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

My Own Top 40 List Based On iTunes Play Metrics

I made the upgrade from the iPhone 5 to the 6 and when I synced up the old phone to iTunes to back it up, I saw the top 30 songs that did the rounds over the last 12 months.

1. Lift Me Up
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 1481

What can I say, “The Ultimate Sin” influence just connected with me and I kept on coming back to the song over and over again.

2.Shepherd Of Fire
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 1319

Any song that can combine “Enter Sandman” and “Trust” from Metallica and Megadeth deserves attention.

3. West Ruth Ave
The Night Flight Orchestra
Internal Affairs
Released: 2012
Plays: 1271

What can I say, the Kiss “I Was Made For Lovin You” vibe connects and that Chorus melody is infectious.

4. A Day in My Life
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side of Heaven & the Righteous Side Of Hell, Vol. 2
Released: 2013
Plays: 1071

Five Finger Death Punch have two entries in my top 5. This one is a classic from Volume 2. The chorus is indelible.

5. Angel Of Mercy
Black Label Society
Catacombs Of The Black Vatican
Released: 2014
Plays: 1124

The monster that is Zakk Wylde returns with a classic. The song opens up for Zakk’s masterclass in soloing.

6. Be Somebody
Thousand Foot Krutch
The End Is Where We Begin
Released: 2012
Plays: 996

The song just flows that it sounds effortless. Brilliant.

7. Used To Be
Arrows To Athens
Kings And Thieves
Released: 2011
Plays: 743

Very surprised by the album when I came across it this year.

8. Mist
Protest The Hero
Volition
Released: 2013
Plays: 660

I thought this song would have been higher as i certainly feel like I have played it a 1000 times. Guess I’ll be a Newfoundlander.

9. Conquistador
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
Released: 2013
Plays: 557

The riff owes a lot to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song” and when Jared Leto/backing vocals sing, “we will, we will, we will rise again” you can just imagine Freddie Mercury singing “we will, we will rock you”.

10. Heritage
The Kindred
Life In Lucidity
Released: 2014
Plays: 419

Love the band formerly known as “Today I Caught The Plague”. The message in this song sums up exactly how I feel about culture, we build on what came before.

11. Fly On The Wall
Thousand Foot Krutch
The End Is Where We Begin
Released: 2012
Plays: 403

Another song that just flows effortless from the fan funded “The End Is Where We Begin” album.

12. Fallen
Volbeat
Beyond Hell Above Heaven
Released: 2010
Plays: 387

Our Danish heroes deliver a rockabilly metal classic.

13. Draw The Line
Disciple
O’ God Save Us All
Released: 2012
Plays: 322

The lyrical content connects and the song is a great pop ditty from a band that borders on metal, rock and Christian gospel.

14. Tuesday’s Rain
Asphalt Ballet
Asphalt Ballet
Released: 1991
Plays: 223

A brilliant song that got lost in the seismic shift of 1991/92. You were either in or you were out. Asphalt Ballet was deemed to be out.

15. Strife
Trivium
Vengeance Falls
Released: 2013
Plays: 222

With a Judas Priest sing along intro, Trivium deliver with “Strife”. Go on Spotify and you will see that it is getting some serious traction.

16. Denial Waits
Ashes Divide
Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright
Released: 2008
Plays: 215

This song is unique and in a league of its own for production, craftsmanship and melodies. A classic that deserves more attention.

17. High Wire
Badlands
Badlands
Released: 1989
Plays: 210

If Jake E.Lee wants Red Dragon Cartel to reach a certain level of success and be ubiquitous than HE needs to write songs that are better than “High Wire”.

18. Hail To The King
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 209

What can I say, who doesn’t like a song that reminds them of AC/DC and “Thunderstruck”.

19. American Slang
The Gaslight Anthem
American Slang
Released: 2010
Plays: 200

The song that Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi wish they wrote.

20. Lick It Up
Kiss
Lick It Up
Released: 1983
Plays: 197

The song that saved Kiss’s career.

21. Rainbow in the Dark
Dio
Holy Diver
Released: 1983
Plays: 195

The Corey Taylor version from the Dio tribute album appears further down the list. An infectious song just tattoo’s itself on the skin and remains forever.

22. The Last Time
Badlands
Voodoo Highway
Released: 1991
Plays: 194

If Jake E.Lee wants Red Dragon Cartel to reach a certain level of success and be ubiquitous then HE needs to write songs that are better than “High Wire” and “The Last Time”.

