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

The Book Of Souls

“The Book Of Souls” is 5 years old.

This album is special for me because it’s on “The Book Of Souls” tour that I took my whole family to watch the mighty Maiden.

My youngest was only 4. He kept singing “The Trooper” on the way ya up, the Chorus wooh part and he didn’t even stay awake long enough to hear it live.

Yep, he crashed out at a Maiden concert. My wife held him the whole time.

My other two kids were 10 and 9, and this album is there first Maiden album experience.

Nowadays they have their own playlists which incorporates all the Maiden albums. I think I did okay in fostering their love for metal music and Iron Maiden.

Once the album was done, Bruce was diagnosed with cancer and the album was delayed while Bruce got treated.

It wasn’t even mastered as the band wanted the raw mix.

And what an album to get stuck into.

Adrian was writing shorter songs like “Speed Of Light” and “Death Or Glory”.

“If Eternity Should Fail” is a great Maiden song once the dramatic 2 minutes is done with.

“The Red And The Black” has the chants like it’s a football match, a perfect tribute for the Maiden fan base by Steve Harris.

And management wanted a single album but Bruce had other ideas for the album with a piano he won at an auction and his two finger technique proving the catalyst for the longest Maiden song “Empire In The Clouds”.

Then the massive tour happened with the Aztec Culture and the classics.

And maybe it would have been the last album for the band, but CoVid has given em all time off.

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

Learning

Dee Snider once said “nothing lasts forever”. You are on top today and forgotten the next. The news cycle is so fast that no one even remembers what happened last week.

And I’m constantly in a state of learning. I like to read and learn new things. I like to acquire new skills. More so now than ever before.

I’ve always told everyone that Maiden made me want to learn, because of their songs. And I always got blank stares when I said that.

So I started to explain.

I read the Bible because of “Revelations” and “Number Of the Beast”.

I researched “Alexander The Great” because of the song. I read the poem of the Ancient Mariner because of them and the story of the “Phantom Of The Opera” and the mythology of the “Flight Of Icarus”.

I got an A when we studied Ancient Egypt because “Powerslave” made me interested in that era. I read up on the Battle Of Britain because of “Aces High”. I got to understand the Doomsday Clock and what it actually meant to forecast “Two Minutes To Midnight”.

“Mother Russia” got me reading up on the Tsars. “The Trooper” got me reading up on the “Crimean War” and “Where Eagles Dare” got me interested in World War II again, hence the reason why I kept getting A’s in history. Plus let’s not forget Churchill’s speech which is used to great effect in “Live After Death”. As I type this I’m hearing “we will never surrender” as the band launches into “Aces High”.

“Genghis Khan” was an unknown name back then so I had to check it out and I had to look up the meaning for “Purgatory”.

And the covers. I stared at em for long periods of time and tried to draw em myself. Another source of learning a new skill. Same deal with the logo.

That band was huge in getting me curious.

And I see that same sense of learning happening with my children today. From the TV shows and movies they’ve watched, they have built their own LEGO creations, wrote their own stories and filmed their own stop motion movies.

Be influenced and never stop learning.

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

2000 – V1

I’ve been doing these yearly revision posts on and off for the last four years. Basically when I’ve felt like it.

I started with 1980, as that was a pivotal year when it all began for me. And then I went forward and back at the same time. I did a post for 1981, and then a post for 1979. Then a post for 1982 and a post for 1978.

Currently I am up to 1985 and 1977 for those eras. They are in a various states of drafts and on hold for a little bit because I get excited about other posts and it felt like I was just writing about the same bands (like AC/DC, who had releases on both sides of the 80’s and 70’s).

So I wanted to start up another year and work my way forward on that one.

Plus other bloggers who I follow have also been summarizing various years from their own personal experiences.

So a few days ago, I had a vision and in my madness I decided to also kick off a 2000 series.

So there will be a 2000, 1985 and 1977 series running in parallel.

Then there will be a 2001, 1986 and 1976.

But when I started to write the 2000 post, the world has a funny way to show me, that I’m still writing about the same bands I was writing about in the 80’s with a few additions here and there.

So h is Part 1 of 2000.

Bon Jovi – Crush

“It’s My Life” was everywhere. The single got a lot of traction in Australia. It was on radio, on the music TV stations and the various CD single editions were selling out quickly.

The resurrection of Bon Jovi was complete after a pretty relaxed period between 1996 and 1999. Then again, Sambora and Jovi did release solo albums in between and toured, so maybe it wasn’t so relaxed.

Songsmith Max Martin got a co-write, however it’s hard to know what he actually did because Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora didn’t use him again. Also just ask Steven Tyler, how much song writing some of the outside writers did. Holly Knight got a writing credit for “Rag Doll”, and all she did was come up with the song title. Thanks Deke for that one.

And although I like the derivative sounding “It’s My Life”, my favourites (like most of the Bon Jovi albums) are more of the deeper cuts, like “Just Older”, “Two Story Town”, “Mystery Train”, the six plus minutes of “Next 100 Years”, the laidback feel of “She’s A Mystery” and probably the best live song they have written in “Old Wild Night”, which gets no love these days but it should.

