Music, My Stories

Saint Control: James Is Madly In Control With You

Some Kind of Monster was on TV a few nights ago. It has been a long time since I watched it, so I stayed up late to refresh my memory. I have been meaning to re-watch it for a long time, however with so much new content released each day, it’s hard to find the time to revisit something from the past.

Basically, Kirk and Lars are beholden to James Hetfield. That is the message that I got out of the documentary this time around. During the whole “James in rehab” period, Kirk and Lars did nothing and could do nothing. The documentary is really about James Hetfield and his personal struggles. By adding crappy footage of an art auction that involved Lars and footage of Kirk surfing, the directors were as diplomatic as they could be to the other members of Metallica. In the end it was all about James.

There is a scene. James and Lars are arguing about control. James doesn’t like how decisions are made without him being consulted and he is blaming Lars for controlling the decision-making process. Lars counters back by saying that even though James talks about having no control, James actually has all the control.

The band was on hold until James got his act together (one form of control), the band is working on a time schedule designed by James (another form of control), they cannot listen and discuss the “St Anger” songs without James present (another form of control) and they cannot make changes to songs once James has departed for the day (another form of control).

It all comes down to this. James could replace Lars, Kirk and Rob with other musicians and the band is still Metallica. However Lars, Kirk and Rob cannot replace James with another singer/guitarist and still call it Metallica.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Progress Is Derivative – The Welcome Home (Sanitarium) Debate

Remember my definition of Progress Is Derivative – taking the best things of what has come before and merging those things all together to come up with something unique, original and innovative.

Case Study for today is Metallica and their song Welcome Home (Sanitarium) from the album Master of Puppets released in 1986.

INTRO (0.00 to 0.20)
Let’s start with the natural harmonics intro. Back in 1971, a certain progressive rock band called Yes released Roundabout. The intro is more or less a droning note, with some harmonics and a hammer on/pull off lick on the E string. Remember Progress is Derivative. Take something from the past and make it better.

INTRO 2 and VERSE (0.21 to 1.48) and (2.10 to 3.10)
Anyone heard of a New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) band called Bleak House? If the answer is NO, then you are in the majority. However, a certain person called Lars Ulrich has heard of this band. James Hetfield has even said in an interview that the band shall remain anonymous. So Bleak House release a song called “Rainbow Warrior” as a seven-inch single in 1980 via Buzzard Records. By 1982, the band called it a day. The intro riff of Rainbow Warrior is catchy. It was so good that James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are influenced by it. They start to jam on it and they start to tweak it into Welcome Home (Sanitarium). Remember Progress is Derivative. Take something from the past and make it better. Hetfield and Ulrich made this riff the centrepiece of Sanitarium.

OUTRO (4.05 to 4.26) and (04.48 to end)
Remember a little three piece band from Canada called Rush and a song called Tom Sawyer. Metallica have taken the intro from Tom Sawyer and used it as their outro. The feel and the phrasing of the two songs are almost identical. The note selection are just a touch different. Remember Progress is Derivative. Take something from the past and make it unique, innovative and original.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium) is a derivative version of three different songs accumulated into one song. This is what music is all about. Should Metallica have credited Graham Killin, the guitarist and main songwriter of the band Bleak House and the writer of Rainbow Warrior. My answer is No.

The final say goes to Graham Killin. The quote below is from an interview he did with John Tucker in November 2012, on the website http://www.hrrecords.de

‘Dad! You’ve got to go after them for this. They’re using your stuff and you’re not getting royalties for it!’ Killin can’t hide his amusement at the thought. The irony of the situation is that ‘Bleak House’, the novel from which the band took their name, has at its heart a lengthy legal argument that consumes everyone and everything. “So every now and then it’s a little topic that crops up in conversation, y’know? And I think ‘would it actually be worth approaching a music solicitor and saying that as it’s my intellectual property would I stand any chance of getting anything?’” he laughs again. “Who knows?”

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity

So What! Is Through The Never About? – Metallica

I am watching the preview to the new Metallica movie, Through The Never. So what is the movie about. It’s a half concert, half feature film.

Nimrod Antal is the writer and the director. If you have seen the movies Vacancy and Predators, you would know his style. Antal and Metallica got together to formulate a plot and structure around a set list of songs that involves classics like “Battery,” “The Memory Remains,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman”. Basically, the 14 songs used for the live performance have been arranged in a away, that forms a concept story. Instead of releasing the concept story in an album format, it will be released in a movie format.

Going back to the footage, Trip (actor Dane Dehaan from Chronicle fame) is sent out on an urgent mission for the band. He needs to find a Metallica truck that is out of gas and needs to return a valuable item back to the band. He gets into a car crash (Nothing Else Matters or Frantic), when the van he is driving gets hit by an out of control driver. To me it looks like the car crash opens the doorway to an alternate reality which is a violent apocalyptic world, hence the title of the movie “Through The Never”.

The footage shows Trip, climbing out of his van, dazed, bruised and caught in between a clash between cops and rioters (Battery). It shows him being pursued by a masked man on horseback (The Four Horseman) who delivers deathblows to rioters and cops.

Lars Ulrich, in previous press interviews of the movie said that the Metallica movie is a Metallica show that involves Metallica and a separate story arc (that doesn’t involve Metallica) and that story unfolds in a parallel universe. At some point in the movie the two stories intertwine.

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Music, Stupidity

System Of A Down – Calling For The Truth

http://loudwire.com/system-of-a-down-shavo-odadjian-calls-out-singer-serj-tankian/

So one band member speaks the truth, and then everyone goes into damage control.

Shavo Odadjian’s only creative outlet is System of a Down. He wants the band to make another album.  John Dolmayan and Daron Malakian also want to make a new album, however Serj Tankian doesn’t.

The fans want new music,  We want great music, we don’t care if it is one great song or ten great songs.

Has anyone ever been in a situation, where you are in a room with other individuals and they are complaining about the same thing, that really you didn’t care about.  After a while, it starts to get to you as well.  You start feeling the frustration the others are feeling and then you let loose.

This is what Shavo has done.  He has spoken out the words that others have put there.  There is always one in a group that has that explosive attitude.  I commend Shavo for having the balls to say it like it is .

Remember the words from Don Henley, it was a “horrible relief” when the Eagles broke up. That is the nature of the bands. Volatile and unpredictable.  “Bad Judgement” is what the System of A Down Facebook post said about Shavo’s outbursts.  They are placing the blame all on Shavo, however i am sure that Daron and John had a part to play in it as well.  Read Shavo’s part, he is convinced that the other guys are on his side.

The fact is, System of A Down became who they are because of Serj.  As the voice of the band, it was his unique vocal style that captured people’s imaginations, especially at a time where nu-metal was ruling the airwaves.

Daron’s, Scars on Broadway didn’t set my ears on fire and neither did Serj’s solo offerings.  On each, a few good songs existed, but that is not enough these days to keep people interested.  We want great songs.  Good doesn’t cut it anymore.    They are touring together, surely they can record songs together.

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