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

Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Two Fires

“I’d been caught between two fires for a long time. One was the inferno that I had built with my success and addictions. The other was the fire that burned for my family”

It’s how Chapter 33 called “out of control like a bushfire” started from the “Working Class Man” book.

“Two Fires” is his fourth studio album released in 1990 and his first United States release for Atlantic Records.

This was the last proper attempt to break Barnes to the U.S market, as previous label partnerships with Elektra and Geffen for the earlier records fell apart due to various reasons.

It was also the first step away from the AOR sounding “Freight Train Heart”. Most of the song writing credits this time are shared by the band and unknown writers instead of Desmond Child, Jonathan Cain and Diane Warren.

“Lay Down Your Guns”

The album gave Barnesy a chance to work with some great players like Brian Setzer from The Stray Cats who plays guitar on this.

A sinister crime noir “Peter Gunn” style riff kicks it off. The song is written by Jimmy Barnes and Rick Nowels.

Nowels was still in his early days of becoming a huge songwriter. His credits now include Adele, Lana Del Rey and many more. Just go to his Wikipedia page.

Lay down your guns and surrender

“Let’s Make It Last All Night”

Very Foreigner sounding, the Chorus is massive as you would expect from a song written by Barnes, Diane Warren and Desmond Child.

It was also a hit in Australia and it’s a staple of his live show.

Let’s make it last all night
This could be the last time I make love to you

“Little Darling”

A Barnes composition with Setzer on guitar again bringing some rockabilly to a soul rock tune.

Well I get to your house
Like the rest of the band
But somehow these things don’t always turn out as planned
You called me a cab and yeah I walked out that door

Barnesy talks about this event in his book. he thought he messed up his chance with his future wife.

“Love Is Enough”

It’s got a feel like “Every Breath You Take” in the verses, just more rockier.

“Hardline”

It’s a hard rock track and one of the best on the album.

Well it’s late at night something just ain’t right
I can tell by the look in your eye
You don’t say two words
You got a stare that burns
It’s gonna be a long long night

“One of a Kind”

Another rocker with hard rock lyrics.

Tight skirts, like a flirt
She don’t stop till it starts to hurt
She’s sweet, what a treat
Got to get her into my back seat

Mmmm. Flirt with skirt with hurt and sweet with treat and backseat. Overused terms but I would not have it any other way.

“Sister Mercy”

Cause a woman’s got the power
To take control of me
Well she can wrap me round her finger
And make a damn fool of me

The blues songs from the 1930s had lyrics like this. That’s how much staying power the blues medium had.

“When Your Love is Gone”

A great ballad. The sound is dated as it uses a lot of 80s sounding midis.

Well, I missed all the signs, never read between lines

And the Barnesy kids make an appearance in the outro.

“Between Two Fires”

A track written by Barnes and Holly Knight.

As you would expect, it’s anthemic and melodic rock.

The Intro and verses riff remind me of “Rocking In The Free World”. And the Chorus soars.

Caught between two fires
Losing control since I first met you

“Fade to Black”

This is a great rock song. Forgotten behind the hits.

When day fades to black
I won’t look back, of that I’m certain

When you just want to escape the rat race for the night.

I wanna get of this one way street
Don’t want to be among the faceless

“Hold On”

It sounds like a track from “Out Of This World” by Europe. With a bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.

Like most albums of the time, the labels held the power, so they made artists write and write and write.

Barnes wrote over 30 tracks for the album with a lot of em still unreleased and some as B-sides to the singles.

And the fans rallied behind him once again, sending the album to number 1 on two separate occasions and making it 6x Platinum.

And that elusive break through into the US market still remained elusive.

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

November 2020 – Part 5

Stan Bush

If you’ve watched any 80’s movie with a hard rock soundtrack, there is a very high chance that you would have heard a song from Stan Bush.

My first encounter was “The Touch” from “The Transformers” cartoon movie, when Hot Rod grabbed the matrix of leadership, opened it and became “Rodimus Prime”.

And Jean Claude Van Damme was a big name once upon a time in the action genre, and Stan Bush songs appeared in his movies. But apart from soundtracks, there was nothing else I could get my hands on and information on him was scarce.

