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

The Record Vault – Boston

Boston was one of those bands who are loved by many and you can’t say anything bad about them. However to me, I really enjoyed a few songs on each album and others not so much.

Boston – Boston

If you want to know the power the artist had, you need to know the story of Boston’s self-titled debut.

Produced by Tom Scholz, the band had received numerous rejection letters from major record labels in the early 1970s, and by 1975, a demo tape had fallen into the hands of CBS-owned Epic Records, who signed them.

Epic wanted the band to record in Los Angeles with a record producer, but Scholz was unwilling and wanted to record the album in his basement studio, so he hired another person to run interference with the label. Scholz tricked the label into thinking the band was recording on the West Coast, when in reality, the bulk of the album was being tracked solely by Scholz at his home.

Basically there was no compromise from Scholz on his vision.

And that vision came out in 1976 to platinum sales. Then again platinum is very misleading for back in those days, a platinum album was given on the backs of how many records got shipped not sold. Regardless it’s stood the test of time.

“More Than A Feeling” is a great song to play on the guitar. Even Kurt Cobain took the main riff and called it “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. But my favourite song is “Piece of Mind” because of the harmony lead breaks in the intro, during the solo and the outro.

Boston – Don’t Look Back

The follow up, released in 1978 on Epic Records and the beginning of the band’s legal fight with Epic.

As mentioned previously, Tom Scholz didn’t compromise on his vision. But this time around he claimed that Epic executives pushed him and the band into releasing the album before they felt it was ready.

How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?

“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus and “Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.

Their next album, “Third Stage”, was not released for another eight years, by which time the band and record label had parted ways and were fighting a courtroom battle that Boston ultimately won.

Third Stage

It finally came out in 1986.

Like all of their previous albums, there are always a few songs which just grab me and make me press repeat.

“Amanda” has a vocal melody which hooks me and that harmony solo which mimics the vocal melody seals the deal.

“Were Ready” has got so many bits and pieces of 80’s song writing in a concise 4 plus minute song. There is no way you cant like.

Clean tone arpeggios. Check.

Harmony Solo check.

Pedal point riff. Check.

Big backing vocals. Check.

And yeah, I know that Boston did these things before, but in “We’re Ready” they got it all MTV ready. Even Vito Bratta must have been impressed because I swear he took some of the riff and called it “Little Fighter” for the intro.

“The Launch” makes me feel like I have won Gold at the Olympics.  And then it morphs into “Cool The Engines” which is a throwback to their 70’s albums. 

“Cantcha Say You Believe In Me/ Still in Love” has a pretty big arena rock chorus as it moves between a ballad and a rocker. But then it moves into the “Still In Love” section, with clean tone arpeggios and little lead licks. For a pop rock album, its pretty progressive in the songwriting department. And then “Still In Love” builds into a lead section which copies the “Cantcha Say You Believe In Me” chorus melody.

 Brilliant.

“Hollyann” is full of harmony leads and what not.

And after that, I’m not sure what happened with Boston. The only thing I do know is that it was years before the next release.

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

1978 – Part 1

Quiet Riot – II

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this in a second hand record shop in the early 90’s for $10.

It’s part of Randy Rhoads origin story.

And what a strange cover, with the guys in the band, dressed up in glam outfits in a locker room with American Football jocks.

What the !!

“Slick Black Cadillac” kicks it off, a song which QR would redo with Carlos Cavazo and release it on “Metal Health”. But you need to hear the RR version.

The piece d’resistance is the solo sections of “Trouble” and “Face To Face” which reminds me of bits and pieces from “Mr Crowley”, “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again”.

And my other favourite is “We’ve Got The Magic”.

Listen to the little melodic leads RR plays in the Chorus.

And who said that RR couldn’t be bluesy. Check out the lead break in this song.

Boston – Don’t Look Back

How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?

“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus.

“Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.

And that’s it for me. Boston has always been a two to three song band per album.

Van Halen – Van Halen

So many good songs for a debut.

It’s the same old saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and a few months for the second.

But Van Halen in their early days were very prolific writers, so even though the first album is full of good moments, a lot of other songs from these days appeared on albums afterwards, all the way up to the reunion with Roth in the two thousands.

“Running With The Devil” kicks it all off with the iconic riff and in the Chorus, Michael Anthony’s backing vocals take centre stage. “Eruption” is now set in stone as one of “the instrumentals” on the Ten Commandments and The Kinks introduced “You Really Got Me” as a Van Halen cover after Van Halen rockified it.

