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

1984 – IV – The Warning

It’s time for another 1984 post. Part 1 can be found here, Part 2 can be found here and Part 3 can be found here.

And here is the Spotify playlist.

Quiet Riot – Condition Critical

This album was always going to be a hard sell. Kevin DuBrow had troubles controlling his ego. He slagged off other LA bands who got signed to major labels post Quiet Riots success.

He said Ozzy sings like a frog, then Nikki Sixx and Rudy Sarzo got in a slanging match, with Rudy winning the day, with his quote of “the only difference between Quiet Riot and Motley Crue is that QR had a hit with somebody else’s song and Crue didn’t. But Nikki Sixx won everything else after that. And Peter Mensch who was managing Def Leppard at the time, said that QR had already peaked. If you don’t believe me, check out the article over at LouderSound.

So how do you follow up a number 1 album that had a cover song which also went to number 1?

You release an album with a different cover song but from the same band the first cover song came from.

All Quiet Riot did was make a shitload of money for the original writers of the songs from the band Slade.

The rewards go to those testing the limits. And Slade got the rewards, while Quiet Riot got their 15 minutes of fame, because apart from Bang You Head, Quiet Riot (the 80s version) really struggled in the songwriting department.

On this album, “Mama, Were All Crazee Know” and “Condition Critical” are worth a mention.

Actually what came first “Condition Critical” or Motley Crue’s “Louder Than Hell” (as it was called “Hotter Than Hell”) for the “Shout At The Devil” demos. Even the drum feel reminds me of “Too Young To Fall In Love”. And I dig the “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Bridge/Solo section.

In the end, the audience might like where you’ve been, but if you stay where you are, others pass you by. That’s the Quiet Riot story.

And according to Wikipedia, this album is famous for a two word review: “Prognosis: Terminal”.

Strangeways – Strangeways

Not sure when this was released 1984 or 1986. Regardless, I’ll take the earlier date.

Tony Liddell is on vocals on this one and he would be replaced by Terry Brock who would be known as fronting the “classic” line up.

When I heard the debut, the following three tracks rock hard.

“Hold Back Your Love”, “Power Play” and “More Than Promises”.

Helix – Walking The Razors Edge

My cousin Mega likes the whole album, but for me, it’s these four songs; “Young and Restless”, “Animal House”, “When The Hammer Falls” and “My Kind Of Rock”.

Actually I dig the typical head banging riff, in “My Kind Of Rock” as it’s in the vein of Y&T.

Anthrax – Fistful Of Metal

The definitive story is over at loudersound.

Give it a read, but be warned, you just need to survive all the ads.

“Deathrider”, “Metal Thrashing Mad” and “Death From Above” are the standouts for me. And vocalist Neil Turbin is a bit over the shop, but hey, it’s energetic and trashy and that’s exactly what we wanted.

Hanoi Rocks – All Those Wasted Years

I don’t know what to make of this band or album. During my reefer days, “Up Around The Bend” always got me laughing and I thought “I Can’t Get It” was a Rolling Stones song.

Alcatrazz – Live Sentence

I picked this up on vinyl at a record fair in the 90s. I enjoyed listening to it and hearing Malmsteen before he became the fury.

Hiroshima Mon Amour has got the dumbest lyrics about a serious subject matter, but musically Malmsteen brings it.

There are a lot of Rainbow songs like “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “All Night Long” and “Lost In Hollywood” plus a cool cover of Michael Shenker’s “Desert Song”. The last two mentioned songs are not on the vinyl version.

And of course, Malmsteen is the star here, so he gets to introduce “Evil Eye” an instrumental song which would appear on his debut album.

Queensryche – The Warning

It was a game changer. Fates Warning built a career on this style. Mike Portnoy made the decision he wanted a Geoff Tate like vocalist for a band he was about to start up called Majesty after hearing this album.

“The Warning had a prophetic tinge, with an apocalyptic element. I suppose you could say it was a mystical look into the future.” Chris DeGarmo, Raw, November 1988

The Warning

“The song was about this gifted child who could see everything and knew what was coming, and it wasn’t a very good picture. A warning was being issued.” Chris DeGarmo, RIP, October 1991

Now see the hands of the working man
He’s leaning back against the wall
Once busy hands are idle.
Standing ready for the fall

We attach our status to the money we earn, the job we have and the life we portray to others. Unemployment is real and scary. And in the times of today, nothing is certain, not even employment.

En Force

The battered remains of a world gone insane

What’s happening to the world?

Money rules the day while all sides of religion are trying to keep their control. In the end, the ones who control the money will get a win in the short term but in the process there will be long term pain.

Deliverance

It’s the embryo of “Speak” from the “Operation Mindcrime” album.

This one is about a king who will die, to be reborn, so he can deliver them from the wrongs.

No Sanctuary

Oh, can’t you see the lies in front of you

A lot of us try, and the rest surround them selves with people who hold the same point of view as them.

