Influenced, Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – January 9 to January 15

Damn, I just realized I didn’t post this on my usual Sunday.

4 Years Ago (2018)

PUBLIC DOMAIN 2018

A simple post about the works not entering the public domain but should have been.

COPYRIGHT SUITS

Lana Del Rey and Radiohead went to war, with Radiohead suing her for copyright infringement in her song “Get Free” which has a verse that sounds similar to “Creep” released in 1992.

Boy George had the best quote on his Twitter account. “Radiohead were sued by The Hollies and now Radiohead are suing Lana Del Rey. Utter Madness!”

RANDOM LISTENING – THUNDER BAY VERSION

These artists albums came from Deke’s EOY list for 2017.

Greta Van Fleet – From The Fires

I thought it was Wolfmother.

“Edge Of Darkness” is the song that hooked me. It’s feel and groove, which is a cross between Southern Rock and Led Zep’s style of rock is infectious.

And I heard the album that came after and it was boring but I’m still interested as to see what comes next.

Headstones – Little Army

Check out the lyrics.

  • “We’ll I’m a red meat eater, liar and cheater”… from “Devils On Fire”.
    Take that all you politically correct wannabes.
  • “You won’t lift your finger to get your s!!t out of this” … from “Little Army”.
    Blaming others when something goes wrong and doing nothing to fix the problem.
  • “You’re singing the same old song, it’s called “sucking the life outta me”… from “Dead To Me”.
    You gotta love relationships.

Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright

I was never a Cheap Trick fan. Bands I liked always mentioned them as influences, but when you have limited funds to purchase music, I avoided Cheap Trick.

“Brand New Name On An Old Tattoo” is an excellent song title and the song is pretty cool as well. “Floating Down” rocks hard for a mid-tempo song, and the vocal line is infectious and “If You Still Want My Love” is a bonus track on the deluxe version that probably no one would hear.

And youngsters won’t care about this album and the extra few million who purchased “Lap Of Luxury” because of “The Flame” won’t care either. But there are people who will care!

Europe – Walk The Earth and The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary live

Europe nailed it.

They started off with the whole “War Of Kings” album and then played the whole “The Final Countdown” album.

When Joey Tempest screams, “Are you ready London?” the answer is a unanimous cheer.

Stephen Pearcy – Smash

Does anyone care if Stephen Pearcy is running solo?

The “Unchained” sounding “Ten Miles Wide” is cool while “Rain” is interesting musically and it has some decent lyrics. “Want Too Much” works but the piece d’resistance is “Passion Infinity”. Everything just fits and works brilliantly together.

Finally “Summers End” is another song that surprised me with its epic “Kashmir” feel.

Not bad from the Rattster. I wanted another album after this but it never came.

Collective Soul – Live

They don’t disappoint and they have the catalogue of songs to keep the live show ticking over.

I also dig the change to have “Shine” starting off with the piano and how they jam it out “Lynyrd Skynyrd” style at the end, turning one of their biggest songs into a 7 minute jam epic is worth the price of admission alone.

MEMPHIS THREE

If you want to know what society and politics is like, just look at the documentary “West Of Memphis”.

In it you will see incompetence and political corruption.

Three metal head kids (the Memphis Three) are arrested for the murders of three 8-year olds. They are convicted of murder and did more than 18 years in prison.

But they are out now as the whole case against them in a Bible Belt town was all bullshit.

And what the hell is an Alford Plea?

I looked it up on Wikipedia.

The Prosecutors knew they had to release them, but the only way they would do it is by an Alford Plea, so the Memphis Three claim their innocence but plead guilty. The tragedy is the killer still walks free and law enforcement can’t go after any other suspect because a piece of paper says they have the killers.

And the current prosecutor at the end of the doco is a joke. He’s saying those kids are guilty.  If they are guilty why didn’t he go to a re-trial then?

He knew he was going to lose the re-trial because the weight of new evidence found was in favour of the Memphis Three and he would lose votes and lose his position as City Prosecutor.

GRIT

Never quit. Good things come from frustration. If you are upset about failing, it just means that you haven’t failed enough.

Dream Theater almost called it a day, during the period between 1988 and 1991, when months rolled by and no suitable singer appeared.

Perseverance is a skill. It keeps you estranged from the conventions of society.

Ronnie James Dio spent 18 years paying his dues before finding success with Rainbow in 1976.

How many musicians starting out today will put in 18 years of service to music?

Breakthrough work is usually rejected at first. Success is slow.

There is plenty of money to be made in the long run if you don’t make money your number one priority. Start small and remember you don’t have to start perfect.

Just start.

8 Years Ago (2014)

THE CHALLENGE

The record labels arose as a way to get music out of its city venue limitations and into the greater world.

However in time these record labels formed into mega corporations with the emphasis on lower costs and high profit margins.

Throughout the Eighties and Nineties, the labels employed people that figured out how to engineer processes and machines to drive productivity and profit.

The labels ruled the kingdom unchallenged until another player called social disruption reared its head.

It started with a technology called Napster and society showed the powerful record labels what they really think of their high prices.

In the last 20 years, the record labels have constantly stated that the “biggest threat” they face is continued copyright infringement.

They point to research that shows how it is destroying businesses, employments and other sectors. They get people in the press and they get elected politicians on their side to believe those claims. Because, hey, big copyright monopoly companies said that copyright infringement is a threat so it must be a threat.

Did you know that Vivendi (owner of Universal Music) commissioned 23 reports and only 5 of those reports mentioned copyright infringement as a potential risk?

Guess which reports get released to the public.

Did you know that Sony (Sony Music and Sony Pictures) commissioned 15 reports and only 2 of those reports mentioned copyright infringement as a potential risk?

But in their recent annual report, the company listed copyright infringement as a major risk to their business, however 13 reports out of 15 disagree.

The record labels seem to forget that their business is reliant on humans forming a connection with an artist. Yep, with the artist. Not with the label.

THE KASHMIR EFFECT

Great songs don’t happen overnight or by a committee. They happen by jamming and by creating derivative accidents.

If there was any doubt about the power of “Kashmir”, then look no further than the metal and rock movements during the Eighties.

Kingdom Come’s derivative version “Get it On” helped the self-titled Kingdom Come album released in 1988 move over a million units in the U.S.

Whitesnake employed the same technique in “Judgement Day” from the “Slip Of The Tongue” album, which even though it didn’t reach the sale heights of the self-titled 1987 album, it still moved over a million copies in 1989.

In the Nineties, the main riff was used by Puff Daddy in the song “Come with Me”.

The defining part of the song is the ascending chromatic riff over a pedal point which is made even greater by the drumming from John Bonham, playing slightly behind the beat.

Dave Mustaine is a great employer of this technique.

“In My Darkest Hour” and “The Call Of Ktulu/Hanger 18” both employ this technique,

“Mary Jane” from the “So Far, So Good, So What” album released in 1988 has a riff which comes in at 0.46 and continues throughout the song. If it sounds familiar, it should, it is a very close derivative version of “In My Darkest Hour”.

