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

Coverdale/Page, Cinderella and Winger

The Spotify AI is recommending artists based on Whitesnake.

Yesterday, the first recommendation was “Mechanical Resonance” from Tesla, then “Live At Sweden Rock – 30th Anniversary Show” from Europe, then “Meanstreak” from Y&T, then “Slave To The Grind” from Skid Row and then Coverdale/Page.

After Coverdale/Page it was “Euphoria” from Def Leppard, “Bent Out Of Shape” from Rainbow, “Standing Hampton” from Sammy Hagar, “Eat Em And Smile” from David Lee Roth and finally “Erase The Slate” from Dokken.

What, no Deep Purple?

Surely the AI is programmed to look at previous bands of artists?

I guess not.

Today, the AI recommended “Erase The Slate” from Dokken again, “Winger” self-titled debut as second, “Night Songs” by Cinderella as third. Then “Hysteria” by Def Leppard, “Absolute Hits” by Great White, “Slave To The Grind” by Skid Row, “Coverdale/Page” again (even after I streamed it a few times the day before), “Outlier” by Kingdom Come, “Simplicity” by Tesla and “Prisoners In Paradise” from Europe (which is not even available to stream in Australia).

And what the AI seems to be doing is just replacing the albums of artists. Like “Euphoria” and “Hysteria”.

Anyway, over to Coverdale/Page.

The album came out in 1993 and for me it was a stellar album. I loved the guitar work on it, like the opening string pull off lick for “Shake My Tree”. Simply, yet effective and Coverdale follows the riff with the vocal lead. Then when it gets heavy, it’s a cross between “Still Of The Night” and “Communication Breakdown”.

The lead break on “Waiting On You” is simple and effective and the riffs groove behind it. Plus I dig the lyric line, “till the rivers run dry”, a metaphor for change.

And although the song has nothing to do with climate change, it got me thinking how bizarre the situation is, our oceans are rising, getting ready to swallow coastal lands while the water on our lands via rivers and rainfall is drying.

Take Me For A Little While” is one of Coverdale’s best songs. Jimmy Page breaks out one of his best lead breaks and that little lead lick in the Chorus, makes me press repeat on this song.

Pride and Joy” could have come from Led Zep III, as Jimmy Page brings his open string tunings to David Coverdale. And while it rocks acoustically, it’s the heavy open string verse riff which connects, and when it goes back into the open tuning acoustic bit, it’s just perfect.

Four tracks in and I’m on the floor. When “Over Now” kicks in, I am digging the psychedelic nature of the vocals and the exoticism of the music. And artists tried to recreate their 70’s influences in the late 80s and 90s like Jake E Lee in Badlands, however, it still sounded like stuff they would have done within a modern rock context.

Because the 70’s artists, used their 60’s influences to create their 70’s sounds, hence why the songs from these artists like Page don’t follow the typical verse, chorus, verse, chorus. “Over Now” has  no real structure as it moves between verses and something which resembles a chorus and an outro which feels like a cool jam.

You talked to me of virtue
And sang a song so sweet
But all I know is I could smell
The perfume of deceit
And it’s over now

Coverdale is referencing his break up with the Jaguar dancer Tawny Kitaen. And there are quite a few songs on the album which reference the relationship.

Feeling Hot” is the sped up child of “Johnny Be Goode” crossed with “Hit The Road Jack”.

And the comparison to Led Zep is always going to happen, because Jimmy Page is Led Zep’s main musical writer and it doesn’t matter with who he works with, his riffs will always sound like Page and Page’s career is held within his work with Led Zep.

Like “Easy Does It”. It is one of the best Led Zeppelin tracks that Led Zeppelin didn’t write. And when it morphs into a rocking track from about 2.40 mark, it’s so cool to hear Coverdale steer away from the typical verse and chorus format.

Of course, songs which follow that format will give you success if they cross over into the mainstream, but for me, it’s these kinds of songs that get me to commit. Like for Whitesnake, it was “Still Of The Night” which got me to commit, and it didn’t follow the conventional verse and chorus format.

Absolution Blues” has David Coverdale delivering a near perfect Led Zep vocal line in the verses.

Come the dawn of judgement day
I’ll get down on my knees and pray
The Good Lord don’t send me away
I’ll never ever go

No one wants to leave the land of the living. They realize then how much living they really need to do.