Until the end I’ll fight and die to be free

No you won’t. You’ll do what you need to do to remain comfortable. No one likes to operate without a safety net these days and the ones who do, end up changing the world.

NM 156

It could have been on a Megadeth album about a dystopian Orwellian future.

Now social control requires population termination

When social control is needed, a war is just around the corner. Anyone seen the movie “The Purge”. For a 12 hour period, all murder and crimes are legal, so basically you have the poor and homeless who can’t afford security systems get eradicated.

Is that future closer to becoming a reality?

Microchip logic
Have we no more thought

I see people everyday spend forever on their Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat feeds. Just aimlessly scrolling without any thought, squandering their potential and power by clicking and following instead of innovating and leading. It’s exactly like they have no more thought and the microchips are the social tools who make billions from our personal data.

Take Hold Of The Flame

You can hear the embryo of the ‘Operation Mindcrime” album in this song.

“The song is about people who have missed opportunities. The opening line is, “We see the line of those who find the world has passed them by / Too late to save a dream that’s gone cold.” It’s about people who have missed their chance; they didn’t capitalize on their potential for whatever reason. The light just seemed to pass them by. We felt that we had ahold of the light, and when Geoff wrote the chorus, he rewrote it as, “Take hold of the flame.”
Chris DeGarmo, RIP, October 1991

So take hold of the flame
You’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain

People don’t realize how much power they actually have. Our data made Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram billions. We watch YouTube videos instead of making them.

But it’s uncomfortable to take hold of the flame and the majority of people don’t like this responsibility.

Child Of Fire

It’s like “Children Of The Damned” from about the 2 minute mark.

Conquering masses in wonton deception
Blood red your black flag waves high

Any leader in a democracy who does the bidding of the Corporations instead of the people.

Road To Madness

Most of this is memory now
I’ve gone too far to turn back now
I’m Not quite what I thought I was but
Then again I’m maybe more

You know those times when people tell ya “trash is all your worth”. But it’s not the case. No one is special but everyone is worth so much more.

Foreigner – Agent Provocateur

Yeah, everyone knows the story about how “I Want To Know What Love Is” sold this album, but man, I was really surprised by the other songs, which are more or less ignored and “Tooth And Nail” became a staple for me.

Tooth And Nail

It sounds over produced on the album but I used to cover this song in one of my bands and that opening riff on my 5150 amp sounded heavy as fuck. People even thought it was an original.

Other tracks outside the mega ballad worthy of a listen are “That Was Yesterday”, “Growing Up The Hardway” and “Reaction To Action”.

That’s it for Part 4, stay tuned for Part 5.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1981

Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love
I never heard the full album until well into the late Eighties. Coming into the “Girls, Girls, Girls” era of Motley Crue, the only songs I knew were the clips, “Live Wire”, “Looks That Kill”, “Too Young To Fall In Love”, “Smokin In The Boys Room” and “Home Sweet Home”. On top of that, I had digested interviews from Circus magazine and watched a very bad dubbed copy of the “Uncensored” video. The decadence of the Crue was already legendary.

So after purchasing the “Girls, Girls, Girls” album, I was walking out of the record shop, when a double cassette edition of the “Shout At The Devil” and “Too Fast For Love” albums in a discount bin caught my eye. So I stopped at the discount bin, picked up the double cassette, and by weight alone I knew that it had the cassettes in the covers. Thinking to myself that Motley Crue is worth it, I just slipped the double cassette album into my plastic bag and just kept on walking calmly out of the shopping centre. Once I was out of the building I sprinted for the next 10 minutes all the way home.

Needless to say, I didn’t return to the shop for a long time, just in case. So the version that I picked up was the Elektra release (without “Stick To Your Guns”). Many years later I would pick up the Leathur Records edition at a second-hand record store for $10.

Most of the songs had mostly been written while Nikki Sixx was in “London” (the band). “Live Wire” leads the album off with its “Girlschool”/“NWOBHM” inspired riff. Two so and so songs come after and them Side 1 closes brilliantly with “Merry-Go-Round” and “Take Me to the Top”. Nikki Sixx has stated previously that “Merry Go Round” was written about a person he knew in Seattle, who due to so many life pressures, just cracked and wound up sitting on the merry-go-round outside the apartment block that Nikki Sixx grew up in.

Side 2, to me, is the stronger side. It kicks off with “Piece of Your Action”, followed by the excellent and underrated “Starry Eyes”, which leads into the title track “Too Fast for Love” and closes with the real hit song of the album in “On with the Show”.

And for a young adult, Nikki Sixx did comp up with some brilliant lyrics that didn’t deal with their usual themes.

