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

How Has It Aged: Evergrey – Glorious Collision

A long time ago, I read a review on an old Yahoo run site, that classed Evergrey as “Doom metal” and “Dark Metal”. There is no doubt that Evergrey has built a career on writing songs that deal with sorrow, depression and a whole range of dark emotions. I have read reviews that state the band should lighten the fuck up.

But hey, no one said that life is pretty.

Evergrey’s 2011 album “Glorious Collision” is their 8th album. Like the albums before it, and like the albums that came after, it is a powerful and emotional journey through the human experience.

The press release had something like, the album’s sound is characterized by heavy guitars, soaring vocals, and intricate melodies that create a wall of sound that’s both intense and immersive.

But the reviews weren’t that kind. The usual websites who give every artist glowing reviews kept the reviews glowing, but when you get down to the more elitist blog sites, the reviews weren’t that kind.

The power metallers didn’t like, as they saw the band selling out and moving more into a commercial classic rock setting. The progressive websites kept saying they are not progressive anymore, just bland modern metal.

But, music is a connection between the artist and the fan. And Evergrey, courtesy of founder/vocalist/guitarist Tom Englund have fostered that connection with each album.

Production duties for “Glorious Collision” are also handled by Tom Englund.

But. Remember. Life isn’t pretty.

In May, 2010, before the album recording/writing even started, drummer Jonas Ekdahl, guitarist Henrik Danhage and bassist Jari Kainulainen left Evergrey. The press release said it was by mutual decision due to problems with the band members interacting with each other. The best outcome was to call it quits as to not ruin the friendship they all have with each other. Ekdahl and Danhage also went on to play with DeathDestruction, a Metal Hardcore band formed by Ekdahl and vocalist Jimmie Strimell from Dead By April.

For this album, founder Tom Englund is on vocals and guitar and Rikard Zander is on keyboards. Joining them is Marcus Jidell on guitar, Johan Niemann on bass and Hannes Van Dahl on drums. Female vocals are provided by Carina Englund (Tom’s wife at the time) and their daughter Salina Englund does guest vocals on “I’m Drowning Alone”.

Leave It Behind Us

In the twilight of the line-up changes and the turmoil of what was left of the band, Englund and Zander didn’t even know if they were going to continue. From 5 members only two remained. Then they wrote “Leave It Behind Us”.

All things that were known now are changing

It sums up what Englund felt back then and it also represents the melancholy of the album. The music is written by Tom Englund and Rickard Zander with Englund writing the lyrics as well.

You

The music is written by Englund and Marcus Jidell with lyrics written by Englund. It’s a classic rock track with a modern metal sound. And I like it.

And if weakness is a virtue
And an act of strength a pride
Then I am king and misery’s my empire

It’s a song about being let down, because the “you” in the song, is the one who said they will be there. But their nowhere to be seen.

Wrong

It’s another Englund and Zander composition.

The album’s standout track which features a powerful vocal performance from Englund and an uplifting chorus that resonates. The song encourages you to stay true to yourself in the face of adversity.

It’s also the first single and it was certified gold in the band’s home country for sales in excess of 10,000 copies. I know it’s not a lot when you live in the North American market, but for a small market like Sweden, it’s plenty. This is also the band’s first certification in Sweden as well the first certification for their label at the time, Steamhammer/SPV in Sweden.

I always thought that I would know
That when things were broken it would show
Somehow I thought I always knew
The difference between the lie and truth

Blindsided by change. It’s never easy to deal with, especially when you are the one being blindsided.

It’s obvious Englund is writing about a relationship. And the way the lyrics are written, most people might think it’s about a romantic relationship, but in the end it could be about any kind of relationship, romantic, parental or friendship.

Frozen

Like the opening track, this hard hitter has music written by Zander and Englund with Englund writing the lyrics.

Everything is built from change
All the things we recreate
Fallen – lost – forsaken faith
The unspoken made us frozen

It’s a powerful opening verse.

It’s bleak, and it shows how not talking about matters when you need to, leads you to being frozen many years later, when a separation happens.

Restoring the Loss

Written solely by Englund. Despite the heavy subject matter, there’s also a sense of hope and resilience that runs through. The song explores the power of forgiveness and redemption.

Don’t ask me to stretch any longer
These arms are strained beyond what they can take
Don’t ask me for strength cause it’s gone
And I’ve reached my end restoring the loss to faith

We’ve all been there. As a species we don’t know how to say NO to people. So we end up worn out, used and unable to meet any commitments.

To Fit the Mold

This song connected straight away.

Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Englund and Jidell. The song lyrically explores themes of conformity, loss, pain, and isolation.

We’re scared we’ll end up to nothing
And we change to fit the mold
We are…
We’re accidents forced to happen

It’s a brilliant chorus. You really don’t know how strong family and social ties are in your life, until you get older. The conformity that these two institutions want to happen, is at another level.

I know from my point of view, I had to set some boundaries when it came to dealing with family, because it didn’t matter what I did, people were never satisfied.

Out of Reach

Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.

So what now my friend
Where do you go from here
When will the dark days end
And all the clouds clear

Falling out of reach
You can’t prevent it
You can’t cause
All wounds won’t heal

One thing I know in life, is that change is constant. The biggest argument I have ever had is with people close to me, like family or friends. It’s always the case. They felt that my actions disappointed them, and I felt the same way towards them. When partners get involved, it makes it even more complicated.

When I think of the word “wounds” in the song title, I think of the hurt that is felt after words have been said. Because the mind, remembers everything.

The Phantom Letters

We get a trilogy of cuts written solely by Englund, with “The Phantom Letters”, “The Disease…” and “It Comes From Within”.

I like the melancholy and moody atmosphere this song creates.

All the words that I leave offer reasons
Holds the keys to the doors that I’ve locked
And I knew they would never be opened
Cause the ashes fall from heaven

If you are into self-development books, this is the chapter that says to keep a journal and to write down each day, what you are grateful for, what you have accomplished and what you could do better. It’s also there to write down your fears, concerns and words you want to say to others but due to how you are brought up, you are unable to.

The Disease…

It’s a journey through the ups and downs of life, exploring themes of loss, pain, and isolation.

Been loyal to the blind
Had friends that were not mine
I failed to see the disease before it created distance

Englund is not finished about the departure of the previous members. The album highlights his emotions at this point in time.

It Comes from Within

And I’m lying here
So tired so torn
Threat comes from within

It’s taking me over
It’s making me weak
Brought my doubts to the surface
It’s leaving me helpless with no air to breathe

We are our own worst enemies. Our minds can trick us into doing everything or nothing.

Free

Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.

It’s a very depressing song but there is a little bit of hope in the Chorus. Here are the lyrics, you decide.

I’ve read your words
I understand it’s said it’s done
I walk away in fear of what you said that I’ve become
Can’t change your words now they are stains made to stay

Free are those who walk away from setting suns
And free are those who laughed at chains that held them bound
Free are those who conquers in vain but won’t stop to run
Battered and down they pick up their pieces to rise as one

Free are souls who wander alone in the shade of sun
And free are those who’s forgotten by all but still warm inside
Free are they with no intention to fold never bend for the cold
Just to find someone too

I’ve read your words I understand it’s said it’s done
I walk away in fear of what you said that we’ve become
Can’t change our words now
Can’t make them undone
I’ll walk away
I’ll walk away
Just walk away

I’m Drowning Alone

Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund. The child choir is haunting here as they are singing the “release me from darkness” part.

Release me from darkness
Release me from all that chains me here
I’m drowning in silence
And I’m drowning alone

I hate to ask but I wouldn’t if I didn’t need it
Not stronger on my own
I’m weaker just so much weaker
And I know I never asked
But I need you to help me

It’s okay to ask for help. So don’t be afraid and do ask for help.

…And the Distance

Lyrics are written by Englund with the music coming from Zander and Englund.

I always presumed that since “The Disease” had three full stops at the end of it, and “The Distance” had three full stops at the start of it, that these two songs originally made ONE song called, “The Disease And The Distance”.

You’re keeping your distance, you’re pushing me away
You’ve never let me say the words I want to say
Our time here has withered
Our circumstances changed

The themes of keeping silent to keep the peace run throughout the album. And the last song demonstrates that keeping the peace doesn’t lead to a happy future. It just delays the inevitable war that is about to come in a few years, maybe even a decade.

In its first week or release the album sold 900 copies in the United States. Hardly ground-breaking, but Everygrey always had a cult-like following. I actually purchased my version from the U.S Amazon Store. So I am not sure if my purchase counts as a U.S sale or an Australian sale.

The album was a new dawn, a new era. But that new dawn didn’t last.

The break with drummer Jonas Ekdahl and guitarist Henrik Danhage was civil enough to begin with, so when things started to break down with guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes Van Dahl, the former members were soon back in the fold. I also think the commercial failure of their side project DeathDestruction also helped speed this reunion up.

