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

Lock Up The Wolves

A ticking clock sounds in the distance.

Suddenly it starts to get more pronounced as the speed starts to increase.

It’s time for something to happen but what.

Then a syncopated guitar, drums and bass riff kicks in. And there is a pause. It happens again. And another pause.

And that my friends is how “Lock Up The Wolves” starts off. This song, doesn’t get the notice it should.

It’s 1990 and after going through thousands of guitar tapes, Dio settled on unknown guitarist Rowan Robertson and dropped this beauty on a record buying public that became slaves to MTV and slick anthems.

So it’s no surprise, this release doesn’t get the notice it should. Maybe because it was up against “Painkiller” from Judas Priest and “Rust In Peace” From Megadeth for people’s Metal attention. Maybe because MTV kept playing his older stuff over the newer stuff.

Maybe Dio fans expected more. As a solo artist, Dio delivered four huge albums and when you combine the Sabbath and Rainbow albums to that list, you can see it’s a brilliant body of work, spanning 14 years.

I always wondered what the song is about. And the way Dio writes is always open to interpretation. It’s written by Dio, Rowan Robertson and Jimmy Bain. But bass on the album is played by Teddy Cook.

At first I thought it was about the inner struggles people have and to not let those inner Wolves get the better of you.

But the Wolves can be politicians, bad people, drugs/addictions or any other dangers in your life. There is a lyric line which states;

Don’t you let em get away

Lock up the Wolves before you play or it’s over

Because if you do, there is only a front door to hell waiting for you.

To me this song is a masterpiece. The riff is simple and effective. The lead break is bluesy and full of emotion. Simon Wright holds a dirgy tempo on the drums as good as Ward and the Appice brothers. Teddy Cook grinds away on the bass recreating Bain’s parts.

If you haven’t checked it out, do so. YouTube has various videos with combined view counts over 2 million. Spotify has it. It’s one of Dio’s best but

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

Daily Mix

My Spotify daily mix was full of niceties today. It started me off in 1994 (Motley Crue), went back to 1986 (Van Halen), then to 1987 (Whitesnake), then back to 1986 (Tesla), then back to 1988 (Europe), then back to 1987 (Dio and Twisted Sister), 1991 (Skid Row) and back to 1987 (Great White)

Power To The Music

The Motley Corabi line up kicks off my day. Tommy Lee kills it behind the kit as he grooves this song to perfection. The self-titled album is the forgotten album in the Motley Crue revisionist history. It’s like 1993 to 1996 never happened.

Power To The Music
Who said the music’s dead in the streets?
Don’t know what they talk about.
They gotta put a bullet in my head if they want to keep me down

When I first heard this song, the message was load and clear. The record labels might have put their support behind new musical movements, but rock music was far from dead.

Good Enough

“Hello baby”, screams Sammy, before the Van Halen brothers and Michael Anthony thunder in and Sammy starts singing about how a fine woman is like U.S prime grade beef. Totally 80’s and totally male.

Wow, U.S. Prime, grade A stamped guaranteed
Grease it up and turn on the heat
You gotta throw it down and roll it over once, maybe twice
Then chow down, down, down, down

Don’t Turn Away

It’s a forgotten song from the mega selling 1987 album. I love it because of the up tempo ending. It reminds me of the ending of “Still Of The Night” and you don’t want it to end.

Rock Me To The Top

Tesla’s music to me is timeless. It doesn’t sound dated or tied to a particular era. Yeah, I know they got lumped in with the Sunset Strip bands, but Tesla was so much more. And they proved it in the 90’s, when all of the Sunset Strip bands got dropped, Tesla continued to make records and tour to great success. They took risks and backed themselves to deliver acoustically. Not a lot of bands could have done that to the quality Tesla did.

“Rock Me To The Top” is written by vocalist Jeff Keith and estranged guitarist Tommy Skeoch. The riff is foot stomping hard rock to a tee.

I’ll take command, take control
Now I see you comin’ back for more
I see you like it, but you don’t need it
Ooh you wanna feel it

Yep, I’m pretty sure Jeff Keith is singing about driving a car.

Sign Of The Times

That keyboard riff is as iconic as “The Final Countdown” riff. It’s a tragedy the song is not well known.

All The Fools Sailed Away

What a voice? Rest in peace Ronnie James Dio, you’ll be forever missed.

The drumming is epic, great vocal melodies, great movements between loud and soft and when the chorus comes in with the backing vocals; it’s time to sing along.

We are the innocent
We are the damned
We were caught in the middle of the madness
Hunted by the lion and the lamb

Society is founded on the persecution of races. And as we get more advanced, persecution exists between the have and the have nots.

And all the fools sailed away
All the fools sailed away
Sailed away

People need to move and find new lands/cities to thrive and survive.

Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)

It’s another anthem for the SMF’s, the black sheep and the down trodden to wake up and stand together against corruption and oppression.

Who the hell are they to say?
What we can do and how we can play
We got the numbers, yeah,
We got the might
We got the strength and
We got the right
We got the reason, yeah,
We got the night
So wake up the sleeping giant

It’s the war cry against censorship. Freedom comes with a choice and sometimes, we sign away our freedom because we like to create an enemy, someone to blame when it all goes to hell.

It’s our rights they’re abusing,
It’s our right to fight back
So rally the troops and
Let’s start the attack

Around the world, our internet is under attack from governments and corporations. They want to control it, regulate it and charge a premium for it. The Net Neutrality war is real and it’s happening and only a handful of people are speaking up against it. The rest are ignorant.

Slave To The Grind

It’s the thrash metal title track from album number 2, which went straight to number 1 on release. Skid Row could do no wrong musically, even though the internal politics and bickering between Bach and Bolan/Sabo had reached Don Dokken/George Lynch volume levels.

Rock Me

After a few verses, I was thinking what’s next and then the Chorus kicked in. I became a fan instantly.

Rock me, rock me, roll me through the night

Today two versions exist, Jack Russell’s Great White and Mark Kendall’s version of Great White. And unfortunately, they are more remembered recently for the Station nightclub fire in 2003 that killed a lot of their fans when pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager ignited plastic foam used as sound insulation in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage.

