Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Vinegar Syndrome

As a person who loves history and culture, it pains me to read articles like this of culture disappearing.

This is what happens when organisations lock up content and then don’t store it properly. Remember the warehouse fire in the U.S, which destroyed a lot of masters from the catalogue of movies and music that Universal held. And for some insane reason the back-ups to those masters were held in the same vault.

Madness.

And negligence.

All because the organisation failed to spend some of the billions they earn from these copyrights to properly store the masters in one location and their back-ups in a different location.

And in proper temperatures.

In the article, the tapes of the films are developing a “vinegar syndrome”, which happens because acetate films are stored in a warm, humid room.

It’s pretty obvious these organisations don’t know how to store cultural history. And they have no interest to preserve or to spend the money to digitize it. So why can’t they release the tapes to organisations like the Internet Archive or even the Public Domain to digitize the films for preservation.

Because they are scared that others will do something great and make money from content they produced once upon a time.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Circus Rock ‘N’ Roll History from 1969 to 1989

Ahh, the history of rock and roll from Circus in 1989 makes interesting reading. Like all histories, there is a bit of revisionist writing taking place based on what is or was popular at the time.

Because history is always written to suit the winners or the populist viewpoint. Sometimes revisionist history sheds new light on historical events because of new evidence or new interpretations of previous evidence. But generally its seen as showing history in a distorted and dishonest way.

We see it a lot these days with our current leaders trying to reframe themselves to suit their own revisionist narrative.

So in 1989, whatever was popular, would get a small sentence.

Bon Jovi is mentioned as releasing their little known debut album in 1984, because in 1986 they would take over the world with “Slippery When Wet”. And by 1989, Bon Jovi ruled. If “Slippery When Wet” and the follow-up “New Jersey” sold like the first two Jovi albums, well Bon Jovi wouldn’t even get a mention here.

Metallica in 1989 was just another speed metal band with a cult following.

But if you read the 80’s histories written after 1992, well it’s all about Metallica and their ground breaking albums in “Kill Em All”, “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets”. Or their ground breaking technical thrash metal album in “…And Justice For All”.

It’s a very different history and Metallica is featured prominently and so is Ozzy.

Because for all of his mis-deeds, Ozzy has survived and he’s become part of popular culture. But by 1989, Ozzy was not as big as he was in the early 80’s.

His next comeback happened with “No More Tears” a few years later and then the Ozzy brand just kept getting bigger with Ozzfest, The Osbourne’s TV show, the Black Sabbath reunions in between and so forth.

If you read any history of rock music, Black Sabbath and Ozzy are featured, however in the 70’s Black Sabbath was seen as a really extreme act to be classified as rock. Now they sound like kids playschool music compared to the other extreme acts.

Joe Perry is mentioned as re-joining Aerosmith in 1984, but if “Permanent Vacation” and “Pump” sold as much as “Done With Mirrors” then there would be no conversation of Joe Perry re-joining.

No-one could escape what happened with Vince Neil and Razzle. It’s mentioned and so is “Shout At The Devil”.

Judas Priest just kept getting press for the wrong reasons. Concert vandalism and subliminal messages. What about the excellent releases that kept coming?

“Condition Critical” is mentioned as well as Kevin DuBrow’s big mouth hindering the albums promotion which eventually led to his dismissal.

Twisted Sister is mentioned twice, once in 1979, as an unsigned band selling out a 3000 seat theatre in New York and once again, in 1984 as Dee Snider is arrested for swearing too much.

Van Halen and 1984 and David Lee Roth’s are mentioned.

Going back to 1969, it starts with The Beatles last gig. Steppenwolf is mentioned, for their “heavy metal thunder” follow up, “Magic Carpet Ride”. There are arrests for lewd behaviour, drunkenness, drug possessions and there are deaths and for a bonus, there is Ted Nugent winning a National Squirrel Shooting Archery Contest. WTF.

How would have this Rock’N’Roll history look if it was re-written in 1999, 2009 and 2019?

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Influenced, Music, My Stories

Hair Metal

There is no doubt that artists who played the Strip had a certain dominance on the charts until a new sound from up the Pacific coast, washed em away. And when people started to write about the 80’s, there was nothing positive said. All of these new indie writers tried to re-write history in favour of their preferred musical taste and all they wrote about was the bad hair, the bad music, the lipstick and hairspray, the bad hair again, the lifestyles, the bad hair again x2 and the bad music again.

Would “Guitar Hero” have existed if it wasn’t for the 80’s?