Disturbed – The Sickness

There was a sticker on the CD, which had a quote from “Ozzy” calling Disturbed “the future of Heavy Metal”. I don’t know if Ozzy actually said that, but it was a cool bit of marketing, because I bit and handed over $20.

The thing that got me from the start, is the staccato vocals from David Draiman, which was so different from the 80’s type of singers I was used to plus it helped that the music was pretty cool as well. And I kept listening, became a fan, seen em live on two occasions and today, I hold David Draiman in some unique company of metal voices and Disturbed as one of my favourite acts.

And this album really put em on the map. In the U.S alone (and if you like to use the RIAA sales metric as a gauge for success) then 9 million is the number so far.

For me, the cross between groove metal and heavy metal and that thing people called Nu-Metal is excellent and it got me out of a rut.

“Voices” talks about some freaky shit, and that vocal delivery from Draiman was so unique it captured me. Then “The Game” starts off with the NIN style of electronics, and when the guitar riff comes in, its heavy metal all the way.

“Stupify” has this guitar riff that takes the style of Korn and guitarist Dan Donegan has this ability to make it sound like a metal riff.

And his ability to take influences from what was current like NIN, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Tool and put it into his metal influenced blender, that’s the magic brew of Disturbed. By the way check out the section from about 2.52 for a breakdown.

“Numb” is taking the moodiness of Tool and making it accessible in a 4 minute song. “Shout 2000” gives an old 80’s song a new lease of life and the title track “Down With The Sickness” is that song in the concert when the musician looks at the sea of faces jumping up and down and head banging, like an ocean swell about to hit the stage.

Fates Warning – Disconnected

I was always on the fence with Fates Warning. My cousin Mega loved em and he had all of their albums. But for me, I just taped the songs I liked from those albums and never really got into a whole album.

But this album changed all of that. As soon as the first ringing guitar notes started which to my ears mimicked a warning siren, I was hooked.

For me, it feels like a perfect blend of what was current, like Tool and Porcupine Tree and a nod to what Dream Theater was creating (they even have Kevin Moore guesting on keyboards) and it’s all surrounded by a hard rock progressive feel.

Also while the earlier albums showed guitarist Jim Matheos evolving with each release from raw NWOBHM, to Power Metal, to technical thrash metal, to Queensryche style rock to atmospheric progressive rock and on this one, he is digging deep into his well and bringing out everything he knows into well-structured songs and a cohesive album.

And the album is ignored by the masses.

But not by me.

“Disconnected, Pt 1” kicks it off with its ominous warning siren guitar bends. And the synth keys make it sound even more dystopian. Then again, if you look at the cover of the album, its people in gas masks under an orange sky. For me, it’s like our Australian summer, which had orange and red skies, and our air quality was crap, for a very long time.

“One” blasts out of the gates with its Porcupine Tree/Tool influenced riff.

“So” is groove heavy, with a hint of a Tool influence, but Jim Matheos makes it sound metal. When it quietens down in the verses, it just reminds me of the song “Black Sabbath”. The bridge section from about 4.30 also quietens down and then that Tool like groove from 5.50 hits you like a sledgehammer. “Pieces Of Me” is a derivative version of “One”, with small changes here and there to make it stand on its own.

And the two big bookends.

“Something For Nothing” and “Still Remains”. They are quality, as a melancholic and atmospheric groove leads the way. It’s progressive and it doesn’t have or need a thousand notes per second nor complex time signatures pieced together and added like fractions. On both songs, it’s a feel and a groove which lays the foundation and the songs keep building from there.

The album closes with “Disconnected, Pt 2”, with the guitar warning siren bends and some nice keys.

Iron Maiden – Brave New World

There was “The Ed Hunter Tour” of 1999, which announced the latest and upgraded hardware version of Iron Maiden from 5.0 to 6.0. And it’s been the same line up since.

And no one really knew how this 6.0 upgrade would go with new music. But they delivered.

Each song has a section which makes it connect.

From the opening Em chord of “The Wicker Man”, the song is full of the things that make Maiden great, like the repeating chorus line of “your time will come” and the singalong “woh-oh-oh” in the outro which is then followed by harmony guitars.

And I like the “Fear Of The Dark” section between 5.00 and 5.42 in “Ghost Of The Navigator” and the harmony solos in “Brave New World”.

“Blood Brothers” is a classic Maiden song, driven by an awesome bass riff, synth strings, harmony guitars (especially that harmony section from 3.29 to 3.57 and again from 4.22 to 6.20) and a vocal performance from Bruce Dickinson to rival his 80’s output. It feels like only a few singers could pull off repeating the same chorus line over and over again and make it sound unique. Dio comes to mind, Dee Snider as well and Bruce Dickinson.

