A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Faktion and The Year That Was 2006

They are no more. According to the internet, they barely existed.

Faktion’s self-titled release hit the streets in 2006. I came across it a few days ago, almost 8 years since it’s release. And I have stayed with it, because it is a damn good album. A real strong album. Back in 2006, it might have sounded generic and formula driven against some of the bands that had records out at that time.

It was up against some stiff competition for listener’s attention. The audience that could have gravitated towards Faktion had already devoted their ears to other bands.

Breaking Benjamin released “Phobia”, Skillet released “Comatose”, Stone Sour released “Come What(ever) May”, Daughtry released his self titled debut, 10 Years released “Autumn’s Dream”, Crossfade released “Falling Away”, Pillar released “The Reckoning”, Red released “End Of Silence” and Papa Roach released “The Paramour Sessions”. Already it is a pretty crowded marketplace. BUT it gets worse.

They had a deal with Roadrunner Recrods. Maybe Roadrunner just didn’t know how to promote them against a crowded modern rock scene and it is as dead set shame. Maybe Roadrunner put all of their energies into promoting the ones that already had a following, instead of trying to break a new band to the masses.

Other Roadrunner stable mates that released albums in 2006 are as follows;

Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
Stone Sour – Come What(ever) May
Hatebreed – Supremacy
Black Label Society – Shot to Hell
Cradle of Filth – Thornography
Killswitch Engage – As Daylight Dies
Trivium – The Crusade
Madina Lake – The Disappearance of Adalia [Digital EP]
Theory of a Deadman – Gasoline
36 Crazyfists – Rest Inside The Flames
Chimaira – Chimaira
Ill Niño – One Nation Underground
Roadrunner United – The All-Star Sessions
Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia… ‎
Satyricon – Now, Diabolical
Fear Factory – Demanufacture
Soulfly – Soulfly
DevilDriver – The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand
Type O Negative – The Best Of Type O Negative (Comp)
New York Dolls – One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This
Opeth – Ghost Reveries
Black Stone Cherry – Black Stone Cherry
Slipknot – Voliminal: Inside The Nine ‎
Delain – Lucidity
Liv Kristine – Enter My Religion
Bleeding Through – The Truth
Life Of Agony – River Runs Red
Creetins – The Spirit Is Willing ‎(7″)
Caliban – The Undying Darkness
Junkie XL – Today ‎

As you can see from the above list, the label had 32 releases happening for the year that I could locate and in amongst all of them was the monster that is known as Nickelback, who had singles and videos released well into 2006 from their 2005 album. And somewhere in this mix was a band called Faktion. A band that had even more competition from bands on other labels;

Tool released “10,000 Days”,
Rodrigo Y Gabriela released their self-titled debut,
Iron Maiden released “A Matter of Life and Death”,
Europe released “Secret Society”,
Evergrey released “Monday Morning Apocalypse”,
Poets of The fall released “Carnival Of Rust”,
Muse released “Black Holes And Revelations”,
Jet released “Shine On”,
The Killers released “Sams Town”,
Senses Fail released “Still Searching”,
My Chemical Romance released “The Black Parade”,
Smile Empty Soul released the excellent “Vultures”,
Red Hot Chilli Peppers released “Stadium Arcadium”.

I can go on, however the point is made. It’s a pretty crowded marketplace for listener’s attention. And “Faktion” was there, one of many bands in the music business trying to break through the noise.

Add to that noise the other big internet stories.

On September 26, 2006, Facebook was opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address. Suddenly people (including fans of music) had a new outlet that had nothing to do with music.

Then there was YouTube. The site grew rapidly, since kicking off in 2004 and by July 2006, 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day. The site was also receiving 100 million video views per day. Suddenly people (including fans of music) had another new outlet to focus on.

MySpace was still a giant back then and the 100 millionth account was created on August 9, 2006.

Also in 2006, a little known company called Spotify was created. From small beginnings, large things grow.

The following year the first iPhone hit the streets and the people (again including fans of music) had another new outlet to spend time on that initially didn’t have anything to do with music.

