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

Australian Method Series: Jimmy Barnes – Two Fires

“I’d been caught between two fires for a long time. One was the inferno that I had built with my success and addictions. The other was the fire that burned for my family”

It’s how Chapter 33 called “out of control like a bushfire” started from the “Working Class Man” book.

“Two Fires” is his fourth studio album released in 1990 and his first United States release for Atlantic Records.

This was the last proper attempt to break Barnes to the U.S market, as previous label partnerships with Elektra and Geffen for the earlier records fell apart due to various reasons.

It was also the first step away from the AOR sounding “Freight Train Heart”. Most of the song writing credits this time are shared by the band and unknown writers instead of Desmond Child, Jonathan Cain and Diane Warren.

“Lay Down Your Guns”

The album gave Barnesy a chance to work with some great players like Brian Setzer from The Stray Cats who plays guitar on this.

A sinister crime noir “Peter Gunn” style riff kicks it off. The song is written by Jimmy Barnes and Rick Nowels.

Nowels was still in his early days of becoming a huge songwriter. His credits now include Adele, Lana Del Rey and many more. Just go to his Wikipedia page.

Lay down your guns and surrender

“Let’s Make It Last All Night”

Very Foreigner sounding, the Chorus is massive as you would expect from a song written by Barnes, Diane Warren and Desmond Child.

It was also a hit in Australia and it’s a staple of his live show.

Let’s make it last all night
This could be the last time I make love to you

“Little Darling”

A Barnes composition with Setzer on guitar again bringing some rockabilly to a soul rock tune.

Well I get to your house
Like the rest of the band
But somehow these things don’t always turn out as planned
You called me a cab and yeah I walked out that door

Barnesy talks about this event in his book. he thought he messed up his chance with his future wife.

“Love Is Enough”

It’s got a feel like “Every Breath You Take” in the verses, just more rockier.

“Hardline”

It’s a hard rock track and one of the best on the album.

Well it’s late at night something just ain’t right
I can tell by the look in your eye
You don’t say two words
You got a stare that burns
It’s gonna be a long long night

“One of a Kind”

Another rocker with hard rock lyrics.

Tight skirts, like a flirt
She don’t stop till it starts to hurt
She’s sweet, what a treat
Got to get her into my back seat

Mmmm. Flirt with skirt with hurt and sweet with treat and backseat. Overused terms but I would not have it any other way.

“Sister Mercy”

Cause a woman’s got the power
To take control of me
Well she can wrap me round her finger
And make a damn fool of me

The blues songs from the 1930s had lyrics like this. That’s how much staying power the blues medium had.

“When Your Love is Gone”

A great ballad. The sound is dated as it uses a lot of 80s sounding midis.

Well, I missed all the signs, never read between lines

And the Barnesy kids make an appearance in the outro.

“Between Two Fires”

A track written by Barnes and Holly Knight.

As you would expect, it’s anthemic and melodic rock.

The Intro and verses riff remind me of “Rocking In The Free World”. And the Chorus soars.

Caught between two fires
Losing control since I first met you

“Fade to Black”

This is a great rock song. Forgotten behind the hits.

When day fades to black
I won’t look back, of that I’m certain

When you just want to escape the rat race for the night.

I wanna get of this one way street
Don’t want to be among the faceless

“Hold On”

It sounds like a track from “Out Of This World” by Europe. With a bit of Led Zeppelin thrown in.

Like most albums of the time, the labels held the power, so they made artists write and write and write.

Barnes wrote over 30 tracks for the album with a lot of em still unreleased and some as B-sides to the singles.

And the fans rallied behind him once again, sending the album to number 1 on two separate occasions and making it 6x Platinum.

And that elusive break through into the US market still remained elusive.

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

Working Class Man

It’s about Jimmy Barnes and his life from leaving Adelaide in the early 70s with Cold Chisel and his solo career.

“Working Class Boy” is the book the covers his childhood in Scotland, the trip to Australia and growing up in a broken and violent home. This one was a tough and uneasy read because of the stories he told.

Chisel like all bands of that era started off as a cover band. They introduced originals for one gig and the audience was disappointed. Back to covers they went.

Jimmy Barnes left the band early on to fill the Fraternity vocal spot left vacant by Bon Scott joining AC/DC.

