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

February 2020 – Part 3

And with this post, February 2020 is wrapped up. You can find the Spotify playlist here and posts one here, and post two here.

Tension
Afterlife – Alternate Version
Avenged Sevenfold

These old cuts are from their B sides re-release on Spotify.  “Tension” is a favourite of mine.

I sit in traffic every single morning
Just as I arrive, im slaving to the grind
Making the money so I feed my family
But I can’t raise them, cause I aint got the time

God damn, that was my life for 7 years as I commuted 90 minutes (on a good day) to work one way.

And what is the point of making money for your family when you can’t spend time with them.

By the way, the outro solo in “Afterlife” makes me want to break my guitar and never touch it again. The speed, the precision and the melody.

Bubbles
Framing Hanley

It reminds me of Chevelle and I like it.

There’s a revolution coming’
Fuelled by years of giving’ in

These kind of revolutions are always long overdue, but giving in for too many years is not how one should live their life. The song could be about a relationship, but society at large is no different. We give in to the demands of teachers, employers, corrupt politicians and everyone else who tries to exploit someone.

And then the fuel turns to fire.

I’ve sat in silence
burning up my tongue

Man, I have been there so many times. I wanted to say the words, I wanted to step in, but I didn’t. I am thankful I didn’t bite, but man, my tongue was on fire.

All our lives in a bubble
Losing sight of reality
We paint the lie in pretty colors
And blur the lines and what’s between

So many people I know are separating because their bubble burst and reality took over. There is only so much bull shit a relationship can take. Even in society, when the GFC happened, the bubble burst big time and its bursting again now because of COVID-19. And people need to face this shit, it’s real and it’s here.

Your confusion
Has got you twisting’ facts
Your fantasy intact
Tell the story how you want to
But we both know the truth

This could be about any Facebook news site or website, which is filled by the same voices, saying the same thing, in a constant echo chamber.

Eventually, people who are not sure what to believe, come across these viewpoints and stories, and start to believe that it is all true.

If there is one thing I can recommend, read critically. Read points of view that differ to your own, read points of view that you agree with and read points of view that are totally out there. Somewhere in between the lines of what you expose yourself to, there will be your truth.

Under The Graveyard
All My Life
Eat Me
Straight To Hell
Goodbye
Ozzy Osbourne

These are my favourite tracks from the album at this point in time.

For a 70 year old artist, to deliver an album this good, it’s amazing. The people around Ozzy, like his family, the label, management and so forth, they know that Ozzy is marketable. Surround him with creativity and good musicians/producers, it can’t really go that bad, could it.

“Under The Graveyard” has a clean tone intro which could end up on any pop song, that’s how much crossover appeal the riff has. The chorus is heavy, and that “Children Of The Grave” solo section fits.

“All My Life” is similar to songs that have appeared on previous Ozzy albums. The album “Scream” has a few songs with this major key vibe. “Eat Me” came from the depths of Ozzy’s Delta Blues Sabbath past. “Straight To Hell” rocks out of the gate and “Goodbye” starts off like “Iron Man” but it sounds like a track from “Ozzmosis” which is an album I dig.

Get well Ozzy, scrap touring and keep recording and releasing.

Create a final legacy and based on current Copyright laws (which I disagree with anyway) your music and image will be with your family for another 70 plus years after death (there is an RIAA push to extend this to 90 years).  

Dangerous Ground
Come Clean
Victory
We Are Gods
Adrenaline
One By One
Heaven Must Have Won An Angel
Under The Gun
Rise
H.E.A.T

This album surprised me at how good it is. I can’t even explain all the influences on it that I hear.

Songs feel like they come from Harem Scarem, Skid Row, White Lion, Van Halen, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Whitesnake, DLR, Dokken, Queensryche, Europe, Scorpions, Nelson, Lynch Mob, Firehouse, Ozzy “Bark At The Moon” and “The Ultimate Sin” era, Malmsteen “Trilogy” and “Odyssey” era, Judas Priest, Poison and Motley Crue albums.

There is just so much good stuff happening, and if you really like the 80’s, then man, this album is for you.  

“Dangerous Ground” kicks off with the sound of an high performance motor vehicle starting. It’s perfect for a Mad Max movie. “Come Clean” has a Chorus which remains with me long after the song is finished. “Victory” kicks off with an instantly memorable guitar lick before morphing into a heavy riff. “We Are Gods” sounds like it came from the movie “Rockstar”. “Adrenaline” has this Journey vibe, but the more rockier Journey than the ballad Journey.

Heartless Madness
Dynazty

I love the Swedes. The music that comes out of the country is something which resonates with me. This one is like a symphonic classical rock song, with some Vito Bratta style soloing. And we get treated to two solos, in the middle and the outro. Check em out and be blown away.

I Will Not Fall
King King

From Scotland, their cover of a song called “Jealousy” by Frankie Miller made me a fan and I have been following them ever since. This one is more funky and I like it.

Catastrophist
Trivium

I love Trivium. The riffage from these guys gets me head banging all the time. This song just came into my life at the end of Feb so it’s in my March list as well.

Wait
Earshot

This is from 2004 and it came back into my life this year. If you like Tool, then you will like Earshot. If you hate Tool because they don’t know how to edit their songs, then Earshot is the band for you, who write nice 4 minute songs with arena rock choruses chucked in but with a Tool like vibe.