And the paradigm shift that started with Napster in 1999, became a tidal wave in 2006.

Music really needed to compete against different markets. It wasn’t about a cost issue. It wasn’t a piracy/copyright infringement issue. It was a competition issue. It was economics 0.1. Supply and demand. When supply is limited, demand is higher. With supply in abundance, demand is lower.

Fans of music became early adopters of technological products. If they are spending their time and money on those products, that leaves less time and less money to spend on other products.

So what about Faktion? The post was meant to be about Faktion, however when i started researching some papers around innovation and competition for a different post, everything started to link together. Faktion and 2006 became the catalyst.

Reading one of their earlier bios, they make mention of their MySpace play count metrics and maybe those stats played a key role in getting Roadrunner interested. However those MySpace metrics will never equate to a 1 to 1 relationship with sales, the same way that pirated content will never relate to a lost sale.

Who is Faktion? Ryan Gibbs is on vocals and was the last addition to the band. Marshal Dutton played guitar and was the original vocalist. Josh Franklin was also on guitar, Jeremy on bass and another Jeremy with a surname of Moore on drums.

Does the name Marshall Dutton sounds familiar?

It should.

Remember a band called Hinder. “Welcome To The Freakshow” was produced by Hinder drummer Cody Hanson and Faktion’s Marshall Dutton, with mixing done by James Michael from Sixx AM. What a team?

Also remember when Austin Winkler stepped out of the tour for the album. Guess who stepped in as a fill in vocalist. Yep, that’s right, the same Marshall Dutton from Faktion.

So when Faktion called it quits, he formed a band called “Drankmore” with Faktion’s tour manager Jarrod Denton. In that same band is Cody Hanson, the drummer from Hinder.

Remember that music is a relationship business.

And speaking of relationships, I remember reading an interview that Marshal did and he mentioned that he wouldn’t be opposed to doing Faktion again, so lets hope that happens.

It was the lead breaks in Faktion that got me. It was a pretty ballsy move to do leads for a melodic rock band in 2006. Comparing this album now to the bands that had commercial success in 2006, Faktion is streets ahead. And that is because of the guitar work.

A good band is a band that has a lot of different elements. Having breakdown riffs by 2006 we getting old. While it worked for bands like Red, Breaking Benjamin and 10 Years, the audience wanted “Guitar Hero’s again”. Remember back in 2005, “Guitar Hero” the game was unleashed to a massive audience and to great success.

The song “Always Wanting More” is a stand-out. It’s heavy with great guitar work.

All your pleasures have brought you greed
Only thinking about yourself again
All the things that you say you need
Are the poisons that eat you from within

In the end we all end up in a wooden box. Focus on accumulating experiences instead of wealth. Focus on building relationships instead of enemies. The Recording Industry failed to build a relationship with the people who actually purchased music. They exploited the artists and then abandoned them whenever they felt like it.

The one that resonated with me was “Who I Am”.

I know I’m not prepared for a life
That keeps me far from home
But I know if I just sit there,
I’ll never find out who I am

The life of a musician is a tough gig. I love writing music and playing it, however I hate to be away from home. When I was in bands, I hated touring. And this song is about that life to me, however the chorus is done in such a general way, that it can be interpreted that you need to get out of your comfort zone to make things happen.

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Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch at the Big Top

I wrote this post on Wednesday morning, however I didn’t post it as I was in a rush to get to work and then once work was over I had to rush over to the Richie Sambora show. Then I spent Thursday morning writing up the Richie Sambora post and after posting that, I was off to work and then after work I was off to see Mrs Browns Boys at WIN Entertainment Centre. So here I am, three days after the event, back to this post.

I attended the Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold Sidewave on Tuesday, 25 February at the Big Top in Luna Park. It was my first time seeing them both live so I didn’t know what to expect.

Did I mention that Asking Alexandria opened up?

Yep, they opened up and regardless of how much Revolver Mag creams their pants over them and cross promotes them in corporate sponsorship deals, the bottom line is this; They still need a lot of work. I caught the last three songs of their set and it didn’t make me want to go out and buy them. The best releases the band has done are the cover songs.