But it didn’t last long and he was back with Cold Chisel albeit a more focused singer courtesy of the tutelage given to him by Fraternity bassist Bruce Howe who was the taskmaster in that band and he wanted the singer to sound a certain way. Barnsey reckons that Howe also assisted in Bon’s singing prowess.

Like all bands of the era they gig and get crowds and they get managers who promise things and deliver nothing and they kept changing them with the hope that one of em would push the band with the labels.

And a post party gathering at a posh apartment involving sex and drugs which Don Walker attended, ending up being the event that sealed the deal for them in relation to management.

Rod Willis was at the party and he was bemoaning the lack of great managers in the Australian business. Walker was listening and after watching the band play live, Willis became their manager for 32 years.

And in Willis, main songwriter Walker had an ally when it came to implementing new music into their sets. So they started rehearsing.

And all of this is up to 1976.

They got their deal in September 1977. And got a crash course in copyright. There are two copyrights for each song.

The first belongs to the artist who recorded the song, which the record label controls as they paid the money for the recording and they are meant to keep it for a limited time before returning it back to the artists.

The second belongs to the writer/s. And this is controlled by the music publisher.

Barnes sums up his first recording experience in the best way.

“Recording was making something in a dark room with no one to bounce things off, and then waiting three months until it was finished, and then another three months until it came out – only to listen six months later and say to yourself, “Oh, I wish I’d done this or that”.

He wanted to put the producers head in his hands for the second record “Breakfast at Sweetheats”.

Live music television was unmasked as miming to a recording version of the song and Chisel did that for their first appearance but the higher they got the more power they had and when it came to the Countdown awards Chisel was allowed to play live so they upped the ante by walking on with half a bottle of Vodka, and then proceeding to play a song which they changed halfway to slag off the Awards and then smashed their instruments and everything else. .

The more popular Chisel got, the more wilder Jimmy Barnes got. And you need to read his recollection of their North American tour starting with the first show in San Diego, opening up for Loverboy, and ending with their last show in LA in which their Elektra label rep didn’t even turn up for, because it was his Djs friends dog birthday.

The US tour put the writing on the wall. Chisel then imploded and he went solo. His first release “Bodyswerve” went to number 1 in Australia.

And while he’s doing songs in the U.S with Jonathan Cain and other writers for what was hoped what be his break through album in the North American market with Geffen Records, Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman paid him a visit, asking him to audition for the vacant singers spot in Van Halen.

According to Barnesy, EVH mentioned it’s gonna be a new band and their gonna do ballads.

He said “no”.

“For The Working Class Man” came out in 1985 and Barnesy became a legend in Australia. It was everywhere and it debuted at Number 1. But it bombed in the U.S.Apparently it sounded too Australian.

Whatever that means.

Eventually the Geffen deal went bad when Barnes took the masters for the “Freight Train Heart” album back to Australia because he wasn’t happy how Jonathan Cain was producing it.

In Australia, he could do no wrong and his manager organized another US deal with Atlantic this time. In the space of 12 years, Barnes had deals with Elektra with Cold Chisel and Geffen and Atlantic as a solo artist.

Like Ozzy and Black Sabbath, the more records Barnesy sold as a solo artist and singing a few Chisel songs live, generated to a lot of sales of their former bands catalogue.

Black Sabbath and Cold Chisel grew during the 80s and 90s because of the deeds of their singers.

But for all his successes, by 1994 he was almost bankrupt. And he was still out of control.

A lot of rebuilding commenced.

Read the book to find out.

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

Bodyswerve

I’m reading the book “Working Class Man” from Jimmy Barnes. A review will be coming soon.

And I just finished the chapter that covered his first solo album “Bodyswerve” released in 1984.

I always saw Barnesy as indestructible, taking the world head on, with no fucks given.

But there was fear. He was like all of us. Unsure of choices and decisions.

He had the uncertainty and fear of going it alone after Cold Chisel broke up and the fear he had of coming up with songs for his first solo album.

He kept comparing his writing to Don Walker’s from Cold Chisel, but they are very different writers.

He persevered and kept on writing and he delivered.

Once the songs were written, he had to assemble a band.

He got people he felt “safe with”.

Drummer Ray Arnott recorded with Barnes on Cold Chisel’s final album, “Twentieth Century”. Bruce Howe was the bass player and founder of Fraternity, a band that Barnes had sung with for a short time in 1975 after Bon Scott left.