Van Halen is one of the first bands that I know that came from the Strip, more because they played up and down the Strip like crazy instead of living on the Strip. And even though they had long hair, it wasn’t teased and hair sprayed and glammed up. Only David Lee Roth would take that on, even though the poster boy look upset the Van Halen brothers. When the band became Van Hagar, they still had a down to earth look, with Sammy even wearing an interesting red outfit.

Motley Crue is the first prominent band to came from the Strip, living and breathing it. While “Too Fast For Love” was done independently with songs written before the Crue was formed, it wasn’t until “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets, that the sound of the strip was born.

The generic sounding “Shout At The Devil” sets up the “Shout” call and response vocal, while “Looks That Kill” pulverises you with its down tuned riff and razor sharp women ready to slice the little boys apart. Even “Helter Skelter” sounds like it came from the Strip, instead of the clubs of Liverpool, England. In “Ten Seconds To Love” Vince is telling his girl to wait a little bit more, because here he comes and how he can’t wait to tell the boys about her, while she shines his pistol a little bit more.

Glam metal then left the Sunset Strip and moved to Sheffield England and an album called “Pyromania” from Def Leppard.

From the opening notes of the AC/DC influenced “Rock Rock (Til You Drop)”, to the harmonies of “Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages”, to the grooves of “Billy’s Got A Gun” and “Die Hard The Hunter”, Def Leppard changed the game. They brought the sounds of the NWOBHM, mixed em with AC/DC, Queen, The Sweet and Mott The Hoople and suddenly, the glam hair sound is developing even further.

The glam sounds returned to the Sunset Strip and a band called RATT took over with a song called “Round and Round” from “Out Of The Cellar” released in 1984.

It’s got streets, where people meet, to cross lines and get into fights. And we loved it, even though the chorus of “love finding a way” didn’t really match the threatening verses of picking a fight. The Rat gang also got a mention in “Wanted Man” and my favourite track, “The Morning After” comes roaring out of the speaker.

WASP is another Sunset act, which was thrown in with glam, but to me, that’s like placing Motorhead as a glam act as well. Then again, with songs like “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” and “L.O.V.E Machine”, they got traction and Tipper Gore added the band to her filthy list.

At the same time, a band that played the New Jersey/New York State area for a decade broke big with big hair and a glam rock look from the 70’s and film clips about standing up for your rights, like “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”.

And the term hair band and glam metal got even messier.

Poison moved to the Sunset Strip, dragged the cat in, played dirty and screamed for action with their 1986 debut album, and their 1988 follow up “Open Up And Say Ahh” cemented big hair.

Bon Jovi showed how slippery it really gets when things get wet and “New Jersey” in 1988 further cemented the big hair look.

Suddenly, we had Skid Row going wild with their big guns, looking for a piece of everyone. Def Leppard poured even more sugar on their sound with “Hysteria” and finally, a bunch of highly strung musicians got it together to write and record an album called “Appetite For Destruction”.

You know where you are, you’re in the jungle baby, and that jungle proved so easy to please, with cheap booze on the Nighttrain, while talking to Mr Brownstone on our way to the Paradise City.

Regardless of what you think of the music from these artists, or how you want to label them, this form of rock and roll was loud, in your face and it didn’t really care what you thought, sort of like how Axl said, if you think your so cool, you can just fuck off.

The journal that inspired this post.

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

Change Was Needed

By 1988, the slick and polished sounds which heavy metal became known for was starting to fade. We saw the NWOBHM morph into the Sunset Strip rock and roll show and when the hairs became bigger than the sounds courtesy of MTV, the label reps came up with so many other wonderful names like Glam Metal, Hair Metal, Pop Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Rock and whatever other word they could find to put before rock and metal. Basically, a rethink was on the cards for a lot of the artists.

But not for all.

Bon Jovi delivered one hell of a slick rock and metal album in 1986 and followed it up with another slick album in 1988. Whitesnake had the same dilemma, so they wrote another guitar heavy album to follow up from the self-titled 1987 album. Kiss continued on from “Crazy Nights” to “Hot In The Shade”.

Then Motley Crue dropped “Dr Feelgood” on September 1, 1989. All of those interviews about the drug overdoses, the death and subsequent return from death for Nikki Sixx, the drugs, the crashed cars, the lawsuits, the drugs again, the imposter, Vince escaping jail, the women, the drugs again times two and three and four, the partying, the clashes with the law, the break ups and the eventual “sobriety”.  “Dr Feelgood” had to be number 1. If the music didn’t do it, the stories would have.

