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

Lynch Mob

The follow-up self-titled Lynch Mob album had Keith Olsen producing. And it comes from the legend known as George Lynch and his continuing saga of the lead singer revolving door. It’s 1992. One of my favourite bands in Dokken was close to four years dead. In between that time George Lynch and Mick Brown shacked up together with Lynch Mob and remained with Elektra Records. Jeff Pilson went to War and Peace and lead singer Don Dokken got wined and dined by Geffen Records and jumped ship.

The first post Dokken battle between Lynch and Dokken was won by Lynch who released the excellent “Wicked Sensation” first and scored a big win from the Dokken faithful. However, Don Dokken and John Kalodner assembled an all-star cast for “Up From The Ashes” and even though the album was an exemplary piece of melodic hard rock, it failed commercially.

However the great momentum built up by the Mark 1 version of Lynch Mob was taken back a few steps with the ousting of vocalist Oni Logan. The story goes that Lynch had a problem with the way Logan sounded live. So after letting Logan go, the band had Glenn Hughes come in. He would sing the songs and then new singer Robert Mason would also go in and he’d sing the songs.

Then Hughes and Mason would pick apart both performances and come up with one final definitive vocal take that Mason would go back in and sing again.

“Jungle Of Love”

It’s a crime that it sounded too much like everything else. Suddenly, towards the end of the Eighties and early Nineties, all of the hard rock bands started bringing back the Seventies blues influences/boogies, however it was Jake E.Lee and Badlands that did it best.

“Tangled In The Web”

It’s the horns that make this track and along with the hallucinogenic guitar sound they blend in nicely, making the track swing. Billboard Magazine in their 13 June 1992 issue said that it the song “May prove to be a hard sell, but well worth a spin nevertheless.” By 18th July, 1992 the song was a fast mover on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks, sitting at 16.

It’s a classic. And classics never go stale. It is unique enough to sound fresh as every year goes on. Listening to it today, i can honestly say it feels fresh and not dated. In other words, it is not rooted into that hard rock sound of the Eighties.

The song writing credits read that all the music came from George Lynch. Lyrics on the other hand came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito, Robert Mason and Keith Olsen.

“Hypnotizing
My temperature’s rising
As the sweat rolls
From my head to your lips”

It’s a bastardized riff taken from “The Hunter”. Is there a genre called Hard Rock Swing.

One thing that was prominent on this album was the “cleaning up” of Lynch’s distorted tones. Which is a good thing. As a guitarist, I am all too aware how a lot of gain can mask a lot of imperfections. So to play with a cleaner distortion, you need to be on your game. The riffs are more defined and “Tangled In The Web” is a fine example.

In the lead break, Lynch was asked to be like Eric Clapton and he winged it. The producer loved it, Lynch hated it. The producer won out in the end.

“No Good”

“I’m the evil in the bible,
Go to church but never pray
I’m a sister with a habit,
a preacher never saved”

Music was written by George Lynch. Lyrics came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito, Robert Mason and Keith Olsen.

AC/DC eat your heart out. Actually, if people remember the excellent Australian band, “Baby Animals” led by Suze DeMarchi then you can say that this song is taken from their debut album.

“Dream Until Tomorrow”

Music was written by George Lynch. Lyrics came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito, Robert Mason and Keith Olsen.

“Trust in my love
You know only time can separate us”

Love the clean tone that kicks it off. I remember reading in an interview that three different guitars got used, with different amp settings in order to achieve that clean tone.

Again the cleaner tones came as a breath of fresh air for the year that was 1992. The song was a precursor to the “Sacred Groove” album in the same way that “Mr Scary” was.

And just when you think the song is over, it restarts and builds for the last-minute and a half.

“Cold Is The Heart”

Music was written by George Lynch. Lyrics again came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito, Robert Mason and Keith Olsen.

“Icy hand behind a velvet glove
As she sits on the face of the world”

Again the cleanliness of the distorted tones really stand out. The song could be on any Dokken album and not be out-of-place. That was always the Achilles heel of George Lynch. He hated the fact that he was always referred to Dokken’s guitarist.

“Tie Your Mother Down”

Yep, it is a cover. Brian May wrote it. Lynch Mob recorded it as a tribute to Freddie Mercury. God damn that lead section is pure bliss with that basic diminished shape shifted up the neck

The jam like attitude grabs me from the get go.

“Heaven Is Waiting”

It’s a pop song and its a very underrated song that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Music was written by George Lynch. Lyrics came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito, Robert Mason and George Lynch.

“I ain’t nothing but the devil’s fool”

“I Want It”

Van Halen and AC/DC merged with “Empire” era Queensryche comes to mind. Another classic hard rocker, that got lost in all of the other generic crap from 1992. It’s also hidden deep in the album, so you had to be a fan to get this deep into the album. As usual the music came from Lynch and the lyrics came from Brown, Mason and Esposito.

“When Darkness Calls”

“You can’t resist it
It’s black or white”

Music was written by George Lynch. Lyrics came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito and Robert Mason.

