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

1976 – Part 2.2: Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak

I was reading Guitar Legends and there was a feature on each decade from the 60s to the first 2000’s decade.

So in the 70s decades they covered some important and influential albums.

“Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, “IV” and “Physical Graffiti “ from Led Zeppelin, “Machine Head” by Deep Purple, “A Night At The Opera” by Queen, “Destroyer” by Kiss, Boston’s self-titled debut and “Never Mind The Bollocks” by The Sex Pistols are mentioned.

Thin Lizzy didn’t even get a mention. Written out of history. If there is a band that brought harmony guitars to the masses, it’s Thin Lizzy.

But they didn’t have a guitar hero in the band and a front man who wasn’t a pretty boy.

The band is Phil Lynott on vocals and bass, Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on guitars and Brian Downey on drums.

“Jailbreak” is the only Thin Lizzy album which has a certification in the U.S, a Gold one for 500,000 copies sold. But they never really toured behind the album as Lynott was fighting hepatitis.

It was also their last chance as “Nightlife” and “Fighting” didn’t meet the commercial expectations their label had.

And while Robertson felt the production was too restricted which led to less improvisation, it was exactly the tight ship that was needed to push them into the arenas.

Press play and have fun.

Jailbreak

How good is the main riff?

When the sirens start, listen to the riffs under it, it’s like the rumble/fight riffs in stage play soundtracks. Alice Cooper did something similar with “Gutter Cats vs The Jets”.

It’s a 41.5 million streams on Spotify.

Angel From The Coast

Downey on the drums is a star. Listen to how he swings, not a beat out of place.

Great lyrics about the boys playin poker and the joker being their favorite card and the middle section reminds of Hendrix and the Lizzy boys are swinging with the best of em.

Running Back

It’s a blues melodic rock cut inspired by Van Morrison and the first single from the album.

And it’s the little things, like the keyboard, saxophone, and overdubbed guitar lines from Scott Gorham that all add up.

Romeo And The Lonely Girl

What a great guitar solo in a song dedicated to those right girls that come at the wrong times.

And the solo keeps going when Lynott starts singing again.

Warriors

Lynott’s way of defining heavy drug takers was by describing them as warriors.

The Intro riff shuffles along.

Great soloing from Brain Robertson with a lot of wah wah.

But the piece d’resistance starts from the drum improv section at 2.53 and continues to the end. It’s progressive rock and a wow moment.

The Boys Are Back In Town

The big hit single, at 247.2 million streams, which still gets played on radio and licensed to movies, TV shows and advertisements in 2021 generating millions in royalties.

But no certification in the U.S market, however you would be hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t know the song.

So do you really need a sale or a plaque on the wall to show off your success or the success of a song?

And it did something massive for songwriters, making twin guitar harmonies an actual thing in popular songs.

Fight Or Fall

It’s got this Rod Stewart “Maggie May” feel, a strummed soul blues number.

Cowboy Song

The slow acoustic intro doesn’t foretell the rocker to come. 14.7 million streams on Spotify.

Emerald

The embryo and foundations of what Iron Maiden would be is in this song.

The Irish influences are here as well, something that Gary Moore would use a lot of on the “Wild Frontier” album.

It’s one of my favorite Lizzy albums of the Robertson and Gorham era on guitars. Lynott is unique but it’s Downey who owns this album. His drumming is superb and very underrated.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Record Vault: Diamonds – The Best of Dio

“Diamonds – The Best of Dio” was marketed as a “greatest hits” collection. I remember the ads. But the title says, “best off”. I guess marketing people don’t know the difference between “greatest hits” and “best of”.

And Ronnie James Dio is one of those artists who didn’t sit don’t to write hits. He just wrote songs that he liked.

It was released internationally in 1992, and never released in the U.S. And there was no effort with the CD. Just check out the no frills booklet.

I got this compilation because of the track “Hide In The Rainbow”, which was never released on a Dio studio album before. A rare EP called “The Dio E.P” (original title) was released in 1986 with the song, but like all things physical, it wasn’t readily available.

Back then no one was really sure who played on the track.

Was “Hide In The Rainbow” Vivian Campbell’s last studio recording with the band or did Craig Goldy play on the track?

The booklet states Craig Goldy.

But, history and the benefit of hindsight has shown that the CD booklets notes and credits are not a good source of truth sometimes.

In relation to the album, it covers the well-known songs in chronological order based on year of release.

“Holy Diver”, “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” are from the “Holy Diver” album, released in 1983.

“We Rock”, “The Last in Line” and “Evil Eyes” are from “The Last In Line” album, released in 1984.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Children”, “Sacred Heart” and “Hungry for Heaven” are from the “Sacred Heart” album, released in 1985.

“Hide in the Rainbow” is from “The Dio E.P” released in 1986.

Listen to the intro. I wish they continued it a bit longer.

And is it just me, or does the Chorus riff remind you of “No More Tears” from Ozzy. Then again this is 5 years before “No More Tears”, so maybe young Zakk was listening. Anyway, all music is derivative. Take what came before and make it a bit different.

“Dream Evil” is the title track, released in 1987.

“Wild One” and “Lock Up the Wolves” are from the “Lock Up The Wolves” album, released in 1990.

You could argue that “Stand Up And Shout”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, “All the Fools Sailed Away” and “Born On The Sun” are better songs and should be included.

If you have the albums mentioned above, there is no need for this compilation. But if you didn’t have any of those albums, this collection is an excellent addition.

At the time I was still buying Dio product to keep my collection up to date, however this ended up being the last purchase for my CD/Vinyl/Tape collection.