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

1983 – The Holy Roller, The Devil Rocker, The Synchronised Eliminator and The Moon Rebel

From May 29, 1983 up until sometime in 1992, metal/rock ruled and it all started with the US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack). For the bands involved it was a pivotal moment. For the movement as a whole, it was massive. For a fledgling TV service called MTV, it showed them a market to tap into.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded. I will talk more about this album in one of the other installments of my 1983 saga.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival in May, helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, you heard those songs and you wanted them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. You can easily conclude that the festival had a hand in boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. This success didn’t come instantly either, working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. However the visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Anyway, enough of the U.S. Festival and time for a look at some albums.

Dio – Holy Diver

Ronnie James Dio success came from hard work and a commitment to stay the course. Check out his release schedule.

From when Elf’s self-titled debut album came out in 1972 he was constantly writing, releasing and touring. In 1974, “Carolina Country Ball” came out and in 1975, “Trying To Burn The Sun” came out.

Also in 1975, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was released. In 1976, “Rising” came out. In 1977, “On Stage” came out. In 1978, “Long Live Rock N Roll” came out.

With Black Sabbath, he was involved with the “Heaven and Hell” release in 1980. In 1981, “Mob Rules” came out. In 1982 “Live At Last” came out.

By 1983, he was about to release his eleventh album in 11 years.

While much of the talk these days is on Dio hiring Vivian Campbell, it was actually Jimmy Bain who had a larger influence on Holy Diver. It was Jimmy Bain that was hired first. It was Jimmy Bain who contributed musically to “Stand Up And Shot” and “Rainbow In The Dark”. It was Jimmy Bain who saw Vivian Campbell play with Sweet Savage.

Actually, if you look at the song writing credits you will see “Holy Diver” was written solely by Dio and “Stand Up And Shout” was written by Dio and bassist Jimmy Bain. Vivian Campbell’s contributions are “Gypsy” (with Dio), “Caught in the Middle” and “Invisible” (with Appice and Dio), “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Shame on the Night” (with Appice, Bain and Dio).

So have a drink for an unsung departed hero in  Jimmy Bain.

Stand Up And Shout
You’ve got the power, stand up and shout

The opening song and it’s a call to arms right off the bat. Written before Vivian Campbell joined the band, the opening riff was used again to great success by Iron Maiden in “2 Minutes To Midnight”. Quick, get the lawyers involved.

Lyrically the song deals with breaking away from conformity.  It was the same theme that Twisted Sister sold millions of albums on.

It’s the same old song
You gotta be somewhere at sometime
And they’ll never let you fly

The mysterious “they” could be your teachers, employers, leaders, mortgage brokers or some other entity/establishment who are holding you back.

You are the driver
You own the road
You are the fire — go on, explode

Damn right, we are our own driver but how many can truly say we made decisions without any influence from others.

Holy Diver
The lead single.

How good is that groove from Appice and Bain under the iconic riff. It’s the selling point of the song. Vocally, Dio is fantastic and the guitar solo from Campbell is shredalicious.

Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he’s clean

Only Dio knows what those lyrics mean however if you are looking for an explanation then go to SongMeanings. A user called “Nightrain50” posted the following;

“Holy Diver is about Jesus Christ’s descent into Hades after being crucified”.

Once you read the users lyrical breakdown, it sounds plausible.

The “Holy Diver” riff is that good, that the Foo Fighters used it in the pre-chorus of their song “Something From Nothing”.

Between the velvet lies
There’s a truth that’s hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life’s a never-ending wheel

The below is an example of the SongMeanings users break down of the above verse.

“Between the velvet lies” = velvet is gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination and a profit or gain beyond what is expected or due. Jesus is the velvet lie. His intentions are not clear. Satan has been fooled, he thought he had won when he had Jesus crucified, in fact he has sealed his own fate. Jesus is here to claim what’s his. All the souls of the fallen that will but believe in him can now be saved from Adam until now. Remember all fell short of the glory of God but one (Jesus), this means that all the prophets of the Old Testament were not reaching heaven. Not yet, but they are now.

“There’s a truth that’s hard as steel” = Truth is the word of God. Steel is the sword of Jesus’s mouth Rev 2:16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

“The vision never dies”= The vision is the law, Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. The law will never die because Jesus has finally fulfilled the law, allowing us to have eternal life with God through him.

“Life’s a never-ending wheel” = Death has been defeated. 1st Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Romans *:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It’s funny how a biblical interpretation has been made on “Holy Diver” that is pro-Jesus, and the person that wrote the song is known as the creator of the devil horn salute. Metal all the way is what I say.

Rainbow In The Dark
While “Holy Diver” and “Stand Up And Shout” warmed up the fan base it was “Rainbow In The Dark” that mobilised them and sealed the deal.

So depending on who you ask, it is pretty clear that a rainbow cannot exist in the dark, as rainbows require light. So is Dio using the term rainbow as an analogy for a “light” in the dark. Also, think of a rainbow as an entity and it found its way into the night. Is it lost? Is it lonely? Did someone abandon it?

It’s typical Dio, where the meaning can take many paths. Each verse line deals with a certain emotion.

When there’s lightning
You know it always bring me down

It’s about feeling down.

Do your demons,
Do they ever let you go?

It’s about giving in to our vices because they are always there.

We’re a lie
You and I
We’re words without a rhyme

It’s about a relationship going sour.

No sign of the morning

It’s like the light will never return into his life.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” and “Shame On The Night” musically are fantastic songs, but lyrically they are terrible.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Dee Snider wrote the tracks for “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” while “Under The Blade” was getting mixed. At that stage, Snider was a 10 year vet in the music business. He didn’t rely on sales of recorded music to provide him with a living. He earned his coin by delivering the goods on stage, night after night.

The band was a consistent crowd puller on the live circuit. You would think that would get them signed, however it didn’t. All the labels rejected them, until an independent label in Europe called “Secret” signed them. This in turn eventually led to Atlantic’s European division signing them for the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” album which in turn led to the U.S arm of Atlantic picking them up, once imported versions of the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” LP started selling in the U.S.

And if you want to hear about record label mistreatment look no further than Dee Snider.

The Kids Are Back
The opening track.

My cousin Mega is a hard-core Twisted Sister fan. He is the one that got me into the band. He even has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder. This was my first exposure to the band. The sound of the marching feet. It was perfect for the time.

We walk the streets
In tattered armies
We got the lion in our heart
We’re not lookin’ for trouble
Just for some fun
But we’re all ready if you wanna’ start

How can I put in words the trueness of this verse?