“The Mercenary” has a head banging intro to rival the “Two Minutes To Midnight” intro. And that Chorus, when Bruce starts to sing “Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run”. Brilliant. “Dream Of Mirrors” and that “Phantom Of The Opera” intro. But when it quietens down and it’s just the bass rumbling along, with the closed high hats and a clean tone guitar melodic lick. That’s when the hairs on the back of my neck rise up. And by the end of it, I’m also dreaming in black and white because Bruce repeats it so many times, you get hypnotized. Also listen to when Bruce sings woh – oh from the 7.20 minute mark.

“The Fallen Angel” with its “Wrathchild” style intro. Then that open string pull of lick in the Chorus. The intro in “The Nomad” which is also the Chorus riff and then that epic sounding exotic/barbarian/viking like lead from about the 4 minute mark. The intro to “Out Of The Silent Planet”.

Version 6.0 was off to the good start and the “Rock In Rio” DVD put any doubt to rest.

Everclear – Songs From An American Movie, Vol 1: Learning How To Smile

This is another album that got my attention.

The song “Wonderful” was all over the charts in Australia, and I suppose that “Star Wars” poster on the bedroom door lyric got me to bite. And the album is excellent. Again, it came at a perfect time to get me out of a rut, musically. It was different and removed from the 80’s and 70’s music I was so into. Then again, I was still overdosing on Maiden, but that’s another story.

“Here We Go Again” has these jazzy 7th style chords played in a pattern like “I Love Rock N Roll” in the verses, and it got me interested straight away. And there is a horn section which reminded me of “Tangled In The Web” from Lynch Mob. And that bridge section about sitting on a mattress in the corner and eating Chinese food. Its conversationlist and I like it.

“AM Radio” has a lot of great lyrics about the 70’s and listening to that AM Radio or just laying in bed with the radio on and listening to it all night long.

The VCR and the DVD
There wasn’t none of that crap back in 1970
We didn’t know about a World Wide Web
It was a whole different game being played back when I was a kid

Even if you weren’t born then, you already get a picture in your head of some of the technology that wasn’t around.

Flashback, ’72
Another summer in the neighbourhood
Hangin’ out with nothing to do

Even in the 80’s, we had days like these with nothing to do. It changed in the 90’s when parents had an agenda of things their kids had to do or achieve or attend.

Cruisin’ with the windows rolled down
We’d listen to the radio station

Damn right.

I remember 1977
I started going to concerts and I saw the Led Zeppelin
I got a guitar on Christmas day
I dreamed that Jimmy Page would come from Santa Monica
and teach me to play

There is always a defining “aha” moment, which sets of the correct adrenaline kick.

I like pop, I like soul, I like rock, but I never liked disco

Not many who liked pop, soul and rock liked disco. Remember Bob Seger and his old time rock and roll to soothe the soul.

“Learning How To Smile” is my favorite track on the album.

Five miles outside of Vegas when we broke down
Threw my keys inside the window and we never looked back
Got all drunk and sloppy on a Greyhound bus
We passed out, all them losers they were laughing at us

Youthful enthusiasm, leave the past behind (the car) and move forward to something new. The oldsters would have organised a tow truck to retrieve the car and then spend money to fix it, because every possession was precious. Tell that to the throwaway generation, who upgrade their Tech yearly or bi-yearly.

We got lost in Phoenix, seemed like such a long time
Seven months of livin’ swimming on those thin white lines
Did some time for sellin’ acid to the wrong guy
Life just keeps on gettin’ smaller and we never ask why

Taking and selling drugs and doing what they could to get by, with no safety net.

Why there is no perfect place, yes I know this is true
I’m just learning how to smile
That’s not easy to do

Life is not all sunshine and a bed of roses. And the more older we get, the harder it is to smile sometimes, even though you want to smile.

We was broke outside of Philly when the storms came
I was working in New Jersey, hitchin’ rides in the rain
You was happy talkin’ dirty at that phone sex place
Life just keeps on gettin’ weirder for us every day

Tommy and Gina have nothing on Art and his girl.

We can leave it all behind like we do every time
Yes we both live for the day
When we can leave and just go runnin’ away

Escapism. I remember when I first got my car license. I felt a freedom, I’d never felt before.

Five miles outside of Vegas, five years down the line
We got married in the desert and the sunshine

Through all the ups and downs, I guess they learned how to smile.

And to close off the album, “Thrift Store Chair” has this acoustic 70’s feel, which reminds me of Bad Company and “Wonderful” kicks off with a simple drum groove, and then the piano which outlines the chords. And the song just keeps on building.

Well 2000 is officially kicked off. Now I’m going back in time to 1985. And then 1977. And then back to 2000, in ludicrous speed.

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

The Pirate Vault #8

Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls Live in Providence 8-8-1987

I’ve got the bootleg on LP and I couldn’t find any YouTube clips from this concert, but there is one titled Motley Crue – Full Concert – 10/10/87 – Oakland Coliseum Stadium (OFFICIAL) which has the same set list, starting off with the Dave Rose “Stripper” song as the backing tape, but some songs are edited out for some reason.