“This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction” album released in 1992 has the main verse riff.

“Public Enema Number 1” from the “Th1rte3n” album released in 2011 has the main verse riff.

“The Kingmaker” from the “Super Collider” album released in 2013 has the Chorus riff.

Check em out if you don’t believe me.

THE THING THAT SHOULD NOT BE

“The Thing That Should Not Be” from Metallica is inspired by H.P Lovecraft. It is the story of Cthulu the Apocalyptic Elder God lying in a dream state within his sunken kingdom of R’lyeh.

Today, “The Thing That Should Not Be” is the story of Copyright.

In 1998, the US Congress agreed to grant another 20 years of copyright protection to every film, book and song in the land. And because of this, works that should be in the public domain are not there.

The world needs a sensible copyright policy which makes the public domain bigger and better so people can build upon.

SAMPLES

Everyone knows the song, “Every Breath You Take”. It is from the mega selling “Synchronicity” album from The Police and it is credited as a Sting composition.

Sting did bring in the demo with his bass line, synth chords and vocal melody.

But, it is in the performances and the Andy Summers guitar riff which makes the song memorable.

But Sting is credited as the songwriter, so he gets all of the publishing royalties.

And when Puff Daddy did his version, it was the guitar track which was sampled, not the drums or bass, but Summers guitar track.

THE ULTIMATE SIN

“The Ultimate Sin” is a misunderstood album.

It is loved by many as much as it is hated.

By 1986, the legend of Ozzy Osbourne was growing. After writing the “Bark At The Moon” album with one finger on the piano m, the heavy metal community waited with anticipation as to what Osbourne would do next.

Jake E. Lee got burned on the song writing credits for the “Bark At The Moon” album, so he demanded a contract up front before he even started writing. It’s not an ideal way to commence the album development cycle however this litigious house is the house that Sharon built.

Of course, the Osbourne’s didn’t credit Daisley for his song writing contributions on the initial 1986 pressing of the album, though this was corrected on subsequent pressings. So there are 500,000 albums out there that doesn’t credit Bob Daisley.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – December 26 to January 8

Well it’s been two weeks since the last DoHh post.

Here we go.

4 Years Ago (2017 going into 2018)

2018 STARTED WITH SOME RANDOM LISTENING

Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Trilogy” album is full of great riffs and leads.

When the U.S record labels went anti shred in the 90’s, the Japanese and South American markets kept his career going.

There is no denying his 80’s output and it’s a shame that a rumoured collaboration with Ronnie James Dio never happened.

Then I moved to “Trash” from Alice Cooper. It’s commercial sounding, but it’s still Alice Cooper singing.

How can it not be good?

The real gems are “Spark In The Dark”, “This Maniac Is In Love With You”, “I’m Your Gun”, “Why Trust You” and “Trash”.

Afterwards, “Operation Mindcrime” from Queensryche got a listen.

It’s loaded with excellent guitar playing and the album gave me a tonne of great riff ideas to use as influences in my own song writing.

“Flesh and Blood” from Poison was next.

“Valley Of Lost Souls” is one hell of a good song and the best on the album.

“Let It Play” could have been on a John Cougar Mellencamp or Bryan Adams album while “Life Goes On” is a good power ballad and CC plays a tasty intro lead. “Come Hell or High Water” is another underrated tune in the vein of the Classic Rock of the 70’s that doesn’t get its dues.

“Ride The Wind” is another sleeper, while “Something To Believe In” copies the “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” country bluesy vibe, however this time, the piano is the main driver instead of the acoustic guitar.

“Blow My Fuse” from Kix was up next. Now this album is a perfect example of the “progress is derivative model”.

It starts off with “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” which sounds very familiar like something from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. “Get It While It’s Hot” is heavily influenced by “You Shook Me All Night Long” from AC/DC. Actually it’s very heavily, heavily influenced by that song.

“No Ring Around Rosie” is a beefed up “La Grange” from ZZ Top in the verses. “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is taking its cues from “Home Sweet Home” and “Dream On”. “She Dropped Me The Bomb” is again heavily influenced by AC/DC with a touch of The Who.  “Cold Blood” is a very similar to “Long Way To The Top” from AC/DC in the verses.

“Piece Of The Pie” is very heavily influenced by Aerosmith. “Boomerang” is influenced by Led Zeppelin. “Blow My Fuse” is such a good track where the influences are not as obvious as the other tracks. “Dirty Boys” is influenced by “Let There Be Rock” by AC/DC.

Finally, Winger is up.

The groovy “Can’t Get Enough” kicks off the album.

When “Miles Away” came on, I wasn’t sure if it was Bad English or Def Leppard. It’s one of those slow tempo melodic rock songs. “Easy Come Easy Go” has a cool groove and I dig the horn section in the verses.

The next two songs are two of my favourite songs. “Rainbow In The Rose” and “In The Day We’ll Never See”.

RANDY RHOADS AND THE BLIZZARDS

The project could have been called that.

It all started when Ozzy auditioned Randy in LA. Afterwards they jammed for a few days with Dana Strum and Frankie Banali.

Then Ozzy went back to England and he met with Bob Daisley. Ozzy and Daisley jammed with another guitarist and drummer however Daisley mentioned that they needed better players.

Ozzy mentioned Randy Rhoads, however the label wanted a well-known British guitarist, but no one was interested to join because of Ozzy’s reputation. Gary Moore was Ozzy’s first choice and he rejected the offer to audition. Eventually the label relented and Randy was flown over to London. Rhoads and Daisley started writing music and it worked well. Lee Kerslake came towards the end of the writing process.

Here are some summaries of what I wrote about the songs.

Crazy Train

You can call this song Ozzy’s biggest hit but it never registered on the charts back in the day. But on Spotify and YouTube it’s huge. The new paradigm shows us what is being listened too.

Bob Daisley provided the title while Randy Rhoads had the riff and the chord structure. For the lyrics, Bob Daisley used Ozzy’s vocal melodies and referenced what was happening in 1979/80. The Berlin Wall was still up and the Cold War between the USSR and USA was still going on.

Goodbye To Romance

It was Ozzy’s title and it came from an Everly Brothers song called “Bye Bye Love.”

The lyrics were written by Bob Daisley and the subject matter was Ozzy’s “divorce” from Black Sabbath.

On the “Don’t Blame Me” video, Ozzy mentions he was humming the vocal melody, and Randy heard it and developed the chords around the melody. Ozzy’s revisionist take makes it sound that Bob Daisley was not involved at all in the song writing process, which is obviously not true at all.

CRITICAL MASS

There are always different kinds of audiences.

You have the early adopters, the first to hear about an artist. These early adopters are looking and wanting a different experience than the people who identify as the critical mass market.

Early adopters want something fresh, exciting, new and interesting.

The critical mass market don’t. They want something that is familiar.