Underwater Silence
Audiovent

I checked this band out because of the blog, 2Loud2OldMusic.

This is from 2002, a one off album before they argued over the direction of the second album and broke up. This song is a mixture of all the best things I like about Muse, hence the reason why it stuck with me.

Man Or Ash
Corrosion Of Conformity

This is from 1996.

Mike Ladano started reviewing Corrosion of Conformity albums on his blog, I commented that I got into the band because James Hetfield spoke very highly of em in various interviews and suddenly I am overdosing on this song.

The riffs on this song, a cross between Sabbath, Metallica, Soundgarden and Pantera, gets me moving, gets me frowning and gets my head banging. And once the lead break kicks in, the speed of it comes from out of nowhere before it morphs into a wah drenched bluesy break.

Plus did I mention that James Hetfield provides backing vocals and he sounds as angry as ever.

Day At The Beach
Joe Satriani

This is from 1989 and I was showing my son a song that has tap harp like harmonics. Listen to the intro of this song and get blown away.

The mighty Satriani never disappoints. 30 plus years in the business as a solo artist playing primarily, instrumental music. That’s Legend status for me.

And that’s a wrap for February 2020 releases with a few oldies but goodies chucked in.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Review in 40 Words

February 2020 – Part 2

The Final Frontier
Die Young
Naked City
Ride Like The Wind
Lonely Nights
New York Minute
Needles and Pins
Love
Mystery
Running Up That Hill
Jorn

Jorn Lande is one of the best singers to have come out in the last 30 years. His style is rooted within the classic signers of Coverdale, Dio, Dickinson and Gillan. And to his detriment, the previous labels he was on, marketed him heavily as a clone of those singers which either will get a curious audience to check him out or people would just ignore him, because hey, why would they need a clone.

He started off with a band called Vagabond, which had TNT members in it, released an album on a label, got dropped from the label and released another album independently. Then when TNT reformed, Vagabond was done, and Jorn joined a band called The Snakes with Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody, which sounded like another band that has Snake in the title. He was fired from that band, did a few projects here and there, until he formed the band Jorn and started a long partnership with Frontiers Records.

“Heavy Rock Radio” is a project which has Jorn Lande covering some classic songs which inspired him. Of course, it’s another project funded by Frontiers who is trying its hardest to get so many recordings under its control.

One of my favourite Kiss songs is “Naked City” and it gets an updated rendition here. Which I certify as 100% excellent.

“Ride Like The Wind” from Saxon and “Lonely Nights” from Bryan Adams got taken out of the early 80’s and brought into the 2020’s as modern rock songs.

And there is no cover album from Jorn without a tribute to Ronnie James Dio material, in this case, “Die Young” and “Mystery”.

“The Final Frontier” actually sounds better than Maiden’s version and Jorn delivers on the vocal front.

“New York Minute” is a Don Henley cover and the intro highlights were “18 And Life” might have come from.

“Needles and Pins” is from the 60’s by The Searchers and the band Smokie made it a rock like ballad in the 70’s which sounds like the version that Jorn took and modernized even more into a melodic rock anthem.

“Love” is from Santana’s 1979 album, “Marathon” and this version is so good.  

Suffering’ night and day
People all around me crying
Enough–what’s the use
We don’t even feel like trying

Lyrics like the above, is a big reason why music is special to me. It’s easy to give up than continue especially when you don’t feel up to it, to face the day. And when you feel alone, you hear that others are feeling the same.

Hatred, doubt, and fear
It’s not the way toward the solution
There must be a way
To be free from all illusion

The people try to find a way, but money and fear clouds everything. Doomsday scenarios of financial Armageddon and what not always abound.

And humans are bad at making decisions. We have a strong view point against illicit drugs, while we hold a cigarette in one hand and a glass of scotch in the other. We are scared to travel because of a virus but the virus is in our country as well.

Love
Oh, love
All we need is love

We have it in abundance. We share it carefully.

History loudly claims
That we never learnt our lesson
We kill one another
We put the blame on greed and passion

Has anything changed?

We move from one conflict to the next, from one virus to the next, from one recession to the next and the cycle keeps repeating, because greed rules everything. As long as corporations exist on foreign soils, exploiting the native lands and its workers, we will kill one another.

Wise men calmly say
Every man shall reach perfection
If we help each other
We will reach our destination

And that’s the problem.

Have we forgotten how to help each other?

I’ve include “Running Up That Hill”, a cover from Kate Bush, which appeared on Heavy Rock Radio Volume 1 from a few years before because Jorn has taken a unique pop song and turned it into a beautiful rock track.

Feeling Whitney
Royal Bliss

Royal Bliss are a great band. This is a cover of an acoustic song from Post Malone, released in 2016.

The chord progression reminds me of “Dust In The Wind”. And for those hard rock and metal elitists who mocked the Ozzman for collaborating with Post Malone, should check out this song (along with tracks like “Hollywood Bleeding”) and understand that just because someone has 53 million Spotify listeners a month, and has dance beats in their songs, it doesn’t mean they don’t have any rock credibility.

The intro of the voices humming out the melody is enough to get me interested and then the opening line sealed the deal.

I been looking for someone to put up with my bullshit

Isn’t that teamwork. Find someone to love, to put up with your BS and in return you put up with their BS and you live happily ever after.

