A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

One Thing Cannot Be Disputed; Those Artists Who “Steal, Copy, Imitate” Are The Most Successful

So you are one of those artists that has a song or a few songs in the list of 4 million that haven’t been streamed yet on Spotify.

Then you hear a song that sounds very similar to your song.

Do you scream “theft” and lawyer up, preparing for a court case that you don’t have the funds for?
Do you just shrug your shoulders and move on?
Do you send the artist an email and ask him to acknowledge you as a songwriter to their song?
Do you use the fame of the current song to bring attention to your song?

I am sure in 90% of the cases, everyone will do the first part. Everyone will scream theft and then they will start a long and expensive court process. If the publisher controls the copyright, then this will happen 100% of the time.

Since the Copyright industries have grown into Corporate monoliths, it is suddenly uncool for an artist to use previous works as influences for further works. Even the audience of certain bands weigh in on the argument, calling certain bands rip offs and so forth.

However, one thing cannot be disputed, those artists who “steal” are the most successful. Those who “imitate” are the most successful. Those who “copy” are the most successful.

Led Zeppelin built a career on copying blues and folk standards.

Metallica built their career by copying their NWOBM influences and many others.

Oasis built a career on copying from “The Beatles”.

The Beatles built a career on copying from blues and rock standards.

Coldplay has built a career on the “progress is derivative” model.

Bon Jovi has built a career on re-writing their hits. Seriously, if you look at their catalogue, “Living On A Prayer” has been rewritten for every album that came after “Slippery When Wet.” New Jersey had “Born To Be My Baby”. Keep The Faith had the title track. Crush had “It’s My Life”.

In the rock and metal worlds let’s look at the songs burning up the rock charts.

Five Finger Death Punch – “Lift Me Up” has a vocal melody in the verses similar to “The Ultimate Sin” from Ozzy Osbourne. A lot of people call it theft, I call it influence. Imitation is a form of flattery. The song is getting the plays. People are paying attention and that is what artists want.

It is not about sales anymore, it is about listening. Are people listening to your music?

Avenged Sevenfold – the whole “Hail To The King” album copies from other artists who of course copied from other artists for their own music. Again, a lot of people call it theft, I call it influence. Imitation is a form of flattery.

Megadeth paid homage to Black Sabbath’s, “Children of the Grave” in their new song “Kingmaker”.

Alter Bridge also paid homage to Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Revelation Mother Earth” in the solo section of their song “Fortress”.

Continuing on with Alter Bridge, the song “The Uninvited” has a strong resemblance to Tool’s “Schism”. Do these odes to their influences make them unoriginal? No chance. The “Fortress” album is a great showpiece in technical riffage and great melodies.

Airbourne is making a career referencing AC/DC.

Motley Crue borrowed from Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” and Stevie Wright’s “Eve” for their song “Sex”.

Black Sabbath copied from their own past to create ’13’. “The End Of The Beginning” is basically the song “Black Sabbath” re-written again in 2012

Call it the Rick Rubin effect. He even convinced Metallica to rewrite their earlier albums for 2008’s “Death Magnetic.”

Dream Theater even borrowed from the Rick Rubin effect. They got some flack on “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”, as the songs followed a similar structure to songs from “Images and Words”. Dream Theater did do a great job at masking it, as the songs do come across as independent “stand on their own” compositions, however the hard core fans will pick up the references to their earlier material.

The next time a person is creating their little masterpiece and it sounds like something that is known before, don’t abandon it. Chances are it will connect with millions.

It is a shame that we have a generation of people that have grown up with a belief that music is created in a vacuum and they decide that legal threats is the best way forward. When Balance Sheets are affected, these industries will do anything to hold on or maintain their profits.

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Music, My Stories, Piracy, Review in 40 Words

Review in 40 Words – Alter Bridge – Fortress (2013)

Brilliant album. Tremonti and Kennedy are a formidable songwriting team. This album is an extension of ABIII with extra influences added. “Fortress” solo section is worth the price of the album. “Children of The Grave” merged with “Revelation (Mother Earth)”.