Then the Am to F to G palm muted arpeggiated intro begins for “Aint Talking Bout Love” and another iconic riff is born.

“I’m The One” is the embryo of songs like “House Of Pain” and “Get Up”. “Jamie’s Cryin” was a hit twice, once with Van Halen and once with Tone Loc who sampled the riff and beat for “Wild Thing”.

“Atomic Punk” has that slashing like intro that inspired Slash for the “Mr Brownstone” intro. “Feel Your Love Tonight” could have come from an ELO record and Michael Anthony’s backing vocals are so precise and powerful. “Little Dreamer” has got this rumbling like riff that is cool to play. “Ice Cream Man” didn’t satisfy, but “On Fire” is full of good riffs to enjoy.

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

I always have time for Bruce Springsteen and this album rates as one of his best.

I love the way “Badlands” starts off. The riff is so rock and roll and pop rock all in one. Bands like “ELO” and “Styx” built careers on riffs like these. Then that bluesy sleazy rhythm kicks off “Adam Raised A Cain”.  “Something In The Night” was written in 78, but the intro riff would become a number 1 chart topper in 84, when it became “I’m On Fire”.

The intro piano riff of “Racing In The Street” must have influenced Jonathan Cain as he would write many songs that went to platinum levels of success with a similar vibe and feel. “Promised Land” is about Springsteen’s beliefs in the life he is living, in the country he is born in.

And “Streets Of Fire” is still relevant today as it was back in the Seventies. “Prove It All Night” or “Because The Night”, as there is no difference between them really, especially in the music around the Chorus.

Rainbow – Long Live Rock N Roll

The drum roll snare, the words “All Right” and off we go, into the mystic lands of Rock and Roll, screaming deep into the night, “Long Live Rock And Roll”.

And Richie Blackmore is all over this album, with guitar riffs gifted to him from the “Lady Of The Lake”. If you don’t believe me, check out the verse riff and then that vocal melody in the Pre-Chorus/Chorus from Ronnie James Dio.

And we caught the “L.A Connection” to the “Gates Of Babylon” just to “Kill The King”, hiding out in “The Shed” because our “Rainbow Eyes” are “Sensitive To Light”.

Queen – Jazz

Some of the best riffs from Brian May are on this album.

The guitar riff in “Fat Bottomed Girls” makes the world go around. “If You Can’t Beat Them” has this pop like riff which reminds me of other acts, but Brian May makes it his own.

Listen to “Dead On Time”, it’s basically got a speed rock riff. “Dreamer’s Ball” kicks off with a harmony solo, before it morphs into an acoustic 12 bar blues. Listen to “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy”, with its acoustic riffs which sound full of power.

The drum beat in “More Of That Jazz” is perfect and once Brian May starts with the syncopated riff, it was time to pick up the guitar and learn it. And the Chorus at first sounds metal before it morphs into something like cabaret.

Dire Straits – Dire Straits

Mark Knofler’s guitar tone is brilliant. “Down To The Waterline” is a perfect example of it as he decorates the track with licks and riffs.

By the time I had heard this album, I had already overdosed on “Sultans Of Swings”. It’s one of those tracks like “The Final Countdown”, “Were Not Gonna Take It” and “Livin On A Prayer”. They have been played so many times, so while they are great tracks, you tend to ignore them. Still the finger picked lead break from Knofler is brilliant.

The Cars – The Cars

As I was writing The Car’s section, news hit Twitter that Ric Ocask was found dead in Manhattan at 75 years of age. I was very late getting into “The Cars” but I am glad I did. And what a debut album.

“Good Times Roll” kicks it off with its iconic riff, lyrics and synth lines. Let the good times roll in deed. And they continue with “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed”.

So many songs in the 70’s about their best friends partners. Eric Clapton wrote Layla because he was in love with George Harrison’s wife, which he eventually married. Rick Springfield topped the charts with “Jessie’s Girl” and so did The Cars. And neither song took away from the other. These days, everyone will be suing each other for copying their feels.

“Moving In Stereo” has a metal like riff in the vein of Judas Priest. No one will believe me, but they need to check it out. And the synth lead is perfect.

Well that’s it for the first post. More to come in Part 2.