23. Moth
Hellyeah
Blood For Blood
Released: 2014
Plays: 177

Clearly the best song on the new album.

24. Live In Love
Times Of Grace
The Hymn Of A Broken Man
Released: 2011
Plays: 167

This should be added to the set list of Killswitch Engage, it is that good.

25. Until It’s Gone
Linkin Park
The Hunting Party
Released: 2014
Plays: 167

It’s a return to the Linkin Park trademark sound.

26. Attack
Thirty Seconds to Mars
A Beautiful Lie
Released: 2005
Plays: 147

The song that got me into the band. A pure masterclass in electronics, industrial and fuzzed out rock.

27. End Of My Rope
Asphalt Ballet
Asphalt Ballet
Released: 1991
Plays: 139

From a band that deserved way more than what they got.

28. Hell Or Hallelujah
Kiss
Monster
Released: 2012
Plays: 135

The best song that Kiss or Paul Stanley has written since “Psycho Circus”. Mmm, “Live To Win” was also pretty good, however that was from Paul’s solo album of the same name.

29. Wolvish
The Kindred
Life In Lucidity
Released: 2014
Plays: 122

Progressive music the way it should be.

30. Watch You Bleed
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 121

Another chorus melody that is ubiquitous.

Other songs outside the Top 30 are as follows:

31. Rebellion
Linkin Park
The Hunting Party
Released: 2013
Plays: 103

It was like System Of A Down never went away. Having Daron Malakian on it doesn’t hurt at all.

32. Orestes
A Perfect Circle
Mer de Noms
Released: 2000
Plays: 103

This song was pivotal as my development as a songwriter. Much in the same way that Evergrey showed me that good music is still being created from a metal point of view, A Perfect Circle showed me the same from a progressive art rock point of view.

33. Wrong Side Of Heaven
Five Finger Death Punch
The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1
Released: 2013
Plays: 93

The emotion grabs me. One of the best ballads that FFDP have created.

34. It’s Time
Imagine Dragons
Night Visions
Released: 2012
Plays: 84

The main vocal melody is the same as a melody for an instrumental song I wrote for my wedding. So it connected from the outset.

35. Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute
Coheed and Cambria
The Afterman: Ascension
Released: 2012
Plays: 83

What can I say, when the “Wasted Years” like intro starts off, I was hooked.

36. Line Of Fire
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Released: 2014
Plays: 79

The mighty Dutchman is back and he sure knows how to turn it up to eleven.

37. Out Of Reach
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Vandenberg’s Moonkings
Released: 2014
Plays: 73

An emotional roller coaster that straps you in and doesn’t let you go.

38. Rainbow In The Dark
Corey Taylor
Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life
Released: 2014
Plays: 73

Corey does a stellar job on the vocal.

39. When Truth Lies
Vanishing Point
Distant Is The Sun
Released: 2014
Plays: 69

One of the most consistent and best progressive metal bands to come out of Australia.

40. Coming Home
Avenged Sevenfold
Hail To The King
Released: 2013
Plays: 63

Synester Gates goes to town on this song. That whole minute plus lead break is beautiful.

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

Take These Ten Rockmandments

Anyone seen Mel Brook’s “History Of The World” movie and that scene of Moses descending down the mountain yelling, ” Lord, take these fifteen commandments” and then one block of stone drops and then he starts to yell “Lord, take these Ten, Ten Commandments.”

Classic cinema. So as on ode to that movie, I have been listening to some tunes on the iPod. Each of these songs has a lyrical line that should be a new commandment.

1. THOU SHALT LIVE AND NEVER LIVE JUST TO KILL TIME.

City Limits

The band is “I Am Giant” and it is from the album, “The Horrifying Truth” released in 2011, however the song goes back a few years more as it came out on an EP.

“These city limits keep on getting bigger
Just when you thought you had made it out”

Anyone had that feeling before. Just when you thought that you had made it, the city limits are suddenly greater than what you thought they would be. Like that small town boy and girl in “Dont Stop Believin” or like those tramps in “Born To Run”.

“Are we living or merely killing time”

A brilliant lyric line, one of the best. It’s that good, it is self explanatory.