And “Dancin On Glass” is one of my favourite tracks from the “Girls” album, so it’s cool to see it in the set list and to hear it get the live treatment.

Because it’s a god damn great song and it works perfectly for the live show, with its sleazy groove and blues influenced vocal melodies. The other songs are more or less part of Motley canon and still part of the set list, and the Jack Daniels break is the guys drinking Jack Daniels, basically an early version of Tommy’s tittie cam.

Also on Tommy Lee, he is a very underrated drummer. He holds down the fort, consistent in his tempo’s and every cymbal crash and every drum fill and every ad lib drum fill is on beat.

Extreme – self titled debut
David Lee Roth – Eat Em And Smile

There is so much guitar on this tape, from two giants in Nuno Bettencourt and Steve Vai.

Like Steve Vai’s guitar is having a convo with David Lee Roth in “Yankee Rose”. Nuno’s is supporting an harmonica lead in “Little Girls”.

And both guitarists don’t play stock power chords chords as they decorate each riff with single note scalar progressions, triad chords, hammer ons and pull offs and palm muted arpeggios.

Iron Maiden – self titled debut
Metal Ballads

This tape fell into my possession from a girl who dumped her boyfriend. And since this mix tape was created by her now ex-boyfriend, she didn’t want it. Both sides were metal ballads. I didn’t mind side 2 as it had some cool guitar like Whitesnake with “Restless Heart” and “Is This Love”, Bad English, Firehouse, John Waite and Slaughter.

Side 1 from memory had some ballad Bolton songs which was enough for me to overdub. I actually liked Michael Bolton on his first couple of solo albums, because they are good melodic hard rock albums.

I also don’t know what I was thinking when I used the words Metal and Ballads together. It just doesn’t make sense. I should of merged them, Metallica style, to become Metallads.

Actually that’s even worse now, Metal Lads. What is that?

And I added some WASP tracks at the end of the Maiden album, just to fill up the side.

How good is the intro to “Prowler”?

Led Zeppelin – IV
Led Zeppelin – my selection from Remasters
(and I don’t know why I selected some of the same songs I had on side 1 courtesy of “IV”).

When I was burned out on my 80’s music in the 90’s and I wasn’t really biting the new Seattle sounds as essential listening, Led Zeppelin and hundreds of other 70 acts became my go to sounds.

And I loved the world and the sounds they created because rock music was about trying things. No other artist wrote a song like “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Kashmir” or “Stairway To Heaven”. Ohh, wait, scratch that last part on “Stairway” as a judge and a jury will decide the Stairway case. The insanity of it all.

And I remember reading the making of “The Wall” and how complicated it was because the band members didn’t speak to each other, and Roger Waters wanted total control and the record label wanted it to have more accessible songs which Pink Floyd refused to do and the record label wanted it out at a certain time, which the band refused to do. And that constant struggle between creating art vs money thrown at the artist continued.

Because the labels were scared to drop an artist who had sales, because there was nothing worse than having an artist you dropped, sell a million records on another label. So they kept em on their label, put up with em and gave in to their demands, because the artist had the power. As Ricky Gervais said in his Golden Globe speech, “he doesn’t care”, the artists had the same motto. They didn’t care, it was all about the sex and the drugs and the sex.

But MTV gave the record labels a lot of power because they created it and controlled it and when music entered the lounge rooms, sales of recorded music went through the roof, which meant a lot of dollars on their profit sheets.

Suddenly, the labels had the power to kill an artist’s career straight away. And Seattle didn’t decimate the hair bands. The record labels did, by signing so many “look a likes” and “sound a likes” that the market reached its saturation point.

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

The Pirate Vault #7

The little box of cassette tapes keeps bringing back some memories.

Guns N Roses mix and 7th Son of A 7th Son

The Gunners mix is a weird one, a combination of live tracks from B sides and “Use Your Illusion” tracks, along with “Patience” from the “Lies” EP.

I chucked in “Breaking The Law” from Judas Priest towards the end because the band I was in was covering it, and in the 90’s when we played the song, people thought it was our own song. Totally clueless to the songs origin or we played it that bad, they couldn’t recognize it.

And “So Tired” from Ozzy’s “Bark At The Moon” album is one of the best songs Ozzy has written with just one finger and a piano.

Side 2 has the excellent “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” album from the mighty Iron Maiden.

I remember sitting down and learning “Moonchild”, “Infinite Dreams”, “Can I Play With Madness”, “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” and my favourite track, “The Evil That Men Do”.

Living on the razors edge alright.

Savatage Mix and Fates Warning Mix

My cousin “Mega” is four years older and at this point in time, he had more money at his disposal and was devouring new music like a sumo having breakfast.

And I had the Savatage albums with Criss Oliva up to “Gutter Ballet” on LP and “Streets: A Rock Opera” on CD, but hadn’t heard “Edge Of Thorns” and then I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after his death with the next album, but upon hearing that Alex Skolnick from Testament was involved, I was interested.