But their side project was also halted when vocalist Jimmie Strimell left to focus on Dead By April, as they appeared on the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest and got a second breakthrough in Sweden.

In relation to the Evergrey change, it happened when writing for the follow-up album started. Via Facebook posts, the band first confirmed that drummer Hannes Van Dahl would be leaving the band to join Sabaton as a full-time, and then due to “problems working together” guitarist Marcus Jidell would also be leaving. Van Dahl, is still with Sabaton, appearing on their last four albums. Marcus Jidell has been busy. He has Avatarium, who are actively releasing new product, plus The Doomsday Kingdom, and between 2015 and 2018, he played guitars in Soen.

As a fan, there is not a weak track on the album.

Overall, “Glorious Collision” is a triumph for Evergrey but more so a triumph for Tom Englund, who kept the identity and brand of Evergrey running, when he felt like he had nothing left to offer. His ability to combine heavy, atmospheric music with deep, introspective lyrics is truly impressive, and this album is a testament to his talent and dedication. If you’re a fan of heavy metal and rock or just appreciate well-crafted music with emotional depth, this album is definitely worth a listen.

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

The Record Vault: Dream Theater – Live At Budokan

This is one of my favourite live releases from the 2000 era. Dream Theater is touring on the back of their most metal album ever in “Train Of Thought”.

“Live at Budokan” was recorded at the Nippon Budokan Hall on April 26, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan and released on October 2004. It’s the same venue as “At Budokan” from Cheap Trick, however the audio for the Cheap Trick album was from the Osaka show, as the audio from the Budokan show was unusable.

Due to time constraints for the set, the songs “The Great Debate”, “Under a Glass Moon” and “Caught in a Web”, which included an extended drum solo, were removed from the set list at the last minute.

As I Am

It makes sense to kick off the show with the opening track “As I Am” from the “Train Of Thought” album with its ominous Black Sabbath like intro making way for a Metallica like riff. Of course, any influence from the past is done in the Dream Theater way with some fills and different endings on the 4th bar.

This Dying Soul

It also makes sense to feedback into the thrash metal like “This Dying Soul”.

The song actually moves through quite a few musical and vocal styles. It reminds me of “Beyond This Life” which also comes next. While James LaBrie cops a lot of flak, he is a very diverse and unique singer who can cover a lot of different vocal styles.

Scene Four: Beyond This Life

They take a long song and extend it to 20 minutes in length. For a band that is very technical and very precise, they really like to be loose and just jam. Sometimes I wish they didn’t, but hey, if I wanted to hear the songs as per the album, then I would just press play on the album. This is another song that moves through a lot of styles musically and vocally.

Hollow Years

This is why the live album is a favourite.

The song is extended. But, it’s not just extended for the sake of it.

The intro has John Petrucci on acoustic guitar doing some flamenco/classical like leads over the verse chords that Jordan Rudess plays on the keys. The actual song (like the studio cut) version starts at 1.20.

At 5.30, there is an approx. 2 minute guitar solo which John Petrucci shreds on. And you know how in concerts the guitar solo spotlight is just that, the guitarist and no one else. Well, here Petrucci uses the songs solo chordal structure and the whole band for his spotlight.

It’s basically them extending the songs solo section. Something like how The Black Crowes do. And it is excellent.

If you are a guitar player you need to hear this. If you are not a guitar player you still need to hear this. This is why I go to the live show. To hear artists communicating musically on stage. Even James LaBrie thinks this is a highlight, as he screams in the microphone at 6.21, Mr John Petrucci and the crowd roars their approval. At 6.40 it’s over and they are back into the song’s pre-chorus.

War Inside My Head / The Test That Stumped Them All

These two songs are back to back in the “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” song and they always should be played back to back. They are thrash groove Metal done in Dream Theaters way.

Endless Sacrifice

I get the same goose bumps when I hear the live version as I do for the studio version.

Instrumedley

It wouldn’t be a Dream Theater show if it didn’t have an instrumental song created purely for the live show.

In this case and on this tour, they take sections from their instrumentals and the instrumental sections from lyrical songs and create some new jams with it and they must have had a proviso that said it had to be at least 12 minutes long.

It’s broken down like this.

I. The Dance of Eternity
II. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper’
III. I. Erotomania
IV. The Dance of Eternity
V. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper’
VI. The Darkest of Winters
VII. When the Water Breaks (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover)
VIII. The Darkest of Winters
IX. Ytse Jam
X. The Dance of Eternity
XI. Paradigm Shift (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover)
XII. Universal Mind (Liquid Tension Experiment Cover)
XIII. The Dance of Eternity
XIV. Hell’s Kitchen

As a fan of those musical sections, it didn’t feel long nor boring. Plus you get some “Liquid Tension Experiment” sections, which I am also a fan of.

And they finish it off with my favourite section from “Hell’s Kitchen”.

Trial Of Tears

The keyboard ringing out segues into “Trial of Tears”. Another massive cut at almost 14 minutes long.

But it never gets boring, bringing back memories of 70’s progressive rock with a hook that reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (the “it’s raining” part).

New Millennium

This song rocks.

I can get over how hard rock sounding the song really is. Its technical but still rooted in hard rock. Maybe because the keyboard parts are written by Derek Sherinian originally.

The style of Allan Holdsworth and what EVH was trying to do with “Van Halen III” comes to mind here musically.

Keyboard Solo

It’s a skip for me. Not all live shows are killer.

Only A Matter Of Time

A track from the long forgotten debut album. This track had embryonic elements of songs like “Learning To Live”, “A Change Of Seasons” and “Metropolis” that would come after.

Goodnight Kiss

It’s almost like a lullaby. Very Pink Floyd like with the shimmering clean tone guitar and samples of children voices playing. It’s another song within the massive “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” song. Petrucci’s lead break is full of hope and wonder.

Solitary Shell

They continue with the major key vibes and go into “Solitary Shell” from the “Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence” album. This one is very Peter Gabriel like.

Stream Of Consciousness

Another instrumental from their recent album. LaBrie gets a chance to rest while the remainder of the band jam for another 12 minutes. And the song goes through so many different movements, you cannot get bored listening to it.

Disappear

Press play to hear the section between 4 and 5 minutes. James LaBrie. What a vocal performance. Brilliant.

Pull Me Under

When I saw this album title for the first time ever, I just presumed it was a song about getting jerked off. Man, was I wrong. Never judge a song by its title.

As soon as the acoustic guitar lines start, the crowd is at its loudest and it’s all systems go.

In The Name Of God

Press play to hear the bone crunching riffs and the jazz fusion like lead section which has Petrucci wailing away at supersonic speeds.

And it’s not an easy song vocally with a lot of highs, but LaBrie does it well.

I have the DVD and the CD of this release. The DVD was also certified Platinum in January, 2005.

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Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Week (Last Few Months Actually) In Destroyer Of Harmony History – August 15 to September 20

I like doing these review posts as it gives me the opportunity to read my earlier writing. Some of it is okay, some of it is crap and some of it is good. But the life Reno’s I went through recently put a stop to these weekly posts.

So here is a review of a few months of history.

4 Years Ago (2018)

REDEMPTION

You can read my review of Redemption’s new album at the time, “Long Night’s Journey Into Day”. Vocals on this album were provided by Tom Englund from Evergrey, while previous efforts had Ray Adler from Fates Warning fronting them.

Being a fan of Redemption before Englund joined, I was always keen to hear a new Redemption record, however I was even more keen to hear it when I knew Englund would be singing.

STANDING FOR SOMETHING

Back in 2018, we had gas poisoning and acid attacks in the UK, Russia meddling in politics (and still meddling via a pointless war in Ukraine) and mother nature taking back her lands via fires, volcanoes, hurricanes/twisters and earthquakes. We have a problem with pollution in the air and plastics in our waters. We have people carrying out mass shootings or driving vehicles into crowds of people. We have wars over religion and poverty/famine in Africa is still happening and as much as big business want to deny it, climate change is real.

And then of course we got lockdowns due to COVID-19.

The past is littered with bands and music in general taking a stand against a problem, a situation, injustice and war. But what about now. What is upsetting musicians enough that they feel compelled to write about it?

Remember, you can’t be liked by everyone.

Take a stand.

LOCK UP THE WOLVES

A ticking clock sounds in the distance.

Suddenly it starts to get more louder as the speed increases.

It’s time for something to happen but what.

Then a syncopated guitar, drum and bass riff kicks in. And there is a pause. It happens again. And another pause.

“Lock Up The Wolves” doesn’t get the notice it should.

DR FEELGOOD

“Dr Feelgood” came out on the first of September, 1989. 33 years ago. The album cost me $19.99. I pay just a little bit more than that a month now for my whole family to listen to almost the history of music on Spotify.