I caught up with an old school friend at the show who came one out to watch Avenged Sevenfold. I asked him if he had heard any music from Five Finger Death Punch and he told me that he hasn’t. Half way through the set, he yelled in my ear that he will be downloading their collection when he gets home tonight.

So on to the mighty Five Finger Death Punch. They started with “Under and Over It”. A great selection for an opener and a surprise one. “Burn It Down” came next and to me, the song just didn’t really work in a live setting. “Hard to See” and the show was back on the road.

“Lift Me Up” actually lifted the Big Top. It was anthemic all the way and what a great live song it is. “The Ultimate Sin” vocal melody was sung word for word and the crowd chanted chorus drowned out the band.

“Burn MF” didn’t really do much for me on the recording, however as a live song and the way Ivan Moody gets the crowd involved in the chant, it works brilliantly. This song was the biggest surprise on the night.

Another big surprise was Chris Kael. He looks like a cross between Kerry King and Zakk Wylde and what a performer he is, backing up on clean tone vocals and deep guttural vocals. Definitely a great choice for the FFDP band.

“Coming Down” actually kept the energy levels up for a mid tempo song and the band finished off with “Never Enough” and “The Bleeding”. As a live band, Five Finger Death Punch nail it. It’s no wonder that when they hit a city, sales of their albums increase the next day.

One thing about Five Finger Death Punch that a lot of people don’t understand is that they are sort of like a supergroup of independent bands. Each musician in the band has paid their dues in other bands. Some of those bands had small record deals, some of them played on large tours and some of them just played the club scene. So when you see Ivan Moody, Zoltan Bathory, Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook and Chris Kael on stage, you are seeing a group of talented musicians who have over 50 years combined in the music business.

On a side note, it looks like Ivan Moody got into some trouble on his Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney due to being an intoxicated unruly passenger and assaulting a stewardess. With his past alcohol struggles well documented in his lyrics and interviews, the latest occurrence is just another chapter in this saga. As a fan of the band, let’s hope that the other band members don’t over-react to this, because Ivan Moody is the key ingredient as to why the band resonates and connects with the audience. Changing him will be the death of Five Finger Death Punch.

Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch along with Machine Head, Protest The Hero and Shinedown are currently providing the music for the soundtrack of my life. It is the familiarity of the songs and the energy that familiarity brings that provides the connection. I have this drive home playlist that is littered with A7X and FFDP songs.

So up next was Avenged Sevenfold, with their Machine Head inspired curtain logo opening up to the “Shepherd Of Fire” stage set. Some people in the audience wore Machine Head tops and they were getting heckled for it. It was all in good taste and everyone was having a laugh about it.

It is safe to say that “Shepherd Of Fire” and “Hail To The King” are great live songs. The best of the night along with “Lift Me Up” from Five Finger Death Punch. So regardless of what people call those songs or from what bands A7X and Five Finger Death Punch borrowed from in creating them. They are undeniable in a live setting. And didn’t we resonate and connect with them.

As is the norm, “Shepherd of Fire” opened up the sing along. It’s all about roots. A great song to kick off a concert with a sing along chorus.

“Critical Acclaim” from the 2007 self-titled album followed. It’s a hard song to pull off in the live setting, especially when you are playing a song that has “The Rev” on vocals via a backing tape.

“Beast and the Harlot” from the “City of Evil” album came next. The “City of Evil” album was the one that resonated with me and it was the album that got me into Avenged Sevenfold. I loved that whole Dream Theater meets “A Night At The Opera” approach.

Then it was back to the sing along with “Hail To The King”. I was actually singing “Sign Of The Cross” from Maiden throughout it as a test. “Eternal Rest” from the “Waking The Fallen” album came next and it hasn’t been played live since 2009. Personally, I would have loved to hear “Second Heartbeat” instead.

Then it came to the Nightmare vs City Of Evil part of the set. “Buried Alive” from the “Nightmare” album kicked it off, followed by “Seize the Day” from the “City of Evil” album.

Then the song “Nightmare” was played, followed by “Burn It Down” from the “City of Evil” album. It was also the first time they have played “Burn It Down” live since 2008.

