A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories

House Of Gold And Bones – (CONNECTIONS, COLLABORATIONS and MAKING IT)

Corey Taylor wrote the story line around the recent Stone Sour concept albums, The House of Gold and Bones. By the end of the story line, the main character has made a decision but it is unclear what it is. The important thing is that the main character stood his ground, however Taylor wanted to leave it up to the listener to decide what choice the main character has made.

To me the house of gold and bones represents life. The Gold can be anything that you make it to be, like family, children, fun, good times, doing something that you love, wealth, success, standing up for what you believe in and love. The Bones represents hardships, doing it tough, climbing up hills with no end in sight, destitution, depression, sadness and death.

The issue with today’s society is the worship of the GOLD (money) above everything else. It is the main motivator for the paths and actions we take. Seriously what is someone like Jon Bon Jovi or George Lucas going to do with all that money? Once upon a time, all of our heroes just wanted to create.

Chris Kael is the current bassist of Five Finger Death Punch. For those that don’t know Kael joined at the tail end of the American Capitalist recording sessions. How did he get the gig? He heard FFDP were looking for a bass player and he contacted FFDP guitarist Jason Hook on Facebook. He didn’t know any of the other FFDP guys. Hell, Kael was only know to a small Las Vegas circle of musicians. He asked Hook to check around with those musicians as he was sure he would get a good review and basically he got his foot in the door, he got the audition and then he got the gig. Connections however small they seem at the start all pay off in the end. Was Kael motivated by money? No. He was motivated by performing, by creating and by wanting to be in a band.

Imagine Dragons independently released three EPs and toured extensively before signing with Interscope. Then the band received an email from Alex Da Kid. He liked their music and wanted to write with them. If you know of Eminem’s, “Love the Way You Lie” song, then you know of Alex Da Kid. So the collaboration initially was for other artists on Alex Da Kid’s roster. It soon turned into the Imagine Dragons song writing effort. Were Imagine Dragons motivated by money when they started playing the Vegas casino circuit? No. They were motivated by the need to create and play live.

Connections leads to collaborations. For whatever purposes these collaborations begin with, they seem to take a life on their own. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora initially started to work with Desmond Child so that they can write songs for other artists to sing. The first song they wrote was You Give Love A Bad Name. The next song was Living On A Prayer. In the end, Bon Jovi ended up releasing the songs. When Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora started their collaboration with Desmond Child, they were broke, still living at their parents’ house and after two Bon Jovi albums, they were in debt to their record label by about half a million. Do you think that Jon and Richie cared about that? No. They wanted to create great music and with Slippery When Wet they did. With New Jersey, they tried real hard to rewrite Slippery When Wet and that is when greed comes into the picture.

People shine in so many ways and while society is spending it’s time going all practical, the ones that shine become the new Alice Cooper, the new Nikki Sixx, the new James Hetfield, the new David Mustaine, the new Dee Snider, the new Robb Flynn and so on. Practical doesn’t fit in the lives of our heroes. We all need to find our own house of gold and bones and live with the choices that we make.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Saraya – Timeless Love – Classic Song Waiting to be Discovered

I was listening to Halestorm and when I heard Lzzy’s voice, three female voices came to mind immediately.  Ann Wilson from Heart, Pat Benater and Saraya’s.  It’s a tragedy that there isn’t more content on the web dedicated to Saraya.  Her voice is magical, soulful, bluesy, rocky and sexual.

It was Timeless Love from the Shocker soundtrack of 1989 that first got my attention.  It’s a ballad and for some insane reason, it isn’t included on the normal version of the self titled album released the same year, only on an overpriced import album.  Chalk that down to greedy record labels. 

In order to “OWN” the song, you had to purchase the Shocker Soundtrack if it was available, or order it in, where they charged you a bit more for it. That is what I needed to do to hear the music I liked back in eighties. Radio in Australia very rarely played the music I liked, so I needed to spend money on it. 

Timeless Love is another gem written by Desmond Child.  It is a bona fide hit. The melody is haunting and beautiful.  Desmond Child stated in a LA Times article, that Saraya had take after take at completing the song, however she just wasn’t getting the emotion across, that Child wanted to hear. So then an idea came to him.    

“I wanted a huge chain, like they use to tie up a mean dog,” said Child with an impish grin. “I told her that doing this song was like being in a play, where she was playing a character, a woman all tied up in knots over this guy.  Then I wrapped her up in the chains and she got the song on the first take.”