Bruce Howe was a hard taskmaster back in the day and he should be credited for pushing Bon Scott and Barnesy vocally, and by doing so they both developed their high octane singing style.

Mal Eastick had played with “Stars” and second guitarist Chris Stockley, was selected because he played, “old-style rock, like Little Richard and Gene Vincent”.

And then they went on the road, playing small pubs. They fine tuned the songs and when they went into the studio to record, the energy of the band and their tightness, transferred onto the tape.

And the rest is history.

The album dropped, people were expecting it and went straight to Number 1 in Australia. Jimmy Barnes was reborn as a solo artist.

Listen to the riff and groove of “Vision”.

Then there’s this soul style groove for “Daylight” which reminds me of “Mustang Sally” but it’s more hard rock as the guitar riff wouldn’t be out of place on an AC/DC album.

And what a beautiful combination it is, merging soul with hard rock.

“Promise Me You’ll Call” is a slower tempo song, ballad like, with a soul rock vocal melody.

“No Second Prize” has that “Stand By Me” feel, all rocked up, 80s style. And it became an Aussie pub rock classic.

“Boys Cry Out For War” has a riff which reminds me of “T Rex”. And I like it, as it romps it’s way through my brain.

“Paradise” is a rewrite of his “Rising Sun” song from his Cold Chisel days. A 12 bar rock and roll blues romp.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” is another blues like ballad.

“Fire” and “World On Fire” close the album.

Two great rockers which are virtually ignored.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Cold Chisel – 17 December, 1998

It was a few days before my wedding.

As soon as Cold Chisel announced they were reforming, recording and touring, interest was sky high and tickets proved hard to get.

The Sydney shows sold out quickly and the regional show in Wollongong (80 minutes south of Sydney) was also selling fast. That’s the gig we went to and we had a seat in the bleachers.

I never saw Chisel in the 80s.

I became a fan of Jimmy Barnes’s solo career first. And I know that a lot of people in the audience were Jimmy Barnes fans first and then Cold Chisel fans as we grew up with Barnesy and “Working Class Man” on the radio and in our lives.

And the best memento from the gig is the tour booklet.

It’s excellent.

It’s got a story about how the reunion happened, how the album was being recorded and written. It has all the lyrics of the new album that came with the reformation with some great graphics, plus it has a nice discography of Cold Chisel and all of the solo careers of the band member.

And there is a pull out poster of the different eras of Chisel.

Here is just a snapshot of it.

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Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Jimmy Barnes

After Cold Chisel broke up, Jimmy Barnes was on the loose, as the next pseudo Journey singer, because while Steve Perry was doing solo records, the songs that Jonathan Cain was writing ended up on albums from Jimmy Barnes.

There is no doubt that the record label brought out some big guns to get Barnsey into the lucrative North American market.

On the “Working Class Man” album, the title track was written by Jonathan Cain, who played piano and did backing vocals, along with Randy Jackson from “American Idol” fame. On five other tracks, Mick Fleetwood played drums.

On “Freight Train Heart”, Jonathan Cain is playing and co-writing, and so is Neal Schon with Randy Jackson providing bass. Desmond Child is also co-writing. Check out some of the credit pictures.

And if you are a fan of Neal Schon and his guitar work, you will be impressed with his efforts here and Cain’s contributions from a song writing point of view, show a man at the peak of his powers.

Now “For the Working Class Man”, it actually is the second studio released in 1985, however it has five original tracks and seven remixed tracks that had previously been released on Barnesy’s 1984 debut album “Bodyswerve”.

He was on Geffen and the company really put some effort into trying to break him into the US market however the album went 7 times Platinum in Australia, made Barnsey a legend and it did nothing in the U.S.

And the songs, are written by a who’s who.

For side 1 of the first LP, “I’d Die to Be with You Tonight” is written by Chas Sandford, “Ride the Night Away” by Steven Van Zandt/Steve Jordan and by default, it has a Springsteen feel, Steve Jordan.  The very Journey sounding “American Heartbeat” is the closer of side 1 and “Working Class Man” is the opener of side 2. Both are written by Jonathan Cain. All songs are keepers for me.

And the signature song which Barnsey is known by, which captures the Australian spirit and how our livelihoods were attached to the steelworks once upon a time is written by an American.