We just wanted to have fun, but man, if someone wanted to roll with us, we didn’t take a backward step. You can hear the anger build in Dee’s vocal delivery. It’s raw and it is honest. It is not auto tuned like all the other crap released today. It has a certain life to it.

I Am (I’m Me)
It’s a song that needed to be written, so that Dee could go on and write, “S.M.F”, “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. To me, it is like a back story to the main movie. It’s message is one of standing up for yourself.

Who are you to look down
At what I believe?

Notice how most of the lyrics have a certain trend showing. If you don’t believe me, compare the lyrics between these songs;

“Stand Up And Shout”, “The Kids Are Back”, “I Am (I’m Me)”, “Your No Different”, “Rock And Roll Rebel”, “Red Hot” and “Rebel Yell”.

The eighties were a time when the youth didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of what their fathers did. I didn’t want to work in the steel mills. I wanted something different, but I didn’t know what. For too long I had been conditioned to want something else.

We’re Gonna Make It is another song that needed to be written so that Dee could go on to write the classics.

The power of the people
Ain’t been showin’
It’s never what you know
It’s who you’re knowin’
Sure it ain’t right,
But as the saying goes its might
That decides who stays behind
And who’ll be goin’

It’s the A to Z in making it.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

Lift up your hands in praise
You can’t stop rock ‘n’ roll

You know, those words are so true because rock just keeps on evolving. Even when hard rock stopped being a dominant commercial force in the Nineties, another form known as Grunge Rock took over with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Then Alternative Rock took over with Foo Fighters and a renewed Pearl Jam. Then Modern Rock took over with Matchbox Twenty and Tonic. Nu-Metal came and it morphed into Heavy Rock. We had Rap Rock, then Pop Rock and Glam Rock came back again via “The Darkness” and we even had Industrial Rock via “Filter”, “Stabbing Westward” and others of that ilk.

It’s an angry steed,
On a never ending course

Damn right.

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

There is a lot of septic crap around this album especially around the politics of the song writing.

By 1983, Ozzy had lost the momentum that the Blizzard Of Ozz band started. From the original crew, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired and Randy Rhoads died tragically and if the tragedy didn’t happen, Rhoads was putting plans in place to leave Ozzy.

Ozzy’s saving grace was the US Festival. After the US Festival, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. It could have been George Lynch instead of Jake E. Lee. Maybe on Earth 2, there is a version with George Lynch replacing Randy Rhoads.

For Daisley, coming back into the Ozzy camp meant certain conditions. He wanted to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. He wanted bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came.

Writing by Daisley and Lee continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman engineering again. Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio. Sharon Osbourne was constantly on his case as to why the drum parts took so long to record. Time is money. After Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. If you see the “Bark At The Moon” video, Appice is on drums. He had a contract to do the tour and he got fired as well, because he was sneaking off and doing drum clinics.

Bark At The Moon
What a way for Jake E. Lee to introduce himself to the fans of Ozzy Osbourne. Jake E. Lee came up with the riff, Ozzy with the title and Bob
Daisley wrote the lyrics based on a Hammer Horror film story.

But Lee or Daisley are not credited as songwriters. Only Ozzy is.

With so much talk these days about plagiarism and other people taking credit for something they didn’t do, this is exactly what Sharon orchestrated for Ozzy. As it stands, Ozzy is listed as the sole songwriter and by default taking full credit for someone else’s work.

Bark at the moon
Ha ha ha ha ha…

One of my favourite lyrical lines is;

He finds his heaven
Spewing from the mouth of hell

There are a lot of people like that, who find their happiness by putting others down. Hell, the whole bully system is designed in this way. Internet trolls are exactly like this.

And if there was any doubt to the guitar mastery of Jake E. Lee then just listen to the outro solo.

“You’re No Different”
A lot of hate for this song because;

a) it’s a ballad,
b) it has keyboards,
c) it’s a ballad and
d) it’s a ballad with keyboards.

But man, coming off the stellar opening title track, it was a WTF moment, but it’s still a good song and there is no denying the lyrics from Daisley that deal with how people judged and perceived Ozzy.

Everything that I say and do
In your eyes is always wrong
Tell me where do I belong in a sick society

Where do we belong when everyone has their own thoughts and ideas? And why should our thoughts, ideas and words be so wrong, just because we are lower in the status chain.

Your’re no different, no different to me

Last time I checked, we all have a mortality of about 80 years and we all end up in the same place when it all comes to an end.

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes reflecting jealousy

I’ve said sorry many times when I never should have. It was purely an attempt to put a situation to rest and move on.

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try and understand
Is that blood that’s on your hand from your democracy?

Is there such a thing as pure truth as what I see from my point of view and my cultural upbringing is different to what another sees.

And again that outro has a lot of cool Jake E. Lee’isms.

“Rock And Roll Rebel”
It needed to be written so Jake could go and write “Lightning Strikes” because the riffs are identical except in different keys.

I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel
I’ll tell you no lies
They say I worship the devil
They must be stupid or blind
I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel

It’s a national anthem for us metal heads. “I’m a rock and roll rebel” was my favourite comeback line to my school teachers.

They live a life of fear and insecurity
And all you do is pay for their prosperity

Damn right, it’s called tax and mortgages. The best way to ensure that the majority still serve rich masters like in ancient empires is to create wages, income tax and credit loans. That way, the rich will get even richer and the rest of us will just pay for their prosperity.

That lead break from Jake again is brilliant. Arpeggios, bluesy pentatonic lines, fast legato lines and anything else he could fit in, he did.

“Waiting for Darkness”
The excellent album closer. It’s how Jake E. Lee decorates the song by palm muting and double-picking each note to create a staccato style effect. It’s very similar to how Andy Summers from The Police decorated songs.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how I’m not free. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”;

“New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”

Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
Motley Crue is another band that benefited greatly from the U.S Festival. 1983 is when the LA Sunset Strip Scene broke out as a commercial force.

On the backs of Motley Crue and Quiet Riot, suddenly the labels were looking for bands that looked and sounded like Motley Crue and Quiet Riot. Ratt, Dokken WASP, Kix, Krokus and Mamas Boys are a few bands that benefited from Motley Crue breaking out of the L.A Sunset Strip scene.

Other labels that had established bands made their bands look like Motley Crue. Y&T, Accept, Fastway, Whitesnake, Helix, Saxon, Kiss and Tygers of Pan Tang are a few bands that had a look and feel change to their wardrobes. But for the Crue, their changes had a lot to do with what was popular at the time. Metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were riding a wave of commercial prosperity. The Crue had the metal look and all they needed was the metal sound.