As for Fates Warning, I had the first three albums on LP and Mega was purchasing all the CD’s after that.

So on a visit to his place, I spent some time listening and cherry picking songs to fill up a side over a few albums. I guess Apple was onto something with their iTunes Store.

The Savatage tracks are made up of “Edge Of Thorns” and “Handful Of Rain” tracks, while the Fates Warning tracks are made up of “Perfect Symmetry” and “Parallels” songs.

Guitars From Hell Part I and II

I don’t know why I selected that title for this mix tape.

Side 1

“Take Me For A Little While”

It’s one of my favourite cuts from the “Coverdale/Page” album, because it could have been a massive radio hit if it was shorter, but these two legends just kept going and the song ended up almost 7 minutes long.

“Song For Love”

Nuno Bettencourt has some real good guitar moments in this song and it’s here because of it.

“You Don’t Remember , I’ll Never Forget” and “Queen In Love”

I was having a Yngwie Malmsteen moment and these two songs are accessible and Malmsteen plays for the song, with stellar riffing and picking the right moment to break loose.

“Dr Rockter”, “Love Machine” and “Sleepin In The Fire”

WASP aka Blackie Lawless just knew how to satisfy the core. These 3 songs I can put em on, and never once do I think to press skip.

“Breaking The Chains”

I had overdosed on the Dokken albums from “Tooth N Nail” so I went back to the debut.

“Hiroshima Mon Amour” and “Island In The Sun”

Did I mention I was having a Malmsteen moment?

These are tracks from the excellent and very underrated “Alcatrazz” band before Malmsteen went solo.

Notice the guitar heroes in the list on side 1. Jimmy Page, Nuno Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch and Chris Holmes/Blackie Lawless (bassist who moved to guitar). Maybe the whiskey swilling Holmes didn’t get as much attention, but he could play and he could party. Sort of like the underrated Robin Crosby from Ratt.

Side 2

“You’re Invited But Your Friend Can’t Come” kicks it off, a cut written by Shaw and Blades for Vince Neil, but the guitar you hear is from Steve Stevens. And the solo break is worthy.

“Reason To Kill” has the excellent Al Pitrelli on guitar. It was released on “Blood And Bullets”, the excellent album from Dee Snider’s “Widowmaker” project.

“Outlaw” is from the pre Motley John Corabi fronted “The Scream” band.

“Devils Toy” is from the excellent “The Almighty” and it can be found on their “Soul Destruction” album.

“Stand Up And Fight” is from MARS, the supergroup project featuring Tony MacAlpine on guitars, Tommy Aldridge on drums, Rob Rock on vocals and Rudy Sarzo on bass.

“To Hell With The Devil” is one of my favourite cuts from the album of the same title and all those harmonies courtesy of Michael Sweet.

“Here I Go” is from “The Screaming Jets” a hard rock band from Australia. This song appears on their “Tear Of Thought” album. Guitarists, Grant Walmsley and Richard Lara really worked well together and nailed their parts, however credit needs to go to the main songsmith in bassist, Paul Woseen, who wrote the majority of songs for the band.

“Midnight/Tornado” is from the Skid Row debut. I always liked this song, but other songs got my attention early on, so I put it on a mix tape to overdose on it.

“Don’t Lie To Me” is another obscure Dokken cut that features some tasty work from George Lynch.

And to close, a Cinderella classic in “Don’t Know What You Got (Until It’s Gone)”.

And even on this list, you see a list of guitar heroes. Steve Stevens, Al Pitrelli, Bruce Bouillet, Ricky Warwick, Tony MacAlpine, Michael Sweet/Oz Fox, Grant Walmsley/Richard Lara, Dave Sabo/Scott Hill, George Lynch again and Tom Keifer/Jeff LeBar.

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

The Pirate Vault #4

The Pirate Vault keeps on rolling.

Iron Maiden – Killers and The Jimi Hendrix Story

From memory, the “Jimi Hendrix Story” was a double CD of Hendrix cuts that my mate MoeFartin (nickname of course) had, so I picked my favourites at that point in time.

“Killers” is basically a dub from the album, so I can have it transportable on my Walkman as I felt I hadn’t given it enough attention compared to the other albums.

And I had “Live From Death”, “Somewhere In Time” and “No Prayer For The Dying” on cassette. Plus “Live After Death” touched all of their albums up to that point except “Killers”.

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness

I’m a bit torn on this album. I always thought it should be one album, like “Siamese Dream” which I have on CD. The main songs I listened to are the ones I had to learn for the band I was in, like “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” and “1979” and “Zero”.

And how iconic is the lyric, “the world is a vampire”.

Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom and Metallica Mix

“Cliffs Of Dover”.

Just listen to it, and that arpeggio lead riff in the key of D major. Learning the song, the licks, proved to be a beautiful experience and Eric Johnson, opened my eyes to a different side of guitar playing which sounded accessible.

