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

Modern Day Cowboy

The cowboys were alive and well in the 80’s.

Hard Rock bands really went to town with the cowboy spirit and swagger. Their motorbikes became their trusted horses.

It all started a decade before.

Bad Company told us how bad it was to hang with misfits who would ride into town and shake things up. Thin Lizzy wrote “The Cowboy Song” and the Eagles wrote “Desperado”. Aerosmith showed how easy it was to get “Back In The Saddle”.

Stephen Pearcy told us he was a “Wanted Man”. And in 1986, Bon Jovi was “Wanted Dead or Alive”, a cowboy analogy for life as a touring musician and the piece d resistance came from the modern day cowboys known as Tesla.

“Modern Day Cowboy” is from their debut album “Mechanical Resonance”.

It didn’t really make an impact in Australia however it’s totally solid. If you want to go deep into the album, listen to “Changes,” “Little Suzi” and “Cumin’ Atcha Live.” Actually listen to the whole damn thing.

Jeff Keith is a good singer. He probably didn’t have the rap sheet or the dealer sheet as some of the other vocalists from the bands of his era nor did he have the three octave ranges of other vocalists. What he had was life experiences and musicians who could move between southern rock, classic rock, classic metal and hard rock effortlessly.

The quick hammer on licks to kick off the song is Randy Rhoads, similar to a solo lick he does in “Mr Crowley”, but Hannon and Skeoch morphed it into a riff.

Then the main riff is classic “Sunset Strip” and a big reason why it resonated with punters. It’s simple in its structure, moving from A5 to F5 to G5.

Then that acoustic Am riff in the verses is inspired from Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Whitesnake would incorporate a similar Am riff for “Judgement Day” a few years later.

Then when the verse riff picks up to hard rock, it’s got this Dokken feel. And we get to hear about a stormy night under jet black skies as Billy pulled into town, looking for a fight and of course there was another man, also feeling the same way. Bang, bang…

It’s a showdown, in a no-man’s land
For the cowboy of the modern day

The solo starts off with a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs, (I know, leave it to musicians to have a guitar term associated with sex). And then it goes into this Am to F to G arpeggio lick, which is very Randy Rhoads like in its structure and composition. Then it moves into Joe Perry style bends before coming back to some Ritchie Blackmore style of phrasing, more shred, some classic rock soloing and some more hammer ons and pull offs to finish off the solo section I didn’t want to end.

And then we are told about foreign lands with their terrorist demands pushing their useless cause which makes good people hurt. And the USA and the USSR still tried to out talk each other with who had the biggest penis (missiles) size.

Bang Bang.

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

Lazy Days, Crazy Nights

It pisses me off that “The Great Radio Controversy” has been removed from Spotify Australia but “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights” is still available via the “Gold” compilation album. But so many other good songs are not available.

How good is the intro?

It’s a simply Amadd9 to Cmaj7 chord progression over a static and ringing fretted E and open B note. It sounds heavy, because of its dirgey groove. Bands like Alice In Chains built a career with grooves like these.

I’m feelin’ so much better, but not quite feelin’ fine

We are unique creatures. overwhelmed by choice. The internet keeps us connected forever. We see a feed or a post on social media and we think someone is having or living a better life than us. So we sit down, set goals for ourselves and we feel great. And then we achieve what we set out to do and then set new goals. The cycle keeps repeating and we think we are so much better, but we still feel a bit uneasy.

Now, I’ve got to get my shit together,

Do we ever get our act together?

We like to think so, but in reality all we do is replace one thing with another. One paid debt is replaced by another. One relationship is superseded or replaced by another. One addiction is replaced by another. Knowledge we accumulated 10 years ago is replaced by new knowledge from now.

Then the Chorus riff rolls around and it’s a 101 lesson in how to write hard rock riffs, as it boogies between the A to G notes that so many songs of the era used.

But I love those lazy days and crazy nights, It’s my way, it’s my life.