The studio albums which came in the 90’s and 2000’s were not available easily in Australia and had to be imported in at a higher price. So I ignored em, but my mate “Nick The Stick” is a massive fan, so he had em and he burned em on a CD for me.

I did buy a couple of DVD’s in the 2000’s called “Holy Diver Live” and “We Rock”. Those reviews will be coming soon.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music

1976 Part 2.2: Bad Company – Run With The Pack

“Run With The Pack” dropped in 1976. Ron Nevison engineered it and Eddie Kramer mixed it. Two names who appeared on a lot of hard rock and metal release I acquired in the 80’s.

For Bad Company, this is three albums in three years but when Daniel Ek from Spotify said that artists need to release more frequently, there was an uproar.

Did anyone see the recorded output from Ronnie James Dio?

From Elf, to Rainbow, to Black Sabbath and his solo career, he was doing a release a year.

“Run With The Pack” is not as solid as the first two albums from start to finish, but there is still enough quality to get people’s attention and it also helps when the first two albums are still selling and being played on radio.

LIVE FOR THE MUSIC

Great title.

The chord and a vocal line, the chord again and another vocal line. And that funky riff in the chorus.

“But when the night time comes I’m ready to rock”

The night is my domain. I feel I’m at my most creative then.

Check out the guitar solo. It’s a simple three note melody, repeated over three bars, with just a small change on the last bar. So simple, but effective. And it pissed me off when writers in the 90’s wrote about how simple and effective the Seattle solos were. I guess they never checked out Bad Company.

Unsung hero here is Boz Burrell on the bass. His holding down the groove but also playing the melody and towards the end of the song, it’s just Simon Kirke and Burrell, grooving away.

SIMPLE MAN

As good as anything from the first two albums.

I love the way the song just rolls after those opening arpeggios. It’s an anthem. So many good lyrical lines like;

“I’m just a simple man trying to be free”
“Freedom is the only thing that means a damn to me”

Ralphs use of acoustic and electric guitars is the same technique he employed on “Feel like Makin’ Love” from the “Straight Shooter” album.

HONEY CHILD

It’s “Can’t Get Enough” part 2.

LOVE ME SOMEBODY

A country blues piano ballad. Songs like these showcase the variation of the 70’s acts. An album purchase would give the listener so many different styles.

RUN WITH THE PACK

It starts off as a rocker and roller.

But the slow-down in the chorus. I love it.

Listen, especially when the violins come in towards the end.

SILVER, BLUE AND GOLD

It’s a fan favourite, with a sweet solo.

YOUNG BLOOD

A rock-a-billy cover. Not my favorite.

DO RIGHT BY YOUR WOMAN

Another country rock cut.

SWEET LIL’ SISTER

It’s “Movin On” part 2. The chord progression was overused. “Sweet Home Alabama” comes to mind.

FADE AWAY

The piano riff is excellent.

They tried to rewrite “Bad Company” and they did a good job with it. It has enough variation to make it sound unique. U.F.O sounded like this on the “Lights Out” album. And Check out the emotive solo.

Press play and relive 1976.

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

Times Of Grace – Songs Of Loss And Seperation

10 years is a long time between albums.

“The Hymn Of A Broken Man” came out in 2011 and in 2021, we get “Songs Of Loss And Seperation”.

The band for the album is Adam Dutkiewicz on vocals, guitar and bass, Jesse Leach on vocals and Dan Gluszak on drums.

The Burden Of Belief

It’s got a blues country groove, more like southern country rock.

Fall down to your knees / Wash me clean of all my grief

Mend You

Taking its cues from alternative metal.

I lost a lot of sleep with my restless mind

There is no rest, when you’re left alone with your thoughts especially when your relationship is breaking down or if a loved one is doing it tough with addictions or mental illness.

The riffs in the last 50 seconds. It’s wall breaking time.

Rescue

Its classic Killswitch Engage.

After the screaming verses, the anthemic Chorus smacks you in the face.

Dutkiewicz is a great riff meister, who showcases his talents with each album release.

The last 50 seconds, with the swelling sounds and backwards effects, is haunting and soothing at the same time. A paradox but it works.

Far From Heavenless

A simple arpeggio guitar riff starts the song off, with Leach singing about feeling far from heaven. And there is an ascending guitar line underneath it all, which makes it feel like we are rising.

The power in the next section, when Leach is singing “I’m not heavenless”. And the power house drumming from Gluszak hammers the message home.

Then the dynamic shifts again to subtle and serene arpeggios.

At 3.30 there is just a clean tone guitar riff that reminds me of “Living On The Edge” riff from Aerosmith.

Then listen to how the distorted guitars, bass and drums build it up, over the spoken sermon from Leach.

It’s gloom and doom, but inspirational as well.

Bleed Me

Atmospheric cut about looking for the medicine to bleed you and satisfy the demons.

Medusa

How good is the riff to kick off Medusa?

It’s so Iommi and Zakk Wylde like.

And this nod to classic metal gives way to syncopated verses, more in the vein of Meshuggah and TesseracT.

Currents

The intro riff is familiar. The vocal melody very Maynard like in the verses, as the rage explodes in the Chorus.

Lost in a Dream / Dark waves crash over me

This tension between dark and light, carries the song.

To Carry The Weight

The intro arpeggios and vocal melody could have come from Aaron Lewis and Staind. Maybe even Brent Smith and Shinedown. And I like it.

The song percolates in that sombre mood until it explodes and Jesse Leach delivers a worthy vocal performance.

