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

Time Machine

Since I did my left knee I have been in bit of a slump. At first I thought it was some minor bruising and tissue swelling. I was getting better and within 2 weeks of the injury I was walking properly. There was still some tenderness however it didn’t concern me. During that period I also had an MRI.

Then I got the results.

Basically I have a complete tear of the ACL and a partial tear of the MCL.

Now I was very surprised at the mess in my left knee that the MRI showed. I was feeling better and even contemplating playing sport again.

The Doctor was very surprised to see me walking unassisted and pain-free. According to the Doc, I should have been in a bit of a bother.

The weird thing is that after the Doctor told me the results guess what started to happen.

I started to limp.

Isn’t it amazing how the mind processes information. Prior to knowing how unstable my left knee really is, I was walking fine and contemplating returning to the soccer field on the weekend.

After I was told the MRI results on Wednesday my mind became fearful that if I tried to walk properly I was doing more damage to my left knee and I started to limp.

So here I am bumming my way through the days. I always turn to music in days like these. At the moment I am trying to find some new band that I haven’t heard off that just blows me away.

I listened to “Issa” (Finnish female rock goddess) new album “Crossfire”. It’s actually her third album and it did nothing for me.

I listened to “We Are Harlots” self titled debut. For those that don’t know they are the hard rock super group formed by ex Asking Alexandria vocalist Danny Worsnop and ex Sebastian Bach guitarist Jeff George. I enjoyed three songs in “Someday”, “Never Turn Back” and “Love For The Night”. The sad thing is that those songs are not the ones out there promoting the album.

Then I listened to an album from a Swedish band called “Dirty Passion”. It did nothing for me. So I moved on.

I took in new albums from “The Poodles”, “Kid Rock” “Scorpions” and “Gun” in a marathon four-hour session.

Does anyone have four hours to spend to listen to music these days? It’s not like the days of old when you kick back with the record and the album sleeve and just take it all in.

The Poodles “Devil In The Details” album was a surprise and an enjoyable listen, however nothing memorable stood out.

Kid Rock had one great song in the title track “First Kiss” and that was it.

The concept behind Scorpions “Return To Forever” is brilliant. Going back to outtakes from their most successful commercial period (1980 to 1990) and re-freshening those outtakes into songs is a great way to pay homage to the past.

Musically it is a good album.

The origins behind the songs that I have read in interviews and on Wikipedia is brilliant story telling. That is what we love as fans of entertainment, the story, the narrative. The “Return To Forever” album is an enjoyable listen however it doesn’t have that X-Factor song that makes me want to go back. The closest they got to it is the song “We Built This House”.

For Gun, I think I had certain expectations for their “Frantic” album and at this point in time it didn’t live up to those expectations, which is okay as their first three albums “Taking On The World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger” are classics to me.

So I went back listening to some W.A.S.P from their Eighties days. I took in the self titled debut, “The Last Command”, “Inside The Electric Circus” and “The Headless Children”. I’m a huge fan of Blackie Lawless and that eighties period was also a very creative one for him.

Then I wrote some tunes in my studio. “Revolution In Black” is a cross between the AC/DC blues groove and the era of “You Cant Stop Rock N Roll” from Twisted Sister. Lyrically the song deals with growing up listening to metal music and wearing my black metal t shirts. In the end that is what we are, a REVOLUTION IN BLACK.

For “The World We Live In” my wife has been listening to a lot of the pop songs out on the charts and I noticed that they all follow the basic Em, C, G, D chord progression. Of course some songs are in  different keys, however the progression is the same. For example, if the key was in B minor, then the progression would be Bm, G, D, A. If the song was in A minor, the progression would be Am, F, C, G.

Look at the list below and it just goes to show that music is all about the influence and re-using what came before;

One Republic – If I Lose Myself – 41,323,341 views on YouTube.
One Republic – Apologise – 100,377,441 views on YouTube.
Maroon 5 – Daylight – 17,539,902 views on YouTube.
The Script – Hall of Fame – 174,512,128 views on YouTube.
Imagine Dragons – It’s Time – 121,828,132 views on YouTube.
Bastille – Pompeii – 205,301,496 views on YouTube.
Passanger – Let Her Go – 588,321,169 views on YouTube.
Avicii – Wake Me Up – 597,531,921 views on YouTube for the official video. 221,445,894 views for the lyric video.
Keith Urban – You’ll Think Of Me – 1,581,515 views of the official video. 9,834,735 views of a fan made lyric video.
John Legend – All Of Me – 450,748,280 views on YouTube.
Bon Jovi – It’s My Life – 202,924,429 views on YouTube.
The Cranberries – Zombie – 219,952,452 views on YouTube.
Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm – 6,586,181 views on YouTube.

