Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

I Wanna Be Sedated

“Nothin’ to do and nowhere to go I wanna be sedated”

My youngest son had a big spew last Wednesday night. Then from Thursday to Monday he was running a temperature as a chronic barking cough was developing. Children’s Panadol was ineffective and on Sunday we reverted to children’s version of Nurofen. Finally by Monday afternoon we had his temperature under control.

By Sunday my middle son had also developed a cough that was nasty and by yesterday afternoon I too had an uncomfortable cough.

Now add to that mix the fact that my wife has been ill in some form or another for the last eight weeks. Furthermore I also have my wife’s parents living with us while they build their house and they have been ill much in the same way my wife has and it was no wonder that my eldest son said that our house is like a hospital ward.

So at the moment I have antibiotics for my youngest son, my middle son and for myself. My wife called and said that she will be going to the Doctors as well.

“They call us kings, then watch us fall down broken”

I can’t deal with illnesses that go on for this long. It stresses me to death. I already take three lots of tablets for hypertension. I feel broken and depressed. I just laid my youngest one to bed after a twenty minute cough attack. I feel exhausted. What kind of superhero king am I?

“Wine is fine, but whiskey’s quicker”

It’s easy to do but what about the morning after. I have to be there for my children. Actually the “Suicide Solution” lyric is from Bob Daisley but no one will remember that in the future as history is always written by the ones who have power. Sort of like how the current Bon Scott biopic was threatened with copyright infringement as AC/DC and the Bon Scott estate didn’t like the fact that they didn’t have control over it. Much in the same way as the Jimi Hendrix biopic. There is a saying that the ones that control the narrative are the ones that control people’s minds. And that is so true and evident in the times of today.

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Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley and the Blizzard Of Ozz

To me, Randy Rhoads was a huge influence. My first introduction to Randy Rhoads was the “Tribute” album and the tablature book that came with it formed my bible for a long time.

He was just unique. Rhoads formed Quiet Riot when he was 16 years old however as good as Randy Rhoads was, the band couldn’t get a record deal in the U.S and they ended up releasing two albums (QR I and QR II) in Japan. Of course this incarnation of Quiet Riot was a totally different line up that sang “Cum On Feel The Noize” which in turn brought metal to the mainstream.

Most people know his musical legacy from the two landmark albums he made with Ozzy Osbourne.

While Quiet Riot focused on a more pop rock vibe, Rhoads was allowed free reign to draw on all his interests with Ozzy. It should be noted that Bob Daisley played a very important part in this project as well as the lyrical writer and musical contributor.

The two years he spent in Rainbow before joining the Blizzard of Ozz project put him in good stead to continue the style of music that Ritchie Blackmore was creating.

Listen to the style of music on the first three Rainbow albums and then listen to the first two Ozzy albums and you will hear that the styles are very similar. The song structures are very similar. The biggest difference is the LA flash of Randy Rhoads.

Randy Rhoads with Bob Daisley as his bass player and songwriter equals superstar.

Tragically, Rhoads died far too young in a plane crash on March 19, 1982 while on tour with Osbourne.

10
I Don’t Know
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

This riff would be the first thing that people heard who went and purchased the “Blizzard of Ozz” album without hearing a single note.

What an introduction riff it is. It is a simply ascending pedal point riff however it so effective because of Bob Daisley’s staccato bassline which he synchronized with Lee Kerslake’s bass drum. Back in the day it sounded so original.

This is Randy Rhoads announcing to the world that there is a new guitar hero in town.

This is what Bob Daisley said in an interview with the website Undercover (that was reposted on Blabbermouth).
“I got inspired for that when OZZY told me a story about BLACK SABBATH. Because they were considered to be an occult band and into all sorts of things, it was a reputation they had, people used to ask OZZY, “Tell my fortune” and I just wrote a simple song saying, “Don’t ask me, I don’t know. I’m just a singer”.

9
Suicide Solution
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

The whole intro riff is just full of attitude and defiance. And guess what, it is only three chords. If you are familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, you would have noticed the influence of the song “Force of Habit”.

While most of Rhoads earlier material with Quiet Riot was less adventurous, it did allow him to be a songwriter and a riff creator and he used derivative versions of his earlier riffs in his later work with the Blizzard Of Ozz band that was changed at the last minute to Ozzy Osbourne. This is one such song.

This is what Bob Daisley said in an interview with the website Undercover (that was reposted on Blabbermouth);

“I wrote that song about OZZY drinking himself into an early grave. He was pretty disturbed that he was thrown out of BLACK SABBATH and he described it as like going through a divorce. He was drinking heavily because of it and getting stoned and wasn’t very productive which is why he got thrown out of BLACK SABBATH in the first place. The word solution had a double meaning, meaning solution to a problem or liquid solution meaning booze. OZZY did come up with one line in that song “wine is fine, but whiskey’s quicker”.”