The drug overdoses, the death and subsequent return from death for Nikki Sixx, the drugs, the crashed cars, the lawsuits, the drugs again, the imposter, Vince escaping jail, the women, the drugs again times two, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.

“Dr Feelgood” had to be number 1. If the music didn’t do it, the stories would have. Apart from the big songs, the other songs on the album were not mere filler.

“Sticky Sweet” has a wicked solo section, “She Goes Down” has a great bass and drums verse section after the solo section, which ends with the sound of a zipper going down, “Slice Of Your Pie” is so Aerosmith, but it’s the Beatles “She’s So Heavy” outro that hooks me, while “Rattlesnake Shake” has a riff reminiscent to the 60’s blues guitarists that influenced Mick.

POWERSLAVE

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

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

For an album which is 38 years old, it’s still so relevant today as it was back then. That is the power of music and great song writing.

1979 – Part 3

1979 was a year of transition. While some bands were on their last legs, some were just starting to find their own.

Led Zeppelin were coming to an end while Thin Lizzy was on the ascendancy. The Scorpions had bigger things waiting with “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Winds Of Change” while Fleetwood Mac and Bad Company delivered stellar albums that unfortunately got compared to their previous mega gazillion selling albums.

Aerosmith became a shell of the band they were with “Night In The Ruts”, while Motorhead after a few up’s and downs with record label crap, got lumped in with the NWOBHM movement starting off and started their brief commercial rise.

Uli John Roth left Scorpions and created Electric Sun, but in all honesty he should of stayed with Scorpions, while a supergroup of “musicians who all had small record deals” got together and called themselves Survivor. “Eye Of The Tiger” was a few years away, but you get to hear a band allowing their influences to shape their sound.

Basically, all the bands on this list just kept on creating, regardless of their status on the record label commercial tree. Because that’s why people get into music, to create. Not because copyright terms are forever or because some label said I will give you money to create.

Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door
Scorpions – Lovedrive
Thin Lizzy – Black Rose: A Rock Legend
Fleetwood Mac – Tusk
Bad Company – Desolation Angels
Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts
Motorhead – On Parole
Motorhead – Bomber
Motorhead – Overkill
Electric Sun – Earthquake
Survivor – Survivor
Susan – Falling In Love Again

11 CRUE YEARS

“Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles” both came out on June 24, 11 years apart.

How fortunes change for a band in a decade?

Before 1997, Motely Crue was riding high after “Dr Feelgood”. They renegotiated their Elektra contract for a lot of money and dropped “Decade Of Decadence” with 3 new studio recordings. Life was good.

Then Vince left or was fired (depending on whose story you believe). Regardless, the Crue got Corabi and delivered a stellar self-titled album in 94. But it didn’t sell the way Elektra wanted it too, and since they were footing the bills, they wanted the blond guy back in. Yep, Elektra Records A&R Reps in 1995, referred to Vince Neil as the blond guy.

The Crue camp remained defiant and went ahead writing songs for an album to be called “Personality #9” with Corabi. But money wins in the end and Corabi was out and Vince was back in.

It’s never been confirmed, but the Chinese whispers were in full voice, and the story doing the rounds mentioned how Corabi’s wage was coming from the other guys. Basically, Elektra paid Nikki, Tommy and Mick. Management took their cut, legal took their cut, Corabi got paid a wage and the rest was shared between the other three based on the band agreement.

“Generation Swine” came out, you heard it was a confused album. During the tour, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil punched on and Tommy leaves, then comes back and leaves again. Nikki gets into a slanging match with Elektra and eventually the contract was terminated and somehow Nikki managed to get the copyrights of the Crue songs back in the hands of the band. They form their own label and away they go.

Randy Castillo comes in, “New Tattoo” comes out, Randy dies, Samantha fills in on drums, Nikki gets it going with Samantha and his marriage goes to pieces while the Crue play theatres and cancel shows all over the world. I know, their Australian tour got canned. And after “New Tattoo”, the Crue went on hiatus.

In between, they got some stories together and a book called “The Dirt” came out. The band got back together for a few select shows and demand was so huge, those few shows turned into a huge world tour which was encapsulated in the “Carnival of Sins” DVD release.

If you want to have a career as an artist, you need to be a lifer, and be ready to ride the journey. It’s not always bright lights and success after success. There are hard times and good times. Doors shut and other doors are opened. And when everyone wrote them off, they came back stronger than ever.

For a band who were just average musicians at best, they built a career 40 plus years long. And that period between 1997 and 2008 could have been the end, but it wasn’t.

KINGCROW

I was overdosing on a band called Kingcrow and their new album at the time “The Persistence”.

A FEW MILLION

I came across an interview from Vince Neil in Faces USA 1993. Post Crue departure, Vince was the man, the centre of attention. Here are some sections in italics.

Faces: What surprised you the most about the reception you received upon your departure from Motley Crue?

Vince: How quickly I was accepted. A lot of the labels had faith in me. I had a lot of different labels that were interested. It was a really exciting process, walking in there and talking with the different companies, like the heads of Geffen and Giant and Epic.

All these corporate presidents were like “Come on, come and be with us.”

I sat in with Mo Ostin at Warner Brothers and all these dudes and I felt so much power in the room. When I made the deal, went “Okay, give me the money I want and a Warner Bros jacket with Bugs Bunny on it and I will sign the deal.”

I went with a Warner Brothers basically because they gave me the money I wanted and the security of being on the Warner’s label.

Faces: Can you tell us what the deal was?

Vince: Eighteen million dollars for 5 records.

Think about it. Motley Crue signed a 5 album deal with Elektra worth $35 million and the singer who wasn’t even the main songwriter of the band, then goes and signs a solo deal with Warner Bros for $18 million and 5 albums. And the “Exposed” album is a great slab of hard rock during a time when hard rock albums started to disappear from the record store shelves. But in music, these long term deals very rarely are seen to the end. Two years later in 1995, Vince was no longer accepted, and he had no record deal and no management after “Carved In Stone” disappointed commercially.

The person who signed him, Mo Ostin left Warner Bros in 1994, so it’s safe to say the new team, didn’t really like some of the signings that the old team did.

Even Motley Crue didn’t see the end of their Elektra deal. The people who negotiated the Motley deal in 1992, were no longer at Elektra by 1995 and the new Elektra management team didn’t really care for Motley. All they cared about was the bottom line and Nikki Sixx constantly called out current Elektra boss, Sylvia Rhodes at the groups concerts, even calling her from the stage, so the crowd could tell her to fuck off.

So what’s a few million when bands make the labels multi-millions.

SOLO

I expressed my disappointment at the SOLO movie, which basically put into images the words that Han Solo said in the original Star Wars movies.

Did we really need $300 million spent on that?

The problem these days is movies have a lot of action scenes and hardly any good dialogue scenes. Meanwhile TV shows are winning the story script war hands down.

And do movies need to cost $300 million plus to make. In my view the higher the cost of the movie, the less story it has. And people are attached to a story.

COPYRIGHT ISSUES

It’s sad reading stories about how far removed Copyright Law is from what it was intended to be.

Copyright battles are happening everywhere. Most of the news is on how the record labels and movie studios are calling on governments to pass stronger dictatorship style copyright laws which would give these organisations police like powers.

But Copyright was originally designed to help the creator of the art. However, it’s assisting the corporations to make billions of dollars while the creators make a lot less.

Remember the movie, “This Is Spinal Tap”. Well, the movie has made over $400 million in profits, however the co-creators have received $81 from merchandise sales and $98 from record sales. If you think those amounts are pretty low, well the co-creators thought so as well, and off they went to court, for fraudulent accounting and to get the copyright back in the hands of the creators. And lucky for them they got a judge that saw their side, so the case is going to get interesting. Unfortunately for UMG/Vivendi, the co-creators in this case, also found fame with “The Simpsons” and they have a voice in the market as powerful as the corporation.

8 Years Ago (2014)

EASTERN EUROPE

I was in the middle of our holiday around Eastern Europe and you know what, piracy is king in these countries. CD and DVD shops exist with forgeries. Clothing shops exist with forgeries.

But in all of this piracy, thousands of people turn up to watch artists perform live. Every artist tours Eastern Europe and I am pretty sure that sales of recorded music now and in the past didn’t correlate to the thousands who attended the shows.

PROTEST THE HERO

I got back from Eastern Europe on a Thursday morning and by Friday night I was at the Manning Bar at the Sydney Uni watching Protest The Hero. The ticket for the night was $45 Australian plus booking fee of about $6. Compared to some of the prices I have paid for tickets, this was a good deal.

And that’s a wrap of about a months’ worth of posts from the past.

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

1996 – Part 5.3: Michael Schenker Group – Written In The Sand

Every label head said Schenker was finished, washed up.

It’s 1991 and a supergroup called Contraband drop their debut album. And it keeps on dropping because it is so bad. The nice advance payment that Schenker got to be involved in the project didn’t do much to enhance or move forward his career. In fact his manager and ex-partner took most of it.