And for the Metallica Mix, well, at that point in time, I really enjoyed listening to these songs and I’ll always state that “Ride The Lightning” trumps “Master Of Puppets”. So it’s no surprise that on this mix I have four songs from the “Justice” album and two songs from the “Ride” album.

Rock Junkies

It’s a weird mix for sure.

 Done in the 90’s.

I remember I was at Mega’s place and he is a collector of all things musical and I had a tape which had music on it, but I said screw it, I am going to overdub it for some off this stuff (hence the made up cover and not the original cover sleeve that comes with a blank cassette).

So he had some Police records and I copied the two big songs from those. He also had a Dokken 12 inch single, which had “Back For The Attack” and “Paris Is Burning” as the B-sides, so I copied that.

He also had U2 – Achtung Baby and I copied my three favourite songs from that.

Moving onto Side 2, I had the film clip of Great White’s “Rock Me” and “Stars” from Hear N Aid, so I copied those songs. Then Body Count and “Cop Killer” song came next, some Billy Idol and his “Rebel Yell” and I finish it off with Dee Snider’s “Calling On You” from Widowmaker which actually took the spot of another Body Count song called “The Winner Loses”.

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Music, My Stories

The Pirate Vault #2

Richie Sambora – Stranger In This Town

When this came out, a mate purchased the cassette and I dubbed it off him. At that point in time, I had taped a few interviews from Sambora and the music video for “Ballad Of Youth” on VHS tapes.

I purchased the CD many years later.

And it’s a great snapshot of an artist trying to find himself as a solo artist, unsure of what the future holds.

Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy / Iron Maiden – The Number Of The Beast

I couldn’t be bothered to write the full album title, so I called it “666”.

“Live After Death” was my first exposure to Maiden, and eventually I would get the back catalogue, first as copies from a copy and eventually the real albums.

For Ratt, they became a video clip band for a long time, and if someone had an album that they wanted to share, then I would dub it.

But in this case, the Ratt fan I had in my local, was a culture locker up. He didn’t want to share.

Lucky for me, my cousin Mega, always had excess funds that he used on metal and rock music purchases. But unfortunate for Mega, the excess funds didn’t come from his hard work, it came from his Dad’s hard work, who didn’t trust banks, so he kept the cash at home and Mega found the stash and started spending it, bit by bit, until his Dad did a stocktake and found $700 missing. Mega had some serious bruising for about 6 weeks.

That to me sums up the heavy metal lifestyle.

Racer X – Second Heat / Racer X – Street Lethal

While the band was a great drawcard on the LA club circuit, the major labels didn’t come knocking. Paul Gilbert was losing interest in the band and the other members focused their anger on vocalist Jeff Martin. So it was no surprise that the band dissolved. But what came after was so much better.

Paul Gilbert teamed up with Billy Sheehan and formed Mr Big and got his major label deal.

John Alderete and Bruce Bouillet teamed up with John Corabi and formed The Scream, released an excellent debut album, only to lose their small indie deal after Corabi joined Motley Crue. John Alderete would end up on a major deal with “The Mars Volta” many years later but Bruce Bouillet never got his major label deal.

Jeff Martin replaced Eric Singer on drums in Badlands even though he was the vocalist for Racer X and was on a major label for the “Voodoo Highway” album.

Scott Travis joined Judas Priest for the excellent “Painkiller” album and got his major label deal.

Sometimes, the pieces don’t fit and in Racer X’s case, it didn’t really work out, but when they were free to fly, all the members proved to be valuable additions to other bands.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Live After Death

It’s the best live album out there.

It’s also my first exposure to Iron Maiden and a pretty good reason why I didn’t feel the need to buy the first four albums until very much later on.

At the time I didn’t know, but the tempo of the songs is just a bit quicker on the live album compared to the recorded versions and the tempo of the live versions is basically how I’ve grown to know the songs. If you don’t believe me, compare the two “Hallowed Be Thy Name” versions.

And I heard Bruce Dickinson sing the DiAnno era songs first, and because of this I can’t get into the DiAnno versions. I still play the DiAnno Maiden records but I guess Bruce has my heart.

It’s also the reason why I purchased a ticket for each of the two Sydney shows on the “Somewhere Back In Time” tour of 2008.

I also got it on cassette and it was my first cassette that had a multiple fold out sleeve in the layout. Plus Derek Riggs delivered another masterclass cover design. I drawed that cover quite a few times.

Vinyl was also hard to get because it was people’s first preference when it came to buying recorded music. And my town only got a small amount of vinyl. You had to travel to Sydney via a 90 minute train trip one way and maybe even then, the record store wouldn’t have it. It’s a risk us music lovers would take.

It was exciting to read the cities they played in the cassette fold out sleeve. And I was bummed to see that they played Shellharbour Workers which is 15 minutes away from where I lived.

I never went because I didn’t know about the show (yeah I know, how could have that happened, but it did). Many years later and I swear it was purely subconscious, I had my wedding reception at the venue and years after that I had my kids christenings at the same venue. I didn’t think about it at the time however it was pointed out to me recently that I’ve had most of my functions at the venue Maiden played on the “Live After Death” tour.