Side three and four are all Barnsey cuts from his “Bodyswerve” album, and “No Second Prize” is my favourite.

“Freight Train Heart” is album number three and it came out November 1987 in Australia and around March 1988 in the US via Geffen.

As Wikipedia puts it, “Most of the tracks were written by Barnes and one of the producers, Jonathan Cain, however “Waitin’ for the Heartache” was co-written by Barnes and Desmond Child and “Walk On” was co-written by Child and ex-Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner; (Turner would later record his own version with his band Sunstorm). Two songs were also written with Jim Vallance. According to Vallance, Cain also contributed “later”, most likely during the recording process.”

Those songs in question are “I’m Still On Your Side” and “Lessons In Love”.

And the album did great business in Australia, but failed to get any traction in the America market again.

For me the standout track is “Last Frontier” written by Jimmy Barnes and Jonathan Cain, followed by “Driving Wheels” which also captures the Australian truckie lifestyle, co-written with Cain and David Roberts.

“Too Much Ain’t Enough Love”  has a cast of writers in Barnes, Cain, Neal Schon, Randy Jackson and Tony Brock. It is a super power ballad, better than most of the ballads doing the rounds at the time. “Do or Die” is a Barnes, Cain cut and “I Wanna Get Started with You”  is a Barnes, Cain and Schon cut.

And this would be his last album on Geffen and the last to feature a Cain contribution, who ended up being pretty busy with Bad English pretty much at the same time.

And Jimmy Barnes blew me away this year with his best album in decades titled “My Criminal Mind”. He is one of the best front man in the business with one of the most unique voices there is.

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

Australia Day

It’s coming to the end of Australia Day. It has been another hectic day, taking the kids into town, where they purchase tokens and go on the rides. You see, while it is Australia Day, it is the actual theme park show and events that steals the day and the fireworks that steal the night.

For the Indigenous people, Australia Day is the day that they got invaded. For people who reside in the other states, Australia Day is on the day that celebrates the colony foundation of the state of New South Wales.

I love Australia. I am Australian by birth, the son of European migrants. My two older brothers were born in Europe in the Sixties. I don’t know any other way of life, except the Australian way. My three boys born in the two thousands are the second generation of Australians. They don’t know any other way of life, except the Australian way.

My father worked his whole life for BHP Steel. From when he arrived to when he retired hurt. He and so many other workers. So when Jimmy Barnes released “For The Working Class Man” in 1985, I saw that song as the perfect definition of what it means to be Australian. And it is written by Jonathan Cain (the keyboardist from Journey) who is American.

Working hard to make a living

My dad was a bloody hard worker. Not only did he make a living for his family in Australia, he sent money every month to his father in Europe. He supported two families.

He’s a simple man
With a heart of gold
In a complicated land
Oh he’s a working class man

My parents left their communist country two days before their visa to come to Australia expired. The main hold up was my dad’s father (aka my grandfather that I am named after). Since my Dad was the oldest, my Grandfather wasn’t happy that his eldest son was leaving to come to Australia. He threatened to harm all of my Dad’s brother and sisters as a way to make Dad stay.

Now from the stories that I have heard, my grandfather was a bad ass. No one messed with him. My grandfather was born in the 1920’s and my father was born in 1944, towards the end of World War 2. This guy was battle hardened and very protective of his family. He expected obedience.

I saw my Grandfather for the first time in December 1993. Dad paid for his ticket to come to Australia for my oldest brothers wedding. By know he was over seventy and man I almost cried when I saw this frail looking 150cm tall, a bit hunchbacked, walking through customs. Time is a killer. The whole three months he spent in Australia, I just sat with him and asked him about stuff and he told me story after story, along with a lot of regrets, like NOT LISTENING TO MY FATHER AND COMING TO AUSTRALIA WHEN HE HAD THE CHANCE.

Saving all the overtime
For the one love of his life

I hardly saw my dad growing up. He was always at work, doing double shifts and triple shifts. Yep back in the Seventies and the Eighties, workers did triple shifts. I remember a lot of times when I misbehaved and my mom used to say that if I don’t behave, she would call my dad. I ran straight to my room and locked the door. I was frightened of him because I didn’t know him. And the funny thing is that he wasn’t even home. That was the power he had in the household. Whereas today, I want to be mates with my kids.