If it is true, he got the take that he wanted, as the vocals are dead set chilling.

There is no tomorrow in my heart
Only dreamers believe in time

So let’s leave no regrets behind

Does it sound like the run of the mill Bon Jovi style that Desmond was renowned for?  No chance.  This is a classic ballad in the vein of Heart’s – Alone.

Steve Lukather of Toto fame does the guitar work and the unbelievable guitar solo, Myron Grombacher from Pat Benater’s band is on drums and John Pierce from Huey Lewis and the News is on bass.  It’s a super group of seasoned musicians, that know how to deliver.

Jennifer Rush (from The Power of Love fame) covered the song and it was too perfect.  It was a great cover version, however Saraya’s version just has that special emotion in it, that special rawness that makes it perfect.

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Music

Update – The Old Hype Nets Bon Jovi a Number 1 album. Will it still be there after a month? Place your bets.

Week 2 sees Bon Jovi’s What About Now (aka What About Its Over) slip from Number 1 to Number 7.  Sales of 101,000 units in week one to sales of 29,000 units in week 2.  This is what happens when you deliver a crap album to your fans.  Yes we will buy it (like I have), so that I have it in my collection, but we wont sing its praises.  And apart from your hardcore audience, that is all you have these days.

They should take a note from Mumford and Sons who after 26 weeks on the chart are still moving 27,000 units of their album Babel.  In total, Babel has sold 2,122,000 copies.  How many copies will Bon Jovi be moving in 26 weeks times?  Babel knows who their audience is.  They are users of social media, they tour relentlessly and they actually meet and greet their audience the way a band should, without a list of DO NOT’S, which is what Jon Bon Jovi has for his meet and greets.    

Another band that is in the Top 10 is Imagine Dragons and their Night Vision’s album is moving 29,000 units after 29 weeks on the charts.

I really hope JBJ will pull his head out of his arse and get back to what he did best.  Find good songwriters to deliver a rock record.  Use James Michael, DJ Ashba and Nikki Sixx from Sixx AM, get John 5 into the mix, fly to Sweden and get the dudes from The Night Flight Orchestra.  Think outside “the circle”.  Get Kevin Churko involved or Howard Benson.  Get Vito Bratta out of retirement to write songs.  He is another Jersey kid.

Leave Billy Falcon, Max Martin, Marti Fredricksen, Desmond Child  and John Shanks behind.  They are all out of ideas.  In saying that i was impressed with the Desmond Child and John 5 track The Monster Is Loose for the Bat Out Of Hell III album.

You are a 50 + rock singer.  That means you are no longer a teenage girls fantasy.  So don’t try and be one.   Get back to basics, get back to the Slippery When Wet mentality, where you are hungry once more to deliver an album that will stand the test of time.

 

 

 

 

Yahoo Article;

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Music

What made Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet Explode?

What made Slippery When Wet explode?

A lot of people credit Bruce Fairbairn for it.  Others credit the influence of Desmond Child, while others would credit the sound engineering and mix by Bob Rock.  Others put it down to Jon and Richie finally finding their niche as songwriters and finally others put it down to the Pizza Parlour Jury.   Could it have been the labels release schedule and marketing plan?  Could it have been that the scene needed a shake up and this album was right time, right place?

First let’s put into context where the band was at in 1985.  They had just finished a nine-month world tour for 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit.  The band was in debt to the record label for a couple of million bucks.  The guys where living at their mom and dad’s, and wrote most of the songs for Slippery When Wet in Richie’s mom’s basement. 

There is a common myth that once a band is signed, they are showered with untold riches and that they have money coming out of their arse.  That is so far from the truth.   Bon Jovi where in debt and they were lucky that the label gave them a third chance.

From the 90’s onwards, labels didn’t give bands three chances.  One chance was all they had.  If they failed they will get someone else.   These days the labels are irrelevant.  They need to compete on a playing field where the rules change at the same rate technology changes and to be honest, they are so out of touch, it’s almost laughable watching them trying to hold on to the old way of doing things. 

Let’s start with Bruce Fairbairn.  Before he started doing Slippery he was coming off a multi-platinum run of releases with Loverboy and Honeymoon Suite, plus a Gold release with Krokus.   According to Paul Dean from Loverboy, Bruce is super organized.  He charts everything out and every song is broken into parts. 