Metallica when they started had an audience that adopted them early. Some of those fans stood by them all the way, even when they broke through to the critical mass market in the 90’s and some of those early day fans just moved on to something new and different.

And who should the artist please, the early adopters of their music or the mass market?

Profits are fine as they allow the artist to invest back into their art. But if profit becomes the main aim, well, nothing and no one benefits if profits are the only thing the artist seeks.

And yes, there are routes to popularity which are random or accidental or luck or being in the right place at the right time.

BOB ROCK AND METALLICA

Bob Rock knew exactly what every song needed.

The demo of “Sad But True” (I had a drummer in a band who thought it was called “Sad Patrol”) was heaps quicker. Bob heard a “Kashmir” feel and asked James to slow it down and make it crunchy.

Rock kept telling James to re-write lyrics to songs. He told him to use fewer words in the choruses and to use stronger words. He questioned James on what the song was about. He asked him how the verse lyrics referenced the song message. James didn’t like this line of questioning. If James couldn’t explain it back to Rock, it meant he hadn’t nailed the lyric.

Rock told Lars to take drum lessons and he told James to take singing lessons. He told Kirk to rewrite solos.

And as a side note, in “Get Him To The Greek”, Lars gets told by Russel Brand to “Go sue Napster and your fans”, and unfortunately that is the stigma that will forever stick with Metallica. They got so out of touch with reality that they sued their own fans for sharing their music.

Nicko McBrain sums up piracy in “Flight 666”when he said “We sold out in Costa Rica but haven’t sold an album in this country…”

8 Years Ago (2013 going into 2014)

GRAMMY’S

From when Jethro Tull won the first metal award at the Grammy’s, the whole awards has been a joke for metal and hard rock music.

Having Metallica then win the “Best Metal Performance” in 1990 for “One” and then in 1991 for “Stone Cold Crazy” just added to the Grammy metal jokes.

“One’s” fate was tied with the “…And Justice For All” album and that was meant for the 1989 Grammy ceremony.

And seriously, for the 1991 awards, a cover song was the best that was on offer in the metal world for releases released from October 1989 to September 1990. I don’t think so.

Even in 1999, Metallica won again for “Better Than You”.

For which song, I hear you say.

“Better Than You.”

Does anyone know from which album it was on or how the riff goes or the vocal melody?

I bet that most people will answer NO.

HEADED FOR A HEARTBREAK

Billy Squire made one ridiculous video with a pink top. And just like that an amazing voice, with a catalog of songs was gone.

Winger had Kip Winger. A Playgirl pictorial was too outlandish and as glam music was committing suicide by cloning itself over and over again, Beavis and Butthead came along and trashed the band.

Metallica even threw darts at Kip Winger while they recorded the “Black” album.

But.

“Headed For A Heartbreak” is a hell of a good song.

Winger’s debut didn’t come from out of nowhere. Kip Winger did his time as a songwriter and studio session musician working very closely with Beau Hill who would of course go on to produce the first two Winger albums that went platinum.

Guitarist Reb Beach is a graduate from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. He also did his time in backing bands and studio work, until he met up with Kip Winger and started writing demos.

Drummer Rod Morgenstein was the most experienced. Active since joining jazz fusion legends “The Dixie Dregs” in 1974, he was a very accomplished drummer to bring into the fold.

Keyboard player and back up guitarist Paul Taylor was the x factor. He was the touring keyboardist for Aldo Nova during his “Fantasy” success. He did his time with Alice Cooper’s backing band at the same time with Kip Winger and played on the “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist and Yell” albums.

Go on Spotify and check them out. Go on YouTube and check them out. Focus on the music and not on the pretty boy images put out there in the video clips.

DONT KNOW WHAT YOU GOT UNTIL ITS GONE

Andy Johns (RIP) was on deck again to deliver another big sounding album.

Drummer, Fred Coury didn’t even play on the album as Johns just kept on finding timing issues.

The end result is an album which is seen as a blues rock classic that can rival all the best output from seventies bands like Bad Company.

Hearing them again today, it sure brought back a lot of memories. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 1

Everyone knows the singles and even some of those songs have now slipped into obscurity but if you dig deep enough you’ll hear some cult classics.

Tracks like;

THE HARDEST PART IS THE NIGHT

From the “7800 Degrees Fahrenheit” album released in 1985.

“Stay alive, the hardest part is the night”

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART

From the debut album released in 1984. “Runaway” took most of the glory as it became a radio staple however “Shot Through The Heart” was the reason I got into Bon Jovi.

It was good to see the song get some concert time during “The Circle” tour.

HOMEBOUND TRAIN

It’s written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora and it’s got this heavy blues rock swagger that just connects.

The magic is at the three minute mark when it goes into this Elvis Presley meets James Brown meets Rolling Stones vibe.

The guitar drops out and it is the bass and drums that keep the groove going and Jon does a few voice impersonations, while Sambora keeps it funky and they build up the song again while Jon keeps singing “Here I Come”. The interlude is filled with church organ and harmonica lead breaks.

On “The Circle” tour, “Homebound Train” came back into the mix with Richie Sambora on vocals.

STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN

It’s got this “Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution” style intro written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team.

THE RADIO SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT

Another tune written for the “Keep The Faith” album that never made it.

To buy all the music that I liked was expensive, so I always purchased blank cassettes and kept my finger ready on the record button to record the latest song from the radio.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 2

RIVER OF LOVE

It never made the “New Jersey” album and it is a tragedy that it didn’t get fleshed out and recorded properly. It’s got a basic foot tapping riff that sticks with you from the outset. For those keen fans, you will hear the riff groove re-used in “Save A Prayer”.

“Pretend we’re in some movie instead of faded jeans”

Listen to the “Raise Your Hands” reference in the interlude. You could write a whole song based on that riff. Wait, they already did.

Progress is derivative.

JUDGEMENT DAY and GROWING UP THE HARD WAY

Both songs begin with that whole “Na Na NaNaNa” in the same vein as “Born To Be My Baby”, “Rosie” and “Hide Your Heart” from Kiss. Both songs also share the same riff. Both songs are written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.

As with “River Of Love” these songs were recorded for the “New Jersey” album and they failed to make the cut. When a band is at their peak, they are able to churn out some great songs. The motivation is there to keep the machine rolling to see if the first round of success can be repeated.

In relation to the three demos mentioned above, I really thought that they would have seen the light of day “officially” when Bon Jovi released “100,000,000 Fans Cant Be Wrong” Box Set.

IF I WAS YOUR MOTHER

Man, this song is heavy and it has got some serious groove.

What a great vocal melody.

I saw them play it live on the “Keep The Faith Tour” and it rocked hard. The subject matter is weak and it hampers the song from being a powerhouse.

LETS MAKE IT BABY

It didn’t make the “New Jersey” album, however the bass line was used again in “Diamond Ring” (which was also originally written for the “New Jersey” album however it was officially released on the “These Days” album.

WEDDING DAY

“Wedding Day” was written for the “These Days” album, however it didn’t make the final cut.