There is another lyric that is similar.

I hear my father’s working night and day
In Struggle Town it has to be that way

It is from the song “Struggle Town” by the Australian band “The Choirboys” that was released in 1987 on their “Big Bad Noise” album. The town I grew up in “Port Kembla” was becoming a bit like towards the end of the Eighties, so this song resonated and then when I started to drive around to other towns, you start to see the same thing. People working hard to make a living and struggling at doing it.

Jimmy Barnes is more or less an Aussie legend. Typical of Australia’s multiculturalism, he was born in Scotland. His previous band “Cold Chisel” was just about to sing a lucrative contract with Elektra Records in the US and at the last-minute Elektra Records reneged on the deal and took a chance with Motley Crue. If you don’t believe me, read “The Dirt”. It’s all in there. Eventually Cold Chisel called it day, however, Barnsey just kept on working hard to make a living.

The Choirboys are also Aussie legends. One of the bands I was in even opened up for The Choirboys back in the day. Still to this day they put on shows, working hard to make a living.

Australia is just that. People working hard to make a living, so that we can let our hair down, have a few beeries and catch some sun and surf. And then we call in sick after a long weekend. Happy Australia day everyone.

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Music, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Stone Music Festival – The Final Word

It started with lots of promise.

Just days after the announcement the Baby Animals pull out because the festival simply “wasnt feeling right” to them.

Aussie promoter Andrew McManus told fans to be careful on Facebook, which was then removed.

News outlets started to run with stories of the drug past of Richard Cartwright, the CEO of Platinum Entertainment.

Platinum Entertainment was listed as one of the organizers. After the stories came out of the drug history, the Stone Festival PR team distanced themselves from Platinum, by stating that Cartwright’s involvement is purely based on the fact that he owns the rights to the Stone movie. However other press releases contradicted this statement.

The website Tone Deaf reproduced the statements from Andrew McManus. Tone Deaf then received a letter from lawyers representing Stone Music Festival and SEQ; the financier behind the festival. The letter asked Tone Deaf to remove the comments by 5pm as “they believe the statements have caused, and is continuing to cause, loss and damage to the business of their clients.”

Ardline Media is credited with securing talent both local and international. This causes more speculation, that something was fishy about the festival. Ardline Media is a small Sydney-based promoter and agent with no history of hosting an event on this scale.

Van Halen has a history on pulling the plug on promoters and these fears started spreading. The organizers released a statement that said the headlining acts have already been paid.

Aerosmith then joined the line up due to low sales for the same venue. Aerosmith’s tour promoter is Andrew McManus, who we all know was critical of the Stone Music Festival in the beginning.

Promoters cut ticket prices.

The ticket debacle escalates. Fans that paid $300 for standing platinum tickets. They are then told these have changed to reserve seated. Aerosmith is added, and in order to accommodate the Aerosmith fans that purchased tickets for their show, the existing Stone Festival ticket holders are told that their allocated seats are now back to standing. Then the existing ticket holders are watching people buy reserved seating in platinum for half the price.

Lifehouse pulled out in the last minute.

A day before the concert fans still haven’t received their tickets.

The rain came down, but the show went on.

Kings of Chaos stole the show.

Aerosmith and Billy Joel still have it.

David Lee Roth doesn’t have it.

Van Halen need Michael Anthony back.

Jimmy Barnes doesn’t have it.

Buckcherry was the surprise packet.

The Living End played slide guitar with a VB bottle.

And, unofficial numbers for the two day event combined is close to 30,000, which is a far cry from the 160,000 the organizers were expecting.

The Australian story
http://theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/russell-morris-becomes-an-ambassador-for-the-record/

The Daily Telegraph story
http://dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/music/aerosmith-cancel-anz-stadium-concert-for-stone-music-festival/

The Herald Sun story
http://heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/music/van-halen-and-billy-joel-concert-promoter-jailed-for-drug-offences/

The Music Feeds story
http://musicfeeds.com.au/news/stone-music-festival-legal-battles-and-internal-turmoil/

The Tone Deaf Stories
http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/news/tournews/267431/first-act-pulls-out-of-stone-music-festival-it-wasnt-feeling-right-as-aussie-bands-added.htm

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/features/columns/268219/stone-music-festival-sends-lawyers.htm

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