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A to Z of Making It, Music

Megadeth

Dave Mustaine.  He has a mouth on him, an influential legacy, a chip on his shoulder called Metallica and an excellent outlet of creativity called Megadeth.  He is super creative on other fronts as well.  He is a book author. He runs his own label. He organises the Gigantour tours. In my view, he is the creator of technical metal riffing.

The shit he did in the early days of Metallica and Megadeth, set the standard for many bands to come.  He raised the bar.  As much as everyone credits James Hetfield for being this awesome riff machine, I believe that James knows deep inside, that angry young Dave Mustaine, was an influence on him.

I am just listening to a new song called Kingmaker from the upcoming album Super Collider.  The first thing that grabs my attention is the Children of The Grave influence in the verses.  At one stage the vocal melodies are identical.

I like it when artists give a nod to their influences.  Of course some “artists” create music in a vacuum and that is why they are so original and never influenced by anyone.  Yeah right, whoever tells you that is spinning bull shit on a grand scale.

It is way better than the major key happy feeling Super Collider.  Actually i wouldn’t be surprised if this song is a left over song from the Cryptic Writings or Risk album sessions.  It fits those musical styles.

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Music

Stone Sour – Children Of The Grave

Stone Sour – Children Of The Grave

“… without this band, no one back stage and no one out here, will have a career or a life.  This is dedicated to the band that started it all, Black Sabbath.”

Corey is spot on.  I know I have been tough on Sabbath and their new songs so far, however there is no denying their contribution to the metal genre.  

Children of The Grave is my best Sabbath song.  I still prefer the blistering Randy Rhoads version on Tribute.  It’s got more of a metal feel to it and the lead break that Randy unleashes is another one of his songs within a song lead break.

Stone Sour kills it, Corey’s vocals are spot on during the verses.  I like the Slipknot guest appearances.  What kind of forward flip was that from one of them?  They ended up on their asses.

Performing live is a tough gig.  On stage the sound is always different to what you think people are hearing.  I have walked of stages, thinking what a top show and then people come up and tell you, that the sound was horrible.

You notice the difference in sound, between the camera that is way out compared to the camera that is close in.

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Music, My Stories

Black Sabbath – Are They Still Relevant?

I watched Black Sabbath at the Allphones Arena, in Sydney last night and i was wondering, if they are still relevant.

Black Sabbath owned the beginning of the 70’s.  Towards the end of that era the band was bleeding and Ozzy was fired.  The beginning of the 80’s, saw Black Sabbath have the Heaven and Hell period, with Ronnie James Dio on vocals.  After that, you can say the band didn’t really set the world of fire, however i must admit that i have a soft spot for the Eternal Idol and Headless Cross albums with Tony Martin on vocals.  The Dehumanizer album in 1992 with Dio was an attempt to make both Dio and Sabbath relevant in the 90’s, however it didn’t really hit the mark.  

In the crowd around me, there was an audience of young and old.  Fan T-Shirts of the younger generation showed a lot of Ozzy colours (especially the Diary/Blizzard era), so it is safe to say, that Ozzy’s solo career has played a big part in Sabbath finding a new audience.   That is how i got into Sabbath, from Ozzy’s solo career.

Then I saw Machine Head, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Rob Zombie and Metallica t-shirts on fans.  These concertgoers are fans of those bands, checking out Black Sabbath, as all of those bands have mentioned Sabbath as an influence.  Rob Zombie is one person who speaks very highly of Sabbath.

One thing that really irks me, is Rick Rubin.  He was an extraordinary producer once upon a time.  Not anymore.  Black Sabbath did wrong taking him on board for the new album.  From what I have heard so far, it is a dead set joke.  It is basically Black Sabbath 2013, covering Black Sabbath 1969 – 1972.

Black Sabbath of the 70’s questioned authority, challenged institutions and preyed on people’s fears of heaven and hell.  They don’t do that anymore.  Why is why the current music they are releasing sucks.

What happened to the two new tracks Psycho Man and Selling My Soul from the Reunion CD?   They are better than the two songs they have released so far from 13.  I was re-listening to God Is Dead! again.  I have given this song a few go’s now, trying to find something to like about it, as all the celebrity metal / rock musicians have spoken what a great song it is.  

