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

The Pirate Vault #10

The Angels – Live Line

There was a period in Australian music when “The Angels” ruled. Their brand of punk rock, merged with New Wave and hard rock, connected with all kinds of audiences.

I never owned any of their music, just the video clips which I taped from the music TV stations and a few taped cassettes. I taped this cassette from one of my brothers friends who was a DJ for parties and most of the parties back then played hard rock songs.

Coming in 1987, its sandwiched between my two favourite albums, 1986’s “Howling” and 1990’s “Beyond Salvation”.

In Australia, it charted high and The Angels did a massive tour to support the live album with a three hour, An Evening With concept.

Alice Cooper – Raise Your Fist And Yell
King Diamond – Fatal Portrait

“Freedom” and “Time To Kill” are two songs which stood out for me. They had that blend of Alice Cooper 70’s Anthems and 80’s MTV Hard Rock. And what a band Alice Cooper had, with future Winger bandmates Winger and Paul Taylor on bass and keys, future House Of Lords drummer Ken Mary, and Kane Roberts on guitar.

For King Diamond, I was on an Andy LaRocque phase. This is the debut solo album for King Diamond and it has Michael Denner from Mercyful Fate as well on guitars.

Blank Title Mix Tape

This tape was done to get me out of a musical rut. My line of thinking went something like this;

  • Put all these different style of songs on a tape.
  • Listen to it and my song writing will change.

So there is some variation in the song but it’s all still rock and metal.

Side A

Boston – Amanda

This song took me by surprise and made me realise, what a good song it is.

Judas Priest – Blood Red Skies

From the “Ram It Down’ album, it’s my favourite cut.

That acoustic intro, it brings back memories of Scorpions, Accept and Crimson Glory. Halford vocally and melodically is brilliant.

Then at 1.44 it goes into this “Turbo” feel. Which is not surprising as the song was meant to be part of the Turbo double album that the label stopped.

Heart – All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You

I had a Mutt Lange phase.

I couldn’t believe the amount of hits this dude was writing or involved in, so I was trying to listen to em as much of em as possible.

He wrote this song in the 70’s as a normal love song for Don Henley and it was recorded by a different artist called Dobie Gray. He then updated the lyrics about “an affair to conceive a baby” in the 90’s and this is Heart’s version, released in 1994.

Heart have abandoned the song, refusing to play it live as vocalist Ann Wilson hated the message in the song, but the band were under pressure by the label to do it.

Asia – Only Time Will Tell

From their 1982 debut album, written by John Wetton and Geoff Downes.

MSG – I’m Gonna Make You Mine

From “Built To Destroy”, released in 1983, written by Andy Nye, Michael Schenker, Gary Barden and Ted McKenna.

Tygers Of Pang Tang – Mirror

This is a John Sykes cut from “Spellbound” released in 1981. It closes side 1 and it’s one of those cuts that makes you press repeat.

Europe – Ninja

Released in 1986, it closes Side 1.

The same side which has “The Final Countdown”, “Rock The Night” and “Carrie”.

The lead guitar melody in the intro and in the Chorus is what hooks me.

Keel – The Right To Rock

Released in 1985 and produced by Gene Simmons.

Ron Keel did everything at ten, but it’s the AC/DC like riff in the intro that gets me to pay attention. And then I heard the first two lines of the 1st verse, “all my life I’ve been fighting for the right to make my stand”.

And I was in.

MSG – Desert Song

One of my favourite Schenker songs, with the carbon copy riff from “Love To Love”.

Keel – United Nations

Released in 1987 and produced by Michael Wagener. Ron keel did everything at ten take 2 but it’s that harmony guitar intro which hooked me in again.

And the label they were on, just didn’t know how to market the band and this album would be the last to feature both Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay on guitars.

Side B

WASP – The Real Me

It’s a cover from The Who and WASP do an excellent job, capturing the craziness of Moon on the drums and Entwistle on the bass.

Scorpions – Don’t Stop At The Top

From 1988 and their “Savage Amusement” album.

A great intro and a brilliant first verse.

“You never take the easy way, the wind is blowing straight into your face” is covering the resilience self-help industry.

“There’s no risk that you’re not taking, not a mountain that’s too high, spread your wings, you’re gonna make it to the best time of your life” covers the perseverance self-help industry.

Why buy a 300 page book from an Harvard grad, when the Scorpions have it all for you.

And the lead breaks from Rarebell are the breaks of guitar heroes.

Black Sabbath – Children Of The Sea

From 1980 and the excellent “Heaven And Hell” album.

The many different movements from the acoustic intro to the doomy guitar riff about humanity being the lost children of the sea.

Whitesnake – Blindman

It appeared on a Whitesnake album called “Ready An’ Willing” in 1980, but it was released on David Coverdale’s solo album, called ”The White Snake” in 1977.

