concert staples.

Here are a few gems a bit outside of Kiss’s comfort zone which had enough rock in em to keep me satisfied.

“Tomorrow” and “Naked City” come from the “Unmasked” album released in 1980. Both tracks merge the current pop trend with the distorted rock they are known for. I was late to the party on this album, hearing it in its entirety in the early 90’s.

“Tomorrow” is written by Paul Stanley and Vince Poncia and Stanley even plays bass guitar. You need any more evidence of dysfunction, here you have it.

I didn’t know just what to say
When you turned and you looked my way
It doesn’t happen to me every day
Can we talk a while?

I used to think that all of the rock stars had all the lines and moves covered when it came to love. In the end, they are all tongue-tied and error prone like all of us when it comes to love.

You didn’t have to say a word
I tried to tell you, but I lost my nerve
You know I wanted just to slip away
For a little while

An opportunity missed. Who hasn’t been there?

“Naked City” is written by a song writing committee of Gene Simmons, Vince Poncia, Bob Kulick and Pepe Castro. This one is an interesting track. It’s got a super heavy bass riff and that riff continues throughout the song. However the guitars set the vibe. In the Chorus its all “Arena Rock” and in the intro/verses it’s a “reggae shuffle”. And when it comes together it all works.

In the naked city (in the city)
There are ten million stories (naked city)

Once upon a time, stories travelled by word of mouth and the press. Now stories travel via a cable all around the world in a matter of seconds. It each city, millions of people live their lives and a new story is created every second.

Lonely people looking’ for someone
Lonely people going’ their way

It sums up life to a tee. We are all lonely people looking for someone to be with us to the end. We are all lonely people trying to find our way in life. Hopefully with someone.

“Exciter” is the opening track to the “Lick It Up” album in 1983. It’s a speed metal song and Vinnie Vincent brings out the metal and the shred and the delay. Actually what a waste of a great talent the Vinnie Vincent story is. His ego burned so many bridges; eventually people just turned away and refused to work with him. Even his record label turned him down and dropped him.

Passion and fire, lust and desire
Exciter
Pleasure and pain, this is my name
Exciter

Enough said. The lyrics are a waste and fail to deliver justice to the riffage.

“I’ve Had Enough” is also the opening track from “Animalise” released in 1984. It’s written by Desmond Child and Paul Stanley. Stanley was always an underrated guitarist who actually churned out some killer riffage in his 40 plus years creating music. Mark St John (RIP) just copied what Stanley wrote and played it on the album. Or maybe Mark just did the leads, while Paul did all the rhythm, sort of like how James Hetfield does all the harmonies and rhythms, while Kirk does all the solos.

How many times have they lied with the truth in their eyes?
Treat you like dirt, wasting the days of our lives
They try and deny it, ain’t gonna buy it, just look around
Before it’s all over, it’s gonna get rough
I’ve had enough

I always assumed the “they” in the song are people who abuse their power, people who put you down, people who make your life hell, people who you trust the most talking crap about you behind your back and so forth.

(Out of the cold, into the fire)
Nothing and no one is stopping me now

Attitude is the most important choice we have to make every single day. We have the choice to be optimistic, the choice to participate, and the choice to challenge the powers that be and find hope when fear and uncertainty is rampant. We select these attitudes. It’s our choice and when we do, nothing can stop us.

Wishing’ and hoping’ won’t get you nothing’
Praying’ and scheming’, no time for dreaming’
I’ve got the power, this is the hour now

You need to take action. If you don’t take action, nothing will transpire. A small change today leads to a large change in the future. Are you ready to make the change?

“King Of The Mountain” is the opening track from “Asylum” released in 1985 and the first album to feature Bruce Kulick. Kulick actually co-wrote the song with Desmond Child and Paul Stanley and the music is very close to “Creatures Of The Night”. It’s funny how a simple guitar riff sounds so heavy because of the drum groove laid down by Eric Carr.

I’m gonna climb the mountain
I’m gonna hit the top
I wanna go where nobody’s ever been
I’m never gonna stop

Isn’t that the spirit of human adventure? Reach the top, go where nobody’s ever been.

I’m the king of the mountain
And the winner takes it all

The bane of any existence is laziness and fear, the belief that we can’t make it so were better off not trying. We can make excuses because we are surrounded winners doing everything. In reality, nothing in our daily lives is a winner takes all competition. Yeah, there always be someone smarter, faster and more popular than you. And you will be smarter, faster and more popular than others. And those others you are far ahead are far ahead of others and so forth. The difference is how high is each individual mountain?

How good is the lead break from Kulick?

Man he shreds tastefully. Still his moment of guitar hero glory came on the much hated, or tolerated or loved album (depending on which side of the fence you sit) “Crazy Nights” which came two years after “Asylum”.

“My Way” is written by Desmond Child, Paul Stanley and Bruce Turgon (he played bass in Warrior, played bass and co-write most of the songs on Lou Gramm’s solo releases plus Shadow King’s 1991 release and Foreigner’s 1994 album) and it comes from the keyboard heavy “Crazy Nights” released in 1987. Depending on your point of view, this album is hated, tolerated or loved. And this song is also hated, tolerated or loved.

Oh the heat is on
And my back’s against the wall
You know it’s tough to be strong
In a world that makes you crawl

Clichéd. Yes. Original. No. Commercial. Yes. Sounds like Kiss. Umm, it sounds like Kiss in the 80’s. The lyrical message has been done to death about being strong and being yourself in a world that’s controlled by institutions who want you to be something else.

I’m gonna talk like I talk
Walk like I walk my way
I’m gonna go where I go
Ain’t takin’ no, my way

It’s easy to silence your voice. We’ve been battered by all the noise, problems and hassle that come with raising our voice. So sometimes we just sit back because it’s easier. Eventually, we find our voice again and as the Chorus goes, we will talk like we talk and walk like we walk and we will do it on our terms and our way.

What about Stanley’s highs in this one. Do you reckon he had someone in the studio squeezing his balls to hit those highs?

“Silver Spoon” comes from 1989’s “Hot In The Shade” and Paul Stanley had come full circle writing with Vince Poncia again. Like “Crazy Nights” this album is hated, tolerated or loved.

In a city where the buildings rise
I was just another face
But mama told me when somebody dies
No one else can take your place

It’s a really cool verse. I don’t know who came up with those lines but they are pretty solid and full of truth. In cities that have millions of people, we are all just bodies and faces in a sea of faces. But each person is unique and they bring their own light to this world. Our thoughts are all different and when we pass, our light goes out and no one can replicate it.

It’s a shame the rest of the song didn’t follow a similar lyrical thread. Instead it went to a girl, with an attitude because she was born with a silver spoon.

Had Enough
Mr Big

It’s the feel of the song. It’s like a ballad but it’s not a ballad. Having super shredders like Gilbert and Sheehan colouring the song with some great rhythms is great to hear.

Ain’t like any other day
Finally comes a time to decide
I won’t spend another day
Stuck here in the same old bind

The first two verses could be about any life situation and then the song devolves into a relationship situation. Missed opportunity to connect much wider.

What’s It Gonna Be
Ratt

It’s from 1988’s “Reach For The Sky” album and it’s written by Robbin Crosby, Juan Croucier, Warren DeMartini, Beau Hill and Stephen Pearcy.

The promises were empty and your blood runs cold
So tell me
What’s it gonna be, sweet Elena
Just give it to me straight, is it him or me?

I can’t remember if Elena was Peacy’s wife, but the question is simple, what’s it gonna be?

Rock And Roll’s Gonna Save The World
Y&T

Y&T is one of those bands that just hook me with their sense of melody and feel. “Rock and Roll’s Gonna Save The World” is from their 1984 album called “In Rock We Trust”.

Kings and queens and presidents
Are tryin’ to take the world in hand
Jokers and freaks and Arab sheiks
Are fightin’ over chunks of sand

The same problems that exist today existed 30 years ago and way before that. Guess they never really went away.

Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Don’t you know that’s the way we’re gonna change it?
Rock & Roll’s gonna save the world
Rock & Roll

We believed we could change the world. Then we got jobs and got loans and became exactly what the institutions wanted us to be. Slaves by choice.

Tin soldiers march around the world
No matter what the people say
One man makes all the policies
While the rest of us get blown away

It’s what our leaders are fighting about right now. Who should make the policies? Who should tell others what to do? And democratically elected leaders want to dictate how people should live and then they take up arms against dictators. Ironic isn’t it.

Gutter Ballet
When The Crowds Are Gone
Hounds
Summer’s Rain

Savatage

All the songs are written by the holy trinity of Criss Oliva (RIP), Jon Oliva and Paul O’Neill (RIP).