But he stays alive, because he’s a lifer. When you have been in the game for this long, the only thing you know how to do is play. And play he did. He jumped on board the unplugged bandwagon and released an album. He called up Robin McAuley and released another McAuley Schenker studio album.

Then he re-unites with Phil Mogg and they start writing. The songs got the labels interested and the “Walk On Water” album from UFO, released in 1995 surprised everyone. Suddenly Schenker was back on the agenda and he’s getting money thrown at him again. He had a lot of bad people in his life at this point in time, from managers and partners, so it was always going to happen that MSG would return.

I didn’t think it would be that quick. Because a year after “Walk On Water”, “Written In The Sand” is released, the eighth full-length studio album that falls under the MSG brand.

The only thing consistent with all of these MSG albums is the name and Michael Schenker himself. The other members are in a constant flux. For this album, Schenker is joined by Leif Sundin on vocals, Shane Gaalaas on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass. All the music is by Michael Schenker and all lyrics by Leif Sundin.

Ron Nevison is doing all the Producing, Engineering and Mixing.

It’s not on Spotify which irks me, but YouTube has it.

Brave New World

It’s got groove, swing and lot of rock and roll. And the first thing that grabs my attention are the vocals from Leif Sundin. His voice is very melodic, fluid and unique. I would say he’s up there as one of the best singers in MSG.

The lead breaks are impressive, with Schenker even soloing over a harmony solo which acts as a rhythm guitar.

Cry No More

Press play to hear the intro. Its heavy and a lot of acts who went alternative to survive weren’t doing riffs like this during this period. The song could have been on a Deep Purple album and it wouldn’t be out pf place.

I Believe

It’s a ballad that turns into a rocker. It’s not original, yet it is an easy listen.

Back to Life

No one was writing riffs like this in 1996. Its old school and I like it. Barry Sparks is massive on the bass here as well.

Written in the Sand

This track is essential MSG. It has a sleazy bluesy riff and a lot of melody. And Schenker delivers a tasty guitar-solo in the middle and for the outro.

Essenz

It wouldn’t be an MSG album without an instrumental. This one has an “Eruption” vibe before moving into a fast blues. Think of “Hot For Teacher” when it picks up.

Love Never Dies

Imagine “Finish What Ya Started” merging with the melodic rock genre. Well this is the outcome. Another close favourite with a killer Schenker lead break.

I Will Be There

Press play to hear the verse riff. Schenker makes it sound technical, yet it rocks so fluidly.

Take Me Through the Night

Its classic heavy metal while the singing is happening and the solo section is barroom blues brawling.

It wouldn’t be out of place on any metal album from the early 80’s.

Down the Drain

The album closer showcases how Schenker decorates in a creative way. You cannot ignore how good it is.

While Schenker’s North American career had stalled, he was still a big draw in Japan and certain European markets. And just like that, the whole “Contraband” affair was forgotten. That is if you heard the album. Which wasn’t easy to do.

Crank it.

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Music, My Stories

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – July 18 to July 25

2018 (4 Years Ago)

ANEW REVOLUTION

Whatever happened to Anew Revolution?

I was a fan back in the day and I still enjoy cranking their tunes. They released two official albums that I am aware off, in “Rise” (2008) and “iMerica” in 2010. There was an “Unplugged EP” in 2012 and a Kickstarter project that release new songs to the backers only in 2014.

I hope Anew Revolution make more music. They have fans. We probably won’t make the band millions, but we will listen.

Check out my review of “Rise” here?

WITHHOLDING MUSIC FROM STREAMING

Once upon a time, it used to cost a lot of money to record. Very few acts, got signed and even less acts got a chance to record and get distributed. Getting inside the record label machine was hard, however if an act could penetrate, they could have a long career even if they never had a hit on the charts.

The label did have good intentions to keep you in the business and the label would promote you. All at your cost of course. But the truth is, it was harder to keep a record deal than to get a record deal. Especially if you didn’t sell. And even more so, once MTV came out and you didn’t sell.

Kiss benefited from this business model. They relied on the label putting some money upfront for the recording of the album, for the film clips and for tour support.

Then Napster came, then torrents, the iTunes store and streaming and Gene and Paul just kept on shouting it loud to everyone about how there is no music business, while they toured non-stop and made money from the music business.

In the process they recorded two albums during this period.

Yep, two albums. “Sonic Boom” and “Monster”. But for all of the complaining about streaming they did, the Kiss catalogue was on Spotify Australia. Then half of it was off. Then it was back on after a few weeks off. Madness.

I’m against bands withholding their music from a service that people legitimately pay for.

It’s all about consumption. Funds are tight, but Google and Spotify is not the problem. The artists are getting squeezed by the consumer. The consumer either listens or doesn’t want to listen to your music.

For any artist thinking of withholding their music from a streaming service, don’t do it. Don’t hold back progress. Because if you look at the past, you will see people who said the internet would kill the incentive to make music. Wrong, there’s so much more music than ever before. People said streaming would kill the business. Wrong, revenues are up and streaming is seen as it’s saviour.

Think forward, not backwards.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA

What can I say, there is something about TNFO and the music they create that hits a nostalgic spot for me. And I’m digging it.

Album number 4, “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” is full of massive sing-along choruses and derivative versions of some of the best pop songs ever written.

For example, if you like Deep Purple, Supertramp and Rainbow, then you will like the opening track “This Time”.

And that’s how the album flows. A road trip down memory lane, done in a new way.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

I was preparing for my European holidays.

A day before our flight, the news doing the rounds was the MH17 disaster. Then our flight got changed to an earlier time. But no one told us until the last minute.

And I had questions.

Because the new schedule would give us an 8 hour stopover in Bangkok instead of the normal 2 hour stop over.

And holidaying is meant to be relaxing and easy.

Thanks for reading folks, that’s another wrap of DOHistory.

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

Australian Method Series: Lord – Set In Stone

2005.

A band called Dungeon is opening for Megadeth in Sydney. I knew of the name, but never heard any of their music. The band name just didn’t do it for me. It was my mistake. I listened with my eyes instead of my ears. Well that was to change.

After the gig, Dungeon was definitely on my radar and I did purchase a few of their albums. And as soon as I got into them, they called it quits.

Sort of.

You see, Lord was originally started as a side project for Dungeon guitarist/vocalist Tim Grose, which was meant as something different from his main band sound. Lord’s first album was released in 2003 and it wasn’t so different from Dungeon. After Dungeon disbanded in 2005, Lord just became a continuation of Dungeon’s sound with new members. You could even purchase Dungeon albums at shows Lord did.

“Set in Stone” is the third album released in September 2009 by the band’s own label Dominus in conjunction with Riot! Entertainment. The album was recorded in my home town of Wollongong, Australia. A small foot note in history, is that a band I was in at the time opened up for Lord when they played Wollongong touring on this album.

The band is Tim Grose (also known as Lord Tim) on vocals and guitars, Tim Yatras on drums, Mark Furtner on guitars and Andrew Dowling on bass.

Spectres of the Ascendant

48 seconds of sound effects to introduce “Redemption”.

Redemption

Written by Tim Grose and drummer Tim Yatras, who would depart the band after the album was completed.

Its face melting speed metal.

100 Reasons

Another Grose and Yatras track.

It’s hard rock, with a major key Arena melodic rock Chorus.

Eternal Storm

Co-guitarist Mark Furtner gets a co-write with Grose and Yatras.

Fast, Malmsteen like from the “Marching Out” album. The solo is very Vinnie Moore like, running through different scalar patterns.

Set in Stone

Another track written by Grose and Yatras.

My favourite song on the album. The intro riff is a brilliant mix of Classic NWOBHM and American metal. Judas Priest and Maiden come to mind, with vocals bordering between a cross between Dickinson and Tate at their classic metal best.

There is this “wo-oh-oh” chant after the solo. I can imagine thousands of people chanting it at a gig.

Someone Else’s Dream

Written by the band.

An 80’s sounding synth and a syncopated guitar line set the foundations. At stages it feels like it’s a song from the Gothenburg metal scene, but the Chorus is huge and melodic.

Forever

It’s almost Maiden like with a lot of musical influences from the “Fear of The Dark” album.

I play air guitar to the harmony guitars.

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and Andrew Dowling.

The lyrical theme is pretty clear. Boy falls in love, gets rejected and goes all Michael Douglas “Falling Down” on the girl and the world.

The guitar playing in the lead break is brilliant.

Beyond the Light

Written by the band.

Judas Priest and UFO “Lights Out” era comes to mind, vocally and musically. It’s a great song to sing along to.

The End of Days

Written by Grose and Yatras.

It’s like a thrash metal song, with the vocals being a cross between Rob Halford and Tom Araya (in the verses).

Staying true to its title it ends with a nuclear bomb going off.