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website when the interviewer mentioned to Daisley that Ozzy has mentioned in interviews that Ozzy wrote the song about Bon Scott;

“That is bull5h!t. I knew Bon Scott and so did Ozzy and we did find out about Bon Scott’s death during the recording of that album but I wrote “Suicide Solution.” I wrote the freaking words so he can say all he likes about who I wrote it about but I wrote it about him killing himself with alcohol. It was a warning song. It is stupid to drink yourself into the ground. It is not a solution to a problem as it is really just hiding. Solution also has a double meaning in that it is a liquid like alcohol. I wrote about Ozzy just drinking too much at the time. We all liked to drink but he was really getting into it sometimes.”

8
You Looking At Me, Looking At You
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

This song doesn’t get the attention it deserves because it was left off the album. Plus it was written for an album that had so many other songs that are just great. However if this song appeared on any other bands album it would have been a hit as well.

The intro is Seventies Arena Melodic Rock. I can understand why the song didn’t get included on the album as it could have been deemed to poppy from the very metal sounding Blizzard album, however the riff is infectious.

Even in the pre chorus Randy Rhoads plays palm muted arpeggios (like Eddie Van Halen) and something that Vito Bratta employed on a constant basis. And that lead break just comes out of nowhere like another song within the same song composition. Again it reminds me of what Vito Bratta would end up doing.

This song shows what a band “Blizzard Of Ozz” was. Yes, that band had Randy Rhoads on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Lee Kerslake on drums and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.

An argument can be put forward as to why “No Bone Movies” made it on the album and not this song.

By the way, if anyone is familiar with the work that Randy Rhoads did with Quiet Riot, they would have noticed the rhythm guitar riff coming from a Quiet Riot song called “Kiss of Death”, that was only performed live, and the lead intro part is from the Quiet Riot song called “Trouble.” Also, the same structure can be heard on the song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” also from Quiet Riot.

7
Steal Away The Night
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

That intro is similar to the chorus riff in “Suicide Solution” at a higher tempo. Whereas in “Suicide Solution” it is a climbing motif, in “Steal Away The Night” it is a repeating motif.

There is also another nod to the Quiet Riot song “Breaking Up Is A Heartache” in the riff that comes after the chorus.

Remember that progress is derivative and Randy Rhoads was very good at that technique. Sometimes he would take bits and pieces from a lot of different songs to form one cohesive riff.

6
Mr Crowley
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

The “was it polemically sent” part before the outro solo is just goose bumps stuff. The harmony guitar lines that interweave over a classical chord progression. The calm before the storm. From a lead guitarist point of view, Mr Crowley served as a showcase of the talent that is Randy Rhoads.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Ozzy already had the idea for that but he just had the title. He wanted to write it about Aleister Crowley who was into black magic and witchcraft and all that.”

And from the same interview, we find out how the organ riff came about;

“One of the auditions we had was a keyboard player who had an idea that went something like that. We got that idea and wrote that part for the beginning of “Mr. Crowley.”

When the interviewer asked if that person would sue, Daisley commented back to state that he thinks that they changed it enough to make it a derivative version.

5
Goodbye To Romance
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

This song connects from the very first note but it is that descending chorus riff that is pure gold.

Listening to the studio version of the song with its many layers and then hearing the way Randy composed his live performance is awe inspiring.

Though Rhoads was best known for the heavier side of his guitar playing, his ambition was to devote his time to classical music. “Dee” served as an example of his devotion to classical/flamenco music however it was songs like “Goodbye To Romance”, “Revelation Mother Earth” and “Diary of A Madman” that showcased how powerful classical music is in a heavy metal setting.

“Goodbye To Romance” was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.” The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath. On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy does mention that he was humming the vocal melody, and that Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. That part is true, as even Randy recounted the same story. However the way Ozzy recounts it makes it sound like that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process. It is a well-known fact that history is written by the powerful and the winners. That is what Sharon and Ozzy are trying to do. Rewrite history. Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics and assisted Ozzy with the melodies.

4
Crazy Train
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

After getting blown away by “I Don’t Know”, the ear drums were assaulted once again with “Crazy Train.”

The intro is a sing along riff and immediately identifiable. You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit and according to the chart makers it never was a hit.

The verse – Back in the Eighties, this was the first major key progression I heard that sounded heavy. It is perfect for the song, as the verses deal with hope so the major key is perfect and then the chorus deals with the world losing it over nuclear arms and by then it has switched to the minor mode.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say about the song in a Bravewords interview;

“The thing that comes to mind is that Ozzy gets too much credit for it! Randy had the riff and chord structure, I wrote the chord structure for Randy to solo over. Ozzy came up with the vocal melody, and I wrote all the lyrics. Randy and I were both fans of trains and railways. We bought model trains and used to go to railway exhibitions together. Ozzy used to have a saying ‘you’re off the fucking rails’ and Randy had this effects pedal and it was making this sort of psychedelic chugging sound, like a train in his amp. And that’s when I came up with ‘Crazy Train’. With Ozzy’s saying, ‘I’m going off the rails on a crazy train’ came from. The lyrics were a statement of the world we live in or lived in as children, the cold war we lived through.”