Show no emotion, against your coding, just act as hard as you can
You don’t need a friend, Boy, you’re the man

Masculinity is toxic. Having more testosterone doesn’t make a man invincible. Emotions and feelings are still the same as everyone else’s. And we need to be allowed to show these emotions without judgement. Because it is part of our coding.

From about 1.42, the song kicks into overdrive.

Fireline
Shakra

Shakra really knows how to deliver some heavy melodic rockers. Crank this song and if it doesn’t get your foot tapping and your head banging, you are too uptight to let go.

Death Of Me
Another Lost Year

The guitar lick after the singing at the start gets me playing air guitar and the vocal melody lingers for a long period.  

I remember everything that you said

We have a tendency to remember more bad things than good.

Part 1 is here.

Part 3 is up next.

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

February 2020 – Part 1

February 2020 proved to be an interesting month. Some big releases for my listening habits and a reconnection to some forgetting gems released a while back.

World To Burn
Rev Theory

This is an old one, from their “Truth Is Currency” album released in 2005. Its appearing here because the album is on Spotify Australia.

The riff, the vocal melody and the chorus just flow so nicely into each other and it reminds me of an aggressive Three Days Grace merged with Chevelle merged with the melodic Linkin Park.

Guitarist and one of the main songwriters, Julien Jorgensen, got hooked by Angus Young and ACDC growing up. And you can hear in his style, shades of The Edge from U2, Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, Adam Jones from Tool, Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd, Zakk Wylde from his Ozzy work (especially the “No More Tears” album) and Bruce Springsteen.

I still remember the fall out that can’t be erased (and bite my tongue now)

Man, arguments are good for the relationship as it shows people care, but they very rarely end pretty and even all the sorrys in the world can’t change the feeling afterwards. If the relationship stays intact, someone will be biting their tongues and walking on eggshells. And if both sides are doing it, the fall out will be much bigger later on.

This is the world that you burn
This is the life that you waste

One side has ended their commitment and thrown the years of history you had together in the bin. Like it didn’t matter. But to you it matters. That record you both listened to and liked is now unlistenable because of the ties it has to your past.

How does it feel? I still remember the fall out?

F8
Inside Out
Living The Dream
Darkness Settles In
To Be Alone
Scar Tissue
Brighter Shade Of Grey
Five Finger Death Punch

The first two songs, “F8”, a minute and a half instrumental, which slowly percolates until it explodes into “Inside Out” is what music is about. The whole intro is what I call “Euro Metal” full of symphonic elements and drum fills that makes me want to break my desk in half, with my head.

I’m not a dog (I’m not a dog), I’m not a slave (I’m not a slave)
It doesn’t matter how much money I get paid

From “Inside Out”

Getting paid for doing what you love is good. Getting paid for doing a job to get by is probably not so good. Regardless, if we don’t have money, we cannot survive in this world. So we need to do something to get money, and that means we more or less became a slave to the system, until death.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions
Why did they never mention what’s real and in between?

From “Living The Dream”

There is a saying that every bad person started off with good intentions. Somehow, along the way, they made decisions which made them stray from the path of good and onto the path of bad. In life, things happen, jobs get lost, you get sick and suddenly you are about to be homeless, because of piling debts.

How does it feel to be alone?
From “To Be Alone”

It feels like shit.

What You Give – Live at Abbey Road
Tesla

I like Tesla.

I hold them up very high, way above the “hair band” term they got labelled with.

And Tesla can play, it’s how they built their reputation. By gigging.

But in order to achieve anything, you need to be able to write and god damn, Tesla can write.

It’s not whatcha got, it’s what you give
It ain’t the life you choose, it’s the life you live

I think this simple message is forgotten in the world today. Possessions for a lot of people are associated with status. My banker friend keeps telling me how much money I’ve spent on vinyl, LP’s, cassettes, DVD’s, BluRays, Books, VHS, concert tix/merch, guitars, amps, strings, cables and so on. Then he keeps telling me how much money I could have had if I invested it. And I tell him, I would rather have my metal and rock and the experiences that come with it.

Aeromantic (the whole album)
The Night Flight Orchestra

The whole album is excellent.

Each song has enough of an influence from a previous song to connect with me and TNFO are excellent players, so the musicianship and song writing is excellent.

If you like your classic Deep Purple, then opening track “Servants Of The Air” will serve you well, kicking off the street opera about shattered dreams, broken illusions and glimmers of hope.

“Divinyls” is full of hooks, nice synths and pulsing bass riffs.

“If Tonight Is Our Only Chance” brings the disco rock melodies, handled masterly by the TNFO guys, with a dose of rock thrown in. And the lyric line of taking that last chance is inspiring and hopeful.

“This Boy’s Last Summer” has a pop punk feel merged with a melodic hard rock. “Curves” is a funk masterpiece in the vein of Steely Dan.

ABBA is all over “Transmissions” in the Chorus and the synth is just driving the song along, which makes me think of driving. The violin solo at the end is brilliant.

“Aeromantic” has a riff which came from their first album (the song “California Morning” comes to mind) which is basically a riff inspired by their love of Kiss, Free and Sweet.

The ballad ‘Golden Swansdown’ has two brilliant guitar solos. “Taurus” sounds like “Gemini” from their previous albums as it rolls along with its addictive chorus and melody. “Carmencita Seven”, “Sister Mercurial” and “Dead Of Winter” close the album, a triple punch combo knock out.  