I am hooked from the get go. That phased out/flanged out guitar arpeggios with the backward echoed sounding lead lines and all merged with a killer vocal melody. It’s a classic metal song and along with “Tangled In The Web” they are the stand outs of this album by far. Songs to build careers on.

“The Secret”

Music was written by George Lynch. Lyrics came from Mick Brown, Anthony Esposito, Robert Mason and Keith Olsen.

“Eyes once open never closed
That’s the gateway to the soul”

Great riffs and great melodies but it is more of the same of what came before.

In the end, the album while great failed to match the sales of “Wicked Sensation”. When that happened in 1992, it was more or less the beginning of the end. As a guitarist George Lynch was in my Top 5 of influences, however it was clear that he had a lead singer firing complexion.

Lynch Mob was on tour and Lynch was “not feeling it” with Mason and he wanted to get another singer. That singer was Ray Gillen, who at the time wasn’t interested because he had just completed “Voodoo Highway” with Badlands and was keen to push and promote that album.

If only Gillen knew the fall out that would happen between him and Jake a few months later. Glenn Hughes was considered, however due to his age, that was discarded.

The image of Lynch Mob being a band was non-existent and the legend of George Lynch being a control freak just kept on growing. The band never took off as it should have based on the quality of the musicians and the song writing. But in the end, like every George Lynch project, it self-imploded before it even had a chance to take off, because George Lynch is George Lynch.

And then George Lynch returned to the Dokken fold for the already written “Dysfunctional” album and even though as a hard core fan, I thoroughly enjoyed it, the truth of the matter is the band was spent. And we can speculate or argue why or just revel in the greatness of what came before.

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

What can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

As most tech savvy people are aware, The Pirate Bay turned 10 years old a few days ago. In all of this, the Pirate Bay has stood strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. Much larger organisations have tried to stand up against these bodies and have failed. The fact that the Pirate Bay is still alive is something to respect.

So what can artists learn from The Pirate Bay?

The Pirate Bay spread via word of mouth. It didn’t embark on a scorched earth marketing policy. For an artist there is no better marketing strategy than word of mouth. That is how virality works.

Metallica – built their fan base via word of mouth on the strength of their album releases and live shows. It wasn’t until 1992 that Metallica decided to form a fan club.

Heartist – built their fan base all on line via fan to fan connections. This was all done without even playing a show. It was a total online strategy.

Volbeat – built their fan base via the strength of their material. A song that they released back in 2008 got traction in 2012, which in turn started to bring attention to their 2011 album release. Success comes later in today’s world. In some cases much later.

Galactic Cowboys – Back in the late eighties, Geffen Records signed a band called Galactic Cowboys. I have three of their albums that I picked up in the bargain basement bin. Geffen just kept on pushing the band onto the public with a pretty high profile marketing campaign, however the public just didn’t take to them.

Mutiny Within – I remember the Roadrunner marketing campaign for the band Mutiny Within. The campaign had the band linked to Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater. Instantly this is putting a pre-conceived ideal into the mind of the listener and in my opinion, didn’t do the band any favours. One of the flyers that I saw, had phrasing like “Mutiny Within is the twisted child of Killswitch Engage and Dream Theater.” The public decided that the band was not worthy of that title and the band was dropped from their label deal.

Artists (especially major artists) should seriously consider using The Pirate Bay to market the release of their next batch of songs. There is still a demand for free mp3’s. At the moment iTunes cannot service that demand as the iTunes platform needs to be paid. So what options do the artists have to provide their fan base with free mp3’s.
1. Use their own website and collect geographical information and email addresses. Get to know their fans and survey their fans.

2. Team up with Bit Torrent

3. Team up with The Pirate Bay

4. Team up with a crowd funding platform, where the perks involve t-shirts and so forth, with a free Digital Download of said music.
The Game Of Thrones creators have recently said that the piracy of the show has contributed to the cultural buzz of the show and that it is better than winning an Emmy. The creators have also said that they have seen a high increase in DVD sales. I always bring people’s attention back to the Southern and Central Americas’. Sales of recorded music is not high in countries that fall in the Southern and Central America zones, however bands have had great success in touring these areas.

The recent IFPI report shows Brazil as a market set to surge. Go to http://www.ifpi.org/content One of the comments on the report is a WTF moment. It’s on page 24 and it states the following;
“The launch of iTunes showed that Brazilians are prepared to pay for music. We thought consumers were so used to piracy that they would never buy music again. But this has been proved wrong. Moreover, a new generation of consumers can now have their first music experiences in the legal environment.”

To put the above comment into perspective, iTunes was launched in Brazil at the end of 2011. Seriously this is a terrible business model from the record labels. While they screamed piracy in Brazil and then had a real draconian Copyright law passed that can take down sites on the say so of the entertainment groups, the actual consumers, the music fans, could not download a legal mp3 in the country. Instead of trying to get licensing arrangements in place to launch iTunes earlier in Brazil, the Record Labels spent millions fighting piracy in the courts. Instead of trying to get licensing arrangements in place to launch iTunes earlier in Brazil, the Record Labels spent millions lobbying politicians to vote for SOPA and PIPA.