So here we are in 2020 and “Dare To Dream” is released.

“Born To Fight” is more melodic metal than AOR rock, with a guitar solo section that reminds of “The Final Countdown” from Europe. And the song is being used to promote a few anime shows on Netflix.

“Dare To Dream” is more in vein with his AOR rock with a bit of Rick Springfield chucked in.

“The Times Of Your Life” is basically the guitar verse riff from “Run To You” from Bryan Adams, played on a piano. And I like it.

“A Dream Of Love” is a cross between Whitesnake and Def Leppard. Think of “The Deeper The Love” and “Hysteria” with a guitar solo that is John Norum level quality, very Euro influenced.

So I had to Google who is playing guitar. And that person is Holger Fath, a German guitarist. He basically does all the guitars and bass, as well as the production.

“The 80’s” sounds like it came from the 80’s. A cross between “Summer Of 69”, “Hysteria”, “Animal” and various Night Ranger songs. It’s a fun clichéd track to listen to.

“Live And Breathe” sounds like those Heart piano ballads with a bit of Michael Bolton thrown in.

“Heat Of Attack” has a bass groove like “Heaven And Hell” which is a perfect canvas for Stan Bush to take over with his melodic rock vocals, about fighting to stay alive and keeping the flame burning inside.

“Dream Big” has a lot of keyboard hooks and an outro guitar solo which I like and “True Believer” has a groovy bass riff with a staccato keyboard riff in the Chorus.

“Never Give Up” has a keyboard riff that reminds me of Bush’s biggest song, “The Touch”, which is very similar to “Jump” from Van Halen.

“Home” closes the album. A ballad straight from the Mutt Lange written cuts, like “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”.

In the end, it’s all these old sounds from the 80’s done in a modern way and I like it.

Wytch Hazel

“III: Pentecost” is the album. The feel is a throwback to those 70’s acts that current bands like Audrey Horne do.

So I did some digging and took in some interviews and reviews about how the band sounds like a cross between Angelwitch and Thin Lizzy. I haven’t heard Angelwitch, so I can’t comment there, but I can hear Thin Lizzy. In the interviews, it was mentioned that Fleetwood Mac and the “Rumours” album was being spun while the writing was happening.

“He is the Fight” kicks off the album with harmony leads and its followed by “Spirit And Fire”. It’s a one two knockout punch musically, so I did some more digging to see who these guitar heroes are. Alex Haslam and Colin Hendra. I’m sure like me, no one has heard of em, but the point of writing blogs is to spread the word. Let the “spirit and fire” lead the way. And listening to the lyrics, it’s a very Christian album. The real Pentecostal kind, so when you hear the lyrics, you know that every word is meant with heart.

“I Am Redeemed” starts off with a bass riff similar to “Wrathchild” from Iron Maiden but once the harmony guitars kick in, its living in Thin Lizzy territory with nods to Maiden in the verses.

“Archangel” has an excellent clean tone intro before it moves into a riff that reminds me of “Ghost BC”. Then the chorus kicks in and it’s memorable straight from the outset. “Dry Bones” has this interlude/solo riff which is just head banging material.

“Sonata” has church organs and a cello/violin before the clean tone arpeggios kick in. And it’s a moody 2 minute instrumental which bleeds into “I Will Not” and that riff. It’s time to pick up the guitar and learn it.

The album closes the way it started with “Ancient Of Days” a high energy hard rock song with harmony guitars and the drumming from “The Ides Of March”.

Within Temptation

I’ve been a fan of this band since the early 2000’s. Their blend of Euro metal and symphonies into cohesive 4 minute hard rock songs is just to my liking.

“The Purge” is a pre-release single drop of a new album. And as soon as it started, I was hooked. It has the riffs, the synths, the almost metronomic drums and the powerhouse vocals of Sharon den Adel.

Avandra

I saw the cover on a blog, liked the way it looked and added the album to my November playlist. Going in blind, the music is progressive rock, with touches of metal and other styles.

“Life Is Not A Circle, But A Sphere” got me to pay attention. It’s track three.