The song is like a sleeper demo hit on YouTube.

Some of the lyrics made it into another Jon Bon Jovi song called “Janie Don’t Take Your Love To Town”.

SEMI – OBSCURE BON JOVI SONGS PART 3

DAMNED

It has a soul like funky blues groove very similar to what Lenny Kravitz was putting out.

“These Days” from 1995 is a very misunderstood album, released in a very confusing time.

Hard/Glam rock as we knew it was dead, Grunge was fading and alternative rock was rising, along with a form of industrial rock/metal.

LOVE IS WAR

Of course it sounds like “You Give Love A Bad Name” because Jon tried really hard to recreate the same vibe and the same kind of hit.

Is that a bad thing?

I’D DIE FOR YOU

“Slippery When Wet” was a monster of an album. And it was easy for other songs to get missed.

It’s got that Judas Priest “Breaking The Law” guitar line.

Did anyone pick up on that?

On YouTube, “I’d Die For You” is a cult hit. The fan’s have taken the song and made their own film clips, lyric videos and so on.

MY GUITAR LIES BLEEDING IN MY ARMS

The title is a take on the George Harrison classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

ONLY LONELY

The bottom line is this; it is a fan favourite.

THE PRICE OF LOVE

“We live, we learn, we lieFor the price of love”

Aint that the truth.

WITHOUT LOVE

Written by the Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child song writing team for the Slippery When Wet album.

BURNING FOR LOVE

Sambora goes to town during the lead breaks, showcasing his abilities as a melodic shredder. He never went too over the top, always focusing on enhancing the song, instead of enhancing his ego.

RIVER RUNS DRY

It is a Jon Bon Jovi and Desmond Child composition that begins as a derivative version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”.

Remember, progress is derivative.

SAVE A PRAYER

No one knows this song even exist, but they should.

THE BALLAD OF BOB DAISLEY

The music business is tough.

However, what happens when an artist in a position of power and mainstream success, does their best to undermine the work of previous people in their career.

This is what the Osbourne’s are doing to Bob Daisley.

They are trying to re-write history to show that Ozzy Osbourne himself was the main reason why his solo career progressed.

They are omitting important facts that when Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley signed on, it was always spoken of as a band. They are omitting important facts that the band was actually called Blizzard Of Ozz. They are omitting important facts of Ozzy punching Randy, because Randy didn’t want to do a live covers album of Black Sabbath songs.

Most importantly, they are omitting the main fact, that Bob Daisley served as the lyricist for for six albums.

The sad thing is that if anyone reads the credits to the “Bark At The Moon” album, you will see it listed as “All music and lyrics by Ozzy Osbourne.”

Like, yeah right, Ozzy really churned out all of those riffs.

It is sad at to what level the Osbourne’s stooped at that stage. One more thing, read the book from Ozzy and tell me how many times he mentions Jake E. Lee in the book.

But that is a story for another day.

VITO BRATTA

I did a Top 10 of Bratta killer riffs or moments.

All The Fallen Men

Wait

Love Dont Come Easy

Fight To Survive

Hungry

When The Children Cry

Cry For Freedom

Lady Of The Valley

Little Fighter

Warsong

In the end I had a hard time picking 10 songs for this post as each song that Vito has played on all have unbelievable sections.

BATM SONGWRITING CONTROVERSY

Coming into the “Bark At The Moon” sessions, the Blizzard of Ozz band was finished.

Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake were fired before “Diary of A Madman” came out and the other driving force, Randy Rhoads died tragically when the plane he was on crashed into a mansion and burst into flames on March 19th, 1982.

Ozzy Osbourne as usual was at his drunken best but he still delivered the “Speak/Talk Of The Devil” album, and by doing so he was free from his Jet Records contract, ready to sign a major label deal with CBS.

Jake E Lee joined during the “Speak of the Devil” tour. Once that tour ended, the song writing process began for the next album.

Most of the writing was done by Lee and Bob Daisley.

“Bark At the Moon” was a title that Ozzy came up with. Jake E. Lee came up with the riffs and Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics.

While Bob Daisley got a buy out for “Bark At The Moon”, it looks like Jake E.Lee got screwed over. There are no royalty checks for the songwriting and no publishing monies either.

COPYRIGHT INC

I just finished watching the Rush documentary, “Beyond The Lighted Stage” and in the documentary, Neal Peart is talking about their “Vapor Trail” tour of South America and how they didn’t know what to expect because they never had big sales there and in the end they played to their biggest ever concert attendance at Sao Paulo.

The Brazil tour took place in November 2002. File sharing started in June 1999. Maybe copyright breaches by fans is not a bad thing.

And that’s another wrap for these last two weeks.

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Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2021 – Released Too Late In The Year To Listen To Properly

These albums came out at a time which is too close to the end of the year to be properly assessed for any EOY list.

Especially when they are up against albums which came out in the first four months of the year and those albums have became part of my fabric.

Volbeat – Servant Of The Mind

The pre releases single “Shotgun Blues” is a great classic Metal song.

It’s on my “On Repeat” playlist from Spotify which is basically designed to help the user keep track of what they’ve been playing most over the past 30 days.

And the “Shotgun Blues” single dropped in September and it’s still on the playlist.

The album dropped on December 3 and on purposely I’ve not listened to it as I’m waiting for my break to happen so I can sink my ears into it.

Black Label Society – Doom Crew Inc.

It dropped in November 26.

But I’ve been heaps busy to devote the time I want to this album.

And Zakk Wylde has earned the respect for people to devote proper time to his music and if they play guitar, to put in some woodshedding to learn some of his riffs.

Crazy Lixx – Street Lethal

The album dropped on November 5.

The pre-release singles all connected with me but I haven’t had the time to fully digest the album. It’s going to happen soon.

They are a Swedish Metal band formed in 2002, who bring back the 80’s Sunset Strip with the aggression of the San Francisco Bay Area Thrash scene and the defiance of Twisted Sister.

And once you add the Brit bands to the mix, it’s a whirlpool of creativity.

Their first album came out in 2007 and since 2010, they’ve been on the Frontiers label, releasing albums on a two year cycle.

If you’ve heard these albums drop your thoughts in the comments.

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

Top 10 – 2021: Part 3

Times Of Grace – Songs Of Loss and Separation

10 years is a long time between albums.

The debut album “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” came out in 2011.

Have I mentioned that Adam Dutkiewicz is a great riff meister?

All different musical roads lead to here. A combination of country, blues, metal and rock.

For those looking about positive messages, this isn’t the album for you. It’s melancholy lyrics and metal like riffage is music to make you crash your car. You can feel the sadness, a pain at the world, society and the various demons within the mind.

It’s gloom and doom, but inspirational as well.

The album title is indicative of the theme. And having gone through loss recently this album is becoming my companion, riding shotgun with me.

So I press repeat.

Free Spirits Rising

An Australian artist who releases a song every 6 weeks or something like that and plays all the instruments.