Looking at the above list, think of the dollars those songs have generated for artists and labels alike just by using the same chord progression. Hell, look at the YouTube view count for each song. Any artist would kill to have stats like that.

In a nutshell that is what “The World We Live In” is all about, a common chord progression with an uncommon vocal melody.

Then I went and listened to the new Halestorm album, “Into The Wild Life” (I have it ordered via Amazon and I came across a pirated copy, so I couldn’t wait to sink my ears into it). Lzzy Hale is a powerful leader and what a great voice. Emotional and yet aggressive. The band rocks hard when they need too and they can tone it back or pop it up when they need to.

Then I cranked the “Crooked Doors” album from Royal Thunder and I was BLOWN away. I listened to the opening track “Time Machine” over and over again. The albums tone, feel and emotion just resonated with me and the mood I was in.

The whole melodic guitar section from about 4.35 with the vocals layered over it is brilliant.

I know nothing about them.

It never used to be this way. We would get the scorched earth marketing push, the press interviews and the magazine articles written by the PR company.

Like Halestorm, Royal Thunder is fronted by a powerful female voice however both bands operate in two vastly different places when it comes to the commercial tree. Mlny Parsonz is a force to be reckoned with. When she sings, you can hear the years of vocal damage in her voice. And that is the uniqueness which makes her vocal style special.

Add to that the brilliant guitar playing from her husband Josh Weaver and you have a formidable songwriting team.

And suddenly I wish I was in the time machine, going back to that moment in time and not making some of the mistakes I made.

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

Harem Scarem – The First Three Albums

From Canada. Not the early Eighties Australian band with the same name. And that is all the similarities that there is between the two.

No one even heard of the Canadian version in Australia. The first time I heard them was when I went to a blog that doesn’t exist anymore and that blog had zip files available to be downloaded via the Cyberlocker sites like Megaupload or Rapidshare or Hotfile.

The first three albums have a powerhouse set list. I was a fan of Honeymoon Suite and Loverboy, so Harem Scarem was right up my alley, however I didn’t hear their music until this year.

1991 – Harem Scarem

It is a strong debut with a terrible album cover. Actually all of their albums in the nineties had bad album covers.

Coming out in 1991, it was not out-of-place. Guitarist Pete Lesperance showed what a talent he is, hence the reason why he is still creating music in 2014. Hearing this album in 2014, I was attempting to shift my mindset back to 1991 and how I would have viewed it at that time. Basically it was just another standard melodic rock release in a genre that started to sound the same.

You see, when the classic rock bands sang about love they were breaking down taboo’s. It was a complex subject once upon a time. So when bands started singing about love and sex in the late eighties and early nineties, the barriers were all torn down. The subject wasn’t taboo anymore. The audience had moved on. Sure, some love songs could resonate with an audience, however you couldn’t build a metal and rock career based on love songs.

Artists needed to rock. And when Harem Scarem rocked, they rocked with the best of them.

Hard To Love

Written by songwriter Christopher Ward, vocalist Harry Hess and guitarist Pete Lesperance. Ward was already a hit maker, with the song “Black Velvet” from 1989 that he co-write with another Canadian songwriter in Dave Mason and sung by another Canadian, Alannah Myles.

When it comes to Canadian hard rock, it is about two to three degrees of seperation between artists, songwriters and producers. Just to give you an example.

Co-Producer Kevin Doyle was the engineer and mixer on the Alannah Myles album released in 1989. Christopher Ward was one of the main co-writers on the Alannah Myles album and he was also a co-writer on “Hard To Love”. Ward’s long time friend and songwriting partner on occasions, Stephen Stohn was executive producer on the TV show “Degrassi: The Next Generation” which also featured a lot of songs from Harem Scarem.