The riff from 2.25. So melodic, yet heavy.

Cold

It starts off like a country tune. A simple acoustic guitar riff and vocal melody. It’s campfire material.

And from the 3 minute mark, it explodes. The melodies are hypnotic and the music inspirational.

Have I mentioned that Dutkiewicz is a great riff meister?

Forever

The closer. 6.30 minutes long.

All different musical roads lead to here. A combination of country, blues, metal and rock.

For those looking about positive messages, this isn’t the album for you. It’s melancholy lyrics and metal like riffage is music to make you crash your car. You can feel the sadness, a pain at the world, society and the various demons within the mind.

The album title is indicative of the theme. And having gone through loss recently this album is becoming my companion, riding shotgun with me.

So I press repeat.

Standard
Music, My Stories, Copyright, Influenced

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 26 to August 1

4 Years Ago (2017)

I was listening to “Promised Land”, which at that time was the new single from the Sweet & Lynch project.

For those that don’t know, Michael Sweet from Stryper joined forces with George Lynch to create Sweet & Lynch. They are supported by one of the best rhythm sections in the business in James Lomenzo on bass and Brian Tichy on drums. Underpinning or financing it all is melodic rock label Frontiers.

Their first album, “Only To Rise” was released in 2014. It’s a great throwback to the 80s style I remember well, but with modern touches and production.

3 years later, they are about to drop the “Unified” album.

The first thing that hooks me from “Promised Land” is the tempo. It’s basically a speed metal song.

A cross between Dokken’s “Lightning Strikes Again” and “Tooth And Nail” in some sections and Stryper’s “The Way” in other sections.

The lead break is one of Lynch’s finest metal moments in 2017. It’s got melody, hammer ons, pull offs, sweep picking and string skipping. All at 140 plus clicks a minute.

Unfortunately “Promised Land” is just another song lost in the 30 million plus songs on streaming services, along with other Sweet & Lynch gems like “Love Stays”, “Me Without You” and “Recover”.

Copyright abuses were pissing me off so I wrote about it.

Ed Sheeran writes songs which become popular. Then he gets hit with a lawsuit because his songs are making money and the family members of a departed artist, or the business entity that owns the copyright of an artist who is departed or has not creating anything worthwhile anymore wants a cut.

If Copyright terms remained how they were originally, this would not be a problem. First, the creator had a 14 year monopoly, with a chance to renew for another 14 years for a total of 28 years. However, once the creator died, all of their works became public property, free to be used by any other artist/creator to create derivative versions. So if the creator passed away during a term, the works ceased to be under copyright and went straight into the public domain.

The British 60’s Rock invasion happened because of these rules.

So who is copyright benefiting once the person who is meant to have the monopoly (the creator) to create works has passed on?

The corporations and estates who control the copyrights of long-dead artists. That’s who.

Frequency is a bad word for rock and metal artists.

Release music frequently is another bad phrase for artists.

It’s a concept artists are struggling with. It’s even more troublesome for bands. The singer/songwriter can make it happen, but for bands it’s a different story.

Netflix wouldn’t be able to grow their subscriber base if they released one TV show every two years?

It’s a streaming world. The youngsters, the ones who replenish the music base are signed up to streaming. And artists who don’t want to be part of the streaming group are still debating the payouts.

The money will come. But you need to control your copyrights so you get maximum royalties. 

The paradigm is different. Your musical output lives online and the money is in what lasts. Success is based upon cumulative streams, not sales of albums, and the streams go on forever.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I watched Dream Theater in Australia on the “Systematic Chaos” Tour and they played for three hours (with an intermission of about 10 minutes in between). For some reason that was perfect, however when I saw them again on the “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” Tour, they played just over 2 hours and it was too much.

And I was confused as to why I felt that way.

I think hitting the same market too quickly and the flow of the set list was the problem. The 2009 show took place almost 12 months since the 2008 show.

They did “Solitary Shell” with extended solos. It is not the strongest song in the Dream Theater catalogue, so what happens when you take a song that isn’t your best and make it longer?

You get a yawn fest, a toilet break or a beer/smoke break.

And at the time did we really need a live album from Metallica?

They had released four DVD packages of Live Concerts during the Death Magnetic tour, as well as the Six Feet Down Under EP’s plus all the stuff they release on Live Metallica.

The saying goes, you need to have lived to create everlasting art.

When Metallica created the “Black” album, the main members were 27 years of age and the producer was 36. Life experiences were on their side.

The main classic rock bands were all about individuality. The Eagles, Boston, Styx, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Rush, Bad Company, Foreigner, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick all had a unique sound.

The Eighties gave us Metallica, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, U2, Duran Duran, AC/DC, Journey, Whitesnake, Van Halen (and yes i know that some of these bands formed in the seventies), Aerosmith again and Foreigner.

Metallica played fast speed metal that was labelled thrash, Motley Crue played a hybrid version of pop, punk, rock and metal. Van Halen wrote the book on the nuclear band, Guns N Roses rewrote the seventies classic rock period with a dash of punk and Def Leppard merged Queen, with Bowie with Mott The Hoople with their NWOBM leanings into a pop rock format. Each band spawned thousands of imitators.

Rush could have recorded a mainstream radio friendly album in 1976 just to please the record label. Instead they recorded “2112”, an album that set up a very lucrative future for Rush and an album that made the record label very nervous when they heard it. As guitarist Alex Lifeson has stated in numerous interviews, “2112” set up a career for Rush.

What happened to the uniqueness?

