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

1983 – The Holy Roller, The Devil Rocker, The Synchronised Eliminator and The Moon Rebel

From May 29, 1983 up until sometime in 1992, metal/rock ruled and it all started with the US Festival (sponsored and orchestrated by Apple’s Steve Wozniack). For the bands involved it was a pivotal moment. For the movement as a whole, it was massive. For a fledgling TV service called MTV, it showed them a market to tap into.

Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” was released on March 11, 1983 however it didn’t really do anything. The album then started to take off after the US Festival in May 1983 and after the release of “Cum On Feel The Noize” as a single in August 1983, it exploded. I will talk more about this album in one of the other installments of my 1983 saga.

Motley Crue already had some momentum going with “Too Fast For Love”. The U.S Festival in May, helped cement their status as Sunset Strip favourites and when “Shout At The Devil” hit the streets in September 1983, the momentum became a tidal wave to platinum glory. Motley Crue played the perfect set, including a few of the new songs that would appear on “Shout At The Devil”, so as a concert goer, you heard those songs and you wanted them.

Triumph, Scorpions and Judas Priest already had some serious momentum going.

1981’s “Allied Forces” for Triumph was a success and the follow-up “Never Surrender” released in January 1983 was no slouch either and it was certified Gold on September 30, 1983 by the RIAA. You can easily conclude that the festival had a hand in boosting sales.

Judas Priest had their 1982 “Screaming For Vengeance” album doing the rounds and in April 1983 it was certified Platinum in the U.S.

Scorpions had their 1982 album “Blackout” out in the market and their visibility at the US Festival in May 1983, assisted in “Blackout” reaching Platinum status in March 1984. This success didn’t come instantly either, working since the start of the Seventies.

Van Halen at the time were kings of LA however their last album “Diver Down” didn’t do them any favours. However the visibility from the May 1983 festival along with Eddie Van Halen featuring in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” song would help their “1984” album released in January 1984 reach the lofty Diamond certification.

Anyway, enough of the U.S. Festival and time for a look at some albums.

Dio – Holy Diver

Ronnie James Dio success came from hard work and a commitment to stay the course. Check out his release schedule.

From when Elf’s self-titled debut album came out in 1972 he was constantly writing, releasing and touring. In 1974, “Carolina Country Ball” came out and in 1975, “Trying To Burn The Sun” came out.

Also in 1975, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow was released. In 1976, “Rising” came out. In 1977, “On Stage” came out. In 1978, “Long Live Rock N Roll” came out.

With Black Sabbath, he was involved with the “Heaven and Hell” release in 1980. In 1981, “Mob Rules” came out. In 1982 “Live At Last” came out.

By 1983, he was about to release his eleventh album in 11 years.

While much of the talk these days is on Dio hiring Vivian Campbell, it was actually Jimmy Bain who had a larger influence on Holy Diver. It was Jimmy Bain that was hired first. It was Jimmy Bain who contributed musically to “Stand Up And Shot” and “Rainbow In The Dark”. It was Jimmy Bain who saw Vivian Campbell play with Sweet Savage.

Actually, if you look at the song writing credits you will see “Holy Diver” was written solely by Dio and “Stand Up And Shout” was written by Dio and bassist Jimmy Bain. Vivian Campbell’s contributions are “Gypsy” (with Dio), “Caught in the Middle” and “Invisible” (with Appice and Dio), “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Shame on the Night” (with Appice, Bain and Dio).

So have a drink for an unsung departed hero in  Jimmy Bain.

Stand Up And Shout
You’ve got the power, stand up and shout

The opening song and it’s a call to arms right off the bat. Written before Vivian Campbell joined the band, the opening riff was used again to great success by Iron Maiden in “2 Minutes To Midnight”. Quick, get the lawyers involved.

Lyrically the song deals with breaking away from conformity.  It was the same theme that Twisted Sister sold millions of albums on.

It’s the same old song
You gotta be somewhere at sometime
And they’ll never let you fly

The mysterious “they” could be your teachers, employers, leaders, mortgage brokers or some other entity/establishment who are holding you back.

You are the driver
You own the road
You are the fire — go on, explode

Damn right, we are our own driver but how many can truly say we made decisions without any influence from others.

Holy Diver
The lead single.

How good is that groove from Appice and Bain under the iconic riff. It’s the selling point of the song. Vocally, Dio is fantastic and the guitar solo from Campbell is shredalicious.

Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he’s clean

Only Dio knows what those lyrics mean however if you are looking for an explanation then go to SongMeanings. A user called “Nightrain50” posted the following;

“Holy Diver is about Jesus Christ’s descent into Hades after being crucified”.