Enter the pentagram.

The “Shout At The Devil” album was primarily written while the band was still unknown and striving for success. You can hear the angst, rebellious youth and aggression in the music. You can hear the kilos of cocaine and decadent lifestyle in the music.

Tom Werman is on hand to produce. There is no denying the fact that Werman had a certain touch to get the albums sounding radio friendly.

Around this time there was a satanic backlash happen in the U.S. Motley Crue played into the controversy and as Vince Neil once said, they did anything that would get them attention.

Werman advised them that they could record their tracks separately and then fix up any mistakes after. This in turn led to a lot of down time. Down time equals partying. In the end, the Crue managed to get it together to record an album that was a product and snapshot of 1982/83.

“Shout At The Devil”
The funny thing is the band is accused of being satanic however they had the most Christian sounding title in “Shout At The Devil”. It is no different to “To Hell With The Devil” from Stryper. The main riff is a bluesy classic, in the vein of ZZ Top’s if played with a boogie feel.

But in the seasons of wither
We’ll stand and deliver
Be strong and laugh and
Shout-shout-shout
Shout at the devil

Nikki is channelling his love of Aerosmith and his rebellious street punk nature in the lyrics. He is part of the disenfranchised generation.

“Looks That Kill”
The L.A sound is all over this. The opening riff of “Looks That Kill” was copied from somewhere and then all of the LA bands copied each other with different variations. If you don’t believe me, check out Ratt and Dokken. The “Breaking The Chains” album has a song with a very similar riff and so does ”Out Of The Cellar”.

As good as the riff is; it’s the foot stomping beat from Tommy Lee that gets the song going. It’s metronomic and G-string tight.

Now listen up
She’s razor-sharp

Now she’s bulletproof
Keeps her motor clean
If Nikki was channelling Aerosmith in “Shout At The Devil”, well for “Looks That Kill” he was channelling Brian Johnson and “Back In Black”.

“Bastard”

Bastard
Won’t get screwed again

Written about their manager who funded their debut album and then split with the Elektra advance.

“Red Hot”
Tommy Lee is channelling “Overkill” from Motorhead with the drums.

Shout at the devil
We’ve laughed at your wars

The title track appears again in another song. It’s such a strong statement.

“Too Young to Fall in Love”

Again, it’s Tommy’s foot stomping and metronomic drumming that gets the song rolling and grooving.

Run for the hills
We’re both sinners and saints

“Knock Em Dead, Kid”
That intro riff from Mick Mars and the build-up from Tommy Lee is a foot stomper. It’s a call to arms.

In the heat of the night
You went and blackened my eyes
Well now I’m back, I’m back, I’m back
And I’m coming your way”

Lyrics about a fist fight. Nikki took a few hits and now he’s back for retribution. Brilliant

“Ten Seconds To Love”
Touch my gun
But don’t pull my trigger
Let’s make history
In the elevator
Or lock the door
Shine my pistol some more
Here I cum
Just ten seconds more

Sixx is a master at the tongue and cheek bubblegum sexual lyrics.

Bring a girlfriend
Maybe bring two
I got my camera
Make a star outta you

The Crue guys made stars of themselves and others with those camera’s many years later. How prophetic.

“Danger”
This one is one of those gems that is forgotten, telling a story about the bands early days.

“Danger, you’re in danger when the boys are around”

The Motley Crue lifestyle. It was danger. Hotel rooms got destroyed, cars got destroyed, Razzle died, Nikki Sixx died.

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

“Rebel Yell” is written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens.

Steve Stevens is merely a footnote in the pages of rock/pop and Digitech whammy noises. Tom Morello is seen as an innovator for doing the same thing that Steve Stevens was doing a decade before. Stevens only crime was big hair and big hair is not in to the people who write pop culture history.

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more, wow!

The Police – Synchronicity

It goes to show how one great song and two good songs could move millions upon millions of albums. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 are the ones.

“Every Breath You Take”
The big one. The songwriting credits state it was all Sting, however the way guitarist Andy Summers plays the stock A – F#m – D – E progression is what defines the song and sets it apart from all of the other pretenders.

“King Of Pain”
Gotye took the feel and chordal structure of this song and made it a hit again almost 30 years later. Quick, call the lawyers, we have plagiarism at its best.

There’s a king on a throne with his eyes torn out
There’s a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt
There’s a rich man sleeping on a golden bed
There’s a skeleton choking on a crust of bread

I’ll always be king of pain

Brilliant lyrics. All of those characters could have been Sting.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger”
Again, Summers takes centre stage with his intricate, melodic and delicious sounding guitar lines.

I can see the destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold
I’ll be wrapped around your finger

ZZ Top – Eliminator

“Gimme All Your Lovin’”
It kicks off the album that turned ZZ Top into superstars. And as all things to do with the Eighties it was on the back of MTV and their stylish videos that all kept the same theme going throughout.

You got to whip it up
And hit me like a ton of lead
If I blow my top
Will you let it go to your head?

Are the lyrics dealing with cumming on her face.

“Got Me Under Pressure”
All the trademarks of classic ZZ Top are here. The riffs, the solos, the jam like structures.

I’m gonna give her a message,
here’s what I’m gonna say:
“It’s all over.”

Man, it’s good the ZZ Top guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Premature ejaculation gets a verse.

“Sharp Dressed Man”
If “Gimme All Your Loving’” and “Got Me Under Pressure” were the combinations, then “Sharp Dressed Man was the knockout.
It’s a technological refined Southern Blues Rock boogie merged with a lot of pop sensibilities.

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

“Legs”
Six songs would have been enough for this album.

She’s got legs, she knows how to use them

The immortal lyric that everyone knows. But what about this one;

She’s got hair down to her fanny
She’s kinda jet set, try undo her panties

Fanny makes it in a hit song. Brilliant.

And based on the above, here is a sequenced list of songs for a 20 song double album. All killer, no filler.
Side 1
1. Bark At The Moon
2. Stand Up And Shout
3. Looks That Kill
4. Rainbow In The Dark
5. Every Breath You Take
Side 2
1. Rebel Yell
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Legs
4. You Cant Stop Rock And Roll
5. Holy Diver
Side 3
1. Red Hot
2. I Am (I’m Me)
3. Too Young To Fall In Love
4. Gimme All Your Lovin’
5. Waiting For Darkness
Side 4
1. The Kids Are Back
2. Wrapped Around Your Finger
3. Sharp Dressed Man
4. King Of Pain
5. Got Me Under Pressure

Stay tuned for Part II.