I like the night. I am in my element and I feel creative when night rolls around. When I was unemployed, I used to sleep in. It’s why Slaughter’s “Up All Night” resonated with me.

The problem for me now, is that my days are not so lazy anymore. They are so crazy that my nights start to become a snooze fest because of tiredness. Getting older it’s more like “crazy days and sleepy nights, it’s my way, it’s my life”.

Regardless, hearing those lines when I was younger, it made me want to sing-along and scream those words at the top of my lungs.

I love those lazy days and crazy nights, It’s my way, it’s my life.

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

Love Song

Tesla followed up their debut album “Mechanical Resonance” with “The Great Radio Controversy”. And there isn’t a song on the album that I wouldn’t listen to today. It’s consistent with some big songs thrown in the mix. “Hang Tough” brings the metal, “Heavens Trail” brings the acoustic slide guitar, “The Way It Is” brings the Southern Rock, “Paradise” brings the progressive 70s style of song writing to the fore and then there is “Love Song”.

The album was on Spotify Australia, and when 2020 started, it was off. I don’t understand why artists or their labels would remove or even withhold their music from streaming services. And “Psychotic Supper” has never been on Spotify Australia. At this point in time, this is the Tesla catalogue on Spotify Australia;

  • 1986 – Mechanical Resonance
  • 1990 – Five Man Acoustical Jam
  • 2001 – RePlugged Live
  • 2007 – Real To Reel Vol.1
  • 2007 – Real to Reel Vol.2
  • 2008 – Forever More
  • 2008 – Gold
  • 2010 – Alive In Europe!
  • 2011 – Twisted Wires
  • 2014 – Simplicity
  • 2016 – Mechanical Resonance Live
  • 2019 – Shock

Yes, there is a lot of music there, but my favourite albums are the first four, which I have on vinyl and CD, but when you are out and about, those two mediums don’t cut it. YouTube has them, but not Spotify Australia. It’s insane.

Anyway, my 13 year old has been playing “Love Song” on the acoustic guitar for a while (he’s been listening to it on Spotify because the song is on the “Gold” compilation) and I’ve overdosed on it again, in the same way I did when the song came out. I spent time learning the song and its Randy Rhoads inspired acoustic intro.

Its written by Jeff Keith and Frank Hannon.

Actually Frank Hannon is one of the most underrated guitar heroes ever. Hannon’s grasp of 60’s Rock like The Beatles and Rolling Stones, 70’s rock like Aerosmith and Styx and Kiss, Southern Rock like The Allman Brothers, Molly Hatchet and Lynyrd Skynyrd, 80’s rock and metal, rhythm and blues, plus technical shredding is impressive and makes him a complete player. An MVP to have in your team.  Of course there was also Tommy Skeoch who could also play.

Once that acoustic intro is over, there is a D pedal point ringing throughout, while Hannon plays diads on the high B and E strings.

So you think that it’s over
That your love has finally reached the end
Any time you call, night or day
I’ll be right there for you when you need a friend, yeah

You see, love is not just what you do in bed. It’s a person to laugh with, a person to challenge you and offer different viewpoints, a person to share experiences with, a person to be there for you, a person to listen and a person to help you be a better version of who you are.

Love is all around you, yeah
Love is knocking’ outside your door
Waiting’ for you is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again, I know

Damn right, but people don’t know it or refuse to see it, because they have seen love involving roses, fancy trips and so many other dollar crunching events. But the truth is, love is free. It doesn’t really cost anything. And if you are alone in your house, feeling lonely, well guess what, there is another like you, looking for a connection.

So ignore all the social media friends who boast about how great their life is, because the cold hard truth is this, every single one of us in insecure.

Then the first guitar solo begins. A lot of people talk up the “November Rain” solos from Slash, but goddamn, Frank Hannon delivers here a solo full of emotion, vocal melodies and perfect phrasing.

And the ending begins about love finding a way back to you. It always does. Then another solo begins under the vocal melody. It doesn’t take away from it, it supplements it.

And this song keeps finding a way back to me.

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