Another sleepless night
A concrete paradise
Sirens screaming in the heat
Neon cuts the eye
As the jester sighs
At the world beneath his feet

It’s that click track piano that makes it unique as Jon sings about the way of the streets in a circus setting.

Another death to mourn
Another child is born
Another chapter in the play

The cycle of life, a death, a birth and a new story to tell.

How good is the instrumental lead break section in the song?

“When The Crowds Are Gone” is the song that sealed the deal, the song that made me love the album. It’s the vocal outro, the lyrics and Jon Olvia’s vocal delivery. The outro is that good, Savatage used it for other songs on future albums. It’s easy to get caught up in it.

I don’t know where the years have gone
Memories can only last so long
Like faded photographs, forgotten songs

Artists who have been on the road for a long time, miss out on so much from their personal lives. It’s a sacrifice.

Where’s the light, turn then on again
One more night to believe and then
Another note for my requiem
A memory to carry on
The story’s over when the crowds are gone

When the crowds are gone, the career of an artist is over. When the show is over and the crowds are gone, the night is over and the journey begins to a new city and a new show.

All my friends have been crucified
They made life a long suicide true
Guess we never figured out the rules
But I’m still alive and my fingers feel
I’m gonna play on till the final reel’s through
And read the credits from a different view

It’s about a clarinet player who chooses to retire from playing on his own terms. But in the song, his own terms are too late, because as the song goes, the crowds are no longer there.

I never wanted to know
Never wanted to see
I wasted my time till time wasted me
Never wanted to go
Always wanted to stay
Cause the person I am are the parts that I play
So I play and I plan
And hope and I scheme
To the lure of a night
Filled with unfinished dreams
And I’m holding on tight
To a world gone astray

The big ending and it works so well with the music, the vocal melody and the pain in Jon Oliva’s voice as the clarinet player finally understands it’s all over.

In “Hounds”, Criss Oliva becomes a guitar hero with some wicked riffage and wicked shredding.

Do you hear the hounds they call
Scan the dark eyes aglow
Through the bitter rain and cold
They hunt you down
Hunt you down

The word “hounds” is just another word for the predatory people in our lives. And if we are not too careful, eventually they will hunt us down. Of course the song is about hounds, but it’s very easy to interchange the two.

How good is that melody lead under the chorus vocal melody in “Summers Rain”?

Standing alone in a dream
Where nothing is real
But oh how real it feels
There were times I lost my way
I was alone, lost in a haze
Where are you now
I’ll find you somehow

A song about a relationship that doesn’t sound clichéd and lazy.

And do I stand alone
Like a fool out in the rain
Hanging on somehow
To an ancient vow
Where there’s nothing left to gain
And do you know
How it feels inside
To be all alone
A fool and his pride

When you don’t want to let go, even though the other half has already moved on. But life is more about doors closing, not opening. And when doors close and new opens open we are forced to go in a certain direction.

Metal Heart
Accept

It is 1999
The human race has to face it
They are confronted with the truth
It’s secret — mysterious

For Accept the truth is and always will be heavy metal. But in all seriousness, the human race needs to confront the truth and make some changes. Our planet is warming. There is no way people can deny it. The normal winds we get are more destructive and last longer than ever before. The rain that falls is a lot more destructive than ever before.

Downhearted
Reckless – Don’t Be So
The Boys Light Up

Australian Crawl

I left my heart back in the Orient
Down on Bali bays
It’s not the way that I should feel
But it’s the way I’m gonna stay
Downhearted
Broken dreams that never really started

Holiday romances and the feeling of loneliness when you get back home. Back in the 80’s once you left, the connection was lost. Not like in today’s connected world. And Australian’s always go to Bali for a holiday. It’s seen as a cheap overseas holiday.

In “Reckless”, the band maps out the journey into Sydney from Manly via the ferry via the first verse.

Meet me down by the jetty landing
Where the pontoons bump and sway
I see the others reading, standing
As the Manly Ferry cuts its way to Circular Quay

Anyone who has done the ferry journey can relate to the above.

So, throw down your guns
Don’t be so reckless

The iconic chorus lines. Don’t be so reckless to destroy a relationship that took years to build.

Finally, we have the pub rock classic. In steel city Wollongong, we always assumed “The Boys Light Up” meant lighting up a reefer. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I really unpacked the lyrics and found some brilliant lines.

Silently she opens the drawer
Mother’s little helper is coming out for more
Strategically positioned before the midday show
Her back is arched; those lips are parched, repeated blow by blow

Mmm, I wonder what mothers little helper is. Zzzzzzzzz…

Later at the party
All the MPs rave
About the hummers she’s been givin’
And the money that they save
To her it is skin lotion
Him promotion to
That flat in Surfers’ Paradise with the ocean view

For all of the political scandals that made headline news from the late Nineties onwards, the above verse seemed prophetic to say the least. Seriously, what a creative, tongue in cheek verse. And all Australians know Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

The boys light up

I guess the boys lighting up is all about getting hard and coming alive.

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

Forgotten 2

The Playlist

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)
Twisted Sister

How fortunes change for artists?

Twisted Sister was the top band in 1984. Dee Snider was everywhere, on the cover of magazines, newspapers and even hosting a show on MTV that would go on to become “Headbangers Ball”. For a band that toughed it out for a decade, success came and went in half of that.

Who cares if “Love Is For Suckers” was meant to be a solo album?

Who cares if Mark Mendoza and Jay Jay French hate the album?

Who cares if studio musicians contributed to it?

It’s listed as a Twisted Sister album, it sounds like a Twisted Sister album and like all Twisted Sister albums, Dee is still the main songwriter and it should be given its dues as a Twisted Sister album. That means, playing the excellent “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” live.

Who the hell are they to say
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

Dee was always good at writing the anthem of the SMF’s vs the world. “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” is no different. The WE in the song is the fans, the black sheep, the ones that everyone was calling devil worshippers in 1984.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

It’s the war cry against the censorship taking place against heavy metal and hard rock music. Freedom comes with a choice and sometimes, we sign away our freedom because we like to create an enemy, someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

It’s our boss’s fault because we are not making our mortgage repayments. If only we earned more.

It’s our leaders fault because we have our rights taken away a little bit at a time.

We like to have someone else in control.

Around the world, our internet is under attack from governments and corporations. They want to control it, regulate it and charge a premium for it. The Net Neutrality war is real and it’s happening and only a handful of people are speaking up against it. The rest are ignorant.

Snider’s message is good. It’s right, but the SMF misfits had grown older and they had responsibilities. Rising up against the institutions wasn’t their mission anymore. It changed to performing duties and keeping a roof over their head or their own families head.

The more metal inclined fans of Twisted Sister moved their loyalties to the thrash and metal movements and the more pop rock casual fans moved their loyalty to Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” and Whitesnake’s 1987 release. And in that climate, the album couldn’t compete.

Magic Touch
Aerosmith

With “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Rag Doll” and “Angel” taking all the attention, this little classic had no chance. Which is a shame, as the song is up there when it comes to Aerosmith. It’s got the classic bluesy groove the band is well-known for and a wickedly good vocal melody. Plus Joey Kramer sounds louder than hell on the drums.

It’s written by Tyler, Perry and Jim Vallance (yep, that same Jim Vallance who co-wrote “War Machine” with Bryan Adams, plus the majority of Bryan Adams catalogue).

Don’t need no wedding with a shotgun, shotgun

Ahh, the problem with the male species is our basic load control. An innocent moment of explosion and that accidental shotgun wedding might be very real. Then again, that’s how it was in the past. In today’s age not so much.

Dancing On Glass
Motley Crue

Man, that riff from Mick Mars, is sleazy and dangerous. You can safely call “Dancing On Glass” the prequel to “The Heroin Diaries”.

In 1987, Nikki was asking if he is in Persia or just insane. In 2005, Nikki via Sixx A.M was reminiscing about how a girl with golden eyes talks to him in Persian, telling Nikki, she loves him.

There are plenty of other auto biographical lines about Sixx’s drug life.

“Valentines in London, found me in the trash”
“One extra push, last trip to the top”
“Silver Spoon and needle, witchy tombstone smile
“I’m no puppet, I engrave my veins in style”

“Wild Side” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” sold the album but to me, the third track is just as good.

Breakin’ All The Rules
Ozzy Osbourne

I know there was a film clip for it and it was a single, but “Miracle Man” was that strong and Ozzy’s earlier catalogue was still selling well, “Breakin’ All the Rules” was just ignored.

But what a riff to kick it off, under a rumbling Randy Castillo groove.