Slippery would go on to multi – multi platinum sales and New Jersey (also produced by Bruce would do the same).  From Slippery, Bruce would move on to Aerosmith.  Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get A Grip all went multi – multi platinum.  He resurrected AC/DC’s career with the 5x platinum The Razors Edge after a steady decline in sales after Back In Black.  It is safe to say that Bruce had a certain knack for getting the best out of the artists he produced.  His track record is envious to say the least.

Then you have Desmond Child.  

Jon and Richie wanted to write with another song writer, so that other people can perform the songs.  Jon heard Tina Turner singing a song that Bryan Adams had written and wanted to do the same.  That is how Desmond Child came on the scene.  However the plan got skewed, as the songs that came out of those sessions where that good, that it was decided they will be kept for Jovi instead.

The first song Jon and Richie wrote with Desmond in Richie’s mother’s basement was “The Edge Of A Broken Heart”.  The second song they wrote was “You Give Love A Bad Name” by referencing a song he wrote for Bonnie Tyler called If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man).  The melodies and chord progressions are very similar.

He used the story of his 70’s girlfriend, Maria Vidal who used to work a diner and was called Gina, for Livin On A Prayer.  In interviews, Richie has stated that Jon didn’t want the song on the album, while Richie was trying to convince him it was the best song they had.

I’d Die For You and Without Love where two other songs penned by Jon, Richie and Desmond.  I’d Die For You even has a cult status as a fan favourite.  Desmond brought the pop side to Bon Jovi’s form of hard rock, glam metal overtones. 

The engineer and mixer Bob Rock 

Jon heard Honeymoon Suite’s The Big Prize (another Bruce and Bob production) and that sealed the deal for Bon Jovi to also seek out Bob Rock.

The Pizza Parlour Jury

When Jon and Riche were making the demos in New Jersey, they would go across the street to the pizza parlour. They would ask a bunch of kids to hear some stuff.   As Richie puts it, “It was like a marketing test .  They came in and said, “Yeah, we like this one. This one gets through and that one doesn’t.”

They sure needed it as they wrote a truck load of songs.  Apart from the 10 songs that ended up on the album, other songs that never made it include;

Never Enough For You, Borderline, Edge Of A Broken Heart, Heat Of The Night, Give My Heart, Lonely Is The Night, Too Much Too Soon, Game Of The Heart, Deep Cuts The Night, Stand Up, Walk Don’t Run, Out of Bounds, There Is No Answer, Promise, Take Me All.

Bouncing songs off different independent ears that are not related to the band, helped Bon Jovi focus on the songs that where stronger.

Polygram Records

Doc McGhee the Bon Jovi manager at the time has stated that putting out a record at the right time is very important.  He further mentioned that the label looked at what other labels where releasing and picked a window where there was nothing really there competing against it.

August was the month that was selected and competing against Slippery When Wet where other August releases from Motorhead – Orgasmatron, Vinnie Vincent – Invasion, Warlock – True As Steel and Great White – Shot In The Dark. 

If it was released in July, it would have been up against DLR’s – Eat Em and Smile for listeners’ attention.   If it was released in June, it would have had to compete against Queen – A Kind of Magic, Genesis – Invisible Touch, Rod Stewart – Every Beat of My Heart, Madonna – True Blue and Cinderella – Night Songs.  If it was released in May as originally intended, it would have been up against AC/DC – Who Made Who, Journey – Raised on Radio and Europe – The Final Countdown. 

The Album

Let It Rock kicks it off Side 1.

The weekend comes to this town
Seven days too soon
For the ones who have to make up
What we break up of their rules

This song is written purely for the concert experience.  That is foresight in itself.  Apart from delivering a good album of songs, Jon and Richie are mindful of how they will go down live.  The song is about rebellion, getting that fist pumping in the air, just to let your hair down on the weekend.  Much like Loverboy’s Working for The Weekend.  But in this case the rock is a fire that is burning out of control.  Another analogy to melting rock temperatures (7800 degrees Fahrenheit).  It’s funny where Let It Rock has that keyboard intro, Lay Your Hands On Me from New Jersey, is almost identical riff wise to Let It Rock and it has that long drum intro.  It must be a Bruce thing, as even Turn Me Loose had a long keyboard intro.  A good start by the Jon and Richie song writing team.

“Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.”  The iconic a capella chorus.  Then the band kicks in and Richie does his vocal melody lead until they start the strip bar sleazy verse riff.

