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

1978 – Part 1

Quiet Riot – II

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this in a second hand record shop in the early 90’s for $10.

It’s part of Randy Rhoads origin story.

And what a strange cover, with the guys in the band, dressed up in glam outfits in a locker room with American Football jocks.

What the !!

“Slick Black Cadillac” kicks it off, a song which QR would redo with Carlos Cavazo and release it on “Metal Health”. But you need to hear the RR version.

The piece d’resistance is the solo sections of “Trouble” and “Face To Face” which reminds me of bits and pieces from “Mr Crowley”, “Over The Mountain” and “Flying High Again”.

And my other favourite is “We’ve Got The Magic”.

Listen to the little melodic leads RR plays in the Chorus.

And who said that RR couldn’t be bluesy. Check out the lead break in this song.

Boston – Don’t Look Back

How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?

“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus.

“Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.

And that’s it for me. Boston has always been a two to three song band per album.

Van Halen – Van Halen

So many good songs for a debut.

It’s the same old saying, you have a lifetime to write your first album and a few months for the second.

But Van Halen in their early days were very prolific writers, so even though the first album is full of good moments, a lot of other songs from these days appeared on albums afterwards, all the way up to the reunion with Roth in the two thousands.

“Running With The Devil” kicks it all off with the iconic riff and in the Chorus, Michael Anthony’s backing vocals take centre stage. “Eruption” is now set in stone as one of “the instrumentals” on the Ten Commandments and The Kinks introduced “You Really Got Me” as a Van Halen cover after Van Halen rockified it.

Then the Am to F to G palm muted arpeggiated intro begins for “Aint Talking Bout Love” and another iconic riff is born.

“I’m The One” is the embryo of songs like “House Of Pain” and “Get Up”. “Jamie’s Cryin” was a hit twice, once with Van Halen and once with Tone Loc who sampled the riff and beat for “Wild Thing”.

“Atomic Punk” has that slashing like intro that inspired Slash for the “Mr Brownstone” intro. “Feel Your Love Tonight” could have come from an ELO record and Michael Anthony’s backing vocals are so precise and powerful. “Little Dreamer” has got this rumbling like riff that is cool to play. “Ice Cream Man” didn’t satisfy, but “On Fire” is full of good riffs to enjoy.

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

I always have time for Bruce Springsteen and this album rates as one of his best.

I love the way “Badlands” starts off. The riff is so rock and roll and pop rock all in one. Bands like “ELO” and “Styx” built careers on riffs like these. Then that bluesy sleazy rhythm kicks off “Adam Raised A Cain”.  “Something In The Night” was written in 78, but the intro riff would become a number 1 chart topper in 84, when it became “I’m On Fire”.

The intro piano riff of “Racing In The Street” must have influenced Jonathan Cain as he would write many songs that went to platinum levels of success with a similar vibe and feel. “Promised Land” is about Springsteen’s beliefs in the life he is living, in the country he is born in.

And “Streets Of Fire” is still relevant today as it was back in the Seventies. “Prove It All Night” or “Because The Night”, as there is no difference between them really, especially in the music around the Chorus.

Rainbow – Long Live Rock N Roll

The drum roll snare, the words “All Right” and off we go, into the mystic lands of Rock and Roll, screaming deep into the night, “Long Live Rock And Roll”.

And Richie Blackmore is all over this album, with guitar riffs gifted to him from the “Lady Of The Lake”. If you don’t believe me, check out the verse riff and then that vocal melody in the Pre-Chorus/Chorus from Ronnie James Dio.

And we caught the “L.A Connection” to the “Gates Of Babylon” just to “Kill The King”, hiding out in “The Shed” because our “Rainbow Eyes” are “Sensitive To Light”.

Queen – Jazz

Some of the best riffs from Brian May are on this album.

The guitar riff in “Fat Bottomed Girls” makes the world go around. “If You Can’t Beat Them” has this pop like riff which reminds me of other acts, but Brian May makes it his own.

Listen to “Dead On Time”, it’s basically got a speed rock riff. “Dreamer’s Ball” kicks off with a harmony solo, before it morphs into an acoustic 12 bar blues. Listen to “Leaving Home Ain’t Easy”, with its acoustic riffs which sound full of power.

The drum beat in “More Of That Jazz” is perfect and once Brian May starts with the syncopated riff, it was time to pick up the guitar and learn it. And the Chorus at first sounds metal before it morphs into something like cabaret.

Dire Straits – Dire Straits

Mark Knofler’s guitar tone is brilliant. “Down To The Waterline” is a perfect example of it as he decorates the track with licks and riffs.