And for the song, it’s a classic melodic rock song. That Journey meets Bon Jovi vibe and the guitar playing from Pete Lesperance is liquid like.

As soon as the lead guitar kicks in, I am reminded of Boston. Chord wise, it’s got a basic Em to C to D progression in the verses and a G to D to C progression in the Chorus. When it comes to any song ever created these are the progression that artists/songwriters revert too.

White Lion’s “Hungry”, Bon Jovi’s “Livin On A Prayer” and “You Give Love A Bad Name (albeit in a different key), Van Halen
“Aint Talkin’ Bout Love”, every Iron Maiden song, Led Zeppelin’s outro in “Strairway To Heaven” and a lot of others.

The difference is always the vocal melodies. That is what makes each song unique enough to stand on its own two legs.

With A Little Love

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

When Harem Scarem do melodic rock ala Def Leppard, they do it well. “With A Little Love” set the standard for these type of songs however the songs that followed afterwards on subsequent album didn’t match up. For example, “Stranger Than Love” from the follow-up, didn’t cut it.

Like all melodic rock songs in the major key, “With A Little Love” is no different. The movement from G to Em brings back memories of “The Deeper The Love” from Whitesnake.

All Over Again

A major key rocker written by Harry Hess. Reminds me of Journey “Anyway You Want It”. The chord progression of D to A to G is a very common progression. A lot of my favourites have this kind of progression.

From a hard rock perspective, you can’t go past Randy Rhoads “Crazy Train”. It is in the key of A, so the chord progression is A to E to D in the verses.

From a ballad point of view, you can’t go past “Knocking On Heavens Door” moves with this progression in the key of G, so the chord progression is G to D to C.

From a musical theory point of view it is a I to V to IV progression.

How Long

Written by Harry Hess, Pete Lesperance and another Candadian songwriter called Dean McTaggart who also worked with an Australian singer called Tina Arena with great success.

From 3.03 it goes into overdrive. The riff under the solo is not just power chords. It is a riff, structured around a groove first and then a guitar solo tailor-made to fit the riff.

Something To Say

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

The first minute and 25 seconds is a classical/flamenco intro that shows the talents on display. After it’s got this “Mr Bojangles” vibe merged with The Beatles “Yesterday” in the same major key as the mentioned songs.

1993 – Mood Swings

Released at a time when Grunge was taking over the world, it was the definitive album from Harem Scarem. It is by far the fan favourite.

Saviours Never Cry

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

What a song to open the album. By far my favourite. That palm muted hammer-on intro has so much groove its undeniable. And the song just goes into overdrive. The heaviness of the track and the balls to the wall attitude makes this song a contender.

If your lips never move
You’re bound to lose the war

What a lyric. Stay silent and prepare to suffer the consequences versus speaking up and preparing to make changes.

No Justice

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

“No Justice In The World” is the catch cry and ain’t that the truth.

The piece de resistance as a guitar player is that Spanish/Arabic feel in the solo section. It is not clichéd and it fits the song perfectly.

Change Comes Around

Another song written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

It’s like “Ballroom Blitz” merged with Van Halen esque rock. Even the lyrics are spoken in a David Lee Roth baritone style. Unintentional connections are what music is all about. How our minds and ears perceive a song and connect with it.

Empty Promises

One more song written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

Again the groove and the rock attitude resonates. It connects from the opening notes. “Screw the System” is the catch cry here and twenty years later we are still trying to screw the system however on occasion the system is screwing us.

Had Enough

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance and those Eddie Van Halen overtones just keep connecting with me.

1995 – Voice Of Reason

Two years passed and we get a heavier/experimental version of Harem Scarem.

Voice Of Reason

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance. The heaviness, the progressive elements and the harder edge immediately connects with me. And the groove just keeps the head nodding and the foot tapping. That solo/bridge section has this Beatles “She’s So Heavy” vibe. Love it.

Warming A Frozen Rose

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

It’s got this Circus Big Top feel to it and the possibilities that offers in the world of rock and metal are huge. And what about that swing jazz like solo section.

Candle

It’s written by Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance.

Euro Metal. Love the heaviness and that wicked slow groove tempo.

Reminds me of the styles of Axel Rudi Pell and Yngwie Malmsteen.

If you need an introduction into the world of Harem Scarem, then the first three albums are essential listening.

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