Set In Stone
Those Damn Crows

Those damn Welsh rockers are back in my life with a heavy rocker from their album.

Circle The Drain
Machine Head

I have already written about this song here.

But god damn, that intro with the chorus vocal melody, gets me pumped every single time, especially when that riff kicks in after Robb Flynn sings, “bring that hammer down”. Its bone crunching mosh pit time.

In the verses, Flynn is freestyling his way through so much melody, and I wish he sings more with his melodic voice, but his snarl is what makes him unique because that voice is his lifestyle, so he does a bit of both.

Change The World
Harem Scarem

They have been in the musical game since 1987, released their debut in 1991 and are still releasing quality material. I don’t know what happened with their label or marketing in the early days, but their first album was still released when rock ruled the charts and it should have done better.

I didn’t know about this band until the early 2000’s when people started sharing their music online.

How good is that guitar lick from Pete Lesperance in the intro?

“You and I, are gonna change the world”, is the war cry, but the world is changing us and we don’t even see it.

In a few years’ time, no one will remember COVID-19, except the ones who lost loved ones to it and the ones who were exposed to it. We move on so fast, we fail to learn the lessons of the past.

We all want to find
Peace and harmony

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Music, My Stories

David Lee Roth

The headline reads, “My Whole Career Is Based Upon Disturbances And Uproar”.

Below is an interview conducted by Steffan Chirazi that appeared in the February 1991 issue of Hot Metal, which was an Australian monthly magazine on all things metal. All the text in italics is the interview. The text that isn’t in italics is my addition.

“I take everything I do very seriously – it’s other people’s perceptions of me I don’t take seriously!”

In 2016 and with social media so prevalent in our lives, other people’s perception of us is important. We all want to be liked. But the rock stars of the past, like David Lee Roth, he didn’t care in the opinion of others. But then again, fans of music didn’t really have a voice to express their opinion. Regardless, the presence of social media and cameras in phones has changed the way rock stars behave. Suddenly perception of others is important.

David Lee Roth is nobody’s fool. The man is in total control, a fact that is reflected in Roth’s most interesting and diverse album yet, “A Little Ain’t Enough”. It roars with a title track that needs to be blasted loud, a stomper that shows just where those old Van Halen roots actually lie, yet crawls with a bluesy feel so low and steaming that you’d almost think the man has no manners. It’s also diverse; Roth’s the focus now and he simply assembles musicians when and how he needs them. This time that happened to be in a cheap motel in Vancouver.

David Lee Roth is a character. According to the New Oxford American English Dictionary, character means “strength and originality in a person’s nature”.

And David Lee Roth is unique.

The “A Little Ain’t Enough” album is good. This is David Lee Roth telling the world who he is in 1991. He is checking his bases to see if his brand of over the top, feel good, tongue in cheek vibe is relevant. It’s typical of other rock albums from the era. Two to three singles and filler for the rest. It went Gold right off the bat and then it stalled. Because of MTV.

MTV was a powerful entity. If a song got rotation on the video channel, sales went into platinum figures. If MTV refused to play it, the album would sell based on the previous albums goodwill and then it would disappear.

To prove my point on how powerful MTV was for an artist back then, just check out David Lee Roth’s Spotify stats in 2016. You have “Just A Gigolo”, “Just Like Paradise”, “Yankee Rose” and “California Girls” in the top 4 of his most streamed songs. MTV staples, every single one of them. So almost 30 years later, the influence and power of music television is still large in our lives.

“The hotel choice was a way of getting as close to the blues as possible – to see what effect it had, to try and live it and breath it. What happened was that we walked into basement of a 4-star hotel and one of our eminent rock bands was up there finishing a record, and they were all wafting around the gym in their matching terry-cloth robes and mixed drinks, complaining of tendonitis – you know, “Where’s my masseuse?”. Well, jeez, maybe you should switch glass to the other hand, OK? It was a case of no, this is not how our album should sound.”

You could just imagine that David Lee Roth would be a difficult subject to interview because he speaks in riddles and double speak.

I get the part where they holed themselves up in a hotel to see what output their living circumstances create. The whole part of the “eminent rock band” is all over the shop. It just doesn’t make sense. As I was reading it, I thought he would mention what songs came out of these living circumstances. However, he went on a rant about a pampered rock band.

Why not bring Bob Rock to some sh!ttty dump in Manhattan for an even fuller effect?

“We’ll I think Bob wouldn’t fit in there (he laughs before briefly explaining the compromise factor, Rock liking Vancouver better than anywhere to work)… And this move to the lower band hotel is not as out of the ordinary for me as it might sound. We don’t broadcast all over the world where we stay when we’re on the road for obvious reasons, but 7 out of 10 times you’re gonna do a lot better to stay in the a 55-end of a city. At that kind of hotel you’re not gonna have any problems with the noise and unusual characters turning up at odd times of the night. My whole career is based upon disturbances and uproar, they don’t start at 10 after 9 and stop at exactly 11 on cue. The environment helped us to get back to what I know and love best – blues based rock n roll”

This is Bob Rock before Metallica and after Motley Crue.

For the producer, his career trajectory was on the up.

For the artist, it was the beginning of a downward spiral.