“Kill Em All” Metallica’s first album was celebrating 30 years in July 2013. At the time of its release it didn’t really set the world on fire, however if you look at the reviews and praises the album is getting now, it is like the album came out and created a movement called thrash metal right off the bat. In other words a lot of revisionist history was taking place.

Let’s put into context the lifespan of “Kill Em All”.

It came out on July 25, 1983. By February 1984, seven months after “Kill Em All” was released, Metallica was in the studio, writing and recording the “Ride The Lightning” album.

The victory lap of “Kill Em All” was seven months. That’s it. If the band wanted to have a career, they needed to get back into the studio and record a new album.

Motley Crue, Twisted Sister and Def Leppard had break through albums with “Shout At The Devil”, “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” and “Pyromania”. Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was the first American heavy metal debut album to ever reach No. 1 in the United States on the Billboard album charts.

But RNR history is written by the winners. Since Metallica is now inducted into the Hall of Fame, everyone that can put fingers to letters on a keyboard is rewriting their back story.

Bands like Quiet Riot will be written out. Artists like Vinnie Vincent and Jake E.Lee will be forgotten. The impact of other bands will be diminished because Metallica won.

History is written by the winners.

And does anyone know what the Metallica movie, “Through The Never” is about.

Dream Theater were promoting their new album with webisodes which didn’t feature any musical snippets from their new album.

And a listening party which didn’t feature any fans but plenty of writers for Billboard, Village Voice and other media.

Has anyone purchased a Dream Theater album because Billboard Magazine rated it highly or poorly or from a Village Voice review?

The answer would be a definite NO.

Dream Theater built their career outside of the mainstream. It was the mainstream that came knocking on the door for Dream Theater and they let them in.

Remember back in 1991, Metallica had arena sized listening parties for their fans before the release of the Black album.

Connect with fans first and they will support you.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Record Vault: Dio – Lock Up The Wolves

The band changed. There was no one left except for Ronnie James Dio. 18 year old guitar wiz, Rowan Robertson was on guitars, Jens Johansson on keys, Teddy Cook on bass and Simon Wright on drums who left his AC/DC gig that he held from 1983 to 1989 to join.

Actually Robertson was only 17 when Dio announced to the world that he was the new guitarist in July 1989 after more than 5,000 guitarist submitted audition tapes.

“I saw an item in Kerrang! about Craig Goldie leaving Dio, so I knew they needed a guitarist. I sent in a tape just for the hell of it, you know, not expecting much, but figuring I had nothing to lose.

I was 16, learnt to play guitar in my bedroom by banging around to Bad Company records and the only stage experience I had was with a couple of pub bands that were going nowhere. I thought if I was lucky, maybe I’d get an audition”.
Rowan Robertson

I was surprised to see that Jimmy Bain was out. But he was fired (along with Claude Schnell) in mid-1989 and Vinny Appice was let go two weeks before work began on the album.

The production team also changed a little bit, with Tony Platt in the producers and engineer’s chair along with Ronnie. Suddenly the sound became better thanks to Tony Platt’s engineering experience.

According to guitarist Rowan Robertson and mentioned on Wikipedia, two more songs were written and demoed for the album but left off at the decision of Wendy Dio: “Hell Wouldn’t Take Her” and “The River Between Us”. Maybe she felt the songs were too personal.

In 1990, MTV still ruled.

It was simple. You get a music video in mass rotation and watch the album go Platinum. And the Dio camp tried. They really tried.

The photos of the band had them with a bit of a tease and hairspray in their hair. They spent some decent money on a clip for “Wild One”.

And MTV still avoided Dio, who at 48 years of age was seen as a relic of the past with nothing new to offer. My Dad turned 46 that year and I saw him as old.

Also Dio’s lyrics of jesters, clowns, gypsies and rainbows had run its course for the TV station but not for the fans.

While I ignored the “Dream Evil” album when it came out in 1987, I purchased this one.

It was a tab of “Wild One” in the “Guitar School” magazine which got me interested. I was playing along to the song before I even heard it and the guitar solo was a highlight. And I was like, “man, this dude is of a similar age and he’s smoking on the guitar, I need to get practicing”.

Wild One

Written by Dio and Robertson, it’s a great fast song to kick off the album and announce the new guy in town.

That Pre-Chorus, reminds me so much of Savatage.

And the lead break starts off as a blues-a-metal-thon, almost jazz fusion like. Then it goes into the super-fast tapping section. Another great way to announce the new gun slinger .

Check out the head banging outro. How can you not like it?

Lyrically, it was another “stand your ground and be who you want to be” message, although done in a very Dio way full of riddles.

Born On The Sun

A mixture of “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” and “Holy Diver” but with Rowan Robertson providing a more EVH approach to decorating simple grooves.

Check out the drumming on this.

The song is credited to Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice. It sounds like Appice wrote the drum parts but its Wright who plays em.

You can hide in a circle
It’s a way to survive
Be another number
At least you’d be alive

Great lyrics. So much truth in the words.

Scared to be different or speak our minds because of the resistance and the blowback. Especially these days, with social media and how a point of view can blow up and suddenly we have trolls and haters all spamming our inboxes.

Hey Angel

Written by Dio and Robertson.

The majority of stories I read when Grunge came, was how the lyrics from the Seattle bands were more deeper and darker, focusing on depression and anxiety and rooted in real life. It’s like the Seattle artists were the only artists doing stuff like that. Sort of like how the heirs to Marvin Gaye believe he was so original that they sue everyone to oblivion.

Well, heavy metal and hard rock artists did have songs dealing with isolation, loneliness, depression, conformity and being in dark places after a relationship breakdown.