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Music

Motley Crue and Kiss at the Allphones Arena, Sydney 9th March 2013 – Part 1 – Motley Crue’s Set

Motley Crue and Kiss at the Allphones Arena, Sydney 9th March 2013 – Part 1 – Motley Crue’s Set

Tonight, there’s gonna be a fight
So if you need a place to go
Got two room slum, a mattress and a gun
And the cops don’t never show

The mighty Crue kicked off their set with the excellent Saints of Los Angeles.  Artists these days are not prepared to live the life their heroes lived.  We are all comfy in our middle class homes.  Not the Crue. Anyone who has read The Dirt knows that the Crue’s lifestyle determined their musical style.

I took two of my boys to the concert.  Their first ever RNR concert.  The sound for the Crue was muddled and the drums where very difficult to be heard (whereas Kiss had a far superior mix).  Vince as usual was short of breath and off key.  Maybe the five kidney stones that knocked him out on the next night was the cause.  One thing I can say is that the live show is spectacular, with the lights, the pyro, the backup singers/dancers and Tommy Lee’s rollercoaster. 

So come right in ’cause everybody sins
Welcome to the scene of the crime
You want it? Believe it? We got it if you need it
The devil is a friend of mine

The party line was the scene of the crime.  They lived it, they felt it, they sang it and they made every adolescent kid in the eighties want to do it.    

We are, we are the saints, we signed our life away
Doesn’t matter what you think, we’re gonna do it anyway
We are, we are the saints, one day you will confess
And pray to the saints of Los Angeles

Yes, every band that dreams of fame and fortune, sign their lives away to the Record Label.  From Motley’s perspective, they were four headstrong individuals that wanted to drink and fuck the world.  , It didn’t matter to them what the label said or their manager or agent said they are going to do things their own way.  Not a lot of artists trying to make it these days have that attitude.  It is the ones that do not sell out that end up having a lasting and profitable career.    

Red line tripping on a land mine, sipping at the Troubadour
Girls passed out naked in the back lounge, everybody’s gonna score
She’s all jacked up, she’s down on her luck
You want it, you need it, the devils gonna feed it

The decadence.  Getting tanked at the Troubadour.  I have never been to LA, but listening to this song, made me feel like I have been there and experienced what the Crue did.  The power of music.  It is forever and it touches us all in different ways.  The reference to the devil once again in a song with Saint in the song title.  The Yin and the Yang.  Sharing the groupies with each other and whoever else was in the room.  The debauchery. 

Kneel down ye sinners, to streetwise religion
Greed’s been crowned the new king
Hollywood dream teens, yesterday’s trash queens
Save the blessings for the final ring, Amen

I can’t believe that Nikki Sixx wrote those lyrics when he was shooting up twenty four seven back in 86.  Wild Side is the street man’s bible.  In 1987, Greed had been crowned the new king.  The world was changing.  Technology was starting to get traction and the bankers started to get more power.  Everyone and everything was thrown away as soon as they or it stopped making money for the Corporations. 

I carry my crucifix under my death list
Forward my mail to me in hell
Liars and the martyrs lost faith in the Father
Long lost is the wishing well

Who can we believe in these days?  It seems that evil deeds and good deeds go hand in hand and are committed by the same person.  We lose more and more of our innocence as we get older.  We make choices that are heavily influenced by money. 

Shout shout shout
Shout shout shout
Shout at the devil

Could Shout At The Devil be the best Christian song ever.  Even Stryper would be proud.  Nevertheless, the Crue started the show with three winners.  Ah yes, I still remember the criticism that the Crue took in the 80’s for this album because of the pentagram on the cover.  But as Nikki Sixx described in the Dirt, “It just looks cool. It’s meaningless symbols and s–t. I’m just doing it to piss people off.”  A lot of the artists these days, don’t do this.  They all want to be loved.  It upsets them when they see hate or criticism thrown their way. 