DLR had no idea of what would transpire in the years ahead and the backlash that would come to hard rock bands and over the top performers like him. Real artists are made when things just don’t go to plan and roadblocks suddenly present themselves. A lot of artists today are tackling adversity by complaining about the internet and how it led to massive copyright infringements. Character is built by adversity. It teaches you there’s more than one way to achieve what you want. But the main goal has always been to get into the game and stay there.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll is based on irreverence, it’s designed to break the rules and come up with something new. Rock ‘n’ Roll is about disregard for convention, it’s about taking the best elements of those things and confusing the issues entirely with a while vision of the future, of confusing business with pleasure to the maximum”

Irreverence means a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously. Like the techies since Napster.

Heavy metal, hard rock, heavy rock, glam rock, call it whatever you want, was doing exactly that. However, once it became a commercially viable product, rock and roll ceased to be about irreverence and it became all about conformity.

Which you’ve managed to do pretty well over the years, as opposed to some boring, miserable fat old bastards…

“Walking it like you talk it is simple, but it aint easy! There’s a risk involved if you’re truly gonna do what’s in your head, heart or pants, wherever the motivation’s coming from – and I’m not saying in that order either. But there will be a risk – what if the fans don’t like it, what if the manager doesn’t think this is right – and so on. Walking that line and taking that risk is frightening to a lot of artists.”

You see DLR assumed he would be a star forever. However, the shelf life of rock and roll heroes was always short. It was only during the 80’s and courtesy of MTV that artists started to have a very long shelf life. ALAE is a ballsy album to do, however if you look at any album that DLR has been involved in, there always was an element of the unexpected. But he did take risks and he did try different things out and that makes him special in my eyes.

There again, when you travel through the Amazon, climb huge mountains and go hammerhead shark watching in the South Pacific, risks in music must seem easy.

“Absolutely, I like to practice the challenge, the management of a challenge, the great unpredictable finish, constantly re-assessing from moment to moment. If I’ve become jaded at all, it’s because I’m an adrenalin junkie and that’s my drug. You get better and better under pressure, you get more creative under stress. I love working with other people under pressure; no matter how well you know the music or the guys in the rhythm section, when tape’s rollin’ that’s pressure.”

“That challenge in a studio is different to the challenge in the Amazon or on a mountainside, but it’s the same drive. It’s like a muscle, and you’re either working it or jerkin it. You develop inside yourself. Your creativity’s the same thing, your ability on stage is the same thing. I never perceived it as ‘put on your costume and perform’.”

Has he ever felt vulnerable?

“When I did “Just A Gigolo” and “California Girls” coming off the heels of the grand Van Halen fiesta – I said “fiesta” not “fiasco” because it was a grand celebration – the crowning glory rock ‘n’ roll as the press depicted it at the time. To go from there into a left hand turn – to wind up at big band brass, Beach Boy, New York City in the same fiscal year – would be considered suicidal by most people behind the desk.”

So let’s put into context where David Lee Roth was at in 1991. We need to go back to 1985, when he left Van Halen after its biggest album to release an EP of cover songs. MTV loved the clips and he became a star by using his own name instead of the Van Halen name.

Then came “Eat Em and Smile” in 1986 and no one expected that album to stick but it did. Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan are all over the album and they more or less cemented themselves as band leaders in their own right. “Skyscraper” came and it capitalised on the MTV shift to melodic pop rock in the style of Bon Jovi. This time, keyboardist Brett Tuggle is all over the album. After the “Skyscraper” world tour, Steve Vai left to do his solo album and then he got an offer he couldn’t refuse from the Whitesnake camp. Billy Sheehan already left after “Eat Em And Smile” and went on to form Mr Big. David kept Gregg Bissonette on drums, Matt Bissonette on bass, Brett Tuggle remained on keys and added guitarists Jason Becker and Steve Hunter to write and record this album.

As a guitarist, I couldn’t wait to hear what Becker would do with David Lee Roth. However, when he came into the band, most of the songs were written. However, two songs from Becker made it to the final album cut, the “Hot For Teacher” on steroids song “It’s Showtime!” and the blues on shred steroids “Drop in the Bucket”. Of course fate would intervene and while Becker played on the album and co-write a few songs, he never toured behind it because of his ALS diagnosis.

When did Dave Lee Roth realise that snorting his sinuses to shit wouldn’t help his character or longevity? When did he learn about the bigger picture?

“I would say… last Sunday morning! Hahaha. He laughs heartily.

“Life is balance. I talk about all of these things that I do and I certainly do them all. But I’m not expert at any of it, and the rock ‘n’ roll term is adventurer while the medical term is fun hog! I qualify for the high-accelerated class.”

“I love the back room at the Rainbow. What you have to remember is, you won’t have anything to talk about at the Rainbow Bar and Grill if that’s all you do, go there. I have friends who do nothing but adventure travelling all the time, from Australia to Korea to Singapore… and that gets awful thin too. So there has to be that balance there, a bit of both.”

Now is as good a time as any to scotch/confirm Rothian rumours over the last year about Van Halen. Will there be a re-union? Would Roth do it?

“Perhaps down the line. I don’t think you can hold a grudge and be truly happy, and I’m absolutely delighted with who I am right now. I’m sitting in the catbird seat and I’m surrounded by brilliant people in every category and department. The future’s so bright it needs shades, and I’ve got the world tour firing up. Any divorce is gonna have sharp edges. I haven’t talked to the guys in the band for 5 or 6 years, but down the line anything’s possible.”