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“What I am most proud of is “Crazy Train.” Randy came up with the riff and Ozzy came up with the vocal melody and I wrote the lyrics and the musical section that Randy soloed over in the middle. It has become a Rock N Roll anthem and I am really proud of that. When I was with Rainbow, one of my Rock N Roll ambitions was to write a hit single or to be involved in writing one with somebody else. In Rainbow, Ritchie and Ronnie wrote everything and they didn’t need anyone else. When Blizzard Of Oz happened it was great because I got to realize one of my ambitions.”

“Crazy Train” is really a peace song about how crazy it is that people are brainwashed and mind controlled by the powers that be over freaking stupid religion and stuff like that. That is why the opening lines, are “Crazy but that’s how it goes/Millions of people living as foes.” We have inherited all the BS from all of the cold wars and all of the crap. The young people inherited it and back then I was still young.”

3
Over The Mountain
From: ‘Diary of a Madman’ (1981)

As the “Blizzard Of Ozz” album kicked off with a pedal point riff, so did the “Diary Of A Madman” album. What a great drum intro by Lee Kerslake. A dead set classic. It has become a real trademark.

This song is the “progress is derivative” model in action. Did anyone pick up on the “Black Sabbath” riff used before the solo break?

The intro/verse riff is a musical mish mash of heavy seventies rock and decorated with Rhoads’ unusual voicing’s.

The bridge is very Rush sounding, which is simple power chords played over a shimmering and ringing of the open E and B strings.

The melody is pop all the way. It is infectious.

2
Revelation (Mother Earth)
From: ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ (1980)

“Revelation (Mother Earth)” is a song that needed to be written so that a masterpiece like “Diary Of A Madman” could exist. It is full of great riffs from Rhoads.

The intro/verse riff from 0.00 to 1.24 is just timeless. Hearing this song today and it doesn’t sound dated at all.

Then 03.03 to 3.21 just before the acoustic interlude.

Then from the 5 minute mark to the end is just brilliant. It is a merge of heavy riffing and classical / baroque influenced lead break that twists and turns into each other.

On the “Tribute” live album, the tempo is increased, further increasing the status of the song to legendary.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“Some of the words came from the book of Revelations in the bible. I had been in the rehearsal room and I had been playing a song by John Lennon called “Mother.” Ozzy came in when we were doing the backing and he went “Mother” just like the John Lennon song. We started calling it ‘Mother Earth.’ I wrote that about the dangers of us destroying our own planet.”

1
Diary Of A Madman
From: ‘Diary of a Madman’ (1981)

This is progressive metal before the term became associated with bands like Fates Warning, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. The song was a giant leap forward in composition and technicality. It is dominated by Randy Rhoads from when the first note starts and the last note ends.

The song is a cacophony of dark dissonant chord voicing’s, unusual time signatures, serene acoustic driven interludes, heavy groove orientated rock and metal riffs and dissonant atonal passages, all combined with an eerie dark, mysterious mix. It is experimental music and it broke through to the masses. It has all of the elements that made Rhoads’ playing special.

The whole song is like a Randy Rhoads master class. Stand out sections is the whole intro section up to the first verse, and the heavy distorted riff before the dissonant solo break.

This is what Bob Daisley had to say on the song in an interview with the Classic Rock Revisited website;

“I really wrote that one about myself. When I was 16 I had my first nervous breakdown and it really fucked me up. I was a sensitive kid and I have always been a sensitive person. I suppose you have to be sensitive being in the arts. I wrote the words about myself. Quite often we have problems and we are our own worst enemies and that is why “Enemies fill up the pages one by one in the diary. Are they me?” I am my own worst enemy.”

Bob Daisley also mentioned the following in relation to the composition of the “Diary Of A Madman” album pm the same Classic Rock Revisited website.

“We just worked five days a week, all day. Randy had riffs that he was working on. For Diary Of A Madman it was Lee, Randy and myself. A lot of times Ozzy wasn’t there as he either had hangovers or he was off to see his family. Lee came up with several of the vocal melodies for that album. I know he came up with the vocal melody for “Flying High Again.” He used to have a microphone at the side of his drums and he would sing while we put the songs together. The other thing was that Randy had the rough idea for the song “Diary Of A Madman” and I came up with title. I wrote all of the lyrics as well on the album. Ozzy would come and go from rehearsals. One day he came in and we played him “Diary Of A Madm an” and because it had funny timing he couldn’t get his head around. He said, “Who the fuck do you think I am? Frank Zappa!” We said, “You sing in this part but you don’t sing here. This timing goes like this ect.” He started to like it when he got his head around but at first he was like, “This is not for me.”