2. THOU SHALT MAKE THEIR ENEMIES INTO FADED MEMORIES.

Dearly Departed

From the 2014 “Men Of Honor” album by Adrenaline Mob. I love the mob. Russell Allen and Mike Orlando really do justice to this project. This song connects on all levels because we have all known someone like the person they sing about.

“And now your my enemy, soon to be a memory”

No one likes to be around people who drag them down. Enemies hang around if you let them. The best response to an enemy is to make them a memory.

“We were the best of friends, thought it would never end
I curse the day when they said you were selling me out”

There is a pretty good chance that the people you hang with right now are not the ones that you grew up with or spent a lot of time with.

3. THOU SHALT NOT FIGHT SOLO. THERE IS A STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

Draw The Line

From the album, “O God Save Us All”. Disciple is like an enigma to me. They range from pop rock to heavy rock. This song connects on so many levels.

“Another crash, another fall
Another failure
Another choice i don’t want to remember
I been here too many times”

Who hasn’t been in a situation like this. Some more so than others. Me personally, I have been in a lot of situations like this. Choices I made that even know when I look back, i don’t want to remember.

“This is where I draw the line
This is where the old me dies
Light a match let it burn kiss it goodbye”

In a hospital room in 2010. That is where I drawed the line.

“Another battle I lost fighting solo”

It should be a commandment. Nothing is achieved in a vacuum. Ask for help and count on your loved ones.

4. THOU SHALT NOT WAKE ALONE. LOVE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. BE MERCIFUL.

Angel Of Mercy

The mighty Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. What can I say about this song that I havent said already. It is a masterpiece and that lead break gives me goosebumps.

“I woke alone today
For all the birds have flown”

“No Angel Of Mercy
Is gonna hear my call

It’s that vocal melody and the tone of the voice that makes it work. When you take into account the recent blood clot saga it just ups the emotional stakes a little bit more.

5. THOU SHALT NEVER CHANGE WHO THEY ARE. DON’T LET OTHERS DICTATE WHO YOU SHOULD BE AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

It’s Time

Imagine Dragons and their mega selling “Night Visions” album. I can’t say I am a fan of the whole album but this song just stuck with me. Maybe because the vocal melody in the Chorus is identical to an instrumental song I wrote back in 1998 called “Moonlight Tango” which I used as one of my wedding waltz songs.

I am just the same as i was
Now don’t you understand that
I am never-changing who I am

6. THOU SHALT NOT BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO THE WAY IT USED TO BE. TIME MOVES ON. CHANGE IS CONSTANT. EVOLUTION IS ALL ABOUT CHANGE. EMBRACE CHANGE AND MOVE FORWARD.

Used To Be

From the band “Arrows To Athens” and their 2007 album “Kings And Thieves”. It is a David Hodges project. Yes, the same David Hodges that co-wrote the majority of the “Fallen” album by Evanescence with Ben Moody and Amy Lee.

“Take a breath
Take a long look around
Before you step
Because the tide is coming
Swallowing the ground
And there is no way to tell
If we will drown tonight”

It’s almost biblical with references to a tide that is coming and the uncertainty that the tide brings.

“We cannot go back to the way it used to be”

The commandment right there.

7. THOU SHALT NOT FAIL EVEN THOUGH FAILURE EXISTS.

Moth

From the new 2014 Hellyeah album “Blood For Blood” produced by the great man Kevin Churko. It could have come from a Mudvayne album. It was one of the first pieces of music that vocalist Chad Gray gravitated too for lyrics. And he goes to town on it.

“Treated like an animal since the day I was born”

A person born with a silver spoon will never relate however millions upon millions of others will.

“Like a moth to a flame
My wings burn away”
“Failure is not an option
But the option exists”

What a fucking line! What more can be said.

8. CHERISH WHAT YOU HAVE BECAUSE ONCE IT IS GONE, IT IS GONE FOREVER. 

Until It’s Gone

From the new Linkin Park album “The Hunting Party”.

“You don’t know what you got (x3)
Until its gone”

Pause.

Then BANG. The song groove kicks in again. Linkin Park are masters of the heavy pop rock song and Chester Bennington has the voice for it. Without him, Linkin Park would be just another band trying to make it. Chester is the X FACTOR.

9. DO NOT DWELL ON THOSE THAT NO LONGER CARE

Denial Waits

From Ashes Divide only album released in 2008, “Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright.”