The songs from the “Nightmare” album worked really good in the live setting. It gave me a new appreciation for those songs, as I saw that album as a very confused album and missing some direction.

A little Guitar Solo by Synester Gates introduced “Afterlife” from the 2007 self-titled album , that has that unbelievable shred solo that Synester made it to look completely effortless.

The main set finished off with “Almost Easy” from the 2007 self-titled album.

The Encore kicked off with “Unholy Confessions” from the “Waking the Fallen” album and finished with The Rev masterpiece “A Little Piece of Heaven” from the 2007 self-titled album.

In the same way that all the great bands had a definitive guitar player, Synester Gates is up there from the current trend. He worked that fretboard all night, sweeping up and down it, tapping it, pulling off and hammering on fast legato style leads on it and then doing some machine gun picking on it. This was a TRUE guitar hero.

And memories came back of practicing in my room, honing and refining my skills, hoping that one day, I will get a band together and have people appreciate what I do. It was never about riches. It was about the art of creating and connecting. I look at my kids and if I mention the words “Guitar Hero”, they think of the game. They fail to realise the hard work that goes into the practice.

It was entertaining and I got my money’s worth.

Compared to the Richie Sambora concert, Richie wins hands down. Sambora didn’t play it safe, taking us into improvised jams and sing alongs. Metal bands are not renowned for doing that. They are too scared in case they lose the audience.

What are the chances of metal bands playing it safe? Metal music is known for its rebellion and you have two of the big metal bands today, playing it safe in a live setting.

On a bad note, the $32 parking was a dead set rip off, especially when other venue parking stations charge between $12 and $16 dollars.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

Blueprints

Rule 1:
Create something great and watch your core audience spread it to the masses.

Rule 2:
Don’t spread your wings too far. Focus on your core audience. That is your foundation.

Rule 3:
Their is no such thing as “job security” in the music business.

Rule 4:
Reminder: Don’t spread your wings too far. Focus on your core audience. That is your foundation.

Rule 5:
The music business is a game. Artists are competing each day with other artists for attention.

Rule 6:
Another reminder: Don’t spread your wings too far. Focus on your core audience. That is your foundation.

Rule 7:
Traditional education is becoming less relevant to career success. If you still want to be in banking and the legal system, go to College/University. If you want to change the world, education is not the place for you.

Rule 8:
Reminder Number Three: Don’t spread your wings too far. Focus on your core audience. That is your foundation.

Rule 9:
The concert experience is not about the songs sounding exactly as they do on the radio or the CD. This type of show will keep the swinging musical fan satisfied but not the core audience. These are the people that artists should be focusing on. Extend the ending of the song into a lead break jam.

Rule 10:
Just because the charts don’t have a Guitar Hero at number 1, it shouldn’t mean that you should stop being one. You have practiced your art, now play it.

Rule 11:
Don’t be interested in the clicks. It’s just a number, another statistic that means nothing. What is the point of having 1,000 views a day if no one is connecting and interacting? What is the point of having of 1,000 views a day if no one is talking about you?

Rule 12:
If you are in music to be rich, walk away now. Get into banking or the legal system.

Rule 13:
One last time – Don’t spread your wings too far. Focus on your core audience. That is your foundation.

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A to Z of Making It, Music

Angus Young – Guitar World – March 1986 – Part 2

ANGUS YOUNG – RAW ENERGY IS ALL YOU NEED
Guitar World March 1986
By Joe Lalaina

(All parts in Italics and Quotes are from the March 1986 issue of Guitar World)

If there’s one thing Angus really hates, it’s when people call AC/DC a heavy metal band.

“It’s a cheap tag”, he says, “and its been stamped on us mainly from a media point of view. It’s an insult to be slapped in with hundreds of other bands. We look at it this way, we’re a rock and roll band. We don’t mind being called that—at least you’ve got a bit of individuality. Calling AC/DC heavy metal is like saying The Police is a reggae band, even though they may have a bit of that style. We’re just as individual I mean, we don’t sound like Scorpions. Although we don t consider ourselves heavy metal, I’m sure a lot of kids will jump out and say ‘Yeah’, AC/DC is heavy metal. They’re so heavy they can sink through
the floor. But that comes from youth more than anything—the kids want to be a part of something. The kids who attend AC/DC concerts are, for the most part, teenage males—
fans who would rather get drunk and rowdy than just rock out and enjoy the show.”