How do you feel right now?
How does it feel to be alone?

My parents never asked me how I feel. These kind of emotions and questions are frowned upon when your ancestry comes from Eastern Europe.

I also grew up in life being told that angels are these all powerful beings that shine a bright light and can’t be hurt.

I suppose if you feel, you can get hurt. If you bleed, you can die. Or in the words of Schwarzenegger in “Predator”, “if it bleeds, we can kill it”.

The solo is excellent on this.

From just one album, Robertson was given a chance to do an instructional tape. His “Speed Picking” VHS tape is out there on the Net.

Between Two Hearts

Another song written by Dio and Robertson. It starts off with an acoustic arpeggio riff that reminds me of “Children Of The Sea”.

Then the slow groove kicks in, it’s almost like a blues dirge.

Check out the way Robertson plays the riffs in the second verse, combine palm muted arpeggios, diads and pedal tones.

Put on your party faces and come along
Join in the big parade
Here comes the camera
Do you look as good as your sister
Smile at the animals
They should be the ones in the cages
Turn the pages

A photo for Instagram before it was even invented.

Or a song about the paparazzi and the price of fame when we lived in a monoculture. These days, we live with many different sources informing us, and a person could be making millions from music and be walking the streets and shopping aisles with us and we wouldn’t even know.

Night Music

This one is written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

So open up your arms
Let the night time in
Say the word and it begins

I love the night. I feel the most inspired then and there was nothing better than listening to music at night, reading the lyrics and singing out aloud, like the lyrics to this song, “Night music, you’re singer and I’m the song”.

Lock Up The Wolves

Another song written by Dio, Robertson and Bain.

The sound of a clock ticking. Its normal paced. Then it picks up in speed, almost frantic like. The music is ominous, giving the listener a feeling that time is running out. By the time the distorted guitars kick in, the ticking is relentlessly fast.

And the doom feel of the song reminds me of “Sign Of The Southern Cross”.

In the houses of the holy
To the middle of the mystic sea
At the cradle of the world

Its back to his fantasy places, about wolves, screaming for sanctuary and how there is no back door to heaven, just a front door to hell. I guess we’ll meet again.

Evil On Queen Street

Written by Dio, Robertson and Cook. It’s like a 12 bar blues dirge with another killer solo by Robertson.

Walk On Water

Written by Dio, Robertson and Johansson, it reminds me of “Stand Up And Shout” but while “Stand Up And Shout” screams rebellion, “Walk On Water” tells ya to not even try because you can’t “Walk On Water”.

The lead break is guitar hero worthy.

Twisted

A Dio, Robertson, Bain and Appice cut.

And when I told the truth
They were sure it was a lie

What would you do if no one believes you?

When your truth is seen as a lie.

Why Are They Watching Me

A Dio and Robertson cut.

It’s confusing lyrically, about being ready to rock and someone watching.

My Eyes

A Dio, Robertson and Johansson cut.

I’ve seen it from heaven and hell
I’ve seen it from the eyes of a stargazer

Great song titles to drop into a song.

Rock and roll eyes
Tell rock and roll lies
And rock and roll lies
Never end

I guess what happens in rock and roll stays in rock and roll.

“I think obviously, my defining moment is the “Lock Up the Wolves” album, and I feel very fortunate for it. It was a good album…it captured excitement and I played really well on it.”
Rowan Robertson

From memory it’s Robertson’s only album.

As soon as the album was released it was met with mixed reviews. Early sales were positive in the U.S and then the album spiralled down the charts as it disappeared altogether.

But it had longevity in the European markets as Dio’s brand was still big business there. So it was no surprise that the first leg of the tour was in Europe.

And Black Sabbath was a just a phone call away, and when that call came, the “Lock Up The Wolves” band was put on ice and never re-awakened after the Sabbath gig fell apart.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 2.1: Rush – 2112

Released in 1976.

The album cover captured my attention immediately.

The “Red Star” was easily associated with the Communist governments of the time. Kids these days would have no idea, but in 1976, Eastern Europe and parts of South East Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America were under Communist governments or military dictatorships. And these kind of governments like to control everything and everyone.

Coming into 2112, Rush was in a predicament. D

o they stay true to themselves and their art or do they give in to what the label wants?

In the Guitar Legends magazine focusing on Rush, Neal Peart said the following;

“Caress didn’t actually do any worse than the albums before it, at that point, all three had sold about 100,000 copies a piece in the U.S.

But if our record company hadn’t been in such turmoil I don’t think we would have been able to keep our recording contract.

By the end of that year we were unable to pay our crews salary or even our own. Things were dire and we were getting a lot of pressure.

Polygram had written us off before “2112” had come out. We’d seen their financial predictions for 1976 and we weren’t even on the list!”

In the same magazine, Alex Lifeson said the following;

“The Fountain Of Lamneth” on “Caress of Steel” was really our first fill concept song and “2112” was an extension of it.

That was a tough period for Rush because “Caress of Steel” didn’t do that well commercially, but we were really happy with it and wanted to develop that style.

Because there was so much negative feeling from the record company and our management was worried, we came back with full force with “2112”. There was a lot of passion and anger on that record. It was about one person standing up against everybody else”.

History shows that they made the right decision.

And for all the hate “Caress Of Steel” got from the label, it was the album that bridged the first era of Rush albums to “2112”.

The entire Side One is all “2112”. Which is broken up into 7 sections.

I. “Overture”

An instrumental that acts as a summary in which you get to hear all of the melodic pieces which appear on the song.