“If I saw you right now
I’m embarrassed to say
I’d take you back
And we could just pretend you never went away”

It’s pathetic how we continue to dwell on someone who no longer cares for us in the vain hope that maybe they’ll come around and realize what they’ve left behind.

10. THERE IS NOTHING TO LOSE WHEN YOU ARE DOWN TO A POCKET FULL OF CHANGE

End Of My Rope

From Asphalt Ballet and their excellent debut album released in 1991.

Well it’s a ruthless world with a painted face
Ain’t nothing’ gonna change but the time and place

That’s the “History Of The World” in a nutshell.

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A Metal Heads Guide To The Key Of Music Success

The technology of today allows for convenient costless copying and transportation of large chunks of data across the internet. Before the rise of streaming, people were still given a raw deal when it came to digital music and forced to overpay. In Australia, an iTunes song costs between $1.69 and $2.69. This price remained the same, even when our dollar was stronger than the US dollar.

Then the ACCC, our competition watchdog launched an inquiry into these geo-blocking price restrictions. Apple went in front of the commission and stated that they didn’t set the price for music in Australia and that the price was set by the Record Labels. It was found by the Commission that there should be no reason why Australians should pay more for software and music. However, nothing has changed in relation to the prices.

When music is offered in a convenient and low-cost legal alternative, the rate of piracy drops because most people do want to support artists and the various research out there points out that is the case.

For example, let’s look at TesseracT, the band. They released a great album in “Altered State”. It didn’t sell huge amounts in the U.S, so based on the record label success model, the album is a fizzer. However, the band knows that touring is where they make their money. And that is what they are doing. Musicmetric data showed (before it went behind a pay wall) that TesseracT’s music was downloaded the most in North America via peer-to-peer Torrent networks. So guess which area’s TesseracT have toured?

Yep, North America. They are touring there again from March and April 2014. The previously toured North America between September and October 2013. Coincidence. Maybe.

In relation to Spotify, they have a combined album stream count of 1,705,734. What this means, is that if you tally up all of the album songs shown in their popular list you will get to that number.

Go on YouTube and you see that the “Nocturne” (OFFICIAL VIDEO) by Century Media Records has 302,002 views. My favourite track from “Singularity” on the Century Media Records channel has 260,817 views compared to the 130,835 on Spotify. These numbers matter. Especially for a band that plays to a niche market.

What about the band Volbeat? They fall on all sides of the equation. They are one of the most streamed metal bands out there, plus they are downloaded a lot via peer-to-peer networks and in addition to all of this, they are still selling albums in the U.S. Their “Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies” album was released on 5 April 2013 and as at 29 January 2014, it is still selling in the U.S.

Yep, that’s right, in an era were physical sales of recorded music are non-existent, Volbeat has been selling consistently for 42 weeks straight. Prior to the release of “Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies”, their previous album “Beyond Heaven, Above Hell” was still selling up to and past the release date of the new album.

From a record label point of view, this is pure gold. They have a band that can consistently sell albums and Volbeat has been doing that each week for the last three years in the very competitive US market.

That is why they are hitting the U.S market again for the third time, this time with “Trivium” and the best DIY independent band out there in “Digital Summer”.

Look at their song “Still Counting” on Spotify. It has 21,193,159 streams. On the YouTube channel of Tomas Grafström “Still Counting” has 11,725,300 views.

My favourite song “Fallen” has 12,392,089 streams. On the VolbeatVEVO channel, “Fallen” has 4,583,706 views.

“Cape Of Our Hero” from the new album has 5,838,326 streams. On YouTube, “Cape Of Our Hero” has 2,999,070 views on the VolbeatVEVO channel.

Another band that is doing great numbers both in actual sales, streams and peer-to-peer downloads is Skillet. The album “Rise” was released on June 25, 2013 and at this point in time, 31 weeks after that, it is still selling. That is what the labels want, bands that can sell week in and week out. What does the band want? They want people to listen to their music.

To compare to the current mainstream rock band, none of these bands come close to Imagine Dragons. “Night Visions” came out on September 4, 2012. 73 weeks later, the album is still moving physical albums. At this point in time the album has sold over 1.8 million copies in the US. The main songs are high on Spotify’s streaming chart. They are also very high on the peer-to-peer download lists.

Seriously their Spotify numbers are insane. “Radioactive” is at 172 million streams compared to 128 million views on YouTube. “Demons” is at 73 million streams compared to 50 million views on YouTube. My favourite “It’s Time” is at 75 million streams compared to 59 million streams on YouTube.