Nobody thinks the way I do
I guess that nobody dares

I read an article about a computer scientist guy who took all the google searches people make and found that we basically lie when it comes to everything public. The only place we don’t lie is within our Google searches because we believe we are alone and they are private. And Google Searches show what we really think and really like. And guess what, Google sells this data to marketeers.

And I know
That you would love to know the answers
But to you
The truth is just another lie

Some people don’t care about reason or a different point of view. With Ozzy being the whipping boy for all the religious institutions, you can see where Bob Daisley was going with the lyric. Funny how the religious entities classed Ozzy as satanic when his whole house is littered with crucifixes.

Rising Power
AC/DC

It’s a solid album, coming out after the holy trinity of albums, their U.S breakthrough “Highway To Hell” in 1979, the mega selling “Back In Black” from 1980 and it’s 1981 successor “For Those About To Rock”. Some personnel changes happened as well. Simon Wright is in the drummers’ chair, replacing Phil Rudd. The producer of their holy trinity albums, Mutt Lange was also out. Their manager Peter Mensch was also out.

Angus and Malcolm stepped up to give the world a live and raw version of AC/DC and the result is a lot of groove and swagger but no classics.

My body’s blown a fuse
Rising power
We’ll raise the night
Rising power

Rise/Rising = hard on. Blow a fuse = climax. Johnson is rolling out the metaphors.

Rocket Queen
Guns N Roses

The closing track to the epic “Appetite For Destruction” album. It was never a single, but the audience knows the lyrics. It’s just one of those songs on an album full of audience classics.

I’ve got a tongue like a razor
A sweet switchblade knife
And I can do you favors
But then you’ll do whatever I like

Ahh, yes, Axl and his tongue… Guess someone is going down.

Here I am
And you’re a Rocket Queen

The opening lines of the Chorus. Every Gunner’s fan knows it.

I’ve seen everything imaginable
Pass before these eyes
I’ve had everything that’s tangible
Honey you’d be surprised

The rock and roll debauchery and decadence summed up in four lines.

And then that outro. It’s basically another song within a song. First the power chords and then the open E and B string arpeggios over shifting notes on the G string, mapping out the E major scale.

I see you standing
Standing on your own
It’s such a lonely place for you
For you to be
If you need a shoulder
Or if you need a friend
I’ll be here standing
Until the bitter end

You think you have friends and lovers when you’re a star and then when the lights go away, who is left.

Or think I, I mean you harm
Of those that take you
Leave you strung out
Much too far

Law enforcement efforts to stop cocaine and heroin increased the narcotic production ten-fold. The use of narcotics today is high and the war against drugs is 50 plus years old. And it’s the vulnerable/lonely people who turn to it. And the most vulnerable are our heroes, on the road, playing theaters or arenas and surrounded by people who profit from them.

Good Enough
Get Up

Van Halen

Any album (especially a Van Halen album) that kicks off with “Hello Baby”, you know you’re in for a ride. In “Good Enough” Sammy Hagar compares a great looking woman to a premium cut of beef. I’ll have another cut please.

Wow, U.S. Prime, grade A stamped guaranteed
Grease it up and turn on the heat
You gotta throw it down and roll it over once, maybe twice
Then chow down, down, down, down

“Get Up” is basically a speed rock song. And EVH breaks out some excellent riffage in this one as well.

Feel like throwin’ in the towel?
Don’t be a fool
They’re out to knock you out
And put you down for the count

I feel like throwing in the towel a lot of times. Some days feel like a battle against the forces of society. Making people believe that working hard and paying things off will get you freedom is a dream promoted by the banking sector and the 1% that control it.

Ah, there’s still some fight in me
That’s how it’ll always be
Hold your head up high, look ’em in the eye
Never say die

It’s the human spirit. Never say die, never give up. The thing with “5150” is the pop rock songs got so much attention. I’ll be honest, all of the pop songs are excellent, however it was a shame the real heavy rock songs like “Good Enough” and “Get Up” got lost in the noise.

Blindman
Aint Gonna Cry No More
Looking For Love
You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again

Whitesnake

Coming into 1980, Whitesnake was putting out an album a year and touring consistently. Then the Martin Birch produced “Ready an’ Willing” dropped, launching the song “Fool For Your Loving”, a piece written by Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and David Coverdale.

To me, “Ready an’ Willing” is the album that started Whitesnake’s rise which culminated in the 1987 self-titled album selling millions around the world.

My two favourites are “Blindman” (which is a derivative version of the Coverdale/Blackmore penned “Soldier Of Fortune”) and the very Led Zeppelin sounding, “Aint Gonna Cry No More”. Those songs also nail it lyrically for me. Talk about completely forgotten, no one under forty would know these songs.

“Chasing rainbows that have no end, The road is long without a friend….” from BLINDMAN
“Like a Blindman, I can feel the heat of the sun, But like a Blindman, I don’t know where it’s coming from…” from BLINDMAN

“Aint Gonna Cry No More” is White Led Zep Styx Snake and I swear Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades built Damn Yankees on the backs of songs like these. Influences aside, it’s a track that’s good enough to stand on its own

“Memories of broken dreams, As distant as the sun, Are drifting like an echo in the wind….” from AIN’T GONNA CRY NO MORE

Then fast forward to 1987 and two of the best tracks didn’t end up on the normal world-wide release.

I didn’t hear “Looking For Love” until many years later. It’s better than “Is This Love” however at over 6 minutes long, it wasn’t a commercially viable song. David Coverdale was shocked when he heard that John Kalodner would be cutting the song from the final album release.

The candle is burning, it’s way down low
I just need someone
To show me the way, the way to go
Which way to go

Isn’t life like that. We are always looking for some guidance. That’s why tarot card readers, astrologists, clairvoyants, psychologists have a career.

“You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”, “Don’t Break My Heart Again”. David Coverdale was the master song title re-user.

How huge is the riff in “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”.

Sykes goes to town on this song, a derivative version of “Children Of The Night”. It’s got all of his uniqueness in it, from fast palm muted staccato runs, a shredelicious and melodic lead and to using thirds and minor chord inversions instead of the standard power chords.

Perfect Timing
Knucklebones

David Lee Roth

“Perfect Timing” is written by David Lee Roth and keyboardist Brett Tuggle, so it’s got that melodic rock vibe happening.

I’m thinkin’ this is the right time
I’m hoping you feel the same
‘Cause that light at the end of the tunnel
Is the front of an oncoming train

It had to be David Lee Roth that linked love to standing on the train line in front of an oncoming train. Then again, he always had a way with words.

“Knucklebones” is written by Gregg and Matt Bissonette along with David Lee Roth.

So we’re hittin’ the road
And we’re pumpin’ thunder
Mama look out for down below
Get the show on the road
It’s the feeling we’re under
You can feel it right down to your knucklebones

One of a million songs about the rock and roll show.

One of these dark nights, as the saying goes
There’s some dirty work
To be done down by the crossroads
And I know it’s true

Always love a supernatural tale at the crossroads. There’s some dirty work to be done.

Livin’ For The Minute
Poison

It wasn’t even on the album. A B-side on the “Nothin’ But A Good Time” 7 inch single.

“Open Up and Say…Ahh!” was huge for Poison. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, “Nothin’ but a Good Time” and “Fallen Angel” took all the glory. Hell, even a cover of “Your Mama Don’t Dance” charted okay. But “Livin’ For The Minute” is just perfect.

Magazine covers always shootin’ poor Billy’s face
He kept a score of his ladies chalked up on his guitar case
He was a bad-ass rockin’, baby, always rollin’ out the sounds
Like some freight train come and did a six-string strut and just tore the damn place to the ground

It’s a character driven story about a guitar slinger called Billy, who kept a groupie monument in his guitar case and man, he could play. Sort of like Johnny. There is no doubt the song is influenced by “Johnny Be Goode” in the lyrical department. Quick! Call the lawyers.

Slave To Love
Quiet Riot

A great piece of melodic pop rock, however like many other bands that broke through in 1983/84, by 86/87 they became old news. Forgotten.

We made a slave to love
That’s what I’ll always be
A victim of your touch
You stole my soul and now I’m just a slave to love, yeah

DuBrow was never known as a great lyricist and I suppose that became his downfall. There are only so much clichéd and generic rhymes a fan could take. But for some reason AC/DC seemed to get away with it.

All The Fools Sailed Away
Dio

Music is written by Dio and Goldy, while lyrics are all done by Dio.

What can I say about this song that I haven’t said before about classic Dio songs?

The drumming is epic, great vocal melodies, great movements between loud and soft and when the chorus comes in with the backing vocals, it’s time to sing along.