It is still mediocre.  Then I came across a song called In Due Time from Killswitch Engage.  It got me interested.  It hit a nerve inside of me, and I needed to know more.  The melody in the music is captivating and heavy, the chorus is unbelievable melodic and catchy, the screaming in the verses borders on insanity… SHADOWS GIVE WAY TO LIGHT…  

Listening to In Due Time brought back memories of Live In Love from Times of Grace, which is more or less Adam and Jesse from Killswitch.  After listening to Live in Love, I went back to the 2009 Killswitch album and cranked The Forgotten, hearing Howard Jones singing it and if he is reading this, he will never be forgotten.

When i listen to Sabbath, i think of Randy Rhoads and the unbelievable version he did of Children of the Grave on the Tribute album.  When i listen to Sabbath, i think of Ronnie James Dio.  When i listen to Sabbath, i think of Ozzy.   To me Ozzy is more relevant than what Sabbath is.  Ozzy really didn’t have to go back to Sabbath for a new album, he didn’t need it.

So is Black Sabbath still relevant.  For their influence and legacy, YES.  As a band writing new music, NO.  It is great that they are attempting to release a new album, however as i have mentioned previously, if it is not great, people will move on.  Our time is short these days.

Life has its highs and it’s lows.  Careers are the same.  I don’t want to waste time listening to lame music anymore, I’m ready for great.  Black Sabbath have been away for a while now.  The Ozzfest shows gave them some leverage again.  People saw them, appreciated it, but no one was eagerly waiting for them to reform and do a new album.

The new Black Sabbath album will be a hit.  It will sell at least a million in my view.  These days, it’s not about the hit record anymore, it’s about sustaining the buzz.  In my mind, 13 is already in the rearview mirror and it hasn’t been released yet.     

 

 

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Music

Black Sabbath must have the same marketing team as Bon Jovi

Black Sabbath

I am going to watch Black Sabbath towards the end of April.  The way I got into Black Sabbath is through Randy Rhoads.  He was my idol.  The Tribute, Blizzard and Diary albums became my bibles in relation to guitar playing.  I needed to learn every riff, every lick, every bass line and every vocal melody line.  It was an obsession.

On Tribute, I heard three songs that where not written by the usual Ozzy, Randy and Bob Daisley combination.  I actually feel sorry for Bob Daisley.  Sharon tried her hardest to write Bob out of the Ozzy history and to give the barely sober Ozzy a bigger role in the song writing process.  It’s common knowledge that Randy wrote the music, Bob the lyrics and the melodies where Ozzy’s.

Paranoid, Iron Man and Children Of The Grave where the songs.  On the album sleeve it mentioned that the songs are written by Osbourne, Iommi, Butler and Ward.

This is the pre internet era, so you couldn’t just Google the names.  You needed to read the album sleeve, buy magazines or ask older people if they know anything about the artists.

It was Children of The Grave that got my attention.  The way it’s done on Tribute, the original Black Sabbath version sounded lame when I heard it.  The tempo was slower and it didn’t have the wonderful Randy Rhoads Guitar Hero solo.

So Black Sabbath is about to release a new album.  The first one with Ozzy since 1978’s Never Say Die.  It’s called 13.  They even got Rick Rubin involved.  What he actuakky dies these days is open to discussion.  Ozzy calls the album, mind blowing.  It’s the usual approach of the old school of marketing.  Talk up an album before its release.

Ozzy’s last great album was No More Tears featuring the wonderful bass playing of Bob Daisley.  His musical career has been slowly declining however his net worth has been increasing due to Ozzfest and reality TV.  Does anyone remember any songs from Black Rain, Scream and Down To Earth.  Do people care about a new Black Sabbath album?  Heaven and Hell (the recent Dio fronted Sabbath) made their money through ticket sales, which focused on the legacy created by the first two Dio fronted albums.

One thing that Black Sabbath doesn’t seem to know is that this is a new era.  They are doing it all wrong, like how it was done in the old days.  Top down marketing.  Hit the fans across the head with a sledgehammer of marketing propaganda and hope they spread the word.  No one in the streets is spreading the word.   Yeah its all over the usual music websites and the band is doing radio interviews, but no one is really pushing it socially.  Black Sabbath has fans, there is no doubt about that but it does it know any of them.

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