Be My Guest

Written by Tim Grose, Tim Yatras and ex Dungeon bassist Brendan McDonald.

This is like “Stars” on guitar with a lot of guest solos.

It’s an instrumental track featuring guest solos from Craig Goldy of Dio, Glen Drover from Eidolon, Olof Mörck of Dragonland, Yoshiyasu Maruyama of the Japanese thrash band Argument Soul, Angra’s Felipe Andreoli, the former Enter Twilight member Richie Hausberger, Chris Porcianko from Vanishing Point, Chris Brooks and former Dungeon members Stu Marshall and Justin Sayers.

New Horizons

Written by Grose and Yatras. It’s your typical power ballads.

Pete Lesperance from Harem Scarem plays a solo on this.

On a Night Like This

A Kylie Minogue cover as the bonus track.

The fact that the band would attempt such a cover shows the versatility of the members.

Reviews for Australian artists are difficult to do as I want to highlight influences of their sound without making them sound like copyists, and if people from other continents want to check them out, my aim is to give them a reference point as well.

If you haven’t dabbled in the power metal genre, then let Lord be your entry point.

It’s easy really.

Just press play on the melodic rock tracks first like “100 Reasons” and “Beyond The Light”.

If you like em, then press play on the classic metal track, “Set In Stone”.

If you like that, press play on the more ambitious tracks like “The End Of Days” and “Forever”.

Then you are at the fast speed metal with “Redemption” and “Eternal Storm”.

Enjoy.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – June 20 to July 17

Time just ran away from me.

In Australia, the End Of The Financial Year is 30 June 2022. And man there is a lot of work to be done a few weeks before that date and a few weeks after that date.

And some things just get priority over others.

2018 (4 Years Ago)

This time 4 years ago was very light on posts. I had a second part review of the year that was 1984.

Coming into 1984, hard rock and metal bands started popping up everywhere in the mainstream. Magazines moved their reporting from different styles of music to cover only hard rock. The labels even started promoting rock music as different genres. Eventually, the heavy metal section of the record store would be divided to include hard rock, speed metal and extreme metal. In a few more years after that, glam metal and melodic rock would also be listed as categories. But in 1984, regardless of what “genre” a band got labelled with after, we still found the albums in the heavy metal section of the record shop.

Judas Priest still had the world in the palm of their hands with “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin” and then they dropped “Defenders Of The Faith”. “The Sentinel” is my favourite track on the album. I could listen to it over and over again.

The debut album from the “guys from Jersey” is tiny compared to the albums that came after, but it still has some worthy riffs to talk about. So press play on Bon Jovi’s debut.

The fury known as Yngwie Malmsteen dropped his debut album “Rising Force” and neo-classical got an adrenaline shot.

The Fish led era of Marillion dropped “Fugazi”. It was an acquired taste and I enjoyed the music more than the vocals.

When I first heard “Ride The Lightning”, I didn’t even know what kind of music it was. I felt like a chainsaw assaulted my earbuds. It didn’t sound like the hard rock mixes I was used to, as my ears were conditioned to enjoy the Tom Werman, Keith Olsen, Bruce Fairbairn produced albums.

It was original, progressive and it set the track list running template for the future albums which followed.

I didn’t know it then, but Y&T would became one of my favourite bands ever. Their big money Geffen move didn’t happen until the late 80’s and A&M was the wrong label for their classic era. Regardless, Y&T’s is part of my DNA. “In Rock We Trust” I say.

From a copyright point of view, how the hell would David Coverdale do the accounting for the “Slide It In” album. There are the songwriters who would deserve their royalty and then there are the two versions of the album, with different members who would get a performance royalty.

The final Cold Chisel album “Twentieth Century” came out months after they played their final show in December of 83.

And it had three classics in “Saturday Night”, “No Sense” and “Flame Trees”. It’s also hard to believe that “No Second Prize” from Jimmy Barnes solo album that followed this, was submitted and rejected from this album.

2014 (8 Years Ago)

Stronger Copyrights

I absolutely support that musicians should be paid for their work.

What I don’t get is how the record labels and misguided artists feel entitled to push for stronger copyright enforcement as a way to guarantee an income which is contrary to the foundations of what copyright was designed to do.

The song “Happy Birthday” goes all the way back to 1893 and it was under Copyright protection until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. Then there was outrage and then it was part of the public domain.

Copyright protectionism is about protecting old business models. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about supporting thriving new industries. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about finding new ways of doing things.

And people do pay for music.

Metallica’s self-titled Black album is still moving on average 2000 units a week. And it is doing this even though millions of copies of the album are available to be downloaded for free. It is doing this even though it is available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.

Volbeat has been selling records on a weekly basis in the U.S since 2011. They are doing these numbers even though their album/s are available to be downloaded on peer-to-peer networks. They are doing these numbers even though their albums are available for streaming. Same deal with Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Skillet. Still selling, regardless of the state of piracy.

So what is it. Do artists need stronger copyright laws or better business models and terms that pay them a fair days pay for a fair days work?

Asphalt Ballet

What a great band name, using a police slang term for a motorcyclist crashing and skidding along the road at high speed. Their so called overnight success was 14 plus years in the making that began in different states and different cities, far removed from the Sunset Strip of LA.

Vocalist Gary Jeffries has a huge story to tell. He put in a lot of time playing the bar circuit and his origin story dates back to the Seventies. Eventually he came to L.A in the mid Eighties to audition for QUIET RIOT after original vocalist Kevin DuBrow left. He didn’t get that gig, losing out to Paul Shortino from Rough Cutt.

Start with the debut album. They wanted to call the album “Mood Swing” and once you sink your teeth into it, that is exactly what you will get.

It was produced by Greg Edward who paid his dues as an engineer on big albums like “Scarecrow” from John Cougar Mellencamp and “Like a Rock” from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Virgin Records released the album and it looks like they had no idea how to promote the band or the album in a changing musical landscape.

DR FEELGOOD

Dr Feelgood had to be number 1.

It was a million dollar blockbuster and the mythology around Motley Crue by 1989 supported and underpinned this blockbuster movie. The drug overdoses, the return from death, the crashed cars, the women, the drugs, the partying, the clashes with the law and the eventual “sobriety”.

It is their first album with Bob Rock, who Nikki found via Ian Astbury from “The Cult”. Remember that music is a relationship business. That is how we are meant to roll. It was recorded in Canada at Little Mountain Studios at the same time that Aerosmith was recording “Pump”. Both of the biggest party bands had committed to a healthy lifestyle, going on jogs together.

The piece de resistance is “Dr Feelgood”. Musically, it is a Mick Mars composition, that he had completely mapped out on his own. He had to take the song to the band a few times before they started to pay attention to it and it was the song that started the ball rolling with Bob Rock, after the band sent him a demo.

Can you imagine Vince Neil singing for a whole day and only having one line of a lyric that was deemed usable?

Yep, that was the standard set by Bob Rock. Of course a million dollar budget didn’t hurt. And didn’t they come a long way from the seven days recording session for “Too Fast For Love”. Album number five left no loose ends.

“Dr Feelgood” set a new standard for hard rock and a lot of the bands like Dokken, Great White, Firehouse, Poison, Ratt and so many others just didn’t take that next step. And of course, shortly after the album was released, Metallica went to Bob Rock and said that they want their own “Dr Feelgood”.

We all know how that turned out.

THE KINDRED

“Today I Caught the Plague” was first. I thought the band name was crap but the debut album “Lore” was a real stand out for 2011. I came across the band by sheer luck when I saw a tour poster from “Protest The Hero” and it had “Today I Caught The Plague” as one of the supports.

While “Lore” was an independent release, “Life In Lucidity” is on Sumerian Records. A label that is perfect for them. Because labels are still the answer to get your name out to the masses. As much as the internet was meant to level the playing field, the labels have more power than ever. So if you want to be on a label, you need to be on a label that specialises and deals with bands that are of similar styles.

The first song I listened to was “Heritage” and I bought the album on iTunes not long after, ordered the CD from Amazon and put it as a favourite on my Spotify playlist.

The band name is also changed to The Kindred.

IF GAME OF THRONES WAS A ROCK BAND

If Game Of Thrones was a rock band and the band had the levels of piracy that the TV show had, expect their shows to sell out in minutes.

If Game Of Thrones was a rock band and the band is doing a free show like the GOT exhibition then expect pandemonium to ensure.

ZAKK WYLDE COMPENDIUM

A very long post covering Zakk’s long career with Ozzy, Pride And Glory, Ozzy again and Black Label Society up to 2014. Check out what I think are essential songs that people should listen to from Mr Berserker Wylde.

And I just kept talking about “Angel Of Mercy”, spreading the gospel on the song from Black Label Society.

Great music must contain emotion. That is why “Angel Of Mercy” connected with me. It hits me emotionally and it makes me feel something. All the great songs do? And because I care for the song, I can’t stop sharing it and talking about it with people who want to listen. And when music is done right, it sells itself.