There you have it, my top ten Randy Rhoads riffs with Ozzy.

http://www.bravewords.com/features/1000971

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/bob-daisley-would-the-real-ozzy-osbourne-please-stand-up/

http://www.classicrockrevisited.com/Bob%20Daisley%20Interview.htm

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Who Do You Think RPWL Are?

Lost in all the noise that is the music business, is a German neo progressive rock band called RPWL. They started of their career as a Pink Floyd cover band.

That is how all bands start off. Playing the songs of our favourites. Eventually, they started to create their own music, heavily influenced by the music they covered. Singer, Yogi Lange has the Gilmour tone to his voice and guitarist Karl Heinz Wallner gets very close to Gilmour’s signature sound.

However, the RPWL story didn’t start in 1997. It goes back to 1992 and a band called Violet District. On their debut and only album, “Terminal Breath”, Pink Floyd influences abound, however the influence of Marillion is more predominant. The nucleus of Violet District are the talents of Karl-Heinz Wallner, Chris Postl and Yogi Lang who of course went on to become members of RPWL. So from the ashes of Violet District, RPWL is born. Like Bon Scott said, it is a long way to the top if you want to prog and roll.

God Has Failed (2000)

This album should have done better in recognition. The world needed some Pink Floyd, and while the original band was on hiatus, RPWL stepped up to fill the void. Remember the catchy cry; progress is derivative. RPWL’s “God Has Failed” is Pink Floyds “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Pt. 2”. Tempus Fugit the record label said that with the release of the RPWL debut album, it was their first album that made some money in sales and it gave the label the chance to invest the profits in other artists.

This album got the band labelled as Pink Floyd clones, much the same way Kingdom Come was labelled Led Zeppelin clones after their debut. The difference between the two in sales is staggering, as Kingdom Come went on a multi-platinum victory lap and RPWL didn’t.

This is RPWL raw and showing the world their influences. If you don’t like it I don’t care. If you don’t know it, you should.

“Who Do You Think We Are”
Great title to sum up the band, and I believe the song also sums up the musical style of the album. This is The Beatles crossed with Pink Floyd. The Beatles are a big influence that went largely unnoticed when this album came out. George Harrison could have written this track. It is a pop song with a progressive chorus.

Who do you think we are
There’s nothing left
But the shades of our past

When you reach that point in a relationship or a friendship and each side has gone in different directions. Where do we stand at this point in time? How do we fit in each other’s lives right now? When you can’t find the answer, the only thing left is the past.

We both know the sun will rise again
We both thought that it will never end
But somewhere deep inside
Life as got a bitter taste
When not a single friend is here to stay

Isn’t that always the case. When a break up happens, either in a relationship or a friendship, people take sides. There is always one that will be left all alone.

“In Your Dreams”
This follows on with The Beatles meets Pink Floyd theme set in “Who Do You Think We Are”. It’s the seventies merged with the eighties in the Year 2000. Think of the song “Sorrow” from “A Momentary Lapse of Reason”. The song has those moments of recognition, however as the track goes on, it becomes its own track and it evolves into the heaviest bit of the album.

Tell me what do you feel
When you die in your dreams

Who hasn’t woken up from a dream state, with that terrible sinking feeling. You have just dreamt your death, and that sick feeling lingers.

“Farewell”
It should have been the closer on the album. If anything the album is just a tad too long. 45 minutes would be sufficient, however RPWL released 71 minutes worth of music. It looks like they couldn’t part with some of the material. In this song, I am hearing King Crimson influence’s merged with Pink Floyd.

Remember all the time when life
Was only china in our hands

What a way to sum up how fragile life is, by comparing it to valuable china plates. You know, those plates that your parents bring out on special occasions to serve dinner when people are around. Then they are hand washed carefully, and dried in a safe place, so that the gold edge doesn’t get damaged.

When the Master calls
Don’t be afraid to say Farewell

In the end when the maker calls, the negotiations are over. It doesn’t matter how much you argue and try to buy more time, the end is the end. Death is just a transition.

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Life Is About Experience

I like going to the movies. It is an experience that I enjoyed growing up and it is an experience that I have passed on to my boys.

Today, we are watching “Planes”. So I purchase my tickets. Lucky for the budget, my wife had vouchers which made the tickets $8 each. Otherwise, the tickets at the Event Cinemas are $17 each.

So three tickets = $24.

Then comes the big rip. The boys wanted the “Planes pack” which involved “Planes” themed drink cups, along with a “Planes” theme popcorn box.

However, Event Cinemas, had no more “Planes” popcorn boxes and they couldn’t sell me the Planes Drink Cups with a generic pop corn box because “the generic popcorn box is a touch larger than the Planes themed popcorn box.”

Bullshit I said. Then I was told that it really has to do with stock counts. My boys finally agreed with what they want and off to the movie. Then I had to put up with kids way too young to even be there, that just kept on screaming and crying.