I remember when I saw the clip, I was glued to my TV screen.  I never got the name of the song and I thought it was called Shot Through The Heart, so I purchased the cassette album that had the song Shot Through The Heart.   Of course that was the wrong song.  Right band, but wrong song.   The clincher for me was the chorus part after the guitar solo, where it’s just the voice and the drums (sort of reminded me of Queen’s We Will Rock You).  You Give Love A Bad Name was the one that got the door opened and once the band unleashed Livin On A Prayer, the band started selling 700,000 records a month.    It also featured the song writing talents of Desmond Child, who borrowed the vocal melody and chords from a song he wrote for Bonnie Tyler, called If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man).

Livin On A Prayer was the song that Jon wasn’t even sure should be on the album. 

Bob Lefsetz posted that Livin On A Prayer is where Bon Jovi got the girls and that is what has kept the band going.  He aint wrong there and Jon knew that, hence the reason why he rewrote the song over and over again for each album that came after.   New Jersey had Born To Be My Baby (again a co-write with Desmond Child).  Keep The Faith had the title track (the chorus chord progression is identical, except in a different key and again a co-write with Desmond Child).  These Days had Hey God, Crush had Its My Life (Max Martin comes into the fold now), Bounce and Have A Nice Day had the title tracks.  The Circle had We Weren’t Born To Follow and the Greatest Hits had This is Love, This is Life.  For What About Now, the whole album is following the themes from Livin On A Prayer.  If you are on a winning formula, do it right again and you will hit pay dirt.

Tommy used to work on the docks
Union’s been on strike
He’s down on his luck…it’s tough, so tough
Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man, she brings home her pay
For love – for love

It’s a movie in words.  Life is tough but as long as we love each other, we will be okay.  A lot of people were not okay, but Livin On A Prayer made them feel that they were, as Tommy and Gina were also living the same life they were living.    

Social Disease is the pure filler that needed to be written so that Bad Medicine could be written. 

So you telephone your doctor
Just to see what pill to take
You know there’s no prescription
Gonna wipe this one away

In never should have ended up on Slippery.  Edge of A Broken Heart is far superior.  I know that Jon apologised for that omission.  To be honest the song never had a chance with the listeners coming off three winners already.  It was a poor song from the Jon and Richie team.  At least they made up for it in the next song.

Wanted Dead or Alive was the 80’s version of Turn The Page which Jon more or less copied again for the Young Guns soundtrack and had another number one hit in Blaze of Glory with a cool Jeff Beck solo.    Wanted was written by Jon and Richie.  This song didn’t reach number one, but it is a number one song.  A cult classic.  A radio staple.  When the song was released as a single, the multi-million fan base had already digested it.  They didn’t need to buy the single to make it No. 1.  It was already that in their hearts and minds.      

Sometimes I sleep, sometimes it’s not for days
And the people I meet always go their separate ways

Life on the road is just that.  I am just finishing off reading a Randy Rhoads bio, and it’s pretty clear that Randy started to hate the road.  He wanted to quit Ozzy’s band and study classical music.  He worked his whole life to achieve rock stardom and now that he had it, he was going to give it all up to follow his dream of classical music.  Sadly he never got there.  That is another thing that seems to be forgotten, the road also kills. 

Raise Your Hands (Let It Rock part 2) kicks off side 2.  Another Jon and Richie composition.  The motto of this song is simply.  Come to the show, raise your hands and get wild.  It doesn’t repeat what Let It Rock started, it takes it into overdrive. 

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show

Without Love is the second track after Raise Your Hands on side 2.  This was a Jon, Richie and Des composition and is forgettable.  The first side was pretty much spot on, that it was hard to get into Side 2.    

I saw a man down on lonely street
A broken man who looked like me
And no one knows the pain that he’s been living
He lost his love and still hasn’t forgiven

I’d Die for You is another Jon, Richie and Des composition.  It has become a cult classic for Bon Jovi, with fans hoping that it gets played each night, like Runaway. 

I might not be a savior
And I’ll never be a king
I might not send you roses
Or buy you diamond rings

We are not perfect in relationships, however we try our best.  A lot of the times our best is not good enough and it all ends bad.

Never Say Goodbye doesn’t get out of second gear

As I sit in this smokey room
The night about to end
I pass my time with strangers
But this bottle’s my only friend

And Wild in the Street is a song that could have ended up on a Bruce Springsteen B sides album.    