And that’s a wrap for a month’s worth of DoHistory. Let’s get back to reading blog posts and posting some more content.

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Influenced, Music

2001 – Part 5.6: Static X – Machine

A singer from a band I was in burnt me a copy.

“Machine” is the second studio album by Static-X, released on May 22, 2001.

The Personnel for the album is Wayne Static (RIP) on Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards and Programming. Tony Campos is on bass, Ken Jay is on drums, Tripp Eisen is on guitar, with ex-lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda credited as a keyboard player and Ulrich Wild contributing keyboards to different songs.

The writing for the songs happened while on tour for the “Wisconsin Death Trip” with Wayne Static writing all the songs by himself on the tour bus while the other band members lived it up and partied hard. When the band went in to record the album, Wayne Static told the guys that the royalties for the song writing would not be split four ways this time around.

How do you think that went down with the other members?

It lead to lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda’s departure before recording began, and drummer Ken Jay’s eventual departure a few years later.

While Static played all the guitars on the album, Tripp Eisen (Fukuda’s replacement) was involved with the album’s photoshoot and promotional materials, the music videos, the world tour for support of the album, and he helped arrange the Static-X comic book deal.

The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on November 10, 2003. It was a pretty big deal to achieve this certification, in a market dominated with peer to peer downloading.

As was the norm with bands during this Nu-Metal period, the album was free of guitar solos.

Bien Venidos

A short 30 second intro of people having a party.

Get To The Gone

The vocals are deep, almost Rob Zombie like.

Musically, its heavy rock with a lot of Dimebag Pantera style influences and Rammstein/Ministry/NIN industrial metal overtones.

Permanence

The electronics are prominent here, with the Digitech Whammy providing new sounds for the riffs.

This one is more NIN than anything.

Black And White

I like the intro riff on this. Its dissonant and it reminds me of Megadeth for some reason.

This Is Not

Yeah, this is not a song that has made its way to my playlists of liked songs. But they seemed to like it.

Otsego Undead

It’s got this Black Betty drum beat with a lot of electronica and some other weird stuff. The riff kicks in and it’s the same as the other riffs before that.

Cold

What a song.

The best track, hidden deep into the album at track 7.

The riff and the keys melody over it work brilliant. The whispering vocal reminds me of Type O Negative.

And if the song sounds familiar it’s because it appeared in the film “Queen of the Damned”. It was also featured on the film’s soundtrack album, performed by Wayne Static for the soundtrack who replaced Jonathan Davis who sings it in the movie.

Structural Defect

An open string riff that reminds me of Metallica who weren’t playing riffs like these anymore at this time.

…In A Bag

More of the same, fast open string riffs, some electronica and Rob Zombie style vocals.

Burn To Burn

It’s got a cool chromatic riff.

Machine

The title track. I was expecting big things and it was a let down

A Dios Alma Perdida

The riffs are demented, heavy, very Sabbath tritone like. It almost experimental, horror soundtrack like. I had to Google what it meant.

Alma Perdida means lost soul. Adios means bye.

Bye Lost Soul.

By the end of it, my view point of this album is one heavily marketed good song that sold the album. When the singer in my band asked me about it, I said that I went “Cold” on it. I know, it’s a bad joke.

Press play on it for the song “Cold”. If you like that, listen to “Get To The Gone” and “A Dios Alma Perdida”.

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

Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 31 to June 5

4 Years Ago (2018)

War Of Attrition

Back then I asked the question “If we stop using Spotify or Netflix, would we miss them?”

Since then a lot of other players have taken market share in the steaming world.

I am a heavy user of Spotify. For Netflix its hit and miss. Sometimes I could go weeks without using it and on other occasions it’s every day.

At the moment, in 2022, I also have subscriptions to Stan, Amazon, Paramount+ and Disney.

Being missed when you’re gone is a worthy objective for any organisation. It also should be an objective for any artist. If I stopped listening to music in general, I would miss it. If I stopped listening to music from certain artists I would really miss it.

And the ones who will survive are not those looking for short term profits, but those that realize it’s a war of attrition.

Who Should Be Listed As A Songwriter For A Song?

Metallica wanted to re-issue their 1982 demo “No Life To Leather”. Dave Mustaine on Twitter, said the talks broke down because Lars wanted song writing credits on two songs that Mustaine wrote every note and word to. So instead of agreeing to share the song writing, Mustaine passed.

Song writing is always an issue with bands.

Van Halen had all the band members listed as songwriters on all of their albums. Suddenly, when the band re-negotiated their publishing deals for their earlier David Lee Roth albums, Michael Anthony was removed as a song writer.

Skid Row’s Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan said that Sebastian Bach didn’t contribute to the Skid Row debut album as most of the songs were written before Bach joined. Bach countered to say, that the way he sung the songs, and the way he decided to hold certain notes was enough of a contribution to the debut album and he should be listed as a songwriter. Manager Doc McGhee said Bach has no idea how copyright works.

Nikki Sixx said one of the reasons for Vince Neil’s departure from Motley was due to his lack of song writing contributions, which Vince countered to say he had enough co-writes on Motley’s classic 80’s era to counter that.

100% of the time, when an individual writes a song, there will be music, words and melodies written at the same time.

8 Years Ago (2014)

Arrows To Athens

I went in cold to listen to “Arrows To Athens”.

I had no idea what style of music they played, who was in the band, who produced em and which label if any released it.

After listening to the album I was a fan. It’s simple and effective modern rock. Catchy.

So I Googled the band and I came across the name of David Hodges. He walked away from Evanescence before “Fallen” exploded and become a songwriter for other artists in the world of modern/pop rock.

David’s problem is that he is too talented. He can easily write hit singles and all the songs here are infectious.

Do yourself a favour and check it out. It’s on Spotify and on YouTube.

Ashes Divide

I went in cold on this as well. The first thing that came to mind was “A Perfect Circle”. So I Googled it and of course it is Billy Howerdel’s project. And he sings on it. The album came out in 2008 and the first time I heard it was May, 2014.

“Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright” is the album name and there is no filler here. Check it out.

Angel Of Mercy

“Angel Of Mercy” from Black Label Society always gets me to pay attention.

The song appears on the album “Catacombs Of the Black Vatican” from Black Label Society.

And the lead break is pure magic. Just listen.

It builds and builds to the point where you cannot help but be in awe at the feel, the melodic phrasing and the disciplined technique on display.

The song was never a hit on the Billboard Charts and due to its mellow nature it might never get a live appearance, but god damn it, the song is a classic.

Ozzy probably didn’t know it, but in Zakk, he had a guitarist who could do Black Sabbath better than Black Sabbath, do the works of Randy Rhoads justice. (Of course, as a diehard RR fan, no one could do RR better than RR himself) and Zakk could play Jake E Lee better than Jake E Lee. Zakk once called his Ozzy gig the most glorified covers gig ever, where he gets to play some cool shit written by others and he also gets to play his own shit.

Lynch Mob

The follow-up self-titled Lynch Mob album had Keith Olsen producing. I suppose anything to do with George Lynch, includes a saga with a lead singer.

It’s 1992.

Dokken was four years dead. In between that time George Lynch and Mick Brown shacked up together with Lynch Mob and remained with Elektra Records. Jeff Pilson went to War and Peace and lead singer Don Dokken got wined and dined by Geffen Records and jumped ship.

The first post Dokken battle between had Lynch scoring some points with the excellent “Wicked Sensation” coming first. However, Don Dokken and John Kalodner were still building their all-star cast for “Up From The Ashes” and even though the album was an exemplary piece of melodic hard rock, it failed commercially. I suppose Don’s $1 million advance sign on fee didn’t help the budget. But it is still a favourite to me.

And the great momentum built up by the Mark 1 version of Lynch Mob was taken back a few steps with the ousting of vocalist Oni Logan. The story goes that Lynch had a problem with the way Logan sounded live. So after letting Logan go, the band had Glenn Hughes come in. He would sing the songs on the demos and then new singer Robert Mason would record em.

Fun fact for the day is that Glen Hughes did co-write a few tunes with Don Dokken for the “Up From The Ashes” album, with “When Love Finds A Fool” making it to the final cut.

But the album failed to match the sales of “Wicked Sensation” even though “Tangled In The Web” was a Top 10 hit.

Lynch Mob went on tour and Lynch was “not feeling it” with Mason and he wanted to get another singer. That singer was Ray Gillen, who at the time wasn’t interested because he had just completed “Voodoo Highway” with Badlands and was keen to push and promote that album.

If only Gillen knew the fall out that would happen between him and Jake a few months later. Glenn Hughes was considered, however he was discriminated against because of his age.

And then George Lynch returned to Dokken for the already written “Dysfunctional” album and even though as a hard core fan, I thoroughly enjoyed it, the truth of the matter is the band was spent. And we can speculate or argue why or just revel in the greatness of what came before.

