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

Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – My Criminal Record

“My Criminal Record” is studio album number 18 for a Jimmy Barnes. When you add his output with Cold Chisel, his career is massive.

Released on 31 May 2019.

With this album, he became the artist with the most chart-topping albums in Australia with 12 number 1 albums, overtaking U2 and Madonna.

The band for the album is his live band, made up of Jimmy Barnes on vocals, Daniel Wayne Spencer and Davey Lane on guitars, son in law Ben Rodgers on bass, Clayton Doley on keyboards, and son Jackie Barnes with Warren Trout on drums and percussion.

Lending a hand in the song writing department is his Cold Chisel bandmate Don Walker, who co-wrote six of the songs, country artist Troy Cassar-Daley chimes in with two songs, Chis Cheney from “The Living End” contributes a song, Mark Lizotte (otherwise known as Diesel) contributes a song, as well as others, plus there is a John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen cover.

Writing for the album began in 2015, but once his books came out, “Working Class Boy” and “Working Class Man”, well his career took a different turn and suddenly he was a bestselling author, doing speaking tours with music in between and creating documentaries based on the books.

My Criminal Record

Written by Jimmy Barnes and Don Walker.

It’s a slower bluesy tune with the piano setting the mood.

Well I came from a broken home

Writing his books has given Jimmy a different opportunity to write differently and approach different subject matters. If you’ve read “Working Class Boy” you’ll know how broken that home was.

The fact that he made it to 12 number one albums in Australia is amazing.

I keep it locked away somewhere, I know
In a cellar that I call my youth
It’s my criminal record
It’s the truth

It was a burden he carried for a long time. The ghosts of his youth growing up in Elizabeth.

Shutting Down Our Town

Written by Troy Cassar-Daley, this is a great country rock song. It could appear on a Springsteen or Petty album and not sound out of place.

This used to be a place where a man could find some work / Put together Holdens or a foundry job at worst

The car making facilities in Australia are all gone, transported overseas because it’s cheaper. And a lot of towns have suffered this kind of fate around the world in the corporations quest for profits and progress.

Its also autobiographical as all the men who worked at the factory went missing from their homes on payday.

I’m In A Bad Mood

Written by Barnes and Walker it’s got another blues noir soul like groove.

I got me a car but I lost my keys
Got me a girl that I can’t please

Sometimes things don’t roll as they should.

Stolen Car (The Road’s on Fire, Pt. 1)

Written by Barnes and Walker, it’s a smoldering blues cut in the verses before it rocks out with a lot of soul in the Pre Chorus and Chorus.

My life is like a stolen car, out of control
I’ve got no destination, I lost my soul

Great metaphor to sum up his life.

My Demon (God Help Me)

Written by Barnes, Cassar-Daley and bassist Ben Rodgers.

A Blues stomp groove crashes in after the steel guitar Intro which reminds me of “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle but different.

And my demon he was patient
He just waits till I had nowhere else to turn
And he knew my situation
He was laughing as I burned

Great lyrics.

It showcases that our predicaments in life are down to our own choices. For Barnesy, his Demon didn’t have to do anything, as Barnesy was pretty good at doing shit to himself.

Working Class Hero

Written by John Lennon.

Keep you doped with religion, sex, and T.V.
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I see

The song is political, a criticism on the difference between social classes and how the working class individuals are being processed into the middle classes, into the “machine”.

Belvedere and Cigarettes

Written by Harley Webster, Jade MacRae and Rodgers.

Belvedere and cigarettes, I’m bleeding myself dry

Sometimes that glass of alcohol is always a friend when your down and out.

I Won’t Let You Down

Written by Chris Cheney from “The Living End”.

It’s a great ballad in which the verses deal with alcoholism/partying and the Chorus deals with making a promise to a special someone that they will change and not let them down.

Stargazer

Written by Barnes and Walker.

She’s a stargazer
Always looking at the sky
And she don’t even look up to me
When she’s on her back at night

A simple laid back tune in which the woman in his life is not paying attention to him or their relationship (hence the staring at the stars).

Money and Class

Written by Barnes, Walker and Rodgers.

I could fight, I could drink, I could shout, I could sing
I could light up a party but I didn’t fit in
Every door that was closed was a door that I had to kick in

Drink, bash and smash your way to the top in this country blues rock tune.

Stolen Car (The Road’s on Fire, Pt. 2)

Written by Barnes and Walker.

It’s a faster take but the same attitude and spirit is still there.

If Time Is on My Side

Written by Mark Lizotte, otherwise known as Diesel or Johnny Diesel, this song wouldn’t be out of place on a Springsteen or Petty album.