In relation to the movie, it is another great flick from the same “Cars” team.

What can I say, the movie just got me thinking about GRIT. In the movie, Dusty Crophopper is a crop duster who wants to be a racer. Everyone tells him that he is crazy, a dreamer and that he should be just a normal crop duster. In the end, the good old crop duster just persevered.

What I got out of the movie is that you can’t tell people what to do. Everyone has to find out for themselves. Life is about experience. Just like Bon Scott (RIP) said in “Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock N Roll)”, it’s a long ride that we all have to take. We have to find our own way. Every classic album that we have come to love, never came out as a debut album.

“Dr Feelgood” from Motley Crue came out in 1989. It is their best album. Mick Mars played a large part in the songwriting process. By 1989, he had been playing in bands for 17 years. Nikki Sixx, the other main songwriter had been playing in bands for 14 years. Life is about experience, and when that experience is translated into a song, it connects with other people who have lived that experience. Bob Rock paid his dues before he rocked the world with “Dr Feelgood” and the Black album from Metallica.

An album like “Appetite For Destruction” from Guns N Roses is an outlier, however if you read the stories about the album, the songs and the ideas of the songs were written years before.

Life is not always up. If you haven’t experienced disappointment, you haven’t taken any risks. Life is about losses, even more than victories. As Ivan Moody sings in “Lift Me Up”;

Lift me up above this
The flames and the ashes
Lift me up and help me to fly away

Lick your wounds, lift yourself back up and get back in the game. Learn from what happened. Don’t let it weigh you down. Quoting from Ivan Moody again; 

Best get out of my way
‘Cause there’s nothing to say
Is that all that you got?
Because I ain’t got all day

I won’t be broken
I won’t be tortured
I won’t be beaten down
I have the answer
I take the pressure
I turn it all around

Moody gets it. People see him as a winner, however he is like us. He makes mistakes, he falls down and he picks himself up again to fight another day.

Finally, in relation to the cinema experience, in this day and age, most people have decent sized TV’s with wi-fi connections and surround sound systems. It is an untapped market. Movie Studio’s should be releasing the movie to us, the same day it hit’s the cinemas. Once the movie is out, it is out. I would have been happy to pay $20 to watch it at home via a 24 hour stream. 

However the movie studios would still like to scream PIRACY instead of servicing it’s customers.

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It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Don’t Have The Grit To Rock N Roll)

I just finished reading a “Wall Street Journal” article that had a section about Angela Lee Duckworth, about how “GRIT TRUMPS TALENT” and the GRIT scale that she designed.

Grit means the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. In other words, the grittiest person will end up achieving much more than the talented person who doesn’t exhibit any grit. The career of an aritst is all about the taking risks, putting it all on the line and on occasion experiencing defeat. Add to that mix, “GRIT”.

So in every facet of our lives we will face a person that has super talent and grit. We will face a person who possess some talent, but a lot of grit. Finally, we will face a person who has no talent and no grit.

When I think of GRIT, I think of Mick Mars and Twisted Sister.

Starting off with Mick Mars.

Was he supremely talented? No.

Did he have the GRIT? Hell yeah.

Just think about it for a moment. Mick Mars started off doing the band circuit around 1971 and it was 11 years later when Motley Crue got picked up Elektra. Then came the shred era with the release of Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force” in 1983 and poor old Mick Mars was blasted by the new guitar fans of the movement.

He was too sloppy, he was too old, he was too slow, he wasn’t technical enough and it just went on and on. The last laugh is being had by Mick Mars. He is still around. Regardless of what you think about Motley Crue, or the band members within, one thing they do have is GRIT.

Let’s look at Twisted Sister, the best bar band doing the tri-state scene. For Jay Jay French, it was a long way to the top. He started off Twisted Sister in 1972. Dee Snider joined in 1976. The band came to world-wide attention in 1983, with the release of “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and the follow-up “Stay Hungry” in 1984.

Was Twisted Sister the most talented heavy metal band doing the rounds at this time? Of course not.

Did Twisted Sister have the grit to make it? Hell Yeah.

One could argue that the band ceased to be in 1987, so what happened to the GRIT? It lived on with Dee Snider. Regardless of the success of his post Twisted Sister bands, Dee Snider continued to battle it out. He never gave up.

Looking at some other artists, I immediately think of Vito Bratta from White Lion.

Vito Bratta is a favourite of mine and a massive influence. He is a supremely talented guitarist and songwriter, however with his exile from the music business since 1992, it looks like he just didn’t have the GRIT.

Mike Tramp on the other hand, has the GRIT (Freaks Of Nature, a new version of White Lion, plus a tonne of solo releases), but without Vito, he doesn’t have the talent in the compositions.