The Pirate Bay is easy to use. It has an ecosystem built around Trusted and VIP uploaders to Helpers and Moderators that delete hundreds of ‘spam’ accounts and fake uploads every day which in turn keeps the site running smoothly and its users happy. This ensures that the content is exactly what it is described to be. The ranking system of uploaders (which is a skull in different colours like the Karate belt system) allows any novice downloader to form a bond with a certain uploader.

As an artist, you need to have a unique reference point, something that is easy to find. Having a generic band name is not a unique reference point. If you Google names like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Motley Crue or Metallica you know you get back searches that are related to the band name you Google’d. Google a band name like Today I Caught The Plague or Burnside. Then Google the same names with the term band attached to it. Any artist starting off needs to make it is easy as possible for people to find them online.

There is always room for improvement. The Pirate Bay keeps on evolving as technology evolves. Now it is simply an indexing site, that services the needs of its users, the same way Google service the needs of its users. It is always re-creating itself with the rise of new technologies.

All artists need to be doing the same thing. The web presence of any artist needs to be maintained, updated and recreated. It needs to adopt to changing technologies, to offer as many features as it can to its fans.

Why do so many Dream Theater, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Motley Crue or Five Finger Death Punch fans spend so much time on Forums that have no connection to the main web site of the band. Bands should be fostering these kinds of interactions on their main website. They should even be contributing to it, the same way they contribute to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. At least you know on the band forums, the real fans are there to interact and respond.

The Pirate Bay’s user base is growing because the users are prepared to share and people are prepared to download. This alone should inform the legacy gatekeepers that the fans of music are no longer sheep. The Pirate Bay showed the RIAA and the MPAA that their rules and prices suck and that service is a problem (remember iTunes launched in Brazil in 2011). The old model of basing success on record sales is gone. The old model of going to the record store and planning what albums you were going to buy in the months to come is over.

Artists need to service their fans. Make it hard for a fan to get your music, and they will go elsewhere. Trivium is a great example. They recently had a very complex (also brilliant) smart phone strategy that once you completed all the steps needed, the fan got to hear a sample of a new song. I can tell you that as a fan engagement tool, this attempt failed miserably. It was too hard for fans. So what do Trivium do next. They offer the full song for streaming via their website and as a free download. Now it is easy as hell. To paraphrase the Eagles, keep it easy…

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A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Song Needs To Be A Song First – Words of Wisdom from Zoltan Bathory

“Every one of us can play. We are technical players. When it comes to songs, there’s a difference between just shredding and showing of or writing songs. That’s a different talent. First and foremost, the song has to be a song then you start to think about yeah, let’s add a guitar solo.”

(Zoltan Bathory from Five Finger Death Punch in a recent interview with Loudwire.)

I remember towards the end of the Eighties, hard rock and glam rock bands are getting signed up left, right and centre by all the record labels. The greedy labels over saturated the market with diluted quality. They got talented musicians and sold them the dream of fame and fortune. Once they had their signature on paper, they told them to go and write songs like Cherry Pie.

Have you read or heard what Jani Lane (RIP) said about Cherry Pie. He wishes he never wrote the song. The album was done, it was going to be called Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The label wanted a hit song or they wouldn’t release the album. Jani had two options, tell the label to go F themselves and by doing that he knew that his songs will never be heard or he could comply with their request, write them a sugar pop song and get the album out.  We all know how the story goes?

Writing songs and playing technical are two different things and it’s good to see Zoltan make that distinction.

Would people still be interested in Dream Theater if they just played technical passages, without having a real song as the springboard. Pull Me Under is the song that you can say broke Dream Theater to the masses. It is the most simplest Dream Theater song to learn and play, however it was written by musicians who have great technical ability. The second track, Another Day is another Dream Theater  song that is simple to play and again it is from the same well. Of course Images and Words has Learning To Live, Metropolis, Take The Time and Under A Glass Moon and the reason why those songs have become cult songs in the progressive genre, is because they are songs first and technical masterpieces second.  The bottom line is, you need a great foundation.

When Ozzy relaunched his career with the Blizzard Of Ozz band (that then became the Ozzy band when the record was released), it was on the back of great songs and great technical guitar playing from Randy Rhoads. A simple catchy AC/DC style song like Flying High Again, had a dazzling tapped lead break. The Crazy Train solo is one of those songs within a song guitar leads, however who would have cared if it was there, if the song it was on is terrible.

The bottom line for both Dream Theater and Ozzy Osbourne is; if you take away the progressive instrumental breaks and guitar leads from the songs that we love, you still have a great song and that is the essence to everything.

When the Whitesnake album exploded in 1987, it was on the back of great songs and great guitar playing from John Sykes. Listen to his lead break on Crying In The Rain. John Kalodner, the A&R rep that signed Whitesnake to Geffen, knew that was a great song. It just need to be re-done in a way that it could get massive exposure. The song was a song already as it already did the rounds on the Saints and Sinners album from 1982 and by adding the one minute plus tour de force lead break by Sykes to it, it made the song even more dazzling and a product of the times. However, as I mentioned above, if you take away the lead break, you still have a great song.

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