Once you read the users lyrical breakdown, it sounds plausible.

The “Holy Diver” riff is that good, that the Foo Fighters used it in the pre-chorus of their song “Something From Nothing”.

Between the velvet lies
There’s a truth that’s hard as steel
The vision never dies
Life’s a never-ending wheel

The below is an example of the SongMeanings users break down of the above verse.

“Between the velvet lies” = velvet is gentleness or caution, often concealing strength or determination and a profit or gain beyond what is expected or due. Jesus is the velvet lie. His intentions are not clear. Satan has been fooled, he thought he had won when he had Jesus crucified, in fact he has sealed his own fate. Jesus is here to claim what’s his. All the souls of the fallen that will but believe in him can now be saved from Adam until now. Remember all fell short of the glory of God but one (Jesus), this means that all the prophets of the Old Testament were not reaching heaven. Not yet, but they are now.

“There’s a truth that’s hard as steel” = Truth is the word of God. Steel is the sword of Jesus’s mouth Rev 2:16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

“The vision never dies”= The vision is the law, Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. The law will never die because Jesus has finally fulfilled the law, allowing us to have eternal life with God through him.

“Life’s a never-ending wheel” = Death has been defeated. 1st Corinthians 15:56 “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Romans *:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It’s funny how a biblical interpretation has been made on “Holy Diver” that is pro-Jesus, and the person that wrote the song is known as the creator of the devil horn salute. Metal all the way is what I say.

Rainbow In The Dark
While “Holy Diver” and “Stand Up And Shout” warmed up the fan base it was “Rainbow In The Dark” that mobilised them and sealed the deal.

So depending on who you ask, it is pretty clear that a rainbow cannot exist in the dark, as rainbows require light. So is Dio using the term rainbow as an analogy for a “light” in the dark. Also, think of a rainbow as an entity and it found its way into the night. Is it lost? Is it lonely? Did someone abandon it?

It’s typical Dio, where the meaning can take many paths. Each verse line deals with a certain emotion.

When there’s lightning
You know it always bring me down

It’s about feeling down.

Do your demons,
Do they ever let you go?

It’s about giving in to our vices because they are always there.

We’re a lie
You and I
We’re words without a rhyme

It’s about a relationship going sour.

No sign of the morning

It’s like the light will never return into his life.

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” and “Shame On The Night” musically are fantastic songs, but lyrically they are terrible.

Twisted Sister – You Cant Stop Rock N Roll
Dee Snider wrote the tracks for “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” while “Under The Blade” was getting mixed. At that stage, Snider was a 10 year vet in the music business. He didn’t rely on sales of recorded music to provide him with a living. He earned his coin by delivering the goods on stage, night after night.

The band was a consistent crowd puller on the live circuit. You would think that would get them signed, however it didn’t. All the labels rejected them, until an independent label in Europe called “Secret” signed them. This in turn eventually led to Atlantic’s European division signing them for the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” album which in turn led to the U.S arm of Atlantic picking them up, once imported versions of the “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll” LP started selling in the U.S.

And if you want to hear about record label mistreatment look no further than Dee Snider.

The Kids Are Back
The opening track.

My cousin Mega is a hard-core Twisted Sister fan. He is the one that got me into the band. He even has the TS logo tattooed on his shoulder. This was my first exposure to the band. The sound of the marching feet. It was perfect for the time.

We walk the streets
In tattered armies
We got the lion in our heart
We’re not lookin’ for trouble
Just for some fun
But we’re all ready if you wanna’ start

How can I put in words the trueness of this verse?

We just wanted to have fun, but man, if someone wanted to roll with us, we didn’t take a backward step. You can hear the anger build in Dee’s vocal delivery. It’s raw and it is honest. It is not auto tuned like all the other crap released today. It has a certain life to it.

I Am (I’m Me)
It’s a song that needed to be written, so that Dee could go on and write, “S.M.F”, “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. To me, it is like a back story to the main movie. It’s message is one of standing up for yourself.

Who are you to look down
At what I believe?

Notice how most of the lyrics have a certain trend showing. If you don’t believe me, compare the lyrics between these songs;

“Stand Up And Shout”, “The Kids Are Back”, “I Am (I’m Me)”, “Your No Different”, “Rock And Roll Rebel”, “Red Hot” and “Rebel Yell”.

The eighties were a time when the youth didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of what their fathers did. I didn’t want to work in the steel mills. I wanted something different, but I didn’t know what. For too long I had been conditioned to want something else.