But the future wasn’t as bright as DLR thought. The world tour didn’t set any box office records on fire, like the “Skyscraper” tour. As much as DLR doesn’t want to admit it, but Steve Vai was a big drawcard for him, and on the first album, so was Billy Sheehan. Then he had the Van Halen reunion discussions, new songs for the various Greatest Hit packages, the MTV appearance fiasco and what not.

When talking about his own music these days, specifically “A Little Ain’t Enough”, Dave’s as colourful as ever.

“My roots have always been blues-rock, something that chugs along – y’get on a train that’s going 60 miles an hour and let’s do it over the ultimate riff. Remember the first time you heard side two of Led Zeppelin II? OK, that’s the set-up, we’ll land and take-off from there. As for those harmonies, I went to schools that were all black in high school, black and Hispanic. The only thing I heard at the high school dances was old Motown. Henceforth, all those harmonies. When the choruses came up, they light up all the whoo-hoos. These were trademarks of Van Halen music, and they’re things I contributed.”

“My driving wheel is the killer riff with natural harmonies, not 18 stacked up wide. Minimal overdubbing and going with solos off the floor and off the floor vocals as often as we can, sound spilling over the edges. There is a time to hone it but usually not. I want it intact, as it is.”

These days, Roth employs various musicians and writers, choosing to no longer had “a band” as such and just got it alone with various players. What brought Dave to this decision?

“As music director here I have a definite vision of what it’s meant to sound like or be like at any given time. That’s going to take different musicians, different styles of music. The difference in style between “Just A Gigolo” and “A Little Aint Enough” is a long throw, and if you’re writing songs with the same people who you go on tour with over and over again, it starts to become the same sounding. You can only be a virgin once, when you group up with a band and you learn about life and music at about the same time, well then out of that will come all the inspiration you need.”

David Lee Roth leads a rich life; what’s left for the man to experience?

“I dunno. I haven’t felt absolute committed love yet and I wonder what the might feel like. But I’ve been married to the audience for so goddamn long and what a fickle bitch she is, too!”

The fact is that David Lee Roth hasn’t felt the normal domestic everyday-life situations that most people take for granted.

“Sometimes I think I’m getting close, but then I kinda just realize I’m far away. One of the reasons I broke up my girlfriend was because I said, “Honey, kissing you is my second favourite thing in the world” and she asked me what the first was and I said, “Cashing a cheque!”.

That “cashing a cheque” ideal became the problem for hard rock. It stopped being about writing songs and started to be about writing songs that MTV would play and hopefully would cross over and sell. Record labels started to employ scorched earth marketing tactics.

He laughs a hearty one, doused with truth.

“The guy who said ‘Money can’t buy happiness’ didn’t know where to go shopping!”

Which somehow brings us around to the typical end of interview questions”

Wot will da stage show be like Dave?

“Y’know, I told the band when we first came together for our first rehearsal not so long ago, ‘If you can’t do it under one light bulb in a pair of borrowed jeans with a rented guitar, y’can’t do it at all!’”

David Lee Roth and co. will be appearing at a venue near you under their Philips 100 watt later this year…

“Oh well, maybe somewhere between 1 and 1100!”

The lightning ball of fizzle-crackle life they call David Lee Roth is back to remind you that he never actually left…

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Question Everything – Inspiration From Killswitch Engage and Jesse Leach

After overdosing on the new Protest the Hero album “Volition” for some reason the last song “Skies” got me thinking about Killswitch Engage. So out come the headphones and on goes the new album “Disarm the Descent.” I haven’t listened to it since about July. Our favourites don’t last long in the times of today. With so much new music coming out, we move on very quickly. As Jesse Leach pointed out recently in an interview with Lithium Magazine, the title is a creative way of saying redemption or rising again.

“You’re in a state of your life where you’re approaching rock bottom and you find a way to pick yourself up again before you hit the floor.”

I came to Killswitch Engage late. I didn’t listen to their first three albums. The only song I heard was “My Last Serenade” back in 2004 and that was via a bass player friend. However at that time, nothing really connected with me and that was it. There was no urge to commit to the band for me.

Fast forward a few years and the “Guitar World” issue arrived in the mailbox. I don’t recall which month; however it was a magazine from 2007. At that time the magazine still came with a DVD of bonus content. One of the bonuses was a lesson from the Killswitch guitarists on how to play “My Curse” and after watching it, I was hooked.

So I asked my bass player friend to burn me all of their albums, which he did. At the time, I had no idea that vocalists changed, which after hearing “Alive or Just Breathing” in 2007, I realised that the tones of the vocalists didn’t match up. So what do we do when we need information? We Google. We click on Wikipedia. In addition, “My Last Serenade” suddenly mattered. The song sucker punched me and I was hooked. The timing was right in 2007, for Killswitch Engage to enter my life on a full time basis.

By the time, their 2009 self-titled album came out; I was purchasing it without even listening to a single note. As a bonus their back catalogue was on special at the time, so I picked them up as well and added the official releases to my collection. That is why I always say that no metrics can ever measure the reach or pull of a band at the time of a release.

Of course, sales data can show what is in demand at a certain point in time; however the reach and the popularity of a certain band or a certain album cannot be properly measured until years later. Remember that history is written by the winners. In music, the winners are the artists or bands that outlast the competition.