By the time I had heard this album, I had already overdosed on “Sultans Of Swings”. It’s one of those tracks like “The Final Countdown”, “Were Not Gonna Take It” and “Livin On A Prayer”. They have been played so many times, so while they are great tracks, you tend to ignore them. Still the finger picked lead break from Knofler is brilliant.

The Cars – The Cars

As I was writing The Car’s section, news hit Twitter that Ric Ocask was found dead in Manhattan at 75 years of age. I was very late getting into “The Cars” but I am glad I did. And what a debut album.

“Good Times Roll” kicks it off with its iconic riff, lyrics and synth lines. Let the good times roll in deed. And they continue with “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Just What I Needed”.

So many songs in the 70’s about their best friends partners. Eric Clapton wrote Layla because he was in love with George Harrison’s wife, which he eventually married. Rick Springfield topped the charts with “Jessie’s Girl” and so did The Cars. And neither song took away from the other. These days, everyone will be suing each other for copying their feels.

“Moving In Stereo” has a metal like riff in the vein of Judas Priest. No one will believe me, but they need to check it out. And the synth lead is perfect.

Well that’s it for the first post. More to come in Part 2.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Shifting Thoughts with Evergrey, Dream Theater and Five Finger Death Punch – Are Corporate Deals the New Music Business?

The internet is flush with information about artists needing to do what is valuable to them. However what is valuable to them doesn’t always mean that it is valuable to everyone else.

So artists are always going back to square one. This is when artists will start to compromise their artistic vision and produce cookie cutter crap. However what an artist should be doing is to keep on writing. In the end, that valuable song will be written and it will translate to your audience. This is when the thing that you love to do, translates to an audience that loves what you do.

Evergrey is a Swedish progressive metal band. They are eight albums in so far. Their first album The Dark Discovery came out in 1998 and the most recent one Glorious Collision came out in 2011. The mainstay of the band is guitarist/vocalist Tom Englund, who also functions as the main songwriter in the band. Around him, band members come and go, with the most recent change happening in 2010.

Englund is remaining true to his artistic vision. He is not compromising on it and he is not changing his vision to chase any current trends. Drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage left Evergrey in 2010 to form a metal core outfit called Death Destruction with the lead singer from another Swedish band called Dead By April. Chasing trends.

It all comes down to what the artist wants to achieve from their career. Englund is all about the art and to me it seems like he is happy with the level of success he has. Would he like to be bigger? I am sure the answer would be YES to that, however would he complain about his lot in life. I think not. Englund is doing the thing that he loves to do and he has found an audience that loves what he does.

Bands like Coheed and Cambria, Digital Summer and Protest The Hero all get it.

Digital Summer is all fan funded. They have been around since 2006. They have toured strategically since inception as all the band members hold down full time jobs. They are three albums and one EP in so far and based on their business model, they will be around for a long time.

Protest The Hero is also fan funded. Their recent Indiegogo campaign more than tripled their goal (and YES I am one of those fans that donated). They have even rewarded the super fans that have shared the contribution link and gotten other people to contribute with additional perks.

Coheed and Cambria are a very fan centric band. The way they have packaged The Afterman releases with the digital downloads available on the day of release, along with demos and back stories of each song, as well as an 80 odd page hard cover book is just brilliant. They did it their way and with a price that was just right.

Dream Theater is one band that is sitting on the fringe here. They are still doing it the old way as they know their fan base will lap up the new self-titled album. Their recent co-promotion with mainstream entity USA Today to launch their new single The Enemy Within is just another corporate deal in the same vein as Jay Z partnering with Samsung.

USA Today offer a certain amount of dollars so that they are the exclusive and first on line website to premier the new song. By doing this, Dream Theater, their label, their manager and whoever else has a stake in the band will get paid up front and USA Today will get traffic to their website which they can then use to get a higher ad revenue from their advertisers’.

Before all the DT Forum Elitists start jumping up in arms and start calling me an idiot, every band is entitled to earn money in any way they see fit. This is no different to Dire Straits and Phillips teaming up in the Eighties, to push the new CD format onto consumers. If that what Dream Theater’s business model needs them to do, good on them. In the end the fans will decide the fate of the band, as they have done for every band that came before and that will come after.

Five Finger Death Punch did something similar were they teamed/partnered with Loudwire to produce a track by track webisode series. The Five Finger Death Punch co-promotion was super cool as it focused on delivering back stories to each of the songs. As a fan, it is those little extra details that I really like. That could be the reason why Five Finger Death Punch have reached Gold status with each album release. Those little things, like a track by track webisode.

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