The New Nursery Rhymes

The recording industry tells us that we need more Copyright for music to thrive and survive. But nursery rhymes survived all this time without the recording industry and copyright.

Say bye-bye to the old and say hello to the new. Here is a list of the new nursery rhymes that my two-year old loves.

“We’re Not Gonna Take It”

Back in the Eighties, the PMRC listed “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as number 7 on their filthy fifteen list. And the reason why it was on the list. Violence. Yep, Tipper Gore and her housewives found the song to be violent while millions upon millions of adolescent teens found it empowering.

“Cum On Feel The Noize”, “Rock and Roll”, “Rock N Roll All Nite”

Songs about letting your hair down.

“Livin On A Prayer” and “Don’t Stop Believin”

Two songs are about never giving up and believing in yourself. And those people are still believing with billion plus streams for these songs.

“Eye Of The Tiger”

The “Rocky III” producers wanted to use “Another One Bites The Dust” however they could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead.

“We Will Rock You”

The boom boom cha. It’s undeniable.

And these songs get passed on via word of mouth. It’s how culture rolls.

What I Am Over Reading ….?

Metallica’s New Album

Six years had passed since Death Magnetic was released.

Led Zeppelin Reissue’s

Seriously. How many times can someone own the original three albums or the songs contained within those albums.

Piracy

Seriously. Is this still an issue in 2014?

Streaming Doesn’t Pay

It does pay. If you are not getting any of the pie speak to the label or the organisation that holds your rights.

Sales

They are irrelevant. All they do is give the old guard a way to measure something that is irrelevant because the new way to measure an artist’s reach is just too hard to fathom for them.

Are people listening to the album?

Press Releases for new albums

People can see through the hype. We don’t care when bands say “how great this new album is” or “how it is a definitive statement of the band right now”. All we care about is if we like it. If we do like it, we will talk about and we will push it. If it is crap, expect it to disappear.

Because if publicity does increase sales, then bands should be selling by the millions and selling out their shows. But they don’t.

And that’s another wrap of DoH history for a week.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 16 to May 29

Life always throws curveballs. I have reached the stage in my life where I don’t have the time to do my full time IT job. I wouldn’t have it any other way with all of the family distractions, however my blogging has suffered a fair bit in 2022, from the usual daily posts to a post or two in a week and then back to daily posts and then to one or two a week again. Even reading and commenting on posts has gone a bit slack, but I will get around to reviewing it all.

So here is a two week review of Destroyer Of Harmony History.

4 Years Ago (2018)

Copyright was designed to protect the artist and to enhance culture. It did this, by giving the artist a monopoly on their works, so they could make money from their works and have an incentive to create further works. This monopoly was for a short period with the option to renew. Once the expiry date passed, the works became part of the public domain for future generations to build on and use. Like how the 60’s musicians took all the Blues classics from the 30’s that had terms which expire in the 50s and the “British Invasion” was born.

But.

Corporations started to rise because of these monopolies and what we have now is a copyright standard so far removed from what copyright was meant to be. For over a century the record label has built up a history of owning songs it shouldn’t be owning.

“Why would a label be insisting on keeping a property that has stopped selling, that they don’t have any plans to re-promote except when the artist dies?”
Todd Rundgren

“Of all the creative work produced by humans anywhere, a tiny fraction has continuing commercial value. For that tiny fraction, the copyright is a crucially important legal device”
Lawrence Lessig

The songwriters and the actual artists will never be properly compensated because of poor record keeping from the record labels and the publishing organisations, but these same organisations blame the technology companies for not doing enough to seek out the songwriters.

But the labels licensed their catalogues to the techies, so wouldn’t they have the information as to who wrote what. Especially for the lesser artists.

There is a scene in the “Uncensored” video with Vince Neil cruising down the Sunset Strip in a limo with a spa pool and he’s talking about the name of the next album, called “Girls, Girls, Girls”.

On May 15, 1987, “Girls Girls Girls” comes out and the world was treated to two video clips. The “Censored” clip and the “Uncensored” one. MTV had a ball with it.

And the clip is misleading. While it looks like the guys are having fun, attending strip clubs and dropping bills into knickers, Nikki Sixx was in the spiralling grip of a heroin addiction, Mick Mars was blacking out from alcoholism, Tommy Lee was coking it up, screwing anything that moved and somehow managed to get married and still screw anything that moved, while Vince Neil was still on probation from his car crash homicide and pretending to be sober. In other words, life in the Crue was chaos with a capital MC.

The best track on the album is the opener, Nikki’s religious sermon to the street life of L.A. “Wild Side” is perfect, from the riffs, the drum groove, the vocal melodies and of course, the lyrics.

Kneel down ya sinners to streetwise religion
Greed has been crowned the new king

From a commercial perspective, “Girls” was competing against “Slippery When Wet” from Bon Jovi, “The Final Countdown” from Europe and Whitesnake’s 1987 self-titled album for listeners attention. “Look What the Cat Dragged In” from Poison was also rising. But it not only competed, it went toe to toe with all of those releases and Motley came out on top in the live box office. Hell, even Whitesnake was opening up for them.

And who can forget the words from management, that if the band went to Europe to tour, they will come home in body bags. “Girls” would be the end of the Motley band as we knew it. A snapshot of how a band can take alcohol and drugs to the limits.

Artists always had a lot of songs in the bank. Sometimes they didn’t even release their best song. They always withheld some for the next album and the album after. And they kept on writing.

Majority of artists are intrinsically motivated. The joy of creating a new song is what motivates them. If the song gets public acceptance, and it brings in money, great. As long as they are still motivated by the joy of creating a new song, they will be fine. As soon as they are motivated by the need to match or better the popularity of the “hit” song, then they are in trouble.

Social media is there to give you instant feedback. After the show is over, people are commenting. After a song is released, people are commenting. It gives you the ability to connect and know your fans, to interact with them and to get a feel for what they like and want from you.

Remember music is forever, and it needs people to like it. Be creative and never stop.

It takes artists a while, but they eventually realise how much their copyrights are worth. Nikki Sixx on Twitter said that the best industry lesson he learned was that Motley Crue didn’t really need a record label after the first two albums. And this antipathy towards labels ended up with Motley Crue getting their rights to the Masters back in 1998 from Elektra.

And then you have instances where artists need to sell their songwriting credits because of bad business decisions. K.K. Downing, founded Judas Priest. He left the band in 2011 due to issues with the other members and he purchased a golf course, which went into administration. As part of bankruptcy, Downing sold the rights to 136 songs he co-wrote. According to the article, these songs generate $340K to $400K in royalty payments annually back in 2018. Those numbers are only growing and the Copyright holders, (the Labels and The Publishers) are making their money back tenfold.

On the other side, is the graphic artists who normally get paid a flat fee for their services to create/design an album cover. At the time of designing the cover, no one really knows the impact the album might have on culture. So is the graphic artist to get paid extra when the album they designed the cover for broke through and sold millions. Case in point, Jethro Tull and the iconic “Aqualung” cover.

In the 70’s a young artist was hired by Chrysalis for $1,500 via a handshake deal to create three paintings to his style and content for Jethro Tull’s new album. The album went on to become Jethro Tull’s best-selling album, with over 7 million copies sold and so many anniversary editions issued. And apart from the great music, the album cover has become iconic, being re-issued on cassettes, CD’s, T-shirts and what not. And the artist who painted it, well, the label contends it was a “work for hire” agreement. And with no written contract, the label can say anything, so Chrysalis (now Warner Brothers) said the copyright for the paintings belonged to them. Fancy that. A label claiming to own the artistic rights to art.

When it comes to artists and copyright law, it’s very messy, especially for famous works as the companies don’t want to lose the rights to valuable works. So the corporations always try to extend Copyright terms.

As much as I like using Spotify, once they reach critical mass, the prices will go up. But it’s easier said than done, as there is a lot of competition in streaming these days. And one of the key role of our governments is to make sure monopolies don’t exist, but every time they pass a piece of legislation, they more or less give rise to monopolies. Copyright monopoly anyone.

And back in 2018, my Netflix subscription went up and it went up again last year, while the shows I watched they keep cancelling like “Altered Carbon” or “Sense8”. But like all technology companies, once you reach critical mass, the price goes up. Maybe it’s time to reassess my financial commitments to these organizations.

Cinderella’s “Long Cold Winter” had its 30th Anniversary on May 21, 1988. It’s was good then and it’s still good today, a timeless album.

And on May 23, 1979, Kiss released “Dynasty”. It was my first Kiss album on LP and of course, due to having so little product to listen to, it became a favourite. However, my brothers friends who had the earlier Kiss albums hated this album.

On May 24, 1988, Van Halen released “OU812”. The piece d’resistance is “Mine All Mine”. It wasn’t just competing with the singles from this album for attention, it was competing with “Jump”, “Panama”, “Dreams”, “Summer Nights” and “Why Can’t This be Love” for attention. Because in the MTV era, songs had some legs.