Its raw sounding hard rock but the music is melodic and catchy even though the vocals can be hit and miss.

Check out songs like “Outside The Lines”, “It’s OK”, “My Destiny” and “It Starts With Me”.

Soen – Imperial

It’s the kind of metal I like.

Soen is a Swedish progressive metal supergroup consisting of various extreme metal musicians. Their debut album “Cognitive” came out in 2012.

It was like hearing Tool and I was all in.

“Tellurian” came out in 2014 but their rise really started with “Lykaia” in 2017 and “Lotus” in 2019. And in 2021, we have “Imperial”.

And this one is more metal and hard rock with some progressive grooves and textures.

Lumerian

How good is the Intro riff?

And the Chorus, so melodic and haunting.

In the middle, the band introduces its main dynamic, which is heard throughout the album, in which they quieten down the song and rebuild it.

Deceiver

It’s almost Disturbed like from the “Believe” album in the Intro.

Monarch

That Intro riff. So heavy and intricate.

The only thing left to do is to listen to it again.

Durbin – The Beast Awakens

James Durbin’s covers of Judas Priest on American Idol got me interested. The YouTube videos got some traction here in Australia.

His debut album released in 2011, “Memories Of A Beautiful Disaster” rocked hard and I was a fan. “Celebrate” in 2014, lost me as it went way to poppy.

Then he hooked up (surprisingly) with Quiet Riot and he made me a fan again with the very underrated and forgotten “Road Rage” album released in 2018. “Space Cowboys” came out a year later but shit was going down in the Quiet Riot camp, as Durbin left the band before the album was released and drummer Frankie Banali was fighting for his life but we didn’t know it at that point in time.

And here we are with Durbin.

Durbin possesses a great vocal range and his prowess on the guitar is evident on this album. As a songwriter, all songs are written by Durbin.

If this is his first entry into the realms of Metal, then I will eagerly await his next.

Check it out.

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Top 10 – 2021: Part 2

And we continue the journey of 2021 releases.

Daughtry – Dearly Beloved

In 2012 Chris Daughtry had a decision to make after “Break The Spell”.

Should he stay with the same sound?

Should he change the sound completely?

Should he stay with the same sound but experiment with a few songs by bringing in different sounds?

“Baptized” came out in in November 2013 on RCA Records and it was an electro synth pop sounding album, a significant departure from the hard rock sound on their first three albums.

Like the previous albums, RCA farmed Chris Daughtry out to work with different writers. But while the writers previously had some rock pedigree, the writers on “Baptized” album specialized in other styles.

There is a song called “Long Live Rock N Roll” and it doesn’t even rock, as it’s more in the vein of “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker”, an acoustic folk song which tells a story of growing up with a certain type of music.

Then came a “Greatest Hits” album in 2016 with two new songs called “Torches” and “Go Down.

“Torches” is actually a good bridge between the old sound and the “Baptized” sound,

The song “Go Down” has your typical catchy Daughtry vocal melody but it’s instrument sounds are routed in synth pop and electronica. Think of the band “Garbage”.

“Cage To Rattle” came out in 2018. 10 songs that total 38 minutes. RCA again was spending a lot of money for Chris Daughtry to write with so many outside writers in the quest to find hits.

But the record executives failed to understand is that Daughtry’s audience is predominantly made up of rockers. And there is a saying, when you’re chasing hits it don’t mean the hits would come.

Then Daughtry and RCA parted ways.

And Daughtry was back, louder and meaner.

“Dearly Beloved” is a return to form which shows the world that Daughtry still knows how to rock!!

Machine Head – Arrows In Words From The Sky

In October, Machine “Fucking” Head made 30 years! It’s a long time in the business. Music is a lifers game.

In the early 90s, Robb Flynn decided to quit the band he was in, to start Machine “Fucking” Head, so he could call the shots and not have to answer to anyone.

Throughout the years he’s had different versions of the band with “The Blackening” line up being the most favored and then the “Burn My Eyes” line up.

Over the last three years, Robb’s motto is simple. If he has a song, or two, he’s going to get it recorded and released.

In 2019, “Do Or Die” was released.

In February 2020, “Circle The Drain” came out.

In June 2020, the “Civil Unrest” single, featuring the tracks “Bulletproof” and the Jesse Leach collaboration “Stop The Bleeding” came out.

In November 2020, the stand alone “My Hands Are Empty” was released.

And on 11 June 2021, the 3-Song digital single, “Arrows In Words From The Sky” dropped.

In total 8 songs have been released. They could represent an album that came out today, but we all got to spend time with these songs when they came out and make em special at that particular point in time.

Centuries of pain, under a paper sword
Arrows in words from the sky

Check it out.

Joel Hoekstras 13 – Running Games

I am a Russell Allen fan. I knew of Allen long before I heard of Joel Hoekstra. Allen has a voice which can suit power symphonic bands, metal bands, melodic rock bands, hard rock bands, nu-metal bands and blues rock bands.

And I’m also a Jeff Watson fan, so I wasn’t too thrilled with any Night Ranger version without Watson. Then again Watson hasn’t done much being away from the band and I still want to hear new Night Ranger music.

So I still listened to Night Ranger and Hoekstra impressed but I felt he was restrained within that band as Blades and Keagy are the alphas.

And with Whitesnake, Coverdale has two great guitarists to write tunes with but they need to comply with what Coverdale desires.

Which means that Hoekstra 13 is the true Joel Hoekstra.

“Running Games” is album number 2 for his Frontiers label contract.

The band for the album is a supergroup are Russell Allen on vocals, Tony Franklin on bass, Vinny Appice on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards with Jeff Scott Soto doing backing vocals. Yep, you read that right, the great JSS is doing backing vocals.

Overall Hoekstra’s songwriting is top level and the performances from the guys are excellent.

Check it out.

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Top 10 – 2021: Part 1

2021 Top Ten

I suppose it’s that time to start providing some EOY lists.

I’ll start with what I see as my favourite ten albums, EP’s or Singles released for the year. And then there will be another posts on my Spotify listening habits for the year.

So here it goes.

Here is Part 1, which features my go to artists with 2021 releases and it’s not an numerical order.

The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic II

“80’s Miami Vice Pop”.

Two of my favourite Kiss albums are “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” because they brought in other styles of music into the Kiss rock sound and somehow Kiss still made it sound like hard rock.

So I wasn’t surprised to hear that “Dynasty” and “Unmasked” are also the favourite albums for the guys in TNFO and how they see the song “Easy As It Seems” as the blueprint for a TNFO song.

And how can you knock back a song called “How Long” which has been described as “90s Deep Purple on cocaine”.

So if you grew up in the 80’s listening to hard rock and melodic rock, then you need to listen to this.

Evergrey – Escape Of The Phoenix

Tom Englund is the mainstay, the founder, the main writer, the vocalist and also one of the guitarists.