Going back to the different singers, since Jesse’s split with the band, he kept busy with other projects, like the stoner-rock outfit “Seemless” and the metalcore/hard-core influenced “The Empire Shall Fall”. During this period, he also appeared with Killswitch Engage, performing the track “My Last Serenade” alongside Howard Jones at the Roadrunner United concert in 2005.

Then in 2011, I was blown away by “Times of Grace”. Everything about that album connected with me on so many different levels. I saw “Times Of Grace” open up for “Machine Head” at the Uni Roundhouse in Sydney in February 2012. Adam Dutkiewicz had his leg in some form of a support cast and he still went ballistic on stage, commenting frequently that “Aussie girls are hot.”

In relation to “Times Of Grace”, I could hear the regret in some of the songs. When Jesse jumped ship from Killswitch he was fighting a pretty serious depression. He had just gotten married and he couldn’t deal with being on the road all the time and away from his new family.

Songs like, “Fall From Grace (my best song on the album)”, “The Forgotten One”, “Hymn Of A Broken Man”, “In The Arms Of Mercy” and “Where The Spirit Leads Me” capture the more personal side of Jesse Leach. I remember reading in an interview in the “Revolver” April/May issue with Jesse mentioning that at the time of leaving Killswitch he was “broken and unconfident”.

So when Killswitch Engage announced that Jesse Leach is the vocalist again, I was more than pleased. His redemption was complete. When Jesse left Killswitch Engage the album he worked on “Alive Or Just Breathing” was just another album in a burgeoning metalcore scene that helped to kick start the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement.

Today, “Alive or Just Breathing” is seen as a classic. I always state that music is all about creating great music now so that it is recognised later for its greatness. As an artist grows their body of work takes on a new life of its own. It takes a while for something to be assimilated. Artists or bands have to hang in there long enough until they get their turn, getting better while they wait and releasing quality music.

“In Due Time” was the lead-off single.

“All that we suffer through leads to determination
The trials we all go through gives us the strength to carry on 

Something within us burns, desire feeds the will to live
A reason to believe I will see redemption”

As the chorus lyrics go, in due time, the shadows will gave way to the light. You just need to be patient and resilient. The words could even reference Jesse’s redemption to Killswitch and the knowledge that he had to go through all these trials so that he could come back a better person.

“A Tribute To The Fallen” has that hook that resonates. In my view this song should have led the album.

“With a new dawn we rise in renewed strength
Knowing we’ve just begun to fight this war within”

Think about all the crap that is going on in our democratic nations. Governments are spying on their own people. The Corporations and their lobby groups drive legislation. Government granted monopolies like the copyright industry are doing their best to kill innovation and when that fails, insert the corporations and their lobby groups. Transparency is promised however it doesn’t exist. Every communication is suddenly classified. Enables of pirated goods get more jail time than actual criminal offenders.

“New Awakening” has the legend behind it about how Jesse blew his voice while he was recording it in the studio. After the Doctor told him about the strain on the vocal chords, Jesse saw it as a badge of honour.

“There is more to life than this
We are more than just this flesh
We are alive and our time has come
For a new awakening”

It’s the Killswitch revolution. Killswitch wants you. Where do i sign? I’m all in.

“You Don’t Bleed For Me” connects with me because it more or less sums up our politicians and how even though they are voted in by the people, they do not work for the people. Of course there are the rare ones who do their best to speak for the people but in the end money wins the game.

“Fly your flag of righteousness
When underneath it is deviousness, it is greed and lies
Don’t pretend to know me you martyr of disgrace
With your plastic smile
I don’t believe a word you say
You don’t speak for me
You don’t bleed, you don’t bleed
You don’t bleed for me”

The closer “Time Will Not Remain”.

“None of us should be thought of as anything less than a potential to change the world”

What a lyric and what a statement. That is the reason why Jesse Leach’s return means so much to Killswitch Engage and to metal fans in general. He never stopped being who he was. He was not corrupted by the modern era. He questions social norms and ideals. He questions the crap our politicians and news outlets throw at us. He questions everything. The great vocalists always have something to say.

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Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories

Cold Case – Connecting The Dots With Motley Crue And It’s Vocalist Problem.

“MOTLEY STILL SINGERLESS” is the headline from a news break item that did the rounds in an issue of Hot Metal from June 1992.

For everyone that had a vested interest in hard rock music knows, Motley Crue and Vince Neil parted ways in February 1992. The actual argument took place on February 11, 1992, with Motley Crue issuing the official statement on Neil’s departure on February 14, 1992.

Now from all evidence, it looks like the band started working with John Corabi immediately, from as earliest as February 17, 1992, however it wasn’t until September 27, 1992, that John Corabi officially signed a contract to be Motley Crue’s new lead vocalist. The below is from the June 1992, Hot Metal magazine and it is an update from Walt Woodward III (RIP);

In a conversation with Walt Woodward III, drummer with much touted and Hot Metal-approved The Scream, we just had to ask what exactly was going on with the band’s singer John Corabi? It seemed to those on the outside that just as The Scream was about to explode Down Under, John Corabi was gonna bail for Da Crue.