We’re Gonna Make It is another song that needed to be written so that Dee could go on to write the classics.

The power of the people
Ain’t been showin’
It’s never what you know
It’s who you’re knowin’
Sure it ain’t right,
But as the saying goes its might
That decides who stays behind
And who’ll be goin’

It’s the A to Z in making it.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

Lift up your hands in praise
You can’t stop rock ‘n’ roll

You know, those words are so true because rock just keeps on evolving. Even when hard rock stopped being a dominant commercial force in the Nineties, another form known as Grunge Rock took over with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Then Alternative Rock took over with Foo Fighters and a renewed Pearl Jam. Then Modern Rock took over with Matchbox Twenty and Tonic. Nu-Metal came and it morphed into Heavy Rock. We had Rap Rock, then Pop Rock and Glam Rock came back again via “The Darkness” and we even had Industrial Rock via “Filter”, “Stabbing Westward” and others of that ilk.

It’s an angry steed,
On a never ending course

Damn right.

Ozzy Osbourne – Bark At The Moon

There is a lot of septic crap around this album especially around the politics of the song writing.

By 1983, Ozzy had lost the momentum that the Blizzard Of Ozz band started. From the original crew, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired and Randy Rhoads died tragically and if the tragedy didn’t happen, Rhoads was putting plans in place to leave Ozzy.

Ozzy’s saving grace was the US Festival. After the US Festival, Bob Daisley, along with Jake E. Lee, Tommy Aldridge and Ozzy Osbourne went to New York and started writing. It could have been George Lynch instead of Jake E. Lee. Maybe on Earth 2, there is a version with George Lynch replacing Randy Rhoads.

For Daisley, coming back into the Ozzy camp meant certain conditions. He wanted to be paid for writing the songs and to be paid to play on the album. He wanted bonuses when the sales reached a half a million and then a million and so on. However, as usual, he got screwed again and no bonuses came.

Writing by Daisley and Lee continued in London and recording started at Ridge Farms with Max Norman engineering again. Tommy Aldridge struggled in the studio. Sharon Osbourne was constantly on his case as to why the drum parts took so long to record. Time is money. After Aldridge recorded the album and just before the tour, he got fired.

That is when Carmine Appice entered the fold. If you see the “Bark At The Moon” video, Appice is on drums. He had a contract to do the tour and he got fired as well, because he was sneaking off and doing drum clinics.

Bark At The Moon
What a way for Jake E. Lee to introduce himself to the fans of Ozzy Osbourne. Jake E. Lee came up with the riff, Ozzy with the title and Bob
Daisley wrote the lyrics based on a Hammer Horror film story.

But Lee or Daisley are not credited as songwriters. Only Ozzy is.

With so much talk these days about plagiarism and other people taking credit for something they didn’t do, this is exactly what Sharon orchestrated for Ozzy. As it stands, Ozzy is listed as the sole songwriter and by default taking full credit for someone else’s work.

Bark at the moon
Ha ha ha ha ha…

One of my favourite lyrical lines is;

He finds his heaven
Spewing from the mouth of hell

There are a lot of people like that, who find their happiness by putting others down. Hell, the whole bully system is designed in this way. Internet trolls are exactly like this.

And if there was any doubt to the guitar mastery of Jake E. Lee then just listen to the outro solo.

“You’re No Different”
A lot of hate for this song because;

a) it’s a ballad,
b) it has keyboards,
c) it’s a ballad and
d) it’s a ballad with keyboards.

But man, coming off the stellar opening title track, it was a WTF moment, but it’s still a good song and there is no denying the lyrics from Daisley that deal with how people judged and perceived Ozzy.

Everything that I say and do
In your eyes is always wrong
Tell me where do I belong in a sick society

Where do we belong when everyone has their own thoughts and ideas? And why should our thoughts, ideas and words be so wrong, just because we are lower in the status chain.

Your’re no different, no different to me

Last time I checked, we all have a mortality of about 80 years and we all end up in the same place when it all comes to an end.

Living my life in a way that I choose
You say I should apologize
Is that envy in your eyes reflecting jealousy

I’ve said sorry many times when I never should have. It was purely an attempt to put a situation to rest and move on.

Tell me the truth and I’ll admit to my guilt
If you’ll try and understand
Is that blood that’s on your hand from your democracy?

Is there such a thing as pure truth as what I see from my point of view and my cultural upbringing is different to what another sees.

And again that outro has a lot of cool Jake E. Lee’isms.

“Rock And Roll Rebel”
It needed to be written so Jake could go and write “Lightning Strikes” because the riffs are identical except in different keys.