Whisper A Prayer For The Dying” is one of my favourite songs on the album. That dropped D intro riff is excellent. Even System Of A Down used a very similar style riff for their awesome song “Aerials” from the mega selling “Toxicity” album.

Also the idea of the song happened back in 1982-83 as their is an acoustic demo of the song on the “Slide It In” Deluxe reissue. And when you combine various wars for lyrical inspiration and Jimmy Page”s dropped D riff, you get a classic.

The suffocating heat of jungles, burning desert sands
Where everything reminds you, you’re a stranger in a strange land
The soothing words of politicians, those bodyguards of lies
While guardian angels waste their time and every mother cries

There is a whole generation of people who wouldn’t even know about the Vietnam War or the Gulf War. And when leaders from around the world decide to send in their troops to a place, well those troops already have a target on their back, as strangers in a strange land.

Machine gun, battle cry
You pray to God when the bullets fly
The bombs fall like black rain
And all your dreams take you home again
Nothing but bad dreams

At the end of the first Gulf War, the Iraqi forces set an oilfield alight, which burned black toxic smoke for months. And when it rained all those black toxins came back down as black rain.

And the ones who survived, are struck with PTSD.

You can’t read, you can’t write
You’re so scared, you can’t sleep at night
You try to carry the heavy load
Walking down Armageddon road, oh, Armageddon road

In reality what did all of the Wars achieve?

Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia and all the democratic countries rushed to the Saudi aids so their young Prince could grow up and order the dismemberment of a journalist who spoke out against him. And Iraq along with Afghanistan is still a hotspot of violence and extremism.

Would you have gone there for a holiday when these countries were controlled by dictators?

Would you fly there now, that these countries have been liberated by the good democratic countries?

I’m pretty sure the answer would be NO to both questions.

How good is Cinderella?

They are a lot more than just a hair band, a stupid genre they got lumped in. Maybe it’s their fault for allowing their image to look like a hair band but then again when you are trying to make it, you will listen and do what the A&R department tells you to do.

Anyway, “Night Songs” opens the album which carries its name and it’s a hooky slow dirge.

Workin’ this job ain’t payin’ the bills
Sick and tired rat race takin’ my thrills
Kickin’ down the road not a dime in my pocket
Nightime falls and I’m ready to rock it

It’s a game of collusion. Governments and corporations ensure that the wages paid are just enough to live a frugal lifestyle, however as the cost of living goes up, the wages don’t seem to follow the same trajectory. My land rates go up 4% each year for the last 3 years. My wage has gone up 1% each year.

Which then means we need to find a second job, or a higher paying job or we need to borrow money from the banks.

And before payday, I used to have just a dime in my pocket but regardless of what state I was in financially, I always had my music and was always ready to rock it.

Forget the day ’cause we’re gonna scream

And that is exactly what we did.

Night songs
Makes the day right

Even in the comfort of your own home, when you drop the needle and the sound surrounds you and bounces off the walls, it normally happens at night and when you are alone with your thoughts.

When “Shake Me” rolls into town, you know the party is just getting started.

And Tom Keifer’s raspy voice is the difference. He didn’t sound like any other singer out on the market. Maybe a bit like Brian Johnson. Hell, the band Hinder had a career in the music business many years later because their singer had the same raspy voice like Keifer.

Then, those clean tone Am arpeggios start and “Nobody’s Fool” fills the room. For a debut record, Keifer has knocked me out with a triple left hook.

And how good is the vocal melody and riff in “Nothin’ For Nothin’”?

You got nothin’
Nothin’ for nothin’
You’re hurtin’ overtime
Nothin’ for nothin’
And we don’t need your kind
Nothin’ for nothin’
Pushin’, shovin’, got no time
Nothin’ for nothin’

Kids these days have a lot more rights in life and in the workplace than what their parents and grand parents had. But the mindsets are different. They always get something.

Once Around The Ride” is a classic heavy metal track, with an air guitar pedal tone riff, a wicked lead break from Jeff LeBar and a vocal melody from Keifer which sticks around long after the song has finished.

Hell On Wheels” could have come from any NWOBHM act, but with better melodies and vocals from Kiefer.