There’s perfect harmony
In the rising and the falling of the sea
And as we sail along
I never fail to be astounded by
The things we’ll do for promises

If our ancestors never set sail to find new lands, who knows what the world would be like. Our sense of adventure is the backbone of the human psyche.

We are the innocent
We are the damned
We were caught in the middle of the madness
Hunted by the lion and the lamb

Society is founded on the persecution of races. And as we get more advanced, persecution exists between the haves and the have-nots. The divide is only getting bigger.

And all the fools sailed away
All the fools sailed away
Sailed away

People need to move and find new lands/cities to thrive and survive.

They say you’re beautiful
And they’ll always let you in
But doors are never open
To the child without a trace of sin

I watched “Split” recently and the James McEvoy split personality character wouldn’t kill a person that was as beautiful as him (which meant scarred from some past abuse). And I suppose sin is what makes us who we are. How can we learn from our mistakes or the mistakes of others if we don’t make them or don’t believe we make them?

Stand Up And Fight
Fantasy

M.A.R.S

Putting this band, supergroup, one-off project together proved to be one of the best decisions ever made by Shrapnel Records supremo Mike Varney.

You have hotshot newcomer Tony MacAlpine on guitars. Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge are on bass/drums. Another newcomer in Rob Rock is on vocals. The potential is unlimited. The melodic rock is amped up to 11. Yeah, the lyrics are clichéd and some of the melodies and rhymes are overused, however don’t let that get in the way of a good listen.

The big X-factor, star quarterback, star centre forward is Tony MacAlpine. He’s a virtuoso keyboardist and guitarist all rolled into one. He churns out brilliant riff after brilliant riff. Craig Goldy was their original guitarist, but he left to join Dio and I think Tony MacAlpine had a better and more creative musical career than Goldy.

Isn’t it funny how a no-brainer decision in the past, in hindsight maybe didn’t pan out to be such a great decision?

“Stand up and fight for your rights, stand up and be free”

Prisoner
Dokken

From the excellent “Back For The Attack” album and it’s sequenced straight after “Kiss Of Death”. And it works. The basic Am to F to G chords underpin the song, while the double stop bends in the intro lead make it sound unique.

Then it slows down in the verse, only to build it all back up to the arena rock chorus. A great piece of song writing.

“I’m a prisoner chained by love”

Long Cold Winter
Cinderella

Blues music is simple however to make it sound simple is a challenge. In this case, Keifer and Co. show the hard rock MTV world how to play the blues and they make it sound simple.

“A long cold winter without your love”

Winds Of Change
Y&T

1981’s “Earthshaker” started Y&T’s rebirth. “Black Tiger” released in 1982 would enhance and refine their signature sound. The album was recorded in England and produced by Max Norman. At that time, he had just finished working with Randy Rhoads on two career defining albums, so he knew how to work with excellent Californian guitarists.

Winds of change
Blowing strongly

The song has this “Kings and Queens” Aerosmith vibe. I dig it.

Far From Over
Frank Stallone

Sly Stallone’s nepotism to family members is evident here. His brother Frank is singing one of the signature songs from the “Staying Alive” movie, which is the sequel to “Saturday Night Fever”.

I dig this song a lot. It’s written by Frank Stallone and Vince DiCola.

I’m diggin’ in,
I want it more than anything I’ve wanted

How bad do you want it and how far are you prepared to go to sacrifice to get it.

I am down but I am far from over

An unwritten rule of life.

On The Line
Tangier

After doing the Philadelphia scene for 5 plus years, the band finally got a chance to showcase for a few labels. ATCO head, Derek Schulman was successful in getting their signature and he got producer Andy Johns from Led Zeppelin fame on board for “Four Winds.”

“On The Line” has a good feel and groove, but man the lyrics about a stranger waiting in the alley way to take your life just don’t do it for me. Only Dee Snider could get away with lyrics like that.

Free’N’Easy
Devils Toy

The Almighty

Ricky Warwick is known today as the lead singer/guitarist for “Black Star Riders” but back in the 80’s/90’s he had a pretty cool band called “The Almighty”.

They were signed by Polydor in March 1989 and recorded their first album, “Blood, Fire and Love” the same year. These songs are from their second album “Soul Destruction” which was released in March 1991. I know I cheated by chucking these ones in the list.

“Everything is so Free ‘N’ Easy”

The modern-day slogan.

Love, only love,
Love is the devils toy

Yes, something so pleasurable has to be evil.

Driving Wheels
Last Frontier
Too Much Ain’t Enough Love
Walk On

Jimmy Barnes

I bet a lot of Journey fans would have no idea the influence of the Journey songwriters on this album. “Freight Train Heart” is the third studio album by Australian rock singer Jimmy Barnes.

“Driving Wheels” is written by Barnes, Jonathan Cain and David Roberts. Yep, the same David Roberts who wrote songs for Bad English, Lee Aaron, House of Lords, Signal and Starship.

“Too Much Aint Enough Love” is written by Barnes, Cain, Neal Schon, Randy Jackson (bass player and recently known for his work on American Idol) and Tony Brock (drummer for The Babys and Jimmy Barnes).

“Do or Die” and “Last Frontier” are written by Barnes and Cain.

“I Wanna Get Started with You” is written by Barnes, Cain and Schon.

“I’m Still on Your Side” is written by Barnes, Cain and Jim Vallance. Yep the same Jim Vallance from Aerosmith and Bryan Adams fame.

“Lessons in Love” is written by Barnes, Vallance, Cain and Jeff Neill (Canadian guitarist who had success with Shama and Streetheart. He toured with Jimmy Barnes before dedicating his time to song writing and producing.

“Waitin’ for the Heartache” is written by Barnes and Desmond Child. Yep the same Desmond from Kiss, Jovi and Aerosmith fame.

“Walk On” is written by Desmond Child and Joe Lynn Turner. Yep the same Joe Lynn Turner from Rainbow fame. The track also appears on a Sunstorm album from 2009.

“Seven Days” is a track Bob Dylan wrote for Ronnie Wood.

Jonathan Cain was on hand to produce, however due to interference from Geffen Records and Cain’s creative vision being different to Barnsey’s vision, the album production was brought back to Australia, with Mick Stone producing and a supergroup of musicians playing on it.

It’s the rhythm of the highway
As he rolls on down
And city lights as they fade from sight
Drives the man behind the driving wheels

Truckie lifestyle, hell in the modern world it’s the morning two-hour commute to work for a lot of people.

Well he’s thought about settling down
A little diner on the edge of town
But in this world of push and shove
He’s still got freedom in his blood

The corporations, the banking industry and our leaders don’t like people like this. Hard to control and bring into the system.

The below is from “The Last Frontier”.

The lawless and the brave, searching for a dream
When all they found was sand and stone
Where rivers once had been

Australia was populated by the convicts and the ones who had dreams of a better life outside of the UK.

And suffered in a sunburnt land
Down in the last frontier

Australia is known as the sunburnt land.

And they sent them to another land
Into the greatest fear
To fight and die for freedoms cry
And for the last frontier

The U.K goes to war and their front lines are made up of soldiers from their colonies.

You Won’t See Me Cry
Signal

And if my world should end tonight
When you walk out of my life
You won’t see me cry

And that’s the end of another Forgotten playlist from the 80’s with an exception for “The Almighty” who even though the album was released in 91, it feels like it was heard in the 80’s.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Divided We Stand. But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way.

Metallica resorted to a professional coach to get it together again. So did Aerosmith.

Motley Crue imploded at the peak of their powers with the firing of Vince Neil and then sued each other in the courts. Then when Vince Neil was back in, John Corabi was out and soon it was Tommy Lee that was out.

Bon Jovi and Megadeth resorted to group therapy. For Bon Jovi it was a way to keep the band together after “New Jersey” and for Megadeth it was a way to keep a stable line-up together.

Van Halen ousted David Lee Roth and there was a few years of bad mouthing each other. Then when Sammy Hagar was ousted, the feud turned ugly with both sides airing their dirty laundry.

Guns N Roses appetite for destruction more or less has the band as an Axl Rose solo project. According to Axl, “Slash is a cancer”. There was a lawsuit as well from Axl to Slash to stop the “It’s Five O Clock Somewhere” album as Axl claimed those songs were written for Guns N Roses by Slash.

Scott Weiland had a nasty split with his first act, Stone Temple Pilots (on more than one occasion) as well as with the Velvet Revolver project that featured Slash.

Sebastian Bach and Skid Row are still at loggerheads. Matt Kramer left Saigon Kick because he felt ripped off.