I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel
I’ll tell you no lies
They say I worship the devil
They must be stupid or blind
I’m just a rock ‘n’ roll rebel

It’s a national anthem for us metal heads. “I’m a rock and roll rebel” was my favourite comeback line to my school teachers.

They live a life of fear and insecurity
And all you do is pay for their prosperity

Damn right, it’s called tax and mortgages. The best way to ensure that the majority still serve rich masters like in ancient empires is to create wages, income tax and credit loans. That way, the rich will get even richer and the rest of us will just pay for their prosperity.

That lead break from Jake again is brilliant. Arpeggios, bluesy pentatonic lines, fast legato lines and anything else he could fit in, he did.

“Waiting for Darkness”
The excellent album closer. It’s how Jake E. Lee decorates the song by palm muting and double-picking each note to create a staccato style effect. It’s very similar to how Andy Summers from The Police decorated songs.

Promise me rebirth
And then you tear me from the womb
Give me my freedom
And then you lock me in a tomb

The way of the world is more pure in books of fiction. The non-fiction reality version is very different. A lot of the songs I like deal with how “we believe we are free but really are not”. It’s not coincidental. The more I get older, the more I realise how I’m not free. Like how Hetfield sang in “The Unforgiven”;

“New blood joins this Earth and quickly he’s subdued”

Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil
Motley Crue is another band that benefited greatly from the U.S Festival. 1983 is when the LA Sunset Strip Scene broke out as a commercial force.

On the backs of Motley Crue and Quiet Riot, suddenly the labels were looking for bands that looked and sounded like Motley Crue and Quiet Riot. Ratt, Dokken WASP, Kix, Krokus and Mamas Boys are a few bands that benefited from Motley Crue breaking out of the L.A Sunset Strip scene.

Other labels that had established bands made their bands look like Motley Crue. Y&T, Accept, Fastway, Whitesnake, Helix, Saxon, Kiss and Tygers of Pan Tang are a few bands that had a look and feel change to their wardrobes. But for the Crue, their changes had a lot to do with what was popular at the time. Metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden were riding a wave of commercial prosperity. The Crue had the metal look and all they needed was the metal sound.

Enter the pentagram.

The “Shout At The Devil” album was primarily written while the band was still unknown and striving for success. You can hear the angst, rebellious youth and aggression in the music. You can hear the kilos of cocaine and decadent lifestyle in the music.

Tom Werman is on hand to produce. There is no denying the fact that Werman had a certain touch to get the albums sounding radio friendly.

Around this time there was a satanic backlash happen in the U.S. Motley Crue played into the controversy and as Vince Neil once said, they did anything that would get them attention.

Werman advised them that they could record their tracks separately and then fix up any mistakes after. This in turn led to a lot of down time. Down time equals partying. In the end, the Crue managed to get it together to record an album that was a product and snapshot of 1982/83.

“Shout At The Devil”
The funny thing is the band is accused of being satanic however they had the most Christian sounding title in “Shout At The Devil”. It is no different to “To Hell With The Devil” from Stryper. The main riff is a bluesy classic, in the vein of ZZ Top’s if played with a boogie feel.

But in the seasons of wither
We’ll stand and deliver
Be strong and laugh and
Shout-shout-shout
Shout at the devil

Nikki is channelling his love of Aerosmith and his rebellious street punk nature in the lyrics. He is part of the disenfranchised generation.

“Looks That Kill”
The L.A sound is all over this. The opening riff of “Looks That Kill” was copied from somewhere and then all of the LA bands copied each other with different variations. If you don’t believe me, check out Ratt and Dokken. The “Breaking The Chains” album has a song with a very similar riff and so does ”Out Of The Cellar”.

As good as the riff is; it’s the foot stomping beat from Tommy Lee that gets the song going. It’s metronomic and G-string tight.

Now listen up
She’s razor-sharp

Now she’s bulletproof
Keeps her motor clean
If Nikki was channelling Aerosmith in “Shout At The Devil”, well for “Looks That Kill” he was channelling Brian Johnson and “Back In Black”.

“Bastard”

Bastard
Won’t get screwed again

Written about their manager who funded their debut album and then split with the Elektra advance.

“Red Hot”
Tommy Lee is channelling “Overkill” from Motorhead with the drums.

Shout at the devil
We’ve laughed at your wars

The title track appears again in another song. It’s such a strong statement.

“Too Young to Fall in Love”

Again, it’s Tommy’s foot stomping and metronomic drumming that gets the song rolling and grooving.