She’s got an alligator bag
Top hat to match
Dressed in black on black
She’s got a Philipino girlie
She claims is her friend
I tell you boys, you just gotta laugh
Now I used to call her Cindy
She changed her name to “Sin”
I guess that’s the name of her game
I really used to love her
Then, the kitty she discovered
It’s got to be a sexual thing

The perfect love song, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, only for girl to leave boy for another girl.  Only the Crue could have pulled a song off like this and with Nikki’s witty street gutter lyrics, it comes off as a treat.  And they gave a new meaning to what SOS stands for.  Same Ol’ Situation

Everybody wants some, what the hell
Everybody needs some, everybody yell
Ohh (Ohh) , No (No)
Don’t need no lovin, no respect
Cos it’s all about the sex (SEX!)
Cos it’s all about the
Ohh (Ohh) Yeah (Yeah)
What gets me off is a little neglect
Cos it’s all about the sex (SEX!)
It’s all about the

Finally a Crue song about what they like doing best.  Sex.  Two of their stars even stared in their own movies.  Could this be the reason why the Crue returned in 2004 bigger and better?  I think those two sex tapes combined with The Dirt re-launched the Crue and made them relevant again.   They where all over the internet. 

Home Sweet Home didn’t go down to well.  As Tommy Lee was playing the piano, either Vince’s mike got cut or he forgot when to come in.  To me it sounded like he forgot when to come in and this put the band off.  Home Sweet Home was the Turn The Page of 85, and by 86 – Wanted Dead Or Alive by Jovi would have replaced it.

That’s alright, that’s okay
We were walkin’ through some youth
Smilin’ through some pain
That’s alright, that’s okay
Let’s turn the page

Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) was the first song on Dr Feelgood that I repeated constantly.  I loved the title and the way the song starts off as a Rob Stewart Maggie May, before kicking in to a Boston – Don’t Look Back / T Rex style groove.  It was one of those songs that put growing up out there.  It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to be happy.  It’s okay to love and it’s okay to leave.  Just turn the page and move on. 

The Drum solo and guitar solo parts are the weakest part of the shows.  It would have been way cooler if Tommy Lee actually drummed to Primal Scream while doing the drum coaster.  And it would have been way cooler if Mick Mars did an extended solo break on the Home Sweet Home solo with the band and all as his back up, sort of like how John Petrucci does in Hollow Years.

Broke dick dog
My head slung low
Tail knocked in the dirt
Time and time of being told
Trash is all I’m worth
When I was just a young boy
Had to take a little grief
Now that I’m much older
Don’t put your shit on me

Primal Scream was a 90’s version of We’re Not Gonna Take It.  The kid from 1985 is now six years older.  And I didn’t take shit.  I knocked a kid out because he stepped on my school bag.  It was an accident that he stepped on my bag, but man I was an angry kid.  I was angry at the system.  My home life was good, but teachers just didn’t understand me. 

Plug me in
I’m alive tonight
Out on the streets again
Turn me on
I’m too hot to stop
Something you’ll never forget
Take my fist
Break down walls
I’m on top tonight
No, no
You better turn me loose
You better set me free
Cause I’m hot, young, running free
A little bit better than I use to be 

Cause I’m alive
Live Wire

When I first heard Live Wire, I was just a kid.  As I got older, I got stronger.  As I got stronger, I felt invincible.  I believed that I was invincible.  This is before marriage and before kids.  That is when a person’s life becomes complicated in the sense that it is not about them anymore.  Until that day came to me, I was feeling alive and was trying to break down as many walls as I could. 

He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He’s the one that makes ya feel alright
He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood

Cops on the corner always ignore
Somebody’s getting paid
Jimmy’s got it wired, law’s for hire
Got it made in the shade
Got a little hideaway, does business all day
But at night he’ll always be found
Selling sugar to the sweet
People on the street
Call this Jimmy’s town

The Dr. Feelgood album has gone into history as Motley Crue’s best album and also the album that Metallica wanted to emulate in its sound.  This in turn led to Metallica working with Bob Rock, and the best-selling album of the Sound Scan era.  How cool did Nikki Sixx sum up corruption?  That is why we can never win the war on drugs.  There is too much money going around, and a person on a shitty wage will always be tempted to look the other way.  This is also why the RIAA and MPAA will never win the war on people sharing.  If people want to share, they will share, regardless of the laws and fines around copyright infringement.  If people want to sell drugs and take drugs, they will, regardless of the rules and jail time around it. 

Friday night and I need a fight
My motorcycle and a switchblade knife
Handful of grease in my hair feels right
But what I need to make me tight are

Girls, Girls, Girls
Long legs and burgundy lips
Girls, Girls, Girls
Dancin’ down on Sunset Strip
Girls, Girls, Girls
Red lips, fingertips

Only the Crue could release a song like this.  Again their lifestyles determined their musical styles.  They talk about LA and the Sunset Strip.  It made you want to go there.  Just to see those girls with the long legs and burgundy lips. 