The Chorus is loud and you singalong to it. It also reminds me of “Ride The Night Away”.

People come and go
Just like dust in wind they’re blown
As long as I am standing here
I’ll never let you go

That’s life in a nutshell, people would come and go but in the end, it’s just you and your partner.

Tougher Than the Rest

A Bruce Springsteen cut and a fitting song to sum up Barnes and his resilience to life and love.

And that’s Jimmy Barnes in 2019, a Blues Rocker with a little bit of Soul and a little bit of Country.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 1.6: Bob Seger – Night Moves

I always have time for a little bit of Bob Seger. “Old Time Rock N Roll” was the song that got his name into my consciousness. “Turn The Page” was another, but I heard the Metallica version first. Actually, that whole “Garage Inc.” album from Metallica, got me excited to check out bands that I wasn’t sure I should check out.

So “Night Moves” is album number 9. For a person who lived on the road, the cover is perfect, with his image and the spotlight in the background.

At the age of 30, Seger did good live business in middle America, but couldn’t break through nationally.

Then he dropped the “Night Moves” album, a road trip of nostalgia and a soundtrack for many growing up in the 70’s. I didn’t hear this album until the 90’s. Such a long time after its release but if I heard this in the 80’s I wouldn’t have liked it, as I was head over heels in love with hard rock and heavy metal.

“Rock and Roll Never Forgets”

It’s a 12 bar blues romp.

The catchcry of “come back baby, rock and roll never forgets” is truth. As fans of the music and its lifestyle, we can dabble our tastes in other styles but we always come back to our rock and roll roots like we never left.

“Oh the bands still playing it loud and lean / Listen to the guitar player making it scream”

“Night Moves”

When I was doing some reading on Bob Seger, a lot of reviews when the album came out, kept mentioning how his songs sound like other songs that came before. And I’m thinking, perfect, that’s just the way I like it.

“I used her, she used me / But neither one cared / We were gettin’ our share / Workin’ on our night moves”

The strummed acoustic guitar kicks it off, but it’s Seger’s phrasing and vocal delivery, almost “American Pie” like.

The narrative of the secret getaways of teenage lovers takes its cues from Van Morrison and his “Brown Eyed Girl” and the movie “American Graffiti”. Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland” from “Born To Run” can also be heard, a coincidence or a fact that both artists have the same influences.

“The Fire Down Below”

It feels like a song from The Eagles “Hotel California” album which came a few years after. Reading comments on the YouTube video of the song, led me to a 60’s R&B singer called Johnny Taylor, and his songs “Who’s Makin’ Love” and “Take Care of Your Homework”. And one comment even mentioned that the Silver Bullet Band is tight in the “Brown Sugar” style of the Rolling Stones.

All I can say is, take what has come before and make it better.

“Sunburst”

“Sunburst” has inspirations from the Beatles “Dear Prudence” and Rod Stewart’s “Handbags And Gladrags”.

Stick around for the change at the 2.10 minute mark when it gets a bit metal like.

“Gaze on the sunburst / His weapon at his side / He flashes it with pride / Before his legions”

What’s this. Lyrics about the wood finish on a guitar. Before the term “Guitar Hero” even existed.

“Sunspot Baby”

Another 12 bar blues romp, that he would really nail with “Old Time Rock’N’Roll”.

“She packed up her bags and she took off down the road / Left me here stranded with the bills she owed / She gave me a false address / Took off with my American Express”

Story telling at its best about a lover who did a number on him as she charged up a fortune on his credit card.

“Mainstreet”

It could be about any town in any part of the world, as we all have the same main streets and a story or two of someone who tried to make it out.

The guitar melodies and leads on this one are excellent.

“And sometimes even now, when I’m feeling lonely and beat / I drift back in time and I find my feet / Down on Mainstreet”

That’s right, you can never escape your hometown. You know every corner, every crack on the road, every curb and every smell. It’s in your DNA.

“Come to Poppa”

It smoulders along with its “Cocaine” groove.

“If you need a pacifier / Call me anytime”

This is more crude than any lyric that the PMRC found offensive in a decades time for their “Filthy 15” list.

“Suck on that”, I say.

“Ship of Fools”

The Eagles influence is present again with “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It Easy” combining to become “Ship Of Fools”.

“Mary Lou”

It’s a cover and it sounds like Seals and Crofts “Your Mama Don’t Dance” or “Jailhouse Rock” or “Smokin In The Boys Room”.

You know the riff I’m talking about.