AC/DC is still found in the heavy metal section of music shops.  Even Bon Jovi was classed as heavy metal back in the day.  Anything that had long hair and distorted guitars, the media classed it as heavy metal.  However, Angus has used the metal tag to market himself as a devil among other things.  So even though he hates the tag, he has no issue exploiting it.

“We’re not a pop band”, explains Angus, “so there’s usually more guys than girls who come to our shows. Girls are into the pretty side of things, like the Durans Durans of the world. We don’t go onstage with fancy haircuts and flashy clothes? We just go onstage and rock and roll.”

I saw AC/DC on the Ballbreaker tour at the Sydney Entertainment Center on November 13, 1996.  More than 10 years after this interview took place.  AC/DC had a third wind in their sails at that time, courtesy of the mega successful The Razors Edge album released in 1991.  The crowd had males, females and mum’s/dad’s with their children.  

The point I am trying to make, is that even though AC/DC went on stage with simple clothes, their stage show was anything but simple.  On the Ballbreaker AC/DC had the wrecking ball, the canons, the Rosie blow up doll and enough pyro to cater for a New Years Eve celebration.

Born in Scotland, in 1959. Angus and his family emigrated to Australia in 64.

“There was a lot of unemployment in Scotland at the time.” remembers Angus, the youngest of seven brothers, “so my father took everyone to Sydney [the capital of Australia] in search of work. He managed to find a job as a laborer.”

Yes, Sydney, the capital of Australia.  It looks Joe Lalaina failed geography. 

Although Angus had been messing around on a banjo in Scotland since he was five years old, it wasn’t until his early teens that he began playing guitar. ‘A kid down the road had an electric guitar,’ he explains, and I just picked up the thing and was able to play it. I don’t know why and I don’t know how.

Angus is talking himself up here.  As a guitarist, you don’t just pick up the guitar and play it.  You fiddle around, you make mistakes, you play around with the tuning and so on.  At the time I was reading this, I thought Angus was a god.  All the guitarists in the magazines started to be portrayed as such in the Eighties.

Does Angus think he would be a better player nowadays had he taken lessons when he was younger?

“Nah”, he says, “A lot of guitarists tend to throw their technique on you, which is a lot of crap, really. I’ve always thought that if you can clap your hands and stamp your feet in time anyone can play guitar. I don’t think one needs to take lessons to learn how to play the thing. You should give someone a chance to develop their own technique. If someone tells you how to play something it could easily mess up your talent and corrupt you for life. Everything you play should be done how you feel like doing it—very naturally. Playing guitar is like doing anything else—you’ve got to be able to think for yourself.”

Angus left school when he was fifteen.

That doesn’t happen today.  No one drops out of school at fifteen to be in a band with people who aren’t good-looking.  People get into music these days for all the wrong reasons.    Then they scream piracy when it all goes to hell.  The ones that get into music for the love of it, end up making it.  

MTV also made it that you needed to be beautiful to be famous.  Everything else started to come first and music was a distant second.

“Malcolm was putting together a band at the time.” recalls Angus and I joined. After a few rehearsals, I was really impressed. Malcolm said to me, “We are just gonna have a good time and play what we want to play—very tough rock and roll, no pretty stuff.”

“At first it was hard to find guys that thought like us. One guy we auditioned was a singer, but we told him. We don’t want a singer, we want a screamer. You are not the guy for us. But after a while we found some people and put together a good band.

Two things happened; AC/DC was formed, and Angus’ short-pants routine came into existence. It was my sister who suggested I play in the band with my school shorts on, he explains.

“After school I would go straight to rehearsals, I didn’t have time to go home and change. I wanted to get some solid playing in. One day my sister told me, “Hey it would be a great idea if you played in the band with your school outfit on—no one has ever done it before. It was such a great idea, I decided to do it. I was always one for something a bit original and different.