II. “The Temples of Syrinx”

A sombre melody with the words “And the meek shall inherit the Earth” is sung before the distorted guitars kick in for “The Temples of Syrinx”.

This is a future where individualism and creativity are outlawed and the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temples of Syrinx.

And the way copyright law is going, creativity can be outlawed as every single melody known to the human race has been used and corporations are doing their best to lock them up under ridiculous terms, like life of the creator plus 90 years after death. But they seem to forget that creativity is based on influences.

We’ve taken care of everything
The words you read, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes

The schooling system is designed for conformity, a one size fits millions approach. The schools are factories for degrees later on. You can’t even get an Administration role in a Company without a Uni/College degree. And Masters Degrees are the biggest scams ever. A pure profit making product for the colleges.

III. “Discovery”

A classical acoustic guitar announces the arrival of “Discovery”, found inside a cave and the founder rediscovers the lost art of music.

I can’t wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see its light
Let them all make their own music
The Priests praise my name on this night

Creativity and imagination is progress. Without it, we stagnate.

IV. “Presentation”

This is like Zeppelin Rush which tells the story of how the guitar is presented to the priest of the Temple of Syrinx, who then proceed to destroy it and banish the man who found it.

Listen to my music
And hear what it can do
There’s something here as strong as life
I know that it will reach you

But the Priests didn’t want to know about his ancient relic. It was the downfall of The Elders. The emotion and escapism that comes from listening to music.

Just before the song finishes, they go into the “Temples of Syrinx” riff and Lifeson solo’s over it. Check it out, its guitar hero worthy.

V. “Oracle: The Dream”

A shimmering chorus guitar kicks off the song in which the man who found the guitar dreams of another world in which creativity and individualism is allowed and full of song and laughter.

VI. “Soliloquy”

We are back to the sounds of water running down, like how we heard in “Discovery”. But the lyrical theme is heavy. The man who was filled with joy at finding the guitar, is now in despair at living a life that’s cold and empty. So the only way for him to be with the world in his dream is for his life’s blood to spill over.

Make sure you check out Lifeson’s solo. So bluesy, full of bends and emotion. Brilliant.

VII. “Grand Finale”

Major key chords kick off the “Grand Finale”. And it’s up to the listener to decide what happened.

When I first heard the lines “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation, We have assumed control” I presumed that the “Solar Federation” put down some uprising and assumed control again.

Then I thought it meant that the “Solar Federation” was overthrown by someone and they are alerting all the planets that there is a new government in control.

“A Passage to Bangkok”

It kicks off Side 2.

A great riff to start a song about all the places in the world that grow the best weed. The track names a number of cities and countries, including Bogotá, Acapulco, Morocco, Bangkok and Kathmandu, Nepal.

I just finished watching “The Serpent” on Netflix and how the main character preyed on tourists who came to Bangkok and Kathmandu in the late 60s and 70’s to experience those weed highs, kidnapping them, robbing them and then killing them.

“The Twilight Zone”

I like the harmony guitars to kick off the song.

How good is the music in the section, when Lee sings, “you have entered the twilight zone”?

Use the key, unlock the door
See what your fate might have in store…

I never watched “The Twilight Zone” on TV. I’ve read some short stories on it and in the 80’s a documentary was aired on Australian TV’s about strange phenomena and they called it “The Twilight Zone”.

“Lessons”

It’s Lifeson expressing his love for Led Zeppelin. It’s got hard rock distorted chords and clean tone strummed verses.

“Tears”

This is a great song.

How good are the verse riff arpeggios?

“Something for Nothing”

The acoustic guitar intro gets me interested. And the way Lee and Peart come in, they change the groove completely.

The song is about freewill and decision making, a topic I write about regularly on this blog when I’m putting my point of views out there on certain songs and the lyrical message.

You don’t get something for nothing
You can’t have freedom for free

In the end “Freedom isn’t free”.

If you don’t believe me, why does it cost so much to live in a free country.

What you own is your own kingdom
What you do is your own glory
What you love is your own power
What you live is your own story
In your head is the answer
Let it guide you along
Let your heart be the anchor
And the beat of your own song

The lyrics are prophetic. Rush didn’t wait for someone to tell them what to do. They did what they wanted to do and they wrote their own story. In the end, it was a backs against the wall album. If it bombed commercially, they would go down in flames. But it didn’t.

They stuck to their guns, did what was important to them and built a career from it.

3x Platinum in the U.S and 2x Platinum in Canada.

Press Play, relax and “Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation. We have assumed control.”

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music

Dio – Dream Evil

What else did Ronnie James Dio have to say?

That was the predicament affecting Dio. And no one was talking about the elephant in the room, his shrinking fan base.

The audience he had in 1984 was diminishing. “Sacred Heart” in 1985 was seen as a commercial disappointment and the live EP “Intermission” in 1986, didn’t help matters, seen as a pure cash grab.

But the biggest problem for Dio’s brand of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was MTV. The TV service went all in and embraced the “hard rock” sounds of bands like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Poison. Whitesnake and Guns N Roses would be added to that list, along with Skid Row and Warrant a few years later.

So on July 21st 1987, Dio released “Dream Evil”.

His last album to feature some “Rainbow” elements in it as from this point forward he started to move more towards his Black Sabbath days.

And the band had a member change. Vivian Campbell was gone. It was a bad split. Craig Goldy was in, joining Ronnie, Bain, Appice and Schnell.

The album is produced by Ronnie and engineered by Angelo Arcuri. The same team from the previous albums.

“Night People”

“Neon Knights” part two and I like it.