And everything these bands represent is opposite to what is popular on the charts today. Today it’s all about the beat and it doesn’t feel personal which is opposite of what music should be.

Playing in a band is tough. Everyone wants to do it, but the long road to make some money and no safety net scared a lot of people off. And the ones who stuck it out, are still sticking it out.

Some broke through, some got signed and released music on a label and some still play the bar/club scene. These days, artists can record and release their music themselves, while holding down a full time job that pays.

Music is a lifers game. Because it’s alienating. When you write music, you are normally alone, surrounded by feelings. When you are on the road, you end up alone in a hotel room and for some artists they never come home alive. It’s hard to even speak about depression today, especially when you are surrounded by social media and it’s “everybody’s a winner” message.

So while society might base itself around the winners on social media, the truth is we all lose, each and every one of us at some point in time.

Did anyone hear about the copyright infringement suit between The Script and James Arthur.

Back in 2018, James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” released in 2016 had 846 million streams on Spotify and on YouTube it had over 600 million views.

Meanwhile “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” from The Script, released in 2008, doesn’t even rate a mention in the Top 10 streamed songs for The Script and even their biggest song, “Hall of Fame” released in 2012 is sitting at 419 million streams on Spotify. On YouTube, “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” has 172 million views.

G, D, Em and C is the chord progression under question. The Script are adamant that the way they use the Chord progression with the vocal melody is unique and original and they are the first ones EVER to do it. Go to a Christian church and a lot of the songs they sing there use this chord progression. Pick up any album from any era and this chord progression will be there.

The songs do sound similar, but any song which uses this chord progression will sound similar. Of course it’s no surprise that the attorney’s representing “The Script” are the same ones Marvin Gaye’s heirs used for “Blurred Lines”. According to The Script’s legal team, at stake is $20 million dollars.

The reason why music became such a large commercial force is because songs sounded similar. In the book “Hitmakers” by Derek Thompson, it mentions how our tastes in music are based on something we’ve heard before with some slight variation.

How many times have we stumbled upon a new song that we like, listen to it constantly on repeat while we try to figure out what other song it sounds like?

But we live in a world that if someone is winning, someone must be losing. So in this case, James Arthur is winning and The Script are losing, because he is winning with a song that sounds similar to their song and their song sounds similar to another song and that other song sounds similar to another song and so on.

8 Years Ago (2014)

Remember the days of purchasing an album based on a heavily marketed opening track and to find out that the album had 1 great song and 2 to 3 maybe 4 decent songs. And the rest were there as pure filler.

After being burnt so many times on purchases like these, did the labels or artist need any more evidence as to why people took to cherry picking when the mp3 became available. And with streaming, we have taken it up a notch.

The big songs just keep getting bigger and the album cuts are forgotten. A lot of music listeners wouldn’t even be able to name the album that had “Don’t Stop Believin’”.

Yep the labels are at it again. Using money that should be paid to their artists to buy shares in another technology company.

This time around Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have each bought $3 million in shares in Shazam Entertainment on top of the stake they own in Spotify.

The record labels still scream that there is no money in the recording business because of piracy. Yet, Universal Music has also purchased shares in Beats Music and when the Apple billion dollar purchase is complete of Beats, it will be even richer.

Yet, a recent IFPI report shows that the labels invested $4.5 billion in artist and repertoire. If there is no money in the recording business,then why would the record labels spend so much money on artist and repertoire.

Because artists are the lifeblood of the music industry. And it is artists that make the labels money. No one buys an album because Elektra released it.

The labels have purchasing power because of the artists.

The labels have status because of the artists.

The artists have made the label executives more wealthy than the best-selling artists.

So if the record labels own shares in Spotify and Shazam, does that mean by default, the artists also own those shares. The answer should be YES.

Every corporation in power, when faced with the inevitabilities of competition, have a nasty habit of pushing backwards. They assume that by killing off any competition before it gets some momentum, they have done enough to protect their business models. They assume that if they lobby or bribe hard enough and get even more draconian laws passed, it will give them more power to prevent any further problems down the line.

But change is eternal. It is progress and it cannot be stopped. Try as the corporations will, change always happen.

The recording industry built an empire decades ago based on the control of the media and the distribution chains. Teenage kids from 1999 built a better system.

And the system allows for the transitioning of power and control back to the audience and the actual creators. But the artists want to apply the old charging system to the new system.

It should be the norm that in 2014, if a person still buys a physical CD or LP of the artists, that same person should be able to download that whole album via a download site that the artist controls. Coheed and Cambria did this with “The Afterman” releases. Amazon offers it via the AutoRip option however not all artists opt in.

It should be the norm that in 2014, if a person wants to download an MP3 rip of an album for free, they should be able to do it. If Pirate sites make so much money from advertisements, then why don’t the record labels provide the same service that they pirate sites provide and even reward those uploaders for continuing to spread culture instead of locking it up. These people would never have purchased physical anyway.

Music is cultural. It was always possible to identify people’s musical tastes by the clothes they wore and the style of their hair. Our musical identity was a source of pride.

The definition of a casual music fan twenty to thirty years ago meant having a high music IQ and typically purchasing a seven inch single on a weekly basis. The definition of a casual music fan today means having a lower music IQ about who was involved in the song’s creation and focusing all on the song.

Nobody owes a musician a living and what is valuable is subjective.

From the beginning of time, musicians always made money from public performances.

Copyright at its basic level ensures that people receive compensation for a valuable good that they spend time and energy to create. This creates an incentive to put more time and energy into producing new work. Longer Copyright terms do not benefit the original creator in any way whatsoever.

People start to create for the sake of creation rather than money.

Whether people want to admit it or not, every song that is written relies on some sort of connection to past works.

Piracy has never been the problem. The RIAA just found it convenient to blame Piracy. It was all a smokescreen to fool the politicians into action so that they can get control back over the distribution/gatekeeper monopoly they had.

Recording revenues never recovered because it turns out that most people just want the best songs and not all of the songs.

There is a big difference between getting paid a “living wage” and earning one. Just because a musician creates a song or records an album, it doesn’t mean that you need to get paid a living wage. You need an audience that believes that you have provided a service to them by releasing your music.

Music is something people choose to do free and money is a by-product of doing music. A wage is something your employer pays you for doing your part in bringing him profit. If you want a wage for playing music and you are not a superstar act, then you need to put in your 40 hours a week. Be a music teacher, gig every day.

Being paid is good, but being known is better.

You could say wrong time, wrong place.

I am always into bands that can take the AC/DC style of rock n roll and spruce it up with their own twists without sounding too much of a copycat. Junkyard was such a band that did it really well with their debut album released in 1989.

A lot of people believe that the Guns N Roses comparison is the reason why Geffen Records became interested. To put it into context, Guns N Roses didn’t really take over the world until 1988 and by then, Junkyard already had a record deal in place with Geffen records.

The excellent Tom Werman was on hand to produce the debut album that came out in 1989. The engineer was Duane Baron who was also no slouch in the producer chair either.

While others complain about Werman’s work ethic or input, the Junkyard team had nothing but praise. However, another candidate that was considered was Matt Wallace, who did the initial demos that Geffen financed before they gave the go ahead for the full album to be recorded. Matt Wallace was a more eclectic producer, being involved with artists like “The Replacements”, “John Hiatt” and “Faith No More”.

They wrote and recorded material for a third album with the working title “103,000 People Can’t Be Wrong” (which was a reference to the first week sales of album number 2) but the record never got made for various reasons.

The band wanted to produce it themselves so Geffen gave them an ultimatum.

Record it with a real producer, however they will give no marketing support or touring support.

Or they would release the band from their deal and allow the band to shop the record to other labels.

But no other label would come forth to support them as all of the labels had moved on to find the next Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Alice In Chains.

It’s there Eighth album.

How many bands out there had their biggest album on their 8th release?

Just to put it into context. Metallica’s 8th album was “St Anger”. Motley Crue’s 8th album was “New Tattoo”. Aerosmith’s 8th album was “Done With Mirrors”. Black Sabbath’s 8th album was “Never Say Die”. Ozzy’s 8th album was “Down To Earth”. Bon Jovi’s 8th album was “Bounce”.

When I heard the “Fireworks” album from Bonfire I got the impression that they were superstars already. The album to me is a definitive piece of hard rock, melodic rock, heavy metal and euro metal all merged into one cohesive package.

I had a friend who had a friend who had a friend that made me a copy of the album on cassette. I had no idea who was in the band, who wrote the songs, who produced it and on what label it was on.

What I did know was the music. And the music was great.

In the end, Bonfire was one of the thousands of bands that signed contracts stacked against them and of course they got ripped off.

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. The band recorded it and then they went back to their day jobs. 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.

And that’s a wrap.

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