A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories


It needs to be clear who is in charge of the ship. Metallica have Ulrich and Hetfield in the song writing department, however Ulrich is the captain of the ship with the help of managers Mensch and Burnstein. But without Hetfield creating, Metallica are nothing. He went missing during the “St Anger” period and what we got was an album with the main songwriter not there creatively. But it’s Ulrich who rules the roost.

Motley Crue have Nikki Sixx but there was a period when Tommy Lee (due to his relationship with Pamela Anderson plus a certain tape) was bigger than the Crue and he destabilised the band. But Nikki Sixx has re-invented himself since the start of the 2000’s, to a point where he is now bigger than Lee. And Sixx kept the Crue going.

Jay Jay French believed he was in charge of Twisted Sister as band creator and manager however Dee Snider was the main songwriter and the face of the band, so he believed he was in charge. It was no surprise that the band imploded from within.

Bon Jovi have Jon Bon Jovi and everyone else comes a distant second. Even Richie Sambora.

Dokken is a whole 300 page story in itself. George Lynch believed he should be in charge because the songs that gave Don Dokken his record deal are songs that Lynch and Brown wrote in a previous band. But it was Don Dokken that got the deal originally and since the band had his name, he should be in charge. No wonder they imploded.

Van Halen’s early albums had music written by all 4 members. This always surprised me and when I started getting into bands, I could see how difficult it is for all members to contribute actively to a song. Anyway, in the mid 2000’s the song writing credits on past albums changed to exclude Michael Anthony and keep it as Roth and the Van Halen brothers. For who was in charge, David Lee Roth believed he was in charge and could do what he want. This almost made EVH leave the band which carried his surname. So when EVH started to disagree with Roth, it was no surprise that Roth departed. EVH got Hagar and then put his trust in management to steer the ship. And it was no surprise that Hagar also departed due to management issues in the mid 90’s. And it’s no surprise the VH has not been very creative the last 20 years. They have no LEADER to steer the ship.

Black Sabbath had Tony Iommi.

Ozzy Osbourne had Sharon. Without Sharon, Ozzy wouldn’t have a solo career.

Ratt didn’t have no-one in charge, handing their career over to their manager, so it’s no surprise that they have the shenanigans going on right now, with court cases over the use of the name Ratt.

Deep Purple had Richie Blackmore in charge. When he steered the ship, the band rolled. But Ian Gillian showed his limitations. So it was no surprise that the band broke up not long after Blackmore left. Blackmore worked with better singers in Coverdale, Dio and Joe Lynn Turner. So when Purple returned in the mid 80’s, he pushed on through until the mid-90’s when he decided he couldn’t continue anymore with Gillian. So he left and Purple continued on aimlessly without their leader.

David Coverdale formed Whitesnake from the ashes of Deep Purple. When he was challenged, band members got fired. Case closed.

Same deal with Ronni James Dio. He formed his own band and when his dictatorship was questioned, the members got fired. Vivian Campbell wanted a cut of profits, instead he just got cut from the band.

Queensryche had Chris DeGarmo in charge, however when he departed there was no successor selected. Tate took up the mantle and we all know how that turned out.

Guns N Roses have Axl Rose as captain. When that was questioned, Slash and Duff walked.

Mike Portnoy thought he was in charge of Dream Theater however it was always John Petrucci. So when Mike decided to put the band on hiatus, the decision was made to move on without him.

Iron Maiden have Steve Harris. He has kept the band running, in the same way Iommi kept Sabbath running. Bruce Dickinson left and failed as a solo artist. Adrian Smith left and failed as a solo artist. Lucky for them, Harris kept Maiden going and when the time came to reunite the classic line up, with the addition of Gers, it proved to be a masterstroke at the right time. The Rock In Rio DVD is testament to the power of that decision.

For any newbie band starting out, you need a leader to steer the ship. Otherwise it will be chaos and just a hobby.