In case you didn’t get the title;

  • The Holy Roller is a combination of “Holy Diver” and “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll”.
  • The Devil Rocker is a combination of “Shout At The Devil” and “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll”.
  • The Synchronised Eliminator is a combination of “Synchronicity” and “Eliminator”
  • The Moon Rebel is a combination on “Bark At The Moon” and “Rebel Yell”.
Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Work Of The Devil

It’s funny how originally rock and roll, then blues rock, then heavy metal, then hard/glam rock, then thrash metal and so on were seen as the work of the devil.

Growing up, I wore my heavy metal and hard rock T-shirts with pride, ready to defend myself if anyone decided to have a dig. Thankfully I didn’t have a situation like that present itself.

Growing up in a city that employed thousands upon thousands at the local steelworks, the majority of the children of those workers were all metal and rock heads. Plus by wearing the colours of your favourite band, by default people just saw you as dangerous.

In other words, if I wore an Iron Maiden “The Number Of The Beast” t-shirt or a Motley Crue “Shout At The Devil” t-shirt it was a shorthand way of informing the public to not mess with me.

I know in my circle of friends, we all came from religious backgrounds. All of us are baptised.

Crucifixes, Mother Mary and Jesus Christ ornaments decorated our walls and cabinets. My olds were cool however they also had very conservative friends who kept on judging them for the musical tastes of their children.

But my Dad, he is a deadest legend. He allowed me to be who I wanted to be growing up, giving me a hell of a lot of freedom. He was a musician as well so he understood my mantra of “music being my religion” and when he would come home from a gig he would have about $500 to $1500 in cash on him.

The usual routine was that he would hand over the cash to me to count and then he would give me a couple of twenties for my efforts. Of course those twenty-dollar notes went straight into the cash till at the local record shop the next day. I was a music junkie, consuming the expensive U.S magazines and whatever vinyl I could get my hands on.

My Dad would talk to me about the family name, our history, what it means to have a good reputation and the most important lesson was that people will judge you no matter what you do. He said that if I conform to what others want me to be, people will still judge me. If I remain true to myself and be who I want to be, people will still judge me. He said if you fail in life there will be people there ready to talk about you and to throw more mud in your face. He said that if I am happy then there will people there ready to drag me down into the same hole that they live in.

And every time we spoke about matters like these I always had a song in the back of my head that connected with the message. That is why I gravitated to metal and rock music. The messages connected.

“Stand Up And Shout” from Dio. You see as good as “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line” are it was the more simpler lyrical songs from Dio that really connected with audiences, like “Stand Up And Shout”.

It’s the same old song
You’ve got to be somewhere at sometime
And they never let you fly

The daily grind, the nine to five. How can we fly and reach for the sky when we always have to be somewhere each day and do the same old song and dance. Credit Jimmy Bain for the great riffs.

“I Believe In Rock And Roll” from Twisted Sister’s “Come Out And Play” album. A very underrated album and “I Believe In Rock And Roll” is one such song that hasn’t been given it’s proper due.

Every day
I work so hard
Every day
I’m dealt the cards
Every day
I’m told exactly what to do
Every day
I lose control
Every day
I rock ‘n’ roll
Every day
It’s gonna help to see me through

Dee Snider sure knows how to tell it. If anyone tells you that their days are not like the above, then they are liars.  The first six lines deal with the daily grind, the nine to five routine. It was a common theme in the Eighties. Then the next six lines deal with music and how it helps get through the days.

“I Wanna Be Somebody” from WASP. Blackie Lawless is a great songwriter and WASP has a special place in my heart. The pinnacle to me was “The Crimson Idol” however “The Last Command” and the debut album are not that far behind.

You’re nobody’s slave, nobody’s chains are holdin’ you
You hold your fist up high,
And rule the zoo

Conformity is a disease. If you don’t believe me then look at the symptoms. You are alive but mentally chained to some ideal pushed on you and you don’t know if its a good ideal or a bad ideal. In the end, we should all bang our heads and use our fists to break down the walls.

(P.S. Do you like what I did there, merging WASP, with Quiet Riot and Motley Crue.)

“You’re No Different” from the “Bark At The Moon” album by Ozzy Osbourne. Bob Daisley wrote some excellent lyrics about Ozzy’s reputation and how people judge him.

Everything that I say and do
In your eyes is always wrong
Tell me where do I belong
In a sick society

You’re no different to me

The judgemental people can put themselves up on some imaginary pedestal but in the end they are as pathetic as the rest of the us. We are all no different to each other. We all end up in the same prison with a tombstone above our heads. Let’s see them judge other’s then.

And how good is that outro. It reminds me of the “Escape From New York” theme, while Jake E.Lee starts to unleash.

“Fighting The World” from Manowar. Founder Joey Demaio always had a song about metal and brotherhood. This one is a classic in my eyes.

Now people keep asking if we’re going to change
I look’em in the eye
Tell’em no way
Stripes on a tiger don’t wash away
Manowar’s made of steel not clay

I must admit I always found Manowar’s lyrics laughable because they delivered them so seriously. But seriously who else could get away with a lyrical line, “stripes on a tiger don’t wash away, Manowar’s made of steel not clay.”

Brilliant and perfect for the times.  And then the call to arms with the marching drums;

Fight for a living – Fighting the World

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Six Degrees Of Separation – Marc Ferrari, Oni Logan and Rowan Robertson

Did you know that Marc Ferrari featured on Pantera’s “Power Metal” album that came out in 1988?

“Proud To Be Loud” was written by Marc Ferrari  and it was originally intended for Keel’s 1987 self-titled album. The song didn’t get used, however the Pantera guys heard the song back in 1985 when Keel was in town for a live performance and wanted to record it. Ferrari then went to Texas to produce the vocal on that track and he ended up playing rhythm guitar on the song and also lead guitar on another song called “We’ll Meet Again”.

Marc Ferrari then left Keel in February 1988, after the touring cycle ended for the self-titled album. After the tour, the band were about to change labels from MCA to Atlantic Records. With anything that is record company related, the band started getting pressure from the label to get that hit single like Bon Jovi. Ron Keel’s vision for the band was much different from Marc Ferrari’s vision and when a keyboard player was brought in, Marc Ferrari stepped out.