Machine Head and Adam Duce are in the courts because Adam Duce felt ripped off. Dave Lombardo is spitting venom at Slayer and their management team because he feels ripped off.

Paul Stanley went to town on Ace and Peter, calling them anti-semitic. Gene Simmons said that Ace and Peter didn’t deserve to wear the make up.

Dream Theater and Mike Portnoy ended their relationship abruptly.

And Rock and Roll was supposed to be fun. Yeah right, I hear people say.

The ugly truth is that the biggest obstacle standing between musicians and a career in music is the simple fact that we cannot get along.

Every band I have been in imploded because I was writing the music and the lyrics from the beginning. So when the other members realised that I am getting extra royalties and publishing moneys, then money becomes a factor and suddenly everybody wants to write a song or make suggestions to change a finished song just so they could a songwriting credit.

And I said NO a lot of times.

And that starts to put a strain on the relationship and the band dynamics. Eventually we became assholes to each other and one of the main commandments that I swear by is to “Don’t Be An Asshole”.

It’s easier said than done. Especially in metal and rock circles. You know, we are all alpha males in this business.

So how can we achieve a healthier band dynamic.

We need to handle criticism better. At one point in my life, the way I offered criticism wasn’t at all constructive and criticism towards me was seen as a personal attack.

Don’t be assholes to each other as everyone is replaceable.

True love of music is the best reward. Money is a byproduct.

Realise that if the guitarist does come in with a completed song, or an albums worth of songs, it’s okay. Same goes for the other musicians in the band. And if your song doesn’t make the cut, that is also okay.

If the band is a democracy, then happy creating, however let me tell you one truth. Bands that claim that their songwriting is a democracy are lying. There is always one that will be the boss.

Look at Van Halen. Songwriting credits originally showed Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth. However it is a well-known fact that Eddie Van Halen wrote all the music and David Lee Roth wrote the lyrics, with little input from Van Halen’s rhythm section.

Slow and steady wins the race. Remember a music career is a lifers game.

You will get screwed by someone in the music business. Don’t let it get you down. Roll with it and learn from it.

In order to be seen or be heard, we need to stand united.

Don’t see every other artist or band as competition. The history of rock n roll shows that it was friendships and recommendations from other artists that broke artists to an audience. This is needed even more so in 2014.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit, Unsung Heroes

Music Trends in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal – What’s On The Up and What’s On The Down

ON A DOWN SLOPE

DAUGHTRY

The band leader, Chris Daughtry messed up big time chasing the crowds of “Train” and “Imagine Dragons”. He was a hard rocker from day dot and that is what gave him his legion of fans. For the ill-fated and recent “Baptized” album, he committed career suicide, throwing his lot with the hit songwriters. The songs are good, however they are not Daughtry songs. It would have been better for him as an artist to have given those songs to other artists that are more electronic pop rock minded. Daughtry needs more music right away and they need it to ROCK.

RECORD LABELS

The major metal and rock labels will continue to sign the bands and artists that had success in the Eighties and Nineties and get those bands to release forgeries of their greatest hits. It’s all about locking up the songs under copyright. “He who owns a lot of copyrights, will make a lot of money in the future, when said artists are dead and buried.”

In relation to new bands, they will sing fewer bands on even more shittier deals and shift their efforts to breaking them. It doesn’t mean that we will pay attention. It will be bands from certain niche’s that will break out and we will gravitate to them.

Also no one wants to pay. Look at the APP business. The highest downloaded APPS are all free ones. And they are still making money. We are happy to provide our private data to Apple and Google, as long as we get what we want, with no strings attached. If a record label has a business model that is dependent upon people paying, re-evaluate.

KIRK HAMMETT

He is out of touch. We live in a world right now that is connected 24/7. A lot of those connections happen because of social media. So his recent, “Ivory Tower” comments about social media show just how out of touch he is. Also from seeing him play live on three occasions, he has made a career on the coat tails of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Don’t believe me, watch the making of the Black album, especially the scene when Bob Rock tells him that the solo he just put down for “The Unforgiven” is garbage.

HYPE

We can see through the hype and we hate it. So much hype was around Dream Theater’s self titled release and it disappeared from the conversation within six weeks. Megadeth’s “Super Collider” is being outsold by the Black album. Daughtry’s “Baptized” took forever to record and it did nothing. You can’t have a song called “Long Live Rock N Roll” and not have it sounding anything like ROCK. It sounds like that one hit wonder song “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker With A Flower In My Hair.”

RESPONSE SYSTEMS FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

NAPSTER showed the music business and the entertainment business at large, how fans of music, movies and books want to consume content. They want to download it easily, free of DRM, use it in any way they want and they want to do it for free.

For all of the talentless CEO’s that flew in private jets off the hard work by the artists, this was a big NO NO. So off they went to their lobby group arms, the RIAA and MPAA and they started to lobby hard the governments. The various sister associations around the world started to do the same thing. The best thing they could come up with is a graduated response system, financed by the ISP’s. It failed in France. It failed in New Zealand. In the U.S it is hard to tell, especially when you have a copyright troll like Rightscorp shaking down IP addresses. So if Rightscorp is sending shake down notices to ISP’s, then why does the US have a graduated response scheme?

The bottom line is this, the people who the RIAA and MPAA want to catch are years ahead of them in INNOVATION. And INNOVATION is what they should be focusing on.

THE ALBUM FORMAT

We are challenged with time and we only want the best. Since we are allowed to cherry pick, we will. Heavy Metal and Hard Rock artists need to understand they are in the hit business. It doesn’t matter if they are radio-friendly or not. Each band in each metal and rock genre, needs to create that song that hits us on the first listen.

That is why bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Shinedown are so successful. They get the game. That is why Killswitch Engage is successful. Adam Dutkiewicz understands the power of a massive chorus. That is why Trivium is having a career. Over the course of all of their albums, they always had a song that had “hit potential” for the genre they are in.

Making money is hard. Just because a band releases an album, it doesn’t mean that we want to pay for it in its entirety, especially if it has got a couple of crap songs on it. It’s better to release 8 songs that a “certifiable smashes” instead of 12 songs that have four crap ones. However, it turns out the public still has time for Metallica’s “Black” album. It is still moving two to three thousand units a week and it is expected to pass 16 million by May.

Artists need to think about the no limits that digital offers them. We want the good stuff. Artists need to think about how they can provide us the good stuff, without resorting to the album format. Don’t base your career on dropping an album every two years. An artist needs to base their career on constant events.

GOING GOING ALMOST GONE

CLASSIC ROCK

The artists are on their last legs. Motley Crue is ceasing to tour, however stand alone shows, plus new music are still in the works. They have hit the same markets over and over again since their 2004 comeback and in between they have released 3 new songs on a “Greatest Hits” album, 13 new songs on “Saints of Los Angeles” and 1 new song in 2012. The train is slowly coming to a halt.

Aerosmith released a DUD. The train is not a rolling anymore for them. All up, Classic Rock bands have maybe have another 10 years left.

A transition is happening. The younger acts are generating touring dollars, playing smaller venues and at affordable prices. It’s happening.

ON THE UP

STORYTELLING

That is why TV shows are the most downloaded torrents of all time. Tell a good story and the world will be at your door step.

RICHIE SAMBORA

Seeing him in Australia, he is invigorated and he is having a blast. Not having to play second fiddle to Jon Bon Jovi, he is branching out again and this time, his roots are strong enough to balance his branches. The “Aftermath Of The Lowdown” is the best hard rock record from 2012 that went unnoticed because it was released so close to his Bon Jovi work.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Chaos + Disruption = The Music Business

It’s a chaotic and disruptive time in the music business and with chaos comes opportunity.

On one side you have COPYRIGHT. And that can be broken down into a lot of other little chaotic categories like infringement, the length of copyright terms, copyright monopolies, the lack of works entering the public domain and so on.

The public domain is culture. Keith Richards once said, ‘you can’t copyright the blues.’

Culture is built and expanded by sharing stories and building on the works of others. Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all of the sixties greats like Hendrix, Clapton and Beck used this concept. They built off the blues.

However copyright law and its real purpose got hijacked by corporations and everything changed. Instead of culture being built up in the works that the public creates and shares, the public is now faced with copyright corporations locking away works that should be in the public domain by now. These works that should be in the public domain do not benefit the original creators in any way, however they are beneficial for the few copyright monopoly gatekeepers.

For culture to thrive once again, it is important to respect the public domain.

Then on another side of the music business you have the RIAA who continually push lies out into the world, so that technology companies can do something to protect crap business models. Did you know that the global music industry sent it’s 100 million takedown notice to Google, to remove search links to certain sites. It looks like the RIAA doesn’t get it.

