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

The Work Of The Devil

It’s funny how originally rock and roll, then blues rock, then heavy metal, then hard/glam rock, then thrash metal and so on were seen as the work of the devil.

Growing up, I wore my heavy metal and hard rock T-shirts with pride, ready to defend myself if anyone decided to have a dig. Thankfully I didn’t have a situation like that present itself.

Growing up in a city that employed thousands upon thousands at the local steelworks, the majority of the children of those workers were all metal and rock heads. Plus by wearing the colours of your favourite band, by default people just saw you as dangerous.

In other words, if I wore an Iron Maiden “The Number Of The Beast” t-shirt or a Motley Crue “Shout At The Devil” t-shirt it was a shorthand way of informing the public to not mess with me.

I know in my circle of friends, we all came from religious backgrounds. All of us are baptised.

Crucifixes, Mother Mary and Jesus Christ ornaments decorated our walls and cabinets. My olds were cool however they also had very conservative friends who kept on judging them for the musical tastes of their children.

But my Dad, he is a deadest legend. He allowed me to be who I wanted to be growing up, giving me a hell of a lot of freedom. He was a musician as well so he understood my mantra of “music being my religion” and when he would come home from a gig he would have about $500 to $1500 in cash on him.

The usual routine was that he would hand over the cash to me to count and then he would give me a couple of twenties for my efforts. Of course those twenty-dollar notes went straight into the cash till at the local record shop the next day. I was a music junkie, consuming the expensive U.S magazines and whatever vinyl I could get my hands on.

My Dad would talk to me about the family name, our history, what it means to have a good reputation and the most important lesson was that people will judge you no matter what you do. He said that if I conform to what others want me to be, people will still judge me. If I remain true to myself and be who I want to be, people will still judge me. He said if you fail in life there will be people there ready to talk about you and to throw more mud in your face. He said that if I am happy then there will people there ready to drag me down into the same hole that they live in.

And every time we spoke about matters like these I always had a song in the back of my head that connected with the message. That is why I gravitated to metal and rock music. The messages connected.

“Stand Up And Shout” from Dio. You see as good as “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line” are it was the more simpler lyrical songs from Dio that really connected with audiences, like “Stand Up And Shout”.

It’s the same old song
You’ve got to be somewhere at sometime
And they never let you fly

The daily grind, the nine to five. How can we fly and reach for the sky when we always have to be somewhere each day and do the same old song and dance. Credit Jimmy Bain for the great riffs.

“I Believe In Rock And Roll” from Twisted Sister’s “Come Out And Play” album. A very underrated album and “I Believe In Rock And Roll” is one such song that hasn’t been given it’s proper due.

Every day
I work so hard
Every day
I’m dealt the cards
Every day
I’m told exactly what to do
Every day
I lose control
Every day
I rock ‘n’ roll
Every day
It’s gonna help to see me through

Dee Snider sure knows how to tell it. If anyone tells you that their days are not like the above, then they are liars.  The first six lines deal with the daily grind, the nine to five routine. It was a common theme in the Eighties. Then the next six lines deal with music and how it helps get through the days.

“I Wanna Be Somebody” from WASP. Blackie Lawless is a great songwriter and WASP has a special place in my heart. The pinnacle to me was “The Crimson Idol” however “The Last Command” and the debut album are not that far behind.

You’re nobody’s slave, nobody’s chains are holdin’ you
You hold your fist up high,
And rule the zoo

Conformity is a disease. If you don’t believe me then look at the symptoms. You are alive but mentally chained to some ideal pushed on you and you don’t know if its a good ideal or a bad ideal. In the end, we should all bang our heads and use our fists to break down the walls.

(P.S. Do you like what I did there, merging WASP, with Quiet Riot and Motley Crue.)

“You’re No Different” from the “Bark At The Moon” album by Ozzy Osbourne. Bob Daisley wrote some excellent lyrics about Ozzy’s reputation and how people judge him.

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

You’re no different to me

The judgemental people can put themselves up on some imaginary pedestal but in the end they are as pathetic as the rest of the us. We are all no different to each other. We all end up in the same prison with a tombstone above our heads. Let’s see them judge other’s then.

And how good is that outro. It reminds me of the “Escape From New York” theme, while Jake E.Lee starts to unleash.

“Fighting The World” from Manowar. Founder Joey Demaio always had a song about metal and brotherhood. This one is a classic in my eyes.

Now people keep asking if we’re going to change
I look’em in the eye
Tell’em no way
Stripes on a tiger don’t wash away
Manowar’s made of steel not clay

I must admit I always found Manowar’s lyrics laughable because they delivered them so seriously. But seriously who else could get away with a lyrical line, “stripes on a tiger don’t wash away, Manowar’s made of steel not clay.”