Opener and first pre-release single, “Forever Outsider” showcases the power of the band at its metal best, while the second pre-release single “Eternal Nocturnal” showcases the power of the band at its hard rock best with sing-along Choruses and Henrik Danhage stealing the spotlight with his unbelievable, shredalicious and memorable solo spotlight.

“In Absence Of Sun” is heartfelt, melancholic, mournful and emotive while “You From You” has this Michael Schenker ballad like vibe in the intro.

Check it out.

Dee Snider – Leave A Scar

Dee Snider has a voice for heavy metal.

A simple dare from Jamey Jasta, brought forth “For The Love Of Metal” and it caught a lot of people by surprise.

“Leave A Scar” carries forth the metal torch.

With tracks like “I Gotta Rock (Again)” the intro riff from Bellmore is excellent and the drum groove smashes you awake.

Be a lifer til I’m done

But “Silent Battles” is my favorite track on the album.

The guitar riff to kick off the song reminds me of all the good things I like about the 80’s. I’m hearing George Lynch, EVH, a bit of Vito Bratta and Nuno Bettencourt.

Don’t leave your mark, leave a scar

There aren’t a lot of artists in their mid-60’s producing quality music like this. Dee Snider is doing it and he’s making it look very easy.

The Bellmore brothers are underrated talents as songwriters and instrumetalists, on the guitar and drums.

Check em out.

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Australian Method Series: Voyager – Colours In The Sun

Voyager is a band from the state of Western Australia. The band is made up of vocalist Daniel Estrin, guitarists Simone Dow and Scott Kay, bassist Alex Canion and drummer Ashley Doodkorte.

“Colours In The Sun” was released on 1 November 2019 via the label Season Of Mist. And for all my North American pals, please take note of the proper spelling of colours.

And they’ve been at for a while, since the early 2000’s. On Spotify I can see seven studio albums and I think there are a few EP’s in there as well which are not on the streaming services. I must admit, their band name reminded me of Star Trek, so I had to check em out.

Colours

A synth intro. Upbeat and danceable.

Once the vocals kick in there is a sense of euphoria to em.

And there is a lot of syncopated guitar, bass and bass drum like riffs. Perfect.

Severomance

More synths.

But it’s the drum/bass and guitar work which I like, with a pop like vocal melody.

This one just kept growing on me to become my favourite track.

And I like the guitar solo on this.

Brighstar

The keyboard/synth riff to start it off with the metronomic kick drum reminds me of Toto and I like it.

In the process it quickly become a favourite.

Saccharine Dream

A shimmering effect and a riff made up of single notes starts the song off.

Then a distorted guitar kicks in.

At 2.15, a normal 4/4 drum beat kicks in and from all the frantic beats, it’s amazing to hear just a simple beat. A stock beat.

Who would have thought?

So far a four punch knockout combo.

Entropy

A fast keyboard riff is played, with the guitars providing a djent like rhythm as its foundation.

Einar Solberg from Leprous (which is another favourite progressive metal act I am into) guests.

And I expected more from this song.

Reconnected

The fast alternate picking and double kick lines reminds me of Evergrey and its cabaret like piano line makes it sound unsettling.

It’s more like Power Metal.

Now or Never

It’s like a 90 second intermission, a short song to transition with. It has layers of synths with digital delay and a poppy vocal melody.

Sign Of The Times

The synths again and I like how they give the song a techno Ibiza like feel. But make no mistake, this is a progressive metal band.

And the Chorus can definitely etch out a living on the pop charts.

Water Over The Bridge

Man this song is heavy.

“The Distance” from Evergrey comes to mind during the Intro.

The video clip is hilarious as it shows the guitarists putting on some serious “stink-face” looks as they jam it.

Runaway

The synths again. They feel uplifting.

Then the guitars, bass and drums come in, to support the synth riffs.

And press play for the keyboard solo.

It’s a concise album, coming in less than 45 minutes and by the time it’s done, I’m thinking where did the time go, as it all finished so fast.

So if you’re into progressive music, then Voyager deserves your ear.

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Australian Method Series: Teramaze – I Wonder

From Australia. Advertised as Progressive Metal but it’s more like hard alternative rock with some progressive grooves on this album. And I like it.

“I Wonder” came out in October 2020 and I was surprised to learn that it’s their seventh album but my first time listening to them.

For this album Teramaze is Dean Wells on Guitars and Vocals, Andrew Cameron on Bass, Nick Ross on Drums and Chris Zoupa on Guitar.

The term Progressive Rock has a bad concoction these days, associated with a million notes over complex chord changes or in Tool’s case, long laboured grooves that move in and out of time signatures or polyrhythms. But there are a lot of bands that can take it all and make it sound easy, not complex and not too long.

Teramaze is one such band.

“Ocean Floor”

Kids noises are heard over an ominous synth riff and then the band crashes in with the lyrics “Children pray, from the ocean floor / Are we too late, to save their lives”.

The lyrics are based on a true story of children gone missing and their bodies been discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

It’s powerful and you need to listen to it.

Especially that “Interstellar” soundtrack influence from 3.17 to 4.06.

“Only Daylight”

The way the songs starts off with the heavy groove riff, just gets the head banging.

By the time the verses come in, it’s slower but still powerful.

The lead break is excellent, emotive.

There’s this section after the solo which has the lyrics “No one will find me, no one will see me / From up above, I’m down below / They watch as they dance around me”. The way it is sung over the music is haunting as it carries the song for the last 2 minutes.

“Lake 401”

The clean tone arpeggio riff makes me pick up the guitar to learn it.

And the way the Chorus vocal melody with the words “Its so hard to know / If she’ll be waiting forever” is delivered is excellent.

And for styles, it’s more rock than anything else.

“A Deep State of Awake”

The synths start it off before an “Enter Sandman” style groove kicks in with the drums, bass and then guitar.

There are some leads which has the keys and guitar in harmony and it reminds me of Dream Theater “Images And Words” era.

Lyrically I see it as two voices within the same person. One part is delivered aggressively and the other is delivered melodically.

“Here to Watch You”

The Chorus.

Especially when Wells sings “The Fearless will construct / Our way all the world will know now”.

“Sleeping Man”

My favorite track.

The “Sleeping Man” has a chorus hook of “I’ve awoken the sleeping man inside”. It’s catchy, its hard rock and its perfect.

The keyboard hooks under the melodies are also memorable.

Check out the guitar solo.

“Run”

Man, this song for the first 90 seconds reminds me of those piano and vocal songs that Evergrey do so well.

After that it becomes a melodic rock song with excellent guitar playing

“Idle Hands / The Devil’s Workshop”

9 minutes long.

Musically and melodically the section in which Wells sings “We spent the time, and wasted it all most every year / And there is nothing left to follow” is excellent.

At 3.30, a lead break kicks in. It’s emotive and one of the best I’ve heard recently.

The section after it with the lyrics; “You never run it together / You never stopped the war / If only you could’ve chosen me / What life would have in store” is almost Daughtry like in delivery.