Jake E. Lee is another favourite of mine that has sort of disappeared from the public conversation. A very talented musician, who got the boot from Ozzy Osbourne because he couldn’t agree with Sharon Osbourne over the publishing rights of Ozzy’s music. So he goes on to form Badlands with Ray Gillen (RIP) and they release two excellent albums before calling it a day with ego tantrums and arguments.

Is Jake E. Lee talented? Of course

Does he have any GRIT? I am going to answer YES on this one. Since the end of Badlands, Jake E Lee has gone on to appear on a lot of tribute albums, along with a few solo releases and a couple of projects that he demoed songs with. The bottom line is, he never really stopped creating.

Currently, he is recording songs for a new project called Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel.

To finish off, the immortal words of Bon Scott (RIP) from AC/DC;

Gettin’ had
Gettin’ took
I tell you folks
It’s harder than it looks

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Angus Young – Guitar World – March 1986 – Part 3

ANGUS YOUNG – RAW ENERGY IS ALL YOU NEED
Guitar World March 1986
By Joe Lalaina

(All parts in Italics and Quotes are from the March 1986 issue of Guitar World)

To this day. Angus continues to play in shorts, every show. However a lot of AC/DC fans say it s a worn-out routine,

“I guess it depends on which fans you talk to,” counters Angus. To me, it’s comfortable. If I took the stage and dressed like any other guitar player. I don’t think I would be able to be myself. The shorts are as much a part of me as my guitar.”

Lalaina is trying to get a reaction from Angus.  I lived through the Eighties, and during this period, glam and hard rock was becoming king.  All the bands had a similar look.  AC/DC didn’t fit this look and a lot of the journalists tried to put AC/DC down.  Even the sales of AC/DC albums started to tank during the Eighties.  It wasn’t until 1990 when AC/DC released The Razor’s Edge that their career was resurrected.  The response from Angus is typical of the attitude in AC/DC.  They never cared for trends.  To quote Frank Sinatra, the did it their way.

“When I first started playing in shorts, it was a challenge. People would say, Hey, this guy’s a clown—here comes Peepo or something. As a result, it made me work harder to prove to the people that I really did know how to play guitar. I just plugged it into the amp and played. I never used any of those wangy’ bars or stuff like that.”

These days, an artist would change who they are, just so they can please.  No one wants to be hated.  Instead of working harder to stay true to who they are like Angus, 99% of wannabe musicians would change.

In fact, Angus hates tremolo units.

” Those things never appealed to me,” he says. “If I want to get a similar kind of sound, I just de-tune the strings. Cliff Richard used to have this guy in his backing band, Hank Marvin, who used that thing on almost every note. He was like a Buddy Holly clone—he used to do these silly little steps. Guys like Hank set the music world back twenty years. I couldn’t believe guitarists like Beck looked at him as inspiration. Whenever I saw guys like Hank Marvin, I would always go in the complete reverse of what they were doing.”

That is what I am talking about.  By 1986, everyone was doing tapping, whammy dive bombs, sweep picking and had racks of gear to rival NASA.  Angus is totally against it, staying true to who he is, keeping it simple, keeping it real.

Angus says his biggest musical inspiration was his brother George Young, who together with Harry Vanda produced the first few AC/DC albums. Vanda and Young, you may recall, were the guitarists in the Easybeats, one of the most successful Australian pop bands of the late sixties.

That is what a lot of people seem to forget or don’t even know about.  Angus and Malcolm Young had a successful older brother. Does anyone remember the working class anthem, Friday On My Mind?

“We learned a lot from George.” says Angus. “He was the first one who said to us, To be different, you must do everything your own way. When he first heard us, he was impressed with the fact that we could take someone’s song—an old standard like ‘Lucille’ or something and make it sound like a new song altogether. George just let us do what we wanted. He didn’t make us put nice melodies in. If anything, he made us toughen our music up.”

“Although George had more experience as a guitarist and a songwriter, he was also a good producer. A lot of people call themselves producers, but in fact they may be more of an engineer, since they know more about sound than about songs or arranging. George knew about everything. A lot of producers can’t even tell you if your guitar is out of tune.”

“George was great to work with in the studio.” adds Angus. “He always said that since we’re a rock and roll band, the less gimmickry, the better. The last album he did with us was our live album back in 78, If You Want Blood You’ve Got It. I remember George saying, “This is the last AC/DC album I’m gonna produce, since you guys already know enough about the type of sound and songs you want.”

I have a strong viewpoint on producers.  A good, smart producer can really get the best out of a band, and to me, they are the real unsung heroes in the history of hard rock and heavy metal music.  George Young, didn’t try to change AC/DC into another Easybeats.  He made them play to their strengths.  He assisted them in making their sound tougher, rawer, edgier and grittier.

After considering a few producers (whom Angus says he would rather not name), AC/DC settled for Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who produced the bands next three albums, Highway To Hell, Back In Black and For Those About To Rock We Salute You. Of these, Back In Black was the most successful, selling a whopping eight million copies.