In the U.S, six million copies were shipped, for a 6× Platinum certification. And “Night Moves” is the anchor to Seger’s most successful period which includes “Stranger In Town” in 1978 and “Against the Wind” in 1980.

How many artists can say that their ninth album broke em him to the masses?

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The Development Of Zoltan Bathory – Grit and Determination

Raw talent has to mature. So what we have is the artists that stick with music and mature themselves. All the other wannabes got out when they realised that there sole purpose of being involved in music was driven by money and fame. So when those artists that do stick around break through, guess what happens. The majors come knocking with big money.

It is interesting to hear or read about an artist’s development and the things they did to get to where they are today.

If you look at the Wikipedia page for Zoltan Bathory, the earliest musical output you get is from 2004, where he played bass in the band “U.P.O”. However his story begins a long time, in communist Hungary.

So he grows up in a country where the average person is making pennies. In dollars speak it was like a hundred dollars a month. It doesn’t leave a lot of money lying around for guitars, amplifiers and record purchases. He wants to be a heavy metal guitarist, however that music is censored. He wants to be a heavy metal guitarist but he doesn’t speak English. He is basically trying to succeed in a genre that doesn’t technically have a voice in communist Hungary.

You can see already the grit and determination exhibited by Zoltan just to even get to America. Compared that with people who are cruising on sub-standard effort and constantly told that everything they do is great. You can see that an edge exists in Zoltan’s corner.

Determination has been part of Zoltan’s mindset since childhood. I remember reading an interview that his parents enrolled him in judo classes in an attempt to temper his schoolyard aggression and how that discipline has served him well as he got older.

So he puts together a band that would become Five Finger Death Punch. The band is his first thought in the morning and his last thought at night. He lived and breathed the band. Even the style of music that Five Finger Death Punch produce wasn’t very popular at the time. It was Hard Rock, merged with Thrash Metal, merged with Death Metal and classic Euro Heavy Metal.

I have heard bands like Accept, W.A.S.P., Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, Death, Possessed and Annihilator mentioned as early influences.

It was all underground. They had no label but they had people connecting with them on MySpace in the thousands. The record labels started to take notice as this underground band where getting more views and plays than their major label artists.

The first album was recorded on their own. They produced it and paid for it. The version that we all got to hear was the Five Finger Death Punch version. The label at the time just picked it up and released it.

If you look at Five Finger Death Punch in 2013, every single member came from bands that had some level of recognition before. Jason Hook goes back to the late Eighties and early Nineties, with ties to hard rock bands, plus various session work and backing bands for pop stars.

Ivan Moody goes back to the mid Nineties before achieving some recognition with Motograter and his side project Ghost Machine.

Drummer Jeremy Spencer has a similar story to Jason Hook. Hard Rock bands are attached to their stories.

Bassist Chris Kael was doing the Las Vegas circuit with various bands and had made enough contacts to vouch for him when the Five Finger Death Punch bass auditions happened.

They took a risk on their music. They gambled. They didn’t know it would resonate and connect with people the way it did. If the music is good, there’s a ton of money to be made. Not all of that money would be on recorded music.

Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they DID THE WORK…
Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they kick ass…
Five Finger Death Punch are winning because they rock each place they visit…

That’s the way rock and roll works.

Life is tough and no one is owed nothing.

People want bands to make a living because we all want to be involved in some way. It makes us feel good on helping artists by going to a show, buying some merchandise or by purchasing their recorded product.

Remember that all of the music that Five Finger Death Punch has released is available on line for free to either stream, view or illegally download. Yet, they still sell. Funny that.

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A to Z of Making It, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy

2013 Metal and Rock Releases. Are they Derivative, Evolutionary, Original or Clones?

Artists need to think about their music as a product. In the end we (the fans) are all suckers for good products. Give us a good product and we will reciprocate.

So I am listening to the new Protest The Hero album, “Volition”. What a product it is! For the record, I was one of those fans that contributed to the Indiegogo campaign so you can say that my views are biased.

And what about this for a piece of PR? As soon as they were made aware of a few leaks hitting the internet in bad quality, Protest The Hero hastily arranged a download site for their Indiegogo contributors, sent an email to everyone about it with instructions on how to get their unique download pin and away we went, downloading the album.

The best way to fight piracy is to communicate with your fan base. They are your only concern. In relation to people downloading the album some will come to a show and some will download it and hate it.

So what was my immediate thought on the new album?

Original and evolutionary. This is Protest The Hero continuing on from what they have created in the past by adding a few more bells and whistles. The decision to go the fan funded route was just the beginning. During the recording process they lost a drummer and got an even better drummer in Chris Adler. They then got some friends to build some IT support to store all the data of the fans that contributed via Indiegogo.