Well, as of April 15th no confirmation had been made. Says the very friendly Walt, “We’ve just finished recording a song with John. It’s for [MTV comedian] Paulie Shaw’s new movie Encino Man. Sure, Motley Crue are really interested in John. He’s been writing with them, and whether the songs end up on our album or the Crue’s is yet to be seen.”

Walt went on to explain that he was a big fan of dedication. Y’see, since becoming The Scream, John Corabi, Walt, Bruce Bouillet and John Alderette”…had really grown together, become good friends. I would hope that dedication would win through.”

If John was to bail from The Scream though, things would definitely go on. Says Walt, “We’ve all talked about it and if John did leave I can honestly say that there’s a couple of cool cats out there who’ve rung us up and will definitely blow some people away.”

The above is interesting for two reasons. As far as the guys in “The Scream” where concerned, the songs that John Corabi was working on, could have ended up on a Motley Crue album or a new Scream album. That would mean that even though John Corabi was working with Motley Crue, he was still technically or legally in The Scream.

This also goes against Nikki Sixx’s viewpoint on the matter that John Corabi was the only guy on the scene. The comments from Walt Woodward, gives some street cred to Sebastian Bach’s claim that he did in fact audition, as it was almost seven months from when Vince Neil left to when Motley Crue officially announced John Corabi as the replacement. The other vocalists that also auditioned are Stevie Rachelle from the band Tuff, Marq Torien from the band Bullet Boys and Stephen Shareaux from the band Kik Tracee.

Now if Sebastian Bach did audition in 1992, it would have had to have been between February 1992 and September 1992. Due to the fact that John Corabi had to wait until September to be officially recognised as the lead singer, it points to one thing; some reservations existed within the Motley Crue circle of managers, record label reps and road crew if John Corabi was the right man.

During the period December, 1991 and June 22, 1992, Skid Row was touring the U.S. Plenty of free days in between to tee up an audition.

From July 8, 1992 to August 11, 1992, Skid Row did a South American tour and wrapped up the month of August with an appearance at Castle Donnington in the U.K. Again, plenty of time to fit in an audition after the tour ended.

Skid Row didn’t hit the road again until October 1992 for a small Japanese tour and then they wrapped up the “Slave To The Grind” cycle, by supporting Guns N Roses on their “Use Your Illusion” Australian tour from January 30, 1993 to February 6, 1993. Of course by the time this cycle completed, Sebastian Bach had committed to Skid Row.

It is not uncommon for different theories to emerge when band members are replaced. Even Dream Theater got caught up in it, when the stories came out that Marco Minnemann got the Dream Theater drummer spot when Mike Portnoy left. That is why on the videos of the drummer audition that came out, you don’t see footage of Dream Theater telling Minnemann that he didn’t get the gig, however there was footage of when they told all the other drummers that auditioned they didn’t get the gig.

By connecting the dots, Marco Minnemann got the gig and then turned it down when he was told he needed to relocate to the other side of America.

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Music

Bullet For My Valentine – The Hi Fi – Sydney 27 February 2013

Basically if any member leaves Bullet For My Valentine I will no longer be interested.

Stories abound that the band had issues with each other during the tour of the Fever album and that they where close to breaking up.  Lets hope that they realise that they are a sum of their parts.  Does anyone remember Axewound?

The guitarist Michael Paget is a shredder in the classic Randy Rhoads sense, he was spot on all night, and a pleasure to watch.  The drummer Michael Thomas was a machine.  The whole night he was nailing his parts effortlessly.  Singer / Guitarist Matt Tuck was also in the pocket with his vocals and riffage.  

But the star of the show was the bass player Jason James.  He was the crowd instructor.  He got everyone jumping, he got the mosh pit going crazy, he got all the fists in the air going, plus he killed it in delivering high quality backing vocals and taking the lead on the screamo parts. 

If there was an issue with the show it was the small venue vs the high volumes clash and no Your Betrayel.  Ohh the betrayel…

Their latest album Temper Temper has moved 56,900 units in two weeks in the US and a quick look at The Pirate Bay shows at least 1500 seeders for this album with about 100 leechers.

This is the new world.  When the labels used to control the distribution, albums used to do a two year run via scheduled release windows.  These days with the internet, the album run is over within two to four weeks.

I still don’t know why bands spend three months or more in a studio recording a full album for it to disappear within a month.

Don’t get me wrong, good albums will stay the course like American Capitalist from Five Finger Death Punch has sold 500,000 plus units in the US and it was released in 2011.

Danish band Volbeat’s Beyond Hell/Above Heaven has just cracked the 200,00 mark in US sales, three years after it was released.  This one has been a slow riser, without all the mainstream marketing.  The fans have been spreading the word.  The fans are in control now.  The labels hate it, but if the bands are switched on, they can monetise this to the max.  Anyway i digress.  Back to the live show.

1000 plus people crammed into THE HI FI venue at Sydney’s Moore Park.  They where treated to a good show.  For $63 a ticket it was worth it.  I have no interest in Miss May I and The Cancer Bats.  They opened with Breaking Point and all i can say is they had the audience singing the song with them.  That is one thing that caught my attention, especially on the new album, the songs written are designed so that they work with the show.  All the songs worked and the energy levels where always up.  Highlights for me where Breaking Point, Pleasure and Pain, The Last Fight with it’s ballad like intro,  Scream Aim Fire, Waking the Demon and Alone.  This was a gig for the hardcore fans and BFMV didn’t disappoint.

 

 

 

 

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