“That album is our biggest selling album in America,” acknowledges Angus, “but our European fans preferred our early albums. A lot of the sounds on Back In Black are very much like the sounds you hear on the radio these days.”

Mutt Lange, another master producer.  Of course he went on to massive things with Def Leppard, Bryan Adams and Shania Twain.

How many AC/DC fans knew that Lange, produced three AC/DC albums.

Of course, Back In Black has now moved over 30 million units worldwide since its release.  Highway To Hell, the last Bon Scott album has now moved over  10 million units worldwide since its release and For Those About To Rock We Salute You, has now moved over 7 million units worldwide since its release.

It was another super producer, Bruce Fairbairn that helped re-establish AC/DC in the Nineties with the excellent Razors Edge and the classic Thunderstruck.

Could this be why AC/DC decided to produce their last two albums themselves?

“Not really,” says Angus. “We went from working with Mutt to producing ourselves simply because we wanted to. All the material was ready before we went into the studio albums we did with Matt. He left the music to us because he knew what we wanted. But the difference between us and any other band he’s worked with is that he likes to spend a lot of time in the studio, we don’t. I mean, he’s a good producer and he’s good at getting a great performance out of a band, but he spends too much time recording. We can’t stay in a studio for six months to a year on an album – that’s ridiculous.”

Is Angus happy with how Fly On The Wall turned out?

“We think we’ve done a good job and we achieved what we wanted. We just wanted to make a tough and exciting rock and roll record. And that’s what we made.”

Fly On The Wall had two stand out tracks and the rest was filler.  That is why the Who Made Who soundtrack album that came next sold a lot.  Even though it had a two new songs, it was sort of like a greatest hits album, featuring the best AC/DC songs from Back In Black, For Those About To Rock We Salute You and Fly On The Wall.  It also had Ride On from the Bon Scott era.

It wasn’t until The Razors Edge album released in 1990 that AC/DC recaptured the public’s love affair with them.  Since then they have never looked back.  If any young artist is starting out, these articles form the key component to the A to Z of Making It.  Stay true to who you are.  If you do that, and you write great music, an audience will find you.

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Music

Angus Young – Guitar World – March 1986 – Part 1

ANGUS YOUNG – RAW ENERGY IS ALL YOU NEED
Guitar World March 1986
By Joe Lalaina

(All parts in Italics and Quotes are from the March 1986 issue of Guitar World)

The little guy with the big SG is unconcerned with current guitar hero fashions.  His stock in trade has always been the hard rock shuffle to a boogie beat.  Before you drop the needle on any new AC/DC album, you know what to expect. Rarely has a band maintained such a consistent sound as AC/DC, they’ve been pretty much making the same album for the past ten years. Fly On The Wall, the group’s eleventh release, is no exception.

“I’ve heard people say all our music sounds the same,” says soft-spoken lead guitarist Angus Young, “but it’s usually just the people who don’t like us who say it.”

Not true. It’s just that ever since the band’s High Voltage debut back in 76, AC/DC has been playing the same relentlessly raw and straightforward style on every succeeding album. And that’s the way their fans like it.

I like AC/DC.  They are a talisman to consistency.  Each album is the same, however that doesn’t mean that each album was successful.  You need great songs, and that is what AC/DC delivered on High Voltage, Highway To Hell, Let There Be Rock, Back In Black and on The Razors Edge.  Credit both Mutt Lange for Back In Black and Bruce Fairbairn for The Razors Edge.  Actually, The Razors Edge album is the most crucial album AC/DC ever did.  After a steady decline in fortunes and sales since Back In Black, they kicked off the 1990’s with a bang.  It made them relevant again.  The Razors Edge album sustained them throughout the 90’s and into the now.

“We never go overboard and above people’s heads,” says Angus, who took some rare time out from his recent American tour to discuss musical and other matters.

“We strive to retain that energy, that spirit we’ve always had. We feel the more simple and original something is, the better it is. It doesn’t take much for anyone to pick up anything I play, it’s quite simple. I go for a good song. And if you hear a good song, you don’t dissect it, you just listen and every bit seems right.”

For any guitarist that is starting off, AC/DC wrote the book on beginners guitar.  In the process, they also created songs that are timeless and a soundtrack to a whole generation of people in the seventies, eighties and nineties.  I am just teaching my kids to play guitar and the first song i showed them was Long Way To The Top from AC/DC.

Although this stripped-to-the-bone approach has made AC/DC internationally successful, thirty million albums sold worldwide ain’t bad!, Angus is more concerned with having a  good time than with album sales.

“We don’t go around the world counting ticket and record sales,” he says, “nor do we glue our ears to the radio to hear what’s trendy at the moment; we’re not that type of band. We do run our own careers, but we leave the marketing stuff to the record company. We make music for what we know it as, and we definitely have our own style.”