Music is now a game of data. The key to any artist is not how many albums or songs are sold. The key is this;

ARE PEOPLE LISTENING TO YOUR MUSIC?
ARE PEOPLE SHARING YOUR MUSIC?
ARE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT YOUR MUSIC?
ARE PEOPLE DOWNLOADING YOUR MUSIC?
WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE LOCATED?
MUSIC IS A RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS. DO YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THESE PEOPLE?

If you answered YES to the first question, move on to the next question. If you haven’t answered YES to the first question, take a step back and start writing more music.

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The Battle For Queensryche and other ramblings. And the winner is……

The key for all artists is to see if the product has traction. Is there a demand for it?

If it doesn’t get any traction and there is no demand for it, why are you spending dollars recording a slab of songs. Why do artists believe that just because they release an album people will invest in it. Red Dragon Cartel take note.

If artists want us fans to part with our money they need to get our attention with their product.

There are two Queensryche bands doing the rounds at the moment. The Geoff Tate version is on Cleopatra Records and the Todd LaTorre version is on Century Media Records.

Looking at YouTube it is clear to see who the winner is in this battle. The Todd LaTorre version has the following view counts;
Fallout (Official Video) – 147,958 views
Where Dreams Go To Die – 161,907 views
Redemption – 329,248 views

The Geoff Tate version has an official video up for the song “Cold” and it has 180,276 views.

It is obvious to see which artist is doing more to get the attention of fans. It looks like Geoff Tate still believes that if he releases an album, people will invest in it.

What about Spotify metrics? Who is the winner there?

The only new song in the Top 10 of streamed songs, is “Where Dreams Go To Die” from the Todd LaTorre version.

In relation to sales, the Todd LaTorre fronted Queensryche outsold Geoff Tate’s version. They more or less doubled it, however it pales significantly to the glory days of the Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land era. Think 25,000 copies compared to 500,000 plus copies.

Of course, the argument of piracy will rear its head again, however tell that to Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Shinedown and Avenged Sevenfold, who are all doing great numbers in physical sales. Tell that to Imagine Dragons who have spent over 12 months on the Billboard 200 charts and moved over 1.5 million copies of their Night Visions album in the U.S.

The “Radioactive” singe from Imagine Dragons and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” were certified 6x multi-Platinum. That’s right people, those songs were downloaded six million times in the U.S. I am sure if either of the Queensryche bands released a song that connected and crossed over, they would have similar sales figures.

So is there a demand for two versions of Queensryche? The answer is NO. The demand is there for only Queensryche band to function and the fans have selected the Todd LaTorre version. Judgement will be against Geoff Tate.

Stryper recently released the excellent “No More Hell To Pay” album. The official video of “No More Hell To Pay” has 271,894 views on YouTube and the Dave Mustaine selected “Sympathy” video has 108,875 views on YouTube. A few months earlier they released “Second Coming”, a re-recording of their classic Eighties material along with a couple of new songs. It’s back to the Seventies model with two releases in a year. The first release was to test the waters and the second one was to capitalise.

Speaking of Dave Mustaine. Megadeth and Mr Dave have been blasted by fans for the Super Collider album. However looking at YouTube, the Super Collider single has 1,054,581 views. The Kingmaker video has 930,343 views.

Of course they are the two strongest songs on the album and it is fitting that those two songs get the attention. So is the new album a dud. As a slab of songs together, it is a dud, however in an individual song basis, Kingmaker and Super Collider can stand up with the rest of the Megadeth catalogue.

The demand is for great quality songs. Expect the diehards to purchase the album.

Also I am going on a limb here, however I will expect that the music business will undergo another revolution, one that will start replicating the tech model. There is one Google, one Amazon, one Facebook and so forth. Sure each of them have imitators that do have a market share, however only monoliths succeed.

In other words, if an artists mashes up different genres and creates something new, they will win. Once they start winning, other imitators will try to get a slice of your pie. Once that happens, said artist will continue to innovate and release great music.

That is why outliers are starting to win at the Top 40 game. Gotye, Lorde, Adele, Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons.

That is why outliers are winning in Heavy Metal.

Five Finger Death Punch where an outlier when they started. Once they started winning, other imitators tried to get a piece of their pie. What do FFDP do? They go away and release two albums 3 months apart.