We’ve had enough of the raw deals
Hit the road and tell ya how it feels

Like hell on wheels

Somebody Save Me” is my favourite. The “Knock Em Dead Kid” riff merged with “Looks That Kill” works a treat and Keifer delivers vocally.

Somebody save me
I lost my job, they kicked me out of my dream

The Australian dream is to own your home. And once upon a time people did just that and then passed it down to their next of kin. And Governments didn’t like that because they didn’t get any tax on it, so they passed laws that to change the name on the deed you still had to pay a stamp duty tax.

But these days people are buying, paying the minimum repayments and then selling it when they need to move because they lost their job and the next job is in a different state or in a city hours away. And if they don’t sell it in time, the bank will sell it for them and kick them out of their dream.

And the house prices are so high it’s hard to even enter the market.

Well, everybody’s got opinions
But nobody’s got the answers
And the shit you ate for breakfast
Well, it’ll only give you cancer

So true. A while back, I was in a meeting at work and I had my opinionated vent in it. Then I was asked how I would do the job that needs to be done and I had no fucking answer. So I made a note to myself that if I’m going to question others I need to also have answers and solutions.

And what about all the research coming out about processed meats giving you cancer, how too much red meat will give you cancer and all those cereals that the corporations said were healthy in the 80s (backed by Government research financed by the cereal makers) proved to be full of sugar and bad for you.

Somebody get the doctor
I think I’m gonna crash
Never paid the bill
Because I ain’t got the cash

You can’t pay a bill when you don’t have the funds. And you don’t have the funds because you either don’t have a job or you have a job but are over committed to a lot of debt. Either way, it’s a pivotal moment in your life when you are in this place. And you understand that life is not fair and the game is rigged.

“In From The Outside” has an excellent outro and it’s the reason why I go through the whole song, just to hear the outro and how they fit in this metal like section to a 12 bar blues. Brilliant.

And “Back Home Again” is a great way to bookend the album. An open string riff kicks it off and the vocal melody from Keifer is brilliant.

I hit the road wide open at seventeen
Mama cried herself to sleep
Lost a dad I’d never seen
Took all my childhood friends
Guitar, and a dream

It doesn’t happen like that anymore or does it. These days it’s let’s hit the internet and build an online social presence and you play live if their is demand. Once upon a time you played to get better and you took what gig you could get in order to build your fan base.

And for the sake of it, I streamed Winger (released in 1988), because of Reb Beach. He is a phenomenal guitarist and he always interviewed well, with a great grasp of techniques when it came to the guitar. And the Winger debut is full of Reb Beach.

Madalaine” kicks off the album and the first time I heard it, I was really surprised at how good the vocals sounded.

Hungry” is one of my favourites on the album and I always compared it to “Hungry” from White Lion’s which is a bit more superior because that riff from Bratta rocks hard and is brilliant to play.

But the way, “Hungry” starts off with the violin like orchestra, then it morphs into a syncopated groove for the pre –chorus and in the chorus, listen to how Reb Beach takes a stock chord progression and decorates it.

Now the piece d resistance in this song, is the prog rock bit after the solo, which goes into an acoustic bit of the 1st verse, then Reb Beach and the drums take over, playing just the chorus riff and then the whole band comes in as they move into the ending of the song. For such a commercial sounding track with a big arena rock chorus, it has a lot of movements which people either didn’t notice because the band made it sound so seamless.

Seventeen” is the best Van Halen track that EVH didn’t write. Just check out the opening riff. But that lead break from Reb Beach. Wow.

Time To Surrender” has a wicked guitar riff and a 12/8 groove feel in the dreams. The vocal melody from Kip is also on the money, but man, the lyrics, about it being time to surrender because his love don’t live there anymore just didn’t do the music any justice.

Hangin On”. Listen to it, to hear Reb Beach decorate again.

Headed For A Heartbreak” is a song that is not forgotten easy. I think it’s that keyboard lick in the Chorus (after they sing “Headed For A Heartbreak”) which remains. Maybe even the solo section. Or that outro guitar solo from Reb Beach or the offbeat drumming. Whatever it is, something always remains with me after hearing this song.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Inc

There has been a lot of talk about Copyright and the Public Domain in the last month.