AC/DC defined a style and in the process spawned a million imitators.  What a lot of people don’t understand, especially the international fans, is that Australia rock bands where all playing the same style.  Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Daddy Cool, Stevie Wright all had that pub rock vibe.  AC/DC just stood out a bit more.  Credit Bon Scott and Angus Young.  Brian Johnson walked into the house built by Bon and Angus.

Is there anything Angus considers special about his playing style?

“In some ways, yeah.” he says. “I know what guitar sound I want right away. And if I put my mind to it, I can come up with a few tricks. I mean, I just don’t hit the strings that my
fingers are nearest to. But the most important thing, to me, is I don’t like to bore people. Whenever I play a solo in a song, I make sure that the audience gets off on it as much as I do.”

Angus exerts more energy in the course of one song than most guitarists do in an entire show.

“I’m always very nervy when I play.” he says. I usually settle down after the first few songs, but it’s hard for me to stand still. I suddenly realize where I am, onstage in front of thousands of people; so the energy from the crowd makes me go wild.  I’m always very careful, though. If you bump an arm or twist an ankle, there s no time for healing on the road. You can t tell the crowd. Hey, people, I can t run around tonight I have a twisted ankle.”

I have mentioned before about bands writing great songs and how that is very different to bands that write great songs that go down great live.  AC/DC is another band, that has that foresight.  The songs are all meant for the arena.  To be honest, i don’t really remember a recorded song fading out, i am sure some do, however it is testament to the band that they write a start and an end.

Malcolm Young, AC/DC s rhythm guitarist and Angus older brother, would rather just stand in one spot and bang out the beat with thuddingly repetitive chord structures.  

“Malcolm makes the band sound so full”, says Angus, “and it’s hard to get a big ego if you play in a band with your brother, it keeps your head on the earth. Malcolm is like me, he just wants the two of us to connect. Although he lets me take all the lead breaks, Malcolm’s still a better guitarist than Eddie Van Halen.  Van Halen certainly knows his scales, but I don’t enjoy listening to very technical guitarists who cram all the notes they know into one song.  I mean, Van Halen can do what he does very well, but he’s really just doing finger exercises. If a guitarist wants to practice all the notes he can play, he should do it at home. There’s definitely a place for that type of playing, but it’s not in front of me.”

Big call by Angus.  Dishing on King Eddie.  Back then, I was like WTF?  How dare he?  Eddie was king back in 1986.  He was untouchable.

I didn’t even like AC/DC back in 1986 and I am Australian.  I was so into the U.S. Glam/Hard rock scene, I failed to see the talent that was AC/DC.  I am glad I made up for it in the nineties, when Grunge allowed me to drop out of the mainstream and go searching for classic rock bands.

These days, no one speaks their mind.  They all want to be loved.  No one wants to be hated.  Guess what people, we can see right through it.  We can tell the fakes from the real dealers.  (Nice lyric line by the way, I will keep it)

Angus would much rather listen to old time players like Chuck Berry or B B King. 

“Those guys have great feel, ” says Angus. “They hit the notes in the right spot and they know when not to play. Chuck Berry was never a caring person. He didn’t care whether he was playing his tune, out of tune or someone else’s tune. Whenever he plays guitar, he has a big grin from ear to ear. Everyone always used to rave about Clapton when I was growing up, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well even on a bad night Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be.  Clapton just sticks licks together that he has taken from other people – like B B King and the other old blues players—and puts them together in some mish-mashed fashion. The only great album he ever made was the Blues Breaker album he did with John Mayal and maybe a couple of good songs he did with Cream. The guy more or less built his reputation on that. I never saw what the big fuss was about Clapton to begin with.”

That is what made Angus a legend, he always spoke his mind.  The world we have today is all about yes people and making sure that we don’t offend.  We all want to be loved, hence the reason why one person has 5000 Facebook friends.  Yeah Right.  5000 Friends.  What a load of B.S?  No one speaks their mind these days.  The kids grow up these days, being told by mum and dad what a great game they had in football, and how great they are at reading and how great they are at this, when all they did was touch the ball once and play with the grass most of the time.

It’s easy to get lost in those comments against Clapton and Van Halen.  If you do, you miss the point Angus is trying to make.  He has no time for technical players, but he has time for Chuck Berry.  In relation to Eric Clapton, he didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about, he believed that others where better, like Jeff Beck.

“There are guys out there who can play real good without boring people.  Jeff Beck is one of them.  He’s more of a technical guy, but when he wants to rock and roll he sure knows how to do it with guts.  I really like the early albums he did with Rod Stewart.”

There is that name again Jeff Beck.  When I was reading this magazine, Jeff Beck’s name came up a few times.  I had to check him out.  This is 1986.  No internet to Google Jeff Beck.  No YouTube or Spotify to sample him.  I had to walk down to the local record shop and look for it.  Good times.  I am glad I lived them and I am glad they are not coming back.

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