“Dream Evil”

“Man On The Silver Mountain” part two and I also like it.

“Sunset Superman”

How good is the riff to kick it off?

The verses remind me of “We Rock” and Appice thunders all over this track, especially during the solo.

“All The Fools Sailed Away”

An Intro like “The Last In Line”. But when the music comes in, it’s more moody, almost doom like.

But with a melodic rock anthemic Chorus and an instant classic is created.

“Naked In The Rain

The riff in the verse is like “Eye Of The Tiger” just a bit slower but it’s the vocal melodies from Dio which rock. If anything it’s overall vibe is doom rock.

Overlove

A ZZ Top like blues Intro gives way to the same riff being played in high octane distortion sort of like the verses and main riff in”Hot For Teacher”.

“I Could Have Been A Dreamer”

I came across the lyrics in Hit Parader and I quickly copied em into my lyric book. I hadn’t even heard the song but in my head I already had.

And when I did hear it, an instant classic it became.

In the vein of songs like “King Of Rock N Roll” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

“Faces In The Window”

It’s a melodic rock cut. Just listen to the melodies that came from Dio.

“We are evil and we are all divine”

A familiar lyric is back, just a bit different.

“When A Woman Cries”

Goldy came up with a riff rooted in the late 80s sounds. It’s good to play but as a song it’s one of the weaker moments.

Overall, it did good business in Europe and it was well received in Australia.

Fun fact, Dio along with Scorpions and Black Sabbath were just some artists from metal and rock allowed to be played in Eastern Europe (behind the Iron Curtain) legally.

But in the U.S, it didn’t receive a certification.

The album exited the charts pretty fast as it didn’t really stand a chance once the “Whitesnake” album blew up. That album was released in March, the same year, but the “Here I Go Again” single came out in June. And from then on the album went through the roof. By July it was Platinum, by August 2x Platinum and by December that same year it was 4x Platinum.

Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” came out in August that same year. By November 1987, it was 2x Platinum. But it’s big movement would happen from April 1988 when “Love Bites” hit the airwaves. By the end of 88, “Hysteria” had gone 8x Platinum.

The album was also competing against his previous albums. “The Last In Line” went platinum in Feb 1987 (the same year “Dream Evil” came out) and “Holy Diver” went platinum in March 1989. People were still buying Dio, but with limited funds, we had to be selective.

Because of my limited funds and my friends jumping off Dio’s ship, (I guess we are all fools who sailed away), I didn’t hear “Dream Evil” until many years later. In a confusing time called the mid 90’s.

P.S. I don’t own this album anymore (lost in those many house moves) hence why the post isn’t called “The Record Vault”.

Standard
Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Sacred Copyright

I thought I’ll go with a Dio title for this post since I’m on a Dio kick at the moment.

Ahh, Copyright. A right created for creators to have a monopoly on their creations for a limited time, which was hijacked by corporations (Record Labels, Movie Studios and Publishers) and recently Investment funds.

I’m not a fan of “The Jesus and Mary Chain” but like so many artists before them, they are going to court because their label Warner Music doesn’t want to give them back the rights to their debut album, “Psycho Candy” released in 1985, even though the law states that they should.

This got me thinking about John Waite, who also went to court, because UMG wouldn’t give him back his rights.

And he didn’t win, because on the contract he signed, it was his “loan out company” on the paperwork and not him. Loan out companies are set up by the creator to employ themselves. This gives the artists a lot of tax benefits and when organisations make agreements with the artists, it is via their “loan out company”.

Read this post on CopyrightLately.com for an excellent explanation.

So UMG took the position that Waite didn’t grant them the copyrights, his company did and a company is not eligible to terminate a copyright.

Now for the triple smack down.

Are you ready?

The termination clauses in the Copyright Act, only allow natural persons and the heirs to terminate a copyright, so individuals benefit and not corporations. Yet, it is a corporation like Warner Music and UMG who benefit if the copyrights don’t revert back to the creators.

What a mess?

Waite’s tax-planning vehicle has crashed his termination rights and he had no idea that would be the case when he formed his loan out company.

And while creators are fighting to get back their songs, other creators are fighting to get back control of their brand. The estate of Chris Cornell, which is run by Vicky Cornell, has been controlling Soundgarden’s website and social media accounts. The surviving members of Soundgarden have asked previously for access, but they have been denied and they have not been happy about it.

Vicky Cornell sued the remaining members in 2019, accusing them of withholding royalties to force her to hand over recordings that Chris Cornell worked on before his death. And at the start of 2021, she sued them again over money and then offered to buy out the other members so she could control the Soundgarden brand.

But the change of ownership is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Gene Simmons from KISS has become a lobbyist, making his prophetic lyrics in “Cadillac Dreams” come true. Instead of recording new material, he is meeting with members of Congress to get laws passed so streaming services pay them more.

From the lips of Gene Simmons, “most people don’t realize every time you download a song, the songwriter is making minuscule amounts of one penny”. Umm is he talking about downloads or streams. Two totally different things there. And he goes onto a rant that there will be never be another Lennon, etc., but when you live in an ivory tower, you’re so out of touch, you have no idea what is happening and how much money new artists are making.

New Organisations which come from the labels or the publishers are still rooted in the same crappy innovation ideals of those organisations. So when Congress passed a law to create a new arm to match the unpaid royalties to artists, the first thing the new organisation did, called MLC, is nothing.

Their claim portal for artists to log in and search through unmatched songs and claim the ones they own is still not up and running.

Someone should tell Gene, to lobby this corporation to get the Claim Portal up and running.