There was the whole Iron Maiden story about the band rewarding Copyright Infringers with Concerts. The website that ran with it issued an apology for falsely attributing Musicmetric quotes to the band, yet if you look at the markets that Iron Maiden has hit over and over again along with the “new markets”, all of those places are on the Musicmetric list of places that download Iron Maiden’s recorded music illegally. So even though the story proved to be false, there is some form of data out there that Iron Maiden is utilising to hit places where they have a low record sale amount but a high download rate.

Even their drummer, Nicko McBrian stated the same in the “Flight 666” documentary about their shows in India and Costa Rica. To paraphrase, he said something in the vein that Iron Maiden hasn’t sold any albums in Costa Rica however they sold out the sports stadium. So how did those fans get the music then.

Look at Metallica. They are also utilising some form of data to identify which new markets to hit or which markets deserve to be revisited. Their recent concerts in China proved this. The sale of Metallica music in China is low, however each concert was sold out. Peru is another new market that Metallica hit and will return too despite the fact that they have very low recorded sales.

I also just finished watching the Rush documentary, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” and in the documentary, Neal Peart is talking about their Vapour Trails tour of South America and how they didn’t know what to expect and in the end they played to their biggest ever concert attendance at Sao Paulo.

In other words, the Brazil tour took place in November 2002 . Napster launched in June 1999 and operated up to July 2001, Audiogalaxy launched in 1998 and operated up until 2002 as a file sharing system that indexed MP3 files. Limewire started operating in May, 2000 and Kazaa in March, 2001. So in three years of peer to peer mp3 sharing, Rush’s fan base grew extraordinarily.

At the beginning of each year, numerous works will have their Copyright expire and they will enter the Public Domain. There is an excellent post up at Techdirt titled, “The Grinch Who Stole The Public Domain” and it covers the works that should have entered the Public Domain in the U.S on the 1st January 2014, however for reasons that are still not clear to the public, these works have been taken away from the public due to a copyright extension that is in place up until 2019.

In the U.S, up until 1978, the maximum amount of time that a work in the US could be covered by copyright was 56 years. As the article states, a creator initially received a 28 year copyright term, which could be renewed for another 28 years.

So back in 1957, Ayn Rand knew that when she created “Atlas Shrugged” that it would be given back to the public to share and build on by January 1, 2014. Same goes for Ian Fleming and his James Bond book, “From Russia With Love.” The same goes for Dr. Seuss and his two books, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat”. All of these authors went on to create further works, so it is safe to assume that that the 56 year Copyright monopoly the creator would have was more than enough incentive to create further works.

In relation to music, the following songs should have appeared in the Public Domain in the U.S.

“That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” (Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty),
“Great Balls of Fire” (Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer),
“Wake Up, Little Susie” (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant)
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor (Opus 103; subtitled The Year 1905).
Elvis Presley’s: “All Shook Up” (Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley) and “Jailhouse Rock” (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

The above musical works remain copyrighted until 2053 however based on their initial copyright terms, the works should be in the Public Domain.

The purpose of Copyright law was always to encourage the creation of works that would be put into the public domain to promote learning, knowledge and understanding. However, with large organisations controlling a lot of the Copyrights (and their power is growing each day), the law has been twisted into a system that is used to lock works up.

Then you have someone like Jimmy Page, who is really enjoying his Copyright monopoly by continuing to re-issue the same Led Zeppelin works he created between 1968 and 1980. Jimmy Page is a huge influence on my guitar playing. His body of work with Led Zeppelin, along with Coverdale/Page album were all brilliant. The new music he created with Robert Plant, “Walking In Clarksdale” was also a decent effort.

However, “The Firm” and his solo album, “Outrider” didn’t rattle any bones in me. Compared to Robert Plant who constantly creates new works, Jimmy Page has more or less sat back and monetised his copyright monopoly. Since 1993, Jimmy Page has overseen more than twenty three re-issues, re-mastered editions, live releases, greatest hits releases and more from the Led Zeppelin body of work.

While Jimmy Page is entitled to do what he does, Copyright’s intention was to give the artist incentive to create more works, not an incentive to rely on past works.

So while Jimmy Page is doing his thing on one side of the Copyright fence, on the other side there is the shameless releasing of songs by the big labels, purely to extend the copyright term of them.