So if a person types in “free mp3” in Google Search what should Google return?

Sites that have free mp3’s or sites that the RIAA want Google to point to when that term is typed in. Maybe when that person types in free mp3, they want a free mp3 and have no interest in paying.

Then you have the ISP’s on another side that are caught up in the middle of all this as they offer the service that provides internet access to users. According to the RIAA and the record labels, the ISP’s allow “copyright infringement” to happen, therefore, they need to do something about it to help out the music industry. In Australia, this is heavily disputed, however in other parts of the world gradual response schemes are in place.

Then you have the technology companies trying to offer low cost services to fans of music. However, low cost to a fan means high costs to the RIAA and the record labels in licensing fees. This is before the new service is even allowed to trade. If the new service starts to trade without licensing in place, expect them to be litigated into submission.

Have you noticed that artists have not been mentioned anywhere as yet. That is how far the music business has come, where the actual music is only a small part of it, however it should be the major part of it. For the business to thrive, you need great music.

I was looking back to some of the releases in 2013 that I liked. Two of my favourites are “Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria”.

“Protest The Hero” and “Coheed and Cambria” are working to the “Keep your fan base close” mantra. Both of the bands moved from major labels into a DIY independent mindset, realising that their fans are king.

Exceptional fan service is the key driving force behind a bands success. I expect “Coheed and Cambria” will get a lot more fans purchasing the next super deluxe package for the new album because they did such a great job with “The Afterman” releases.

“Protest The Hero” on the other hand have fallen into the fan funded conundrum where the perks always arrive later than expected for international fans. I live in Australia and I am still waiting for the perks to arrive. The band have been clear with their information, advising that it will take 6 to 8 weeks.

It’s good old business 101, “treat your customers right and they’ll stay with you forever”.

Then you have bands like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Dream Theater, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Volbeat, Alter Bridge and TesserAct that have label deals.

Should those bands go independent like Protest The Hero or Coheed and Cambria. It all depends on a person’s definition of success and hard work. Going independent means that you need to build a team around you like any business start-up.

What are the benefits of going independent?

The lesson is simple. Selling your artistic freedom and independence as a “success” strategy can bring lucrative rewards. But it’s not always the best move for your career, as you are also selling off important data to the record label. The record label doesn’t want to know your fans or connect with them. They want you to do it, so that the label can make money of that relationship and then pay you a percentage of it.

Coheed and Cambria moved over 100,000 units of their deluxe “Afterman” editions. At $60 (I think it was $68, however I will use $60 for the example) an edition, that comes to $6 million in revenue. If the band was on the label model, what percentage would the band see from that $6 million.

The music market/business is filled with acts trying to make it. It is going to take a huge effort to stand out amongst the rest. Music is a lifer game. It is a slow and steady approach that builds careers.

Artists should be looking at development. With each song release, artists should never be afraid to try things out. Even try out new technologies that make it very easy for their fans to interact with them and their music. In a company, this is called research and development. Investing in your career is never a mistake.

The artists have the power to make the record labels redundant, purely to be used as a distribution arm if needed, however with the rise of streaming technologies, even this arm can be in danger of disappearing. Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Protest The Hero and Digital Summer have seen the recorded business side of things and have decided, hey we can do it better. That’s what great businesses are made of.

So in all of this chaos, who will rise and who will fall? Time will tell, however if you compare music to technology, you will see only a select few rise to the top. Smartphones and tablets is all Apple and Samsung. Amazon has online shopping cornered. Google is the king of search. Spotify will win the streaming war. Facebook rules social media. iTunes rules the mp3 and app market. Will the same fate happen in the music business?

2019 Crystal ball predictions;

Coheed and Cambria – will get bigger and bigger. Their style is unique, so expect them to keep to that style, sort of like how AC/DC releases music in the same style or Iron Maiden.

Protest The Hero – proved to themselves that they still matter. Will get bigger and more crazier. The future of progressive metal.

Machine Head – will still be bigger then what they are. Robb Flynn understands the internet and understands the change that is coming. He will make sure that Machine Head rides the wave all the way to the shoreline, while Adam Duce circles in the undercurrent, ready to litigate the band into submission.

TesseracT – will become the next Pink Floyd.

Digital Summer – are one of the hardest working rock bands around like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. They will get bigger as they are lifers.

Avenged Sevenfold – will become the new Metallica.

Five Finger Death Punch – I have a feeling that they will break up after one more album.

Shinedown – will be bigger than what Aerosmith ever was.

Volbeat – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Metallica – will still be relevant in the same way the Seventies act remained relevant.

Dream Theater – will still tour and do a lot of side projects, however they will be replaced by TesseracT and Protest The Hero.

Black Veil Brides – will take over the void left by Motley Crue and Guns N Roses.

Trivium – will deliver an astounding progressive technical metal album.

Killswitch Engage – will remain relevant in their niche genre.

Alter Bridge – The world needs Led Zeppelin to continue. Expect Alter Bridge to fill this void. They have one of the best vocalists of the modern era in Myles Kennedy. Marc Tremonti is a prolific writer. Call his Creed project, “The Yardbirds” and Alter Bridge as “Led Zeppelin.”

Bullet For My Valentine – will deliver their own version of “Master Of Puppets” and “The Blackening”.

Lets see how it pans out.

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This Is Love, This Is Life – The Story Of The Greatest Hits Package

The story of the Bon Jovi “Greatest Hits” album goes back to 2007. At that time, Jon was very interested in developing the country rock sound that he experimented with on the unexpected hit single, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” which was featured on the 2005 album, “Have A Nice Day”. The label, Universal Music wasn’t interested in allowing Jon to follow his muse, and instead wanted a “Greatest Hits” package from the band.

Jon Bon Jovi rang Lucian Grainge, the CEO of Universal Music, asking for approval to go ahead with the recording of the country rock album that would go on to become “Lost Highway”. In the end, Grainge couldn’t stop Jon from going ahead with the album; however he believed that it would lose Universal a lot of money. He made Jon promise that once the album bombs, Jon will deliver a “Greatest Hits” album. Jon agreed to the terms. The album’s success surprised both Bon Jovi and Grainge, and the “Lost Highway” world tour ran from October 25, 2007 to July 15, 2008. It grossed in total $189,106,454.

After the “Lost Highway” tour, Jon and Richie got together and started writing five songs for the promised “Greatest Hits” package that was to come next. Then the global financial crisis happened, and according to Richie Sambora, he and Jon just continued writing more than the required amount of songs needed for the “Greatest Hits” package. Another argument was put forward to the label to release a new album, which in turn would postpone the “Greatest Hits” release again. From the songs written, most of them would end up on “The Circle” album, with five songs left over for the “Greatest Hits” package.

The “Greatest Hits” release in October 2010, occurred while the band was still touring on “The Circle” album cycle. The “Circle Tour” started on the February 11, 2010 and finished on December 19, 2010. It grossed $201,100,000 and each show was sold out. With the release of the “Greatest Hits” package, it gave the band further momentum to hit the road again in 2011.

“WHAT DO YOU GOT”

Everybody needs just one, someone… to tell them the truth

“What Do You Got,” written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Brett James, became the first single from the Greatest Hits package. Jon always liked to work with other songwriters. Brett James is a new addition to the Bon Jovi team, and “What Do You Got” is the end result. Brett’s specialty is country, as well as crossing over into the pop world,; similar to what Mutt Lange and Shania Twain achieved.

Jon told Billboard magazine that he actually favoured “No Apologies” to be the lead-off single and that “What Do You Got” was his least favourite.

The message is simple: “what do you have if you don’t have love, because if you don’t have love whatever you do have, just isn’t enough.” A lot of people go searching for something that was always right next to them and in the end they burn the ones they love the most.

“NO APOLOGIES”

Seems like everybody’s selling you dreams ’round here
But no one’s buying and its closing time

This is a song written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and the message is simple:. “Do not apologise for who you are, it’s your life, live it the way you want to live it and not by another person’s design. Don’t back down from your beliefs.”

If the lyrical theme sounds familiar, it’s because the smash hit “It’s My Life” has the same message.

This is a song that should have been on The Circle as well. It was a leader. Houses went up for sale, and when no one was interested in buying them, the banks came in and foreclosed. The ownership dream was foreclosed on.

“THIS IS LOVE, THIS IS LIFE”

We ain’t got much but what we got is all that matters

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and producer John Shanks. Producers are the unsung heroes in the music industry.