Volbeat is another outlier. It wasn’t until 2012 that the band broke through in the U.S and now imitators are queuing up.

There is now a huge demand for Volbeat and the funny thing is, they have been at it since 1999. Grit and Roll all the way to the top.

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What Do The Charts Tell The Metal and Rock Community?

What do the current Billboard charts tell us. On the Rock and Metal chart we had the following list for last week;

1. Korn – Paradigm Shift (1 Week on The Chart)
2. Alter Bridge – Fortress (1 Week On The Chart)
3. Cage The Elephant – Melophobia (1 Week On The Chart)
4. Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington – High Rise (EP) (1 Week On The Chart)
5. Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (7 Weeks On The Chart)
6. Dance Gavin Dance – Acceptance Speech (1 Week On The Chart)
7. Metallica – Through The Never (Soundtrack) (3 Weeks On The Chart)
8. Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell: Volume 1 (11 Weeks On The Chart)
9. Dream Theater – Dream Theater (3 Weeks On The Chart)
10. Rush – Vapor Trails: Remixed (2 Weeks On The Chart)
11. Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (10 Weeks On The Chart)
12. Skillet – Rise (16 Weeks On The Chart)
13. Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies (27 Weeks On The Chart)
14. Black Sabbath – 13 (18 Weeks On The Chart)
15. Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (27 Weeks On The Chart)

Special mention:

Imagine Dragons – Night Visions (58 Weeks On The Chart)

So the above charts show me a few things:

1. That the fans love new music. There are 5 albums that have their first week on the charts.

2. After a week, if that new music is not great, we move on very quickly. Dream Theater is suffering this fate.

3. If that new music is great, we spread the word and the album hangs around in the “charts”.  Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Skillet and Volbeat are a few bands that are hanging around.

4. If you create a group of songs that connect, expect to be hanging around for a long time. Imagine Dragons is one such band.

5. Artists need to adapt their business practices. Instead of spending months on an album, just to see it fade away within 6 weeks, they should be releasing more frequently. It doesn’t have to be original songs all the time. It could be acoustic versions, cover versions, unique live versions, blog posts and so on.

6. Here today, gone tomorrow is the modern paradigm. Artist need to adapt, so that they are here today, everyday.

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Metallica – The Years Roll On

I finally watched the Metallica Death Magnetic DVD on the making of the album. For those that don’t know, it came with the Coffin Edition of the album. What can I say? After I watched it, I re-watched it. It has given me a new appreciation for the Death Magnetic album. The doco basically gave me an insight into the process that I could relate with, and since then the Death Magnetic album has been doing the rounds in my ear phones on a daily basis.

Sort of like how I listened to music in the Eighties and Nineties, when all you had was that one album for about six months, until some other album came out that you could afford and it then became the flavour of the month or months.

One To Rule Them All

James Hetfield still rules the roost. As much as the documentary tried to paint Lars as this hands on kind of guy, if James didn’t agree or say yes, the musical idea wouldn’t be part of the song. The documentary covers each song from Death Magnetic and in each segment, there is footage where James and Lars, along with the Engineer are in a control room that has an orange rendered wall and James just sits in the middle like the DON. Bob Rock once said that the problem with St Anger was that the main songwriter wasn’t there mentally. You can see that he is back for Death Magnetic.

Death Magnetic is the album Metallica needed to have. It is a return to the core. Remember progress is derivative. Like how Aerosmith had Permanent Vacation as the launching pad for Pump and Get A Grip.

Song Writing Process

Another thing from the documentary that connected with me was the whole song writing process, referring to jam tapes/CD’s, trying to get ideas down, writing in the studio and it is something I could relate too. The whole whiteboard that was shown behind Lars went he was on the drum kit at Metallica HQ is what I used to do to write songs with a previous band, and we would write on the whiteboard, things like Intro – Tool riff, Verse – Metallica riff, Pre – Limp Bizkit riff, Chorus – Spineshank riff, Lead – Ozzy riff so that we knew our queues. In the doco, it mentions titles like Sad, Creeping, Lightning on the whiteboard, obviously a reference to the riffs that where inspired or had a feeling similar to those songs.

Feeling

Metallica had a vision as to how they wanted Death Magnetic to sound and feel. Every day was a writing day. Every day was a creating day. When they thought they were finished, they went away and wrote some more.