In January, 2013, Sony released the “Bob Dylan Copyright Collection Volume” so that it could take advantage of an EU law to extend the copyright term on these recordings from 50 to 70 years. So instead of these works expiring in 2013 and entering the Public Domain, they got locked up for another 20 years. Nice one.

When Bob Dylan created these songs, Copyright was in place to offer him an incentive to create new works which he did. However, he also sold or licensed his copyrights to Sony and that is where the abuse kicks in.

Just recently (like December 2013 recent) Apple Records released 59 tracks from The Beatles for downloading on iTunes. These songs include outtakes, demos and live BBC radio performances. A Beatles fan and Blogger by the name of Roger Stormo said the following;

“The only reason why they are doing this is to retain the copyright of this material.”

You see, when “The Beatles” recorded the tracks back in 1963, they made a deal with the public. In return for a government-backed monopoly lasting 50 years, they would allow their music to enter the public domain at the end of that time. Like Bob Dylan, Copyrights got sold or licensed to the record labels. The recording industry then employed politicians as lobbyists and now European fans of “The Beatles” must wait another 20 years before they are able to enjoy and use the tracks as part of the public domain.

The biggest abuse here is that the tracks weren’t even available beforehand (in a legal way). They were safely locked away. Therefore it is safe to assume that the tracks weren’t earning any money for Apple Records. So releasing the tracks into the public domain would have resulted in no loss of revenue whatsoever to the label. However, for reasons only known to the label, they had an opportunity to extend the copyright of the songs for another 20 years and they did.

What about Saul Zaentz, the Fantasy Records label owner who passed away recently. For those that don’t know, he is famous for suing Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty for plagiarising John Fogerty.

Yep, Zaentz was that upset that Fogerty struggled for years to free himself from the one sided contract he signed with Fantasy, following the breakup of CCR, that when it finally happened, Zaentz called his lawyers to arms.

Zaentz and Fantasy alleged that Fogerty’s 1985 hit “The Old Man Down the Road” was essentially the same as “Run Through The Jungle” from CCR’s “Cosmos Factory” album released in 1970. Since Fogerty had traded his rights to CCR’s songs in 1980 to cancel his remaining contractual obligations, Fantasy and Zaentz now owned the rights to “Run Through the Jungle”. Under Fogerty’s old CCR contract, Fogerty owed Fantasy eight more records. In the end, he refused to work for the label. The impasse was resolved only when Asylum Records’ David Geffen bought Fogerty’s contract for $1,000,000 on top of the rights that Fogerty sold away.

So when the “Centerfield” album topped the charts in 1985, Zaentz sued. How is that for Copyright abuse?

During the tour, the fans complained that he didn’t play any CCR songs, however Fogerty said that playing the CCR songs meant that he would have to pay performance royalties to copyright holder Saul Zaentz, and he didn’t want to do that. Copyright is used as an incentive to not play songs.

During the tour, Fogerty also spent time in court and in the end Fogerty played the two songs on guitar right on the witness stand and won the case.

On the theme of suing, Evanescence singer Amy Lee is also suing her ex-label Wind Up Records for more than $1 million over unpaid royalties. Of course there is more to the suit than just the unpaid royalties, however one the theme is the same. The abuse of copyright by large organisations.

So next time you read about the need for stronger copyright protection, ask yourself the question; For whom is that stronger copyright protection needed for. Remember that if I write a song today, it is copyrighted for the rest of my life plus 70 years. If I sell the copyright to an organisation for a fee, then they own this copyright until then.

I will leave you with the parting words of James Hetfield as he spits them out in Damage Inc..

Living on your knees, conformity
or dying on your feet for honesty

Which side are you on?

Techdirt – Public Domain – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131231/23434825735/grinch-who-stole-public-domain.shtml#comments

Led Zeppelin Reissues Will Continue in 2015 – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/led-zeppelin-reissues-2/

Techdirt – Beatles – http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131216/09582225579/57-beatles-bootleg-tracked-released-officially-all-wrong-reasons.shtml?pid=110#c110

John Fogerty Responds to Death of Creedence Label Owner Saul Zaentz With Stinging Video – http://ultimateclassicrock.com/saul-zaentz-dead-john-fogerty-reaction/

Evanescence Singer Amy Lee Reportedly Suing Record Label – http://loudwire.com/evanescence-amy-lee-reportedly-suing-record-label/

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