Run for the hills
We’re both sinners and saints

“Knock Em Dead, Kid”
That intro riff from Mick Mars and the build-up from Tommy Lee is a foot stomper. It’s a call to arms.

In the heat of the night
You went and blackened my eyes
Well now I’m back, I’m back, I’m back
And I’m coming your way”

Lyrics about a fist fight. Nikki took a few hits and now he’s back for retribution. Brilliant

“Ten Seconds To Love”
Touch my gun
But don’t pull my trigger
Let’s make history
In the elevator
Or lock the door
Shine my pistol some more
Here I cum
Just ten seconds more

Sixx is a master at the tongue and cheek bubblegum sexual lyrics.

Bring a girlfriend
Maybe bring two
I got my camera
Make a star outta you

The Crue guys made stars of themselves and others with those camera’s many years later. How prophetic.

“Danger”
This one is one of those gems that is forgotten, telling a story about the bands early days.

“Danger, you’re in danger when the boys are around”

The Motley Crue lifestyle. It was danger. Hotel rooms got destroyed, cars got destroyed, Razzle died, Nikki Sixx died.

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

“Rebel Yell” is written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens.

Steve Stevens is merely a footnote in the pages of rock/pop and Digitech whammy noises. Tom Morello is seen as an innovator for doing the same thing that Steve Stevens was doing a decade before. Stevens only crime was big hair and big hair is not in to the people who write pop culture history.

In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more, wow!

The Police – Synchronicity

It goes to show how one great song and two good songs could move millions upon millions of albums. Tracks 7, 8 and 9 are the ones.

“Every Breath You Take”
The big one. The songwriting credits state it was all Sting, however the way guitarist Andy Summers plays the stock A – F#m – D – E progression is what defines the song and sets it apart from all of the other pretenders.

“King Of Pain”
Gotye took the feel and chordal structure of this song and made it a hit again almost 30 years later. Quick, call the lawyers, we have plagiarism at its best.

There’s a king on a throne with his eyes torn out
There’s a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt
There’s a rich man sleeping on a golden bed
There’s a skeleton choking on a crust of bread

I’ll always be king of pain

Brilliant lyrics. All of those characters could have been Sting.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger”
Again, Summers takes centre stage with his intricate, melodic and delicious sounding guitar lines.

I can see the destiny you sold
Turned into a shining band of gold
I’ll be wrapped around your finger

ZZ Top – Eliminator

“Gimme All Your Lovin’”
It kicks off the album that turned ZZ Top into superstars. And as all things to do with the Eighties it was on the back of MTV and their stylish videos that all kept the same theme going throughout.

You got to whip it up
And hit me like a ton of lead
If I blow my top
Will you let it go to your head?

Are the lyrics dealing with cumming on her face.

“Got Me Under Pressure”
All the trademarks of classic ZZ Top are here. The riffs, the solos, the jam like structures.

I’m gonna give her a message,
here’s what I’m gonna say:
“It’s all over.”

Man, it’s good the ZZ Top guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Premature ejaculation gets a verse.

“Sharp Dressed Man”
If “Gimme All Your Loving’” and “Got Me Under Pressure” were the combinations, then “Sharp Dressed Man was the knockout.
It’s a technological refined Southern Blues Rock boogie merged with a lot of pop sensibilities.

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man

“Legs”
Six songs would have been enough for this album.

She’s got legs, she knows how to use them

The immortal lyric that everyone knows. But what about this one;

She’s got hair down to her fanny
She’s kinda jet set, try undo her panties

Fanny makes it in a hit song. Brilliant.

And based on the above, here is a sequenced list of songs for a 20 song double album. All killer, no filler.
Side 1
1. Bark At The Moon
2. Stand Up And Shout
3. Looks That Kill
4. Rainbow In The Dark
5. Every Breath You Take
Side 2
1. Rebel Yell
2. Shout At The Devil
3. Legs
4. You Cant Stop Rock And Roll
5. Holy Diver
Side 3
1. Red Hot
2. I Am (I’m Me)
3. Too Young To Fall In Love
4. Gimme All Your Lovin’
5. Waiting For Darkness
Side 4
1. The Kids Are Back
2. Wrapped Around Your Finger
3. Sharp Dressed Man
4. King Of Pain
5. Got Me Under Pressure

Stay tuned for Part II.

In case you didn’t get the title;

  • The Holy Roller is a combination of “Holy Diver” and “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll”.
  • The Devil Rocker is a combination of “Shout At The Devil” and “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll”.
  • The Synchronised Eliminator is a combination of “Synchronicity” and “Eliminator”
  • The Moon Rebel is a combination on “Bark At The Moon” and “Rebel Yell”.
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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Unexpected Slow Metal Hit

We live in a world that is all about the NOW. Music quickly comes and it quickly goes. Look at all the Top 10 Lists or the Charts for each week and you will see that it is a different list each week. There is just so much new music coming out at the moment and people are just churning it up.