At 5.12 it’s just piano, playing the chords and vocal melody.

Then the vocals come in with the acoustic guitar. It builds up again to the “You never run it together / You never stopped the war” part again.

The last 90 seconds has double kick, fast melodic guitar leads and the only thing I can do is press play again and devote another 9 minutes of my time to the song.

“This Is Not a Drill”

Musically this song reminds of bands like Haken and Tesseract.

I see the world has changed
Theres nothing left to gather now
I feel the world has fallen
Tomorrow, may never come again..

We’re waiting for the cure
Assured it’s on the horizon
Pandemic fabrication
The lies insure well never know again..

I wonder what they’re singing about. And for everyone the world did change. People died, relationships ended, how we did things changed, flying and travel ceased and a lot of careers ceased to be.

At the 5 minute mark, the section that comes in reminds me of “Home” by Dream Theater.

To find someone to love, whatever.

That’s all we want in the end.

At 8 minutes and 40 seconds it never got dull or boring.

“I Wonder”

The closer.

The way this song builds and is constructed is excellent.

Check out the Chorus with its symphonic and anthemic melody, especially when Wells is singing “We’re here tonight, you’re never gonna see me alone / we feel alive, I’m never gone make it”.

The “I watch them killing you slowly” section reminds me of Muse.

At about 5.10 some intricate playing happens but it’s all still accessible and sing along like.

And the lead break is excellent.

By the end of it, each track left something behind with me.

And from reading some of the reviews, this is the first album in a while which features lead vocals from band leader and guitarist Dean Wells. And I’m like, “why didn’t he sing on all the albums?”. His voice needs to be heard.

Check it out.

And don’t let the progressive tag turn you off some great Rock and Metal.

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The Record Vault: Dokken – Tooth And Nail

Elektra wanted to drop em. Lynch and Dokken wanted to drop each other. Croucier dropped them for Ratt. Werman dropped the producing gig because of the baggage that came with it. Lynch dropped in and out of the band a lot of times. Eventually Pilson dropped into the band to replace Croucier on the recommendation of Shrapnel Records boss Mike Varney. Michael Wagner dropped in to record the vocals, while Roy Thomas Baker dropped in to do the rest.

For a band threatened to be dropped, the production team was top notch in Werman, Roy Thomas Baker and Michael Wagner. And then you have the record deal that Don Dokken got by using the songs Lynch and Brown had written. Imagine being in a band where Don Dokken would get the money and then he would need to pay Lynch, Brown and Pilson.

But they had Q Prime Management in their corner. In Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch, Dokken had an influential team who could build them up into global superstars, organise the tours, the record deals, the funding, the video clips and what not.

The “Breaking the Chains” clip was all over MTV but no one was buying the album of the same name.

The band was doing an arena tour with Blue Oyster Cult and the label still wanted to drop them.

“Tooth and Nail” was Dokken’s last shot. Released in 1984. The band recorded it and Mick Brown and George Lynch went back to driving trucks while Don Dokken went back to buying, fixing and selling cars.

Then the album blew up.

Put aside the band politics and the legendary Lynch/Dokken wars. Just pay attention to the songs, especially the backs to the wall attitude that you can hear emanating from the speakers.

“Without Warning” kicks it off the one/two punch, with its ominius minor key build, before it breaks into the frantic “Tooth N Nail”.

The song is written by Mick Brown, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson and it is a definitive piece of hard rock and heavy metal. To me , the song is up there in the same throne room as the work that Randy Rhoads did with Ozzy.

Desperate living, driving me mad
Writings on the wall
Crushed all our hopes and the dreams we once had
Just to watch them fall

What a lyric.

Dokken’s last chance. The hopes of a musical career are hanging in the balance.

Dokken delivered a speed metal anthem to open up their do or die album.

And with the rise of the “Guitar Hero”, George Lynch really announced his presence, when he delivered a Randy Rhoads inspired lead break that is reminiscent to “Flying High Again”.

Also isn’t it funny how in 1984, the same theme resonated. It was always that “us versus them” attitude. The “We’re Not Gonna Take It” message of Twisted Sister. In this case, “Tooth and Nail” is a protest song against the record label that wanted to drop them.

Seriously, what kind of life is it, when someone has so much power to make or break a career. But that is exactly what the recording business came to be. A business with gatekeepers who could crush dreams or make dreams. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”. Or like “Mr Recordman” from Ugly Kid Joe.

MTV took the artists from the magazines and brought them into our lounge rooms. And it was free. Yeah I know there was radio, but if people wanted information on artists, they had to buy magazines or their albums. Suddenly, their TV set was doing it all for them. The reason why blank VHS cassettes sold like crazy was music and movies. People dubbed/taped their favourite clips from TV or from VHS to VHS.

“”Just Got Lucky” written by Lynch and Pilson came next and it was the single that announced the arrival of the album but it didn’t get as lucky as the label wanted it to on the charts. George Lynch’s playing is excellent.

“Heartless Heart” written by Brown, Lynch and Pilson deals with a heartless baby who lied.

And finally, lead singer Don Dokken gets a song writing credit for the side 1 closer “Don’t Close Your Eyes” co-written with Lynch and Pilson. Lyrically it could have been used for the first “Nightmare On Elm Street” movie.

“When Heaven Comes Down” is another Mick Brown, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson composition. This time they veer into heavy metal territory.

Ashes to ashes, sorrow and shame
Look at the future again
Angels in heaven walking the streets
Searching for someone to blame

Again, when you don’t have the pressure to write to a formula and when you throw everything against the wind, you end up with something great. In this case the subject matter is darker. It is not the usual sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

“Into the Fire” is a Don Dokken, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson composition and this is more in line with the LA Glam sound hence the reason why it became a single.

“Bullets to Spare” is written by the band and seriously it’s terrible lyrically, linking bullets to spare to a certain substance that comes out of a male.

“Alone Again” is a Don Dokken and Jeff Pilson composition and for a power ballad it is wicked.

How good is that solo section?

It is a song within a song lead break.

“Turn On the Action” is another speed metal song by the Mick Brown, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson composition.

I’m looking over my shoulder
I’m running reckless through the night
Forever young not getting older
Satisfaction guaranteed tonight

Who didn’t do something naughty or slightly illegal in their youth and when we made our great escape, we laughed but constantly looked over our shoulder in case someone was chasing us.

“Tooth And Nail” was released at the right time of the hard rock movement and within 12 months it was certified GOLD for sales in the U.S. It paved the way for Dokken to become a household name.

On “Tooth And Nail”, Pilson is a co-writer on all of the 10 tracks and he is the true unsung hero of this album, the glue between George Lynch and Don Dokken. And if you listen to the album, you will hear speed metal (“Tooth And Nail” and “Turn On The Action”, heavy metal (“Don’t Close Your Eyes”, “When Heaven Comes Down” and “Bullets To Spare”), hard rock (“Just Got Lucky” and “Heartless Heart”), ballads (“Alone Again”) and mixtures of all those styles in (“Into The Fire”).