But “Dr Feelgood” wasn’t just an album, it was a statement and it was a sound. And underpinning it all was the blues. That’s right, the baddest boys of rock and roll had gone back to the Missy Sippy Delta (I know how Mississippi is spelt) well for inspiration.

I remember walking down to the local shopping centre to buy the album which cost $19.99 in Australian dollars.

From the start of the Dr Davis call in “Terror N Tinseltown” which segues into the thundering rolling E note that kicks off “Dr Feelgood”, you knew this album was an assault on the eardrums. But it’s the chromatic blues riffs which come after which showcases the underrated Mick Mars. There is the chromatic passage and then two note chords, a D5 to an A/C# chord. Then it goes back to the chromatic passage and then that “Purple Haze” chord, the E7#9.

Sonically, its heavy and pleasing on the ear drums. It has a lot of groove. And lyrics that deal with a drug boss called “Dr Feelgood”. You can create a comic book character based on the lyrics of the song. Descriptive all the way down to the type of car with primed flames.

But it was the nod to the blues which got me very interested, especially when bands like Aerosmith, Badlands, Lynch Mob, Dangerous Toys and Tora Tora all released decent albums based around heavy blues rock. You could say they were all building on what Guns N Roses brought back to the masses with “Appetite For Destruction”.

And the changes weren’t confided to blues rock.

Some bands went heavier based on the new found success of bands like Pantera. Other bands went back to classic rock acts from the 70’s and others went more progressive. One thing that was clear, change was happening, except if you were AC/DC and Iron Maiden. And maybe there is something to be said there as well, as both of those acts still make great coin from touring.

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Music, My Stories

Going Out

I asked my kids why they always stay home when they are not doing sports. And their answer was interesting. The older one wanted to relax, while the middle one and the younger one said they don’t need to go out, because everything they want, they have at home.

If they want to listen to music, I have a large CD/Vinyl collection, plus I pay for a family Spotify account, plus they have YouTube and I also have a large mp3 collection as well.

If they want to watch movies, I have a pretty decent DVD/Blu-ray collection, plus I pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

If they want to watch sport, I have a football channel subscription. If they want to read, I also have a decent book collection as I enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction writings.

Basically their entertainment needs are met.

And if those things don’t entertain them, they pick up the guitar and play it or the keyboard.

And if those things don’t tickle their interest they have their PS4 and online gaming.

And if all of these things don’t amuse them, they have their iPhones or iPads and their social media accounts.

Phew, I had to leave the house and go out to do any of these things once upon a time, like to buy a record, watch a concert, borrow a book from a library or a video from a video shop or find friends in the street to play a board game with and to get a job to purchase a guitar.

And at the same time, I saw a post over at Seth Godin’s website, called “Break The Lecture” in which he mentioned that “in 1805, if you listened to music, you heard it live. Every time. Today, perhaps 1% of all the music we hear is live, if that.”  And he compared that to  a lecture for school or work, and how you had to hear it live in 1805 and its still true today, which he found strange. Why didn’t the lecture move over to digital.

And it’s right, to listen to music, a person had to leave their home. Then came radio and television and home entertainment stereo systems that played vinyl, then cassettes, then CDs, then they became docking stations, then Bluetooth stations and the focus shifted from massive speakers to expensive headphones.

And who knows what’s next.

Microchips in our ears to capture soundwaves and Bluetooth waves. Suddenly we will all be like superheroes with advanced hearing, capturing concerts from miles away in our homes. Oh wait, that’s radio.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1983

1983.

What a year?

It gave us so much and it set the paths for things to come in the future.

“Photograph” and “Rock Of Ages” from Def Leppard came out and rolled all over the charts, setting in motion the seeds to “Hysteria” and “Adrenalize”. And it also put Steve Clark onto a path that he wouldn’t return from tragically and Rick Allen with the help of MIDI technology would revolutionize how to play the drums with one hand.

“Cold Sweat” from Thin Lizzy was also released, which wrote the final chapter to Thin Lizzy’s recording career and in a few years’ time, Phil Lynott joined all of the other rockers in the sky. But this album also introduced John Sykes to the mainstream, as his bit part in Tygers Of Pan Tang was still unknown.

And as we know, John Sykes would go on to join Whitesnake and then co-write the best guitar heavy album of 1987, only to get booted before the album came out and then to see his new band Blue Murder get stiffed by record label politics.