So to sum up, Protest The Hero were able to record, mix, master and produce an album without having any record label support and without the need of a record label advance that they would have had to pay back AND they are still able to use the record labels to distribute the standard release worldwide.

Going back to the drumming, what a brilliant job from Chris Adler? It’s inspiring in the sense of “I Want To Break Stuff” inspiring. It just feels very metal like.

While Dream Theater and Korn get a lot of ink in the press, it is bands like Protest The Hero, Machine Head and Digital Summer that are stealing the thunder by reaching out to their fans, connecting and doing it the new way. They are cutting out everyone that gets in the way of them and their fans. It is a band to fan connection. It is a fan to band connection.

On a side note, when I listen to new music from bands, I normally place the music in the following categories;

1. Progress is derivative (to others this is the stolen or copied bucket).

2. Evolutionary (this is bands building on their past a little bit each time. It is the iterative approach)

3. Original (this is something that is so divergent or out there that it hasn’t been done before)

4. Maintenance (this is where the band delivers the same album over and over again)

So looking at my top 20 list of music so far from 2013, in which categories do they fall in.

Progress Is Derivative
Avenged Sevenfold with the “Hail To The King” album.

“Lift Me Up” from Five Finger Death Punch and “Kingmaker” from Megadeth also fit into this category.

Evolutionary

This list has quite a few releases in it.

Protest The Hero leads the way with “Volition”. It builds on all of their previous efforts.

“Vengeance Falls” from Trivium is also an evolutionary album, building on the shorter song structure from “In Waves” with better melodies and technical precise riffage.

The concept album from Black Veil Brides falls into the evolutionary bucket for me. While the overall musical themes of the album are still rooted in the previous releases, there was enough growth to show a band evolving.

Mutiny Within hit the evolutionary path with the release of “Synchronicity” which shows the band moving further away from the metalcore stigma that Roadrunner put on them.

30 Seconds To Mars went all world music on “Love Lust Faith Dreams” which is again an evolution of “This Is War.” My wife loves this album.

Audrey Horne released “Youngblood” which is a further evolution from their previous album, moving more into a blues rock/metal vibe.

The next two albums are debut albums and the reason why I saw them as evolutionary is that the evolve from the sounds of Korn and Genesis/Pink Floyd.

Brian Welch’s solo project, Love and Death released the excellent “Between Here and The Lost” which is an evolution of what Korn was doing prior to Head’s departure. If i had to pick between Korn’s new one and Love and Death, my vote goes to Love and Death.

Sound Of Contact released a sci-fi concept album with “Dimensionaut” that captures the eerie spirit of sci-fi soundtracks merged with Pink Floyd/Genesis and Marillion prog.

Original

I see Volbeat as an original band.

With “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” they merge country with their metal/rockabilly style. This album could have fitted in the evolutionary bucket as well, however in my opinion there is another of a blend of different music styles to class it as another original release.

I just finished reading a post on the Classic Rock Magazine website with Michael Poulsen, the lead singer from Volbeat. In that interview, he states that artists cant make any more money from record sales and that selling records doesn’t put food on the table anymore.

This is strange coming from a band that shifted 300,000 units in the U.S with their previous album. So if you do the math 300,000 at $10 a CD comes to $3MIL gross earnings on the CD. The current album is sitting at about 130,000 units in the U.S so far. So if Volbeat are not getting any money from the sales of recorded music, they should be speaking to their label about re-negotiating their deal.

TesseracT’s “Altered State” to me is a great piece of work. It isn’t just a bunch of songs put together and called an album. This is an album that needs to be listened from start to finish, with high quality headphones. There is so much happening that each listen is a new experience. It’s original to me.

Maintenance

All of these releases are good releases showcasing what the band does best. In a lot of cases, bands produce their greatest album by doing this and in some cases bands produce a few forgettable albums as well.

Coheed and Cambria – “The Afterman –  Descension”

Dream Theater – “Dream Theater”

Bullet For My Valentine – “Temper Temper”

Stone Sour – “House Of Gold And Bones Part 2”

Alter Bridge – “Fortress”

Killswitch Engage – “Disarm The Descent”

Five Finger Death Punch – “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 1”

Pretty Maids – “Motherland”

Buckcherry – “Confessions”

An artist and their music can move up or down in these categories throughout their careers.

The lessons here are that bands don’t have to be ground breaking original to be successful. They just need a well thought out approach that is executed well.

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