For example, I didn’t get a chance to get into the new Trivium album because a week later, I had the new Protest The Hero album and that has taken all of my attention.

However, there are always songs that sit on the outside. Songs that the artist or the band didn’t believe could be a “hit” (I use that term lightly) or a song that should be used as a promotion tool.

But they didn’t count on the fan choices. The fan that today has the power. The fan that could pick and choose what track they could listen too.

Killswitch Engage released “As Daylight Dies” in 2006 and it is there cover of “Holy Diver” that proved to be the sleeper hit. Don’t believe me, check out Spotify. it has 6,136,523 streams. Still don’t believe me, go on YouTube and you will see it has 9,013,222 views.

Alter Bridge released “One Day Remains” in 2004. “Open Your Eyes”, “Find the Real” and “Broken Wings” followed as promotional singles. However it was the metal heavy “Metalingus” and the moving ballad “In Loving Memory” that the fans selected as the hits. Don’t believe me, check out Spotify. “Metalingus” has 3,362,193 streams and “In Loving Memory” has 2,690,909 streams. Still don’t believe me, go on YouTube and you will see that “Metalingus” has over 5,500,000 views from all the combined channels and “In Loving Memory” has over 6,000,000 combined views.

In 2011 Trivium got blasted for the “In Waves” album, however the title track is their biggest so far. On Spotify “In Waves” the song has 3,038,061 streams. On YouTube, the Official Video on the Roadrunner Records channel has 3,423,215 views and a live version of the song on the Trivium Official channel has 2,767,455 views.

Volbeat broke through in the U.S on the back of “Still Counting”. The song was released in 2008 on the “Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood” album and on 21 July 2012 “Still Counting” was the number-one song on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks US chart. Go on Spotify and it has been streamed 19,779,202 times. Go on YouTube and count the views from all the various channels. They add up.

Bullet For My Valentine led the promotional campaign for their “Temper Temper” album with the song “Riot”, however the fans didn’t care about that song as much as they cared about “Breaking Point” and “Tears Don’t Fall (Part 2)”.

As much as Dream Theater is trying to promote the current version of the band, they can’t escape their past. The Spotify Top 10 of Dream Theater has the 9 songs from the new self titled album (that proved to be a dud), plus “On The Backs Of Angels” from the previous album. However if you go on YouTube the fans don’t care about the new album currently. “Wither”, “Pull Me Under” and “Another Day” still get the attention.

This is very different to Avenged Sevenfold, who have people very interested in their new album. In addition, all the other media outlets and bands that are talking about the album, all they are doing is adding to the legend of it. Hail To The King I say. “Shepherd Of Fire” is doing the rounds on my iPod.

Protest The Hero have led the promotional campaign of their new album “Volition” with “Clarity”, “Drumhead Trail” and “Underbite” however, it is “Mist” and “Skies” that is getting the conversation.

The market place today isn’t about the hit song now. It is about new songs vs old songs. Metal and rock songs are always late bloomers. There is no formula as to why certain songs resonate more than others with fans.

I like the story about how Dave Mustaine assisted Stryper in selecting their lead off single from the “No More Hell To Pay” album. They had a different song choice for the lead single and changed their minds after they had a chat with the Megadeth front man. Dave told them that his favourite track is “Sympathy”. This made Michael Sweet change his mind for the lead off single. That track is listed as Number 11 on the album and to be honest it is a kick arse song.

Sure, back in the day when the record labels ruled, they would employ a scorched earth policy to market a band and the lead off single and naturally we would bite as we had the time to invest and there was nothing really else out there.

YouTube and Spotify play a big part today in transforming a song into a phenomenon. Television also plays it’s part. Look at all the hit shows and they all have a section where a certain song plays and it conveys the emotion of the scene that no other music can.

Sons Of Anarchy comes to mind here, especially at the end of Season 2, when the song “Hands In The Sky (Big Shot)” from Straylight Run played in the epic last 5 minutes of the final episode.

Look at what Breaking Bad did for “Baby Blue” by Badfinger.

My wife was a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and because of that show she got into Snow Patrol (“Chasing Cars”) and The Fray (“How to Save a Life”).

In the end all artists need to do is create great music. The fans will latch onto it eventually.