One of my favourite Whitesnake songs, done as a power ballad but the way power ballads were done in the 70’s.

Heart – Who Will You Run To

From “Bad Animals” released in 1985 and written by Diane Warren. It was overshadowed by the power ballad “Alone”,

Lita Ford – Falling In And Out Of Love

Released in 1988 on the “Lita” album and co-written with Nikki Sixx. The music, the vocal melodies and the guitar leads are all perfect.

And I was all in.

MSG – Follow The Night

This was the last throw of the dice for the label.

The album “Perfect Timing” was released in 1987. The production was a typical 80’s glam/hair metal production, instead of his normal UFO/British production from the previous albums. The Choruses were all big AOR attempts so the songs could chart.

But I am a Schenker fan because of his guitar playing and when he has a song that makes me pick up the guitar to learn it, I am in.

RUSH – Afterimage

From “Grace Under Pressure” released in 1984. Apart from the music capturing me, the lyrics from Peart about the death of a friend sealed the deal.

Sanctuary- Future Tense

From 1990.

A monster of a song.

It starts off doomy like Black Sabbath, before it builds into a metal tune.

And the lyrics. Check em out.

What do you see on the news when you watch T.V.
War in the name of God, or a playground killing spree

Has anything changed since 1990.

Politicians promise you the world, and a preacher cries
All he ever wanted was your money, and a bitch on the side
What went wrong? Did society twist him?

There is a saying that society does twist everyone as no one is born to hate, steal and lie. Those seeds are implanted. It’s like the saying, everyone is born to win and raised to lose.

What do you see in the centre of the public eye
Rock stars on smack, and a serial killer fries

The media reports what will get eyeballs. Feel-good stories don’t get eyeballs like the train wrecked lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Radicals blame suicide and murder on our form of art
Brainwash the youth, you know they claim we all play a part
What a shame that they can’t think for themselves

Remember that 80’s Satanic Panic and all the court cases that came out of it. Judas Priest and Ozzy got taken to court because of it.

And the band was pressured to change their musical style from metal to grunge by the label. But bassist Jim Sheppard and vocalist Warrel Dane did not agree and they would go on to form Nevermore, which they kept running for 17 years plus before they returned to Sanctuary.

And they released the excellent “The Year The Sun Died” in 2014.

And then Warrel Dane died from a heart attack in 2017, while he was recording a follow up to his first solo album, “Praises To The War Machine” which was released in 2008. This album “Shadow Work” came out in 2018 but it wasn’t done properly, as it was completed using vocals from various studio and pre-production sessions.

Keel – The Final Frontier

Released in 1986 and produced by Gene Simmons. Remember Ron Keel operates at an intensity of 10.

Magellan – Test For Wills
Angra – Fireworks

My cousin who was into Death Metal, was also in Thrash Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Progressive Rock/Metal.

Basically he was into everything distorted and he had the dollars to purchase.

So he was my filter.

He recommended these two albums to me, but I don’t recall anything from em.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Cassette Copying Incorporated

Copying of music has always been there. People once upon a time used to listen to the radio and record songs from it. People used to record video clips from TV music stations. People would make a copy of an LP from their friend or a family member. Hell, we would make copies of a copied album and so forth. In other words, the music industry grew because of copying.

So if we used the buzzword of the modern era, piracy was rampant back in the 80’s. Most of my music collection during that period was made up of music taped onto blank cassettes. Every time I visited my older cousin, I was armed with blank cassettes and proceeded to copy albums that he had purchased. I was not alone in doing this, nor was I the first. Most of the music from the seventies that was passed down to me by my brothers was in the same format (blank cassettes that got filled with music).

You know that peak year of sales for the recording business in 1998. Well there is research out there which suggests it was due to two reasons. One reason was people replacing their vinyl collections with CD’s and the other reason is the people who had music on blank cassettes in the 80’s finally having enough disposable income to buy their favourites on CD.

I fit into both reasons because in the 90’s, I purchased every album I had on dubbed cassettes on CD. I re-purchased every LP I had on CD. I went to second hand record shops and purchased LP’s from the Eighties and Seventies very cheap. I was not the only one that did the above.

All of this copying allowed bands to have fans. And fans are not people who just spend money on something because they are a fan. Fans are people who enjoy a particular product. Some fans pay for that product early on while others pay for it later on. Some don’t pay at all. If it wasn’t for cassette copying, I never would have heard the full length albums of bands that didn’t do the rounds on MTV. I never would have heard “Master Of Puppets” from Metallica. After hearing it, “…And Justice For All” was a purchase on release day. It was many years later that an original copy of “Master Of Puppets” came into my collection.

Funny thing, my brothers had a friend with a nickname “Greeny”. He got that nickname because he was a tight arse and even though in Australia we don’t call money “green”, my brothers saw a movie that used the word “Green” as an analogy for money, so Greeny got his nickname.