When I get high
I get high on speed
Top fuel funny car’s
A drug for me
My heart, my heart
Kickstart my heart
Always got the cops
Coming after me
Custom built bike doing 103
My heart, my heart
Kickstart my heart

This is the song where Vince sings the words When I, speed and me from the first four lines.  That’s it, that is all he sang.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  Kickstart My Heart = taking things we do in life and doing then to the extreme.  A lot of people link this song to Nikki Sixx’s overdose and resurrection and the title does make you believe that is so.  However the only reference to that part of his life is the lyric Adrenalin running through my veins.  To me this how we should live our lives.  If we are not doing things out of our comfort zone and pushing ourselves we could end up like the billions around the world, toeing the same line of live, work and die.  

Crue set is over, my two boys are like WOW.  And that in itself is worth the $800 i paid for 4 tickets.  This is my third time seeing the Crue.  This show for me was all about experiencing them with my kids.  Hopefully when they come around again a few years time my one year old will be old enough to come.

Next up KISS.

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The Night Flight Orchestra – Internal Affairs (2012)

2012 Album released that should not be forgotten.

Wow – what a classic rock album released in June 2012.

Internal Affairs

The Night Flight Orchestra (NFO) is a side project / super group of Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) on vocals, Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy) on bass, David Anderson (Meanstreak and Soilwork session player) on guitars, Jonas Kallsback (Meanstreak) on drums and Richard Larsson (Von Benzo) on drums.

Imagine Kiss, Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Bee Gees, Boston, Deep Purple, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin and Journey thrown into a blender.  The result is The Night Flight Orchestra.

1. Siberian Queen kicks it off with its combination of Led Zep’s Immigrant Song and Achilles Last Stand.  This icy princess from the Russian wilderness, starts to do the opposite and warm the ear buds for more.

2. California Morning kicks off with a Boston meets Kiss guitar riff to tell the story about  tearful goodbyes on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

3. Glowing City Madness – This has an Elton John style vocal melody to tell the story of an Asian Dancer.

4. West Ruth Ave – Wow, what a catchy hook on this song.  This song is hit potential and it deserves to go viral so that everyone hears Bjorn’s story of fleeing Ft Lauderdale and ending up in Phoenix. It has that Gotye levels of catchy, a Kiss Dynasty / Foreigner / Bee Gees rock disco vibe and a Layla esque outro.

5. Transatlantic Blues – The first part is very Styx like and then it moves into a heavy Deep Purple meets Kiss War Machine style riff.  Even Jake E Lee referenced the same classic rock material for his Badlands project with Ray Gillan on vocals.

I read somewhere on the net that this song is about embarking on an inner journey and ending up in the middle of nowhere, shitfaced and listening to KANSAS.

6. Miami 5:02 – This is what happens when Van Halen meets Deep Purple.  Waking up in Florida in your birthday suit and a pair of Ray Bans.

7. Internal Affairs – Play That Funky Music White Boy meets Stevie Wonder Superstitious.  Nothing more should be said.  This funky ode is to a mysterious women from the age of the Cold War.

8. 1998 – is the 2012 version of Bob Seger’s classic 70’s recordings like Turn The Page and Night Moves crossed with the best of the Michael Stanley Band.  This song tells the story of travelling the endless highways of America.

9. Stella Ain’t no Dove – The threesome party anthem.

10. Montreal Midnight Supply – This is Deep Purple, 38 Special and Kiss Detroit Rock City stomping shuffle.  In the chorus it even sounds like Y&T’s Midnight In Tokyo.  Throughout the whole song you get that classic twin guitar feel of Thin Lizzy.

11. Green Hills of Glumslöv – Glumslöv is the small village in Sweden where Bjorn is from.  When you hear this song, you will get the instant sensation of the Warriors returning to Coney Island and Joe Walsh’s In The City playing in the background.  There is also a large Queen influence in this.

12. American High is the digital bonus track.

Overall its a great album.

What could have NFO done differently with this release?

Since they embraced the 70’s vibe in the music, in my view they should have embraced the 70’s vibe for marketing and released an 8 song album (Tracks 1 to 8) and then released ‘4 singles with a B side’.  Tracks 9 to 12 could have been the B sides.  Single material songs are West Ruth Ave, Internal Affairs, California Morning and Transatlantic Blues.

 

 

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