And while Lynch got a lot of press and front covers in the guitar mags, and Don Dokken got a lot of press and covers in Hit Parader, Metal Edge, Faces and what not, the real hero is Jeff Pilson.

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1996 – Part 2.1: Tool – Aenima

“We’ve never been a radio friendly band, which is three minutes, a three minute song. Our label always wants us to edit songs and we refuse to do that.

We grew up in a time when all our favourite albums by bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd weren’t quite radio friendly.

They were working out a lot of emotions in their music, and as long as it took for them to record the songs, whether it was three minutes or 12 or 24 or a whole side of an album, that was fine. We’re sort of getting back to that approach.”
Adam Jones – Tool; Guitar World – August 1996

“Aenima” is the follow up to the platinum selling “Undertow”. That album spawned the single “Sober” and a memorable video involving a creepy little meat puppet guy.

Released in 1996, but I heard it a year later.

It was such an eye opening album for me. Musically and sonically. An hour and 17 minutes in length. Pushing the limits of time on a CD.

And people responded. 3x Platinum in Australia and the U.S.

It’s also the first album to feature bassist Justin Chancellor, replacing Paul D’Amour, who became a victim of indie guilt as the band was getting bigger then D’Amour was comfortable with.

Chancellor joins guitarist Adam Jones, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and drummer Danny Carey. And this version of the band would go on to remain the same to this day.

Another big change is Dave Bottrill producing in place of Sylvia Massey. Jones in various interviews said he would never work with Massey again. They had outgrown what she could offer.

“Stinkfist”

Written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and the departed bassist Paul D’Amour.

The general impression I got from the lyrics (“finger deep inside the borderline”, “knuckle deep inside the borderline”, “elbow deep inside the borderline”) and the title is that the song is about “fisting” but other interpretations mentioned that is about getting your hands dirty with hard work.

A weird effect is added to the guitar for the intro just before the heavy distorted groove riff fades in. Watching em live, I saw how powerful this groove riff is, as a sea of bodies swayed and jumped in unison with it.

At 3.30 a different riff and groove comes in which makes me want to break my desk in half.

And by the end of the song, Maynard is “shoulder deep inside the borderline” as he tells the person to relax, turn around and take his hand.

Okay.

“Eulogy”

Also written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour.

Another weird effect starts it off, which sounds like it’s coming from drum pads. But it’s musical. It percolates as it builds and at 1.58 the song starts. The bass is playing a middle eastern like bass riff while the guitar is jamming on a pedal point. Maynard is singing through a loudspeaker while Carey sets a solid foundation.

When the Chorus riff kicks in at 2.40, its powerful and electric, a complete contrast to the subdued verses.

Make sure you check out the section from 6.10, when Maynard is singing “don’t you step out of line”. Allow the power of the music to fill you.

“H.”

Also written by Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour. It was the song that hooked me in. The fuzzed out groove in the intro had me turning the volume knob higher. But it’s the King Crimson and Pink Floyd like verses that got me to pick up the guitar to learn it.

I don’t know lyrically what it is all about, but from the various interpretations I have read, it’s got to do with those angels or devils sitting on your shoulder, that whole Ego and Id and Super Ego argument from Sigmund Freud.

Venomous voice, tempts me,
Drains me, bleeds me,
Leaves me cracked and empty.
Drags me down like some sweet gravity.

Which part do we allow to control us?

Which voice do we listen to?

When the Chorus kicks in. Its powerful and head banging.

Then there is the “I don’t mind” section from 4.50. Check it out.

“Forty Six &2”

Now we get to the first song on the album that is written by the band that recorded it, which is Keenan, Jones, Carey and Chancellor.

And what a way for Justin Chancellor to announce himself.

The bass riff to start off this song.

Wow.

If you like “Stockholm Syndrome” from Muse, then you’ve heard Tool. If you like “Home” and “The Great Debate” from Dream Theater then you’ve heard Tool. If you like “Live Or Die” from Reach then you’ve heard Tool. This riff spawned a lot of songs across metal, hard rock, melodic rock and progressive rock.

And the title.

Doesn’t it make you curious. It sure made me curious from the outset. It’s so bizarre.

So, if you like theories then check this one out from Carl Jung. The premise is humans would deviate from the current state of human DNA which contains 44 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. The next step of evolution would likely result in human DNA being reorganized into 46 autosomes and two sex chromosomes. And by doing so, it changes everything. Check out people’s views on 46 and 2.

Change is coming.
Now is my time.
Listen to my muscle memory.
Contemplate what I’ve been clinging to.
Forty-six & 2 ahead of me.

“Hooker With A Penis”

I met a boy wearing Van, 501, And a dope Beastie T,
Nipple rings, New tattoos that claimed that he Was OGT,
Back from ’92, From the first EP.
And in between sips of Coke he told me that he thought we were sellin’ out,

The song refers to a fan who accused the band of selling out after their first EP.

I sold out long before you’d ever even heard my name
I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit, then you bought one

Truth right there.

Before anyone accuses a band of selling out, remember they had to sell their rights for a very long time just so people could hear them in the first place.

“Jimmy”

A character from an earlier song on “Undertow”.

Eleven and she was gone.
Eleven is when we waved good-bye.
Eleven is standing still,
Waiting for me to free him,
By coming home.

The ghost known as Eleven is waiting to show him the truth. Very different to “Charlotte The Harlot” and “22 Acacia Avenue”. By the 90’s Tool was singing about “Prison Sex” and “Jimmy”.

“Pushit”

Another song written by the “Undertow” band in Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour.

The title is a combination of “Put Shit”.

How good is the intro riff?

When the drums come in, they set a slow percolating groove. The song could be a non-identical twin of “H.” musically.

Pushing and shoving
Pushing me
There’s no love in fear

Can the song be as simple as an argument in a relationship and that the relationship ends with one saying to the other “I love you” while they claw at their throat. Because it can’t end in no other way.

“Aenima”

An earthquake comes to wash away the fake and superficial people of Los Angeles. This one is also written by the “Undertow” version of the band, in Keenan, Jones, Carey and D’Amour. New bassist Chancellor had to audition with this song.

The title Ænima is a combination of the words ‘anima’ (Latin for ‘soul’ and associated with the ideas of “life force”, and a term often used by psychologist Carl Jung) and ‘enema’, the medical procedure involving the injection of fluids into the rectum.

Take whatever meaning you want from that.

Here in this hopeless fucking hole we call LA
The only way to fix it is to flush it all away
Any fucking time, any fucking day
Learn to swim, I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.

And the band goes to town against everything that is celebrity culture, drug addicts, rappers and even Scientology (“Fuck L. Ron Hubbard and fuck all his clones”) and asking Mother Earth to just wash em all away

“Third Eye”

The spiritual “Third Eye”.

Can magic mushrooms be the key to opening the third eye?

You have 13 minutes and 50 seconds to find out.

Crank it, take some drugs and enjoy.

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