“You know he’s gotta get away to the merry-go-round and round, Count the times that he laid awake at night thinkin’, Am i goin down now” ….. from “Merry Go Round”

“With his six string knife and his street wise pride, The boy was a man before his time”…. from “On With The Show”

“But ya see, Frankie was fast, too fast to know, he wouldn’t go slow, until his lethal dose” ….. from “On With The Show”

Helix – White Lace and Black Leather
I didn’t get into this band until the 90’s when albums could be picked up cheap at second-hand record stores. Formed in 1974, it wasn’t until 1979 that Helix released “Breaking Loose” on their own independent label H&S Records. Then came “White Lace and Black Leather” in 1981. I gravitated to the longer non-formula songs on the album. The best tracks are always the ones that are not made for radio.

“Long Distance Heartbreak”

“I never meant to live this way
But somehow you are there and I am here
Somehow I just couldn’t stay
We changed so much with the passing of the years”

“Time For A Change” – with the chorus catch cry of;

“Mother Nature’s calling, can’t you see the signs,
Mother Nature’s calling, don’t you know it’s time”

And “Thoughts That Bleed” – that has that “Let It Be” Beatles feel with Thin Lizzy twin guitar harmonies during the intro and solo sections.

“You gotta live for what you believe”

From the first two albums you get the idea, that the RNR dream is proving to be a hard life for Helix, always on the road, away from loved ones and partners. By this stage, Brian Vollmer was the only original member of the band from its humble 1974 beginnings. And then Helix got a major label deal, signing to CAPITOL records after three previous rejections. This was in 1983.

Brian Vollmer put in 9 years of his life into Helix up until this point. It’s easier to be an accountant, a banker or an IT worker than in music. At least you get paid a fortnightly or monthly wage from doing those jobs. By the time “No Rest For The Wicked” came out in 1983, Helix’s image was polished up and the logo was redesigned to coincide with a new identity. Jeans and T-shirts (the street look they had previously) was replaced with leathers and chains (their new metal look) which in the end was the same as hundreds of other bands.

Ozzy Osbourne – Diary Of A Madman

The title track is one of those songs that summaries the style of Randy Rhoads.

  • Classical inspired metal riffs. Check.
  • Open string flamenco/classical sounding passages. Check
  • Dissonant jazz like chords in the verses. Check.
  • Arpeggios. Check
  • Shred lead. Check
  • Rock style riffing and power chords. Check.
  • Pedal point riffing. Check
  • Groove. Check.

But I get ahead of myself here.

As I have mentioned before, the “Tribute” album came first for me. The tablature book was my bible. So many nights spent practicing all of the licks and riffs in that book.

Eventually in the early Nineties, I got around to purchasing “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman”.

Like the “Blizzard” album, the “Diary” album is an experience from the first song to the last song. And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

It’s a shame that the Ozzy and Sharon haven’t given proper credit where it is due. On the initial release, people believed that Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge played bass and drums. But it was Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake. In 2002, the album was re-issued with Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin re-recording the bass and drums parts so that Daisley and Kerslake get no payment.

And how good are the lyrics from Bob Daisley.

“Looking through eyes of time, Mirrors reflecting their stories untrue” ….. from “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”

“Watching time go and feeling belief grow, Rise above the obstacles” ….. from “Believer”

“You’ve got to believe in yourself, Or no one will believe in you” ….. from “Believer”

“Their disbelief suppresses them, But they’re not blind, It’s just that they won’t see” ….. from “Believer”

“Diary of a madman, Walk the line again today” ….. from “Diary Of A Madman”

“A sickened mind and spirit, The mirror tells me lies, Could I mistake myself for someone, Who lives behind my eyes?” ….. from “Diary Of A Madman”

Whitesnake – Come And Get It
The follow-up to the excellent “Ready An’ Willing” from 1980. Martin Birch is on hand to produce again. If you want to read a review that has a similar viewpoint to mine, go to Mike Ladano.

While the previous album had “Fool For Your Loving”, “Aint Gonna Cry No More” and “Blindman”, this one is loaded with the excellent “Don’t Break My Heart Again”, the “All Right Now/Feel Like Making Love” sounding “Come An’ Get It”, the groovy “Lonely Days and Nights”, the bluesy and moody “Child Of Babylon” and the “Led Zep” sounding “Till The Day I Die”.

As I have mentioned before, the rise of Whitesnake started with “Ready An Willing” in 1980, continued with “Come And Get It” and by constantly working hard, recording and touring, 1982’s “Saints and Sinners” would build on the momentum with the ultimate road/breakup song “Here I Go Again”.

“Every day of my life, it seems, Trouble’s knocking at my door, It’s hard to try and satisfy, When you don’t know what you’re fighting for” ….. from “Don’t Break My Heart Again”

“I’ve heard all the wisdom of prophets and seers, It don’t soothe my passion and it don’t ease my fears” ….. from “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights”

“On my day of judgement, I know how it will be, I’m prepared to meet my maker with no hope for charity, I’ll stand alone and pay the price, For everything I’ve done, ‘Cos there ain’t guardian angel, For a child of Babylon” ….. from “Child of Babylon”

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