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A to Z of Making It, Alternate Reality, Music, My Stories

Revisionist History when it comes to Metallica

Kill Em All, Metallica’s first album is celebrating 30 years this month. It was released in July 25, 1983. 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.

Let’s put into context the lifespan of Kill Em All. It came out on July 25, 1983. By February 1984, seven months since 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.

Of course when the 1991 Black album exploded, new fans started to dig deep and purchase the bands older material. It is for this reason that the bands older catalogue from Kill Em All to Justice started to get RIAA certifications.

Kill Em All finally reached U.S sales of 3 million units in 1999. That pales in comparison to the Ride The Lightning and Master of Puppets albums which have moved over 6 million units in the U.S alone by 2012. The ..And Justice for All album has moved over 8 million copies in the U.S and the Metallica black album is pushing close to 17 million units sold in the U.S alone by the close of 2012.

As a Metallica fan, the Kill Em All album is not a bad album. It is a product of its time and its era. However in 1983, heavy metal and hard rock music was becoming a force to be reckoned with. So by 1983 standards, Kill Em All was up against some hard competition.

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.

Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss and Dio had new bands and you can call their 1983 releases as comeback albums. Bark At The Moon showcases Jake E.Lee, Lick It Up showcased Vinnie Vincent and Holy Diver showcases Vivian Campbell. In relation to Dio he was continuing his upward trajectory that started with Rainbow, then continued with Black Sabbath and now with his solo band.

ZZ Top hit the mainstream with Eliminator.

Iron Maiden followed up the breakthrough success of their 1982 album, The Number of The Beast with Piece of Mind.

Quiet Riot had a number one album on the back of the Randy Rhoads back story and connection with the band, a cover of Slade’s – Cum on Feel The Noize and a catchy original called Bang Your Head, which was perfect for the time.

Judas Priest was also riding high on the charts and selling well from a 1982 release called Screaming For Vengeance.

Going back to Metallica, the 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 by the clueless revisionists. The impact of other bands will be diminished because Metallica won.

Is anyone talking about Judas Priest and their impact to the American metal scene? 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.

History is written by the winners.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The old rock star is dead. Its time to create a new rock star that is a product of the times

Influences/Inspiration

Nobody exists in a vacuum. Inspiration comes from what you read, watch and experience.  Inspiration is the merging of these experiences and influences into something new. When Metallica came on the scene they were inspired and influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They were influenced by Punk. They were inspired and influenced by Classic Rock. They were excited and this made them nervous. Nerves made them play faster.

When Black Sabbath came on the scene they were originally influenced by the Blues. Just another blues band among the many blues bands doing the rounds at that time. Then they applied their gloomy industrial upbringing and the rest is history.

Experience

Inspiration doesn’t take place in a vacuum. All day long you are experiencing.

Could Nikki Sixx have written Kick Start My Heart if he didn’t experience death and life? Could James Hetfield have written The Unforgiven if he was brought up in a wealthy household that didn’t have Christian Science beliefs? Could Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi have written Wanted Dead Or Alive if they never toured? Could Dee Snider have written We’re Not Gonna Take It, if he was rich?

If you think you can write a hit song with no prior experience, you’re dreaming.  Our whole life is information. Be ready to reference it.  Trust your first initial feeling.

Sign Of The Times

Don’t get caught up in doing things in the old way. Today’s medium is the Internet. No one wants to hear new music from their favourite artist every two years. We surf the net each day, looking for new music and information.  If there is a demand for your music, you should create and distribute constantly.

The days when we used to have very little music are over. The days of saving up to buy an album and the playing the same album over and over again are also gone.  Now, we’ve got the history of recorded music at our fingertips. YouTube has everything that you want, Spotify has almost everything that you could want and if all of that fails cyber lockers and The Pirate Bay fill the void.

Product Of The Times

The old rock star is dead. Its time to create a new rock star that is a product of the times. Keep innovating.  Embrace the new reality that is being born. Stop playing by the rules of the Classic Rock artists.

Look at the band Heartist. When they formed, they decided that they would not play by the old rules of playing as many gigs as possible just to get noticed.  They decided to not play by the old rules of guaranteeing promoters 50 presales for each gig (which more or less meant, the band either had to beg people to come to their show that didn’t want to be there or they basically paid to play).  They decided to write songs.  They decided to keep on writing. They started posting demos on YouTube. They started building a buzz. The songs had quality. People started to spread them, share them, talk about them. They played ONE gig and got signed by Roadrunner and management.

What Does Music and Success Mean These Days?