And then “Eternal Return” starts, with its Pink Floyd style of digital delay riffing.

And while I was listening, I did some more digging.

From Puerto Rico.

The beauty of the internet and allowing everyone to create. As a fan of music, I am exposed to artists from all over the world.

“Procgen” has these various moods which I like and then there is this vocal melody that goes with the harmony guitars towards the end of the song, which makes me press repeat.

“Afferent Realms” starts off with some serious shred, which makes me want to break my guitar. It’s all over a polyrhythm riff and drum beat.

Here’s a review for ya from the blog manofmuchmetal, that I agree with (plus it’s the blog that I saw the cover on).

Volbeat

“Die To Live” was a favourite from the album, and the same energy captured there is captured live. It’s just a powerhouse rock-a-billy metal cut.

Crank and let it intoxicate you.

Black Veil Brides

“Scarlett Cross” is the new pre-release single of a forthcoming album. If you read this blog, you will know that I am a fan of the band, especially guitarists Jinxx and Jake Pitts.

These two dudes can play and are modern day guitar heroes.

So I wait..

Trixter

Trixter got labelled pretty quick when they came out with the glam/hair metal tag. Unfortunately labels stick, which in reality wasn’t a right label for them, as they had more of a blues rock sound with AOR rock choruses now and then. After a few albums in the early 90’s they disappeared for a long time only to be resurrected on Frontiers around 2010.

“New Audio Machine” was released in 2012 on Frontiers Records and it features the original line up of the band which is Pete Loran on lead vocals, Steve Brown on lead guitar, P. J. Farley on bass guitar and Mark “Gus” Scott on drums and percussion.

I liked the album then and in 2020 it got a remaster, plus a bonus track thrown in, hence the reason why it appears in my 2020 list.

“Drag Me Down” is a blues southern rock ditty while “Get On It” has this foot stomping blues rock groove. The riffs in “Dirty Love” are influenced from Pasadena and a certain EVH. Steve Brown on guitars is another excellent guitarist who remains ignored by the wider public. Listen to his lead break on “Dirty Love” to get a feel for his abilities.

When Trixter did AC/DC, they did it an way that is more melodic. Listen to the excellent guitar riffs in “Machine” from Brown with arpeggios, palm muted chromatic lines and double stops with an AC/DC feel.

“Live for the Day” is an acoustic/electric ballad, which bands like Matchbox 20, Live and Tonic would be proud to call their own.

“Ride” is a rocker with a heavy riff. “Physical Attraction” and the lead break. Give it a listen.

“Tattoos & Misery” could have come from a Lifehouse album and one of my favourite tracks on the album.

“Walk With a Stranger” is an unused Skid Row song written by Bolan and Sabo, before Sebastian Bach even joined the band. There is a demo of Matt Fallon singing it, released in 1987 on YouTube. It’s a great melodic rock song which has been on the Skid Row backburner for a long time, until Trixter brought it officially back. Coming from the same area as the Skid Row guys, guitarist Steve Brown remembered it from back in the day and this cover is brilliant. One of my favourite tracks.

“Find a Memory” is the European Bonus track and it sounds like “Love Me Back To Life” from Bon Jovi’s “Bounce” album in the intro. Another favourite track for me. “Heart of Steel” is an acoustic cover from a song on their debut album released in 1990. It’s listed as a U.S Bonus track.

If you haven’t heard Trixter before, start with this album. If you like it, then dig deeper.

Stay tuned for part 6 as November was a huge month for releases.

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

The Music Careers of the “Young Guns” from Guitar World September 1991

So I am flicking through an old issue of Guitar World that goes back to September 1991 and there is a D’Addario ad with the title “Young Guns II”. Pictured on the ad are the following guitar players;

Gary Hoey
John Axtel and Atom Ellis from Psychefunkapus
Tommy Bolan from Freight Train Jane
Gerard Zappa and Adam Holland from Valentine
Black Eyed Susan guitarists
Tristan
Matt Prudoehl

So what happened to these “Young Guns.”