John Shanks, at first is a guitarist. He toured with Melissa Etheridge before he then started writing songs for other artist and eventually fell into Producing. He is experienced and seasoned. Shanks has been Bon Jovi’s producer since 2004. Another notable credit to Shanks’s name is the production credits for Van Halen’s, “A Different Kind Of Truth”, their comeback album with David Lee Roth.

To prove a point about the unsung hero status of producers, ask anyone, who produced, Bon Jovi’s – “Slippery When Wet”, Aerosmith’s – “Permanent Vacation” and AC/DC’s – “The Razors Edge”?

Ninety- nine percent of those people would not be able to tell you. The answer is Bruce Fairbairn. He resurrected Aerosmith’s career in the eighties, as well as AC/DC’s career in the nineties after falling album sales since “Back In Black”. In Bon Jovi’s timeline, Bruce launched the band to the masses. However, the songs remain, the band remains and the producer is long forgotten.

“This Is Love, This Is Life”, is not all that original. You can say that it is derivative, a variation of “Livin’ On A Prayer”; however it is that exact duplication that works for this song. “Livin’ On A Prayer” talks about sticking together, loving each other and if we hold true to those ideals, we will make it in the end.

Coming out of the Global Financial Crisis, this is the song Bon Jovi should have had on “The Circle”. This is the song that mattered. A lot of people didn’t have much left. Many people where picking up the pieces again and trying to rebuild their lives. Everybody was affected by the crisis,. All they had left was the realisation that this is it.

This is life. We rise, we fall and we rise again.

Back in the sixties, people turned to music for answers with the artists leading the way. Somehow all of that got lost in the changes that occurred in the music business. Artists went from leaders to followers. The “middle-finger-to-the-establishment/you-can’t–tell-me-what-to-do” artist, put on a three-piece suit and made friends with Wall Street. Music was relegated to a second-class citizen.

The world needed an artist to lead the way again.

This is what people wanted to hear post GFC. This is what they wanted their heroes in music to tell them: “It’s going to be alright. We will tough it out. We will keep the fight alive and we will rebuild what we started.”

Music needed to be a leader again. The song has the talk box throughout, like “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “It’s My Life.” The chords in the chorus are the same as the two aforementioned songs, just in a different key.

Bon Jovi had the song to lead the way, but they didn’t have the vision. They left the vision in the hands of the record label. The song appeared on their “Greatest Hits” compilation; however, it was on the two discs “Ultimate Edition”, buried away as the second last track on disc two. Anyone that purchased the single disc edition missed out on this song, unless they purchased the song via iTunes, as a single track.

“THE MORE THINGS CHANGE”

‘Stead of records, now it’s MP3s

This song is “Someday, I’ll Be Saturday Night”, part two. The vocal melodies and the chord progression in the verses are identical. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

Jon has a history of recycling formulas that work. For example, “Livin’ On A Prayer” was rewritten and it became “It’s My Life,” which was rewritten again as “This Is Love, This Is Life.” The rock star to cowboy themed “Wanted Dead or Alive” was rewritten and it became “Blaze of Glory.”

The message in “The More Things Change” is simply. It doesn’t matter how much the world changes around us, people are still the same. We still listen to music. Instead of records, the radio, CD’s or cassettes, its MP3’s. We still wear our same tattered jeans from the past, and then when they rip, we pay top dollar to buy replicas. We download digitally, instead of going to the record store to purchase.

“THIS IS MY HOUSE”

This is our house
These are my people, listen, this is my town

This Is My House was only included as an iTunes bonus edition. It is written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child.

In Australia, the song was used as the theme song for the National Rugby League in the 2011 season. Jon Bon Jovi, even appeared in the advertisements for the game.

It has been said that the song was intended as a theme song for the Philadelphia Soul, an American Football team where Bon Jovi is a co-owner (and Richie Sambora is a minor owner). It could also be about the Bon Jovi fans, and that the house, is the concert hall or stadium where the band is playing.

Regardless, the song is written for the people to sing. It’s basic, it’s catchy, it’s the battle cry in the rally.

THE MUSICAL LANDSCAPE

In an interview with Larry King that aired on December 9, 2010, Jon Bon Jovi was very open about his feelings towards the changing landscape of the music business and social media.

“My business is not what we knew. I do believe that the record industry will rediscover itself in time – not now, but in 10 or 15 years from now the kids that own those social media networks, I think that they’ll take those catalogues of music and monetize them. But not now. I don’t believe that the old guard are ready to give up those catalogues to those guys. And they’re still holding to an old, antiquated model.”

Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres mentioned the same in a December 9, 2010 interview with Paul Cashmere that ran on Undercover.fm.

“We are still on a major label but we can see the writing on the wall. Part of the problem, is that the old model doesn’t work in the current world. It was a conglomerate machine that was invented many years ago which in essence owned and manipulated bands but also gave bands a chance to get some upfront money that was again recoupable. The companies always made a lot of money of it. It got to a point where the price of records were so dear for the buying public that as soon as the internet came in there was there was another avenue for people to listen to music”.

THE GREATEST HITS TOUR

Taking a break for the Christmas period and January, the band was back on the road again beginning February 9, 2011.

“The Bon Jovi Live” tour took in the United States, Canada and Europe, with the final last show played on July 31, 2011.

Jon has stated numerous times that he doesn’t like to tour for long periods of time. The tour was used to promote the new songs. Songs like “We Weren’t Born To Follow,” “When We Were Beautiful,” “ Work For The Working Man,” “No Apologies” and “What Do You Got” were talked up during the shows, selectively placed between all the hits.

All shows on the tour sold out, with 1.5 million people attending. It grossed $142,977,988.

WHO KILLED THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

The Greatest Hits tour wasn’t without incident. Apart from doing big business again at the box office, certain band members found themselves at the centre of a controversy.

First up, Jon Bon Jovi, blamed Steve Jobs for the fact that people don’t buy records any more.

According to Jon, “Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it…. God, it was a magical, magical time… I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.”

It looks like Jon was taking a page out of the Lady Gaga book of marketing, by using the press and the internet, to bring attention to himself. This cuts out the marketing team and the dollars that go into marketing.

If the comments were meant to bring attention to the band and it’s tour, it sure did, as the tech heavy internet users, quickly took to forums and blogs to blast Jon’s comments on this issue.

A lot of people put forward the question, “What about people who bought the album based on the jacket and it turned out to be crap?”. From a fan perspective, this rings true. The album format was always designed for the money. It doesn’t fit the modern world, however it remains because the artists and labels believed it is the only way they can make money.

To stay in the public eye is the new challenge. An artist can be flavour of the day and then be gone the next day in the current paradigm.

Jon’s comments about the old album system, is his way to stay in the public eye. He doesn’t want to be forgotten. He wanted a reaction and a reaction is what he got. Of course by the next day, it was all done and dusted, however for one day, he was the flavour of the month.

While Jon might be better off releasing a song a week, trying out different ways to connect with his audience, the truth is that he longs for the old way. The labels don’t want the old way to change, as that is why they released an album for $20, forcing people to pay top dollar for one good song. When people had the option to purchase what they wanted, album sales began to fall and digital singles soared. The fans have spoken: they don’t have time to hear bad music, only great music.

HELLO REHAB, SO NICE TO SEE YOU MY FRIEND

Another incident, and an unexpected one, was Richie Sambora leaving the tour in April, to check into rehab. Richie had already spent a month in rehab back in 2007, following the break-up of his marriage, the end of his high profile fling with Denise Richards and the death of his father from lung cancer; all within the same month. The reason for the trip to rehab was Richie’s love of alcohol.

The interesting part in all of this, is that Jon Bon Jovi decided to continue with the tour and play the shows with another guitarist, Phil X. Phil’s real name is Theofilos Xenidis. He is from Canada and his relationship with Jon Bon Jovi goes back to 1991 and Aldo Nova’s, “Blood on the Bricks” album that Jon Bon Jovi produced and co-wrote for Jambco.

Actually Phil X, didn’t even play a note on the album, however he did tour behind it, and the tour involved guest appearances by Jon Bon Jovi.

In that same year, Phil played with Jon and Tico on an Elton John tribute album.

Moving on from that, Phil became the go-to guitarist for producer Scott Humphrey. Phil had a job, painting the garage of Scott’s, and when Tommy Lee needed a guitar player for the Methods of Mayhem project, Scott recommended Phil. Phil took the shot and never looked back. Instead of playing on one song, he played on the whole album.

His ability on the guitar far outstrip Richie’s, though one can make the case that – as a songwriter – Richie is irreplaceable. In the end, that is what matters.

Jon said that cancelling the shows was never an option; and that a lot of people that work on putting the show together would be out of work, and that fans who booked tickets, air fares and hotels to the shows, would also be disadvantaged.

