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

Hired Gun

I watched it last night, however it was released in 2016.

Eric Singer is a legend and the doco cemented that for me.

Between 2004 and 2008, Kiss wouldn’t tour when Alice Cooper was touring and Alice wouldn’t tour when Kiss was touring.

All because of Eric Singer. Both acts had him as a Hired Gun.

And what happened to Billy Joel?

He turned down being produced by George “Beatles” Martin because Martin wanted to use session guys and Joel was loyal to his current band members only to boot 1/2 of em a few years later and then drummer Liberty DeVitto sometime after that after he asked for a pay rise.

Jason Hook from Five Finger Death Punch is involved as Producer so there is a focus on heavy metal/rock acts.

And I didn’t know his past pre FFDP, as the touring guitarist for Mandy Moore and Hillary Duff. It didn’t mention if he played on the albums of those artists. And while these touring gigs could be lucrative, they can also end abruptly.

But it was the Hillary Duff gig that got him noticed by Alice Cooper, so when that finished up, Alice was there.

And there was a bass player who was a hired gun for the band Filter, was paid hardly nothing and said it was his worst experience ever and now he does voice overs.

The guitar player for Pink’s band was mentioned. I forgot his name so I just googled him.

Justin Derrico.

There is footage of him jamming. Derrico brings out some Mixolydian lines, string skipping and sweeps. The dude can play but the last time he played on a Pink album was in 2012 for “The Truth About Love”.

You get to hear how Jason Newsted borrowed money from his friends to fly out for the Metallica bass player audition after Cliff Burton’s death. Once he got the gig, he was put on $500 a week until he became a full member a year later.

Or Derek St Holmes, who sang “Stranglehold” but was never part of the band and people believed that the voice of St Holmes was Ted Nugent.

Rudy Sarzo is there as well, as his stints in Ozzy and Whitesnake were as a hired gun.

The documentary focused on the death of Randy Rhoads and showed footage of the crash, which I think took away from what they were trying to achieve with the doco but as a Randy Rhoads fan I was still glued to the TV screen. They could have spoken about the death like they did for Cliff Burton. I suppose there is never an easy way of dealing with these kind of things.

And Steve Lukather did a lot of session work but his main focal point was writing a song for George Benson. And it’s well known that Lukather and Eddie Van Halen were involved in “Beat It”. Lukather made sure to mention how he played the bass and guitar riff.

But.

At what state was “Beat It” in, before Lukather came and did the bass and guitar riff.

Was it just a keyboard song originally and Lukather needed to come up with something?

Was there a scratch riff for him to refer to?

Or was there someone else’s “Hired Gun” idea there for him to build on?

Or was he given the demo version and told to play it like that but in his style?

Some “unknown” Hired Guns to me are Brett Garsed who did work with John Farnham and Nelson along with Carl Verheyen who was a hired gun for Supertramp before becoming a member and he did a lot of session work for other artists, sometimes without even been credited.

And of course when Bob Ezrin was talking about “hired guns” playing on albums and not being credited, I immediately thought of Kiss and how towards the late 70’s, they started to get different players to perform on songs, but still sold the idea that the band members played on all the tracks to their fan base.

In the end, I wanted a bit more from “Hired Gun” however it was still a cool to watch.

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

Recovering with The Eagles, Thirty Seconds To Mars, AC/DC and Iron Maiden

I had my ACL Reconstruction on my left leg on Tuesday 1 September. So I have been at home recovering since then. And I am thinking about what the surgeon said before the operation.

The surgeon said that I would walk out of the hospital the next day after the surgery. Well that was complete bullshit.

On day one I was so drugged up on morphine and other painkillers that my head was spinning every time I tried get up. Plus the fact that I probably won’t shit for a month due to all of the painkillers. So how the fuck would I be able to walk out the hospital if the Earth can’t stop spinning.

So I was wheeled out on a wheelchair.

But not before the Physio girls tried to make me walk with crutches on a straight line and up and down stairs. With my head spinning. Some would say I have managed to walk up stairs before with a spinning head.

So I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix and other TV shows. And the following documentaries are still stuck in my head.

  • The History of the Eagles Part 1.
  • Artifact – The Thirty Seconds To Mars documentary about the label lawsuit against them for $30 million dollars.
  • Blood and Thunder Documentary about Ted Albert’s search for the Australian sound with a focus on “The Easybeats”, “AC/DC”, “Rose Tattoo”, “The Angels” and the songwriting/production of “Young/Vanda”.

All three documentaries have four common threads.

  • The path to stardom isn’t overnight.

Let’s not kid around when we talk about “The Eagles”. The main drivers and creative forces of the band are Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Their journey started in different parts of America. It took some time paying their dues with different acts, until they ended up as backing musicians to Linda Ronstandt and then finally into their own act.

And when “The Eagles” formed, the band was rounded out by seasoned and well rehearsed musicians.

Success is dependent upon education and hard work. Henley and Frey educated themselves by working with different artists, learning different traits and building on their skills.

Thirty Seconds To Mars main driver is Jared Leto. AC/DC’s main driver in the early days was Malcolm Young. Jared would go and do movies, educating himself a little bit more. Malcolm Young and Angus Young would do session work for songs his older brother wrote for other artists.

The difference between successful artists and not successful artists is recognition always came LAST! The music and the show came first.

Since the rise of MTV, a certain belief came over the mindsets of musicians that if they are not famous on their first track, cut moments after they picked up an instrument, then someone else is to blame. It wasn’t always that way.

  • Keeping that stardom is not easy.

You’ve got to want it. And you’ve got to be willing to do the work.

How many bands have failed to reach the lofty heights of a previous album again?

Metallica will never top the “Black” album. AC/DC will never top the “Back In Black” album. Twisted Sister will never top the “Stay Hungry” album.

And the successful never stop working. Those classics on other albums didn’t come by accident.

  • The middlemen who make more than the acts.

All of the bands mentioned in the documentaries built their audience with a dependence on middlemen. The labels had it rigged that whatever they produced from their studios would get radio airplay and in stores. They would put the band on tour. All of this label love to the acts would mean that all monies received from the sales of recorded music would end up on the labels profit and loss, with very little given back to the artists.

There is a conversation in the “Artifact” documentary between Jared Leto and Irving Azoff, which Azoff abruptly ends. Leto questions how much that call is going to cost him. He questions how he could be millions in debt to his label when the “A Beautiful Lie” album moved over 3.5 million units in the U.S.

And the guys in Thirty Seconds To Mars, they are financing the recording of the album that would become “This Is War”. If you think this is common, it’s not. Again, due to some creative propaganda by the labels, musicians believe they need someone else to pay. Independent artists normally finance their own recordings.

Are you willing to do this?

Now, more than ever in the modern era, no one else is gonna pay.

 

  • Belief

The Eagles wanted to be a rock band. Their producer of choice “Glyn Johns” who worked with Led Zeppelin and Cream, didn’t think so. This is why people hate The Eagles. Their desire to do it their way. They didn’t allow other people to drag them down into a hole.

The Eagles didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a folk rock act, the same way Led Zeppelin didn’t want to be pigeonholed as a blues rock act.

To truly be king you have to believe in yourself and play by your own rules. You’ve got to stick it out.

Sort of like Iron Maiden. They just kept at it and believed in what they did. A massive corporate empire has been formed around that belief.

So I am getting into “The Book Of Souls” album. It is my bedtime music. At the moment I last to track five before I dose off to sleep.

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