Then Ferrari discovered Oni Logan who at the time was working in Florida. Logan moved out to California to do some demos and showcases. The band was originally called Ferrari, then Crying Shame until they were told that they couldn’t use the name. Since they had a cool logo with the C and S intersecting, they tried to keep within the C and S theme and Cold Sweat came out of that.

Enter George Lynch.

Being a higher profile guitarist than Marc Ferrari, Logan was made an offer he couldn’t refuse and left Cold Sweat on the day they either entered the studio to record their debut album / or were meant to sign their major label contract (there are differing stories). Logan for his departure more or less slowed down the Cold Sweat project, nevertheless, he went off to create the excellent “Wicked Sensation” album with Lynch Mob that came out in 1990 on Elektra. The funny thing is that Cold Sweat’s debut “Break Out” which came out on MCA Records also came out the same year. However, the Lynch Mob album did far better than the Cold Sweat album.

Marc Ferrari then started working on another project called Medicine Wheel who recorded three records and had a decent following in Japan. The records were issued on a number of small independent labels in Germany and Japan. All of this happened between the years of 1992 and 1999.

Logan on the other hand was out of a job by 1991.

Enter Wendy Dio who suggested that Logan work with Dio guitarist Rowan Robertson. The “Lock Up The Wolves” era of Dio was put on hold while Ronnie James Dio reconnected with Tony Iommi for the “Dehumanizer” album that came out in 1992. The writing sessions between Logan and Robertson spawned the band Violets Demise.

Violets Demise managed to get a major record deal with Atlantic, however by the mid-nineties, the label money makers considered hard rock music not a commercially viable product, so the album that Violets Demise recorded with Alice In Chains producer Dave Jerden never saw the light of day officially, until 2002, when it was released as Logan/Robertson Revisited on Oni Logan’s website.

After disbanding Cold Sweat and while working with Medicine Wheel, Marc Ferrari started to get some of his songs placed in films and on TV, so he developed a business called MasterSource which is a music catalogue company that licenses its music primarily in films and on TV shows. And that gig along with the work that he does for Universal is still Ferrari’s main thing. Rather than waiting for things to happen Ferrari made things happen for himself.

So by the mid-nineties, while Logan took the big offer money deal from the Lynch camp to jump ship, it was actually Marc Ferrari that had a stable source of income and in general was better off. Just goes to show that the instant payola might be gratifying when it happens however in the long-term not so much.

Then by 1998, Logan was back with Lynch Mob and recording a demo (that ended up being released as the Syzygy EP on Lynch’s website) for the sole purpose of shopping to record labels to listen to and decide whether or not they wanted to sign the band. Meanwhile, Marc Ferrari also got back together with Ron Keel to finish and complete some of the unfinished tracks the band had lying around in the vault for the “Back In Action” album however his main gig was and is the MasterSource business. While Logan was involved in an EP to obtain a deal, Ferrari was involved in a full album release on an independent Canadian label.

Meanwhile Rowan Robertson fell into a slump after the demise of Violet Demise. However by 1998, he got an audition for a band called VAST. If you haven’t heard the excellent song “Touched” from the also excellent “Visual Audio Sensory Theater” that came in 1998, then you need to give it a listen.  The best way to explain VAST is Enigma meets Metallica meets The Beatles. Even though VAST was seen as Jon Crosby’s project, it was also seen as Robertson’s entry back into the music industry.

Comparing all three, by 1998, Marc Ferrari was way better off. He didn’t have the high-profile gig as Dio’s lead guitarist, nor was he as high-profile as George Lynch however what he did do was create for himself a position in the music business. He created opportunities when they didn’t exist and he diversified, focusing on licensing opportunities and music for television, films and games.

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

Vivian Campbell Compendium

In June 2013, Vivian Campbell announced that he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In November 2013, Campbell said he was in remission from the disease. Then the cancer was back and Campbell is undergoing stem-cell treatments for it. In the meantime, Trixter’s Steve Brown will be filling in for at least four shows while Campbell undergoes treatment.

Killing Time
The first time I heard “Killing Time” was when I purchased the single for “The Unforgiven” from Metallica. So I went looking for the original band’s version which back in 1992 proved impossible. Sweet Savage was Vivian’s first band at the age of 16. The guitar styling’s included a heavy dose of Thin Lizzy with blues inspired leanings courtesy of Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck and Gary Moore with a quickened punk-escue tempo. Add to that mix the Northern Ireland upbringing of the members. Two members were Catholic and the other two were Protestants. That was Sweet Savage and with time they became seen as one of the true unsung pioneers of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.

As bands from the NWOBHM started to break out and make it, Sweet Savage were still knocking on every door and exhausting all their possibilities. By 1982, Campbell knew Sweet Savage was not going to make it. Determined to make a living playing guitar, Campbell actively looked for another gig. Sweet Savage never made it big but in a way they did, they just changed their name to Metallica.

All of our heroes need to start somewhere and it was through Sweet Savage that Jimmy Bain heard Vivian play.

Rainbow In The Dark
He co-wrote “Rainbow In The Dark. 1983 was a big year for the rise of heavy metal and hard rock as a commercial force. While “Holy Diver” and “Stand Up And Shout” (which Vivian didn’t co-write) warmed up the fan base it was “Rainbow In The Dark” that mobilised them and sealed the deal. After the “Holy Diver” album went gold in the U.S., Campbell gave his father the framed gold album, which he hung proudly in his office. In relation to money, the road crew was making more than what the band was making.

The Last In Line
One year later and you are hearing another masterpiece. That guitar intro, the vocal, it’s like we were all children stepping out in the big world and never knowing if we will come home, but the magic we feel at that moment is worth a lifetime. The power of rock and roll. Once upon a time, music was the anti to the establishment. Forget the Top Forty charts, they were nearly meaningless for metal and rock bands until MTV took a stranglehold. The bands had hit songs but those hit songs lived in our hearts and minds as well as on the concert stage.

Egypt (The Chains Are On)
And the final track on album has an undeniable guitar riff. It is slow and all about the groove. And then there is Dio’s dreamy vocal. Now that is a rock star.