They got feedback and re-visited the early creations to see if they are still feeling it. If they were not feeling it, they would write down what they liked about the song and what could be better. If they are feeling it, then they have achieved what they set out to do.

One thing that Imagine Dragons was clear on when they started was their vision. They wanted to rock. They wanted to play acoustically and they wanted to experiment in electronic sounds. The wanted a big drum and bass sound. They wrote down five albums that were their all-time favourites and studied those albums and learn those albums. Albums that included artists as diverse as Arcade Fire, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Harry Nilsson, 2Pac, Paul Simon and Muse.

The Years Roll On

When Metallica released Death Magnetic, they went on a two year victory lap touring behind the album. They released DVD’s from the shows, for the French and Latin America markets. They released live EP’s for certain markets. In Australia we got the Six Feet Down Under EP’s part 1 and 2.

When that died down, they orchestrated the Big 4 shows. They then orchestrated the Orion festival. They played the summer festivals around the world.

They celebrated their 30 years anniversary with a week of shows in San Francisco. They released the Beyond Magnetic EP, which had 4 songs that didn’t make the final cut on Death Magnetic.

They then released Quebec Magnetic. They are doing the Through The Never movie.

Does anyone remember the debacle of Lulu now? It’s old news, history. It’s like it never existed. What a difference two years makes?

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

House Of Gold And Bones – (CONNECTIONS, COLLABORATIONS and MAKING IT)

Corey Taylor wrote the story line around the recent Stone Sour concept albums, The House of Gold and Bones. By the end of the story line, the main character has made a decision but it is unclear what it is. The important thing is that the main character stood his ground, however Taylor wanted to leave it up to the listener to decide what choice the main character has made.

To me the house of gold and bones represents life. The Gold can be anything that you make it to be, like family, children, fun, good times, doing something that you love, wealth, success, standing up for what you believe in and love. The Bones represents hardships, doing it tough, climbing up hills with no end in sight, destitution, depression, sadness and death.

The issue with today’s society is the worship of the GOLD (money) above everything else. It is the main motivator for the paths and actions we take. Seriously what is someone like Jon Bon Jovi or George Lucas going to do with all that money? Once upon a time, all of our heroes just wanted to create.

Chris Kael is the current bassist of Five Finger Death Punch. For those that don’t know Kael joined at the tail end of the American Capitalist recording sessions. How did he get the gig? He heard FFDP were looking for a bass player and he contacted FFDP guitarist Jason Hook on Facebook. He didn’t know any of the other FFDP guys. Hell, Kael was only know to a small Las Vegas circle of musicians. He asked Hook to check around with those musicians as he was sure he would get a good review and basically he got his foot in the door, he got the audition and then he got the gig. Connections however small they seem at the start all pay off in the end. Was Kael motivated by money? No. He was motivated by performing, by creating and by wanting to be in a band.

Imagine Dragons independently released three EPs and toured extensively before signing with Interscope. Then the band received an email from Alex Da Kid. He liked their music and wanted to write with them. If you know of Eminem’s, “Love the Way You Lie” song, then you know of Alex Da Kid. So the collaboration initially was for other artists on Alex Da Kid’s roster. It soon turned into the Imagine Dragons song writing effort. Were Imagine Dragons motivated by money when they started playing the Vegas casino circuit? No. They were motivated by the need to create and play live.

Connections leads to collaborations. For whatever purposes these collaborations begin with, they seem to take a life on their own. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora initially started to work with Desmond Child so that they can write songs for other artists to sing. The first song they wrote was You Give Love A Bad Name. The next song was Living On A Prayer. In the end, Bon Jovi ended up releasing the songs. When Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora started their collaboration with Desmond Child, they were broke, still living at their parents’ house and after two Bon Jovi albums, they were in debt to their record label by about half a million. Do you think that Jon and Richie cared about that? No. They wanted to create great music and with Slippery When Wet they did. With New Jersey, they tried real hard to rewrite Slippery When Wet and that is when greed comes into the picture.

People shine in so many ways and while society is spending it’s time going all practical, the ones that shine become the new Alice Cooper, the new Nikki Sixx, the new James Hetfield, the new David Mustaine, the new Dee Snider, the new Robb Flynn and so on. Practical doesn’t fit in the lives of our heroes. We all need to find our own house of gold and bones and live with the choices that we make.

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