This led to speculation about the morale as fans questioned how brotherly it all is in the Bon Jovi camp. Jon is renowned for using the “brother” tag a lot when it comes to describing the relationship between the members, though this is seemingly contradicted by calling himself the CEO of Bon Jovi. The last comment made by Jon on the departure of Richie’s departure is that the show will always go on, as he is not beholden to no one.

The shows went well without Richie. Some fans complained, however it was clear, Phil X did a fantastic job. Even an MCL strain suffered by Jon on his left knee in June couldn’t stop the juggernaut of the Bon Jovi show. After surgery, Jon finished the remainder of the tour with a knee brace.

Richie even re-joined the tour in June and by July, 31, 2011, the tour had ended. That same month, Spotify launched in the U.S.

SPOTIFY

The rise of music stream technologies was a game changer in 2011. Spotify launched in July 2011 in the U.S. Prior to the U.S. launch, Spotify was dominant in the European market, especially in Sweden where it was first launched.

For Spotify to do business in the U.S, it needed to get approvals from the Big 4 labels (Universal Music Group, Sony, Warner Music and EMI). The labels are not known for their innovation, and when it came to technologies, they did their best to kill off any technology that threatened their bottom lines. However, Daniel Ek, the Spotify mastermind, surrendered half of the company to the labels and by doing so; Spotify was approved by the Big 4 to do business in the U.S.

The arrival of Spotify in the U.S. market changed the recorded music business model again. It challenged the ownership of music ideals and by doing so it put forward the rental (streaming) of music argument.

The main point is this; if a fan buys a song from the iTunes store or a CD from the Amazon store, that is where the transaction begins and concludes for the band. It is the exchange model of handing money over to receive a good. The fan owns the product. They can listen to the songs over a thousand times and the band has only transacted once with the fan which was back at the money exchange.

However, if a fan, streams a song from a band, they can stream the same song again. Each time a song is streamed, the band gets paid. The transactions between fan and band never cease in a streaming model. The relationship between fan and music never ends.

The argument from labels and artists is that Spotify streams don’t amount to a lot. The main issue with that line of thinking is that the labels and artists are looking at the now. Everyone wants to be paid now, and they want to be paid a lot. Streaming is about longevity. Streaming is digging the hole for piracy. People will always pirate; that is a given.

However, if fans of music are faced with a better legal alternative, then they will take it. Spotify free has ad’s but it is free. If you don’t want the ad’s, you buy a premium package.

Bon Jovi (the band), needed to rethink their strategy. The band has always favoured the old model, of spending three to six months recording a new album, releasing that album, using sledgehammer mainstream marketing and touring for a year and a half on it. The point of the tour was to also push the new album, hoping that it would drive sales of it. They still measured their success on how many full albums were sold.

Towards the end of 2011 the band released their Bon Jovi app on iTunes and Android. It was a pretty basic application; however, it was their first step into new territory: Technology.

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

The Content Rockundrum or The Content Metalundrum – Finding an audience for your content.

I just finished reading an article called “The Content Conundrum: How to get people to view what you create”, that was published on the website, Smartcompany.com.au

Of course it got me thinking about rock and metal music and artists.

FACT – It’s getting easier to get content out in the world for musicians. iTunes, CDBaby, Soundcloud, Tumblr, Facebook, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Instagram, website, WordPress and many more. Due to this ease, the web is saturated with content.

As the article alludes, “the challenge is no longer how to publish content, it’s how to find an audience for it.”

FACT: There is so much competition, how does an artist stand out and compete for someone’s time. Back in the glory day of the recording industry, the record labels would be competing for the listener’s dollar. Now it is record labels and artists themselves competing for the listener’s time, attention and maybe their dollar.

For example, it’s funny how a lot of bands or artists don’t think about uniqueness and branding when it comes to deciding what band name or artist name they should go forward with. I was listening to a melodic rock band called “Rain” today. I wanted to know more about the band, so I Googled the words “Rain band.” Of course I knew that the term “Rain” would bring back everything to do with actual rain. To my amusement, the term “Rain band” also brought back everything to do with the weather term “rainbands”. Do you get where I am getting with this? Other bands I listened to today are called “Prime Circle”, “The Black Rain”, “Redline” and “Vaudeville.” Google these band names and tell me if you get the bands website or Facebook page as the first search result.

Motley Crew is not unique, Motley Crue however is.

Metallica is unique. Metal Britannica is not.

Megadeth is unique. Mega Death is not.

Aerosmith is unique. Aeroplane is not.

Coheed and Cambria is unique. That’s it.

Judas Priest is unique.

Queensryche is unique.

Pink Floyd is unique.

Twisted Sister is unique.

Volbeat is unique.

Dream Theater is unique, however Dream Theatre is not unique. Get the difference one little letter change has achieved.

Every artist should aim to have their name to come up as search item result number 1 in Google. If I type in “Tool” in Google, I get 6 returns for the band Tool and 4 returns for other forms of tools, like Tax Tools, Definition of Tool and so forth.

If I type in “Rush” in Google, I only get 2 returns for the band Rush and that is because they have a history in Google’s “SEO” algorithm. I guarantee you, that if a new band called Rush came out on the scene today, there web presence would be lost as the name is generic.

What are you doing different compared to what all the other artists are doing? By using the phrase that you are “putting your heart and soul into the music”, just doesn’t cut it these days. What reasons are you giving for the fans to connect with you and for the fans to buy from you?

If you want to be a millionaire by playing Djent music, then you are dreaming. It will not happen. You could have a career in music, however you will not be rolling in the cash. If cash is the reason why you got into the music industry, then get out right now. There is more money to be made in banking and the technology sector.

Which area or space are you trying to occupy with your music?

Remember the movie Highlander, “there can be only one.” Look at technology. Facebook is unrivalled at the moment. Sure there are other little players on the scene, however all the social media fame goes to Facebook. Amazon has the online shopping experience cornered. Google has the search area cornered. Apple did have the innovation market cornered, however they stopped innovating and Samsung is rising up to take the crown. Blackberry is dead as they refused to see that the future lays in apps. One will become dominant and the other will fall.

Music is the same. Sure, we all have our little niche bands that we love, however there is always one band that rises to conquer all.

Metallica have no challengers at the moment for the Thrash, Rock and Metal crown. Of course, I still love Slipknot, Stone Sour, Machine Head, Megadeth, Slayer, Trivium, Killswitch Engage and so on, however none of those bands can rival the juggernaut that is Metallica.

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch are fighting it off to be the current conqueror of the Modern Metal movement. Of course, other bands exist in this era that fans also like.

Killswitch Engage are the kings of the metalcore movement in the U.S. Of course there are a thousand wannabes however, Killswitch remain unchallenged.

Dream Theater are the undisputed kings of progressive rock and metal.

Coheed and Cambria are kings of their comics and sci-fi world and they get a fair amount of crossover fans.

If any artist looks back at the careers of the bands/artists that influence them they would see that those artists didn’t release the same content as their competitors.

Metallica in 1991 released an album vastly different to what the other thrash bands released in 1991. They are still selling copies of that album, while all the other releases from their competitors have no traction today.

Motley Crue released a sleazy heavy classic rock album with “Dr Feelgood” in 1989, a far cry from the glam rock and pop metal/rock releases that the other competing bands released.

Guns N Roses released a very heavy blues rock album with “Appetite For Destruction” in 1987 and they stood out from the pack. Axl Rose is still doing victory laps on this album.

Dream Theater released “Images And Words” in 1992, which was totally different to the hard rock releases of the day. When compared to the new wave of Seattle sounds coming through, “Images and Words” was a total outlier.

The blog states that “Content should be influenced by a blend of audience needs, brand positioning and values, and corporate and communication objectives – and these are likely to be unique to your business and enable you to find a unique voice.”

The way I view the above comment is as follows;

I call it “The Led Zeppelin Fix.” When you have one of the largest bands in the history of music call it a day in 1980, what are all the hard rock fans of the band going to do. “Zebra” took in a decent cut, however it wasn’t until “Whitesnake” released their self-titled album in 1987 and “Kingdom Com”e released their self-titled in 1988 that fans of Led Zeppelin had their “Led Zeppelin fix”.

When a novice listener hears the albums mentioned above for the first time they will never notice the obvious influences. Kids these days do not know enough about the history of rock and metal music, in order to make the comparisons. They are too busy trying things out.

This is what Dream Theater is trying to do with their new album. They are trying to make it a great reference point for any new fans hearing the band for the first time. Time will tell if they have succeeded.

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