King Of Rock ‘N’ Roll
Another year later takes us to 1985 and this is my anthem…

Sacred Heart
The title cut off the third album, a satisfying cut that is made special by its nod to classic rock. But this was ’85, and bands like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth started making an impact. And unfortunately, the band at this time couldn’t replicate the quality of the first two records. Was it the money equity issues or something else? And when you talk about the band Dio, you talk about the classic line-up, one of the best in rock and roll.

Stars
This would burn up Spotify if released today as the whole pop market is built around telling teenagers that they are stars. It’s written by Dio, Campbell and Bain however Campbell and Bain where the initial drivers. Stupid record label politics delayed the release of the song until 1986 which diminished its impact.

Campbell has stated in numerous interviews that his departure in 1986 stemmed mostly from Ronnie’s unfulfilled promises of equity ownership in the band after the third album. It was the difference between being a salaried musician and dividing up a pool of performance revenues and royalties in the millions.

There is a YouTube clip where Ronnie James Dio says “I hope he f***** dies, he is an asshole.” Dio further goes on to tell the eager autograph hunters if they have heard some of the things that Vivian has said about him. And then Dio answers his own question, by saying that Campbell called him the most despicable human being and from listening to it, Dio believes that Campbell should be grateful because Dio believes that it was him that made Campbell a star. Basically, money is the root of all evil.

Vivian then hooked up with Whitesnake in 1987, and played on the bands most successful world tour ever. However he didn’t stay with the band because when it came time to submit music for the follow-up album to the mega successful 1987 album, Campbell saw that he was not needed. During this time the past came knocking again. Wendy Dio called to see if he was interested in joining forces with Ronnie again. However the bitter split over money still lingered and nothing eventuated. So by 1989, Campbell was out of another band. A production gig came up with Riverdogs and a Lou Gramm appearance on his solo album. The production gig led to Vivian becoming a permanent member in Riverdogs, who released an album to critical acclaim but had lacklustre support from their record label. The Lou Gramm appearance led to “Shadow King” Lou Gramm’s new band, which had limited success, and Gramm eventually returned to Foreigner.

Water From The Moon
It’s from the Riverdogs debut. It is track two on side 2 of the LP version or track number 7 on the CD. It was also the B-side to the “Toy Solider” single. You had to go deep into the album to hear it. The song is written by Vivian Campbell and Rob Lamothe. Rob Lamothe on vocals sounds like a cross between John Mellencamp, David Coverdale and Paul Rodgers.

I picked up the “Riverdogs” album along with the “Shadow King” album at a second-hand store for $4. It’s totally forgotten today. The classic line up was Rob Lamothe on vocals/guitars, Vivian Campbell on guitars and Nick Brophy on bass. It came out on EPIC Records and it fizzled out due to lack of label support. It was a big step away from the 80’s metal/glam genre and more of a nod to the gritty rock albums of the 70’s. However, the label marketed it as another hair metal album and then a week after its release they shelved it.

And of course there’s outstanding guitar playing from Vivian Campbell. Not only is the guitar playing phenomenal, it is full of emotion and feel. Also credit deserves to go to bassist Nick Brophy who stepped aside as the lead guitarist to make room for Vivian Campbell.

The only way I knew about Riverdogs in Australia was via interviews in the Guitar Magazines with Vivian Campbell. Otherwise they didn’t get on radio or any store promo whatsoever. So if people don’t know about it, how can they invest their time in it.

Shadow King came next. The members included Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm, guitarist Vivian Campbell, Lou Gramm’s former Black Sheep and then future Foreigner bandmate bass player Bruce Turgon, and drummer Kevin Valentine. Bruce Turgon, was the secret ingredient, being a long-time friend of Lou and co-writer of the majority of the songs. Vivian actually co-wrote a couple of songs however the majority Lou Gramm and Bruce Turgon wrote the majority of the album. While other “supergroups” like Bad English and Damn Yankees were tearing up the charts, Shadow King got ignored. It’s a forgotten release by one of rock’s greatest vocalists.

They released a self-titled album in 1991 on Atlantic Records. Keith Olsen was on hand to produce. My other favourite tracks like “What Would it Take”, “Once Upon a Time”, “Anytime, Anywhere”, “Don’t Even Know I’m Alive”, “I Want You”, “This Heart of Stone” and “Danger in the Dance of Love” are written by Bruce Turgon and Lou Gramm.

Russia
Great acoustic playing and vocal melody – what is the lyrical message… It comes in at track 10 and it’s written by Vivian Campbell and Lou Gramm. It’s actually the only song that has a Campbell co-write.

One Dream
From 1991, a classic AOR gem. From the delayed guitar intro, to the Bad Company style verses, to the Def Leppard style choruses, the song is brilliant throughout. Add to that mix the brilliant voice of Lou Gramm and you have a classic rock song. Vivian Campbell delivers a stellar lead break as well. It’s a shame it got lost in a crap movie soundtrack. For the uninitiated it was on the “Highlander II: The Quickening” soundtrack.

Shortly afterward, Vivian Campbell announced he was leaving Shadow King to join Def Leppard. Although replacements were considered, the band members eventually went their separate ways, with Gramm and Turgon joining the reunited Foreigner in 1993.

That first year, Campbell was a salaried player. Then by the “Slang” album he became a full-fledged partner in the band.

Work It Out
“Work It Out,” is one of the more quality songs on “Slang” which came out in 1996. It’s got that cool tremolo guitar line happening throughout the start and a very heavy leaning towards a certain Scottish band called “GUN” and their song “Better Days”.

It was bittersweet. “Slang” was the first Def Leppard album that did not achieve platinum success in the U.S. It was too much in left field. Radio stations wouldn’t play Def Leppard because the songs from the new album did not sound like Def Leppard. They also wouldn’t play the old songs because they represented the ’80s.

Truth
It’s also a Vivian Campbell composition. The album version has nothing on the demo version. That is where it was at. It rocked and it rolled. Great guitar intro, but that overall industrial drum sound just doesn’t sit right with me. Then the whole Eastern Arabic lead break and breakdown reminds of “The Tea Party” which is a cool connection.

The “Slang” album was quickly forgotten. The ’90s was a tough time for all the Eighties rock bands. Some broke up and some just gave up music all together.

To Be Alive
The band’s next record, “Euphoria,” went gold in the U.S. It featured Campbell’s song, “To Be Alive,” from his solo band, “Clock” and their album “Through Time”, and a return to their signature sound. It’s got beautiful guitar playing and that classic major key feel from songs like “Two Steps Behind” and “Hysteria”. Great ballad and great lyrics. The songwriters are listed as Vivian Campbell and P.J. Smith.