And the venue is more like a theatre so Maiden would have had a cut down version of the stage show.

As far as live albums go, we (the fans) hold it in high regard with the vinyl and video formats receiving certifications all around the world.

Scream for me Long Beach…

P.S.

Kiss “Alive II” was also released on October 14, in 1977. Both pretty influential albums.

P.S.S

Maiden did find gold again with the “Rock In Rio” release. Especially the DVD. And on this album, Bruce brought to life songs from the Blaze fronted era.

P.S.S.S

I also purchased the DVD for “Flight 666” which I rank as Maiden’s third best live album and a great memento for the two nights I watched em perform the same set.

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

Powerslave

Iron Maiden – Powerslave

“Live After Death” on cassette was my first Maiden. I even high speed dubbed the album, just in case the cassette deck chewed up the original tape. “Powerslave” came a few years after because if you had “Live After Death” you didn’t really need the earlier albums.

Owning music was a risky business. The vinyl could get a scratch or it get warped from the heat, and the cassettes could get chewed up by the tape deck or if not played for long, the reels could get stuck together. And then you had to re-purchase something you already had purchased.

After the “Piece Of Mind” tour ended at the end of 1983, the band took January off and in February, they started to write new material. They booked the studio for March-April and in May, they mixed the album.

In June/July they spent rehearsing the tour set list and by August 1984 the 13 month “World Slavery” tour commenced in Poland with the album coming out in September after the tour had started.

I remember reading how the band would play in total 220 shows and transported around by 6 huge trucks in the US due to the larger venues which means a larger PA or 4 trucks for Europe and 5 tour buses for band and crew.

If there is one thing about Maiden, they knew that the live show had to work and that the show was their bread and butter. It would eventually make Bruce Dickinson consider walking out on Maiden, something he did in the 90’s after “Fear Of The Dark”.

What’s even more amazing is that the band got bigger and bigger in most markets without any singles and airplay that was afforded to bands like Def Leppard, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Ozzy and Quiet Riot. And this grassroots word of mouth fan base still sustains the band to this day.

The other thing with “Powerslave” which makes it great is that it has the power and energy of a live album and the line-up is finally stable. When you don’t have to look for new musicians to fill the void, you can focus on writing great songs as they did with “Peace Of Mind”, “Powerslave”, “Somewhere In Time”, “Seventh Son of A Seventh Son”.

Aces High

Steve Harris basically wrote a speed metal song with key changes and syncopated technical passages.

The intro from 0.00 to about 0.34 starts in the key of A minor and Kirk Hammett loved it so much he used it for “For Whom The Bells Toll”.

And how good is the section just before and after the solo. You can mouth sing it and it sounds brilliant.

Minutes to Midnight

Adrian Smith’s addition to Maiden made them a lot better and Nicko McBrian’s addition also made them more technical.

This song is written by Smith and Bruce Dickinson and the One Riff to Rule Em All is also the main riff for this song.

That slowed down solo section from 3.24 to 4.10 is perfect. It starts off with a riff, then some simple E minor pentatonic leads and then the build from Nicko into the main riff again.

Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)

It’s listed as written by Harris, so if you believe his haters, it means he copied it from someone or stole their intellectual property. I seriously can’t believe our world has come to this.

The section from 2.34 to about 3.20 is why this song is on this list. If it doesn’t lift you up and inspire you, then I am losfer words.

Flash of the Blade

The song is solely credited to Dickinson, so I’m presuming he wrote the cool open string intro riff.

The Duellists

The section from 1.50 is what I play air guitar too. It reminds me of the feel and simplicity from the debut album.

Then from 2.15 there is a stop/start section to about 2.30 which is brilliant and then a melodic lead starts to happen over the previous riff, before it evolves into a full solo section.

Back In The Village

That intro is basically a blues boogie on speed. It’s brilliant. Then the music build up to the solo section from 2.17 to 2.30 is desk breaking stuff and they revert back to it at 2.40 to 3.00. In each song, there are a little bits here and there that deserve to be fleshed out a little bit more.

Then again, the most recent album from Maiden had them fleshing out these bits for way too long and the songs could have used with some edits.

Powerslave

It’s another Dickinson cut and as a guitarist the song is full of excellent riffs and passages.

So if Dickinson wrote those riff’s, he is then the true unsung guitar hero of Iron Maiden.

The opening galloping riff which segues into the verse is a perfect example of simple, yet effective riff creating. But when the Chorus riff comes in, with Dickinson’s wonderful vocal melody, it’s cathartic.

Then from 2.35 it moves into a ballad like interlude section, which is a perfect release from the distorted guitars that came before it. And that slow lead break builds up to the faster leader break.

But the piece d’resistance is from 3.58 to 4.21. That harmony lead break is the stuff of “air guitar desk breaking” material. I guess I am a slave to the power of the melodic guitar break.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Another Harris track to close the album and what about the music. If the first 15 seconds doesn’t get your head banging, your fists pumping, then there is a problem.