“Cum On Feel The Noize” and “Bang Your Head” from Quiet Riot hit the charts, all the way to number 1. The success of this cover song made Kevin DuBrow a star, and his ego, loaded with his big mouth, would end up hurting the band, as he constantly got into verbals with band members, other bands, media and record label executives. And even though he got a multi-million dollar deal to be a solo artist in the mid 80’s, the label must have been on some serious juju because DuBrow’s two biggest hits were covers.

“Meanstreak” and “Midnight In Tokyo” from Y&T, appeared on an album that would go on to cement their status in Europe, however they still struggled to break into the US market at a higher level, even though the band’s music was very influential to a lot of wannabe musicians, especially the riffage and melodies from Dave Meniketti.

“Rainbow In The Dark” and “Holy Diver” from Dio came out, which cemented Ronnie James Dio as a bonafide star, after he delivered on the triple throwdown somersault, with Rainbow, Black Sabbath and now Dio.

This album also unleased a new guitar hero in Vivian Campbell, who would go on to leave the band bitterly, to then dis Dio off in the press, then join Whitesnake as a touring guitarist, then leave Whitesnake when David Coverdale told him he doesn’t want to write with him, only Adrian, then join Shadow King and then join Riverdogs, before grabbing the Def Leppard gig in the 90’s.

And for Dio, he did the quadruple backward somersault with “The Last In Line” a year later and by the time “Sacred Heart” came out, the love for dragons and magic wasn’t as great as it was a few years before.

“Looks That Kill” and “Shout At The Devil” from Motley Crue hit the streets and the baddest boys from LA started to rise to the top. With it came destruction and mayhem, which involved car crashes, homicides, drug overdoses and everything else that comes with a lifestyle that’s out of control.

And for all the cash they started making with this album, they spent it on products for the veins and the nose. So eventually when their bodies crashed and burned on the “Girls, Girls, Girls” tour, it set the tone for “Dr Feelgood”, the one album that the guys had to be sober/clean, up to a certain point.  

“The Warning” from Queensryche hit the streets and a new anti-hero was created, who would blend the NWOBHM sounds, with progressive overtones and hard rock to an irresistible ear candy blend and call it “Operation Mindcrime”.

Where do I sign up to be indoctrinated by Dr X?

“You Can’t Stop Rock’N’Roll” from Twisted Sister showed what could happen to the “Loud Police” if they are exposed to loud music. They put wigs on and became metal heads.  And while TS was on the ascendancy, it was this album and the title track video clip that put them into the scoring zone. And as we know, it also started the spiral that would end the band in 4 years’ time.

“Bark At The Moon” from Ozzy Osbourne was released and another new guitar god from LA was unleashed in Jake E. Lee however Ozzy takes all the credit for writing all of the riffs, words and melodies with one finger and a piano.

“Rebel Yell” from Billy Idol came out and a different technological guitar god was released with Steve Stevens.

“Every Breath You Take” from The Police came out, with Sting listed as the songwriter, but Andy Summers interpretation of how to play a basic “Stand By Me” progression is what hooked people in. And the song became well known with rappers, who overused it, which led to millions into Sting’s bank account.

“Balls To The Wall” from Accept came out and basically the band couldn’t capture the aggression, anger and attitude ever again because they were still laughing so hard at the cover of the album.

“Flight Of Icarus” and “Revelations” from Iron Maiden hit the charts, only so the band could hit the road again, while they planned their biggest album and biggest stage show the following year. And it is from these albums, that Iron Maiden still does victory laps on.

Kiss showed their faces without their make up for the first time on MTV only to realise a decade later that people wanted to see them with the make-up. “Lick It Up” also introduced another guitar hero in Vinnie Vincent. But just for a short time, as he proved to be a better song writing partner than a band mate.  

“Tell Me What You Want” from Zebra hit the charts and the band was told to write more hit songs like that. Which they never did, because the band just wrote songs. The similarities to Robert Plant vocally and some songs musically to Led Zep set the tone for what would be Kingdom Come.  

“Legs” from ZZ Top showed how Texans at one point in time liked women and synths more than guns, which led to multi-platinum sales.  

“Rising Power” from AC/DC showed how dirty and anti-mainstream AC/DC could get while “Sister Christian” from Night Ranger introduced eight finger tapper Jeff Watson and shredder and temporary Randy Rhoads fill in Brad Gillis.

Dave Mustaine is fired from Metallica and a small step is made by Lars and James, towards the mega selling self-titled album 8 years later and as a by-product a new progressive technical thrash band is formed called Megadeth which would go on to inspire a host of progressive metal bands.