Brilliant and perfect for the times.  And then the call to arms with the marching drums;

Fight for a living – Fighting the World

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Dee Snider – Come Out And Play – What Fo You Mean I Don’t Write Good Lyrics

I really like Come Out And Play. I remember lying in bed, staring at the album back art, reading the lyrics and singing the songs as they played on the turntable. I remember the day I purchased the album, going into my parents room, finding my mums purse and taking $20 out to buy the album. The actual album was $10, so I knew that I was going to come back with two albums. Going through the hard rock/metal section, I decided on Twisted Sister, Come Out and Play and Motley Crue, Theatre Of Pain. When I came home, mum was far from impressed to find $20 missing. My dad, who I feared more, understood me. He was a musician as well.

Coming into the Come Out And Play period, Twisted Sister was coming off the Stay Hungry juggernaut.

The first big change was the producer. Gone was Tom Werman and in came Dieter Dierks. Tom Werman was the go to producer back then. He was achieving multi-platinum sales with the majority of his releases between 1983 and 1989. In addition, Werman also contributed unofficially to the songs arrangements and melodies. So in comes Dieter Dierks from Scorpions fame.

Come Out And Play was released in 1985. By now Twisted Sister was on an album per year cycle, with Ruff Cutts and the first independent release of Under The Blade coming out in 1981, then the major label release of Under The Blade in 1982, then You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll in 1983 and Stay Hungry in 1984. You can tell the band was starting to burn out. To lead off with Leader Of The Pack as the first single, was an act of desperation. It was seen as the band recycling the past. It failed.

Come Out And Play kicks off with bottles clashing together. It is an ode to one of my favourite movies, The Warriors. Instead of the chant, “Warriors, Come Out And Play”, we get “Twisted Sister, Come Out and Play”. Brilliant. The connection is made for me.

Join our cavalcade
Enter the world you made

The cavalcade is the SMF army of Twisted Sister. This is the Twisted Sister world, that we the fans made.

A place where fallacy
Becomes reality
We’ll spin you head around
We’re programmed to astound, stand by
Prepare to fly

Oh, welcome to our show
Oh, welcome to our life

Much in the same vein as other Twisted Sister anthems, this is all about the rock n roll show. The concert experience. The place where fallacy becomes reality. The place where the band does what we want them to do and that is to play, to put on a show. You can say that Dee already wrote this song, in What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You), however he did it better this time around and in my view even better with Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant). AJ Pero is the unsung hero in this song. The pedestrian riffs are balanced by the frenetic drumming and it works.

I Believe In Rock ‘N’ Roll

What a great tongue and cheek song. Dee merges the marriage oath (Do you take this music, to be your lawfully wedded rock, to have and hold in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, together until death comes to yourself?) with allegiance (I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the united states of rock, and to the point of view for which it stands, one music under one god, yes, even god loves rock ‘n’ roll, with liberty and justice for all lands) to come up with a new creed, “Belief In Rock N Roll.”

Every day
I work so hard
Every day
I’m dealt the cards
Every day
I’m told exactly what to do
Every day
I lose control
Every day
I rock ‘n’ roll
Every day
It’s gonna help to see me through

I believe in rock ‘n’ roll

Has life changed for the working class man since 1985? We still work hard every day, we still deal with the hand we are given, we still do what we are told to do and we still look forward to the weekend where we can rock n roll and relax. Praise the lord, I believe.

The Fire Still Burns

By far the best song on Come Out and Play and in my view, one of the best songs Dee Snider has written. Extreme Metal bands have even covered this song.

Get out of my way
I’m the hangman today
And the judge and jury

The victim and the punisher. The Yin and the yang. The constant battle we have in life. We are happy, and we are sad. We laugh and we cry. In the end, the ones that make it through have that fire that burns forever.

King Of The Fools is a bonus track on the CD version and on the Tape version. It is a classic.

Look around me all I see
Thousands of faces wanting me
How can I lead?
How can I rule?
When I’m the king of the fools

It’s almost like Dee is regretful at his fame. The song is a continuation from The Price, where Dee tries to capture life on the road and how it is a price he needs to pay for success. Of course, the prices is time away from family and loved ones. Doubt is everywhere. Conflict is everywhere. You want to be on the road, you want to play shows, yet you don’t want to be away from your family. You are travelling from town to town, with people that you realise you don’t really like anymore, however you can’t stop. The call of the road and music is too great to resist.

The outside world can’t understand
Just who we are or what I am
Well, we don’t want their life or rules
I’ll be the king, king of the fools

Again, it’s the us (the SMF’s) vs them (The Mainstream) mentality. It’s the expectations of society vs the dreams of youth. We have different viewpoints, we have different needs so we are seen as fools by the mainstream. If the mainstream sees us as fools, then Dee is our King.

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