Music is for the fans. Music is for the people. Music is not for a record executive to make billions so that they can compete with the Forbes 100 Rich List.  If you want to be in the music business, you need to focus on what music means. Be inspired! Create!  You have to practice, be original and wait for your moment, when you have to deliver.

Def Leppard’s Hysteria was out for over a year before it exploded on the back of the Love Bites single. A sleeper hit that no one saw coming. If the song is really damn good it will get people’s attention.

If you want success, you need to get people’s attention. If you want success you need to work hard and don’t plan for it. If you want success, practice and be ready to turn that inspiration into a product.  If you want success, you need to know that you have no control over what spreads and what doesn’t. Don’t judge the success of your project straight away. Success is always ten steps behind. It takes a while for it to happen.  Don’t just the success of your project in dollar terms. Success is about laying a solid foundation and building on it.

Your music has to be accessible. It needs to make an instant impact. Fans do not have the time to spend on letting an album sink into our brain like the old ways. These days there are so many options and people don’t endure that which is not pleasing to them, They move on. Repetition is not an artist’s friend in the current times. The life span of a song is different these days.

Most of the time you get one shot for each new fan. It is that one time when people will hear what you have created. One time where you need to satisfy them, so that they can respond and share.

Today, you need to have that one unbelievable cut, that makes the people need to hear it over and over again. That one cut that makes the people want to go and find out more about you.

Whether it be Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, Dio’s “Holy Diver”, Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train”, Kiss “Lick It Up”, Shinedown’s “Second Chance” or Metallica’s’ “One”. It works in every genre of music.

Connections

Artists can go straight to their audience, there are no restrictions. Artists by now should know that their career depends on building a loyal relationship with as many fans as possible. In order to build relationships, you need to get people’s attention. You need to find a way to be heard over all the noise.

Standing Out – Visuals and Music

You want to be remembered. You want to be talked about. How can you achieve that? Society is a visual culture. That is why we watch TV shows, movies, take pictures and film ourselves.

Why do you think, when you see a preview for a new movie coming out, the studio marketeers have music with it? Why do you think TV shows and movies have soundtracks? They are re-enforcing the visuals with music, as people take more notice when that happens. If people notice they will talk about.

Putting your music with visuals is a big step forward to getting people’s attention. How many times have you walked out of a movie, thinking, what a tough score. I just watched World War Z and I loved the track that Muse did for it.  Man Of Steel had an unbelievable score by Hans Zimmer, that captured the emotion in each scene. It was also inspiring and uplifting. I still remember the preview to the Captain America movie, where they had the music (46&2) from Tool playing and that was almost three years ago.

Standing Out – Opinions

No artist can please everyone. So don’t try. All artists stand for something. If you write a song that is anti-(insert topic here), you will alienate some, and connect more with others. When people get fired up (via positive or negative feelings) they pay attention.

Standing Out – Different = Success

If you look at all of your heroes, they are there for a reason. They are different. When they came on the scene, they were different. Twisted Sister was different to all the other bands in the Eighties in how they dressed and looked. Their style was a combination of AC/DC style rock, mixed with Judas Priest metal, with a dose of punk chucked in. Metallica was different to all the metal and rock bands when they came onto the scene. Motley Crue was different to all the new wave music that was popular at the time. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were all different to the Eighties Glam Rock movement. Black Sabbath was different to all the hippie folk music at the time.

Different also includes doing cover versions of popular songs. Take jazz songs and turn them into rock songs. Take pop songs and make them into rock songs.  The original artist’s fans will be curious to hear these versions.  Led Zeppelin did a lot of covers, Metallica the same. Van Halen had cover songs on their first five albums. Motley Crue did Smokin In The Boys Room and Helter Skelter.

What Does It Mean to be an Artist Today?

You don’t want to be an artist that becomes who others want them to be. You don’t want to be an artist that whores themselves out to make money. You don’t want to be an artist that does what they have to do to keep the status quo.

It’s okay to not be liked by everybody.

Real artists don’t believe in conforming. Real artists stay true to who they are. Real artists play to their fans and allow the fans to talk about them. Do not change for all the new people that could tag along to your success train, that’s death. You need to keep playing to the hard core fan base. A great artist is someone who leads us into the unknown who we can’t help but follow.

Dream Theater is one artist that comes to mind, that did it their way or the hard way. Signed as a progressive band, they released When Dream and Day Unite, which the label ignored and then went on a long search for a vocalist. When Pull Me Under got traction on MTV and Radio, the band was then a commercial prospect for the label. So the label now wants more crossover songs, and this lead to the issues with the label around the Falling Into Infinity project. After that the band stayed true to who they are and they have grown with each album and are more successful now than ever.

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