AC/DC didn’t want perfection, they wanted a certain style.  It was that style that formed a connection with listeners.  Call it pub rock, rock n roll, hard rock or heavy metal.  They didn’t form to be famous.  They formed to write rough music.  That is why they made it.  They looked genuine.  That is why they made it.  They just wanted to play rough music.  That is why they made it.  

Part 3 to come

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Angus Young – Guitar World – March 1986 – Part 1

ANGUS YOUNG – RAW ENERGY IS ALL YOU NEED
Guitar World March 1986
By Joe Lalaina

(All parts in Italics and Quotes are from the March 1986 issue of Guitar World)

The little guy with the big SG is unconcerned with current guitar hero fashions.  His stock in trade has always been the hard rock shuffle to a boogie beat.  Before you drop the needle on any new AC/DC album, you know what to expect. Rarely has a band maintained such a consistent sound as AC/DC, they’ve been pretty much making the same album for the past ten years. Fly On The Wall, the group’s eleventh release, is no exception.

“I’ve heard people say all our music sounds the same,” says soft-spoken lead guitarist Angus Young, “but it’s usually just the people who don’t like us who say it.”

Not true. It’s just that ever since the band’s High Voltage debut back in 76, AC/DC has been playing the same relentlessly raw and straightforward style on every succeeding album. And that’s the way their fans like it.

I like AC/DC.  They are a talisman to consistency.  Each album is the same, however that doesn’t mean that each album was successful.  You need great songs, and that is what AC/DC delivered on High Voltage, Highway To Hell, Let There Be Rock, Back In Black and on The Razors Edge.  Credit both Mutt Lange for Back In Black and Bruce Fairbairn for The Razors Edge.  Actually, The Razors Edge album is the most crucial album AC/DC ever did.  After a steady decline in fortunes and sales since Back In Black, they kicked off the 1990’s with a bang.  It made them relevant again.  The Razors Edge album sustained them throughout the 90’s and into the now.

“We never go overboard and above people’s heads,” says Angus, who took some rare time out from his recent American tour to discuss musical and other matters.

“We strive to retain that energy, that spirit we’ve always had. We feel the more simple and original something is, the better it is. It doesn’t take much for anyone to pick up anything I play, it’s quite simple. I go for a good song. And if you hear a good song, you don’t dissect it, you just listen and every bit seems right.”

For any guitarist that is starting off, AC/DC wrote the book on beginners guitar.  In the process, they also created songs that are timeless and a soundtrack to a whole generation of people in the seventies, eighties and nineties.  I am just teaching my kids to play guitar and the first song i showed them was Long Way To The Top from AC/DC.

Although this stripped-to-the-bone approach has made AC/DC internationally successful, thirty million albums sold worldwide ain’t bad!, Angus is more concerned with having a  good time than with album sales.

“We don’t go around the world counting ticket and record sales,” he says, “nor do we glue our ears to the radio to hear what’s trendy at the moment; we’re not that type of band. We do run our own careers, but we leave the marketing stuff to the record company. We make music for what we know it as, and we definitely have our own style.”

AC/DC defined a style and in the process spawned a million imitators.  What a lot of people don’t understand, especially the international fans, is that Australia rock bands where all playing the same style.  Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Daddy Cool, Stevie Wright all had that pub rock vibe.  AC/DC just stood out a bit more.  Credit Bon Scott and Angus Young.  Brian Johnson walked into the house built by Bon and Angus.

Is there anything Angus considers special about his playing style?

“In some ways, yeah.” he says. “I know what guitar sound I want right away. And if I put my mind to it, I can come up with a few tricks. I mean, I just don’t hit the strings that my
fingers are nearest to. But the most important thing, to me, is I don’t like to bore people. Whenever I play a solo in a song, I make sure that the audience gets off on it as much as I do.”

Angus exerts more energy in the course of one song than most guitarists do in an entire show.