Also, Metallica dropped “Seek And Destroy” but the “Kill Em All” album was largely ignored until history was rewritten after the mega explosion of the “Black” album in the 90’s.

Judas Priest was still selling their 1982 release on the backs of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” while inspiring thousands of bedroom singers to bring in the Halford wail.

Yngwie Malmsteen left Sweden and set sail for L.A, to usher in a new era of shredability and fury.  

Compact Discs went on sale in the US, which would change the album format, with more filler, and also change the profit lines of the labels, only for Napster to blow the greed away 16 years later.

Not all countries or fans would have heard these songs in 1983. Some would hear them in 1984 and others much later. It’s just the way it was back then. Music spread differently and geo-restrictions ensured that it was contained within borders.

It was quite a year.

Maybe the most revolutionary year since the 60’s and The Beatles invasion of the US and other parts of the world.

It’s also the year that metal and rock music started to become a commercial influence.

Culture changed dramatically when MTV transported the music stars from the live arena and into our lounge rooms. And 1983 was the year it started to get traction.

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My Stories

Estonia

We got up at 4.50am on Monday to catch a flight from Berlin to Copenhagen. I started to feel nervous as I never questioned the email of the cruise departure point change. I started thinking it was a hoax email.

It was an uneasy feeling. So in my mind I started formulating a plan B. Just in case the ship wasn’t there.

The cab ride cost 50 Euros from our hotel to Schönefeld Airport. I made sure I got a receipt. I’m surprised at how tiny the two Berlin Airports are.

An hour plane ride later and we are in Copenhagen and catching another cab to the cruise terminal. This one cost 550 Danish Kroner. Another receipt in the wallet for the claim back.

And thank god, the ship was there and all the people who went to Berlin to board the cruise where also there. Hell this guy from a Berlin Starbucks that I was talking too a few days before was also there.

Everyone responded to the change.

Once we checked in, we went straight to the food. We were starving. Then after the safety drills, I sat down and started enjoying my Heineken’s. The next part of the journey was beginning.

One of the things that shits me is gratuities. I paid em all for the cruise before hand and also organized the Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) for my wife and I. So I order a Cappuccino and a bottle of water and I’m told I need to pay for it, because Cappuccinos and bottled waters are not included in the UBP. Sodas and alcohol are, but not water and coffee. What bullshit?

And I pay gratuities again for the coffee. Bullshit times two. We sailed all day Tuesday and on Wednesday we docked in Tallinn and man, it was cold and wet.

Our tour guide, Piret spoke about the history. There is a lot there. The Danes, the Germans, the Swedes and the Russians all ruled the Estonians.

It’s only a small country. 1.2 million people all up.

Estonia was independent from 1918 to the start of WW2. When the USSR annexed the country, the current government ministers were sent to Siberia and killed.

The Russian rule is unpopular. The Russians tell the world they liberated Estonia, while Estonians saw it as oppression. Woman were separated from their children and sent to Siberia. Men were separated from their wives and children and sent to Siberia.

Check out a YouTube movie called “The Singing Revolution” if you don’t believe me. But the shops sell Russian Dolls even though it’s got nothing to do with Estonia. And it’s got this massive Orthodox Church built by the Russians that doesn’t resonate with the Estonians.

The Old Town in Tallinn is UNESCO listed, and is presented as it was in Medieval times. And even back then there was the haves and have nots. The rich lived up on the hill and had walls and gates put in place to keep the poor from the lower side out at night.

The first flag ever created happened in Estonia and it was the Danish flag. The legend has it that it came down from the sky into the court yard.

The Estonian flag is blue, black and white. The blue represents the sea and sky, the black represents the hardship and the wars fought and the white represents hope.

And as the day went on, the weather got worse. For that there was no hope.

And the weather went really bad after we boarded the ship, so it was no surprise that we got a Captain Announcement that due to 4m wave forecasts and severe storms for the Gulf of Finland, St Petersburg was on the verge of flooding, so the authorities closed the dam door to keep it safe. This dam closure also meant that no ships could enter St Petersburg. So we remained in port at Tallinn.

Thursday morning we woke up in Tallinn and we got another Captain message that we are going to sail for St Petersburg this afternoon and from there we are going to sail back to Copenhagen.

What the fuck?

No Helsinki, No Stockholm.

I’ll rather be safe than not but this cruise trip has seen more changes than a Motley Crue concert.

So we did our own thing today in Tallinn. And the weather was blue skies with 60km winds. We’ll take it.

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