It’s got everything, a pedal point galloping riff, a single note motif that makes it sound progressive and then at the end a super vocal melody kicks in.

And the way Bruce sings “sailing on and on/curse goes on and on” is the stuff of hairs raising on the back of neck.

From 4.39 it has a simple riff and drum response just before the slow section starts at the 5 minute mark. When I write songs, I always try to incorporate something similar.

From 7.33, Steve starts one of the most iconic bass lines. And the song gets its second wind.

That section from about 8.38 that starts building up from the bass interlude into the lead feels like it’s another desk breaking time moment.

That harmony lead break from about the 10.03 minute mark. It’s perfect. Any lead break which the audience can sing back to you, is a great lead break. And Maiden have a catalogue of them.

For an album which is 34 years old, it’s still so relevant today as it was back then. That is the power of music and great song writing.

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

Progress Is Derivative – One Riff To Rule Them All

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Remember “Progress Is Derivative” means to take the best things of what has come before and merge it all together to come up with something new. In some cases it might sound similar to something in the past and in other cases it might sound unique, original and innovative. And the “One Riff To Rule Them All” is a perfect example of how so many songs can have the same riff conceptually and still be able to stand on their own.

One Riff To Rule Them All…
Yep, it’s the A pedal point riff… It all started with a motor city madman called Ted Nugent, and his song “Stranglehold” released in 1975 (actually it’s a bluesy groove that has been around for a lot longer before then). Since then, the riff has morphed to inspire the following songs.

  • “Hell Bent For Leather” by Judas Priest released in 1978.
  • The intro to “Swords and Tequila” from Riot released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Never Surrender” by Saxon released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Riding With Angels” by Samson (with Bruce Dickinson on vocals), released in 1981.
  • The main riff to “Hellbound” by Tygers of Pan Tang released in 1981.
  • The main riff for “Flash Rockin’ Man” by Accept released in 1982.
  • The Intro in “Curse Of The Pharaohs” from Mercyful Fate released in 1983.
  • The main riff in “Power And The Glory” from Saxon released in 1983.
  • The main riff to “Stand Up And Shout” from Dio released in 1983.
  • The main riff to “Seek And Destroy” by Raven released in 1983.
  • The intro and main riff in “Two Minutes To Midnight” from Iron Maiden released in 1984.
  • The main riff to “Heavy Metal Breakdown” by Grave Digger released in 1984.
  • The main riff to “Phantoms Of Death” by Helloween released in 1985.
  • The main riff to “Skin O My Teeth” by Megadeth released in 1992.
  • The main riff to “Break The Chains” from Tokyo Blade.
  • A small variation of “the riff to rule them all” morphed into “Welcome To Hell” from Venom released in 1981.
  • And this morphed into “Looks That Kill” from Motley Crue released in 1983 and became known as the Sunset Riff. So it was no surprise that other Sunset guitarists started using it.
  • “Young Girls” from Dokken in 1983 has a riff that’s similar.
  • “Tell The World” from Ratt, released in 1983 also has it.

I guess you can’t keep a good riff down. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Music is derivative. Always has been and always will be.

Ted Nugent’s originality in the 70’s is due to him writing derivative versions of blues grooves. There would be no metal music without rock and roll and there would be no rock and roll without country and blues. In the early blues (circa 30’s), copying and transforming was the norm. The same blues song would be recorded by different artists in different states. Sometimes, the titles would change. No lawyers got involved and especially no courts. In return, this allowed the blues sound to grow.

If you look at the bands above, they all built careers from the same patterned riff without a lawsuit to be seen.

What an amazing concept?

Stone Temple Pilots
Fans of Kiss smiled when they heard “Sex Type Thing” from Stone Temple Pilots. The main riff is influenced by “War Machine”. How strange it is, that one of Kiss’s heaviest songs is co-written by pop rock songwriters, Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance with Gene Simmons.

Motley Crue
The Chorus riff to “Ten Seconds to Love” sounds like it was influenced by a certain riff in “Rock & Roll” by The Plasmatics. Actually they sound the same, but who cares. Both are different songs and unique and as you all know, I am a fan of the “progress is derivative” viewpoint.

The Led Zeppelin Effect Again
The impact of “Immigrant Song” cannot be underestimated.

Recently I heard it in “Siberian Queen” (2012) from The Night Flight Orchestra. The drum pattern is Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” (1970) and the guitar riffs reference “Achilles Last Stand” in the intro and verse riff.

Meanwhile, John Sykes re-invented himself as Jimmy Page when he combined “Black Dog” with “Immigrant Song” in “Still Of The Night” (1987). In case you are not sure, it’s the riff that comes in after the intro singing.

Then there are the obvious clones of “Immigrant Song” in “Hold Her Tight” by The Osmonds (1972) and “Burning” by Sweet (1973).

Music is and always will be derivative. Enjoy.

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