Now Greeny, would always purchase metal and rock music. It was in his car stereo, I heard Kix “Blow My Fuse”, Bonfire “Fireworks”, Night Ranger “Midnight Madness”, Leatherwolf “Street Ready” and so many more. I always asked to borrow a cassette and make a copy of it, or i asked if he could make a copy of it for me.

And Greeny always said no. He always said, why should he pay $15 for the album, while I paid $10 for three blank 90 cassettes and dubbed six albums from him. So I had to resort to a different strategy. My five fingers would stealthy move and take the cassette from his car, without him knowing. I knew that I had a small time window to dub it before he found out so I would use the high speed dubbing on my stereo to copy it.

When Greeny found out a tape was missing he was always storming over to get his cassette back. In time and before I left the car with my bros he would do a stock take of his collection, so my borrowing days were over. But from borrowing and copying (which the labels call stealing and piracy today), I never would have become the fan of music I am and I probably would have had four houses paid off, instead of having a tonne of grey concert shirts, ticket stubs and a wall to wall record collection.

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Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Cassette’s and MP3’s

When people think about albums, they usually think about a product like Vinyl or Compact Disc. These days, it’s more access and less product, so the album viewpoint for my children is totally different with my viewpoint.

And while the mp3 is blamed by the record labels from bringing down the recording business which the labels called the music business, there was another technology out that changed the way we access and share music.

Say hello to the mighty compact cassette.

It allowed me to make demo after demo, mix tape after mix tape and it allowed me to copy a lot of albums from people who either had the original album or had a copy of the album from someone else who either had the original or had a copy. You get my drift. It could be an endless copying cycle.

It was first introduced in 1963 by Phillips for dictation purposes and due to their convenience and portability, by the 1980’s pre-recorded cassettes were out-selling vinyl LP’s.

Phillips also decided to give away the rights for free, instead of making money from licensing. This meant there was no incentive for other companies to create a competing format. Instead they could focus on making it sound better. That’s why you had TDK, Phillips, BASF, Sony, Phillips and many more companies making cassette tapes.

This led to cars coming with cassette players, and homes getting equipped with cassette recorders which would morph to portable cassette players and finally, the Sony Walkman.

Of course, the record labels as usual screamed loud and hard to their politician friends to pass new laws and stop this new sharing culture.

Remember their headline, “Home taping is killing music.” See how they used the term “music” instead of “record labels”. A more accurate and truthful headline would be, “Home Taping is Spreading Music to the Masses” or “Home Taping Is Spreading Music And This Leads To Increased Sales Later On”.

The local sharing culture that the Cassette tape created continued with CD-R’s and then it spread into a worldwide culture with the mp3 and Napster. And the record label machine just changed the “Home Taping” with “Piracy” and still kept pumping millions of dollars to politicians to pass the laws the labels had written.

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Music

PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia)states its an important win for artists

There is an article over at Computerworld about how the Federal Court of Australia “ruled that Internet simulcasts of radio programs are not broadcasts under the Copyright Act and therefore are not covered by existing licences granted to commercial radio stations.” 

The Federal Court believes that the a radio program transmitted from a “terrestrial transmitter is a different broadcasting service from the delivery of the same radio program using the internet.”

This is typical of the record labels still keeping one foot in the past and not moving with the present.  It is clear that the recording business survives by sales of recorded music.  Since recorded music revenues are not what they used to be compared to the glory years of the 90’s when everybody was re-purchasing their scratched LP’s or chewed up tapes onto CD, the labels have tried every lobbying/bribery trick in the book to get legislation passed that gives them back the control that the Internet has taken away.

Could this the labels secretly trying to kill off radio simulcasting so that the streaming services are all that remain, like Spotify, which the labels have a stake in.  As the Australian Copyright Council said, the decision “leaves open the possibility for new licences to be negotiated for content that is streamed by way of radio simulcast on the Internet.”

Based on the labels past experience, the labels will insist on a super high licence fees as they hate the current statutory cap on commercial radio who need to pay just one percent of their gross income.  Therefore i am sure the radio’s wont pay this new excessive rate and hence the labels will kill this promotional outlet.

“This is an important win for artists and labels whose music is used widely on the internet to help drive profits for Australia’s radio industry,” said PPCA CEO, Dan Rosen.

I wonder how many artists where signed up for this action.  I wonder how much of the new fees would go back to artists as the labels are renowned for their creative accounting practices.   And what artists are we talking about here, as most independent artists don’t get played on mainstream radio.

To me Radio should be the last thing up and coming artists should strive for.  PSY was broken by YouTube without any mainstream publicity.  He dropped Gangnam Style without publicity and the online world built it into the monster it became.  The mainstream channels just picked up the crumbs.

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