Gary Hoey auditioned for Ozzy Osbourne in 1988, during the search for Jake E.Lee’s replacement. We all know that Zakk Wylde got that gig. He also auditioned for Def Leppard, which ended up going to Vivian Campbell. Then he teamed up with a few LA vets in “Heavy Bones” who released one album in 1992 and when it did nothing, they broke up shortly.

Good musicians never quit. He went solo and had a hit with “Hocus Pocus” a cover of the Focus hit. This led to some chart success, some soundtrack work and a monthly column in Guitar World called “Hocus Pocus” which I found informative and helpful to my guitar playing.

Although Extreme became famous for the funk rock in the early nineties, Hoey broke it down to a teachable lesson called “Get The Funk Out” from Guitar World June 1994 issue. But the best lesson for me was “Arpeggio Acrobats” that appeared in the November 1994 which involved playing string skipping arpeggios. Since then he has more or less released an album each year.

A true warrior of the music industry and a diversified artist. He doesn’t have the world-wide recognition but he has what a lot of musicians that had world recognition wish they had. A career in the music industry.

John Axtel (guitarist) and Atom Ellis (bass) from Psychefunkapus got together in 1986 and by 1992 it was all over. Two albums came out on Atlantic. 1990’s self titled debut and “Skin” in 1991. Then it was all over.

John Axtel has been around the scene with various projects and the same for Atom Ellis.  They also have shown their diversity and that is why they have been around in various bands and different genre’s.

Tommy Bolan was part of “Warlock” and then joined the solo band of “Black N Blue” vocalist Jamie St. James, which in the end became “Freight Train Jane”. “Mitch Perry” was the first choice however he was unavailable. Then Tommy Bolan auditioned and St.James had his “guitar guy”.

The band got together around 1991 as the ad for the “D’Addario” strings shows. The album “Hallucination” didn’t come out until 1994 and it did nothing.

Everyone is quick to blame “Grunge” however the decline of glam rock and hard rock bands has a lot to do with the songs and their messages just didn’t connect with the new generation of kids. For example, “You” from the album is great song musically but lame vocally. And when you compare it to another song called “You” from Candlebox, you would understand why connected and one didn’t. Tommy Bolan for all of his talent has been hit and miss. His most recent execursion was an instructional video/book out called “Metal Primer”.

This is one person that should have achieved more however for some reason didn’t.

Valentine started with Adam Holland (guitarist), Craig Pullman (keyboardist) and Gerard Zappa (bassist) in 1986. Once all the other band members joined they moved to LA and did some demos. Columbia Records came knocking only to see a record label re-shuffle put the band in a tough position which then turned out okay as their original A&R rep took the band with him to Giant Records who then released Valentine’s debut CD in 1990.

They they became Open Skyz, a new label deal with RCA eventuated and another self-titled album came out in 1993. Another label re-organisation meant no label and compounded with fatigue after almost a decade of music industry ups and downs, they called it a day.

However they have all remained in the music business and to this day continue to have a career in the music business. A new album called “Soul Salvation” came out in 2008 after a positive response to their Firefest appearance. Adam Holland is also the guitarist in the Steve Augeri Band (former Journey lead vocalist).

Blackeyed Susan had Dizzy Dean Davidson on vocals/guitar, Rick Criniti on guitar and Tony Santoro (RIP) also on guitar. Critini and Santoro both did time together in the band “Rage” while Dizzy Dean Davidson was fresh from his “Britny Fox” stint. Criniti also worked as a live keyboardist for Cinderella.   This band was talented and they had pedigree, however it wasn’t to be. The band split after their label Mercury pulled the plug and stopped the touring support dollars from filtering down in late 1991. However all three have had a career in the music business that lasted decades, even Santoro until his untimely death at 40 due to a heart attack.

Tristan and Matt Prudoehl I haven’t even heard off. Not back then and not now. Probably a reason why they failed to have a music career.

 

Standard
Music, My Stories, Review in 40 Words

Review in 40 Words – Prime Circle – Evidence (2012)

From South Africa. A serious player in the rock scene. This is their 5th album (3rd on EMI) and they are showing no signs of stopping. “Time Kills Us All” is classic AOR/melodic rock. “King For A Day” is solid.

Standard