In here we got this code of honor
Nobody’s going down

As Bob Lefsetz puts “if you want to relive 1986, if you want to know what it was like way back then… You play “Slippery When Wet.”

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Brokenpromisedland – A classic Bon Jovi song waiting to be discovered

Brokenpromisedland

The best song on the 2009 album The Circle is Brokenpromisedland.  This song was written by Bon Jovi, Sambora, John Shanks and Desmond Child.  Actually John Shanks also had a co-write with Bon Jovi and Sambora for This Is Love, This is Life. 

Angels falling from the sky
Imagine that imagine that
Nobody getting out of here alive
No turning back no turning back
Who’s going to bail out all our shattered dreams
And scrape some truth off of these city streets
No time for praying get up off your knees

The GFC left a lot of people shattered and broken.  As an artist, there was plenty of subject matter there for songs.  What was done by the corrupt powers that be, has been done.  We the people need to scrape ourselves back off the floor and start again.

Most of the songs on The Circle album sounded forced to me, except for this song.  It was the only one that felt natural.  The other songs could have been hits if they were sung by a band that lived through the GFC from the other side of the tracks.  Songs like Work for The Working Man and We Weren’t Born To Follow are good songs but it didn’t sound right coming from Jon Bon Jovi, who charges a really high premium to be a JBJBackstage member, who charges really high prices on meet and greets and section A concert tickets and does anyone remember that whole debacle with Skid Row back in the late eighties.   This is the one where Skid Row signed with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora back when the Skid’s were just starting out.  Essentially, Bon Jovi and Sambora ended up owning Skid Row’s publishing rights.  This was no biggie at the time of the contract being signed, but then when the Skid Row album went five times platinum, it was.  Sambora eventually gave his share of the deal back to Skid Row but Bon Jovi, didn’t.

Basically if mp3’s and Napster didn’t change the way music is consumed, Bon Jovi wouldn’t have done these large scale world tours ever again.  During a 10 year period between 1994 and 2004, Bon Jovi didn’t even do a proper tour of Australia at all.  Australian Bon Jovi fans are one of the largest and most loyal fan bases the band has and they ignored Australia during this period, playing special one off shows for certain festivals and just in one state.  It’s like playing one show in New York and expecting LA people to attend it.

They were content on the income coming in from record / CD sales, publishing and radio royalties.  Well that income has dried up and they need to earn their money the old fashion way, which means they have to hit the road.  Anyway I digress.    Back to Brokenpromisedland.

No one bailed us out during this period.  The working man got nothing except pain.  A whole lotta pain.

There’s hope I know
Out on that lonely road
Cause home is where you are and where I am
Breathe in breathe out
There’s only now
And all I got I’m holding in my hands
We’re breaking out of brokenpromisedland

We live, we work, we get paid, we have large houses on a poor man’s wage.  When all that goes to hell, all that we have left is what we hold in our hands.  It could be our kids, a suitcase, a loved one or some memories of what we could salvage.  It becomes our most cherished possession.

Let’s close our eyes and just disappear
Slip through the cracks no looking back
We’ll get a million miles away from here
And let the past just fade to black
So what you learn to live with your regrets
No need to fear what hasn’t happened yet
Life will get you but you can’t forget

Australia wasn’t that bad during the GFC.  Our banks remained stable and our jobs remained.  But what it did do was make us realise that we need to change.  We needed to re-evaluate what is important to us.  If we couldn’t afford the large house, down size it.  It’s okay to do so.  It made us realise that we are not beholden to people’s judgements.  We needed to do what we needed to do and what benefited us so that we don’t end up on our arse.

How many nights between 2008 and 2009 I just wished I was at any other place except the place I was at.  I always wanted to live my life with no ‘what if’s’ however a lot of what if’s came into my life during this period.  It is not something I regret, I have learned to live with the choices I made based on the information I had at that time.

Every time I hear Brokenpromisedland, all those emotions from 2008 to 2009 come back to me and I smile.  I made it through to the other side and I can still smile.  During that time I had a wife, a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a shell of a home.  I still have my wife, my 4 year old is now turning 8, my 3 year old is now turning 7, my 1 year old will be turning 2 and the shell of a home is my family home.  I broke out of the broken promised land and made my own promised land, so far removed from what the establishments want.

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