Paper Sun
It’s 1999 and the recording business is in the throes of Limp Bizkit, Britney Spears and every other act that didn’t have roots in the Eighties. This is a song that just screams “HEAR ME”. It is a forgotten Def Leppard classic. From start to finish it is a masterpiece. It’s written by Vivian Campbell, Phil Collen, Joe Elliott, Rick Savage and producer Pete Woodroffe.

Guilty
Up tempo derivative version of “Hysteria” merged with “Animal”. It is written by Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Joe Elliott, Vivian Campbell and Pete Woodroffe

Day After Day
Another forgotten Def Leppard gem. How good is that break down riff before the solo and then that solo is a nice little song within a song composition. This one is written by Phil Collen, Joe Elliott and Vivian Campbell.

Then came “X” and outside hit makers were brought in, but unfortunately the vocal melodies just didn’t do justice to the excellent music. When I picked up X with the black background cover and the white X, I had in my head that it would sound something like Bad Company’s self-titled debut, as I was really hoping that Joe Elliot would try to push his voice in more of a Paul Rodgers/John Mellencamp direction. It wasn’t to be.

“Songs from the Sparkle Lounge” was done rather quickly compared to Def Leppard standards and it stands as a favourite of Viv’s. However it is another forgettable album. The Vivian Campbell cut “Gotta Let It Go” has a cool and very heavy “Have A Nice Day” chorus.

Vivian Campbell still has more to say, so here’s to a speedy recovery.

Standard
Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

June, 1993

It’s June 1993 and I am flicking through the new issue of Hot Metal Magazine, which at the time was Australia’s premier metal and rock magazine. For $3.50 it was an excellent alternative to the overpriced American and British magazines.

On the cover there was the John Bush fronted Anthrax. Three members are wearing white t-shirts with blue Jeans, and two members are wearing black t-shirts with blue jeans. It was a sign of the changing times as publicists and record labels pushed their artists to have a more grungy look.

“The Sound Of White Noise” got 5 skulls in the magazine review, which equates to ‘KILLER’. A few months after it’s release the album was certified GOLD. This is probably the album that Scott Ian was referring too when he made his comments that in the past they would sell a shitload of albums.

It was a hungry album. John Bush’s transition from a struggling band to a major label act was the catalyst. It was an album chock full of metal “hits”. “Only” comes to mind straight away. Even James Hetfield called it the perfect song. “Black Lodge” didn’t sit out-of-place with the current crop of chart toppers in Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Credit producer Dave Jerden who produced both “Dirt” from Alice In Chains and “The Sound Of White Noise”. It was the last good Anthrax album and it is not even up on Spotify. Actually none of the John Bush-era of Anthrax is on Spotify which is a shame.

And the critics that said “Worship Music” is a great album cannot understand why it didn’t resonate with the audience. Look at the top ten songs on Spotify for Anthrax. Not one song from “Worhsip Music” is on the list. Same goes for YouTube.

Then you have the bloodbath from the Eighties scene.

Jani Lane (RIP) and Warrant had split and both acts had their contracts reduced to demo deals. So even though you had three albums that had moved 500,000 plus units each, they still ended up on the scrap-heap. Kik Tracee also split with vocalist Stephen Shareaux (bet he wished he tried harder for that Motley Crue vocalist spot) and both of them had been reduced to a demo deal. Looks like all the promo to sell the act just didn’t connect with the audience because in the end the songs where rubbish.

Meanwhile Rowan Robertson from “The Lock Up The Wolves” Dio era inked a deal with Atlantic Records for his new band that had Oni Logan from Lynch Mob on vocals. We all know that this didn’t end up going anywhere.

While, Roberston’s former employer, Dio (RIP) was working with WWIII guitarist Tracy G after his “Dehumanizer” venture with Black Sabbath went sour. These sessions would go on to create the “Strange Highways” album while Jake E.Lee was working with WWIII singer (and i use that term loosely) Mandy Lion.

Reports coming through at that time spoke about the new Bruce Dickinson solo album being an “updated, toughened up Santana vibe with a heavy leaning towards Peter Gabriel type atmospherics and experimentation.”  That album would become “Balls To Picasso” and apart from the song “Tears Of The Dragon” which sounds like an Iron Maiden song the rest of the album was a listen best avoided.

On the drug front we had David Lee Roth getting busted in New York after purchasing a $10 bag of weed. Seriously, for someone like his stature surely he could have done it more discreetly or gotten that $10 bag delivered to the studio. However, Roth is Roth and he decided that he should go out into the town and look for a dealer. On the other drug front, there was news that started coming out about Tim Kelly (RIP) from Slaughter who was alleged to have been involved in a major drug smuggling ring that was busted after a five-year investigation by the F.B.I.

Then we had the Motley Crue vs Vince Neil shenanigans.

The Vince Neil “Exposed” album got a good review in the magazine. I suppose it was inevitable that the solo album from Vince Neil would sound a lot like Motley Crue, even though NIkki Sixx insisted that Vince Neil had nothing to do with the creation of the songs in Motley Crue or the Motley sound. I think Nikki Sixx missed the memo that the actual voice plays a big part in the sound. Credit music business vet Phil Soussan for delivering a stellar performance in the songwriting department that helped kick-start Vince’s solo career.

Then on the other side you had “The Scream” with new singer Billy Scott battling to get their album done in time so that they can tour with Motley Crue as part of the singer transfer deal. For the uninitiated John Corabi from “The Scream” replaced Vince Neil in Motley Crue. However, the Crue’s album was REJECTED by Elektra Records. It wouldn’t be until the following year that the self-titled Motley Crue album saw the light of day. And within 6 months it disappeared from the public conversation and the tour got reduced from arena’s to theaters to getting cancelled.

Finally Pride and Glory was still on hold while Zakk Wylde worked with Ozzy Osbourne on the follow-up to “No More Tears”. Producers John Purdell and Duane Baron took over from Michael Wagener (who produced the first few songs and was then retained to mix the album until Micheal Beinhorn got involved). James Lomenzo was being used as a bass replacement for the recording sessions. The album that would become Ozzmosis would take another two more years before it saw the light of day and the style of the songs would be re-imagined into the modern sound of the day.

In the end the majority of artists mentioned above are still part of the music business in some way. And for the ones that aren’t, only death could separate them from the music world.

Standard