“I’m always very nervy when I play.” he says. I usually settle down after the first few songs, but it’s hard for me to stand still. I suddenly realize where I am, onstage in front of thousands of people; so the energy from the crowd makes me go wild.  I’m always very careful, though. If you bump an arm or twist an ankle, there s no time for healing on the road. You can t tell the crowd. Hey, people, I can t run around tonight I have a twisted ankle.”

I have mentioned before about bands writing great songs and how that is very different to bands that write great songs that go down great live.  AC/DC is another band, that has that foresight.  The songs are all meant for the arena.  To be honest, i don’t really remember a recorded song fading out, i am sure some do, however it is testament to the band that they write a start and an end.

Malcolm Young, AC/DC s rhythm guitarist and Angus older brother, would rather just stand in one spot and bang out the beat with thuddingly repetitive chord structures.  

“Malcolm makes the band sound so full”, says Angus, “and it’s hard to get a big ego if you play in a band with your brother, it keeps your head on the earth. Malcolm is like me, he just wants the two of us to connect. Although he lets me take all the lead breaks, Malcolm’s still a better guitarist than Eddie Van Halen.  Van Halen certainly knows his scales, but I don’t enjoy listening to very technical guitarists who cram all the notes they know into one song.  I mean, Van Halen can do what he does very well, but he’s really just doing finger exercises. If a guitarist wants to practice all the notes he can play, he should do it at home. There’s definitely a place for that type of playing, but it’s not in front of me.”

Big call by Angus.  Dishing on King Eddie.  Back then, I was like WTF?  How dare he?  Eddie was king back in 1986.  He was untouchable.

I didn’t even like AC/DC back in 1986 and I am Australian.  I was so into the U.S. Glam/Hard rock scene, I failed to see the talent that was AC/DC.  I am glad I made up for it in the nineties, when Grunge allowed me to drop out of the mainstream and go searching for classic rock bands.

These days, no one speaks their mind.  They all want to be loved.  No one wants to be hated.  Guess what people, we can see right through it.  We can tell the fakes from the real dealers.  (Nice lyric line by the way, I will keep it)

Angus would much rather listen to old time players like Chuck Berry or B B King. 

“Those guys have great feel, ” says Angus. “They hit the notes in the right spot and they know when not to play. Chuck Berry was never a caring person. He didn’t care whether he was playing his tune, out of tune or someone else’s tune. Whenever he plays guitar, he has a big grin from ear to ear. Everyone always used to rave about Clapton when I was growing up, saying he was a guitar genius and stuff like that. Well even on a bad night Chuck Berry is a lot better than Clapton will ever be.  Clapton just sticks licks together that he has taken from other people – like B B King and the other old blues players—and puts them together in some mish-mashed fashion. The only great album he ever made was the Blues Breaker album he did with John Mayal and maybe a couple of good songs he did with Cream. The guy more or less built his reputation on that. I never saw what the big fuss was about Clapton to begin with.”

That is what made Angus a legend, he always spoke his mind.  The world we have today is all about yes people and making sure that we don’t offend.  We all want to be loved, hence the reason why one person has 5000 Facebook friends.  Yeah Right.  5000 Friends.  What a load of B.S?  No one speaks their mind these days.  The kids grow up these days, being told by mum and dad what a great game they had in football, and how great they are at reading and how great they are at this, when all they did was touch the ball once and play with the grass most of the time.

It’s easy to get lost in those comments against Clapton and Van Halen.  If you do, you miss the point Angus is trying to make.  He has no time for technical players, but he has time for Chuck Berry.  In relation to Eric Clapton, he didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about, he believed that others where better, like Jeff Beck.

“There are guys out there who can play real good without boring people.  Jeff Beck is one of them.  He’s more of a technical guy, but when he wants to rock and roll he sure knows how to do it with guts.  I really like the early albums he did with Rod Stewart.”

There is that name again Jeff Beck.  When I was reading this magazine, Jeff Beck’s name came up a few times.  I had to check him out.  This is 1986.  No internet to Google Jeff Beck.  No YouTube or Spotify to sample him.  I had to walk down to the local record shop and look for it.  Good times.  I am glad I lived them and I am glad they are not coming back.

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