So potentially, the unpaid royalties will now sit with MLC for at least 5 years and maybe more, before they even get a chance to be distributed.

But in all honesty, this will be a disaster, because there are a lot of conflicts of interest present when it comes to songs. Ex band members will claim songs out of spite, not because they wrote them.

Meanwhile, Gene’s punching bag, YouTube, paid over $4 billion to the labels and publishers over the last year. How much of that found its way back to artists or songwriters remains to be seen?

And the Federal Court of Australia made Clive Palmer pay even more money back to Universal Publishing, for his recreation of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” into the song “Aussies Not Gonna Cop It”, which he then used in all of his campaign videos across the nation. So instead of paying $150K for a 12 month licence to use the proper song, he has ended up paying $1.5 million in damages plus lawyer fees and what not.

What a dickhead?

And on the topic of dickheads, the major record labels (Sony Music, UMG and Warner) along with the music publishing companies are doing their best to own the title.

There hell bent nuclear strategy to go after internet service providers (ISPs) for the actions of a few users, these organisations have found a way to cut people off from the internet based on a mere accusation of copyright infringement.

A recent court decision in the U.S, has given these organisations unprecedented power and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) is doing their best to get this bad decision overturned due to the incorrect instructions the judge had given the jury.

Basically these organisations claim for damages when people use the songs they have the rights for and then they get the courts and the law and the politicians to fight their battles.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the labels, publishers and independent copyright holders have teamed up with the ISP’s to block sites without the need of a court approval.

Each Copyright complaint by a label or TV producer is reviewed by a committee made up of retired judges. Streaming services make up 55% of revenue in Germany and piracy has reduced significantly. However people still seek out P2P services hence the reason why they want this kind of power.

But web-freedom activists are not happy as they believe this kind of power restricts internet freedom. The method here is to attack the services that offer illegal content rather than the users.

As the article in Billboard stated: “In Germany, the legislative environment is heavily weighted against censorship and attacks on internet freedom. Having lived under the Nazi Third Reich and communist East Germany, Germany considers privacy a hard-won freedom.

The power granted to corporations for Copyright Infringements is a form of censorship and for the German people, censorship will never happen again.

Meanwhile Twitch is getting hit with thousands of copyright infringement claims on a daily basis. So the entertainment corporations close down or take down or shake down people and services from trading in pirated works, and then when they use music in their live streamed videos, these same bodies issue infringement claims to take it all down.

Maybe a conversation between Twitch and the entertainment corporations would have resulted in a better outcome.

But that’s too difficult.

Talking, that is.

And remember when Steven Spielberg was trying to destroy streaming services and Netflix in general and he didn’t want Netflix movies nominated for Oscars because the movies that Netflix makes are shown on TV screens. Well Netflix won seven Oscars at the recent Academy Awards and that was more than any other studio.

Well good old Steve knows a good deal, and he just signed up to make movies for Netflix. I guess reality is a slap in the face.

Thank you for your cooperation. A copyright complaint is just around the corner.

And I feel like listening to “2112” from Rush right now.

Standard
Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, Unsung Heroes

Soen – Imperial

It’s the kind of metal I like.

Soen is a Swedish progressive metal supergroup consisting of various extreme metal musicians. Their debut album “Cognitive” came out in 2012.

It was like hearing Tool and I was all in.

“Tellurian” came out in 2014 but their rise really started with “Lykaia” in 2017 and “Lotus” in 2019. And in 2021, we have “Imperial”.

And while the debut sounded a lot like Tool, this one is more metal and hard rock with some progressive grooves and textures.

And the band has been stable in the line-up. Founding members Joel Ekelöf (vocals) and Martin Lopez (drums) are still there along with Lars Enok Åhlund (keyboards and guitar), Cody Ford (lead guitar) and new bassist Oleksii “Zlatoyar” Kobel.

Lumerian

How good is the Intro riff?

And the Chorus, so melodic and haunting.

In the middle, the band introduces its main dynamic, which is heard throughout the album, in which they quieten down the song and rebuild it.

Deceiver

It’s almost Disturbed like from the “Believe” album in the Intro.

Monarch

That Intro riff. So heavy and intricate.

Listen to it.

A Pink Floyd Pre-Chorus gives way to an anthemic Chorus.

Illusion

A Pink Floyd like cut. Think “Sorrow”.

And the solos. Wow.

Antagonist

Another head banging killer metal riff kicks it off.

The Chorus. Wow.

From the 3.50 mark it goes into a mellow interlude with an emotive solo. Then the vocals come in and I get emotional.

And it becomes quiet. And once you hear the words “fire up your guns”, the music crashes back in.

Modesty

The Chorus is so haunting.

From 2.10 a Maiden like harmony riff plays while a shred-a-licious and emotive lead is played over it.

The last 40 seconds are excellent.

Dissident

The Tool like track on the album but with a heavy dose of metal and hard rock.

Listen to the Chorus riff when they sing “we are one”.

At 2.50 it quietness down. A piano plays and the vocals come in. Then the drums and everything else comes in as they build it up slowly.

By 4.36 it’s back to a being a metal tour de force.

Fortune

Dio and the Sabbath “Heaven And Hell” version would be proud. The groove and feel is as doomy as the influences.

That Chorus is haunting, with the violins and emotive vocal melody.

I like the lead break. Almost bluesy and the phrasing is excellent.

At the 3.20 mark, a sing-a-long ohhh and ahs happen. This section happens again for the outro but this time the guitars are in harmony.

The only thing left to do is to listen to it again.

Standard